Interview by Alan Daly
© Olga Kuzmenko
Photos by Olga Kuzmenko
We chatted with Dino Cazares of Fear Factory before their Dublin show on the Demanufacture 20th Anniversary tour. He talked about that seminal album, their new album Genexus, as well as their recent tour bus crash in Germany.
Alan: It’s great to see you back in Dublin. We’ve seen you in the SFX, the Ambassador and here in the Academy the last time you played.
Dino: Yeah, I remember one time playing in some small bar, years ago. It was around 1995-96. Is there any other venue that’s bigger than this place?
Alan: There’s the Olympia.
Dino: Ok. Because it’s sold out here tonight.
Alan: Well, for me in particular, a huge highlight of tonight’s show will be the Demanufacture album in full. I think there’s a lot of people who fell in love with that album twenty years ago.
Dino: It’s definitely something very special. That’s why we’re here to celebrate it. And that’s why we’re touring the world on it. Some people have said we’re taking a big chance touring on an old record when we just put out a new record. But for us, we wanted to celebrate and honour the record that really was a breakthrough record for us. A lot of people didn’t hear us before Demanufacture. Soul of a New Machine came out and made a little bit of a dent, but as soon as Demanufacture came out, it blew up. We wanted to honour it within the year of the twentieth anniversary. But tonight, at the same time, we’re using this also to launch the new record as well. Playing three or four new songs per night from the new album and Burt [Burton C. Bell] talks about the new record live and introduces it. I think that people get it.
Alan: Several other bands have done similar things with milestones for big albums, so I don’t think it’s too much of a gamble really. So Genexus is doing really well. It even showed up on the Irish charts.
Dino: It’s really hard for me to keep up with all the charts across the world. We don’t necessarily worry about that kind of stuff. If it happens, that’s great; that’s amazing. If it doesn’t happen, we don’t let that discourage us. We just go on and do our business, and we’re happy that some people really like Genexus. Every time you make a record, you just don’t know how it’s going to be perceived. You’re hoping that it’s going to do well, and so far, Genexus is doing quite well, for us. Especially in this day and age when CD sales have pretty much become obsolete, it’s doing quite well. We’re very excited about that.
Alan: Matthew DeVries left the band not so long ago…
Dino: Yeah, Matthew had some personal choices that he needed to make and one of them was to be home with his family. In order for him to have custody of his kids, he had to be home. It was a hard decision for him, but family’s first! So we got my boy Tony Campos. I’ve known him for twenty years plus. We have a band together called Asesino and it was an easy decision because, one, I know he can play. He can play everything I play. He has my picking style down. He has played in a thousand other bands; Soulfly, Ministry, Prong, Static-X, I could keep going on. When Matt was making that decision and letting us know, he happened to mention it to Tony. And Tony goes “Hey, Matt’s going to be leaving soon. So what’s up?” and I said “You’re in!”
Alan: We spoke with Tony when he was in Dublin about eighteen months ago with Soulfly, and I had asked him about Asesino, and he said “Oh, Dino’s working on a new album with Fear Factory. He’s busy”. But now that you guys are on the same schedule, it sounds like Asesino might come to life again in Fear Factory down-time?
Dino: Yeah, we’re actually doing a show four days after we get home from this tour. So we’re doing an Asesino show on December 18th at the Whisky a Go Go, and then in January we’ll start doing a new record. Schedules are lined up. Tony has one show with Ministry on New Year’s, but after that, we’re free.
Alan: Looking back over the years, I know you worked with Max Cavalera in Nailbomb. How did Max take to Tony jumping ship from Soulfly to join Fear Factory?
Dino: I never asked him. That’s a question for Tony, because he had to tell them, but I assume it’s ok. Max knows that me and Tony are really good friends.
Alan: The theme of man versus the machine is prevalent throughout the Fear Factory repertoire. Is that something you see as a potential reality, or is it something that just makes a nice storyline?
Dino: There’s different aspects of “the machine”. The machine being technology is one of them; how our technology is evolving and the good and bad of that. Right now, Stephen Hawking and a group of scientists are trying to ban the singularity process where man and machine become one. So that’s a battle in its own way. But we also talk about the government machine, conspiracy theories, 9-11. There are other types of machines. There’s a religious machine. But the main theme, yes, is technology and how it’s evolving and how cell phones have become our lives. I don’t even use a laptop any more.
Alan: I was going to ask you how it affects your own use of technology. Do you worry about Google knowing where you are 24/7? Do worry about big data?
Dino: I don’t worry about it, because if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen anyway. There are certain people who try to stay off the grid, but it’s impossible unless you want to be a bum on the street and have no identity. Then that’s a different story. You know, the government could have access to anything if they want it.
Alan: While you’re on tour, I see you do meet and greets with fans. What’s the craziest die-hard fan you’ve seen?
Dino: There’s a guy who flew all the way from Chile for tonight’s show and for London. That’s pretty crazy. That’s a long flight. People come up with amazing tattoos. In Manchester, some kid had his whole back tattooed with the Demanufacture album cover. That’s amazing. We were just in Russia, this kid had my face on one leg, and Burt’s face on his other leg. On his calves. And they came out really good. I have a picture here [Dino shows the photos on his cell phone].
Alan: Is that your signature there too?
Dino: Yeah. I guess we had met the guy a few years ago, and I signed his leg right there before he got the tattoo, and then next thing you know he gets my face tattooed there, and I see him again, and I’m like “Holy shit!”
Alan: When you all got together in a room to rehearse Demanufacture, were there any tracks that took you by surprise? Like an old friend you hadn’t seen in a long time?
Dino: ‘H-K’. Fucking amazing track. It’s probably the hardest song on the record, but it’s just relentless and it goes over really well live. Another song that was a sleeper… I call it a sleeper, because a sleeper is a song that’s not that big a deal as a song until you play it live, and then it just wakes up… ‘New Breed’. Great track. The kids go nuts on it. We might have played it a few times here and there. We’ve always done ‘Demanufacture’, ‘Zero Signal’, ‘Replica’ and ‘Self Bias Resistor’. Those four songs have always been in the setlist, and everything else after that got ignored. It just happens. When you’ve got so many records, you’ve got to pick the best songs from each record.
Alan: I guess that’s why these anniversary shows are so special, because we get to hear all the tracks that don’t get played live often.
Dino: Exactly. ‘A Therapy for Pain’ – big epic outro song. I see people crying and singing it live.
Alan: If there was one album that changed your life, be it one of your own, or one from your childhood, what would it be?
Dino: Well there are many albums that have made slight changes in my life. Records that I first discovered, records that made me want to play music, records that made me want to play guitar, but when Demanufacture came out was when my life really changed. The band went to a whole new level. We experienced parts of the world where we were like the Beatles, and we literally had to run away from girls. Obviously twenty years ago, we were much younger and thinner and faster. Those are life experiences that a lot of people don’t get to experience. It was insane. And then we went to a whole new level when Obsolete came out. That was another big record. We were playing in front of 5000 people a night, and it was crazy. Those two records were probably the most life-changing in my life.
Alan: I think Genexus feels like it fits in well with Demanufacture and Obsolete.
Dino: It’s cool, because Genexus feels, for want of a better word, like a throwback to those days. It feels like that again. And also it opened doors for us in other ways. There were countries that we had never gone to. On this record, we’re getting to go to countries like Tel Aviv, China and India. We loved India – People were warning us “Don’t go there. It’s going to crazy. You’re going to get sick”. We went there and we had a blast. It was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had, just hanging out there.
Alan: And you played in Paris a couple of weeks ago…
Dino: We played there five days after the terrorist attacks.
Alan: Did it make you think twice about playing those shows?
Dino: We talked about it, but we thought, this is exactly what they want you to do; to be scared and not to play. That’s why they’re called terrorist attacks because they want to cause terror. We said fuck it, let’s just do it. We talked to the promoters, and they said “Please come, please play. We want you to play.” People want to get back to their normal lives. The show was sold out. We get there, a very emotional experience, but there were 88 people that bought tickets and didn’t show up. It could have been for a number of reasons; it could have been they were scared, maybe they couldn’t get a ride. Who knows. But we’re not going to stop.
Alan: You were also involved in a tour bus crash. It’s great that none of you were hurt. Tell us about that.
Dino: Yeah, a few days after, we got into a bus crash. We never really got the true story. We don’t know what happened really. Our bus driver said he choked on a piece of candy and he hit another car. But he could have been texting, he could have fallen asleep. We don’t know.
Alan: And were you guys asleep at the time?
Dino: Oh yeah, we were all asleep. He hit another car, and it literally stopped the bus. It wasn’t a car actually, it was a road service truck. It was a big Sprinter van. They were picking up traffic cones off the road, and he hit that. And those things have really big reflectors and lights. So I’m thinking he fell asleep. That’s just me saying that. But I don’t know. He hit that and it completely stopped the bus. So everybody went forward and our feet hit the wall, and then everybody tried to run downstairs but there was all glass so we had to put our shoes on. Everybody was ok. Just a little shaken up. A couple of guys didn’t even get up; they just stayed asleep. A couple of hours later we got a new bus and the show must go on.
Alan: We spoke with Logan Mader from Once Human, one of tonight’s two support acts earlier, and I gather you guys go way back.
Dino: Yeah he was in Machine Head and we’ve known them from back in 1993.
Alan: You’re also supported on this tour by our local band Dead Label. How did that come about?
Dino: Good question. Claire, their drummer, says she likes to bug people. She’s basically out there trying to promote her band. And I guess she just kept calling our booking agent until he finally said yes.
Alan: And what do you think of them?
Dino: They’re great! I never heard of them until about a month before the tour started. And I was like “Oh, Dead Label. They’re going to be touring with us. I’ll check them out”. We didn’t make that decision; it was our booking agent. I guess he saw something good in them. But I’m glad he made it because it was a great choice. After I saw their video and downloaded a couple of songs, I thought “This is pretty good. It’s going to fit well”. And they’re great people. I wish that we would have picked them but I can’t take credit for that. I actually tweeted the band about a month before the tour, saying “Congrats, you got the tour, your stuff’s really cool.”
Alan: Well I know it’s going to be a great show tonight with three great bands. Thanks for taking the time to chat. Have a great show.