Drummer, teacher, and designer Fernanda Terra spikes her metal with traditional samba variations. She has played in thrash metal, hardcore, and punk rock bands since 1992. One of the most notable was Nervosa, an all-female thrash metal band. Fernanda has written tech/lesson columns for Tom Tom Magazine, and is sponsored by several drum, cymbal, and stick companies. Earlier this year, she volunteered her time mentoring at the Girls Rock Camp Brasil. Tom Tom Magazine was able to catch up with her after that incredible experience.
Full Name: Fernanda Terra
Currently Lives In: São Paulo
Current Projects: Kambo, Girls Rock Camp Brazil
Past Projects: Food 4 Life, Nervosa, Baby Scream, Hellas, Final Fight, and others
Day Job: Drum Teacher, Designer
Gear: Sonor drumkit (3 toms), 2 surdos, 1 kick with double pedal, Pratos Paiste 3 crashes, 1 china,1 ride, 1 cowbell, 1 tambourine
Favorite Food: Japanese
Current Playlist Includes: Sepultura – Arise, Pantera – Cowboys From Hell, Black Sabbath – Paranoid, Iron Maiden – Killers, Suicidal Tendencies – Light Camera Revolution, Motörhead – Bastards, Slayer – Show No Mercy, Death – Symbolic, Megadeth- Rust In Peace, Metallica – Kill ‘Em All.
Tom Tom Magazine: Describe your band and the kind of rhythms have you incorporated into the music. Have you recorded any music yet?
Fernanda Terra: I’m in a metal band named KOMBATO, in which I blend various Brazilian rhythms. KOMBATO is: me on drums, Lucy Shalub on bass, and Juan Arteiro on vocals/guitar. We are playing a mixture of everything we like in common, ranging from metal to punk and hardcore. Our influences are primarily Slayer, Death, and Suicidal Tendencies. We don’t have any recorded material because the band only recently formed, but I think we might record something in the middle of the year.
How did the idea of mixing Brazilian rhythms with metal come about?
Some drummers around here, like Iggor Cavalera, Sepultura, had already done that, but no female drummer had. So, I decided to do it.
You just volunteered your time at Girls Rock Camp Brasil? What did you do? What was it like?
I attended the girls rock camp as a drum teacher and also produced a band, called “metal girls.” It had girls 7 to 17 years old and everybody listened to heavy metal. I found [it] incredible – youth is not lost! I taught drum class, with 9 drummers. I used a method where the first day ever, I taught them to read partitur [notation], then they learned some grooves and fill.
Did they have any good questions for you?
[The band] had doubts about the music they were writing. They had the idea but did not know [how to] do it.
You have sponsorships with Sonor, Paiste, Aquarian, and Alba sticks- is that all? You must have worked very hard to be recognized by so many companies. Do you have any advice for other drummers who are seeking sponsorships/endorsements?
Yes, [the sponsorships] are [the result of] 20 years of hard work and fun. I advise you to keep all material that you have – playing, press, any videos, photos, or posters. One day you might be able to use this history to help achieve something, and never stop studying; we always have to learn.
Do you have a favorite time signature?
4×4, less is more.
You have written for Tom Tom’s technique and lesson section (Issue 12.) Do you have any specific exercises for building speed and endurance (for metal and otherwise)? How did you train your non-dominant foot to play double pedal? Any metronome drills or other technique tips?
[There are] some exercises for the left foot and you can even use hand exercises for feet like [George Stone’s] “Stick Control.” Repeat! Every exercise you practice with repetition applies to any rhythm, and with the metronome it helps you to not leave the beat. Training every day, on the rubber [practice pad], a little bit makes all the difference, even if it is 10 minutes.
Do you have any tips for tour?
Drink a lot of water, stretch out a lot, and bring less clothes. Andiroba balm may help if you have a lot of concerts and the stretching doesn’t help to cease the muscular pain.
What is it like when other drummers, many of them men (it IS metal, after all), watch your playing?
Recently, my ex-band played with Exodus, and it was memorable. Their drummer watched the concert on the stage, it was exciting! Ah well, I’m happy… a little nervous too because to know that I’m being watched by someone I admire, I can not do wrong, but it is gratifying to me when my idol is enjoying my work.
And lastly, do you have any advice that you want to give other women drummers playing metal?
Train to gain much speed. Never desist; it is laborious but rewarding. Never stop studying. Have good references, always try to listen to Slayer, Pantera and Death. I think this will help. Keep on drumming!!!
By Caryn Havlik for Tom Tom Magazine