"The tale of the Two Bands"
Interview conducted by RockMusicStar.com VIP- Mike Suicide
I recently had the opportunity to preview the forthcoming debut album Years in the Darkness from Arkaea that features two of the members of Fear Factory, Christian Olde Woblers (guitar) and Raymond Herrera (drums) and two members of Threat Signal, Jon Howard (vocals) and Pat Kavanagh (Bass)
I had caught wind of this collaboration a while ago and was pretty interested in hearing the music this formation would bring to the metal arena. I have been a fan of Fear Factory for a long time and I love Threat Signals 2006 release Under Reprisal.
It took me a bit of listening to really absorb what this album delivers. This album has a lot of the same chords, rhythms and groove of Fear Factory, but really what would you expect from the rhythm section of Fear Factory? One of the standouts on this record is Jon Howard’s vocals. This guy can deliver, he is one of the better singers in his genre. Jon shows his diversity and vocal range by hitting melodic notes and throating out verses. The songwriting is definitely there and you can tell seasoned artists perform the songs. This is a solid album, worth at least the ten bucks you will most likely pay on I tunes. My only gripe if I had one is that it sounds a little too much like a Fear Factory record, although that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The first single to be released is Locust, This is an incredible song (check out the video on their Myspace page). I personally like the songs the Awakening and Break the Silence. If Fear Factory never re-materializes with Christian or Raymond its just as well, as this new band gives you enough of what you liked about Fear Factory minus the drama we’re all sick of.
I’m sure most of the metal community is well aware of the continuing saga, which is Fear Factory but if not here is a summary... First Burton and Dino get into it, Burton breaks ties and the band is broken up. Christian and Raymond continue to write songs, approach Burton with some music and reform with Byron Stroud of Strapping Young Lad taking over bass duties while Christian assumes the guitar role Dino had. They get dumped by Road Runner and get picked up by Liquid 8. They release two albums, go on a hiatus during which time Burton and Dino fall back in love. They put an ensemble together minus Christian and Raymond, retaining Byron and bringing in heavy hitter Gene Holgan on drums (Strapping Young Lad, and a list of other notable acts) and you guessed it… they call it Fear Factory. So why might Christian and Raymond’s ass be chapped? I would hold off on assumptions and read on. I had a chance to chat with Christian over the phone to talk about the new album that was released July 14th (make sure you pick up a copy, it’s a solid album) and Dino at the Rockstar Mayhem Concert in San Bernardino, they both have their sides but hopefully this will clear up the speculations once and for all.
Mike-RockMusicStar: Christian how are you?
Mike GM: Had a chance to check out the new album and its tight, it sounds real good.
Mike GM: So, new band, new music, and basically old friends.
Christian: well its Raymond the drummer of Fear Factory, Jon and Pat of threat Signal, Jon was the first person I thought of after putting it altogether, it just clicked.
Mike GM: He has a pretty dynamic voice
Christian: He is often compared to Lincoln Park’s Chester but I think he has a higher range
Mike GM: I read that comparison somewhere
Christian: if you put Jon’s voice up against Lincoln Park, he is much heavier. My riffs and chords are tuned higher…standard E so he has to hit higher to follow the groove.
Mike GM: you produced the album right? Good job with it, Jon’s vocals flow well over the tracks. How long have you been working on it? Was it a fast process?
Christian: we took our time while looking for a record deal, recorded some demo tracks to shop, we took a while, two and a half years, we started in April of 07
Mike GM: Do you have a personal favorite song on the album?
Christian: I like Locust and the Awakening, they are my favorites.
Mike GM: did you choose to use some of the songs originally written for the next Fear Factory album with any reluctance?
Christian: some of the songs were written for Fear factory but when Raymond and I finally realized we wouldn’t be doing anything with Fear Factory soon…for whatever reason, I came to Raymond with the idea of doing something else. Something new, something fresh, build something we could enjoy later on when the band is established, when and if we can get it a household name, something else to fall back on if the other thing doesn’t pan out.
Mike GM: I’ve noticed that bands lately have so many line up changes, like a revolving door. Does it seem more difficult to stick with the same line up?
Christian: it’s hard to stick with people who are down for the same cause. People change…when you’re like 18-25 yrs old then you start getting older, people grow up and head in different directions, some people become greedy, backstabbers.
Mike GM: Does it kill the creative process? It has to be kind of a drag.
Christian: It’s the personality in the creative process, you know? How well the business is doing, if your band starts blowing up…selling 3 or 4 million records people change, money becomes an issue, how well you absorb the success or failure, if you don’t make it, some bitch; ‘if you would have called this guy’ or ‘fired that guy’…
Mike GM: I see you have broad musical tastes, what genre shapes your musical style besides metal?
Christian: I’ve learned a lot from Hip Hop. DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill, we would hang back in the day, and he would say ‘get in the studio and finish the job’. A lot of people start and don’t finish because its much easier to start the process and much harder to finish it. He was definitely (DJ Muggs) a major influence in that if you walk into the studio, you walk out with a product in your hand. You got to finish something that day. When I was in the studio with Everlast and B-Real that taught me how to lay vocals into the beat and groove. I took that into Metal and try to make sure every word of the vocals is in the groove, it doesn’t matter whether its Metal or Hip Hop, it will always have a groove.
Mike GM: I’ve noticed the disconnection lately with studio recordings when they track vocals, drums and guitar separately they seem to come off beat. Maybe it’s the producers.
Christian: I listen to metal albums these days that have come out and I can pick where the vocals are rushing, where they are ahead of the beat. When you perform you tend to push and end up ahead and off beat. I have almost too good an ear, I listen to an album as great as Vulgar Display of Power (Pantera) and I can pick out where Phil was out of beat, no one would ever hear that because that record is ingrained in our brains.
Mike GM: that can kill a record for you, huh? Any plans on working with anyone in the Hip Hop community in the near future?
Christian: I haven’t been lately because I have been so busy with Metal.
Mike GM: any plans to tour in support of the new album?
Christian: Yeah we are looking for tours right now. We have to wait for the summer and the summer festivals and radio tours to be over. Once the fall and winter season is here we can jump on the winter tours with bands trying to put one together.
Mike GM: Its been pretty well beaten, the whole topic of Fear Factory and the speculations. I’m getting the drift that there is tension and an uncomfortable situation. Is it just the way the wind is blowing right now or is this it?
Christian: Raymond and I are still very much in Fear Factory. We’re just in a huge legal battle. Dino and Burton are friends again which is great, but if they’re going to form a new band…cool, but they’re calling it Fear factory and that is not so cool.
Mike GM: I get that.
Christian: There are four members of that band that own the rights to Fear Factory.
Mike GM: I remember back on Demanufacture, Dino laid the tracks for both the guitar and the Bass. Do you think he was grandstanding by not letting you lay down bass tracks? Does that have anything to do with the bad blood?
Christian: Why, because he recorded bass tracks? No. The issue was between our lead singer (Burton) and Dino in 2001 he left the band because of Dino.
Mike GM: It’s amazing how that works. So are you just going to concentrate your efforts with Arkaea for the time being then?
Mike GM: where did you come up with the name Arkaea?
Christian: Jon and I came up with the name. It’s a word that has been changed up a bit to make it our own, its us. Archaea is a bacteria and also a Greek god, we just changed some letters.
Mike GM: Since this is an interview for Glam Metal.com I’m going to ask, what’s your favorite Glam Metal band?
Christian: Now you’re asking for it. I never really liked any of it. I was never into bands that wore make up and used hair dryers. I didn’t even like the bands that wore spikes. I grew up skateboarding and I found music through that. It was Minor Threat, Suicidal Tendencies, Agent Orange, DRI and the Dead Kennedys If I had to pick a Glam Band I would have to say Steel Panther.
Check out Arkaea at www.mypace/arkaeamusic.com
I had a chance to check out the Rockstar Mayhem tour when in made its stop in San Bernardino, CA since I was out there visiting friends. It wasn’t long before I bumped into Dino Cazares of Fear Factory and Divine Heresy. During our conversation I mentioned to him that I just wrapped up a phone interview with Christian (Olde Woblers) the week prior, and he immediately started digging for info. I agreed to give him the scoop since it was going to print anyway on one condition; I wanted his side. At this point its no secret that the subject is in the courts and there are attorneys involved but Dino is Dino and anyone who knows him knows he doesn’t mince words.
GM: What’s your side of Fear Factory drama? Christian simply contends you and Burton started a new Fear Factory without them.
Dino: That’s true. We Did.
GM: Why is that?
Dino: Listen, when Burton and I decided to do this again, Burton confronted Raymond with his intentions of reforming Fear Factory with me and Raymond flat out told him ‘Go fuck yourself, you’re dead to me’.
So we said fuck it, if they want to be like that we will just go ahead without them.
GM: I asked Christian if the rift had anything to do with you recording the bass tracks for Demanufacture, and he said it wasn’t. He said the problem was between you and Burton, So why are they so against it?
Dino: These guys had planned to cut me out from the beginning as far as I’m concerned, they saw their chance when Burton and I had a fight and Burton quit the band. They wrote some songs and approached Burton to keep going without me. The songs were lousy and I think that’s why they got dropped from Road Runner. I really didn’t care since I was still getting paid on anything Fear Factory did because of the way the contracts were written, I moved forward with Divine Heresy.
GM: So how did you and Burton end up reconciling?
Dino: I heard from mutual friends that Burton felt shitty about what happened and wanted to talk, I always thought of Burton like a brother so I met up with him and we talked it out. When you’re with a band for a while you become like family, you fight and you eventually get over it.
GM: So what about Christian and Raymond’s gripe?
Dino: I bought the name Fear Factory from my roommate for a dollar and went and had it incorporated as a business… I brought all those guys into it. The way the contracts are written… they have rights too. We offered to work as a group and they declined. Now they are pissed off and that’s too bad. If they want to start a Fear Factory, go ahead let them see who buys their album.
GM: Kind of like L.A. Guns.
Dino: It probably boils down to the fact that I told them to get real management, they had Raymond’s wife managing things and she was fucking around with Christian and now they are dating. That’s not professional management. What does Raymond have without those two? Raymond doesn’t show his anger, he is nice to your face…but when your back is turned it’s a different story.
GM: That’s some heavy shit. So what do you think the outcome of this whole scenario will be?
Dino: Who knows? We have our lawyers working it out right now, It will be decided by the court. We will have to wait and see.
The schedule for this show was a disaster, every band was ahead of schedule and it made photographing it a nightmare. Towards the end of our conversation Dino pointed at the stage and said ‘hey it’s Cannibal Corpse’ I told him no way, they weren’t scheduled until later on that day and he bet me a hundred bucks. I took the bet without even turning around to see the stage after we shook I promptly turned around and saw Cannibal Corpse. I immediately dug a hundred dollar bill out of my pocket and handed it to him. I should have known better. So there you have it folks, two sides of a story. Who knows who is telling the truth but I can tell you it usually ends up somewhere right in the middle.