The fascination behind science fiction and all of the connections with the world around them has been something that attracted the interests of the members of Fear Factory. For over two decades, the Los Angeles based industrial metallers have created some groundbreaking music fusing aggressive guitar riffing with aggressive and melodic vocals switching off.
Their latest album Genexus takes a step away from the Man versus Machine theme they had focused around the past couple of albums. While sticking to the futuristic theme, Fear Factory has tackled the theme of the evolution of technology and how it affects society. Band guitarist Dino Cazares explains what Genexus is all about.
“This one isn’t necessarily Man versus Machine, even though those are topics we wrote about. It’s also we’re pretty much try to…first of all, Burt likes to follow conspiracy theories, where and how technology is evolving. We both like Ray Kurtzeil. We always try to take our concepts to the next level. OK what are these futurists talking about now? What’s happening? What’s a possible future for us?”
“Even like an album like Obsolete, we have talked about certain things have become obsolete, and now we see that. Even though when we released Obsolete, a lot of people ridiculed us for making a concept record about technology, man versus machine and blah blah blah. It was like we were talking about certain things were becoming obsolete because evolution was growing fast like that, from radio DJs to magazines to books…CDs…those things are becoming obsolete, if not fully obsolete.”
He explains the different forms of technology that exists and how some well known futurists have influenced the theme of the new album.
“On this record, what we wanted to talk about was not the man versus the machine but the man and the machine becoming one. The singularity process would actually be where man and machine have become one. In other words, they are able to create a cell – a little mechanical cell that they could inject into your body…like certain diseases that you have in your body, like cancer cells or obviously nano technology. So once they perfect that…what’s next? Man and machine becoming one, and that’s what we’re talking about on this one.”
“Actually even when you’ve got people like Ray Kurtzeil and Stephen Hawking talking about the singularity process, they’ll also try to stop it, which is kind of ironic.”
“Remember the whole cloning wars when everybody was cloning sheep and dogs? They put a law that you couldn’t do that. Obviously you’re going to be able to clone a human. You pretty much can already, but there’s a law against it. That’s pretty much what they think that is going to happen in the near future where they’re going to put a law against technology and humans becoming one.”
Since the return of Cazares for their 2009 release Mechanize, he and band vocalist Burton C Bell have both expanded upon a formula that fans of the band as well as the two of them have found to work well for them. While some of the album’s themes have been somewhat similar, they enjoy the challenge of finding new ideas to tackle on each release.
“Good question. I mean it’s something me and Burton are into. Maybe when I came back into the band it was a spark I lit under Burt’s ass. I don’t know. I just something that we’re really into and we really got into it. The stuff we’re both into very much. Maybe we’ll do something different on the next record.”
“What will I write about? I mean we’re Fear Factory – you know what I mean? I know the couple of records I wasn’t on there they wrote about other stuff but I don’t know how well it did. We’ll see where we go on the next one.”
“It’s things me and him share. We’ve all been both into the sci-fi thing since we were kids. I always want to write music that’s going to be something like that. You know going along with something like that.”
While Genexus focuses upon the subject of technology, society have mixed reactions towards new ideas introduced to the world, as such areas as the cell phone industry has pushed new products onto people on a regular basis, which Cazares sees the pros and cons of it all.
“Of course scientists and billionaires make up a wealth of this stuff. Sure they want to create all of this stuff. I mean there are some benefits to it. Look at how much a cell phone or a smartphone has benefited us – how much it’s become part of our day to day lives. People don’t look at each other any more. They’re looking at their phones texting and talking. Kids don’t pay attention. They’re looking at their phones all the time. Not just kids – everybody in general really.”
“There are some benefits and there are pros and cons, of course to everything. I hope I’m alive to see change. Do I think it’s gonna go that direction? Do I think it’s going to change that much? Yeah. I think in the next 40 to 50 years for sure. We’re going to see more and more of this for sure.”
While Fear Factory has created groundbreaking releases such as Demanufacture and Obsolete, they have faced challenges of trying not to be repetitive while writing new material. Cazares admits it has been a challenge when writing newer songs, but has found him revisiting past ideas on the recent releases while maintaining a fresh approach.
“That’s probably the hardest thing – writing riffs that are not the same as what you’ve done in the past. It’s probably the hardest part. You can write stuff that’s similar but not exactly copying. But at the same time, we influence ourselves. We have such a big catalog of music so we influence ourselves.”
“When I came back and did Mechanize, that record was a little bit different than a lot of the Fear Factory records. It probably had more of a thrash element and a lot more riffs and a lot more guitar solos. So it was a little different. It was probably more of a metal version of Fear Factory. It was a pretty heavy record. It was pretty extreme.“
“On the Industrialist, we wanted to go back more towards the industrial vibe. Then on the new one, we wanted to concentrate on some groove elements, with songs like ‘Soul Hacker,’ ‘Church of Execution,’ ‘Anodyne’ – we wanted to bring back the heavier groove elements that people seem to like out of Fear Factory.”
“So we feel on this new record, there’s a lot of different stuff for everybody. We have fast songs, we have the groovier songs, we have mid-paced songs like ‘Regenerate’, which they just added to Octane on Sirius XM, which is pretty good. Obviously we have big, epic closure on the record with ‘Expiration Date.’ Those big epic songs close our records. We always like doing that. We wanted something different towards the end.”
Cazares talked about the band’s 1995 Demanufacture album and its impact it has had upon heavy music. While the band is celebrating the album’s 20th anniversary of its release, some of the themes on this record somewhat predicted the future based on some of the things to come.
“Again me and Burt – we try to keep up on all of that stuff that’s going on and where technology and us as people are evolving. We try to keep up on it as much as possible. Obviously we try to write our own interpretations on what could happen. Sure some of our lyrics can be a little more unrealistic and a little more extreme. Do we think it’s a possibility? Yes.”
“Like I said earlier about the album Obsolete, yeah I think we were predicting the future a little bit. We just gave out our interpretation of what the future could be for us humans.”
“On Demanufacture, that record in particular was inspired by our surroundings in LA at the time, in the early 90s when we had the Rodney King riots and the fires, the floods, the earthquakes…all of that stuff. We just saw the breakdown process of Los Angeles. We thought Los Angeles was this big war zone, and it kind of was. People looting and riots and shit like that…like what the fuck? So we thought ok after all of this destruction of Los Angeles – the fires, the floods, the earthquakes and the riots – what’s next? Rebuild so we used our environment vibe of what was going on and used that. ‘OK this is the demanufacturing process. You take everything apart and you kind of destroy it and you make way for something new. That’s where I got the title for Demanufacture. It was the breakdown process, even though there was a lot of chaos and war on that record – man and machine – it was making way for something new.”
He talked about how Bell’s vocal style introduced a new style that became commonly used over the years. Demanufacture became their introduction to new ideas that impacted the heavy music scene in a huge way.
“In a way it makes sense because we feel that the style on the Demanufacture record was the first time a lot of people had ever heard anybody singing heavy and melodic. Sure we put a record out before that, Soul of A New Machine, that some people heard but we didn’t sell that many records. So a lot of people didn’t hear it.”
“It wasn’t until Demanufacture that opened the doors for us, and a lot of people heard Burt’s vocal style, a lot of people heard the guitars syncopated with the drums. It was a very well put together record and to me our music was making the way for something new as well.”
They completed a North American tour supporting Coal Chamber, someone they helped climb the ranks of the LA scene years ago. While much of the crowd was made up of older fans familiar with both bands, there were some younger people who were getting their first taste of the band’s sounds.
“It’s funny you say that because Burt likes to talk in between and sometimes he gives them a little bit of a history lesson. ‘We’re going to take you back to our first record in 1992. A lot of you weren’t even born yet.’ He goes on a little speech about how we all started and what we contributed to the metal audience or the metal world.”
“You’re right. A lot of those kids maybe never heard of us, but opening up for Coal Chamber, there’s a lot of similar fans that are coming to the show. They’re familiar with both bands. Also they had asked us to tour with them. That was one of the reasons why we’re opening up for them. We get to play for 50 minutes which is cool.”
“There may be a little bit of new fans who have never heard of us. It’s pretty much a Fear Factory/Coal Chamber crowd, if that makes sense.”
They are currently on a headlining US run and continuing their Genexus tour run, and later including a hometown headlining 25th anniversary show at the Whisky on October 30, 2015. Cazares talked about the next leg as well as upcoming tour information.
“We literally continue the run after with some up and coming bands – Logan Mader’s new band Once Human, Shaun Glass (ex-SOiL, Dirge Within) and Travis Neal from Divine Heresy’s new band The Bloodline. We wanted to give some up and coming guys a shot. Not a lot of people take unknown bands out like that. We’re going to continue for another month.”
“Then we stop for a couple of weeks and then we do South America and we do Japan. Then we go back to Europe for Demanufacture 20th Anniversary Tour. We’ve only done this on the boats and we did five shows in Australia. This is the first time also we’re going to do it in Europe and it’s our first time going to Tel Aviv, Israel. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do it next year in the US.”