Soul of an old machine: Fear Factory’s Dino Cazares and Burton C. Bell

In Perth for the last of the Big Day Out festival dates, Fear Factory's Burton C. Bell and Dino Cazares get comfy on the Metal As Fuck interview couch. Watch the videos here!

It’s 10.50am on an already-hot Sunday morning when Dino Cazares, rubbing his eyes, wanders into the hotel lobby where I’m waiting with MetalBeast, who is on camera operator duties. ‘I just woke up,’ he explains, situating himself on the couch and telling us that frontman Burton C. Bell will be down shortly.

The guitarist might have not been awake long but he’s keen to get talking – the demise of the previous incarnation of Fear Factory (Bell, Raymond Herrera, Christian Olde Wolbers and Byron Stroud) and the current law suits over use of the Fear Factory name plaguing the band being topics he’s happy to weigh in on.

‘What it comes down to is that Christian and Raymond want more money,’ he says, explaining that each of the original four members (Bell, Cazares, Wolbers and Herrera) are entitled to one quarter of the total revenue of the band each under the terms of the agreement currently in place. ‘But they’re not entitled to it.’

 ‘There’s this woman, and she’s controlling both of those guys – Christian’s wife [Christy Priske].’ Disagreement over Priske’s management of the band was the reason why Bell refused to continue working with Herrera and Wolbers, after Priske allegedly started a relationship with Herrera. Dino finds it hard to believe that despite this, Wolbers and Herrera still work together.

‘Any guy who loves his wife – or loved his wife – would have been like “fuck this guy. Why would I want to do business with this guy that I don’t trust, that’s fucking my wife.” Know what I mean?’ He chuckles in disbelief. ‘He’s fucking his wife! How can you trust that guy? That’s what I don’t understand.’

The conversation shifts to Arkaea, the new band formed by Wolbers and Herrera. Years in the Darkness, their debut album, was released in July 2009. Although Dino doesn’t state his own opinion of the album, he’s eager to hear what we think and agrees that it’s solid but not quite Fear Factory.

‘Apparently, from what they say, that was supposed to be the next Fear Factory record,’ he says. ‘I don’t know how good it would have been if it was.’ He pauses to carefully word his next statement. ‘I think that their interpretation of what a Fear Factory record sounds like is completely different to mine and Burt’s.’

I mention that this was probably reflected in the last two official Fear Factory releases – 2004’s Archetype, and 2005’s Transgression, which were not exactly well received by critics or fans. ‘Arkaea still fits into that same kind of vibe,’ Dino agrees. ‘If you listen, some songs sound like Archetype and some songs sound like Transgression, on the Arkaea record. Whereas our records sound like, fucking hit you in the face, Demanufacture, Obsolete… the true form of what Fear Factory was. And I think that’s just because of my guitar style, and obviously Burt’s vocal style, where it fits.’

Speaking of Burton, he makes it down just about then, wearing a Hard-Ons hoodie with beanie despite the heat outside, and vaguely mentioning pyjamas when Dino demands to know why he’s so rugged up. He gets settled on the couch and MetalBeast rolls the camera.

In the first part of the interview, Dino and Burt talk about the Big Day Out tour, Dino’s “reinsertion” into the Fear Factory machine, the possibility of a Demanufacture anniversary tour, the possibility of an Australian headlining tour, and the direction of the new album, Mechanize. Listen to this part to hear Dino’s impersonation of an Australian accent!

In the second part, Burton and Dino weigh in on censorship and government control, the sound of the new album versus the sound of previous albums, Gene Hoglan’s input into the new album, the video for Fear Campaign, and future plans for the band and side projects.