During Fear Factory’s tour stop at Underground Arts in Philadelphia, co-founding member Dino Cazares took a few minutes to speak with us before going on stage.
Shockwave magazine: So, Dino, how is the tour going so far?
Dino Cazares: Great. Everything has been going great. I think this is the smallest place we’ve played on this tour.
It looks like a relatively small venue.
Yeah, we’ve never played here before. Obviously, we’ve played Philadelphia many times. But we’re here now, and I’m glad we get to play in Philly again. I’m hoping to get some more Philly cheese steaks today, and we’re gonna kill it tonight. We’ve been killing it every night. The tour’s been killer.
How much longer is the tour?
With Coal Chamber, it’s another week. But then we have another month, so we continue on.
I heard you guys would be going on tour to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Demanufacture.
Well, we’ll do that in Europe in October and November, but there are some talks about doing it in the states. It’s still up in the air, but let’s hope it happens.
Twenty years!! What does it take to keep something going that long?
Well, obviously, this band has been through all types of drama. I was out of the band for a good six years, or however long it was, and me and Burton have a new respect for each other. We got over our differences. The number one key for us is communication.
So it is like a relationship? Is being in a band like being married?
Yeah, being married or even just being roommates. Friends are going to come and go. You’re going to fight or not get along. You have some great times together. It happens to every relationship regardless.
Do you ever wanna kill each other?
Of course, of course!! (Laughs)
Who is the biggest motivator in the band?
We’re both probably pretty much equal in different ways. I’m probably the motivator when it comes to, like, “Okay, let’s go on tour,” etc., and Burton is the motivator before we go on stage [telling us,] “Come on guys! we’re gonna kill it tonight!” [We’re both] different types in different areas.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Of course. We all do. Number one thing is, you wanna do number one and number two. You don’t wanna be on stage and have to do either one. Number two is warm up and stretch out. Definitely stretch out, especially when you head bang and you move a lot on stage, when you’re carrying the weight of a guitar, all those things play into factor with back problems. Especially when you’re playing for over 25 years. Back problems, muscle issues, especially for drummers. Drummers have a lot of muscle issues. You’ll see drummers here tonight wearing pressure tape. It adds pressure to your muscles. When you’re doing one motion all the time, it [can cause] carpal tunnel. So we want to stretch out as much as possible. Sometimes we have masseuses come out and give us massages when we have enough room. Rituals…stay hydrated! Don’t drink alcohol before you go on stage. Number one and number two. And stretch out.
So, talk to us about the new album, Genexus.
What’s your take on it?
It’s better than the last one. It’s not my favorite, though.
You know, every band has a fan favorite and a not so fan favorite. The Industrialist, we had some negativity towards that record, only because we used a drum program. But I thought it was a great record. It was great for what it was. The only reason we didn’t use a drummer on The Industrialist was because we didn’t have one. But, a band like Fear Factory, who sings about technology, sings about the evolution of technology and embraces it, you’d think it would be okay. But it wasn’t for some reason. So now on the new record we have Mike Heller, who’s been with us for three years plus.
I think…the whole technology thing, I get it. I totally get it. But I relate your music with hard, heavy beats.
Yeah, you can create those heavy beats with technology. The thing about it is, how drum programming has evolved. They try and make it human-like, so you make mistakes. You can make a drum program sound more human-like, or sound more machine-like. A lot of people don’t realize, but people can’t afford to go into a recording studio, set up all the mics, pay the engineer, and record live drums. So they do it out of their bedroom. A lot more bands than you think, use drum machines, they just don’t say it. Don’t ask; don’t tell.
Do you have a favorite track on the new album?
That’s a hard question. People ask me if I have a favorite song I like to play live, a favorite song on the album, a favorite song in general, or favorite album. It’s hard because they’re all my babies. I love them all. It changes. But for me, I love them all. I can tell you my wife’s favorite song: “Expiration Date,” the last song on the record.
I almost compare Genexus to Obsolete. It’s kind of has the vibe like you guys are reborn, like a fire has been lit again.
Cool, thanks. I think one of the approaches everyone wanted to do on this record was to give it a little more groove. Theres a lot of groove on this one. I think having Mike lay on it made a difference as far as the feel of the record as well. Obviously, Burton really stepped up to the plate. He really did a great job. You can really feel the passion, like he’s singing with conviction. With a purpose. I think that’s also self-motivation as well when he was doing vocal tracks. Also, it depends on what he’s feeling at the moment. It was like perfect timing for him.
We were going to ask how he keeps his voice intact.
He went through a lot of vocal training in the last year before we did the record. He went through three vocal coaches before he found the right one for him. You can really hear a difference live. The way he was singing, he would hit certain notes and his voice would crack. He couldn’t figure it out. So a lot of times, he would sing flatter because he was afraid to go higher. Now with a vocal coach, he has the confidence, and he knows how to do it now. You feel it more. It’s really great live.
How does it make you feel to know that generations are listening to you guys?
It’s really cool. We’ve been around for two decades. I just want them to get the history as well, not just one record.
I know you’re a seven string guy…
…so how different is it from a six string?
It’s much different. When I first got the seven string guitar back in 1995, once I really got into it, I went with a company called Ibanez Guitars. I’ve been endorsed since 1996. I pretty much embraced it and learned it. Obviously, it has the one extra string, and the two for the eight. You learn the harmonies, the octaves, the highs and lows. It becomes a party after while.
Would it be easier if you went back to six strings?
Easier, yes. But they’re so tiny to me.
Your songs wouldn’t sound the same if you went back.
Well, they’d have to tune the guitar down, and figure it out that way. But a lot of times, because six string guitars are shorter scale max and smaller, it sounds “floppy.” You know, we didn’t consciously try to make each song on the new record [sound similar to songs from past records]. We didn’t notice it til after we did it. As the songs started to develop, we were like, “Wow, Soul Hacker is kind of like Edgecrusher”…We didn’t notice it ’til afterwards. It’s like the best of the past and present.
With that said, we were quickly running out of time.
I’d like to send a big thank you to Dino for taking the time to speak with us, and to his wife, Jennifer, for the ice cold water on a blistering hot day.
Until next time, readers.