What does the future hold for Fear Factory? ‘I’m glad you asked that…’ Dino Cazares, founding member and guitarist of the LA based Industrial Metal pioneers responds.
It’s been a tumultuous couple of years for the band as we stand on the cusp of the release of the bands tenth studio opus Aggression Continuum. Lead single Disruptor dropped a month ago with another titled Fuel Injector Suicide Machine to follow this weekend.
‘The record as a whole is amazing, even though we recorded it back in 2017 but because of legal lawsuits and stuff prevented us from putting the record out, so it’s been sitting on the shelf for three years. Fast forward to 2020, we’re able to regain the rights back to the trademark name and call the record Fear Factory. I realised that’s it’s been sitting there for three years and I wanted to make some improvements on it. One of the improvements is bringing in live drums because previous recordings had programmed drums so Mike Heller, our drummer who has been in the band for 9 plus years, added his touched to it. Gives the record a bit more life, a bit more excitement to it.’
Legendary metal producer Andy Sneap is back as is from long time collaborator Rhys Fulber as well as new collaborators including former Yes keyboardist Igor Khoroshev.
‘I really like working on different songs with different people. You’re always gonna have that core element – Burton C Bell on vocals, my guitars and the drums – but the vision you share with somebody else about adding different elements like keyboards, samples and for the production and mixing goes all the way down hand in hand to the mastering. All that plays a part in how the record sounds’
Fans of Fear Factory are well versed that the band is not just the sound, it’s also that vision, the story telling you become immersed in.
‘We are 100% influenced by many different things whether it’s movies, books or something that comes in your head. I always try and put a picture of what it’s going to sound and look like. Let’s say like the song ‘Collapse’, in the mid section when Burt sings collapse really low, just what does that sound like and it’s a big fat open riff. I think of the word collapse and I think of a big building and the sound when it falls. A big fat heavy riff with the 8 string guitar tuned down to G, I want to make it massive. That sounds like it’s destroying something and that’s how I visualise it when I wrote the music for it.’
The theme throughout Aggression Continuum is the well oiled man vs machine concept, a formula the band have done for most of their career with the band seeing their own musical visions come to life.
‘’Demanufacture’ was born from a break in society. We saw LA fall apart from 92-95. We saw riots, national guard on the streets, curfews, people shooting each other on the street, fires. People burning down the city. Then we had major forest fires, floods, mudslides followed by an earthquake. This all happened between 92-95 as we went to record ‘Demanufacture’ and that is how we saw the city fall apart.
Going into ‘Obsolete’ was when we really went into the story about how man and things are becoming obsolete in our day to day life. Books, print media to how DJ’s on the radio are now programmed, manufacturing jobs are now machines not people. We saw jobs disappear and become obsolete.
We see it in obvious surveillance, we wrote about that in ‘Securitron (Police State 2000)’, it’s not just about cameras when walking down the street, we were talking about cell phones, computers everything which has becoming more and more apparent for years.’
As one half of industrial metal’s version of Lennon/McCartney in Fear Factory, the conversation must include the recent spilt with founding member and vocalist Burton C. Bell and whether that relationship is broken.
‘Yes. Obviously now it is. It kinda boggles my mind the way he decided to announce his departure. I don’t understand why he would try and sabotage the album. All the improvements I made benefitted everyone involved especially him. So I don’t know why he purposefully went out his way to try and damage my reputation and musical career by promoting lies on his public social media saying that the Fear Factory ‘Go Fund Me’ scheme as a scam. That definitely hurt for sure. I don’t know where it’s coming from. It’s a character assassination on me, very unprofessional. His comments spilled onto all the metal sites and people were sharing this misinformation. It got out of hand without the truth being told. It’s not easy to handle all that negative attention. I understand that fans are pissed and wanted answers. He is the one that started this drama. It just really sucks. I’m answering fans as I’m answering the media questions as best as I can trying to do damage control and be positive about this new record cause it’s killer as you know.’
This isn’t the first time Burton and Dino clashed on the battleground that is Fear Factory after a similar situation in 2002.
‘Not only him but all three tried to ruin my reputation. They wrote a song about me but he never admitted that to me. I asked him back in 2009 when we got back together – I asked a lot of those questions – and he said they were not true. I asked about a particular line and he said that wasn’t about me. It sounded like a bullshit lie but whatever. I asked him also why I was out of the band, what was the issue? He blamed it on the other two guys. I never really got a definitive answer of what happened.
They were going through their own personal drama too. Things took a turn and they weren’t getting along with Burton either. But he reconnected with me and after a while I decided to re-join Fear Factory. I felt it was the right thing to do even though it wasn’t the best relationship. I wanted to be back with something I started. I feel Fear Factory was the majority of my baby, my vision. Don’t get me wrong I’m not discrediting what the other guys did but in my head I was the driving force to meet with the record companies to get signed, meet the producers. There is always a guy like that in a band. I was that guy. I was proud of what was created from day one.
The music of Fear Factory you know it’s going to be me, that sound. The same with Burton. He has a distinctive voice as well. We’ve changed over the years, we have to progress when you write records, especially Fear Factory records.’
Which brings us back around to Fear Factory’s favourite subject, the future.
‘I’m glad you asked that. We’re announcing a new singer that’s coming soon after the record release. We’ve got a new song with them and we’ll be releasing it before we go on tour next year so people can see this new guy…or girl. I’m excited for the future. Don’t worry the main elements of Fear Factory will still be there. I know some people are worried about it. I’m there, so it’s gonna be good, no one died, we can get past this and make it killer. My track record speaks for itself so don’t worry. If you want a hug I’ll give you a hug but we are moving on.’
Interview By Iain McCallum
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