Speaking from the guitarist’s home, we are kindly greeted with a contented and upbeat Dino, who is more than eager to divulge information on ‘Aggression Continuum‘, which will finally be available to fans from June 18th, via Nuclear Blast Records.
OD – This is an album that fans were convinced would never see the light of day. Yet, you managed to get this out. Without covering the stuff that’s already out there, did you have any doubts in your head that this was never gonna be released?
DINO – No, I never had any doubt, because I always knew the record was going to come out, one way or another. I just didn’t know if the record was going to come out as a “Fear Factory” record.
There was a possibility where we might have had to change everything, the title, the release date, etc. So, I was just getting prepared for that you know… like changing the name and putting it out under a different name. But luckily, things turned around in July 2020, when I was [eventually] able to regain the rights to the trademark.
As soon as that was all sorted I went back into the studio where we were able to redo the drum tracks because we originally had program drums on the record, and that’s when Mike [Heller, drums] came in and did his part.
For those that don’t know, we originally completed the album in 2017 and had some different elements happening on the record that I thought could have been improved. One of those improvements was specifically the drums and the overall mix.
So, we went back into the studio, and Mike recorded real drums replacing the programmed drums that we had initially on the record. We then followed that up with a nice deep mix, which was definitely a big boost to the overall sound of the record.
He [Mike] did a bunch of different drum rolls and it really added a new kind of energy to the album.
OD – Tell us about the concept and your approach to the writing?
DINO – Well, it kind of goes song by song, but yeah, the majority of the album is conceptual.
We’ve always had that when it comes to Fear Factory albums. That relationship between humans and AI…it’s just something that really fascinates me, and it’s becoming more and more of a reality in the world that we’re living in now, compared to when we first started out back in the late ’80s.
There is a love/hate relationship between humans and technology and sometimes some good can from it, and other times… not so good.
So, on this record, you’ll see on the album cover art [see below] there is an ‘automaton’ [a moving mechanical device made in imitation of a human being]. That, to me represents the future. Also, the automaton itself kind of resembles an “FF” as in Fear Factory, and on the bottom of it, you can see that it kind of has its legs open, which makes it look like an “X“.
That ‘X’ represents the Roman numeral ten, and this is our 10th studio record, so it’s kind of a no-brainer [Laughing]. If you look at the bottom of the automation design on the right side, and you’ll see a serial number that reads: “FF 10.31.90“, and that’s when the machine first started.
So, the title of the album is ‘Aggression Continuum‘ which means that it will be continuing. In other words, the relationship continues. Some people want to call it, “Man vs Machine“, but either way, the premise is that the battle will continue long into the future.
OD – With all the drama that surrounds the record, do you feel that it’s kind of like an exorcism of sorts being able to finally get this out of your head and into the public domain?
DINO – It feels very liberating, for sure. It feels like tremendous stress has been lifted off my shoulders and that’s a great feeling. Also, what I’m really happy about, is the fact that I can finally put this album out under the ‘Fear Factory‘ moniker, and that feels so good.
OD – You’ve mentioned in previous interviews that you’ve not spoken to Burton in 3 years assuming that this album has been like a ball and chain of sorts. Over this time have you been just dealing with all the drama, or have you actually managed to stay productive and write new material?
DINO – I definitely do not let any negativity deter me from being who I am… especially when it comes to being creative. I’ve been working on a lot of stuff, and just keeping as positive, and as busy as I can be.
OD – What else have you been working on?
DINO – We just started shipping out the ‘Demanufacture‘ vinyl pressings which we just mastered for vinyl for the very first time in North America.
OD – Are there some extra tracks that you’ve included on this pressing?
DINO – Yes, I’ve added some bonus tracks from a live recording back in 1996 Ozzfest, which we had to give a new fresh mix for vinyl. It sounds amazing.
Let me think… we also released ‘Mechanize‘  and ‘The Industrialist‘  because they were missing from Spotify and iTunes for many years.
We also went in and re-did the drums on ‘The Industrialist’ with LIVE drums, because as everyone knows, a lot of fans were not happy with the programed drums that were on the album when it came out in 2012 [Laughing]. We’re actually mixing the drums at the moment and it really makes the album pop.
OD – How does it make you feel when you see the way the press twist and turn the truths of the Fear Factory situation over the past few years?
DINO – Let me tell you something…that whole scene… it’s a necessary evil. Let me explain… people need each other. Like, if a musician gives an interview and they really don’t have anything new to say, or it’s not really print-worthy, most publications or news sources will “adjust” things, to make it seem otherwise.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand why they do it, as they’re not going to get the numbers they need in order to survive.
OD – Does that annoy you? When your words are twisted and nasty things are being said that you actually didn’t, in fact, say, or are you immune to it all now?
DINO – Honestly, I don’t get that mad anymore. In fact, I kind of expect it [Laughing]. I’m very active on social media, so, I usually try to straighten things out with some truths but mostly, I don’t let it get to me.
OD – We’ve gotta ask, how did you feel when all of this stuff with Burton surfaced. From the criticism to the situation with the GoFund campaign to then quitting in the way that he did. I know you’ve said that you didn’t understand why he was doing what he was doing, but how did that make you feel?
DINO – Well, it’s not the first time I’ve had to deal with this type of stuff from him [Burton]. As you know, I was out of the band, back in 2002 also. He didn’t want to play with me back then either, so he quit the band. Then, according to him, he was convinced to come back into the band, but wouldn’t return because I was still a part of it.
So, I had to deal with that stuff way back in 2002, as well. Then I’ve been dealing with all the mudslinging that he threw my way. The internet was just beginning to kick off back in those days, so, thank God that it wasn’t like it is today. [Laughing]
That’s part of the nature of the business. If somebody has an issue with somebody else, and they’ve been in the business for thirty years, or so, then they are gonna get the attention they want, to say what they want. They’re gonna get that big platform.
So, you know, a lot of his, maybe he doesn’t realise that a lot of his words can be very damaging. Who knows if it was even him! It could have been somebody who worked with him, you know? Someone who was controlling his social media, or his media in general? Someone that has no experience in the social media world. All in all, it’s pretty hurtful and it’s so obvious that it’s all done out of spite.
But it is what it is, and I’ve just got to deal with it. You have to be thick-skinned in this business. You have to be tough. As soon as you become a public figure, people are gonna want to attack you. That’s just the way society has turned out, which is pretty sad.
I’ve been attacked for just about everything. My race, my weight, my parents, my music, etc. I don’t let any of that shit-talk detour me from being a musician and being in this business. I’ve never once thought that just because some guy called me “fat” on the internet, I’m going to quit. Like I need some guy on the internet to tell me that? [Laughing]
I actually applaud them if they come up with something new and original. Most of the time it’s just the same old shit and it just gets boring.
OD – As we’ve been discussing, you and Burton have a long history together, it’s just a shame that it all ended up the way it did. Do you feel, in some ways, that this is a new start, or a ‘re-birth of sorts, for Fear Factory?
DINO – Yeah, totally, I would totally agree with that. Perhaps I can finally go to creative places that I’ve not been able to go to in the past. There are no restrictions in my way anymore. I can push the boundaries, and that’s something that I’m really excited about.
Fear Factory has a huge catalogue and as well as a huge history in this business. It’s about time that things need to be stirred up a little bit. Things need to be changed a little bit, and we need to push boundaries and go a little further with our ideas.
OD – How so?
DINO – Well, every record we do, we always try to add a little bit more, to add new elements, and push things a bit further than we did on the previous album.
I really believe in what I do. I believe in myself, I believe in the music, I believe in what we’ve created, and there’s no sense of me stopping any time soon! I try to be as creative as I possibly can.
OD – Have you had any thoughts on new music seeing as you’ve been sitting on this album for a long time?
DINO – Yeah. The next record is going to sound like a fear more like, next record is going to sound more like a Fear Factory record than ‘Transgression‘, and I’m not talking about this new album [‘Aggression Continuum‘]…I’m talking about the next album.
OD – When you put out ‘Disruptor’, I know you’re very active online, were you keeping an eye on what the fans were saying about the track, or do you not pay attention to stuff like that?
DINO – Yeah, the reaction was very positive. I keep an eye on what’s being said from time to time but as you know, I can’t see everything. But when I do get a chance, I do check out what people think of the new stuff whether it’s positive or negative. Overall, the reaction has been great and I’m happy with that. At the end of the day, I can’t please everybody.
If we really tried to appease everybody and wrote music just to please the fans, I wouldn’t have a career anymore. That kind of goes against the ethos of being a creative person. Fear Factory is about pushing the envelope, and that’s what really get’s me excited.
OD – Now that Tony [Campos, bass] is busy with the Static X project, will that cause issues for touring the new album, or do you have an outline plan for this situation?
DINO – Well, we’re hoping we get to do a world tour and Tony can do ‘double duty’ for each show. We’re hoping to work things out and take this package tour around the world. At the moment we’re talking about it, so no promises just yet but it’s definitely something that I think the fans would really want to see.
It would be a dream to make this happen. If Tony couldn’t do it and was tied up with Static X, then we would have a cool fill-in. I spoke to Matt DeVries [Chimaira] and hopefully, he’ll be able to fill in.
Matt toured with us before in the past during the ‘Industrialist’ era. He’s a really great guy.
OD – If the option came about, would you be interested in doing another type of Roadrunner All-Stars project (Matt Heafy, Trivium, Rob Flynn, Machine Head, Joey Jordison, former Slipknot) and if you could pick, who would you like to be team captains?
DINO – Well, I will probably pick everybody that I picked the first time around. We had such a great time. There was instant chemistry and it just began to work almost from the get-go.
I would love to pick those guys again and do it again. But unfortunately, some of them are not with us today. I really miss Paul [Grey, former Slipknot bassist who passed in May 2010]. He was just so cool to work with, and he was a really good collaborator. All of those guys were great to work with. That was a great time.
OD – Can you share any new bands that you’ve been excited about that you would like to share with us before you we wrap this up?
DINO – Yeah, Orbit Culture are a really cool band worth checking out.
OD – Finally, tell us the one album that sucked you into this business when you were a kid?
DINO – If you want blood, you got it from AC/DC. I was about 10 years old when that came out, and I thought it was just awesome.
That cover is just so awesome. Angus Young having a guitar going through his stomach, with all the blood coming out… it’s just so cool. [Laughing]
Fear Factory’s new album ‘Aggression Continuum‘ will be released via Nuclear Blast on June 18th. Pre-order your copy here.