Right now our band Escape The Fate is really excited about our self-titled album on DGC/Interscope Records. I feel strongly that this album is going to do things for rock and music in general that people have been wanting for a long time. We recently toured with Bullet For My Valentine here and in the Europe. I hate touring, but our new songs are so rad, I need to get them heard by the world.
I’m going to level with you: I’m not a drummer—I’m an artist! It just so happens that I channel my art mostly through drumming. I’m no one you should idolize as far as drumming goes. I should be admired more for my resilience and determination. I play drums every day because I know I need to sound good in order to channel anything that might be coming to mind. The incredible devotion to my craft is rivaled by my sheer determination to distance the rest of my life from my art. Perhaps it’s what keeps me from being the best in the world. But having so much else to offer in life is probably what brings so much soul and heart to my playing.
As for my drumming, to be honest there isn’t too much technique. My main focus is to be solid by doing a lot of work on the click and playing songs with a lot of double bass. What I do most is play songs until I have them perfect—it’s how I’ve always done things. Blind Guardian has always been my go-to band when I need to get my feet back in shape, and Garth Brooks and Eminem usually serve as warm-ups. I get bored doing too many rudiments, but I do go through quite an assortment of them when I’m warming up for a show. I’ll put on any random song I’m feeling at the time—usually something off-the-wall. For example, last night I did some paradiddles to Demi Lovato’s rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” and the other night I did singles and doubles to some baby-making soul music.
I’ve never considered myself a gear-head, but I’m learning that the gear I use is as important to my sound as the journeys in my life are. I’m signed with Pearl, who make the badass Masters Series kit, and I’m waiting on my Reference kit. I’ve got two 18×22 kicks. You need two because it’s just better. Two rack toms, two floors. Cymbals by Paiste and Beta 91s in the kicks always give me the attack every metal drummer craves.
As for recording, I don’t even know where to begin. That’s more of a conversation for our producer, Don Gilmore. Everything goes into that side of things from the room to the drums themselves to the tons of mics. We recorded the album at NRG Studios, which was amazing. The Tama Bell Brass snare sound was killer—I’m going to try to buy it off of Mike Fasano, who teched the album. I had the opportunity to use the G N’ R “November Rain” snare, which would’ve been awesome considering it’s my favorite song ever, but it was actually nowhere near as good as the one we were using.
Recording was fun. I’ve never felt like such a pro drummer and artist like I did while recording our album. I never settled for a sound that wasn’t absolutely right. There’s a fill at the end of our song “Guillotine 3” that took five hours: two hours to attempt, then a lunch break, followed by two more hours until I finally got it perfect. It’s my favorite fill I’ve created so far.
I feel like the sounds we captured on this CD are the best I’ve ever heard—raw and real but clean, precise, and huge!
For more on Robert Ortiz and Escape The Fate, go to www.escapethefate.com.