Dino Cazares: Fucking brutal! I am in New York and the cold weather has been freezing. We are doing a press tour this week with all the radio and magazines.
The Gauntlet: Doesn't it get boring doing all the press at once?
Dino: No it doesn't as everyone seems to be psyched and enthusiastic about the record. Everyone wants to know the story. It doesn't get boring as metal music is what I like to talk about and what better band to talk about than my own. [laughs] We started doing press last year all around the world though. It has been really good though and a lot of fun.
The Gauntlet: So where do we start? I guess we can pick up from the last chat we had when you were promoting Divine Heresy over the Summer. You were in the studio at the time working on the new Fear Factory album "Mechanize".
Dino: I was kinda going back and forth between Fear Factory and Divine Heresy at the time. When I was writing for the Fear factory album, I was putting the final touches on the Divine Heresy album. My ears were ringing from all the listening to the masters and cranking it up and jamming at the rehearsals. It has been really fun though. I am glad to have two records out this close together.
The Gauntlet: We interviewed Burton C. Bell recently at the studio.
Dino: Yeah, that was Rhys' [Fulber] studio in Van Nuys.
The Gauntlet: Yeah. My interviewer Colette called me from there as they were mixing the Fear Factory album and was telling me how awesome the small snippet was before they closed the door. I didn't believe her when she kept telling me it was vintage Fear Factory, but I listened to "Mechanize" and it is really quite amazing.
Dino: We put "Powershifter" out there as a teaser, but the song that a lot of people are talking about is "Final Exit". It is the last song. It is just one of those songs.
The Gauntlet: I loved the album, but if I had to pick some favorite tracks I think "Fear Campaign" and "Christploitation" would be at the top.
Dino: We just shot a video for "Fear Campaign" right when we got back from South America. Ian Mcfarland shot the video. He did Obzen for Meshuggah. He was hounding Burt to do the video. We shot it in downtown L.A. before Christmas in an old warehouse. It is gonna be killer. There is some live stuff and it is somewhat story boarded. It takes the word fear and goes into what causes war, terrorism and political stuff. The editing is cut really fast so it will go with the music. I can't wait for the final outcome.
The Gauntlet: Does the band get involved in the acting parts or were people hired for the story?
Dino: Burt is mainly the one involved in the story, but the rest of us are shown performing.
The Gauntlet: Being away for seven years, how long did it take you to get back into the rhythm of Fear Factory?
Dino: Burt came out to my house for a few days before we met up with Gene [Hoglan] and Byron [Stroud]. When we first got back together, sparks started to fly. When we first met back in the day, he was more into the alternative industrial type of music and I was more into metal and a little bit of industrial. Our two styles crashed together and it became unique. That is what happened again. We started talking about ideas and I played him some stuff. Things started to fly again, nothing stopped. It was like I never left the band. Things were sounding really good and fresh. After a few days of hanging out we had the style of the album and the lyrics down conceptually. I had been talking about doing something heavy and Burt really latched onto that. When Burt said we were going to go the heavy route, I was really excited. Then we met up with Gene and Byron and told them the parts we were working on. The shit started coming out really heavy. Instantly we connected with Gene [Hoglan]. Byron was already in Fear Factory and already knew the style. I finally got to play with the legendary Gene Hoglan. I have played with a lot of great drummers like Joey Jordison, Tim Yeung, Nick Barker, obviously Raymond Herrera, Roy Mayorga. Those guys said Gene was a great influence on them and he was one of the sickest drummers. Finally I got to play with him. I was excited and nervous. He clicked instantly though. I couldn't believe how well he clicked. Gene is one of those professional drummers that is ready to go when he shows up. By the time we plugged in to play he was ready. It was really easy to write the record. The writing went really quick, like six months. That is really fast for us. Usually it takes us a year. I think the album came out fresh and exciting. Anybody who has liked Fear Factory will love this record, even if you liked the last two records. This is the true form of Fear Factory. Anybody who has liked this band will like this record I believe. People are not going to say it is a "Transgression" or "Digimortal" record, but it is like "Demanufacture", the shit they like or this is an all new Fear Factory that is more aggressive, this is what I like. I think no matter what you do, there will always be some backlash. You aren't going to make everybody happy and we know that. I have been surprised by a lot of the outstanding reviews the album has gotten so far. I read so many negative comments on the internet about metal and it makes me wonder if kids even like metal music anymore. They talk so much shit about bands now. I started worrying about that and just said look, we got to write an album we like. As long as people are coming to our shows and liking what they hear, we have done our job.
The Gauntlet: A lot of what you touch on in the album is current and not futuristic.
Dino: A lot of the stuff we did in the past was futuristic sci-fi and what was going to happen. A lot of what we talked about is going on now. So we talked about some of the issues and stuff going on with us personally. Like the song "Powershifter" is about shifting the power within the Fear Factory camp. People were taking over the power and boom, the power has shifted. The song "Fear Campaign" deals with a lot of the political things going on now; all the politicians trying to get us to agree on whatever they are selling us. "Final Exit" is about an organization that helps with assisted suicide for the very deathly and terminally sick, kinda like Kevorkian. There is also a book called The Final Exit as well. There are so many topics, pick one. "Christploitation" is about the organization of the church and how they exploit Christ. It goes into how they suck up the money and how our morals have changed. The church is the one that is saying what is right or wrong. It is a pretty aggressive song and probably the darkest song on the album.
The Gauntlet: It stood out on the album a little for that.
Dino: Yeah, the more typical stuff on the album would be stuff like "Industrial Discipline" and "Powershifter". They are more in the typical vain of Fear Factory. As the album goes along you hear some really ripping songs like "Christplotation" and "Final Exit". They get more into the intricate guitar parts.
The Gauntlet: At what point did Gene [Hoglan] join the band?
Dino: Gene joined the band before he even heard anything. When me and Burton got together, I played him some stuff I wrote on guitar and drum machine. It was aggressive stuff like "Powershifter" and "Fear Campaign". When we got together it was easy for him to latch on to.
The Gauntlet: Having Gene and Byron in the band, how did you prevent it from becoming Strapping Young Fear Factory?
Dino: [laughs] I think because me and Burt were pretty much...how do I put it?
The Gauntlet: The driving force?
Dino: Yeah, I don't want to sound egotistical, but we were in control of that. There was really nothing that they suggested that was Strapping Young Lad -esque. There were a lot of people that wanted to produce this album. We talked to a few and the obvious choice for production was Rhys [Fulber]. He brought a little pro-tools rig down to the studio and wanted to record a demo. We had to pick Rhys as he helped create a little bit of that Fear Factory sound. He was an obvious choice. He built that studio that your girl [Colette Claire] interviewed Burt at. We live in North Hollywood so it was close to go down there and record. Rhys is like that fifth member and it worked out perfect. Greg mixed the album and he also mixed "Demanufacture".
The Gauntlet: You don't get distracted being in the studio near your home or Hollywood?
Dino: Regardless of where I am, I am working in the studio. We have been to Vancouver, Canada to record a lot and New York and obviously Los Angeles. I like being close to home because if something goes down I can fix it. Like if my guitar messes up, Ibanez is right down the street. A lot of the drum companies that Gene has are close also. It is just convenient to get things when we need it.
The Gauntlet: How was South America?
Dino: A blast. We just got back and it was a blast. I was a little nervous as I didn't know how we were going to be live. In the studio and rehearsing we were tight, but sometimes you get on stage and do it live and things happen. Everything went well and we were all spot on. After a couple songs, seeing the reaction of the kids was exciting. It really pumped us up. It felt really good to be on stage and hear Burts voice live through a PA again.
The Gauntlet: Fans in South America love metal and are intense. How do you judge whether things went well?
Dino: They are definitely passionate about the music. I think what makes them so passionate about the music is they don't forget. In the U.S. fans get bands all the time. In South America, they get a lot of bands, but now as many and not as often. Whenever I go out there, it is a great response. You are right though about the response. In Los Angeles you judge things by if the kids go nuts, you did a good job. Sometimes fans there can be difficult. L.A. can have fans just standing there watching or going nuts in the pit.
The Gauntlet: So in L.A. if fans get into the pit, you did good, is that the equivalent in South America of having police in riot gear pumping tear gas into the crowd?
Dino: Yeah, it can be like that. I have seen it get like that. Things went on without a hitch this time from what we could see. The kids were just crazy. Maybe some shit went down but we didn't see any of it. We are going to go to Australia soon and it will be amazing down there. Judging from our ticket sales in Europe our tour there will be amazing. We will start our tour in the [United] States in March or April and I am more nervous about that. We have done a lot of shows here. Fans are spoiled with the amount of shows so bands really need to play their ass off to impress people. For Fear Factory, I know there is going to be a lot of rebuilding of the fan base and the States is probably going to be the hardest but we are up to the challenge.
The Gauntlet: This year will be 20 years of Fear Factory.
Dino: Yeah, in October we will have been a band for 20 years.
The Gauntlet: When you first started the band, did you ever think it would have this kind of longevity?
Dino: Hrmmm. I think once we started putting records out we had longevity. I thought we'd be around forever. Back in the day I was just happy to get a contract, get a record out and go on tour. Did I ever think it would last forever? I did and I didn't. Once the band started getting bigger and bigger I didn't think it would end. I just enjoyed the ride and hoped for the best.
The Gauntlet: I assume you signed the deal with Candlelight Records to hold on to the control of the band and albums?
Dino: Yeah. They gave us full artistic control. When we were on Roadrunner Records during the "Digimortal" writing, they really put their hands in what we did. It really left a bad taste. We had success with "Obsolete" and we had the 'Cars' single on the radio. The label wanted us to go platinum so they pushed us to write certain songs. We don't want that to happen anymore.
The Gauntlet: "Digimortal" was far from going platinum.
Dino: No, it didn't, but it did sell a lot of records but that was because we had the name. We obviously had great product out before that. Don't get me wrong, "Digimortal" had some great songs and we will still play those songs but it wasn't an overall fan favorite. If I would have stayed in the band after that, I would have gone to "Mechanize" as the next album. That is where I would have went.
The Gauntlet: I wasn't a fan of "Digimortal" but always thought it was an album that could have just been tweaked a little bit and made into something really good. The songs were there, just kind of flat and lacking.
Dino: I agree with you on that. The demo that we did for the album was much heavier than the album. Some of the songs we play now like "Acres of Skin" is played heavier live than on the album. It is just one of those records. Everyone has a bad record in their catalog. Not really a bad record, but not a fan favorite. Not everyone can put out a fan favorite every time. If I would have stayed in the band instead of it dissolving for a minute I would have come back with "Mechanize".
The Gauntlet: Are you a fan of "Archetype" or "Transgression"?
Dino: Should I be?
The Gauntlet: I am not. Once "Digimortal" came out, I was pretty much done with you guys. I haven't been to a live show since "Obsolete" era. I was thinking after "Transgression" dropped that the band's problem was it was lacking Dino. You brought the death/thrash stylings to the band and it countered the rest of the guys influences.
Dino: Exactly. You are right about that. How Burt explained it to me was "Archetype" was basically a copy of what I had already done on guitar. He even said that in interviews at the time. "Transgression" was exactly that, they wanted to do something different. Christian [Olde Wolbers] wanted to try something else. After that a lot of drama happened and Burt said "fuck that, we need Dino back." He knew there needed to be a change and that is when he shifted the power.
The Gauntlet: What is after the U.S. tour for the band?
Dino: After the U.S. tour, I am flying over to Australia again for a Divine Heresy tour. We booked this tour last year. When I can, I might have Divine Heresy tour with Fear Factory. It might be like half the tour as it will kill me. I have done it before, but not an entire tour.
The Gauntlet: Do you have a different approach or attitude when on stage with Divine Heresy than Fear Factory?
Dino: There are some obvious similarities but there is a speed difference. Playing 260 bpm with Tim Yeung is pretty fast. Then the tempos drop down to 220-225 for Fear Factory. It is like 'Fuck! I gotta pick fast for Divine Heresy.' Divine Heresy is faster and more intricate in a lot of the riffing which is very demanding. It is a different mindset. Fear Factory is more epic. It is an epic band.
The Gauntlet: I think after 20 years and still putting out great music you can call it an epic band.
Dino: I am just happy that it has lasted this long. I am happy I am back and able to put my influence into Fear Factory. It is great that mine and Burt's musical styles have come together again. I call it the future of a classic. I think this record will be in the classic Fear Factory books. People say to me that I am 40 years old and want to know how I still play aggressive music. I tell them that is what I do, I have metal in my blood. I think some people hit 25 and think they can't listen to this type of music and need to move on. I don't think like that. I am still a kid at heart. I grew up on metal. I grew up on death, thrash and grind. I love putting on those old records I grew up with that influenced me. If you asked me what new bands I like, I don't really know much about them but I can tell you about every old band that still influences me to this day. Thrash came back and you have all these retro styles coming back. That stuff has always been in me. I can now fucking unleash this ugly shit I learned while jamming with Divine Heresy, Assensio, Roadrunner Allstars and Brujeria. All that shit I learned with other dudes while shredding out I can bring that shit back into Fear Factory. Right away when Burt was into it, I knew this was going to be a killer record. We through in the keyboards for that industrial ambient sound and it worked, it all worked. You listen to "Mechanize" and you know we love what we do. We have passion. Whether you like it or not this record rips. You can tell by listening that it is four guys with chemistry.
The Gauntlet: Fear Factory was always a meshing of different styles.
Dino: Yeah, some of the styles worked and some didn't. We always had those big epic songs because Burt is a really good singer. He always liked those songs like "Final Exit" with the big hooky chorus. I am really a big fan of that stuff. He is into Pink Floyd and likes that stuff and so do I. I think we try to put a little bit of that influence in there.
The Gauntlet: The nu-metal Fear Factory didn't work.
Dino: No. Not at all. A lot of what people don't get is they think that was my influence on the band but it was more of Christian's influence. I guess because I was out of the band at the time they just blamed it on Dino.
The Gauntlet: From interviews done at that time, Christian was listening to a lot of hip-hop and nu-metal and you were jamming with Brujeria and forming Divine Heresy. Not hard to see where that sound came from.
Dino: I think it was right after "Transgression" came out, Christian quit the band for a minute to join Korn. But it only lasted two days. After 'Head' left, they had a backup band and he was in the backup band. There is a picture of him with a rabbit head. Apparently Jonathan [Davis] didn't like something and got rid of him. So he came back to Fear Factory [laughs]. I thought it was pretty funny. I am really glad that Raymond and Christian are not in this band because it wouldn't have worked. They were promoting Arkaea like it was the next Fear Factory album.
The Gauntlet: Arkaea is not Fear Factory.
Dino: It wouldn't have worked. There would have been musical clashes all over the place. First of all, Burton asked them if they wanted me back in the band and they said no. It was originally going to be the full original lineup. They didn't want me back in the band as they made more money without me as a three piece. So Burt basically said 'Fuck You!' and came to me. When they turned it down, I was kind of happy. There was no way I would have accepted Christians Arkaea riffs. We would have clashed. I don't think that Raymond's drumming was great on "Transgressions" or in Arkaea. I have been jamming with Tim Yeung, why would I want to step down to Raymond? It would be a few steps down to Raymond. Now I am jamming with Gene Hoglan. People say that Raymond knows the Fear Factory style, but we are passed that now. Fear Factory is going to new places and that is good. At the end of the day, no matter what shit I talk or opinion I, Christian or Raymond has, what matters is the music. It is the music at the end of the day. Is the chemistry good? Killer, stick with that. I can be right, I can be wrong. People can hate what I say, they can hate me but at the end of the day it is just about the fucking music.