Ellen Gager of Midwest Excess recently conducted an interview with FEAR FACTORY frontman Burton C. Bell. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
Midwest Excess: I was looking through your influences and your favorite artists, and I just have to ask, what's up with THE POLICE? It doesn't seem like Sting is quite the anticipated source.
Burton C. Bell: "Well, THE POLICE, back in the day, during the '80s, you have to remember, I was in Middle School and High School, and, from 'Outlandos d'Amour' to 'Zenyatta Mondatta' to 'Ghost in the Machine' and 'Synchronicity', those records are really good. They were during a flux of New Wave out of England, and not like THE CLASH, they weren't exactly punk, they had a different vibe to them. I like THE POLICE, they had some good music, they wrote some good songs. As far as the music, they're great musicians. Stewart Copeland, one of the greatest drummers around. Andy Summers, he wasn't like a basic guitar player. I think he influenced a lot of guitar players of our generation to play around the bass line instead of along with the bass line. Other than that, back then, THE POLICE were the shit."
Midwest Excess: I've always been fascinated by the double vocals. Where did you guys get the inspiration for that?
Burton C. Bell: "Well, it kinda funny, it all started off as a joke really. When we first started we were writing songs and it was a death metal industrial grind type of thing going on. So I was doing aggressive vocals, influenced from GODFLESH, NAPALM DEATH, to TAD, I was a big fan of TAD back then. I was into Subpop [artists] more than I was into Earache [bands]. That growly punk type of element, early HELMET, early WHITE ZOMBIE, but GODFLESH and KILLING JOKE also some of my favorite bands. Justin from GODFLESH, he wouldn't really sing, he would have this moaning chant kind of thing, and we were writing this one new song, called 'Big God', and when they started playing this one section, I just laughingly just started doing a singy vocal like a chant over it. I always rehearse with a delay pedal, I always had a delay pedal, that's part of my thing. Afterward, they just stopped like, hold on a sec. So when they just like stopped, they looked at me like, 'Burton,' and I'm like, 'What, did it suck? I'm sorry.' And they were like, 'No, it's kinda like good.' Because I went from like a heavy aggressive tune into chanting, and they're like, keep doin', keep doin' it. So the first song we wrote with that was 'Big God'. So I've just kind of utilized it more often. I never had any vocal training, I just kinda did it. I was always easily able to switch from both."
Midwest Excess: Since it's you that I have here on the phone and you're about to go off on your mini-tour, tell me a little bit more about ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS, because there's not a lot of information out there yet.
Burton C. Bell: "ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS is music from my soul. It's music written by me and John Bechdel, my partner. It's the one thing I can say is truly me. It's a texture of sound, soundscaping type of thing, it's not metal at all. It's very melodic, influenced from the VELVET UNDERGROUND to THE CURE, but there's all different aspects involved, so it's hard to name just a few. But this will be our first actual tour, with a band called STILL LIES DECAY and FALSE ICONS. Basically, STILL LIES DECAY is my backup band for THE WATCHERS, they comprise the rest of the band behind John and myself, and FALSE ICONS is John's other band. So it's very intertwined and very artistic, that's very good. We're all looking forward to this tour; it's going to be very fun."
Read the entire interview at MidwestExcess.com.