Fear Factory's Dino Cazares on living in the technocratic world the act's been singing about

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When you mention Demanufacture, that was right around when you started playing seven string guitar?

It was exactly at that time. Right after we recorded the album, Ibanez had approached me about playing their seven strings. They had made seven strings for Steve Vai, and they wanted to start endorsing other people, and they were looking for certain players. They approached me in early 1995, and I said, "Sure, I'll try one out." I did, and I was like, "Holy shit! I'm way into it." So I started playing them right after I was done with the Demanufacture album.

What did you like about the seven strings?

Just the low tuning. Back when I was playing six strings, I was tuning my guitars to B and A tunings, and it was just too floppy on the strings. Or you'd have to basically put bass strings on the six string. So I was way into, but I didn't really like the pickups, so I contacted EMG and had them make me some custom, active pickups. So that's pretty much how my sound developed, and I never looked back.

Sometimes you play an eight string guitar these days?

I do play eight strings sometimes, but mainly the seven string is my thing. On every record, I do a couple of songs, and they have a particular sound that I like some of the time. But I prefer the seven string.

Early on you worked with Rhys Fulber of Front Line Assembly.

Yeah, he's a guy who's been working with us since way back in 1992, when we first came out. He's part of our sound. I would say he's like our fifth member, but he's more like our third member.

How did you come to work with him?

I had approached our A&R guy in 1992, and said, "I want to do some remixes." And he said, "What's that?" I'm like, "remixes, where you take somebody's song and you make something different out of it -- industrial or techno or whatever." He thought about it and said, "We have somebody on our label that's more into that. Maybe you should talk to them." So we ended up talking to a label called Third Mind Records. I talked to this guy who said, "I've got the perfect guy for you; his name is Rhys Fulber."

So I met Rhys Fulber, and he was way into it. He was talking about how much he liked metal and what early metal was producing and Venom and all kinds of stuff. So I said, "Oh, okay, so you pretty much get it." So we had him do the first EP we ever did called Fear is the Mind Killer. From there, that was the first time anybody had ever heard industrial, techno, death metal remixes with melodic vocals.

Then it was just a whole new thing. That's when Demanufacture came out. That EP is what inspired what became Demanfacture. That's why, during the mixes, we fired Colin Richardson and hired Greg Reely and Rhys Fulber to finish off the project. Unfortunately, if Colin Richardson had kept doing the mixes, it wouldn't be what it is today.

It's interesting that the title of the EP is Fear is the Mind Killer because I believe that's a Dune reference and definitely fits in with what you said about Fear Factory being focused on futuristic themes.

Yeah, total Dune. We are fans of sci-fi movies, and we've always been into that stuff and into the concept of future thinking: Ray Kurzweil, just being a fan of all of that stuff, and we read a lot, so we just got roped into those concepts.

Continue reading for more from Cazares.

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.