Danilo Estrella of TimecodE

Keep up with Danilo here:
SDM:  How important are your kick pedals to your playing?
The pedals are like drumsticks, pedals are the tool that facilitates the movements, the force of the blow, rhythmic precision, speed, etc. Considering these factors, the pedals I use are decisive when I play with TimecodE
SDM:  How do you prepare yourself before a show and recording?
I try to exercise regularly, eat healthy and perform routines in the drums for better performance.
SDM:  What kind of practice routines do you perform when you practice by yourself?
At first I begin with drum rudiments, then pedal exercises, solos on drums and some rehearsals of TimecodE songs.
SDM:  Did you ever take drum lessons? Do you play any other instrument? Can you read music like drum notation or guitar tab?
Yes, I studied drums performance in a musical institute, I like many instruments but I play guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, bass and flute. And I learned to read music at the university, which it helps to create and preserve music.
SDM:  What kind of gear do you use?
I use Tama Iron Cobra double pedals and 5A alternative drumsticks. For cymbals I like to combine bright, dark and dry sounding etc… and I use Sabian, Zildjian, Meinl and Wuhan. The hardware is mostly Mapex. The drums are Mapex Saturn Pro and the heads I use are regularly Remo clear emperor.
SDM:  Do you have any touring planned for your latest release and if so with who and where?
The next TimecodE gigs are during summer 2014: Hualafest (Curico) Ecorere Sex Fest (Valparaiso) and Metalrock Live (Los Andes).
SDM:  Where did you record your last album 'Lapses?'
At first, the drums were recorded in Santuario Sonico, where I was very pleased with the results obtained. Then, the strings, vocals, mixing and mastering processes were in charge by one of the greatest Chilean metal musician/producer Igor Leiva (Poema Arcanus) in his own studios called Atomic Noise.
SDM:  Do you use triggers in the studio or live? What’s your opinion on triggers and drum modules?
I do not use technology on the drums. When I play I need to hear the natural sound of the instrument to be comfortable, also the touch of TimecodE is the intention of each beat, melody and harmony naturally executed. Colleagues who use triggers is because they like and sound like they want, it's very subjective.
SDM:  What band or drummer influenced you on your latest recording?
Today there are thousands of very good drummers, but as an influence for me I could mention that always will be Gene Hoglan, Pete Sandoval, Alex Hernandez, Dennis Chambers, Dean Castronova, John Tempesta etc… and bands that always blow my mind like Immolation, Morbid Angel, Sepultura, Testament, Gorefest, Dimmu Borgir, At The Gates, Death, Pantera, Timecode, Dark Tranquility and many more. They have rhythm, evil and swing.
SDM:  How long did it take you to record the drums and were you happy with the final product?
The recording time was about 16 hours in which I played 3 times each song, this work was recorded in Santuario Sonico Studios and I was pleased with the result. There was a very professional and a good working atmosphere.
SDM:  Did you record to a click track? Do you find playing to a click track challenging?
All the drums of TimecodE are recorded with clicks for the simple reason that it is just Metal. The style is so complex that it must have a constant and regular pulse, by blastbeats, double bass drums etc… I think it is an excellent way to record a song because Metal is a machine.
SDM:  How often does the band practice during the week? How often do you practice by yourself weekly?
The band has a personal work and we rehearse every week depending on the activities of each member. Personally I practice 12 hours a week or so.
SDM:  How were the drums recorded in the studio, with what kind of gear and how do you create your parts?
The drums were mic'd everywhere! For the entire drum set we used a total of 19 microphones, including ambient microphones. The music of TimecodE is closely related to the lyrics and thus the songs born as the rhythms and madness reflecting the critical moments of the lyrics.
SDM:  What blast beat method do you use?
It depends on the type of rhythm I want according to the melody, but usually I use the traditional method, alternating beats.
SDM:  What are you kick pedals set at?
The pedals, as I mentioned above, are like drumsticks and must be regulated to an accurate, rapid and balanced attack.
SDM:  Do you blast with one foot? If so, how did you learn this technique?
Most of the time I use one foot for blasts in TimecodE because the pulse allows me and I have improved this technique over time, it is the simplest technique but is the more effective by the sound and the power generated.
SDM:  How do you advise drummers build up their endurance and speed? What did you do personally for yourself to enhance both of these areas?
Well, the best are the rudiments on hand and foot, studying with metronome, from as slow as possible to achieve control and end up as quickly as your body allows you, do some exercise and eat well. I enjoy music and study what I think is enough for me, I don’t want to be the fastest, I just want to write good drums for the music I listen to and thus complement the work of TimecodE.
SDM:  What sort of tension do you have on your snare? Do you leave it loose or do you tighten it all the way? Do you use anything like Moongel on your snare? What size is your snare?
The snare is a characteristic element of the drummer, that's why I always look for sounds that represent me. I like the snare with treble and powerful sounds. I use the snare wires at medium tension, so that the resonance is heard and tighten too in order to interpret fast figures without any problems. In Lapses I recorded with a Mapex Saturn Pro 5.5" snare, but live I play with a Pearl Master Series 6.5", which gives me a more powerful sound.
SDM:  Do you think the size of your snare affects the velocity of your blast beats?
More than speed, it affects the pitch. The blast must always be understood within the music, even if it is in a live show, so we have to use drums that meet the needs of the drummer. I don't play many blasts in TimecodE, that’s why I occupy the drum in a medium range, treble and powerful.
SDM:  What would you do if you couldn’t play drums? Do you have another profession besides being a musician?
I would be a drug dealer hahaha. No, but seriously I am a Music teacher and it is my parallel job. I like teaching but I love playing.
SDM:  What are some the albums you are listening to now?
SDM:  How supportive are your family concerning your drumming?
It is very difficult to live as a musician in Chile and parents or family are always against to you to study or to get into the music, but in my case my parents and family supported me without prejudice and everywhere I go I talk about the main importance to believe in the talents and abilities of people and even further of musicians. For that reason my achievements are always dedicated to them, my family.
SDM:  What would you say to drummers out there that are just starting off and want to become professional?
One thing is to have fun and play, other thing is to play on big stages. The idea is to do things well, reach a level to give a good show that blows your head first and then to the public, so, if you’re not ready it is better to wait for the right time.
SDM:  Any tips for drummers who live the tour life?
To have a lot of sex, alcohol and enjoy the moment. Nothing better than touring with your band everywhere.
SDM:   How important is it to your drumming to know the basic 40 drum rudiments?
The drummer who wants to play and have control over his drum strikes must know and study the 40 drum rudiments, but it is only a tool to achieve proper sound and touch, the most important thing is to have a proper seal.
SDM:  Do you use a metronome when you practice alone?
I use the metronome when I study certain songs and determined patterns, when I record in a studio and in some shows, but when I improvise alone or with musicians I try to let the rhythm flow.
SDM:  Do you have any problems or have issues with your less dominant hand when drumming?
Always, it requires a daily attention to leveling the whole body to play with a perfect touch without complications. It has to leverage our strengths and work on our weaknesses.
SDM:  Do you go to drum clinics in your area? What sort of materials do you use for practice? Any certain books or videos you watch? Any certain Youtube sites?
All drummers started with the great exponents of the instrument (Dennis Chambers, Steve Gadd, Billy Cobham, etc.) and traditional books (150 solos, Stick Control, etc.) but since I play, I wanted to have a proper seal, so I studied what I had to and then I made my own combinations and routines to achieve my touch. About the clinics, I have seen just a couple.
SDM:  What are some of the new techniques on drums that you would like to get better at?
All pedal techniques are very interesting for me in order to achieve more speed, control and versatility. Other hand techniques and everything new will be welcomed.
SDM:  How do you count when playing a piece of music with your band? How important is counting to your drumming?
I always count the metric of the song before to start, I mean, if the song is in 12/8 I count the whole beat/time and it is very important the previous counting to begin the song all together.
SDM:  How do you come up with drum fills when playing an original song?
There is no a specific formula, I always listen the riffs, melodies, rhythms and song sections at first, then I begin to imagine several drums sections for several days and I make different versions of the same song. Finally, the most natural touch is the final one, when I play it I know the pattern that each riff should have, everything in a natural and flowing work. It must be by the work of more than 10 years with TimecodE.
SDM:  Do you make use of paradiddles, polyrythms, various stroke rolls, etc?
Yeah sure, the drum sounds are versatile, fun and call your attention. The composition must have all these combinations of polyrhythm, permutation, stroke rolls, etc.
SDM:  What do you wear on your feet when playing?
Only sneakers or comfortable shoes with smooth bottoms to avoid problems when you slide your foot on the pedals.
SDM:  How do you keep your patterns original and innovative?
Listening to lots of music, meeting other musicians from whom you can learn and studying different possibilities to combine created patterns, changing musical accents, speed and form.
SDM:  How important is it for drummers out there to support their local metal scene?
The Chilean metal scene is a little diminished now, tribute bands have left a little aside to the original ones and therefore to new drummers too, with serious and professional proposals, so the importance of regain our scene and revive again is an extreme urgency. People must know that there’s no identity without original bands.
SDM:  Tell us what the band was like when you started off as Hideous Prophylaxis, then from 1994 – 1999 as Cagadera.
At that time I was playing in another band called Deimos (black metal), but I always knew about the rawness and putrefaction of Hideous Prophylaxis and Cagadera. When I entered the band in 2003, they had a same way of working with me and that was a motivation to be part of this amazing band of talented and great friends.
SDM:  Tell us about your work on the 2009 TimecodE album 'Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.'
This album was the beginning of the world of irregular pulses, was an experimentation of sounds, rhythms and forms of drumming. As mentioned above, it is a job that I like to listen to and the things that I like most about PTSD was the experience to record the first LP with TimecodE, the many hours of continuous recording, the rehearsals, much of everything to position TimecodE as a mature and powerful death metal band, that makes a difference.
SDM:  Tell us about your drum work on the 2012 TimecodE 'Impediment to Cure (EP).'
Pure brutality, speed and presicion, the drums of this Ep were always well thought out by TimecodE. They told me what they thought and then I took some ideas of rhythms which combining with guitar riffs made “Impediment to cure” finally born. Celso created this song to be the "machine gun" of the album, and so it was.
SDM:  Tell us about some of the fancy cymbal work you are doing in the song "Imbalance Result." What influences the blast beats in this song?
All rhythms are musically thought.  I see the drums as a kind of backbone of the band, but it's most important function is to accompany, that is why the rhythms I play are always supporting the music of TimecodE. In "Imbalance Result", the accents I play with china and ride are characterized to give shape and support guitar riffs and also the song is made for blasts in the intro and verses… Vader-style. 
SDM:  Tell us about the opening fill on the song "Grieving." How did you get such great sounding toms on the 'Lapses' album?
The beatings I do in 'Grieving' are within two compasses of 4/4 and the figures throughout the drums are quavers. This introduction is like a break in the album. The listener perceives it as a relatively slow song and that gives continuity to the album. The sound of the toms was achieved by Igor Leiva (producer) and I used Remo Ambassador Coated heads, with natural and clear sound.
SDM:   What is the pattern you use at the beginning of the song "Erratic?"
This pattern belongs to a polyrhythmic, the pattern of drums and snare is in a metric figure of 12/8 and while the ride is in a 4/4 in line of quavers, but accenting 2 and 4 while in 12/8 I make an accent in 1-4-7 and 10.
SDM:  How do you remember all the parts for all these very complex songs? Do you write them out on paper or do you just have them all programmed in your memory?
Listening to the songs, analyzing each part of the song and the drums work for each section. It is important to practice the rhythms that characterize you on drums and find your personal mark as a musician because you can play the drums at a concert or on recordings with the same touch and by heart.
SDM:  Tell us about the awesome (almost solo-like) drums on the song "The Spiral Eyes." What influenced this?
This final part was inspired by the fade out of the song The Philosopher by Death, where there is a kind of dialogue of instruments. "The spiral Eyes" was a dialogue of percussion where my great friend Claudio Radrigán (Concerto) participated as a special guest, achieving an improvisation which left us very happy, by using ethnic and Latin rhythms.
SDM:  Where is all the speed coming from on the song "Hausdorff Space?" What kind of blast beats are you using here?
"Hausdorff Space" is one of the songs with more rhythmic changes on 'Lapses.' The speed of the blast beats was inspired in the old school death metal with that power needed in the metal style. The drums of new bands are very processed and I think that it makes losing strength, which is the main characteristic of this style, so the sound is naturally achieved in order to perceive the details. It's a great song for head banging!