Fear Factory. The name conjures up images of dark assembly lines, with vats of molten metal pouring into chambers of steel death! Nah! These four guys, vocalist Burton C. Bell, bassist Christian Olde Wolbers, drummer Raymond Herrera, and guitarist Dino Cazares, are just a hard working band of L.A. musicians who take their music seriously. With their fifth record Obsolete just out in July, Fear Factory are ready to set the world ablaze with their engaging, semi-techno metal. I recently talked with Dino about their career so far, from humble beginnings, to huge concerts in foreign lands.
Formed in Los Angeles in 1990 on Halloween night, Fear Factory avoided the Sunset Strip venues that specialized in "Hair Farmer Metal." Dino explains, "When we came out, their was that glam rock stuff going on, so they didn't allow heavy bands like us to play, so we played backyard parties in South Central L.A. and stuff like that."
When asked about their new record and whether it marks a change in direction, Dino replied "I feel that we've brought certain elements into the band that we haven't had before. We have a fifteen piece chamber ensemble on two songs, which is something that we've never done."
One unique thing about Fear Factory's music is that it is featured on various video game soundtracks. Their music appears on Carmageddon the video game, as well as others. I asked him which other games they're on.
"We're going to be on NFL Extreme", he says, "and a new game called Messiah." He adds, "There's going to be four tracks from (their second record) Demanufacture, four tracks from (1997's) Remanufacture, and one exclusive track that we actually wrote (for the game) called 'Messiah.'"
I then asked him if he feels that metal music is coming back, what with the Ozzfest selling out dates. He says, "I don't think it ever left. Look at our label Roadrunner. How would a label like Roadrunner survive if metal was gone."
A tour with Slayer is next on the their long and never ending agenda. Slayer, being the first speed/death metal band to break big out of Los Angeles, must have been a big influence on Fear Factory, right?
"On my playing they were. I wouldn't say that it's apparent in Fear Factory's music at all, but just the aggressiveness, yeah."
Recently they played the aforementioned Ozzfest in the U.K., so I asked Dino what it was like, playing on such an amazing bill. "It was badass!" he says. "Slayer, Pantera, Soulfly, Fear Factory, Foo Fighters, Ozzy, Black Sabbath. Where else are you gonna get those bands on one bill?"
After playing with Sabbath, I asked him if was an old school Sabbath fan?
He says, "Of course man! Since I was like 8 years old, Masters Of Reality! That totally changed my life right there! That record."
With a new video in the works I asked him the scenario. "Were gonna do two, one for 'Resurrection,' one for 'Edgecrusher.' Later on we're going to release a diga-pak with an extra CD-ROM in it.
"Maybe we can do it on DVD, surround sound DVD!," he says as we both laugh.
With so much product coming out, Fear Factory is destined to be a household name in the future. They show that a band doesn't have to have a "gimmick" or a certain "look" to make a run at the big time, and I wish them luck in the future!
NOTE: This is the short version of the Fear Factory interview that ran
in the the print edition of Geoff Wilbur's Renegade Newsletter.
Also avaiable EXCLUSIVELY ONLINE is a much longer version of this interview,
in a Q&A format. If you'd like to read it, go back to the Table
of Contents and click on the long version or just click "Next Page"