DINO CAZARES: Having New Singer In FEAR FACTORY Opens Doors To Perform Any Song From Catalog
November 13, 2022
In a new interview with Heavy Debriefings, FEAR FACTORY guitarist Dino Cazares spoke about his band's search for a new vocalist following the departure of Burton C. Bell more than two years ago. Regarding how having a new voice will affect the setlist for FEAR FACTORY's upcoming tour as the support act for STATIC-X, he said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "We're definitely gonna be throwing in our biggest, most streamed song, which is 'Linchpin'; we're gonna be able to finally put that in the setlist. And we're gonna be able to do a lot of songs like that, stuff that we haven't been able to do in a while. [The new singer has] got an amazing voice, which definitely opens doors for us to be able to go and pick and choose any song that we want and add it to the setlist.
"When we're doing this tour with STATIC-X, we've only got 50 minutes, so we're gonna be trying to squeeze in as much from our catalog as possible — at least doing two songs or one main song from each record," he explained. "Of course, you can't do 'Shock' without 'Edgecrusher'. You can't do 'Demanufacture' without 'Replica'. 'What Will Become?' and 'Linchpin' from the 'Digimortal' era. So there's a lot of songs for us to choose from — 'Poweshifter', 'Dielectric'; there's a lot of songs. So we're gonna try to squeeze 'em all in there and try to not talk as much, just so we can get another song in there."
Dino added that he is "very excited" about working with a new vocalist. "The singer that we have now, he's a multi-instrumentalist; he can play more than one instrument — guitars, bass, drums, keyboards — and he sings," he said. "Yeah, he's a multi-talented guy, and I can't wait to introduce him to the world. And it's gonna be killer. It's gonna be great… He's much more of a musician than I am. [Laughs]"
Cazares went on to say that he knew what to expect from a vocalist search once Bell had announced his decision to leave FEAR FACTORY. "It's nowhere that I haven't been before," he explained. "I've done [my other band] DIVINE HERESY, where I've been through a couple of singers, so I've gone through stuff like that before — vocalist change, member change. I've done that. For various reasons, people leave, people come and go. That's just how it is. People's lives change; people have a different path they wanna go. And that's all fine with me. I'm still here. My passion is with metal, industrial and all the other elements that come along with it. My passion is still there to write these heavy riffs, make these killer melodic choruses, sick double bass, syncopated guitars and drums. My passion is still there for all that, and I'm excited to actually do a new FEAR FACTORY record and fucking complete it with the new singer. So I can't wait."
Earlier this month, Dino told Sonic Perspectives that he and his bandmates have commenced work on the follow-up to 2021's "Aggression Continuum" album. He said: "We started pre-production about a week ago. So right now we're just demoing everything. And then we'll be recording probably early next year. But then I've gotta go on tour… We've gotta go on tour starting in late February, and we're gonna be on tour till at least June. So we probably be able to finish the production sometime until July, and then shortly after that hopefully get the record out as quickly as possible."
Cazares also addressed the fact that FEAR FACTORY's upcoming album will be the band's first to feature the group's new vocalist, the identity of whom has not yet been revealed.
"You wanna take your time [working with the new singer]," he explained. "You wanna make sure you find someone that best fits the job. It's not anything new for me; I've started many other bands with other singers, and I've had to replace singers before. But not in a band like FEAR FACTORY. So, yeah, it's definitely very challenging, and I'm definitely up for the challenge. I understand there's probably gonna be some sort of backlash, but there's a backlash with everything. So, yeah, I'm up for the challenge. I'm not planning on changing anything. I'm gonna pretty much keep what FEAR FACTORY is known for and try to honor the legacy of who we are."
Asked if musical chemistry, stage presence and personality were all factors in his decision when selecting the new vocalist of FEAR FACTORY, Dino said: "All of the above, especially when you're working with people that you don't know. Especially someone like the singer, who I don't know that well. When I hired him, I didn't know him that well. Of course we've spent some time together and we got to know each other. You wanna make sure you're not making a bad decision, 'cause this is gonna be something that's gonna last a while. Plus, relationships are relationships. You can't always control how things are gonna turn out. You try your best. And you put your right foot forward and you just keep moving."
Cazares also confirmed that FEAR FACTORY is currently "label-less" after working with Nuclear Blast for the band's last two albums. "We don't have any record company. FEAR FACTORY doesn't have any new record company right now," he said. "We haven't signed any new deals. And we are in the process also of negotiating and evaluating different offers that we have. That's another thing too. I didn't realize that this year that our record contract had expired with Nuclear Blast. But they still have the obligation to promote this record, 'Recoded' [the recently released collection of remixes of the songs from 'Aggression Continuum']. But now, moving forward, we're exploring our options and it's looking really good. So hopefully we'll get some sort of deal done and be able to get this music out to you as soon as possible."
In September, Cazares told "The Jasta Show" that FEAR FACTORY fans will have to wait a few more months to find out the identity of his band's new singer.
"FEAR FACTORY singer and music will be coming just before the [group's North American] tour with STATIC-X," he said. "End of February is the first show, so just before that we'll be releasing the single and the singer. And then boom — right on the road."
According to Dino, he has been working with the new FEAR FACTORY vocalist for a year. "It's just a lot of developing," he said. "You know, FEAR FACTORY is precious to a lot of people, and so I've gotta make sure that it's right.
"I wanted to release some tracks a while ago with the singer, but then I had nothing behind it — no tour or anything like that — so the hype was gonna die down quick," he explained. "So I wanna do it around a tour; that way you've got something to work. And I just didn't wanna release his name too quick, because no one's gonna care by the time I release a track a year later. So I want it all to be done together."
This past February, former NIGHTRAGE singer Antony Hämäläinen, who unsuccessfully auditioned for the vocalist slot in FEAR FACTORY, claimed in an interview that the new FF frontman is "a person from Italy."
In April, Dino told "The Garza Podcast" that the new FEAR FACTORY singer is emotionally ready to handle the inevitable pushback from some fans that he will get once his identity has been revealed. "I think that they're ready," he said. "When it comes to talent, they're very ready. But 'tour ready' is completely different. Let's hope that… Well, the person that we have has done some touring, but not touring like we do touring. Like, a full U.S. tour can be anywhere from four weeks to six weeks to whatever, then you fly over to Europe and do another four to five weeks, come back to the States, do another tour, then you go to South America and do another few weeks there, then you go to Australia and do another few weeks there, and then you plan for next year. I think one of the other things, too, is when this person is announced, they're gonna have to be able to handle all the criticism. That's gonna be the hard part. 'Well, it didn't sound like Burt [former singer Burton C. Bell].' Well, of course not. I want this person… They do actually sound like Burt — they can handle all the old stuff like Burt — but as far as moving forward, I would like them to have their own identity. We're still gonna have the formula of what makes FEAR FACTORY — for sure — but I want this person to somewhat have his own identity as well."
Pressed about what happened to cause Burton to leave FEAR FACTORY, Dino said: "Good question. I don't know. I think he just lost interest in… I can only assume, because we went through some really heavy lawsuits for four years, and it financially crippled us — personally as well — and I just believe that he lost interest. I think that possibly all the stuff that we went through in FEAR FACTORY was just, like… He's one of those guys, 'Fuck it. I'm out. I quit. Fuck it.' He doesn't come across as a fighter — as somebody who's gonna be, like, 'Fuck it. We went through it. Let's go through it and let's just continue.' I mean, I left the door open for him for a while to come back into the band, but he pretty much said fuck me, Raymond [Herrera, former FEAR FACTORY drummer] and Christian [Olde Wolbers, former FEAR FACTORY bassist] — everybody. Fuck everybody.
"I'm not gonna push it," Dino added. "I'm not gonna push him or nothing like that. Fans ask me all the time: 'Hey, call him up. Just call him up.' Well, if you saw the stuff he said when he left, he's not exactly a phone call away… He left pretty bitter, and that's pretty much where… It looks like he's having a good time being free. So I'm not gonna force anybody to come back or [any] stuff like that.
"Some people want change in their life, but sometimes fans just can't accept that. Fans are, like, 'He was the singer for 30 years. Come back.' That was his decision. No one pushed him out; no one forced him to leave — none of that stuff. That was his decision."
Asked about his previous comment that he was open to hiring a female vocalist for FEAR FACTORY, Dino told Bucketlist TV: "That was true. I auditioned a few women, yes. But it didn't work out — not because they were female or anything like that. Because I wanted to pick whoever was best for the position, and it turned out to be a guy."
Dino also addressed his statement from last year that he wanted to give an "unknown guy a shot" at fronting FEAR FACTORY. He said: "Well, it wasn't like I was only looking for somebody that nobody knew. I was looking for all different [types of singers]. Sure, if the guy turned out to be, or the girl turned out to be, someone that nobody knew and I gave 'em that shot, yeah, great. I was open to all of it, is what I'm saying. Male, female, whatever, known, unknown — I was open to all of that."
In September 2020, Bellissued a statement officially announcing his departure from FEAR FACTORY, saying that he "cannot align" himself with someone whom he does not trust or respect.
Bell's exit from FEAR FACTORY came more than two weeks after Cazares launched a GoFundMe campaign to assist him with the production costs associated with the release of FEAR FACTORY's latest LP.
Bell later told Kerrang! magazine that his split with FEAR FACTORY was a long time coming. "It's been on my mind for a while," he said. "These lawsuits [over the rights to the FEAR FACTORY name] just drained me. The egos. The greed. Not just from bandmembers, but from the attorneys involved. I just lost my love for it.
"With FEAR FACTORY, it's just constantly been, like, 'What?!' You can only take so much. I felt like 30 years was a good run. Those albums I've done with FEAR FACTORY will always be out there. I'll always be part of that. I just felt like it was time to move forward."
In October 2020, Dino issued a statement in which he said that the door for Burton to come back to FEAR FACTORY wouldn't "stay open forever." The guitarist also revealed that Burton "lost his legal rights" to the FEAR FACTORY name "after a long court battle" with Herrera and Olde Wolbers. "I had the opportunity to do something right, and I felt that obtaining the name in full was the right thing to do for the both of us, so after nearly four years we can continue as FEAR FACTORY, to make more records and to tour," he said. "That is why it is sad to hear that he decided to quit and, in my opinion, for whatever issues he has it seems like it could've been worked out."
"Aggression Continuum" was released in June 2021 via Nuclear Blast Records. The LP, which was recorded primarily in 2017, features Cazares and Bell alongside drummer Mike Heller.
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