Where are you guys at, are you out in CA right now?
Yes I live in Los Angeles, I am home right now.
Is it pretty steamy hot out there, or is it not too bad?
It’s probably 80 maybe 82.
It is usually pretty temperate most times of the year out there isn’t it?
So first how exactly is it being pronounced, is it Ar-K-uh?
Yes, yes that is perfect.
I was worried I was going to mess it up, pronounce it wrong it’s kind of a tricky word.
Yes it is Arkaea, that is at least how we pronounce it, we essentially created the word so I guess we could say the way it is suppose to be pronounced, a lot of people say Ar-key-a Some people pronounce it some other weird fucken way, and we wonder like where the fuck did you get that out of Arkaea.
So the word itself really has no specific meaning?
Well by default I guess it means our band. In a greater scope, no it really doesn’t mean anything. It’s funny how the whole thing went down, we where trying to come up with a band name, and there was a couple of things we where looking at, one thing was we wanted to come up with something that was easily searchable, thinking about the internet realm. Another thing is we wanted to come up with something that sounded kind of cool still, right. Not just a name with a bunch of A’s & W’s, right? So when Jon & Christian where working on vocals for the demo, during that time we where trying to come up with a name. Christian called me one day and said we got the name of our band. I was like ok cool, what is it? He said Arkaea and I said what does it mean, and he said I dunno what is it suppose to mean? So it just went from there, it is just a word we created.
Some of the people that are obviously old school Fear Factory or Threat Signal fans, might not realize that Arkaea is actually made up of members of Fear Factory and Threat Signal.
Yes we are trying to get the word out there so people do know.
How did the 2 different groups come together?
Well Christian produced one of the Threat Signal records, Threat Signal was with West Records and Christian produced it, so all the guys from Threat Signal flew out to do the record, the guys from Threat Signal are from Toronto, obviously so they where in LA for a couple of months and obviously Christian became really good friends with Jon. Jon was the only one left in the band, than Jon has brought in other people, essentially the guys that where in Threat, that made up Threat Signal where no longer in the band. Jon was the only guy left so we are dealing with new people so to speak and so you know Christian has been really good friends with Jon this whole time. So than we, when I say we, I mean Christian and myself we started writing the next Fear Factory record. And we had gotten up to about 8 songs this was supposed to be for the next record. Then we had some issues with Bird he didn’t want to continue with Fear Factory anymore, he wanted to do his own thing or whatever, so Christian had the idea well why don’t we use the songs for something else than. So if they are just going to sit around, we thought we would use the Fear Factory songs, so than he brought Jon in, and so I said well if you think the guy is that good, than why the hell not, right? So Jon and I sent him some music, and within days he was sending stuff back, and it sounded killer so than I was like ok yeah I guess he is the right guy. So we just kept doing that, he had a lot of catching up to do we had already written 8 songs. So as he started adding vocals to the stuff, we just kept writing more and more music. Before you know it we add 13-14 songs. So it just kind of all fit, it was kind of like Tetris. We started recording the record in Sept 08. The band got signed in July of 2008. Under the same label that was going to sign Fear Factory. So that’s how all of that worked out.
Very Nice! So Christian was quoted, I believe it was on the Arkaea website, as saying that you always aspire to create a Pantera or early Metallica caliber album. Did those fans kind of inspire you guys for this particular album or was it more of a previous works continuing inspiration?
For me, I don’t know about Jon or Christian, but for me personally I would definitely give a lot of credit to those bands when I was starting out that is most definitely. I think what Christian was trying to say was we wanted to achieve that level of success, it was more that type of honest success type of a tip than a creative sort of thing. The other band doesn’t sound much like those bands, maybe closer to a Pantera thing, but at the same time I think it was more on a successful side of things. Which obviously you always want to aim high, you always want to do as well as some of your favorite bands or some of the bigger bands we enjoyed listening to growing up. And definitely bands like that had a huge impact on me myself like I know that when I first started writing or messing around in general with certain bands you know, and certain guitar players and than taking that to the next level. Then once you got a real band you want to aspire to be or to have the success of certain bands, I can definitely see that. I can see where Christian was coming from with that.
So the new CD, Years in The Darkness, set to release on July 14, so that is coming up really quick, about 3 weeks away?
Wow, yeah it is already only 3 weeks away.
Kind of creeps up on you a bit?
Yeah it has been a long time coming, I think we had an original release date of some time in January, then it turned it to be March, then it went to May. So it has been moving along, but the good thing is we have been able to take our time with it. We have been able to take our time with the record. We recorded most of the record in my recording studio so we where able to make a record for pennies on the dollar so to speak. We where also able to bring in Terry Davis who you know, and we where able to bring in Ted Jenson. You know, the mixing and the mastering. So yeah it is pretty cool, we have definitely gotten a lot of responses on that. People see the credits and they say wow, how did you get Terry Davis and Ted Jenson. Especially for a debut album, you know what I mean.
You have a background and history with Terry, don’t you?
We have been friends for a long time, we’ve never really worked together, we have been trying to work with Terry for many years now and it’s never worked out. He was always in the middle of something else. It was just always bad timing. Oddly enough we where a month away from the mixing of our record we said we should try Terry again. So Christian called him up, and sure enough Terry said he might be able to make this happen. So yeah it really worked out. Oddly enough that it happened with the new project rather than with Fear Factory. I think he would have been a great mix with Fear Factory as well.
So with the release date getting pushed back a number of times, what was happening with all of that?
Well we think that the label at one point had an idea on when they wanted it to come out, and we kind of like where not really concerned with it. We wanted to do it right. If we need to take an extra week to do this, then we will take the extra week to do it. If it takes a little more time to polish this up then we are going to do that. The mixing alone took almost 2 months. The cool thing is we knew what we where doing and we wanted to take our time to make it sound killer. Everything took longer than we wanted it to, but it took longer and we where cool with it. The label was really cool with it; they knew it wasn’t our first record. They knew we where doing it for 16 years. They said if you need more time, then you need more time. I think that was one of the other advantages we had being a new band, by definition. The label believed in us, they knew it wasn’t our first time doing this and they knew what we where doing. So they basically gave us more time. So that was one of the cool advantages. I think it worked out for the best, because the record does sound way better than if we would have released it out in January.
My personal favorite off the whole entire album is hands down, Gone Tomorrow.
Ah cool, that is the second video actually; we did a video for that.
The thing I personally love about it is that it starts out real melodic and fluid and then it kind of picks up the tempo, the chorus picks up a little, and then right about the 2 minutes mark it tears into this almost death metal-esque riff that just honest to God Ray it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It was just incredible.
That is awesome, that is just great. When you listen to something and you get that feeling from it that is awesome. Thank you, that is very nice to hear. I don’t remember when Christian wrote that, but that is ridiculous. We call that fugly. Like fugly, like you look fugly. I said dude we actually gotta use that, we had a branch for that. For Gone tomorrow we did. We started checking the tempo on that riff. Like that sounded like Gone Tomorrow and sure enough it did. We were actually a little concerned about the contrast, but we later learned to love the contrast. Because it kind of throws that in there, makes it sound a little different.
Going back to the Pantera, it kind of, in a very loose relation, it kind of reminds me of the old school Domination. With Domination it kind of leads in, and then towards the end it tears you apart. It kind of loosely reminded me of that.
That’s cool I can see that. That’s good.
I found it interesting when listening to that, that It kind of reminded me of that and than sure enough I find that quote from Christian mentioning Pantera. Then I thought that was kind of a funny correlation.
It’s interesting because every guitar player I have worked with and probably most guitar players in metal find that it is really kind of like that guy. For metal drummers there are like 5 or 10 guys you can name, and heavy metal there is only a couple of guys that like him that is usually a guy that is named. He is probably like the best guy that… he is like the best as far as heavy music goes. I can definitely see that, it’s always guitar players.
If I remember correctly I believe that the last time you guys publicly worked together, or have been in the same area I believe was Ozzfest in maybe 1997, I believe that was the last time?
We did a couple events in 1995 and it was only for like 3 shows. It was like the introductory Ozzfest. And then we did 97 & 99. The last record with Fear Factory we did was in 05. It was called Transgression and we where on tour until the end of 06. In 07 is when we started writing these songs that ended up being the Arkaea record, we started those songs in 07 for a record to release in 08. And that never happened.
So Arkaea was kind of 2 years in the making?
Well it depends on how you want to look at it. You could look at it as when we first started writing what was definitely meant to be the next Fear Factory album. From the time that the music was being written for this record yes it would have been Jan 07. But it didn’t become Arkaea until the end of 07. So it wasn’t until early 08 or almost a year later that it became Arkaea. We spent about 9 months polishing that up and then we went into the studio in September. So yeah I guess you could say it was 2 years in the making. Not because of lack of musical creativity, but because things didn’t really work out on that side. So we had to use the music for something else. So I guess we will get back to FF when the time comes, we are actually in a legal battle at the moment. The old guitar player became friends with someone and they started up a new band and they called it Fear Factory so now it is a trademark issue. Whatever, we will deal with that.
So the Arkaea website does not show any tour dates.
We are looking at different tours right now; there is either something at the end of July or something at the beginning of August. It is either going to be in the U.S. or we might start in Australia we are not really sure yet. Our booking agent is feverishly working on that.
So if you could hand pick who your supporting acts are, who would you chose?
Oh wow there is so many bands where do I start? KillSwitch Engage, Lamb Of God, plus a ton more, wow I could literally go on for awhile.
Are you guys at all a fan of Gojira?
Oh my God those guys are sick, yeah oddly enough Billy from Faith No More, introduced me to the band about 6 yrs ago. He was on tour with some side project he was doing, it was in France. He said you gotta check this band out they are sick. And I seen the name and I have heard of this band, this was literally before anything. And I seen the DVD and I still have the DVD and yeah sick. At that time they where pretty big in France. This was before they became a global thing. Yeah I remember hearing the name again and again, and they are a really, really good band. We actually did some festivals with them in 05 & 06 in Europe. They are really killer live. They are a really good band.
We did an interview with Gojira when they where here last October maybe. It was so funny because offstage every guy in the band is very, very quiet, very modest. Then they get onstage and it was like flipping a switch. The energy was unreal.
A lot of my friends, a lot of people I know in Eastern Europe, a lot of them are very much like that. That is until they get drunk, mainly my friends. It isn’t like a racial thing or anything like that or a prejudice thing, but it is true that folks from Europe like Hungary, The Czech, most of them are very quiet, they are reserved. Then once they drink man I am telling you it is like a switch. We did a show and we had the guys from Children of Bodom with us. Those guys party, during the day they where kind of mellow, like hey man how is it going. At night then we did a show and they start drinking, and it was like oh my God, like what happened to the guys in your band. Where are the guys that where around here today in the afternoon, now they are gone and have become like these crazy guys. Yeah I know exactly how you can see that, I see it all the time. It is pretty funny.
So is there a specific message that you are hoping that your fans can develop from listening and becoming fans of Arkaea?
Well I guess, first and foremost, I guess we definitely want that. I hope that people can retrieve from it the sort of thing they got off the Fear Factory album. So then a lot of people are Fear Factory album. Or another thing is that they know that Jon and Pat from Threat Signal are on it. Threat Signal actually has a lot of fans. They have a pretty good core following. They have written some really great stuff. It is almost like there are 2 reasons to bring them together. It is like the melting of the four members. It’s kind of like another reason. And without mixing the message too much, we do want people to know that this is a new project this isn’t, we are not calling it a “??site project” I have never liked that term. Cause then it is almost like we are not really putting our time into it. It is not a nice thing to hear. We have put our time into it, and we are treating this as a new band. This is like a new thing. Jon and Pat Have Threat Signal and Christian and I will probably be doing Fear Factory again. We definitely want people to understand that this is a new project. It is probably going to sound similar to Threat Signal and Fear Factory. So people that like those two bands and maybe some people will now go check out Threat Signal. We have spent a lot of time on the music and we are really proud of it. We are really proud of the record. I guess you could say we did it our way. We did it on our time line so we are very happy about that.
Earlier you had mentioned that Gone Tomorrow is your second video, has that second video gone live to the world yet?
No we shot a video for a song called Locust and that is the first song on the record. We shot the video for Gone Tomorrow the next day so we shot two videos. So that literally went out on Saturday.
I saw the press release over the weekend about the video and then when you had mentioned Gone Tomorrow being the second one, I started racking my brain wondering if I missed that email.
No actually you haven’t done anything wrong, we haven’t even seen the first edit of it yet. The idea was that we would go on with Locust? Locust is closer to the demographic, the style of what people will expect. Gone tomorrow will be more of the wider audience. So Locust is first we will let that one run its course for about a month or month and a half, so maybe around the middle of July or end of July you will start to see some of Gone Tomorrow. That will be the next single. We don’t know what is going to be the next one after that. It’s funny the term single has changed so much over the years, especially in the last latter 5 or 6 years. Those are the things we are going to try and focus on will be Gone Tomorrow.
One thing I was kind of interested to know about it, is when you started out in the industry there was no such thing as an MP3 it just didn’t exist. I miss CD’s, everything is so digital. So I guess my next question what is your opinion of the digital media vs the CD media?
Well I would say my gripe is, if I have a gripe would be not so much the format, but what I am the least happy about is not only the MP3 but the standard quality of the MP3. The standard MP3 should really be more around 320 as far as quality so you know it is a rather large file. The real quality should be more at 10/12. I only say that from a musical standpoint. We spend a lot of time and considerable amount of money in the studio writing the stuff, and recording the stuff. We record at 96 kilohertz you could say. We record this stuff at a higher amp rate. And that at the end of the day people are going to download as 128k. So then what was the point of recording it at a high kilohertz, you know? I think it is more that people are selling themselves short for the ease of having it digital. Do you know what I mean? If the end game is just to have the music rather than the quality of that music than that is fine, to each their own I guess. As a musician you just want people to hear it at the best possible quality. The record needs to sound so much better. Then you say you are kind of why that is happening because the more people download, the label doesn’t have a lot of money to throw at the bands for advances. To buy the gear, record the records so on and so forth. We are probably one of the exceptions to the rules. With Arkaea because, I own my own recording studio, we have been doing this for a long time, and I own all my own gear, I own pretty much everything. So we can go on and make a record and spend $30,000 and make it sound like we spent $100,000. Because we own all the gear, we own the studio. We can afford to get people like Terry Davis and people like Ted Jenson. But then at the end of the day people are still going to go back and hear the Arkaea record at 128. Then you are really kind of selling yourselves short. You put all that time and you get all these people to go on your record.
That is the thing, especially with Arkaea, I would say the two biggest key points are: your double bass, and Jon’s vocals. Jon has such a harmonic, having trouble really describing it but…
Yeah it took me awhile to describe it to, because Jon has a singing voice. It’s not, well you know what actually sets him apart is that he can scream in harmony. He can hit notes while he is screaming. It’s the weirdest thing man. I don’t know how he does it either man. Somehow he just does, and it is the weirdest thing. Yeah he will do these screams, and while he is screaming he will be changing notes during the scream. I ask him how do you do that?
That is just it, that is part of the reason I even wanted to mention your opinion of the CD vs MP3. Was one because of Jon’s vocals? And with Jon’s vocals on the CD you can really almost clearly hear almost every note that he belts out versus the MP3 where it almost sounds muted.
One of the things that I do like about Jon is not only is he talented, but he can also sing, and not only is he a good writer, but he gets it man. He gets it; he is a singer’s producer. Like he is one of these guys, he is doing vocals and he will say let’s do this other track and this other melody, and this other background. Then there is this other melody. He already knows the entire landscape of his vocals before he even throws it down. Like he already has it figured what other melody he has to do, and what backup melody he needs right on the box. As he is putting it together, it is amazing. I am like dude we just wrote this song, and he already knows what he is going to do. He’s this guy like a lot of times, and not knocking other singers, just that certain guys get the entire picture right out of the cave man. So the musical standpoint on myself, I am kind of the same way. As I am writing I am drumming on the drum machine. I have already put the stuff together. It is already in my head I already have it laying down on the drum machine. The drum machine doesn’t know yet what I am trying to do. It is the same thing, in the studio, we are trying to do what I am trying to do, he already knows what his 4th and 5th backups are. The whole question, answer vocals thing. He just gets it man. It so refreshing you know, it is great.
My last question for you Ray is before I let you get back to your day here is, it is widely known that you are a huge video game fan, so what is your current addiction right now?
This last week, wow. There is a game called Baha which is in control and it is actually an old game, well semi old. Anything over 4 months is old. I think it came out about 7 months ago. It is for Xbox 360, it is not a very good game, but it is really hard to master. And the controls weren’t tested properly during the Q & A testing stage. So it is increasingly difficult to drive, so it makes it that much harder to try and master it. So I have been playing that a lot. I have been playing Resident Evil 5 a lot. I have been playing World at War. I have been playing a new Ghost Busters game which is actually incredible. You would be blown away at how good it is. I was at E3 about 3 weeks ago so I got to see a lot of the new stuff. There is a game called Dark Sider. The new PSP is smaller and is going to come out at like $250 in November and I am not very impressed with it. I could go on forever but I am going to stop now though.
Tell us how you really feel! Well alright Raymond that takes care of it for me today, I can’t thank you enough for taking the.
Not a problem man, thank you very much!
Not a problem you enjoy the rest of your afternoon, and hopefully we will see you when you guys come through Minneapolis.
You got it man, thanks.