Fear Factory: Mechanical Resonance
18-Mar-2016 Words: Brian Giffin
Latest release: Genexus (Nuclear Blast)
Regular visitors Fear Factory will be in Australia once again in June, keeping up their proud tradition of touring here on the back of every album. We took a call from Dino Cazares for a talk about technology in music and American politics. but forgot to give him an award for being Loud's most interviewed musician.
Great to talk to you once again, Dino. Fear Factory is about to tour Australia once again soon. This is a country that you've always had a very close connection with.
We've made it a point to come every album. We first came to Australia when we released our first album Soul of a New Machine. We were one of the lucky ones, you know, to come down there. Since then we've been coming down there at least once, maybe twice, with each record. We just love it there! The culture is great, the people are amazing, the food's good, the crowds are great, the weather is great. The weather reminds me of California. When it's hot, it's HOT! When it's cold, it's not as cold as it gets in other parts of the world.
You must have been pleased with the critical response to Genexus. A lot of reviews suggested it was probably your best album since Obsolete.
I'm definitely happy with the response. It's been getting great reviews pretty much worldwide. We got really lucky with this album - people seem to really like it! We really took our time crafting the album, we really focused on it. We wanted to make sure we paid attention to each song. Previous albums over the years, sometimes you get rushed. You're in between tour cycles, the record company wants you to hurry up and put a record out and you lose focus sometimes or you don't get to pay enough attention to the songs as you would if you just take your time. This time we were able to let the songs marinate and grow, and once we did all that, that's what helped to make the record as good as it was.
A lot of people seemed to get upset that you used electronic drums on The Industrialist, despite the fact that you had always done a lot of electronic tracking. Were you surprised that people got upset you were using electronics on a Fear Factory record?
Yes, I was very surprised by that, because conceptually our albums have been about technology. How technology evolves and how it plays a part in our everyday lives. In music in particular, people have been using drum machines and drum programs and computer technology to create music for years. For years and years! It's just becoming more popular. The new-school metal kids are more familiar with it, the older school metal fans are not. Because they didn't grow up with it. Now all the new school kids are creating music on their laptops and their i-Phones. You can program your fucking i-Phone to make some hip-hop with some Autotuning on it. Everybody's a musician these days when it comes to the laptop. It's just what our music has evolved to, and I was surprised that people had a hard time adapting to that. Me and Burt decided to be honest and let people know how we created the record, because it's important. We just got a big backlash! The thing is that most people wouldn't even know [the drums were fully programmed] if I didn't say that.
Since it had always been a big part of your music, I found it very strange that people reacted so vehemently to it on The Industrialist. You've gone back to traditional drumming on Genexus, but as you've said, you can't really tell and you're a band that's always embraced that technology.
Completely. And even though we used live drumming, doesn't mean we didn't edit the drums and use computers here and there to make it sound better than what a human can actually do. I like to call it a hybrid. When we first wrote the album, I wrote it in one of my bedrooms converted into a strudio. I wrote it on a drum program and then when I worked out what the music was going to be, I gave all the drum programming that I did to our drummer, he physically learned it all and then recorded it live. He was simulating the machine.
Dino, you're coming into an election year there in the States and a lot of Fear Factory's music has been an allegory to a lot of world politics. What are your thoughts on what's going on over there right now?
God! This thing could be turned into a reality show! If Donald Trump does get elected - that's not who I'm voting for, but if he does get elected, it's pretty much going to be a shitshow in America. Other countries are going to be like... ISIS is really going to want to kill us. I have a feeling that some countries aren't even going to want to talk to Donald Trump. He's an idiot! He's smart, but he's an idiot at the same time. He's turning America into a big reality show. Hillary Clinton - I don't think she's ready... I mean, I think America's ready for a female President, but other countries are not. Other Muslim countries like Iran or Iraq may not even want to talk to her! China may not want to talk to her. They don't want to talk to women. Bernie Sanders, even though I do like him, is too old! He might not even live to the election! And everybody else - whatever. It's just crazy. I don't know what's going to happen. I've jokingly said that if Donald Trump does win, if he gets elected, we're going to move to Australia.
We'd be happy to have you here Dino! But do you think there's material in there for some future project, because it does sound pretty dystopian, the way it might end up. A lot of people are pretty concerned.
If we were to write an album about this election, it would be a comedy album!
I notice you've been doing Demanufacture live at many of your shows recently. Australia was the first place you did that - how has the reaction to it been everywhere else?
The reaction to that has been amazing. Yes, we started that in Australia because Australia was the first place where we got a gold record for Demanufacture, so we just thought, Let's do it there first. And we did. We decided to do it again in Europe last year, and it was very successful. When other countries find out what you're doing... You did it in Australia? What about us? Now we're doing it in the States. I think that's going to be it for the 20th anniversary of Demanufacture. When we come to Australia we're doing it in support of Genexus so you're going to hear a handful of Genexus songs plus fifteen more classic Fear Factory songs.
Catch Fear Factory in Australia in June:
2/6: Tivoli Theatre, Brisbane QLD
3/6: UNSW Roundhouse, Sydney NSW
4/6: Prince of Wales, Melbourne VIC
7/6: HQ, Adelaide SA
8/6: Metropolis, Fremantle WA
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