First Fear Factory split up, now you are back. New label, new album, new line up. Tell us about the past 2 years and how all of this developed.
Well Burt left the group because his working relationship with someone in the band did not work to good anymore, and for me that was it. I was not going to continue without Burt and neither would Raymond. For some reason we were still under contract with Roadrunner, so I came up with the idea to make a four-song demo and throw the ball back at their port. Of course we had to convince Burt to do the vocals on that demo, it took some time but he did. It still took us about eight months to get away from Roadrunner (USA) though, but finally we managed. We kept on writing songs after that and we recorded a new record and we found a new label!
Tell us how the deal is constructed, you signed to Liquid 8, what is Roadrunner's part?
Well, we licensed the album. You have to know that Roadrunner Europe was always good to us, we like them. We never had any complaints, it was just America. Roadrunner accepted us with open arms.
For how many albums did you sign anyway?
Three albums, or if this one does really shitty we might break up again, hahahahaha. I might have to disappear from the face of the earth, hahaha.
You switched to guitar, a wish come true or just a necessary change?
Yeah! I was not even thinking about it, it was more Burt and Raymond. When we recorded demo's I was thinking about guitar players and finding the right one. I was even thinking of Dimebag! We did not want a 'new' kid; I mean it is hard to fill those shoes. So then the others suggested I would do guitar and we would find another bass player.
Was it hard to turn to 'guitar thinking' in Fear Factory songs?
Exactly! You are the first one to hit that on the head right away! Certain parts I just forgot to play during the first rehearsals, hahahahahaha. Luckily I have not messed up like that live! It was hard, there were times I really had to think………..oh, right I play guitar now! Especially when I Have Byron next to me, because he was learning these songs also, which confused me at times, hahahaha.
Do you feel, you get more attention being guitarist now?
I probably do…. but there is so much going on right now with the new album and everything else. I am not trying to be some kind of guitar hero that is for sure, hahahaha. So yeah, I get a little more attention but I am pretty humble.
Is this a reborn Fear Factory?
We feel like that, yes definitely! Towards the last stages of the “Digimortal” album the vibes were not there anymore, it was almost painful to go onstage and play. It is a work out in the first place, this kind of music, and if you are not really into it anymore on top of that it gets painful, especially for Burt. Screaming your lungs out every night can only be done if the adrenaline is kicking! We also felt like we were cheating the fans. Now we are truly hungry and ready for it, we are better friends then ever!
In what way would you say “Archetype” is different from older Fear Factory albums?
This album has a lot of human feel in it. 'Digimortal' is so 'pro tooled' and I did not want to do that this time. I wanted to sound like if we just came out of a practice place you know. I wanted to bring the live feel back. We recorded everything in the drive and we barely chopped things up.
I think the album sounds more spontaneous.
Yes it is! The way we wrote it was like that. Raymond and I sat together with this drum machine he has instead of going into a practice place. It is hard for me to think and write when things go so loud. So we started to put songs together at the back of the bus basically. It worked very well; it is easier to think at a low volume. Raymond wrote things on the drum machine that he was afraid he could not play, hahahaah. But I convinced him to go on like this because it was so good, we were on to something! It was more relaxed as well, we recorded most stuff at my house and if I did not feel like it, I would just go walk the dogs, smoke a joint or have a barbeque!
You have been pioneers in metal to a lot of other bands, how do you feel about that yourself?
Very good I guess! It is the same for us; there are other pioneers out there that we look up to. It feels flattering though.
This seems to be a very good time for extreme metal. Look at the Ozzfest Bill and a band like Arch Enemy is hot right now, touring with Maiden, Slayer and so on. I think Fear Factory is responsible for building that bridge from extreme to more mainstream, do you agree with that?
Yeah, I think Fear Factory is very responsible fro putting the heavy growl vocals and the clean in one song. Today a lot of bands are doing it, just listen to Linking Park; it is heavy and melodic, that is something that Burt really started.
Can we expect some 'mixing' experiments with songs of the new album?
Yes, we are planning to do a remix album. I already talked to Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL), he lives in LA now and he is probably going to handle a couple of songs. I am after Aphex Twins as well, but we have been trying that for a very long time already and they might be too busy. Maybe also Crystal Method. I want to put dance music that has a lot of energy.
You are from Belgium yourself, but do you still keep track of Belgian news and things?
Hahahahaha, no not at all! Every time I go back there is a whole bunch of new crap, hahahaha. Like bodies in backyards, hahahaha and all these paedophiles. I hate the French part of Belgium, not the kids and people but the politics and it is pretty filthy out there.
Do you feel appreciated by the Belgian metal scene; I don't think anyone else got this far right?
I guess so. The guys who taught me were the guys from Cyclone, Stefan Damen. Those guys were from an older generation then I was. They where THE band from Belgium, you know. Later on Channel Zero came up and a huge hard-core scene. I think that is good. When I played in Belgium it was kind of poor.
What is the major difference between the European and American metal scene according to you?
The old metal never went away in Europe, that is one thing that is very different. Manowar is still top 10, we laugh about that stuff, hahahahaha. Things like Iced Earth will never take of in the States because it sounds dated. Maybe when times come around older metal may be cool again.
So the American scene is more trend following?
Oh, hell yeah……….. a lot more.
What are the touring plans for “Archetype”, you must be anxious to get out there.
After this promo trip we go back home rehearsing for the Jagermeister tour with Slipknot and more. I heard we are going to be here for the festivals. Dynamo is on the same day as the download festival so that will be difficult, hahahaha.
Anything we really need to know?
I need some fries with mayo! Hahahahahaha. No, we are very proud of the record after having a very hard time, a lot of shit. We came out stronger!!!!