Divine Heresy Interview

Band Name: Divine Heresy
Interviewed: Dino Cazares
Date: 2009-07-06

Previous Divine Heresy Interviews
The Gauntlet: What's new?

Dino Cazares: Just working my ass off and getting ready to shoot a video for Divine Heresy for the song 'Facebreaker.' We are going to use a guy named Brian Thompson. The only thing I can say he has done is As I Lay Dying video. He did the one with a bunch of CGI graphics. We want our video to be very apocalyptic with nuclear ash flying everywhere.

The Gauntlet: So you guys will be using CGI in your video.

Dino: I just saw the Transformer's movie and am excited about this.

The Gauntlet: I don't think you have Michael Bay money just yet.

Dino: [laughs] That would be sick.

The Gauntlet: Just get a Divine Heresy song on the next Transformers soundtrack and then they will pay for the video.

Dino: Like Linkin Park? Yeah. I don't think we are that commercial.

The Gauntlet: 'Facebreaker' is a great song for a first video and to leadoff the album with.

Dino: Yeah, the minute I wrote the opening riff I knew the song would be killer. It just had a great vibe. It is probably the first song I wrote and just sets off the vibe for the album.

The Gauntlet: It is funny you say that as I thought the opening riff set the tone for the album. It Draws you in.

Dino: Did you think it was different from Bleed the Fifth

The Gauntlet: The obvious is the vocals. I know Tommy, but I think Travis Neal has better clean vocals and more control of the heavier parts. The guitars seem much more together with the drums too.

Dino: I think that with a lot of the songs on the first album, I had written them years ago. Right after I left FF, I was writing songs and jamming. I had pieces of songs here and there. A lot of songs were still from that era. So I think I was still a little in that mode. Then I was jamming with other dudes and doing the Roadrunner Allstars thing. I was just jamming with a lot of those guys and that let me break free from the FF thing. Not in a bad way, but I was able to open up my style more. I was able to let loose and let my hair down. I just loosened up and wrote shit. Plus jamming with Tim [Yeung], how can you play slow? Tim is a very technical drummer. Just the vibe we had after the first album, we just really connected and played every little part. It made it sound technical but in some ways it wasn't. It wasn't like Arsis and a million riffs everywhere. It was very controlled and laid out. Then Joe comes in from Nile. He put his two cents in and the three of us just collaborated on this album really well. I like where it has naturally progressed from the first album. I am already wondering how much more we can do on the next album. Then Travis comes in and he is more of a metal guy than the previous singer. The last guy had more of a metalcore sound. Travis fits better. He fits more where we are at now. I don't know what our last singer would have done on a song like 'Facebreaker.' Travis fit perfectly and fits really well.

The Gauntlet: They were Travis' vocals on the video for 'Bleed the Fifth' but the album had Tommy's vocals. Fans can kinda hear a little of a change in what Travis can do.

Dino: Yeah, Travis did sing on the video, but then again he is still doing somebody else's stuff. A lot of people judged him on that. A lot of people said he didn't sound like the old guy…I hope not.

The Gauntlet: Yeah, I had to bite my tongue a little as it was a little awkward. It was him singing, but trying to keep the song close to someone else's style like a straight cover version.

Dino: Yeah, it was probably a combination of a little bit of both. He was trying to match up a little of what the last guy did. The song was already done and known by fans so there wasn't much we could do. The true talent comes in when we started writing new songs for Divine Heresey. That's when we could tell this singer would work out perfect.

TheGauntlet: The drums are amazing on the album.

Dino: I am telling you, me and Tim just really pushed each other to go to the next level. Bands he has worked with like Nile and Vital Remains have 290 beats per minute. That stuff is insanely fast. It is a completely different style. It is cool that Tim came from that style because anybody that can play in those bands can play anything. So Tim bringing his element to this band just elevated it.

The Gauntlet: I can't really comment much on the bass though.

Dino: You hear a little bass parts here and there. The break in 'Facebreaker' you hear a little solo.

The Gauntlet: OK, I listened through my computer and the speakers are weak and drop a lot of the low shit.

Dino: It was probably just overpowered by the drums and guitars.

The Gauntlet: All that searching for a new bassist; you guys didn't need one.

Dino: [laughs] No, I wouldn't say that. Joe is an amazing fucking bassist.

The Gauntlet: Did you pay a lot of attention to mixing?

Dino: Not everybody has the money and time to take their time to make records. It costs a lot of money. There are a lot of ways to save money; people can record in their bedrooms now. If you want a really good producer it will cost money. Not a lot of labels or bands have the money to do it. We were fortunate that I know Logan really well and he was able to help us out.

The Gauntlet: Second albums seem to be tricky for a lot of bands. You have a lot of label involvement if there is any success with the first.

Dino: In the past, you are right. I have been a victim of the label pushing me to commercial songs and getting on the radio to sell more records. One of the reasons I went to Century Media was they gave me commercial free advice. They said to do what I like and what I feel. We did what we wanted to as a band. If anything, they wanted us to go a little more heavier. At the same time, we just played what came out. Me and Tim jamming for the last four years and all of us playing together on the road, this was just a natural progression.

The Gauntlet: Travis seems to fit in nicely.

Dino: Travis is a dime in the rough. I had found him a year ago in San Diego. My sister ran into him in a bar and he said he wanted to audition for the band. He auditioned along with a hundred other dudes. Travis was actually one of the few that came down to the studio. He came down and we heard him sing we were like 'ok this guy is good but we don't know him well so let's take him on tour and see if we like him.' You don't really know anyone until you live with them. That's when you know if you can get along with them or not. You will learn how much someone is willing to sacrifice to be in the band. It is not that easy traveling around in a band. Some dudes crack and they want to go home. They feel they deserve more. We had to take Travis on that test and we took him on a couple tours to South America and all through Brazil along with a small states tour. We got along with him really well and he liked being out there with us. He works really hard to and that helped make our decision.

The Gauntlet: I can imagine that you being who you are and in the business for a lot of years, some of those hundred people that auditioned were some fairly big name and well established singers who were friends of yours?

Dino: Yes. I was going for talent and people who we'd get along with. I didn't care if it was James Hetfield. I wanted someone to fit on what we were doing. You know what I mean?

The Gauntlet: I can't imagine how this album would have turned out with James Hetfield singing.

Dino: [laughs] Anybody probably would put James Hetfield in because he is James Hetfield. We went with a guy no one had heard of.

The Gauntlet: I am guessing that this album didn't have all the drama consuming your life?

Dino: This was definitely a much smoother process.

The Gauntlet: I figured that, I didn't see any blogs or tweets reporting on fights or all that craziness.

Dino: [laughs] We didn't even put out press releases saying we were going into the studio. We just went in and did it. We demo''d all the songs and then went in the studio. It was like boom boom boom. The thing that took the longest was the mixing. We were really well prepared to go into the studio. Before the label could even blink, we were done. We just went in and did it, got it done. We started writing last year, roughly it took us about 8 months and about 3 of those 8 months we were on tour.

The Gauntlet: Did Travis help with the songwriting.

Dino: He did a little bit here and there. He was mainly just writing the lyrics and would shout out some parts just to get ideas out. It was perfect. He sat there pretty much while we were writing putting ideas down.

The Gauntlet: Without all the drama, where did all your aggression come from for the album?

Dino: [laughs] You think I only have aggression from the drama? It is really hard to explain where it comes from. When it is in you it's in you. This is the music that I like to write. Maybe it stems from my past childhood when I was growing up in El Centro California and I was supposed to be a baseball player but ended up being a guitar player. I had to really fight for my right to be a guitar player and go against him. My dad really wanted me to be a baseball player. I wanted to play guitar and have long hair and my eyebrow pierced. When I was growing up that wasn't the best thing to do. You kind of want to rebel when you are a kid and maybe that the aggression is from that or it might just be embedded in me. I have been doing this music for a long time, it's there. Everyone has some sort of issues and some sort of stress. Everyone has that, it is just how you release it. A basketball player will release it on the court. People release that stress in different ways.

The Gauntlet: That is true. And some people take out their aggressions towards the guitarist while on stage.

Dino: [laughs] I didn't want to get into that, but yeah you can do that. I just choose to release it on the guitar. Tim is a very hyper guy. His attitude and personality show on the drums. If you know Tim, you understand what I am saying.

The Gauntlet: How do you juggle 4 different bands?

Dino: Right now I am juggling three different bands. One of them I am not doing, Brujeria. I am not doing that one right now. I am still doing Asesino when I have time. I am definitely doing Divine Heresy and then FF.

The Gauntlet: When are we going to see a Divine Heresy tour?

Dino: I can't tell you with who yet as I don't want to jinx it, but it will be in September and October. We will do a few shows in August but won't really begin a tour until September or October.

The Gauntlet: Did the tour get pushed back a little because you were planning on going back in the studio this Summer?

Dino: I am actually standing outside the studio right now.

The Gauntlet: So that is going forward?

Dino: Yes it is.

The Gauntlet: I heard from the ousted guys that there were pending lawsuits so it wouldn't be happening under the Fear Factory name.

Dino: OK, they can say whatever they like. Burt made a statement a couple weeks ago explaining why we didn't do some shows in Europe. We are working on new material right now. It is coming out ripping. I will tell you why it is coming out rippin'. I just got done doing the Divine Heresy album. You heard the record and it is pretty brutal. The vocals are pretty brutal. I am jamming with Gene Hoglan. I am one lucky fucker working with two of the best drummers in metal. I have Tim Yeung and Gene Hoglan. I am like a kid in a candy store when it comes to drums. I think that my best thing is drummers. I have to have the sick drummer. I think a lot of guitar players are like that. They need a sick drummer. I heard someone say that your band is only as good as your drummer. I kinda agree with that.

The Gauntlet: There are so many drummers who are total sluts. They just go from band to band to band.

Dino: There are a lot of them. I think a lot of drummers are like that in the metal drummer. I think they are getting a little to glorified in some ways and it goes to their head so they are looking for that bigger and better deal. Sometimes they think it is a bigger and better deal so they switch bands then they are unhappy and switch again. Then they just become mercenaries and do it for the paycheck. In some ways a lot of musicians do that. Drummer's right now seem to have that thing. Don't get me wrong though, I love them. Any drummer that jams with me will be pushed far. I am really into drums and really love a lot of the rhythm patterns. I think of drums first, then guitars.

The Gauntlet: That is why Bringer of Plagues works so well. Both you and Tim feed off each other, the chemistry is there.

Dino: Right. I am very happy about that. That is just from us knowing each other really well and jamming for awhile and just really getting into it. We were both really excited writing the record. We just bashed everything out and it was great. Joe Payne is a great bass player and we used a lot of ideas on this album. Travis is a killer vocalist and he came up with most of his stuff. Everybody helped and did their part. Nobody slacked on this album.

The Gauntlet: Blink once if you liked the new Arkaea album and twice if you thought it was Fear Factory lite.

Dino: [pauses then laughs]

The Gauntlet: That's what I thought.

Dino: Ummm, it is like whatever. To me it is like the Transgression Fear Factory. You know what I mean?

The Gauntlet: In all fairness, they say they wrote it for you and Burt.

Dino: Yeah well Burt is really happy that those songs weren't for Fear Factory. That wasn't the direction we wanted to go. Burt wants to go back to the Soul of a New Machine and Demanufacture era.

The Gauntlet: That would be cool.

Dino: Yeah, exactly, right. I know that once this stuff comes out, people will be extremely happy to hear it. It is like what you said earlier about the vibe carrying over. It has. Plus I am jamming with Gene Hoglan who can do anything on the drums. It definitely has the old school vibe with newer shit in it if that makes sense. It has that kind of attitude, that kind of vibe. Like the second Divine Heresy record. To me, this sort of record we are working on for FF should have been after Obsolete, it should have followed that album.

The Gauntlet: Were you not happy with Digimortal?

Dino: There were elements of the album that I thought were not fitting for Fear factory. One of the main things was probably the influence that Christian brought into the picture. Before Christian was even around, me and Raymond wrote all the music pretty much. A lot of the aggression and heaviness was there. With Digimortal, Raymond wanted Chrisitian to begin writing. I wasn't really for it because Christian was really into hip-hop and DJing. He brought all that element into Digimortal. I don't know why, but somehow I keep getting blamed for that in interviews and the press. You can only blame me for letting Christian put his influence on the album.

The Gauntlet: That's what the press is doing, blaming you for Christian's involvement.

Dino: He was trying to fix something that wasn't broke. I took a step back and let Christian write. It had a hip-hop vibe and nu-metal sound. It was very jumping and all the sudden there was scratching and rapping. By that time I had no say and I was pretty much out.

The Gauntlet: Obsolete was the last Fear factory album I was into.

Dino: In all fairness, Archetype wasn't a bad record. It just repeated what I already had done. They had to please the fans and they got it. A lot of the riffs were really similar or near exact to what I had already written. It was kinda like cut-n-paste type of record when it came to riffs. It definitely pleased the fans for a little while until Transgression. Burt told me they just lost all focus. He wasn't going to have it anymore. I think that people are going to be please with the Divine Heresy stuff and the new FF stuff.

The Gauntlet: Now two albums to look forward too.

Dino: Yeah, Divine Heresy will be out July 28.

The Gauntlet: Hope to see the tour dates soon, would love to see the new songs live and put some drama back in your life.

Dino: [laughs] Trust me, I have enough of it. You know what is funny, everything I do, whether good or bad, it's big.

The Gauntlet: I actually have only had 1 question I wanted to ask you tonight that I wrote down so I wouldn't forget so here it is. Why is it when you hear your name does everyone take sides and have an automatic opinion?

Dino: That is a good question. I don't know.

The Gauntlet: I don't know anyone else who invokes a reaction just by the mention of the name whether good or bad comments are to follow.

Dino: I have no idea. That is the power of the internet. It is a good thing though. I don't take offense when people say 'Dino is fat.' I already know that. I just look at it this way. People just say what they want to say. It doesn't really bother me. It only bothers me when people act out what they are saying. Then that is when there is a problem. Somebody already has as you know. I don't know why though, I have no idea. I laugh about that though. Me and Michael Jackson, love em or hate him. I'm not comparing myself with Michael Jackson in any way though. I do find that question interesting. Why do people feel they have to choose sides? You don't have to but people choose to. Everyone has an opinion to give. I am OK with that.