INTERVIEW: Burton C. Bell (FEAR FACTORY)
Levi: The new album Genexus is based on the concept of Artificial Intelligence, what inspired you to write about this?
Burton: It was mostly about Raymond Kurzweil’s theory of a singularity, by 2045 he theorizes that man and machine will become one due to biotechnology. We will be walking bio-machines, perfect in every way and based on this is the term “Genexus” which is what we are calling mankind’s next step in evolution, when man does become machine. It will be the Genexus generation.
Levi: Technology is evolving faster now than it ever has, a lot of these concepts were still ‘science fiction’ back in the early Fear Factory days but now things like AI are becoming a reality…
Burton: I know, technology expands exponentially every year. If there’s 10 advancements in technology this year there will be 100 next year and there will be 1000 the year after that. It grows that fast.
Levi: There’s positives and negatives to these advancements in technology. On one had we can talk to friends around the world and stream music but at the same time new technologies enable the government to retain data and spy on people. Do you think overall these advancements are good or bad?
Burton: With every advancement in technology, it’s always meant for the benefit of mankind, however there is the underbelly where there’s always a negative aspect to it. Positive and negative are never two apart. Therefore whenever something is created something else will be created to not benefit mankind but to oppress mankind. That element will always be there and it’s never going to stop.
Levi: How did it go recording the new album and can we expect to see you back in Australia anytime soon?
Burton: I’m very proud of this recording, I think it came out fantastic, and we do plan on touring Australia sometime in 2016. We’ve got a busy schedule until the end of the year. Australia, Japan, Malaysia, China and New Zealand are all going to be a part of the tour next year in 2016.
Levi: The last time I saw you play was with City Of Fire, is that project still happening?
Burton: No, that band does not exist anymore. We did a few albums together but it really sort of imploded on itself.
Levi: Are you still friends with those guys?
Burton: From my part I’m still friends with those guys.
Levi: All the early Fear Factory albums were recorded on reel-to-reel, is it easier now that you can use programs like Pro-Tools?
Burton: It’s just as hard. There was no Pro-Tools whatsoever back then, Pro-Tools didn’t come around until our Digimortal record. We we’re working with 2 inch tape on Soul of a New Machine, De-manufacture and Obsolete. To do it you had to re-wind the tape, you had to re-do it, you had to use various tracks, drums had to be cut and edited. That’s the way it was, there was someone in the studio engineered to do all that, now there is someone engineered to load Pro-Tools. You still got to record it, it’s not necessarily faster, we still have issues. Pro-Tools will go down once in awhile, just like a tape machine did, same shit, different medium.
Levi: Your opinion on vinyl records?
Burton: I collect vinyl, I’ve collected vinyl for a long time. I think it sounds better, the groove of the vinyl, the pressure of the groove, you’re actually hearing sound. It just sounds better. When you sit down and listen to an album it’s more of a ritual, you actually have to pay attention because you’re going to have to flip the record. And you’ve got something to hold, it’s more of an interactive type of listening experience then an MP3 is, or even more than a CD.