Vocalist Burton C. Bell of Los Angeles cyber metallers FEAR FACTORY was interviewed on the August 3-5 edition of Full Metal Jackie‘s nationally syndicated radio show. You can now listen to the chat using the audio player below.
To see a full list of stations carrying the program and when it airs, go to FullMetalJackieRadio.com.
Full Metal Jackie: Let’s talk about the new album, “The Industrialist”. It’s the second album written by Dino [Cazares, guitar] and [you] since reuniting in 2009 after what was a seven-year split. It’s kind of funny I was at the show that you guys sort of started talking again.
Burton: I remember it was the MINISTRY show at the House of Blues. I remember that because you had come up to me and was like, “I think Dino is gonna be here,” and I’m like, “Okay.” [laughs] But yeah, you were a witness to that whole thing and that’s where it all started. Dino and I just kind of buried the hatchet and it was the best thing that we ever did.
Full Metal Jackie: Thank goodness that you did; we’ve got this great record, “The Industrialist”. What do you hear on this record that you’ve never heard on a FEAR FACTORY album?
Burton: Never? Wow, I hear a real cohesive nature about it. There’s something so tight about this record — it’s very natural even though it was a focused and a very deliberate album that we were writing and it all came very naturally to us. We were very focused, and I think that word right there is the one thing that is on this record that doesn’t really appear on any other record — the focus of the music, the sounds, the aggression and the concept and just everything. Everything had its purpose and we knew exactly what we were doing, we knew exactly what we had to do.
Full Metal Jackie: Fans and many bands call FEAR FACTORY pioneers of industrial music. Do you embrace that praise or does it make you feel uncomfortable?
Burton: I don’t embrace it and it doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable. I just like to help educate people. FEAR FACTORY took a sound of industrial and moved it forward. Industrial music was around before FEAR FACTORY came about and I could name a lot of bands I liked in the past, but we definitely took it to another level. What MINISTRY was, I think we took that to a whole different level and made it our own sound. There was a lot of industrial metal bands, but I think FEAR FACTORY definitely made its niche and its genre and maybe created its own sound.
Full Metal Jackie: How does Dino impact both what you do as a vocalist and a lyricist?
Burton: In music history, there’s always duos that have a chemistry between them that you can’t explain. There’s a spark that only really exist in that arena of music and talent and interest of really moving forward with career. Dino and I became friends before we were in FEAR FACTORY, we lived in a house together but we became friends because we shared a musical vision, we shared the same feelings, we shared the same vision of philosophy towards music of sound and conceptually as well. We’ve always talked about what we liked to do and what the sound should mean, not just on a sonic level but on a deeper level on a philosophical level. Believe it or not, Dino is a very deep individual, he really takes the sound to a whole other dimension and where I take it lyrically, he takes it sonically. We’re just able to talk and between him and Rhys Fulber [producer] who’s been really an integral member since 1992. The three of us really sit together and we’re able to discuss ideas and sounds. I come up with ideas and lyrics and words and we really sit and talk about it. We talked about the title FEAR FACTORY. When we came up with the title FEAR FACTORY and what it means and that’s the question we always ask: “What does it mean?”
Full Metal Jackie: Does the camaraderie between musicians affect a band’s music more than their actual musical ability?
Burton: Wow, that’s a great question. I think so. Dino is like a baseball coach; he knows how to push people in a positive nature to get the best out of them. I, as Dino‘s friend, I push him as well. I offer different ideas or different perspectives that really makes him sit back and think. It’s the camaraderie between us both that only two friends who’ve known each other for 22 years can achieve. We’re not just bandmembers, we are business partners, we’re friends in arms fighting the world to show our musical talents and what we want the music to express. So the camaraderie really pushes the band.
Full Metal Jackie: I want to talk about some of your other projects. You guys are always involved in different things. How are you able to focus and distinguish the projects that you’re working on?
Burton: For me, it’s just easy. FEAR FACTORY definitely has its mindset; it’s something I’ve been doing for years so I know what it requires. My other projects — there’s THE WATCHERS then CITY OF FIRE. It’s really… To go back to the last question, the camaraderie that I have with the different members of those bands and what we want to express with that music. FEAR FACTORY, I have my camaraderie with Dino and there’s a comradery in CITY OF FIRE and THE WATCHERS. It’s all different beasts.
Photo credit: Stephanie Cabral