"Ever since I first saw Nicko McBrain, Mikkey Dee and Jack DeJohnette over thirty years ago I've been obsessed with Sonor. Being called for a wide array of musical situations, I have always had the perfect sound with Sonor. Top-notch craftmanship, sound and innovation are but just a few of the many qualities I've found here. I've always been proud to play Sonor, to endorse them goes way beyond words."
- Ernesto Martinez Villasenor -
Born in Mexico City, Ernesto showed an interest in music early on. He started taking piano lessons when he was 6. Although it was a brief stint with the instrument, he was hooked. Fast forward to when he turned 15, he begged his dad to get him a set of drums after watching Iron Maiden’s “Flight of Icarus” on television. Instead, he was enrolled at the local mall’s music store to take lessons. He was not going to get a kit until he proved he could play. After a year, he had his first recital, and even though he was the only beginner, he held his ground in relation with the rest of the students. He was finally granted his first kit ever. From then, he started taking lessons with local drum heroes like Hector Navarrete (Aleks Syntek), Waldo Madera (Ricky Martin, Juanes), Jorge Lopez and Ramon Perez (El Tri). Pretty soon he started being called to play for different situations. In 2005 he was asked to join the legendary underground metal band ‘Raxas’ and started touring the US and Mexico. After a year he was awarded a scholarship to Berklee College of Music and he didn’t hesitate to make the move. While in Boston, he studied with the most amazing teachers like Rod Morgenstein, Dave DiCenso, Casey Scheuerell, Ed Uribe, Kenwood Dennard, Steve Hass, Joe Galeota Jr, Jamey Haddad and Jackie Santos Jr., to name a few. He also attended countless master classes, some of them by Steve Smith, Terry Bozzio, Mike Mangini, Gary Chaffee, Tommy Igoe, Billy Cobham, Chad Smith, Akira Jimbo and Antonio Sanchez.
After graduating, he moved to Los Angeles in 1999 where he started playing and recording locally. At this time, he also joined Paiste Cymbals, giving clinics in Mexico, South America, Spain, France and Switzerland. Then, in 2004, he decided to relocate to Madrid, Spain where he mostly did session work for numerous artists.
A year later he moved back to Mexico City and started doing session work with Sony Music and major producers like Fernando Chavez (Alejandro Sanz). He then started to work with the who’s who of artists in Latin America like Aleks Syntek, Cristian Castro, Reik, Yuridia, Erik Rubin, Paty Cantu, Noel Schajris, Alessandra Rosaldo, among others.
For the past four years he’s been behind Paulina Rubio’s drum chair, plus, he also started playing for multi-award winner sensations Sin Bandera at the beginning of 2016 for their reunion world tour. He’s constantly touring the US, Mexico, Central and South America with these artists and there’s no signs of him slowing down.
He owns a Sonor Hi Lite Exlusive kit, a Pro Lite kit and a Birch Infinite kit and he uses them depending on the assignment at hand. He also owns a wide variety of snare drums which include SQ2’s, Sonor Lite’s, Ferro’s, Hi Lite’s, Signature’s and Phonic’s.
His biggest influences are Steve Gadd, Steve Smith, Dave DiCenso, Danny Carey, Jeff Porcaro, Benny Greb, Sean Reinert, Carter McLean, Jost Nickel and Chris Coleman.