Fear Factory, probably America’s most well-known industrial metal band, is heading to South Africa and will perform live at Bassline in Johannesburg on Friday the 10th of June and in Cape Town at the Assembly the next day (Saturday the 11th of June). Chris van Der Walt, our to-go-to in-house metal expert had a chat with Dino Cazares, guitarist, writer and founding member of Fear Factory. If you we’re lucky enough to have seen Iron Maiden perform in South Africa a couple of weeks ago, this is another show that metal fans should really not miss out on…
How’s the touring been so far?
Everything has been totally amazing we’ve been on the road now for like seven weeks. Just the amount of people who’ve been coming out for the tour here in the US. Its killer!
What do you know about South Africa?
Well I don’t know a lot about South Africa. We’re extremely excited to go there to experience what its like. You know, to be there, to play shows there. I only know one band, Die Antwoord from South Africa and that’s really all I know, haha!
Little bit of an adventure ahead?
Totally! We can’t wait to get there to see how things are there!
You guys will enjoy it. We can feed you guys to the lions and all sorts of stuff.
On to Genexus, the new album. Congrats on that, absolute masterpiece – melodic, heavy, incredibly well designed. Dino, could you just maybe take me through the writing process. How did it start for Genexus and how did it evolve?
Well, we started the writing process, basically just me and an engineer, inside a studio and started to write a bunch of music to create demos for Burton to start write lyrics to. Once we started getting few songs down, me and Burton sat down and you know… what are we going to write about? Lyrically, what do we want to say? So once we came up with an idea, things started to come together and then when we came up with the title of the album, Genexus. That is when the full concept of the album started to come together. Ultimately it just starts with a guitar and a drum machine pretty much. And a computer. And it progresses from there. Obviously we do a lot of keyboard, a lot of keyboard programming. That’s where Rhys Fulber (who is our producer) – that’s where he comes in. We also have a very talented engineer – his name is Damien Rainaud. He also engineered the album and hepled out with the keyboards as well. We’re very proud of what we came up with. We wanted to have a really good balance between melodic vocals and heavy vocals. That’s pretty much our signature sound since day one. We write songs for a purpose, not just to write songs. Musically we wanted to create a sound track to the concept of the album.
It feels like you’re put in a machine or transformed into some mechanical state and its cool
Well yeah, haha! Genexus is a play on words – genesis and nexus and genesis is obviously the beginning of time and nexus means “the connection” so its a connection of where we started and where we are in the future. When we were in the writing process of this album we were like “OK, so let’s get into the vibe of when we wrote some of our classic records, to create a record with that kind of feeling. We feel that we were successful in doing that. A lot of people have said that this record does sound like a combination of Demanufacture and Obsolete and obviously something newer. Genexus is basically the singularity process and we’re living among a new model of droids called Genexus or the Genexus Model.
Not only as mankind but I mean you guys are also using the same elements that you were using long ago but we all do evolve. And as a band well.
Yeah, well technically. Technology has gotten better for us over the years. When we first started we didn’t have a lot of the keyboards and stuff like that. We didn’t have computers that had half of the sound that could create this manufactured sound. We’ve always been about technology and the growth of technology, how it evolves and how it plays a big part of our day-to-day lives. And there is a lot of truth behind that because we use all the technology to make our records but still combined with the human element.
So on the new album, Mike Heller also stepped in and did some of the live drumming…
Yeah Mike Heller definitely… you know once we got all the music written we sent Mike Heller over the songs and he learned the songs and once he learned the songs we went to the studio to record everything and, you know, we wanted that live drummer element feel to the record because we thought that it would give a little bit more vibe. And it did. It helped a lot.
Definitely – it brings the two elements together – the mechanical and the human element
Exactly and that is pretty much wat Genexus is about.
To the live band from the studio; working with people like Tony Campos and stuff – you guys started working together a while back and if I remember correctly jammed together in Asesino?
Yeah, Tony Campos is one of those guys, one of those bass players who is extremely professional to any style or any band that he’s in. He first started out in a band called Static-X. Static-X was pretty much a combination of Prong meets Fear Factory meets Ministry, so obviously he knew the style. Plus we did have a band together as you said, Asesino. So when he joined Fear Factory he could easily adapt to what we were doing because he has pretty much been doing it for a long time himself. He is very tight, he is very loud in the mix – we play live so you can hear the bass, you know? Sometimes we’ve had bass players in the crowd who was not as good… they were lower in the mix, haha! Tony is one of those guys who is up there. Same thing with Mike Heller. He’s been with the band for roughly five years now. He is super professional, super tight, super technical so we sound like a really tight band playing live. And it sounds really good.
Especially with the new album. The production sound on it is so tight and so precise and nailing that, I guess, is a very important element.
I mean of course, you know? Live we’re only human and you wanna hear a couple of mistakes here and there but overall we’re a pretty tight band and I like to kinda brag about that. We try and make it sound as close to the record as possible. We also have a sound engineer who’s been working with the band for the past six, seven years and he has it pretty much dialed in pretty great.
We’re really looking forward to your shows in South Africa. I think it is going to be great! We’ll take you through South Africa and maybe show you the unexpected parts which might be more fun.
Haha! Like what would that be? What is something very typical?
Obviously we’ve got the wild life here, we’ve got stuff like shark cage diving…
Should we change it and not go on a safari?
No, not at all. I think stuff like that is cool to check. Its a good time of the year as well. It might be a bit cold jumping in with the sharks though.
Haha, I’ll be sure to bring my swimming trunks.
Or maybe like a protection suit for the sharks.
Protection from sharks? Hahahaha! What, do you guys have sharks everywhere?