Laura Hernández Coral is a Colombian drummer who currently lives in Sweden. She’s been involved in music for more than 20 years, and received a degree in composition and classical percussion. She started to focus on drums in 2016 and now plays with two metal bands, Distance Between and Detonator, in Sweden.
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What is your city, country, and age?
I’m from Bogotá, Colombia, but currently live in Stockholm, Sweden. I’m 28 years old.
What kind of gear do you use? What’s your setup?
At home I use an e-kit, a Roland TD-4 with an extra ride.
What bands/groups do you perform with, if any?
Right now, I’m playing with Distance Between, a melodic death metal band from Stockholm, Sweden. My other band is Detonator (thrash metal).
What led you to your instrument? What’s your origin story?
I started taking drum lessons when I was six. When I was ten years old, I started studying at the Colombia Youth Symphony Orchestra Foundation, but I never considered it very serious until 2016, when I got my Bachelors degree in composition and classical percussion at the University of the Andes.
After college, I wanted a change of environment, to go to new places. Because I have been into metal basically my entire life, my first options for where to go were Sweden and Norway (countries with a high metal concentration), and I chose Sweden. Since then, I have loved Sweden, and I decided to stay there and pursue my passion.
Who is your favorite drummer and why?
I wouldn’t say I have a favorite drummer. There are so many skilled drummers and I try to study from their styles. But to mention some of them, I would say Anika Nilles, Chris Adler, and Dirk Verbeuren.
How do you practice? Do you have a routine?
I normally warm up starting at a very slow tempo (in both hands and feet). Then I start to work with a specific tempo, doing singles, doubles, and paradiddles (also in both). When I feel comfortable with the tempo, I increase one or two BPM until I reach the desired speed.
Are there any specific playing tips or techniques, or advice, exercises, or discoveries you’d like to share with Drum readers?
Start very slow, and always with the metronome. Increase the tempo when you feel comfortable. That has worked for me very well.
What’s something you believe about drumming or music that other people think is crazy?
Metal is highly related with classical music. There are many metal bands that include symphony orchestras in their music, but that’s not the only factor. If you analyze a lot of music, you’ll notice that metal has a quite complex composition (harmony, melody, rhythm), that’s similar to classical.
When you sit down to make music and are starting with a blank canvas, what’s your process like?
That depends. I can start working with the structure, orchestration, scales, rhythm, and all the “rules” that the music will follow. Then, it’s very easy to write orchestral music with that. Sometimes I just start to improvise on the piano, record a few takes of the improvisation, and with that material I start to work on a new piece.
And when it’s about drums, I always write my drum parts first, trying to set up for what I would like to play. I imagine the groove, all the fills. Sometimes I write very difficult parts, but I print the score and practice at home until I get it right.
How important is failure in making music/performing?
Highly important. In my opinion, that motivates you to get up, dust yourself off, and keep going. At the end, you will enjoy the prize.
Any advice for girls contemplating getting started and making it in this arena?
Just keep going, always practice, and never give up.