Interview - Fear Factory


Sam talks to Burton about the new and improved Fear Factory, and Ascension Of The Watchers

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Sam: you've probably already been asked this a million times, but you guys have obviously gone thru a line-up change for the first time in like, 10 years... How is it feelin' right now?
Burton C. Bell: "It feels great, we're just getting along really well, and this is the best we've sounded in a long time. It just feels good, everything is just feeling really good right now."
Sam: It was a little funny seeing Christian play guitar and Byron over there rockin' out on the bass.
BCB: "For me, at first it was strange, but I got used to it real quick, 'cause I mean we were just kicking ass, it sounded good. Because of the change and how everyone is getting along, there's an energy there that we had missed, and it's totally there, so everything is really good right now."
Sam: With the album direction this time, it didn't seem like you went for the concept album, is this kind of a gear change?
BCB: "Not...I guess so, in a sense. I didn't really want to try to write a concept because I realized all of the concepts are in my lyrics anyway. It's all spelled out, it's there. The concepts are the lyrics, the concepts are the ideas, the concept of Fear Factory, they are all intertwined, it's already there. But I didn't want to create a story, I didn't want to burden myself with that because in the past when I've done that, trying to think of something beforehand, it just kind of convolutes my thoughts. So, I just started writing exactly what I was feeling, and in a sense this is a reality. It's like a reality show, it's like, this is what really happened. If anyone is interested in what happened to Fear Factory, it's all in the lyrics. The story of what we were living through for the past few years was far more interesting than trying to make something up."
Sam: I noticed alot of the songs seem to be pretty personal, about what happened and everything.
BCB: "That's the first time I've actually done that purposefully, because in the past I just disassociated my own feelings in the form of like, a sci-fi story 'cause I didn't want to face it myself. I didn't want know I was afraid of hurting somebody's feelings, or just..wanted to create a story, or just unsure of myself. But I just wanted to write what I was feeling. Every song is a true representation of what I was experiencing in my life at that moment in time when that was written. I connect with lyrics that are pretty personal, I understand that, and that's what influences me, so that's what I write."
Sam: A couple of the songs seem like they are more about current events than what happened.
BCB: "Yeah, that's been an aspect of what I've written about. You know, for instance on 'Soul Of A New Machine' there was 'Crash Test'...'Pisschrist', social conscious, you know, I'm very aware of what's happening. Being a writer you have to have the nerve, you're looking at the world around you. It's not entirely my all feelings, it's like my feelings about what's going on with people going to war and all that stuff, that affects me too. I'm a social person, so people can kill in a war that no one understands, I relate to them. You know, what's the point? It pisses me off, so yeah, there's social conscious as well."
Sam: It pisses me off as well.
BCB: "It's really annoying, and it', that's 'Human Shields', that's a very simple song, but it didn't need to say much. What I've said there is all I have to say. No more, no more, it's just like you can't take no more."
Sam: Yeah, you wake up every morning and turn on the tv, there's somebody else who got shot over oil.
BCB: "Over oil, over business. It's not even just oil, it's just business, it's for the almighty dollar. More jobs than just oil are being created over there. You know, people are going over there and rebuilding, there's contracts with steel workers and there's contracts with plumbers, engineers. They're all going over there and creating a society. It's colonization, and that's what this world has always been about, there has always been colonizing. America is still colonizing."
Sam: It's kind of invade, destroy, and then we get to pay to rebuild it.
BCB: "Unfortunately, that's what every society that has expanded, that's the means they go through. Roman empire, same way...I see the American empire being very similar to the Roman empire. They created a huge, vast expansion of business throughout Europe. And it got too big, then it collapsed on itself, and I see that happening to America you know? Roman empire only lasted 2-300 years."
Sam: I noticed there wasn't too much of an industrial influence on this one, (Archetype) did you guys just to tone that down a little?
BCB: "I disagree, to me this has a very industrial vibe. The beats are fuckin' industrial as hell, it's like all mechanical."
Sam: That's true...
BCB: "It's all rhythms, it's all mechanical. And that's a myth of industrial music, that just because there are electronics in it, people think it has to be industrial, but industrial is a whole different other type of art. I think our record is still very industrial."
Sam: I just noticed the samples weren't there.
BCB: "Well, samples is one thing...can't really do that that much, but there's keyboards there when it's needed. You don't have to over-saturate everything."
Sam: I thought the more 'death metal' side took over on this one.
BCB: "Well, we've always had that, it's just more pure I think. Raymond's drumming is just totally shinning through, and it's all about beats on this record."
Sam: I'm glad the production was a little more rough as compared to the last one, (Digimortal) seemed a little too polished.
BCB: "That's exactly what is was, it was extremely polished, and because it was so polished, it lost it's vibe...entirely. You know, musically, vocally, lyrically, just kinda lost it's vibe entirely. That creative spark was taken away, and that's what we kept on this record. We wanted to keep that creative spark, so we did it in Pro Tools, but we didn't make it an exact science, we purposely kept it a little raw. "
Sam: Yeah, that's always good.
BCB: "Exactly, that's where you get the vibe from."
Sam: You guys have plans to put out an cover EP?
BCB: "It's an idea that we're toying with, we never made any definite plans, but we keep talking about songs we'd like to cover. And you know, it would be fun. Take some classic songs from all of our own personal record collections and just throw 'um to the table. It's like, here's like 9 songs that we grew up with, and this is like, it's all part of Fear Factory. It'll show like, just a brief glimpse of all of our influences."
Sam: Sort of like a 'Garage Days' thing?
BCB: "Yeah, something like that, exactly"
Sam: You guys just put out 2 separate DVD's with the album release I know, but are there any plans to do another separate DVD?
BCB: "We haven't thought about that yet. I'm sure it'll happen eventually."
Sam: How is the new label working out?
BCB: "Fantastic, they're great. We get 100% attention from them, they're totally excited about this record. We're the first band that they have like us entirely, we're a contemporary band and we're a metal band, and they're just totally stoked. They're totally workin' it man, we're totally happy with those guys. I'm totally happy to be off Roadrunner now that the Slipknot record is coming out, 'cause they're gonna fuckin' explode again, I can see it."
Sam: do they kind of put all of their attention over to the band that's selling really well and ignore everybody?
BCB: "It appears to look that way doesn't it?"
Sam: Yeah, I used to love that label about 10 years ago because there were all these great bands on it, and now they've all dropped off.
BCB: "Well, you know, they fuckin' became part of the universal group. In some way they are supplicating towards a larger corporation just so they can sell records to stay with a larger corporation."
Sam: You guys are going over to Europe again soon?
BCB: "Yeah, we go over there like June 15th, for about 4 weeks doing 25 shows...something like that. We'll be back here..we're gonna try to set up something for late summer/early fall. I prefer fall 'cause it cools down a bit.
Sam: Any ideas on what bands you'd be taking out with you?
BCB: "We've got a list that we're making, but we want to create a really good package, you know? so we can be kicked up to bigger venues and stuff like that. So, we're even considering co-headlining if the band is willing to do that. But nothing definite."
Sam: I heard something about Liquid 8 giving you guys sort of a division of the label so you can sign your own bands?
BCB: "There's been talk about that, yeah. But nothing has been discussed about it, but the idea has been proposed. It's something that we've heard as well, so we'll see what happens."

Interview - Ascension Of The Watchers

Sam: Have you written any more material since originally doing the demo?
BCB: "Yeah, got 2 new songs, one called 'Mars Becoming', and another one called 'Numinosum'."
Sam: Gotta look that one up
BCB: "Numinosum, it's a Carl Jung term. 'Mars Becoming' is coming around very well, it's a heavier track."
Sam: Are you planning to put all of them on an album?
BCB: "I definitely want to, I want to make The Watchers something really special. I thought about getting signed and all that stuff, but that wasn't really special. I'm trying to think of something that will make it a very special, limited product. A friend of mine in Houston came up with this great idea and so I'm discussing it with him, it has to do with online stuff. I think it'll definitely be out, all in full form by the end of this year."
Sam: Any plans to do some shows?
BCB: "Yeah, and just to make it special I don't really want to tour on that, I want to play limited shows, like in NY, Chicago, kinda thing. Make it an event, not a concert. But I definitely want to do shows."
Sam: Is the band solidified yet?
BCB: "I've got some some guys who've said they're willing to help when I'm ready. So, I'll let you know, when it's happening everyone will know who they will be."
Sam: What would you say the influences are for this project?
BCB: "My entire life of loving music. It's my life, that's my influence, it's how I feel about the world and how I feel about people. That's what the influence is, it's about my life, musically and everything I've ever known about music. So, it's a broad question but it's not just one single influence, it's my entire mind, it's my entire memory, my entire brain, and my entire life."
Sam: It comes out pretty interestingly
BCB: "Yeah, there's alot going on up in this head"
Sam: Would you ever consider pressing a limited 7" or something like that?
BCB: "Absolutely, that has something to do with this online idea that we're coming up with. Basically, his idea is that by going online, you use the fan as a person who can fund the project, like an artistic endeavor. Like, people fund artists, or they consign an artist to do a piece of work. That's what this would be, we'd raise money to do like a 7", and basically there would be a predetermined amount, like to do a 7" would probably be like a couple grand. So you raise money for a couple grand, and everybody who put money into it, you know, it would probably be at least $25, would get special mp3's sent to them during the recording. And when the 7" is done, they get mailed a 7" with limited edition artwork. So they'll have mp3's and vinyl, and they can share the mp3's with their friends. That's how hype is built...not hype, but how an interest is built."
Sam: Sort it's sort of like a little shareholder thing on the 7"?
BCB: "Kinda like a shareholder, and then that's how you do it, you make the fan a totally cuts out labels. You make the fan a direct contributor, and that way they get something special out of it. Only those that are interested will buy into it, so it's totally gonna work, it's fantastic."