Robert Williams of Metal-Rules.com recently conducted an interview with FEAR FACTORY/ARKAEA guitarist Christian Olde Wolbers. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal-Rules.com: If I understand correctly, FEAR FACTORY is temporarily on hiatus so that Burton C. Bell can focus on his side project ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS. Do you have any timeframe of when we can expect FEAR FACTORY to fire on all cylinders again?
Christian: We're talking here and there about what the possibilities are and when we will start the machine back up. He (Burton C. Bell) is still doing ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS and he has family as well…he has two newborns and Raymond [Herrera, FEAR FACTORY drummer] and I are doing ARKAEA right now. We had all this music written that we kinda originally wrote for FEAR FACTORY. I didn't wanna have it sit there and …sometimes it's like wine it gets better the longer it sits there, I just feel like I wanna get it out. A very good friend of mine who is also in one of the first bands I ever produced called THREAT SIGNAL — Jon Howard — he's a great singer from Canada. I asked him if would be interested to do the project and sing on this record and it seems like this has become a full-time band. Honestly, deep in my heart... and this is no bullshit, I feel like this ARKAEA record is gonna blow away the last three FEAR FACTORY albums. It is that good.
Metal-Rules.com: You've certainly stayed busy in FEAR FACTORY's downtime, you've produced and engineered BLEED THE SKY's latest album "Murder The Dance", you've also helped out GOD FORBID in the studio and taught guitar lessons in addition to playing in two other bands, did I miss anything? Where do you find the time?
Christian: I also found time to talk to you today! (laughs) Luckily I don't have an everyday job. I wake up and I breath and sleep and eat music everyday. I like to stay busy and I'm just lucky to be able to do music everyday. ARKAEA right now is my main priority. We just finished cutting all the drums. We already got bass tracks and vocals. I'm gonna get my gear out and start doing guitar tracks. With this ARKAEA record, we're gonna stay busy until the end of the year. It's scheduled for release on March 10th (2009) through Koch Records. My drummer owns FLEETWOOD MAC's old studio…that they did a couple of really big albums in through the '70s and '80s. He owns that studio so basically we have this facility to our availability 24 hours a day. You know, our drums, everything…our amps…everything is set up in the drum room. It's kind of like when you see those METALLICA clips on YouTube of them rehearsing in their own studio…everything is set up properly…that's kind of what we have now. It's kind of cool, I can always come back every day and listen…take my work home and listen to things in my studio at the house. A-B my guitar sounds. I'm actually going to do things a lot simpler on this ARKAEA record. Usually I stack four guitars left and right. Like two on each side. This time I'm gonna do one left and one right which is different for me but I found that it brings out a lot of the drums better and some of the other instruments so… I'm actually gonna change my recording technique a little on this next album. I'm adding a lot more overdubs which is something I'm not very accustomed to. Which is really cool for me to do. Bands like MUSE that really inspired me and DEFTONES over the years and…I kinda wanna start adding a little more. This ARKAEA record is a heavy record that has a lot of melody and a lot of groove and openness and stuff…it really experiments and definitely a lot more guitar sounds. It's a brand new band. I just want to make this the best record it can be. Raymond, my drummer, he would never, ever say this unless it was the truth…but actually he finished his last drum track last week and he kinda looked at me and he shook his head and he goes, "Man, I think this is one of the best records I've ever played on." Like he really raised the bar. I looked at him and I go "I kinda feel like this record is better than the last three FEAR FACTORY albums." And he goes "I have never done anything in FEAR FACTORY that I've done in this record. I've done some crazy shit in FEAR FACTORY but on this record I've really pushed the bar." It was really hard for him. You know every band always says "This new record's gonna be better than our last" but I feel this is better than our last three. (laughs) The attitude and the vibe and how all of us are coming together and our singer's hungry, he's young. He's not afraid to come back in and rewrite the song five times if he has to, you know? He's really talented and he's a great singer with a great range. I haven't heard too many singers that still have that really high range like Chris Cornell, all those guys sing on a pretty higher note than usual standard in the industry. They're up there as far as lung power. The singer that we're working with in ARKAEA, Jon, he has that as well and it's refreshing to …you can hear the notes. I can't even sing those notes.
Metal-Rules.com: Back in 2003, Jason Newsted [ex-METALLICA], who was at the time playing bass for Ozzy Osbourne's band, parted ways with the Prince Of Darkness and ended up being replaced by Rob "Blasko" Nicholson. I think a lot of people don't know that before they settled on Blasko you were jamming behind the scenes with Ozzy, Zakk Wylde and Mike Bordin. This is a big what if, but if you would have landed that gig, do you still think you'd have the freedom to be doing everything your doing right now? In hindsight are you kind of glad in a way that you weren't chosen as the new bassist?
Christian: Probably not. When I see Blasko, he runs a management company so pretty much all he's up to is just Ozzy… I had the Ozzy gig. It was mine…and I kinda gave it away. (Laughs) They called me and I thought I had to audition and they were like "No. You're in. Learn the songs, here's a CD." They sent me like eighteen CDs. They said, "Come to rehearsal and we're gonna pick six songs to play." But they didn't tell me which songs. So I had to sit there and learn all these songs. I had to learn all of the different bass players' feel and I called Rob (Blasko) a few times and I was like, "Dude, what do I do with this?" and he went "Dude, just do it like this." Or "Put your own feel into it." Once I went to rehearsal... me, Zakk and Mike Bordin clicked instantly. We already were friends and stuff and we knew each other… FAITH NO MORE and FEAR FACTORY go way, way back since the early days in FEAR FACTORY. Billy Gould was one of the first people besides Ross Robinson that produced the FEAR FACTORY demo before we got signed. So there's a lot of history there and Zakk, he's a real cool guy he looked at me and he was like, "Man, that's it." He was kinda happy when I showed up. He was happy to see me. Then I told the Ozzy camp that I was possibly not gonna be able to do it, because I just switched over to guitar in FEAR FACTORY and we just wrote an entire album and reformed our entire group, I felt really bad leaving Raymond and Burt in the dark and moving on to Ozzy's camp just because I got a really nice gig and leave everything behind. It didn't feel like the right timing for me because I would have loved, I mean, it felt really good and we had fun playing the songs and I was on "The Osbournes", the TV show, rehearsing…it's a great gig but at the time when I denied the gig, Ozzy had an accident about a week later. The quad bike accident. So then he was out for a long time so then I felt like maybe I made the right decision. I would've been sitting at home and I know those guys were sitting at home for a while. Now FEAR FACTORY has been in downtime for so long I'm like, "Man, I wish I was in Ozzy." (Laughs)
Read the entire interview from Metal-Rules.com.