Aaron Ashby

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Formerly “Memory,” Lurid Memory is a metal band formed in Chula Vista in 2010 by Oscar Padilla. Shortly after Mateo Bernal joined on bass, song writing began, followed a 3 song EP that was written and recorded with Shaun Pena. All drum programming was done by Shaun Pena, with the assistance of both Oscar Padilla and Mateo Bernal on a stylistic level. In 2012, Memory acquired vocalist Nick Clawson, and Lead/Rhythm guitarist Glenn Davis. In mid 2012 Memory released ‘UNCLEAR MENTAL PORTRAITS FROM LIVES PAST’ via a DIY effort by the band members. Free copies can mailed to your place of residence on request. In late 2012, Aaron Ashby (His Irate Life, Man Destroys Himself) joins on the drums.

During the early part of 2013, Memory parted ways with vocalist Nick Clawson due to health and time issues. Memory is now fronted by founder Oscar Padilla, with backing vocals done by Glenn Davis. Later on this year Mateo Bernal left the band and was replaced by Chris Boodhoo on bass.

During 2014 Lurid Memory began to unfold a promising and dominating act in the San Diego metal scene, culminating with a successful show at Las Vegas Death Fest, and the recording of a new EP. In 2015 Lurid Memory will continue to play shows abroad including multiple small tours throughout the US, and will be releasing their newly recorded EP by September 2015.

Aaron Ashby Interview:

SDM: How important is seat height for your playing?

To me seat height is one of the most important things. Being comfortable when you play, is very important as well as being able to pull off different single and double bass drum techniques.

SDM: Are you endorsing anyone right now? If not, who or what companies would you like to represent?

I’m currently not endorsed although I have been looking at different companies. I’m very impressed by Spaun Drums and Scymtek Cymbals. I also plan on contacting a few other companies like Pearl and Gretsch, as I play currently a Gretsch Renown Maple kit with a Pearl rack and hardware.

SDM: What has the reaction been like for your latest album?

We have had a really positive reaction for the album’s upcoming release. We have gained a lot of respect from quite a few known artists as well, which makes us optimistic for this release.

SDM: Did you try anything different on your latest album drumming-wise, that you haven’t done before?

I entered this album knowing we wanted a progressive sound and had to really watch not making it sound like the same old stuff, or cookie cutter. There are a lot of syncopated drum counts between the guitar measures and riffs, adding a sort of new and interesting old school sound to the death metal we are writing.

SDM: What is the highest BPM on the latest album?

We recorded all of the drums live in order to get the most natural feel out of the songs, so we haven’t really sat down to figure the BPM for the songs in general. I know that in some of the demo stuff we did, we went up to around 260 or so, but being blazing fast isn’t that important for us.

SDM: How many takes did it take to record each song?

This album was recorded differently than most typical albums. We recorded the drums live in the studio as everyone played through headphones, and we captured the drums in a live take. We then added guitar, bass, and vocal tracks over the drums. I was able to nail all of the drum tracks in one take. It was pretty cool actually.

SDM: Are there any new drummers out there that just blow your mind?

Chason Westmoreland of Hate Eternal is pretty amazing. The guy is trying a lot of new and different techniques. Hands down one of the best out there.

SDM: How important is it to have the right type of stick to you while playing live, and in the studio?

Stick type is really important to get the proper sound and tone out of the toms, snare and cymbals, depending on how light or heavy you hit. I’ve always used Vic Firth 5B wood tip live and in the studio, and seem to always be able to get the sound I’m going for in both settings.

SDM: What sort of triggering and drum brain did you use on the latest release?

I have been using a DDRUM chrome elite trigger for my kick drum and an Alesis DM5 module.

SDM: What have you been listening to for inspiration lately?

I have been listening to a lot of Mastodon, Gojira, and of course a lot of our music is inspired from older death metal bands like: Carcass, Death, Cynic, and Morbid Angel to name a few.

SDM: How supportive has your label been to the band?

They have been very supportive with this new album. There is only one other band on our label currently, and they are definitely pretty sick! Their name is “Monolith,” so check them out if you get a chance.

SDM: In your opinion, does this newest work represent your strongest playing to date? If No, what album fully gives the listener your best playing?

Yes, in my opinion I feel this album has been very fun to work on because I have been able to think outside of the death metal writing normalcy. I have added a lot of intricate time signatures/counts to the chorus and verse changes. This has added to my experience in a very creative aspect.

SDM: How do you get a good snare tone in the studio? What Death metal album do you think had the best sounding snare you ever heard?

How I get a good snare tone in the studio is to try tuning the drum as you get your tone dialed in. Try the different high tension and or low tension on the head as well as adjusting your strainer. This will give you the ability to hear different tones in your drum and you can choose from there what you think fits your music the best. I am a big fan of the snare sound on “The Way of All Flesh.”

SDM: What foot technique do you use the most for rapid double bass patterns and how long did it take you to perfect? Any suggestions you can give our readers who want reach insane speeds on double bass like yourself?

I use a floating double bass technique for most all of my bass drum patterns, mixed with a heel toe technique on certain parts. I’ve been playing a double pedal consistently since I started playing drums and it has really taken all the years I’ve been playing to dial in a certain technique that works best for me.

SDM: How important is it to wear the right footwear when playing?

I find it very important to wear light sole shoes for myself so I can feel the pedal.

SDM: What are some exercises you use to strengthen your hands and feet?

I feel the best exercise for me to strengthen my hands and feet is a simple single, double, triple paradiddle pattern to warm up my wrists and ankles. This helps me to maintain strong chops.

SDM: Do you practice any half-time shuffle grooves?

I typically do not unless I’m messing around in the studio experimenting.

SDM: How about practicing linear patterns?

I don’t specifically practice linear patterns much anymore. I did a few years back when I was trying to master adding linear patterns. Currently I do mix in linear patterns on different 8th, 16th, and 32nd notes while playing in the studio and where needed in certain fills.

SDM: What inspires you to create new grooves behind the kit?

I find inspiration when I hear new artists and bands. It inspires me to try different things behind the kit. I especially love hearing new ideas that people wouldn’t normally do for certain genres of music and it helps inspire new ideas for adding to my style.

SDM: How much of your practicing is based on strictly technique?

All of our practice as a band is based on technique. When I practice by myself I try to perfect the techniques that we undertake in our writing. During practice, we make it a clear point to make things harder than we can play them, and push ourselves until we feel satisfied with our progress towards a certain technique or goal.

SDM: How much of your time practicing do you focus on things you are not so good at yet? What are some of your strengths and weaknesses behind your playing?

I really don’t spend much of my time practicing things that I am not good at, as I try to practice and cover all aspects of my playing. When I want to achieve certain goals I just put my mind to it till I get it.

SDM: What motivates you do get behind the drums every day and how do you keep motivated to drum?

I try to practice as much as possible. I own my own business and have a family, so I don’t have the time to practice every day like I did before I had these obligations in my life. I make it to the studio at least three times a week for a few hours a night, depending on if there is a show or tour coming up, then I practice more to prepare as needed. What really is my main motivation is the love for music and playing my instrument.

SDM: How important is it to keep eye contact with your fellow band mates while playing live in order to lock in and connect with them on a song?

I find it very important to maintain eye contact during practice with your fellow band mates. It will help maintain time as a band while playing in a live setting without even thinking about it, and you really get to the point where you just know what the next part is.

SDM: Are you a big fan of Pro Tools and do you support others in the studio copy/pasting (manipulating) your performance on a track?

I am a fan of Pro Tools, however, I feel pre-production is the key to not doing so much editing later. I feel capturing the performance without copy/pasting is more optimal for maintaining good flow in the recording.

SDM: What factors do you consider when buying a drum head? Is it just durability, price, or the tone?

The main factor I look for is sound. I do feel durability is important, however I tend to purchase a head by the sound it produces on the drum.

SDM: In order to create common time in any one of your songs, do you use alternate time signatures to add variety?

Pretty much 70% of Lurid Memory’s material is written on odd time signatures.

SDM: Do you practice one-handed rolls? What’s your take on their use in extreme metal?

Yes, I do practice gravity blasts and I do think it has its particular place in many newer death metal genres.

SDM: How do you build your chops?

I practice and try different rudiments in the studio. This is a proven way to help building your chops.

SDM: How good are you at playing slower tempos?

Slow dragging tempos are a big important part of our writing process in Lurid Memory. There are a few slow tempo parts in our songs on this new album and it took a lot of practice to perfect the sound of the slow parts, as they can be actually quite difficult to achieve sometimes. But as anything, practice makes perfect.

SDM: How important is proper drum tuning to your playing?

The tone from each tom or the snare is very important and is a crucial part of creating an even sounding roll over all the toms and while playing fills. Tuning your toms is very important and I feel must not be overlooked. There’s nothing worse than hearing a drummer do a fill and having it sound like someone threw a pile of different sized Tupperware down the stairs.

SDM: What other types of stick & finger control techniques do you use?

I find practicing on a pillow rather than a drum pad helps me to be able to use my wrists and fingers to create more movement in my sticks as I’m playing.

SDM: What other styles of music can you play, or are you interested in?

I have always been into different styles of rock and jazz and I actually listen to a lot of Prog rock from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. I grew up listening to classic rock and have played in multiple other projects of different styles (hardcore, grindcore, and deathcore). I am always interested in and trying to play different styles of music and do consider myself a pretty eclectic musician.