The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world




Fear Factory are one of those bands that have an instantly recognisable sound and style. Throughout the years with the ups and downs and a few stylistic changes here and there, the one thing that remains constant is their ability to capture technology and experimental sounds and blend it together with uncompromising brutal music, the industrial metal sound. With the return of guitarist Dino Cazares a few years ago as well as the old Fear Factory sound with 2012's The Industrialist, this 23 year veteran band is looking to shake things up again and remind everyone why this band is one of the best in the business. I caught up with vocalist Burton C. Bell to discuss the upcoming tour in Australia next month where the band will be performing the entire "Demanufacture" album from start to finish and to also reminisce about some of the stories connected to that album.





Andrew: Hello there!




Burton: Hi Andrew How are you?




Andrew: Good thanks. How are you doing?




Burton: I'm fine, just trying to keep cool in Tempe, Arizona.




Andrew: How's the tour been going so far?




Burton: It's been fine, it's been long but it's been fine. We are very happy that we are nearing the end of it, we have 3 shows left.




Andrew: So you guys are coming back to Australia next month, is this still part of the Industrialist tour or is this a seperate thing?




Burton: No, the Australian leg is just going to be the Demanufacture tour and we are doing Demanufacture in it's entirety.




Andrew: This is a very cool idea, how did this idea come about initially?




Burton: It was kinda like a joke at first. Last time we were there for the Industrialist on tour, we were playing a lot of tracks from Demanufacture and we just thought why don't we just play the whole damn record, and the promoter was like, oh that's actually a great idea, we should plan it properly and blah blah blah and just start talking about it. And we thought about it and it was Australia that embraced Fear Factory wholeheartedly first and so Australia was where we received our first silver and gold records for Demanufacture so we figured that we'd go to Australia.




Andrew: I remember when Demanufacture came out in Australia, it was a big deal. You guys exploded when that album came out. Do you remember any stories for the tour for that album back in 1996 I think it was..




Burton: Yeah, I can't remember where the first show was, somewhere in the Gold Coast and something happened and  I contracted laryngitis after the first show and so the second show was in Brisbane and there was a matinee show and then a late night show and during the matinee show was where my voice disappeared, like it left and we had to cancel that night time show and I had to see a doctor in Sydney and the doctor confirmed that I had laryngitis and he was like, well you can't sing, you have to take 2 weeks off and let this heal. So that night we cancelled the Sydney show, it was at the Indi I think and the fans there just kinda rioted and destroyed the place and made national news in Australia.




Andrew: Yeah I remember that. That was the show where there was a riot happening and it was all over the news, it was a big deal.




Burton. And our next tour was in England and instead of flying to England we decided to stay in Sydney for a couple of weeks and just chill out. We had an apartment at the top of Kings Cross and just relaxed there and I had this great penthouse bedroom, it was awesome.




Andrew: The last time you came to Perth just last year, you mentioned something about the song Pisschrist and the city of Fremantle. Can you eleborate a bit more on that?




Burton: Well it was in Fremantle where I wrote the lyrics. I was staying with my friend, his name is Ken Knight, also known as "Sqasha", and after the first tour in Australia which was 1993, late 1993, the rest of the band left and I stayed in Australia for a while. I got a job in Perth for a couple of weeks and then I got a job as a tour manager for the painters and dockers and we drove all the way from Esperance all the way up to Darwin so I had all these experiences just hanging out and when I got back to Fremantle where Ken was staying these lyrics just came to me. I wrote this poem and it became Pisschrist. So these lyrics were written late one night in a dark room in Fremantle.




Andrew: Ah ok so that's the connection there. So are there any other songs that have come about in a similar way like you have gone to a city and something inspired you to write a song about your experiences in that city?




Burton: Yeah the lyrics to Zero Signal came about after an acid trip in London. I came to in this girls room, it was dark and there was this sunbeam coming through this crack in the dark shade and the sunbeam was hitting this giant poster of Franco Zeffirelli's Jesus Christ and so the sunlight was blaring on these blue eyes and there's these flies on the sunlight and I was like woah! That inspired Zero Signal.




Andrew: Wow very cool! Just getting to The Industrialist, your last album which by the way was a great album, was the return of Dino (Cazares, guitarist) a conscious effort to get back to the old Fear Factory sound and style or was it something that you were already thinking about for a while?




Burton: A little bit of both. We get Mechanize and Mechanize was like a getting familiar process working with Dino again but after writing and recording and touring with him for a couple of years, we returned to that friendship and comfort zone that we're very familiar with and so before we started writing the record I spoke to Dino and Rhys Fulber (producer) and was like hey you know there's elements of Fear Factory that are missing that I really like, more the industrial element and so we don't have to make this an industrial band but...Demanufacture was our moment of when we became an industrial metal band and that's what when returning to that sound would be very beneficial. So blending the elements making it an industrial metal record was key.




Andrew: Yeah when the album came out it definitely got some fans...I guess some of the fans who sort of lost contact with the band over the years and this album brought them back together again. Do you see a lot more enthusiasm with the fans when you're on tour with this album or do you think there's still the same enthusiasm for the band over the years?




Burton: A little bit of both. Fans really dig this record but the fans are happy to see Dino and myself back on stage and playing the classic songs and the new songs.




Andrew: Yeah it's great. So you guys have been around for a long time now, do you feel that you are still flying the flag for the industrial metal genre or do you think there are other bands out there that are maybe pushing the boundaries a bit and trying to do what you guys started 20 plus years ago?




Burton: I don't know, there's not really many bands like us. I mean there's Ministry still around but they're not really doing the industrial thing anymore and there's Rammstein but they're not really that metal. I think Fear Factory is just..we do what we do. If we are at the forefront it's because we continue to do what we do.




Andrew: Yeah you guys definitely have a unique sound and I have yet to hear anyone that's even close to replicating it at all. Any plans to ever play some of the songs from the Archetype and Transgression albums at all?




Burton: Yeah there's a possibility.




Andrew: So what's next for Fear Factory after this tour in Australia? Is there a new album in the works at all or anything like that?




Burton: After Australia we have in August European festivals and we are also doing a Russian tour. September is when we start...I'm going to take a little break but we're going to start writing the next record.




Andrew: And these upcoming shows, are these including playing Demanufacture as well or is it just an Austalian thing?

Burton: Just Australia.




Andrew: Oh ok so we are the lucky ones then I suppose!




Burton: That's right!




Andrew: OK so if you could be a fly on the wall for any classic album in history what would it be?




Burton: For any classic album in history?




Andrew: Yeah or any album whatsoever, popular or not popular.




Burton: Wow there's so many. I guess the first thing that comes to mind is Nick Cave and The Bad Seed's "Tender Prey". One of my favorite records of all time.




Andrew: Are you a big fan of his lyrics or is it the music?




Burton: Lyrics and music.




Andrew: What inspires you as far as lyric writers? Aside from Nick Cave are there any other lyricists that inspire you or what has inspired you to become a songwriter?




Burton: If someone can really paint a picture in very few words, very poetically and beautifully and say exactly what they mean and get their point across, Nick Cave is one of them, early U2 songs had fantastic lyrics. Paint a picture in my mind. A string of words that fit together so beautifully can inspire me more than a melody.




Andrew: One last question for you, what is the meaning of life?




Burton: Haha! The meaning of life is to live every day to the fullest.




Andrew: That's the best way to do it I guess. You of all people have been doing that with Fear Factory, it's been great that you have kept Fear Factory alive for so long, it's been almost 25 years that you guys have been around, it's been a great ride!




Burton: Coming up on 23 years.




Andrew: Unbelievable!




Burton: Yeah it's been a long haul man!




Andrew: Yeah definitely. I have seen you guys a number of times as well and you always put on a great show. Last time I saw you last year it was unbelievable, the energy and having Dino back in the band, it's great to see him back in the band as well.

Burton: Yeah it feels good too, it feels right.




Andrew: Thanks for the interview, it's been great talking to you. I can't wait to see you guys next month playing the whole Demanufacture album, it's gonna be good!




Burton: Yeah thank you Andrew, it was great chatting with you and we're very excited to get down there and perform this record for an audience that deseves it.




By Andrew Schizodeluxe June 2013




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