Hello, Burton its Rohan from Silver Tiger Media. How are you?
I’m alright man, how are you doing?
I’m really well thank you, It is a pleasure to speak with you and thank you very much for your time.
Your welcome. Thanks for calling.
We are thrilled that you are performing at the upcoming Soundwave. Firstly congratulations on your brilliant career. The start of Fear Factory in 1989-90 must seem like so long ago and you were there right throughout.
Yeah it does seem like a long time ago, and you know, when I think back it seems as though it’s flown by, you know. 24 Years and it has flown by, but it’s been an interesting journey there’s been some ups, downs and some ups again, I proud to be the one guy that’s been there from the very beginning.
Do you recall when you first decided to get into music? When did you first decide music was your thing?
Even before I was in a band, I would never have a typical job. I’d never be a 9 to 5er you know in a suit going to work. I even dropped out of art school to move to California and I always knew that I would be some kind of entertainer, so kind of artist. So once FEAR FACTORY started I knew, like, yep, this is it. This is what I want to do so even before music it was part of my destiny, you know, it’s kind of weird.
Fantastic, and if I can take your lead and avoid working nine to five I’ll be happy.
(Laughing). Yeah exactly. I’ll do what I have to do if it comes to that. I’ll do all the necessary things not to let that happen, but if I had to do it, I would do it.
Indeed. Your voice is so intense, but diverse between clean and growling. Where does that immense skill come from? Is it something you always had?
Yeah, I guess so. It’s just the way I vocalise myself, you know. When FEAR FACTORY started, the band I was in before was a very aggressive style, but with FEAR FACTORY, the music allowed me to be a little more aggressive. When I write, it’s about things that I’m passionate about, that I truly feel strongly about, so It’s not screaming, or vocalising for the sake of screaming, I’m truly representing what’s coming out of my soul. And so it’s not just screaming because that’s the style, you know (growling down the phone) …FUUUUUCK…(both laughing). You know I’m sick of so much shit, so it’s like therapy for me.
And you do it so well. You have signed with Nuclear Blast, which we follow are really happy about. Your upcoming album is eagerly awaited in Australia. Can I please ask you about the upcoming album?
Ah yeah, we are still working on it, longer than expected, but, you know its classic FEAR FACTORY sound, the sound that fans have always expected, but I think because we are taking our time the songs are really well crafted. Without losing the edge or the angst. Without losing the essence of FEAR FACTORY but they are well-crafted songs. We are working on the album cover right now. We have really connected with artist Dave McKean, who did the album cover for Demanufacture and Obsolete, he is working on something. We have an album title that we are happy with which really represents a good FEAR FACTORY title.
(Title not yet released)
Is there a particular subject focus of the album?
It’s based on science fiction, essentially futuristic concepts. It’s bringing the concept of man versus machine around again, but this time, the way I’m thinking about the machine is that it’s fully cognitive and fully understands where its place is and what it needs to do. So the machine has very human qualities now.
It’s a terrific turn of phrase you used earlier, the angst that comes through in the music. Is this album going to differ from previous works in that regard?
Not at all, you know, there is still so much angst that I deal with. Things happen in our lives and around our lives on a daily basis and I think I can say I’m a rather patient man, but things can still bother you and frustrate you and become a little overbearing. All these aspects of what we deal with in life, in general, are still part of the FEAR FACTORY concept.
Yes, and you give people such a tremendous outlet for people experiencing angst in their own lives. Do you feel any appreciation for that?
Yeah. I’m actually honoured when people come up and say that the music and the words, and everything about FEAR FACTORY has inspired them and helped them through some dark times or been through some rough patches, and I feel like, as an artist I have succeeded in a way where I was able to connect with a young person or just a person in general, creatively. That our creation was able to be, as much as it is my therapy, it became their therapy too and so that’s successful to me and I’m very honoured and feel like I’ve contributed very positively to the world. Something to be proud of.
I have to admit that I’ve been caught at the traffic lights moshing away to the Industrialist.
Nice. Yeah, there’s some good tracks on that record too.
Is there something, in particular, you like most about the album so far?
I think the songs that have been written are just really good and very inspirational, so for me, the challenge is to now bring vocals and melodies that can rise up to the great music. I feel like I’m doing a fairly good job so far and just trying to come up with words that are very poignant and very thought provoking, but not confusing and melodies that people can resonate with.
I think you are going to have massive crowds of fans at Soundwave 2015….
I hope so (laughs)
…what do you expect from Australian audiences in particular?
The Australian audiences have always delivered. They come in and they are psyched, happy to see FEAR FACTORY. They sing along with the songs, they show up to the shows, so I expect a great audience like we always have had in Australia.
It’s probably a little selfish of me but I have always wanted to know if there is a favourite track you like to perform?
You know what, my first thought is Zero Signal because it’s always a fun song to play. That song embodies everything that FEAR FACTORY music is about, the song is just fun and the crowds love it. A lot of the fans know it from the Mortal Kombat soundtrack, the fight scenes you know. I think it was Cage and Scorpion (laughs)
Just for a little fun, what would be your ultimate rider for backstage?
Well as long as I got my two bottles of red wine, you know. Two bottles of wine for me, Dino gets a case of Corona, Matt gets his case of a good local brew…I’m not really big on eating at the shows, but nothing really outlandish. A nice shower would be nice.
You are very easily pleased.
(Laughs) I am.
I will be speaking to Dino shortly, is there anything I can ask him that you would love to hear asked? (laughs)
(laughs) Oh gosh, ah… ask him what inspired his industrial riffing.
Oh, terrific. I was hoping it wasn’t something he wouldn’t like put to him, so that’s great. Thank you, Burton.
No, No. I know all the other details in his life. I got those answers.
Do you have one live show you have performed that stands out as paramount?
Yeah, actually there is. The first one that comes to mind is 1999, I believe, on the Obsolete Tour. We were headlining the tour through the United States, playing in New York, a sold out show of 3000 people. I come on stage, and we have the big Fear factory backdrop, and 3000 people, and I love New York City. So I walk out and look at the crowd and it’s like…so overwhelming as the crowd goes sick insane, and just that moment was so overwhelming I had to turn around and catch my breath because I was about to like, cry. It was so fucking unbelievable I had to like compose myself and turn back and really hit it home.
What a tremendous experience.
Yeah, yeah, I still feel that overwhelming, like wow. We have made it. It’s like here we are, you know and it’s beyond words to describe, when something like that can bring a man to tears in front of 3000 people, it’s like whoa, you know. Had to turn around and just compose myself.
Wow. Thank you very much for that insight, Burton…
No, no worries.
…it really is appreciated and I hope we can replicate something similar at Soundwave 2015.
That would be…you know… if it happens I’ll let you know.
Terrific. One final question if I may. I wished to ask about your own musical influence. Is there anyone in particular that has really driven you along throughout the years?
You know, I listen to a lot of music and I have a lot of artists that I’m very inspired by, however, there is one artist that I started following when I was eighteen. His art and his career, and everything he has done in his career has been very influential on me and very influential on me. And I’m trying to model my career path to be like his and that is Nick Cave.
Oh really, wow.
Yep. And I’m not just saying that because he is Australian, I mean it’s no secret I’m a huge Nick Cave fan and I thanked Nick Cave on our first record for inspiration.
I know Australian audiences will love to hear that particularly, and your candour is very much appreciated.
Well, Burton, it’s been an absolute pleasure to speak with you today and thank you again for your time. I’m trying not to be all ‘Fan Boy’ on you, but the kid inside me is leaping about having fun (laughs)
(laughing) That’s excellent Rohan.
Congratulations on signing with Nuclear Blast, we cannot wait for the new album, and we will look forward to meeting up with you at Soundwave.
Thank you, I’ll look forward to meeting up with you too man and thank you for your time.