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Interview

Dino Of Fear Factory Reconstructs "Demanufacture"

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Band Photo: Fear Factory (?)

Few bands produce albums as influential and unique as Fear Factory’s “Demanufacture.” A record of such magnitude only comes around a few times per generation. It is such a great album that the Los Angeles-based band is currently celebrating its twenty-year anniversary by playing the entire album on their U.S. tour. With “Demanufacture” the band found its blueprint for future recordings. This included syncopated guitars synched with kick drums, electro-industrial sounds and aggressive-meets-melodic vocals.

Guitarist and founding member, Dino Cazares spoke to Metalunderground.com before playing a sold-out show in San Antonio, Texas. We spoke about not only the making of “Demanufacture,” but how the album developed from previous recordings, which took us back to the early days of the group. Cazares recalled not only the bands he played in before Fear Factory, but also the bands that influenced Fear Factory. Unlike many groups that find a formula that works on the first album, the first record, “Soul Of A New Machine,” showed the band in a developing stage. “Demanufacture” was the result of a combination of influences from previous groups.

Rex_84: How did Fear Factory start?

Dino Cazares: Me and Burton had a band before [Fear Factory]. It was called Ulceration. Some of the songs we had in that band we ended up using for Fear Factory. “Big God” from the first album. There was a song called “Soul Womb,” which was later on the B-sides to “Obsolete” and “Self-Immolation.” Those songs were very much inspired by Godflesh. That was what me and Burton were trying to go for in Ulceration—a Godflesh type of vibe.

Rex_84: Who were the members that started Fear Factory?

Cazares: Me and Burton C. Bell started Fear Factory. I brought grindcore influences to the band. Bands such as Napalm Death influenced my playing, while Burton was more of an “industrial guy’ into groups such as Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, and Godflesh. Before we brought in a drummer, I played in a a grindcore band called Excruciating Terror. I was playing in that band and I met Raymond [Herrera] and he was in another band. He was a killer drummer, so I was like “I need to get that guy in mine and Burt’s band,” but Raymond was thinking, “I need to get Dino in my band.” So I joined Raymond’s band for a minute. Somehow the band imploded. So I had Raymond and I already had Burt. I was doing another band with Burt and a band with Raymond. That band imploded, so I said, ‘Let’s bring Burt.’ I was doing drum machines. Me and Burton had another band with a drummer, but for Fear Factory, we did the songs that we had from mine and Burt’s band. We brought them into Fear Factory and we did it with a drum machine.

Rex_84: How did you come up with the name Fear Factory?

Cazares: Raymond got hurt in a motorcycle accident. Me and Burt were roommates at the time did the songs on a drum machine. Another one of our roommates, Robert Murray—a DJ in San Francisco, came up with the name, Fear Factory.

Rex_84: How do you feel about being called a “death metal band” in the early days?

Cazares: We never considered us to be a death metal band, even though we had death metal elements. We called ourselves, back in the day, industrial grind. We tried to come up with a different name other than just calling it a death metal band. But when we were on Roadrunner, back in the early ‘90s, they had Obituary, Deicide, Suffocation, Immolation. They had all of those bands, so when Fear Factory came out with the first record, they put us in there with all of those bands, but we were different. So it was a good thing and it was a bad thing. It was a good thing because we stood out from all those bands, even though we were heavy like that, we stood out because of the melodic vocals.

Rex_84: How did people feel about Burton’s dual-vocal style?

Cazares: That was a good thing and a bad thing because some people hated it and some people loved it, but the people that hated it, eventually ended up liking it. “When I first heard your band, that melodic bullshit, what’s up with that? Why are you singing melodically in death metal shit?” Then a few months later, we’re back on the road opening up for Obituary: “You know what? I hated that shit at first, but now I like it! Something about it, I like it.” So it kind of grew on people. It was a good thing. There are still the purists that don’t really like it, but whatever.” That set the standard for where so many bands do it today. There are so many melodic death metal bands, metal core bands, pop metal bands, you name it. They are doing that duality of the melodic and the heavy—screaming and melodic. Whatever, they are doing that combination. It just comes in many different forms. If Burton had put a patent on an idea, he would be a rich man right now. There were some European bands that did the duality (but they won’t know here) that came out a year later or so after like Soilwork (currently opening for Fear Factory). There were other bands that were maybe singing, melodically, a whole song, but not the combination of the two.

On the first record you can really hear our influences. You hear Napalm Death. You hear Godflesh. You hear some sampling from Ministry-type stuff. You hear the influences that we love. You hear Carcass on songs like “Desecrate.” You hear the stuff that we really liked, but there are some songs in there that stand out like “Martyr,” “Scapegoat,” “Self-Immolation,” “Big God,” and “Scumgrief.” Those were typical death metal songs. They were a little different. Also there was the syncopated guitars with the kick drums.

Rex_84: How revolutionary was your synching up the kick drums to syncopated guitar licks?

Cazares: There were not a lot of bands doing that. People had pieces, here and there, Metallica being one of those in the ‘80s. There was only one song and that’s the song “One.” Just that one part. Why can’t bands do that? So I always had it in my mind that when I did Fear Factory. I wanted to do something like that. The second song on the album you hear is “Leechmaster.” That whole song was all syncopated kick drums with the guitars. We knew we were onto something. I wanted to bring that into Fear Factory and I knew I had to get that kind of drummer that could do that. [“Demanufacture] That was when we found who we are, the combination works and the formula we created worked. We were on to something really big here. Burt got better on his vocals. He’s not doing so much of the growls, but more of the heavy vocals, heavy singing. Kind of like when David Vincent went from brutal to a little less brutal, but still aggressive, very clear still, very powerful still. That’s kind of like where Burt went. He got a little more experience on the road. You learn a lot of stuff when you’re touring on the road. We got better. We got tighter. We evolved and Burt’s vocals evolved and it opened a whole new door for us. We got out of the death metal category, lumped in with all the death metal bands, into something more unique and different.”

Rex_84: How did your “Fear is a Mindkiller" EP inspire “Demanufacture?”

Cazares: If you go to the first record, Soul Of A New Machine, that was our way of saying, “here we are! We’re the new kids on the block. We’re trying to make a statement.” Then we did the “Fear Is The Mindkiller” EP between “Soul Of A New Machine” and “Demanufacture,” which was something completely different.” A lot of people hated it and eventually ended up liking it. It was basically techno dance mixes with Burt’s growls with melodic vocals and heavy guitars. Somehow we didn’t care. We just wanted to do what we liked. What we were influenced by. The thing is when we did those remixes that was because the first time we went to Europea, raves were big. People were naked and having a good time, getting fucked up, taking drugs, the band’s getting laid fucking some techno chicks that had nothing to do with us. We were like, “this is a killer scene! We’re getting laid, having a good time.”

Rex_84: I heard some unlikely band introduced you to this scene.

Cazares: We were hanging out with the guys from Pungent Stench They promote a rave in Austria. They make money! We were there, hanging out with them. They were the ones that exposed us to that scene. We were like, “whoa, there is a whole other world!” So we had another influence and we thought why not do this? So we did it and it was cool because in Europe they had a lot of metal clubs, not venues that have shows, but metal clubs where people into metal go. They were just bars that played music. They play all metal music. Our remixes were a hit in Europe like the “Scapegoat” remix, which is called the “Pigfuck Mix” about the police. That was a hit in the DJ clubs. They were playing our song and we were like, “Wow, this is fucking dope!” So we were hanging out in those clubs every time we went.”

Rex_84: How did you arrive at the title “Demanufacture?”

Cazares: At the time there were many bad things going on in LA. From 1992 to 1995 we experienced such disastrous event as the Rodney King riots, the O.J. Simpson trials, earthquakes, mudslides, Ill Niño and fires. All this shit was going on in L.A. and me and Burt looked at each other like “this city is falling apart.” That’s where “Demanufacture” comes from. That’s where the title came from was our surroundings, which is what we saw. It was insane, so we decided to come up with something new. So basically we said, “In order to create something new, you have to destroy the past. Not necessarily to destroy the past, but break it down to create a new future.” So we thought “Demanufacture” was the perfect title. “What was the opposite of manufacture, to make, Demanufacture, to destroy it.” So that’s what we thought. It was perfect. Then we came up with the man-machine concept. Of course, we had it from “Soul of a New Machine,” but it was just a little bit in there.

Rex_84: How important was Rhys Fulbar’s production?

Cazares: In addition to producing the album, Rhys played keyboards. He knew all that shit, samples. He helped us out with that record. Colin Richardson produced the album. Greg Reely mixed the album.

Rex_84: I understand you had problems recording in Chicago.

Cazares: It was also a hard record to make, not to write the songs, but to actually produce it. We went to Chicago. We started out in Chicago and the studio there was piece of shit. We were there for two weeks. The computer that we were using kept erasing everything we recorded. It wouldn’t save it. So we said “Fuck the studio!” We went to this place in upstate New York called Bearsville where Metallica recorded “One.” It was one big building with three studios. Bon Jovi and Faith No More were also recording at this studio. We hung out with the guys in Faith No Mor. Billy Gould, the bass player, produced our second demo [“Demo ‘91”], so we knew him. We knew all the guys. When we were there in the studio, our engineer was on the phone and here comes this guy walking by. He thought it was the runner. We had runners in the studio that go out and get your food or whatever you want. He was like, “Can you go get me a ham sandwich with light mayo?” “Oh no, I don’t work here.’ He said, “Oh, ok.” Then one of our guys came out and saw what happened and he goes, “Do you know who you just asked to get a sandwich?” He goes, “No, who? The runner?” “No, that wasn’t the runner. That was Jon Bon Jovi!” He had no idea who he was.

I have another funny story regarding Bon Jovi. It was a funny story because the drummer from BON JOVI was recording in the room next to us. Here we were, cranking Demanufacture, listening to some of the tracks. The next thing you know the engineer from BON JOVI comes over and knocks on the door. He was like, “Hey man, do you guys mind turning down?” We were like, ‘Why?’ “Because it’s bleeding into the drum mics” on the BON JOVI record. Somewhere in the ambiance in the BON JOVI record that was recorded in 1995 [“These Days”] you can probably hear “Demanufacture” in the background.”

Rex_84: Do you have any other stories about bumping into celebrities in L.A.?

Cazares: Yes. When I was seventeen-years old I worked at a sandwich shop. I used to make sandwiches like Subway, but we had beer. It was like a sports bar/sandwich place. In came Dave Mustaine and Dave junior [Ellefson]. Junior was one of his nicknames. So anyway, they came walking in and I was like (gasps). I started freaking out. I ended up hooking them up with free beer and free sandwiches, hanging out and talking to them. Just like when we walk into restaurants and somebody is like, “Oh shit! Fear Factory is here! Yeah, we’ll hook you up, man! It’s on us. Don’t worry about it. We’ll take care of you.” That’s kind of how I was with those guys. It was cool because years later they would return the favor. They took us out on three tours. That was the benefit of living and working in L.A., I get to meet all these musicians. Just being around and hanging out. Burt and I used to have parties at our apartment. You had guys from Slayer, Tom Araya at my house. You had Shannon Hoon (R.I.P.) from Blind Melon. You had Billy Gould and Jim Martin from Faith No More. You had Igor and Max (ex-Sepultura, Cavalera Conspiracy). We had all of them at my parties. We had girls and friends come over.

Nobody wanted to hear any metal at all. That’s all we hear, so we would put on different shit. We were having a good time, smoking, drinking. The Blind Melon guys were are really good friends when we first started out. We would go support them. They would come support us. It didn’t matter what kind of music the person played, it mattered how cool the person was. Tom Araya would go support them and they would come out to Slayer shows. He’s met them at our house and hung out with them. It was fun. It was one, big mixing pot of musicians that respected each other. The guys in Blind Melon loved Slayer. I can’t say that about the other way around, but they loved Slayer.

Rex_84: What clubs did you frequent back then?

Cazares: We lived in Hollywood, so we would walk to these different clubs. Back in the day, from sometime between ’91 and ’93, Nirvana was playing at a club as small as this club [The Korova in San Antonio, Texas]. Burt is in the front row. There is a picture of him on the back of a live Nirvana record from that time recorded at Roggies. You can see Burt head banging in the picture. He’s also in the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video. He’s in the crowd head banging. That was during the early Nirvana days. We were going to Alice In Chains shows. We went to a Deee-LITE show. We were going to those shows because we lived so close.”

We knew everybody that worked at the club, so we would go hang out, party, look at girls. We went to one place called The Palace. Roggies was a little, small punk rock club. We would go to Helter Skelter, Scream, The Hollywood Palladium. My second gig I ever went to was Slayer, Exodus, Venom in 1985. That was my first brutal gig I went to. The first gig I went to was the US festival with Van Halen, Scorpions, Judas Priest, Ozzy, Motlet Crue, Quiet Riot and Triumph. That was the first gig I ever went to in 1983. That was in San Bernardino, California. Then the second gig was the Slayer, Exodus and Venom so that tells you I went from this metal to this metal. It was fifteen or sixteen going to Slayer and Venom. Then seeing Metallica and Armored Saint back then on the “Ride the Lightning” tour. I missed them on “Kill ‘Em All.” I was too young. I’ve seen so many fucking bands. I saw Megadeth as they were forming.”

Rex_84: (Before ending the interview, Dino wanted to tell another story about the early days of touring, a dirty story.)

Cazares: We had this tour manager who was great at sound, but was a dick as a tour manager. You couldn’t talk to him. He was just an asshole. A fucking asshole! Everyday we fought with this guy. He loved to smoke weed 24/7. We were like, “Does weed chill you out because you’re a fucking asshole?” It did calm him down, but it wasn’t enough. One day this dude in Seattle gave me this really nice bud. I smelled it and thanked the dude and said I would give it to somebody in the crew that likes it. All of a sudden, a thing went off in my head. “Oh, I need to shit in this bud or something and give it to the tour manager. Maybe wipe my ass with it?” I was like, “What am I going to do with this bud? I’m going to fuck this guy up!” This girl was giving me a blow job. I had the weed in my pocket, so before I came, I pulled the weed out and shot a load on the fucking weed. The girl looked at me like “What the fuck are you doing?” She was like, “I’m out of here!” “Fuck you!” I didn’t care because I got what I wanted. In both ways. I put it in a piece of aluminum foil to let it dry up. Then I told everybody on the whole tour—all the Sepultura guys, all my guys, all the opening bands, Fudge Tunnel, everybody. I told them the whole story about what I did to it and said I was going to give it to the tour manager. They were like, “Oh, we’ve got to see this!”

So I went up to the tour manager and said, “You’ve been doing a great job. Someone gave me this weed and I want to give it to you.” He was like, “Really? Really?” I said, “Yeah man, thanks for all your help. You’re busting your ass out here. I’m going to give you this bud.” He’s like, “Alright, cool man.” So he opened it up and smelled it. He was like, “Oh yeah! This is good!” He had a little one-hitter. It looked like a cigarette. He took a piece off and packed it in there. He asked, “Hey, anybody want some”’ And everybody said no. The funny thing is when I gave it to him, everybody came out. Everybody came out to see. Everybody was looking like “What’s going to happen?” So then I gave it to him and he smoked it. There were like thirty people watching. He smoked it and everybody laughed, just bawling. He was like, “Anybody want a hit?” “No, no, no, it’s all good.” “Are you sure? It’s really good.” Everybody is just laughing. So he asked, “Why is everybody laughing.” I said, “We’re just happy. We want to make you happy.” So he said, “Ok, cool.” He had no idea.

So then, like two years later, they had this music convention in Los Angeles. It was called Concrete Foundations Music Festival. I happened to be on an artist panel. It was in front of about three or four hundred people. There were a bunch of different artists. One of the last questions was, “Does anybody have a weird story they want to tell?” One of the guys told a fucked up story about walking on a beach and stepping on a heroin needle and got high. That’s how he got hooked on heroin. It was a band called Flipper. They are old school, kind of sound like Butthole Surfers. So I was like, “How am I going to beat that story?” When they got to me I thought, “I’ll tell the story about the fucking weed!” So here I am, telling the story about the weed in front of three or four hundred people and everybody said, “ew, awe,” even more than the heroin thing. They laughed too. They were grossed out but laughing at the same time. I said, “And to make it even funnier, he’s right outside.” They had bands that were showcasing and they were playing at this festival. He was doing sound outside for one of the bands. I said, “If you want to see who this guy is, he’s right out there at the sound board. He’s just right around the corner.” I was the last one, so people actually left to go see who it was. I saw people walking and looking. They came back to me and said, “Oh, it’s that guy. I know that guy.”

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An avid metal head for over twenty years, Darren Cowan has written for several metal publications and attended concerts throughout various regions of the U.S.

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