Fear Factory Interview
Fear Factory certainly don’t need an introduction. The band around founding member Dino Cazares and Burton C. Bell has just announced their US tour in commemoration their classic album ‘Demanufacture’ as well as another Australian tour. I had a chat with Dino Cazares about Fear Factory’s special relationship with Australia and their latest album ‘Genexus’.
Marc: Your latest album ‘Genexus’ has been out for a few months now. You played the new material live quite a bit. How does it work for you on stage?
Dino: It works great. When we were writing the album there were particular songs that we crafted around how they would translate live. For instance, a song like ‘Soul Hacker’, it’s got such a massive groove to it. It’s a great song. It’s not extremely difficult but sometimes those simple songs that have really big hooks and a really big groove translate. When you play a festival, when you play in front of 80000 people, you wanna play something people can get into. When we were crafting these songs we thought of that. Songs like ‘Dielectric’ and ‘Protomech’, every time we play these songs they translate well.
Marc: You are about to tour the US again in April with your ‘Demanufacture’-20th anniversary show.
Dino: We will be playing ‘Demanufacture’ in its entirety. We did it in Europe and we did it in Australia a couple of years ago and now it’s going to be America’s turn. We wanna commemorate and celebrate a really good album, actually one of our greatest albums. It’s the album that really took us to the next level. A lot of people discovered us on that record. It’s definitely one of the fans’ favourites. It came up on 20 years last year and now we can’t wait to do it live. We love it. Australia is the first country that ‘Demanufacture’ went gold in. It was the first country. Then of course it was England and other countries to follow and so on and so on.
‘We still love going on the road, we still love going to other countries, we still love playing music and it shows.’
Marc: After the US tour it’s on to Australia for you. You already mentioned that you have kind of a special relationship to Australia. What can your Australian fans expect from the upcoming shows?
Dino: Besides showcasing our new album ‘Genexus’ we will be playing a collection of older stuff, stuff that we hardly get to play. And of course lots of the greatest hits of Fear Factory. You will get a lot of the classic songs but we will also try to get into some of the older songs – even from the first album. It’s gonna be a good collection of quite a few songs from Fear Factory.
Marc: You played Soundwave Festivals in 2015. The shows themselves were very successful. How was your experience? Did you get caught up in the disaster that happened?
Dino: (Laughs) yeah, we got caught up on the disaster around Soundwave because we didn’t get paid as a lot of the other bands who didn’t get paid. We love Australia so every time we get a chance, no matter what it is, a headlining show or a festival, we do it. Doing the Soundwave Festivals was amazing. Obviously we got to play with a lot of our friends like Lamb Of God, Ministry, Judas Priest and Exodus. So we got to hang out with a lot of our friends which was great fun. We really love playing in Australia. Any chance we get we are on the first flight going over.
Marc: You have always been quite innovative. ‘Genexus’ is no exemption. Where do you get your inspiration from these days?
Dino: I think it’s something that’s in us. I think something you love to do is gonna show. For us, we still love going on the road, we still love going to other countries, we still love playing music and it shows. When we were making that record we thought: ‘How do we stay relevant?’ The band is together for 25 years now. How do we stay relevant? How do we create something that is still pushing the boundaries forward? For us the inspiration came from some of our past music. We looked into what makes Fear Factory what it is. Let’s go back and try to re-live – in our memories – what it was like to create the first album and ‘Demanufacture’. What was it like creating these great albums? Mentally we got into a mindset of turning all those great experiences into something new. Basically, we didn’t want to change our sound but concentrate on writing good songs. We took our time in the writing process and in the studio to let the songs marinate. We listened to the songs over and over again. Then we found out the good parts and the bad parts. This is how you create well-crafted songs. Then it turns out to be an amazing record. That’s what we did. Some people said that it reminds them of ‘Demanufacture’. I kinda have to agree with all of that. There are elements of our past but I think the main thing that’s in there is the energy of the past. To create such an album you have to have the passion. That’s what we have. We still have that passion. We still have that drive to do Fear Factory and tour the world.
‘We took our time in the writing process and in the studio to let the songs marinate.’
Marc: I saw your last shows in Australia during Soundwave and that drive really showed. You seemed to have a great time on stage.
Dino: Just like any other band you feed off the crowd. When it’s a good crowd you get into it. We wrote the songs and we like playing them. I know there are a lot of other bands that just go up and play because they get paid. Sometimes, when I play certain songs live, sometimes it brings memories like when I created the song, when our first tour was. Sometimes when I play live a song like ‘Scapegoat’ it takes me back to what the song is about. The song ‘Scapegoat’ is about me being wrongly accused of a crime that I didn’t commit in Los Angeles. So I was a scapegoat. Sometimes playing that song reminds me of that time. Sometimes it can be very emotional, it can be happy, it can be sad but whatever it is we really enjoy ourselves being up there and playing in front of our fans. We really appreciate it when the fans respond back in that way. We just enjoy it.
Marc: You play a 7-string guitar in Fear Factory. You also played 8-string guitars. Why do you need that seventh or eighth string?
Dino: I give you a perfect example. It’s to create a certain tone, a certain vibe. With an 8-string you can’t really play fast if you wanna play the low notes. It gets lost. It gets really muddy. But for instance a track like ‘Soul Hacker’, that’s played on an 8-string, that’s an F-sharp tuning. That’s on the lowest note you can go. With that thing you can create a massive, fat tone that, when you hit that low note, you know it’s big. When I did ‘Soul Hacker’ I originally did it on a 7-string. Then I tried in on an 8-string and it was like boom, wow. It was massive. It just created this whole new tone, a whole other dimension. I knew instantly that this groove, this tone is gonna translate well live. It’s one of our big songs live at the moment. So it’s for a certain tone and for a certain tuning. It’s something for a simple, heavy groove.