Fear Factory Interview

This interview was made in Paris the 30th of April 2006.
Kostas has met Fear Factory (Burton, Christian, Byron).


To have Fear Factory back in France to promote his new record “Transgression”, is something very special. The music media were not mistaken there and it’s not less than 9 medias which asked a flood of more or less interesting questions to Burton C. Bell (vocals), Christian Olde Wolbers (guitar) et Byron Stroud (bass).

Spiritribe : How has the tour been going so far ?
I think its been going very well, we’ve been packing out venues all over Europe. We were in the UK and sold out quite a few shows and we sold out last night in Montpellier so everything’s going well. The band has been tighter than ever.

Spiritribe : And the fans’ response to the new record ?
Burton :
It has been slow because the label has not been promoting it very well, but touring has helped. But its an interesting response because every record is different, I suppose some fans like it and some don’t but that is the case with every record.

Has there been a change in your style with this album ?
Burton :
Well every Fear Factory LP has seen a change for the band’s style, the next record will not sound like this one like the previous ones did not sound alike either. So you tell me, are we gonna stay the same? No, we’re gonna do something else.

It’s the first time Fear Factory works with a big producer like Toby Wright.
How was it ? This new record sounds different...
Burton :
Well it’s all a translation really, it is an interpretation and the title of the record, “Transgression” is exactly that. It is an experiment, we have never used a producer like that before and so it has been very interesting experience. Will we do it again? Probably not, but I don’t know. I thought it was great working with Toby Wright, it was an interesting translation that he did.

When you played Ozzfest you introduced the song “Replica” as a song which will never be played on MTV. Do you remember that ?
Burton :
Yes at that point it was true and it never got played on MTV.

And now you have this new song, “Mtvision” which is more for MTV, so how have the things evolved with Fear Factory and the mass media ?
Burton :
Well things are pretty much the same, the song “Mtvision” is not necessarily an attack on MTV because they are not playing the song, it is an attack on MTV because they suck! In the states it is not music anymore, its just stupid shows and stupid pop music.

What about your solo project ?
Burton :
Well I’m nurturing it slowly, I’ve still got a lot to do, its not ready, its independent. The more I play shows the better it gets, so I just want to play shows and get the music together. Its come around.

What will it be like ?
Burton :
You’ll find out! I don’t like comparing it to other bands because its not fair.

Christian, what’s up with Kush ? (Christian & Raymond’s side project with B-Real from Cypress Hill et Stephen Carpenter from the Deftones)
Well it’s just a lot of record company problems and bullshit. A lot of big companies want to have a piece of something and its just too much politics. We’ll see what happens. We have a lot of stuff going on so we’re just laying back from that right now.

Do you still work with Cypress Hill ?
Christian : No I still produce some stuff with B-real on a solo basis. I still produce some beats and stuff.
Cypress Hill are no more are they ?
Christian: Well they’re still around, they have not officially said they are breaking up but I don’t see them making any new records. They still tour, its mainly B-real.

Spiritribe : And how will it work in the band with Byron when Strapping Young Lad will release the new record ?
Burton :
This one is for Crunchy (Byron Stroud)
Byron : Well its gonna be like its been for the past few years really. Both bands are pretty understanding. It seems to be working itself out.
Christian : Ladies and gentlemen the hardest working man in show-business.

Spiritribe : Any plans for a DVD?
Christian :
Yeah there are plans, eventually it will happen. We just released a new album, we want people to get to know this record, and not release all kinds of products that will take them away from “Transgression”. When the time comes we will release a good DVD, a proper DVD, with everything on it from the band’s point of view, not the record company.

Do you still have a covers album project?
We have done some covers, we did a Godflesh cover. There are so many songs we want to cover, we will do some during our next sessions, then collect all the covers and put them on a record or something. So its best that we put some on the side for future releases or bonus tracks.

On Transgression it is the first time you play a solo...
Christian :
Well there were no plans for me to do that but it was done. I put the solo in the song before there was time to do the vocals so it stayed as a solo in “Echoes of my Scream”. It was like a little experiment.
Burton : Well on the next record if there’s time and Christian has more time we might put some more on. This record was done really quickly, there were time restraints on it, a lot of things got overlooked even on my part.

So we’ll take all out time on the next record.
Christian :
Yeah it’ll be released in 2015 (All Laugh).
Burton : No not that long, maybe 2008.

Have you began to work on it ? Do you have any ideas ?
Christian :
Yeah we got some ideas.

Billy Gould of FNM is on this album. What did he bring to the band?
Christian :
Some killer bass lines. (Laughs)
Burton : Another Transgression for FF. We had Supernova and we thought we’d give the song a real meaning. We thought it would be interesting to give the bass lines to someone else. Billy is a friend of FF since the beginning. He made our first demo too. Raymond works with him in the music business. We just asked him as Byron was on tour with Strapping Young Lad in Europe.
Christian : He lives in Paris!
Burton : Billy Gould lives in Paris.
Christian : He’ll certainly be here tonight.
Burton : He was in San Francisco but he accepted our offer and brought some pretty cool stuff to the band!

What represents Transgression in your discography?
Burton :
It’s the sixth album (Laugh). As I said before, it’s a Transgression, for Fear Factory and our sound, it’s a forceful step in experimentation. We thought we were at a pint to try something different. Well do you know the movie “Crash” ? It’s like that, instead of the record telling a full story each song tells a story and then they all come together a paint a whole picture. Each little song is a snippet of a Transgression that happens in our daily lives.

Spiritribe : How did you come to work with the movie “Saw”?
Christian :
One of the directors is a Fear Factory fan, and he thought it would be a good idea. Of course he didn’t know if we were up to working with them, so he asked and we said “yeah!”.

All the Fear Factory albums are pessimistic…
Burton :
I disagree. I would say they’re optimistic. The music is very dark but that doesn’t mean it’s pessimistic, hey I know I wrote them. I think they’re optimistic because there’s a sense of hope in my lyrics. Overcoming the powers that you are struggling against, we’re living in dark times and I try to be optimistic, there is a silver lining.

What kind of reaction do you want to provoke in the listener ?
: Well I want them to just listen and if that conjures up an image, I hope they can see what we’re singing about.

Last year you did the Gigantour where Burton sang “Cemetery Gates” from Pantera live in Dallas. How was that?
Christian :
Dream Theater were really good (Laughs)
Byron : (Laughs).
Burton : Gigantour was interesting. It was our second tour with Megadeth. Nothing to do with dream Theatre. I hate them actually.
Christian : They suck !
Burton : But we met some pretty cool people on that tour like Russel Allen of Symphony X. An impressive singer and a cool dude. Nevermore were excellent. Dry Kill Logic, Life Of Agony, we’ve already toured with them. Dillinger Escape Plan were completely nuts. It was good tour.
Christian : Most tours are cool. You have all the uses and all the bands. Its like a vacation colony where you play in the evenings. Its like a big family on tour, even if you don’t like all the bands (Laughs).
Burton : I sang “Cemetery Gates” with Dream Theater. Actually their drummer (Mike Portnoy) came and asked me if i was interested in doing it. I told him I don’t know the words. Dave Mustaine came for the solo. I didn’t see the footage but I think it was cool. It was cool to hear that Vinnie Paul liked it.

Will Byron play on the next album or will he just remain with you for the live parts ?
Christian & Burton :
Byron : It depends on how available I am. I loved playing on « Transgression » but its time thing.
Burton : I’d like it if Byron could come to Los Angeles to compose a little.
Byron : If we have enough time it should be ok. For « Transgression » we did not have enough time.
Burton : I think it should be ok for the next album.
Byron : I’d love to compose and record with guys. I hope I’ll be available.
Christian : Yeah I fucking hate recording the bass lines!

Anything to say about « The New Black » SYL’s next LP ?
Byron :
Its finished. It sounds good. I don’t know if people will like it but it sounds good to us. Its a cool LP, very Strapping Young Lad.

Spiritribe : Any plans after this tour?
Burton :
I have a new kid, so I’ll take some time off for my daughter. I also have a gig with my solo project Ascension Of The Watcher on 8 June.
Christian : I was going to produce Mnemic but they have no singer.

Interview Kostas
Translation Manu/Kostas

Copyright Hammerock - Spiritribe 1999