Brendan Crabb (a.k.a. Spiritech) of PyroMusic.net recently conducted an interview with FEAR FACTORY frontman Burton C. Bell. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
PyroMusic.net: How did the [South American] tour go then, seeing as it was the first proper shows for this new FEAR FACTORY lineup?
Burton C. Bell: Yeah, it was fantastic. Great crowds, great audiences, we sounded awesome. The fans were really, really happy to see us and we sounded great.
PyroMusic.net: Can you tell us a bit more about [the new video you just filmed]?
Burton C. Bell: Yeah, we just spent the past two days shooting a video for a song called "Fear Campaign" that's on the new "Mechanize" album. It's about... it's a really ambitious video, it's way different than anything we've ever done and I'm really excited about how it's going to turn out. But it's based upon the fear... basically, the campaigns that the media has been doing for the past couple of years, inundating us with fear and terror and presidential campaigns and their other motives (laughs).
PyroMusic.net: Interesting. Now, with Dino [Cazares, guitar] having been out of the band for a number of years, were you expecting a lot of eye-rolling and uncertainty from people when you announced that the two of you were working together again?
Burton C. Bell: No, I didn't expect any uncertainty, because Dino and I are the founders of FEAR FACTORY and it was Dino's sound, or Dino's style that really created the sound of FEAR FACTORY. So I didn't expect any uncertainty, I just would have.... one of the experiences is that people have been very excited and very anxious what we have created for this new album.
PyroMusic.net: There's been a lot of media coverage of the legal banter between the two camps. Has that all been settled now and are you on good terms with Raymond [Herrera, drums] and Christian [Olde Wolbers] now?
Burton C. Bell: The legal issues the fans don't need to worry about. All they need to know is that FEAR FACTORY has not been stopped and we are touring. We have been touring, we have a new record coming out and whatever legal issues are going on the fans don't need to know about it.
PyroMusic.net: Without trying to push the point, are you on good terms personally with those guys now?
Burton C. Bell: I am not on good terms with those guys; they fucked me over.
PyroMusic.net: Do you care to elaborate any further there?
Burton C. Bell: I'm not elaborating. I made a statement a few months ago and I'm [sticking] to that statement.
PyroMusic.net: When you started writing the new album, did you find that the songwriting chemistry that [you and Dino] had clicked again pretty quickly or did it take some time to re-develop?
Burton C. Bell: No, it was really strong, there was a real high creative energy going on. Him and I really clicked together like no time went by at all. And the fact that Gene Hoglan is there in the room with us playing drums, it's just very, very exciting. So it was real easy.
PyroMusic.net: You mentioned Gene — his track record speaks for itself, but what new elements did he bring to the band on this album?
Burton C. Bell: I think the new element is maturity. The fact that Gene Hoglan is really one of the top five metal drummers around — it definitely brings a different flavor to the drumming, but the sound is still very much FEAR FACTORY. But the new element is like a sense of maturity. The fact that all of us have been playing, writing, arranging, producing and just as (being) musicians for 20 years, you can hear it. There's a decisive element, there's a real focused creative energy on this record. You can really hear it.
PyroMusic.net: Obviously Byron [Stroud, bass] was a member of the band since "Archetype", but how did this lineup take shape?
Burton C. Bell: Well, when Raymond declined to be in the band with me and Dino I had to find another drummer. I started auditioning people and going round asking people; I wanted to think of the right drummer. I talked to Dino, I talked to Byron and Byron goes, "Why don't you ask Gene?" And I thought... it took me all of about 30 seconds, like, "Hey, that's a good idea". And so I got his number and called him. Gene and I have been friends for a while, FEAR FACTORY's toured with STRAPPING YOUNG LAD a couple of times over the past ten years and just being around them. So I just called him up and talked to him for a bit and asked what he thought. He totally liked the idea, so it was kind of easy really.
PyroMusic.net: Were you expecting any kind of backlash from fans of both bands, people saying, "It's just going to sound like STRAPPING YOUNG FACTORY" or something like that?
Burton C. Bell: Well, I've been in this industry long enough to understand that there is always going to be a backlash from somebody, you know? You're not going to please everybody. So yeah, I expect some kind of backlash, I expect some kind of negativity, but on the other hand, I expected a lot of positivity and a lot of excitement. So you can't please everybody, right? (laughs) But when they hear this, there is no doubt that it sounds like FEAR FACTORY. It doesn't sound like STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, it doesn't sound like DETHKLOK, it doesn't sound like DIVINE HERESY. It's FEAR FACTORY and there's no doubt about it. To all those people who have doubts, just wait and hear the album. Then you can tell me what you think.
"Powershifter" audio stream: