Innovators of industrial metal, California’s Fear Factory are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their groundbreaking sophomore album Demanufacture in 2016. Metal On Loud caught up with founding member Dino Cazares for an in-depth interview into one of the most influential bands in metal.
Fear Factory is currently touring in support of the 20th Anniversary of Demanufacture, a record which many Fear Factory fans consider to be the definitive album you guys have ever made. Does it blow your mind that this album, 20 years later, is still as fresh and still as in-demand by fans as it was when it was released?
It definitely blows my mind that it has lasted this long. You know, when you write albums you want every one of your records to be accepted, to be loved, to be liked. This just was one of the ones that fits in our catalogues and happens to be the fan favourite, one of the big fan favourites. It’s really good to play all of these songs, these songs that we’ve never really played live or hardly have played like and to give them some attention. It’s really cool to be able to play A Therapy For Pain, Pisschrist, H-K. Pretty much the whole second half of the Demanufacture record we hardly ever play, or have never played.
Yeah for sure, because obviously a track like Replica is a Fear Factory staple, so it’s definitely cool for the recall diehard fans to hear these rarely played tracks.
Exactly. The first few songs are always in the setlist, some of the most popular songs that we have. Especially Replica. We really couldn’t even do a show without putting that in. We could, but people would be ‘woah why didn’t you play Replica? What the fuck?!!’ So we got to play that song always, not that I’m complaining, because those are the classic songs that we play, but like I said it’s really cool to be able to give some of these other songs attention they deserve. Classic cuts. Actually my favourite two songs to play right now are Body Hammer and H-K, these are my two favourite to play right now.
What’s the reception been from fans on this tour? Getting to hear the whole album in full?
It’s been extremely positive and we’ve been excited about thinking about how many people are coming out and seeing us, old and new. A lot of people who grew up with Fear Factory and heard us in their early teens when they were in high school, and this is basically a flashback to them of when they were growing up, and it’s really cool to hear their stories. People tell us their stories all the time of when they first heard this record and how it helped them in life and how it opened their eyes and ears to other types of music. It’s really cool to hear how this record affected them. The response has just been amazing, and we couldn’t be more excited.
You guys released Genexus in 2015, another fantastic album in the Fear Factory discography. It feels like you guys never seem to slow down, and are consistently putting out relevant material.
Yeah. I’ll put it this way, we’re excited to be done with the tour, because we’re going to have three weeks off after. I’ll be able to chill out, catch up with the wife and the family and be able to sleep, in my own bed. One of the things that we look forward to, simple things. We love being out here on the road, we love playing in front of all the fans, we love that, but there’s a time sometimes where you just need to take a break. We’ll be happy to take a break. We’re also very fortunate e that we are busy, and we are still relevant in todays music. Just to be able to be out here and do what we do. We still appreciate what the fans do, the support that they give us, and we couldn’t be more happy about that.
Has the life of the touring musician and the heavy metal lifestyle gotten easier for you? Does it feel the same from when you guys were starting out?
It’s still definitely as hard. Nothing has changed. We still feel like we have to go out there and prove ourselves day in and day out and to the music industry. Obviously things have changed within the music industry and you’re faced with hurdles all of the time. But we were a band that never lived by the single and died by the single. We’re not a one hit wonder type of band. We put out albums and we toured and that’s pretty much what we did. As far as that aspect nothing has changed. Everything else around has changed. Cds sales don’t really exists anymore, but we were never really a band that made money off of cd sales. We were always in the business of touring, so that’s pretty much what we focus on. We’re still out here doing it and we’re very fortunate that we still have the fans that want to come out here and buy tickets and and see us, and we’re happy about it.
What would be some advice you’d give to aspiring bands and musicians coming up in the business today?
The first thing is you’ve got to find a niche, you’ve got to find what makes you different, and when you figure that out you stick with it and you develop it and grow with it and evolve it. My advice to people out there is to try to find like-minded musicians, don’t give up. It does get harder and harder, but it can get a little easier and there are times where it does get easy. There are times where you can make a living doing this. I’ve seen a lot of bands have musicians that just cant hack it on the road. They go home and cry and they want to go back home to mommy. It’s not for everybody, the touring life is not for everybody. This business is not for everybody. If you’re a new and up-incoming band, the first thing you need is a lawyer before you even have a manager. Get a lawyer, because people are out there trying to take what you have, and that’s very common in this industry. A lot of musicians I know are very intelligent when it comes to being a musician, but they’re not intelligent when it comes to business. That is where you need to educate yourself.
It’s crazy, because there are so many guys out there with so much passion and talent and just don’t have the business sense.
Yeah and that’s where they make their first mistake, because the minute you make that first dollar you’re in business. This is your business. Fans will say ‘oh you’ve got to do it for the passion of music.’ Yeah, that’s where it starts, the passion of music, and you never let that passion go, but the other thing is business. The minute you make a dollar on the road, the minute you make a van, the minute you rent a trailer, buy an amp, a guitar and you want to make this your career and your life, it’s business. It might be a taboo word for some people, but it’s business and it’s one of the most important thing that you’ve got to educate yourself. I known guys that can fucking shred all fucking day on the guitar. They can play the most insane fucking guitar solos, but they have no clue how to make a dollar, or when they make a dollar they have no clue what to do with it. So, that’s where guys like that get taken advantage of. There’s mangers out there and lawyers out there and people out there who even your ex-musicians who are ready to take it from you. So they need to educate themselves and protect themselves for their art. I can’t stress that enough.
What were some of the things that kind of shaped the way the Fear Factory sound came together in the early days? Because you guys were really doing innovative things in the beginning that no one else was attempting.
My God. There was so much stuff. I can only pinpoint some of the stuff. When I was growing up, and I can also speak for Burton, our minds were a sponge, just soaking up every element of music that we can thing of. Everything from techno music, to industrial music, to alternative to pop, to death metal, to grindcore. We love it all, a little bit of everything, which was kind of what Fear Factory became. It became a melting point of influences. Everything from thrash metal in my guitar playing, to trying to copy a machine on the guitar, to try to copy a loops ample. Burton’s voice developed over the years, from the first time we discovered he could sing melodically and he did it in Fear Factory. That’s kind of what became our signature sound, and it was the first time you really hard anybody do it. Burton got better and better on each record and developed even more. You can hear that influence in everything today, in all types, popcore, metalcore, melodic death metal. You hear the combination of the two vocal styles. You hear heavy vocals and melodic vocals. Heavy verses and melodic choruses.
What is it that appeals to you about heavy metal fans? For my money they’re the most loyal and dedicated fans in music.
We’ve played festivals around the world. Germany, China, India, of course the United States, Canada. We’ve played festivals anywhere you can think of. It doesn’t matter where you go, the metal fans are pretty much the same. There’s no fights, there’s nothing stupid going on. Everybody helps each other out, everybody gets along. Everybody just wants to party have a good time and see some great metal bands. We played China – China was amazing. We flew all the way to India and the metal fans are starving for music. They just want to hear metal and have a good time. Out there in other countries they don’t get a lot of American bands a lot and they’re just so excited to see you. They’re just beyond stoked.
I believe this was your ninth record. Any thought put in to what you’d like to do for the 10th? It’s a big milestone.
As far as the record we really didn’t put in much thought yet. We’ll probably be writing at the end of the year and hopefully get into the studio by sometime early next year. Where I see it going? Wow, that’s a really tough question. That’s something that me and Burton sit down and discuss and we try to come up with an idea for what we’re going to do for the next record. Sometimes we try to come up with an album title before we start the record, because an album title an really influence what we’re going to sing about or create a certain picture of what we’re going to sound like. But right now we’re in touring mode. We’re in working mode, so we’re trying to get through this part and once we’re done with that I’ll let you know the answer to that question.
I’m looking at your touring schedule, and even after this anniversary tour you are just non-stop i the summer and fall.
Yeah and there’s a lot more to be added. After this tour we’re having a little bit of a break and we’re going to Australia and South Africa, which we’ve never been to before so I can’t wait to go there. I believe we have some stuff in Mexico, South America. Me and Burt are going to be doing ComicPalooza in Houston, Texas, and that’s going to be cool. That’s fun. We’re thinking of doing another States tour in October or November. I think we’ll be done by then and we can just chill out. Think about the concept of the next album and do that. One of the other cool things that people have been asking us, is that since we’ve been doing th Demanfucature tour, everybody has asked us if we’re going to do an Obsolete one. That’s something that’s still up for discussion. We haven’t discussed it to much, but that wouldn’t happen for at least a year or two. But who knows.