Interview Dave Mullins.
Fear Factory have been a staple of death metal since the early ‘90s. One of the most influential and pioneering acts of heavy metal throughout their career. They’re coming to Australia for Soundwave 2015. I had the chance to talk to their guitarist, Dino Cazares about their music, influences and coming to Australia.
Dino Cavares: Hello.
Dave Mullins: This is Dave from Desert Highways.
Dino: Dave, how you doing?
Dave: Really good man, how are you?
Dino: I’m doing great, I’m just here in California and I am on the phone doing interviews, for a few hours.
Dave: (laughs) I can imagine it’s pretty daunting.
Dino: But it is a pleasure, being able to talk to the media in Australia, and for anyone giving us the time of day. We’re coming down for the Soundwave 2015, and we’re extremely excited.
Dave: And we’re excited that you’re coming back so soon, you were only here last year.
Dino: Well we’ve been a band that’s been regularly coming to Australia since pretty much 1993. We were there in 1993, and we were there 3 times in 1995, ‘96. At least two or three times ‘98, ‘99. A couple of times in 2000, 2001. A few more times after that. We’ve pretty much been there at least twice every album.
Dave: That’s awesome. We really appreciate bands coming out here because it’s a long way to come for a pretty small population. Do you find that you like coming to Australia, do you spend much time over here?
Dino: Every time we come to Australia it’s like a home away from home. It’s like a vacation spot for us. We have so many friends there, lots of people we keep in touch with and to hang out. We’ve been there so many times that we know a lot of people. It’s one of the first countries that really embraced Fear Factory. We were one of the few bands that regularly come there, and we’ve made a decent career by going to Australia. Australia was the first country that we got a gold record for Demanufacture, Obsolete and Digimortal. So we’ve got a few gold records in that Australia. It just seems to be the first country that embraced who we were and what we were about.
Dave: That’s really cool. I remember Demanufacture was the first album I heard of yours, and I fell in love instantly. Remanufacture and Obsolete were huge albums, really influential. Do you find that a lot of bands you listen to these days that have elements of those albums, or any other albums, that you hear and you say “wow that’s me” or have people mention it to you at all?
Dino: I don’t necessarily say that’s me there, I’d say it’s definitely a direct influence. What I think bands have kind of lost is their history of where it actually came from. You know a lot of bands don’t even know that it came from Fear Factory. It might have been a band that they listened to that was influenced by us. You know what I mean? It kind of trickles down through the generations. We were one of the first bands that did heavy vocals with melodic choruses, some people like to call it the angelic voice with the brutal, brutal voice. We were the first band to really develop that style, and we were the first band that really developed the syncopated guitars with the kick drums. It just kind of created a whole new thing. I think what it was that we showed the world is that it was okay to do that. It always takes that one band to break through and create something new to show people that it’s cool. When we first came out, we were pushing the envelope, and people didn’t like the fact that we were mixing heavy and melodic, you know people were like “what the fuck is this?”, but over time it grew on them and all of sudden they were like “wow, this is amazing”. People sometimes have to adapt to something new, and that’s how some listeners got into Fear Factory. It wasn’t until Demanufacture, that it really opened the doors. It blew the doors open really and people were like “holy fuck” that this works. It just kind of grew from there.
Dave: I definitely agree that I hear that in all types of music, I was reviewing a melodic hardcore band from Dubai, and I noticed that they were doing the syncopated guitars, it was very heavily influenced, even though it was hardcore, it was still there. It was something that I could relate to, that someone in the band was into Fear Factory at some point.
Dino: But if you ask those bands “hey what are your influences?” they’d never say Fear Factory.
Dave: (laughs) You’re probably right.
Dino: I’ve never understood that, you can ask the band, just think of the name of a band, just who ever. Even a well-established band that’s doing the same thing that we’ve been doing “hey man who are you influenced by?” and they’ll name everyone BUT Fear Factory.
Dino: So the only thing I can think of is that somewhere down the generation is they actually lost where that came from, you know what I mean, maybe Fear Factory was too much of an older band for them to get into, but they got into the band that came after Fear Factory, that was influenced by Fear Factory.
Dave: Yeah, absolutely, but I could definitely say that there are bands in Australia that would defiantly say otherwise, Our Last Enemy, Gods Of Eden have members that were definitely Fear Factory fans and you can definitely hear it. These are bands that tend to try and transcend metal…
Dino: Yeah, and we were always a band that tried to push the envelope, that’s one thing that we all agreed upon. Trying to add different elements into our music, and it definitely worked for us along the way, of course a lot of the stuff is trial and error. You have to experiment, you have to see what people like, and in some cases when we were doing the remix albums, in 1993 from our first record Soul of the Machine we did a remix EP called Fear is a Mind Killer which is pretty much techno death metal industrial remixes. That didn’t even exist back then. Of course remixes existed back then, but nothing extreme like that. It’s like meshing some genres together and seeing what happens. And all through the ’90s so many bands were putting out remix records, from Rob Zombie, you name it, people were putting out remix stuff. Everybody wants remixes. People still ask me today “Hey man, are you going to do a remix record for The Industrialist?” and I’m like no, that fucking sold straight out. It’s just no, everybody did it, but no (laughing) why? You know what I mean?
Dave: Yeah man (laughing).
Dino: Just whatever…
Dave: So tell me about the new album, I know you’ve got one on the way, what can we expect?
Dino: Well what you can expect is that it’s going to be a conceptual record, of course. We always have to throw a story in. It’s a record you’re going to be able to follow. The story, the lyrics and the meaning of the record. We’ve always been into that. I’ve always wanted to write a book (for the album) but unfortunately it’s never happened. But we’ve always had that kind of mentality when putting the lyrics together, that this could be a short novel, that this could be a script for a movie. So when we write the lyrics we always think about it that way. And musically we are keeping the traditional Fear Factory elements, that’s pretty much what our fans wanna hear. But you always have to throw in the occasional something different, you have to push the envelope. You don’t wanna go too far, because obviously some people don’t like it when you go too far, but we still like to push the envelope a little bit. Enough to keep ourselves entertained. A lot of our influences are pretty much older bands, which still influence us from what they were doing back in the ’80s and ’90s. All those bands that we grew up listening to, we still listen to today, and they still inspire us today. There’s very few new music that really inspires me to do something. A lot of new music is copied from what older bands were doing. It’s kind of like a re-hash of older stuff they’ve given a new twist. So a lot of the influences for what we’re doing currently is going back to our old records, and being influenced by our old records as well. So with that being said, this record is somewhere in between Demanufacture and Obsolete. Why I say that is, Obsolete was more of a groovier record, more of a human element to it. And there’s more of a human element in this record, but at the same time it’s got some of the cold harshness from Demanufacture in this record. So that’s why it’s a combination of those two.
Dave: That’s very cool. One thing thats always struck me with your music is the influences from movies like The Terminator, there’s always been this technological aspect to it. There’s been a bit of a resurgence in movies with Age of Ultron, a new Terminator movie, Her, Transcendence. Do you think the new record will reflect what’s going on in the world at the moment in that sense, or will you go in a different direction altogether?
Dino: No, we’re not going to go a different direction, we’re gonna go a further direction. We’ll probably go into nanotechnology and things like that. I don’t want to give too much away. (both of us laugh) There would be nothing for us to talk about in a couple of months. But we’re going to go into other elements of actual stuff that’s being experimented today. Yeah sure, and we’re going to take it a little further. I can’t say we’re predicting the future, but we’re listening to other futurists, like Ray Kurzweil, he’s a very intellectual guy, I call him a futurist. He’s always predicting the future and how we can steer the future in a certain direction. We’re very influenced by his work, his speeches and lectures that he gives. He’s always coming up with ideas, and we try to take our image of what he’s talking about and putting it into our interpretation of what he predicts the future will be like, how fast technology is growing, and how much it has become a big part of our lives. We try to take all of those elements, and try to talk about those concepts, but at the same time we’re also giving you the human element of how the battle of man versus machine still exists. And will we ever be able to co-exist with androids? Some people are still afraid of it, within the next two years we will definitely be having android army troops, within the next two years, you’re gonna hear about it. We’re gonna have android troops out in the desert fighting ISIS.
Dave: And that’s an interesting concept, you know with drones… (I get cut off).
Dino: But! But the thing is, now if that happens, it’s going to take a lot of troops jobs. Because some people joined the army for an actual income. A human soldier could become obsolete. Which means some people could have an outcry. It’s funny, it’s a weird contradiction. Some people might say, the droid is not human, it doesn’t feel human so it will just kill whoever. Or this droid is taking my job. But at the same time everyone is protesting for not going to war, so it’s a weird contradiction. It’s gonna be a weird situation. I can’t wait to see what happens (laughs).
Dave: Yeah, you and I both. Just quickly, before I run out of time. What’s going on with Asesino, is there anything happening? Is there a new album on the way?
Dino: Well the thing about it is, we have a bunch of songs written we just haven’t had the time to get together with the guys and complete any of the songs. Part of it is I’ve been really busy with Fear Factory, it’s occupying a lot of my time. Also the bassist of Asesino is also in Soulfly, so he’s been really busy with that. He’s also in Ministry by the way, his name is Tony (Campos), he’s also the bass player for Ministry and they’re gonna be out there for Soundwave Festival. So whenever we get the time, that’s pretty much how it is.
Dave: That’s awesome. Thanks so much for talking to me today and I can’t wait to see you guys play again.
Dino: I can’t wait either, I hope I didn’t bore you!
Dave: Thanks so much!
Dino: Talk later…
Check out the title track from The Industrialist.