Quantcast Burton C. Bell of FEAR FACTORY interview

Burton C. Bell of
Metal fans take notice. This isn't your average Icons Of Fright interview. Nor is it your average band interview. We got the chance to call up & speak with vocalist Burton C. Bell of the band FEAR FACTORY. Rather then ask the usual crop of band related questions, we talked about our mutual love of the horror genre, comics, their soundtrack contributions & what films inspire both Burton and his band, FEAR FACTORY! You can hear them in the new horror flick 'SAW'! Read on folks. - by Robg. 10/04
It's a pleasure to get this chance to talk to you. How's everything on your end?

Everything's going well! The tour is going very smoothly. We're in Seattle today getting ready to rock out.

Tell us, what are your earliest recollections of the horror genre? Films that you might have seen as a kid?
I remember seeing the original 'Nosferatu' with Max Schreck.  And it scared the pants off me. I loved it. And of course, I remember seeing a lot of 'Godzilla' films back in the early 70's, things of that sort and really being into the monsters. I always enjoyed 'Frankenstein'. And the 'Dracula' films are all really amazing. If blood was involved, I really liked it. (Laughs) For a while, I really liked all the werewolf movies. I got into Werewolf comic books as a young kid.

What do you consider some of your favorite horror films and why?

Wow.  Um, well again, 'Nosferatu'. The original. It's still the top film for me. Because the cinematography and the bleak, dark imagery still freaks me out. I love it. That's probably my number one horror film. Um, the original 'ALIEN' is still up there. It's fantastic. With the H.R. Giger beast and the story itself and the fact that Ridley Scott did it was just amazing. I like the original 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre'. You've got something somewhat based upon a true story, a legend. Great costumes and film work. Great movie. I even enjoyed the American remake of 'The Ring'.
Did you get a chance to see any of the original Ring films?

No, I haven't yet. Unfortunately. But another recent Japanese film I liked a lot was 'The Audition'.  That was really freaky. Oh, I love the movie 'Hellraiser'. Clive Barker is a fucking genius. And John Carpenter. I'm a HUGE Carpenter fan. 'Halloween', 'The Fog'... even 'Big Trouble In Little China'.

Ya know, 'The Fog' & 'Big Trouble In Little China' are very under rated Carpenter movies!

They're highly underrated! You know, when I was living in Hollywood, I worked at the Tower Video on Sunset Blvd. and I recognized John Carpenter when he came in to shop. And I'd just start talking to him every time he came in. We'd just talk about movies. Man, super-cool guy and a horror genius.  Even Escape From New York. My God. He's done so many great movies.

You used to work for Tower, huh? I worked for two different Tower Records myself here in  Long Island, NY for many, many years.

I used to work for Tower Video way back in the day, like 1988-89. I worked at the Tower Records in Washington, DC and then I transferred to the one on Sunset Blvd. Those were good times.

Now, how did you initially get involved with the 'SAW' soundtrack?  Did you contribute a brand new track for the soundtrack?

In a way, it is a new track. It's actually a track off our latest release, 'Archetype'. Which was released April of this year (2004). They approached us. Jonathan Platt approached us because he took a demo for a song we did for 'Archetype'. A remix they used for Galerians: Rion, which they distributed. I spoke to him about the song and he explained to me that 'Bite The Hand That Bleeds' lyrically fit the concept of 'SAW'. It has a dark vibe and he liked the way it fit in with the dark feeling of the movie.  So, again it kinda came to us, which was really lucky.
Did you get to see an advance screening of the film 'SAW' before submitting track?

They're actually sending me a copy of the movie sometime this week. I haven't even seen it yet.

From the word of mouth on the advance screenings, it's really supposed to be an amazing horror movie.

I've heard that. We were just in Kansas and they showed an advance screening in Lawrence. And people at the shows were telling us they caught it & it's really scary.  From the trailers I've seen, it just looks fantastic. It's got some really cool imagery and a great concept. And I'm glad our song is a part of it.

Charlie Clouser, formally of Nine Inch Nails did the majority of the score for the film. What'd you think of his contribution to the soundtrack?

Actually, I haven't heard what he's done yet on the soundtrack! Did he do the whole score?

Yea, I believe the director was a big fan of his work and approached him for it. In fact, besides his score, Fear Factory's just about the only band on the soundtrack!

That's cool.  I'm already a big fan of Charlie Clousers' & the work he's done in the past, both in Nine Inch Nails and the production work he's done with Rob Zombie. I've met him before and he's a really cool guy, and he's really talented, so I'm sure he did something really special for the score to 'SAW'.

Do horror films, or films & art in general have any influence on your songwriting process?

I'm influenced in many ways.  By books, by films, by stories. And films have always been a large factor in the influencing of my writing, in the ideas & the concepts of a Fear Factory song. For instance, the movie 'The Terminator' was a big influence early on with the records 'Demanufacture'. 'Fear Is The Mindkiller'. That kind of thing. The book of Dune had a big influence. 'Blade Runner' had a HUGE influence on me. There's so many more ideas that come from movies & the concepts of films. So, yea. I do get inspired not just by horror or sci-fi, but by films in general.

The movie 'Contact' had a big influence in the writing of the record 'Obsolete'. The idea of loneliness and humanity reaching out. Carl Sagan wrote the book 'Contact' and the movie was made, and it totally inspired me. Movies get my ideas and thought process rolling. I see them and they spark something inside me to get me to create something. I get inspired by films of ALL genres.

You guys contributed a track to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake as well?

Yea, exactly. We contributed something to the movie 'Hideaway' which came out a few years ago. They used a song in 'The Rage: Carrie 2'. 'Mortal Kombat' I think was the first time we had our music used in a soundtrack.

Well, speaking of the new version of 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'; with films like that and 'Dawn Of The Dead' & the upcoming 'Amittyville Horror', what's your take on this remake craze as of late?

You know, it's just like cover songs. A band covers a song that they're influenced by. Doing a song is one thing, but it's going to be really difficult to make another movie out of a classic. For instance, 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' or 'Carrie' or 'Dawn Of The Dead'. I've heard that 'Dawn Of The Dead' was actually done really well. I'm looking forward to seeing that. I just haven't had the chance. But for me, if your going to remake something, it has to be done really REALLY well. The director has to take the same story and interpret it in a way that's his and at the same time, outshine what's already been done. If you're going to remake a classic, you better do it really fucking well! I heard a weird rumor that someone wanted to remake 'Blade Runner' and I was like... WHAT!?!?! I don't know how that would get done, but if it does, it better blow us away. I'm somewhat of a snob when it comes to movies & music. So, I have to be really impressed.

Agreed 100%. Is it true you guys collaborated with '30 Days Of Night' artist Ben Templesmith?

Yea. I've already spoken to Ben Templesmith many many times. I contacted him through IDW, because when I saw the comic book '30 Days Of Night', I was just blown away! The story was fantastic but for me, it's the artwork that really draws me in.

I just loved his style. So, I did a bit of research and contacted Ben.  We just talked and started building up this repore. I ended up cosigning him to do some work for us. He did this poster that's going to come inside our upcoming DVD, much like back in the day when vinyl came with a poster. It's going to be folded up in the DVD and be this cool limited edition poster. Ben Templesmith took the current Fear Factory logo and turned it into vicious looking skull and it looks amazing!
That's awesome.

Yea. I'm really happy about that. Oh, and because of the work we've done with Ben, he's asked me to write the intro to his new book. I just got the package of the advance on the book. And I'm going to go back and read them all again. I enjoy his stuff thoroughly. So, I'm going to try and come up with a great introduction for him.

Which comic book is it?

It's the trade for 'Singularity 7'. I was actually just at a comic book shop across the street in town. A comic and collectible shop. Hoping to find something I like.  But all the stuff I like, I already have.

Well, today's new release day for comic books!  As soon as I hang up the phone with you, I'm running to the comic shop myself.

Oh, really? I'm going to go back and check again. (laughs)  In case there's something I missed.  Either that, or I'm going to just show off my advance  Ben Templesmith book. (laughs)

Fear Factory has a number of albums and contributions on various film soundtracks & you've had your share of problems with record labels. All that aside, is there any particular album or even a song that you are most proud of, or that you feel represents what the band stands for the best?

Fear Factory has done a few albums. But I think the record we did, 'Obsolete' was really a great endeavor. Because, we've worked with Dave McKean in the past, and Dave McKean did the front cover for 'Demanufacture'. For the third record, which is 'Obsolete', I went in deeper with him and I wrote a screenplay inside the packaging. So, you could read into the booklet & between each song, they're be something describing a 'movie scene'. And Dave McKean did some special artwork to coincide with each page. To me, that album represents the true concept of Fear Factory. It was a full blown out story, with a flow of music behind it. And it was cohesive. And to me, that was a really definitive moment for Fear Factory.

Would you yourself ever like to write a screenplay or be more involved in movies?

Absolutely. My first love is always writing. And I've always written all different types of stories. My dream would be to one day complete a screenplay or even participate in a comic book or a graphic novel, where I can write a story and collaborate with a great artist like Ben. It'd be a dream come true to do anything like that. I'm just trying to get all my writing together and approach some people.

Awesome. So, what else can we look forward to from Fear Factory after this tour?

Well, we're finishing this tour at the end of November. The video for 'Bite The Hand That Bleeds' has already been released on line, and should start airing on various video shows.  The DVD gets released Nov. 16th. In December, we're going to go to Europe for a few days and do some touring there. In the future, we're doing some video game stuff. So, there's going to be even more work from Fear Factory in the future. The tour in December is going to be the last tour for now, and then we're going to start writing a new record. Hopefully for release of summer next year.

Halloween's this weekend. Any big plans for you and the boys in the band?

It's funny you mention it, because Halloween will mark our 14th anniversary. So, I'm going to rent a tux and wear it on stage.  I've got a skull mask and some skeleton gloves ready to go, so I'm going to be some dapper skeleton on stage. (laughs)

Wow. That's awesome. Congrats on 14 years.

Thank you very much. Actually, we made up a limited edition Halloween poster from the work that Ben Templesmith did with us. So, It's a limited run of about 140. We're going to be selling those at Anaheim, Vegas & LA, which will be our three Halloween shows.

Burton, best of luck with everything and thanks so much for talking with us.

Special thanks to Mark Morton & Dougie McKay. And thanks to Burton C. Bell!

Fear Factory @ Fear Factory.com!!!
SAW movie.com
Liquid 8 records.com

All Content Copyright 2004 Icons Of Fright.com.
No articles may be reproduced in any manner without expressed permission of Icons Of Fright.com.
Back to Interview Index