Fear Factory - Dual Bias Resistor
By: David E. Gehlke
Vintage Fear Factory, circa mid-90's...
Blistering.com: I saw the packaging for the album and it’s unlike anything you’ve done before. What prompted you to work with a guy like Anthony Clarkson?
Bell: Just getting done [laughs]. He did a really good job on Mechanize and we gave him another opportunity. When Fear Factory works with an artist, we really work hand-in-hand with the guy. It doesn’t matter who the artist is – Dino and I will call the guy up. We’ve done this with every artist we’ve worked with – from Anthony Clarkson to Dave McKeon, we send them lyrics; give him soundbites, and talk visions and concepts. We really get them involved as much as possible in a short amount of time so he understands what the artwork requires. After a couple of tries, he really nailed it. Once we saw the rough draft, we said “Yes,” and he was almost there.
Blistering.com: You have a bunch of extras like sculptures and additional pieces. Is that something you’ve wanted to do for a while?
Bell: That was totally unexpected. That was the label’s idea and I went “Wow!” We were super-impressed. That’s an old-school way of the music industry of doing promo and specialty items. Do something interesting for the fans, do something they can hold onto that’s limited. It’s a very classic way from the music industry of making something stand out.
Blistering.com: I read something recently from Dino where stated how important Rhys [Fulber, producer] has been to this album and previous Fear Factory albums. Can you elaborate upon the working relationship with him?
Bell: Totally. Rhys has had an important part ever since he did Fear Is the Mindkiller. Ever since, he’s been a silent member. He’s been the one person who consistently understands and knows what the band should do. He understands our sound and that the industrial aspect should not overshadow the metal aspect, but blend in perfectly. He gets it. Rhys is always our man. For me, there’s no other option.
Blistering.com: You have a new touring drummer in Mike Heller from Malignancy. How’s he been working out?
Bell: He’s cool. Mike, every day and every show, he was great when he first auditioned. But every day, he becomes more and more natural with the songs. The band is super-precise now, just like Fear Factory should always be. It’s like a machine. The industrial nature and mechanical rhythm of the band, and if it’s not tight, it’s not a well-oiled machine. With Mike on drums and Matt Devries, who’s a guitar player playing bass, so it’s super, super-precise. It hasn’t sounded this good in a while [laughs].
Blistering.com: I was going to bring Matt up next. Chimaira has pretty much the same riff-style as Fear Factory anyway.
Bell: Fear Factory has been an influence on a lot of bands, and Chimaira pretty much took the same influences that we took…we come from the same school. Matt, he’s amazing.
Blistering.com: You’re out on the road now with Shadows Fall, so how’s the setlist been shaping up?
Bell: No problems at all. We created a setlist during rehearsal and we might cut a song out or whatever, but it’s the same 15 songs. The songs go over really well live and everything sounds great. The only new song we’re playing is the song that people have heard, which is “Recharger,” so we want to play stuff people know. But once the record comes out, we’ll add a couple of other new songs.
Blistering.com: If we can go back in time for a minute, it’s been 20 years since the release of Soul of a New Machine. Have you thought about what you were doing at the time and the atmosphere surrounding the band?
Bell: Yeah, I realized it’s been 20 years, but yeah, it’s been a good ride [laughs]. I look back, and it’s like “Wow, we’ve come a long way.” I look proudly, no regrets. Everything has been done for a reason. And here we are, and our goal now is to take the band back to the level that it should be.
Blistering.com: So, is there any truth to the story that the band discovered you could sing clean by hearing you sing in the shower?
Bell: Oh yeah. That’s the story Dino tells [laughs]. We did live together in a big house in Hollywood and there were three or four bathrooms. I lived downstairs and he lived upstairs and he was going through the kitchen or something, and people could hear me sing – I like to sing in the shower. There’s probably a lot of truth to that story.
Blistering.com: You were one of the first out of the gate with the clean/growled vocal style.
Bell: I was the first. I think back and think now that I should have patented it. I’d be very rich now. Call it the “Bell Technique.” You start something and it catches on. It shows that we were innovators and ahead of our time, and the fact that a lot of other bands and have caught on and utilized it, makes me proud. We added something to the genre.