Iconic band, and pioneers in the early 1990s heavy metal scene, Fear Factory, have just dropped their new album, Genexus.
The ninth album in their impressive repertoire, Genexus is based on the concept of man versus machine and the amalgamating of both forces to become one.
The word Genexus is a hybrid of ‘genesis’ and ‘nexus’, and describes the next transition in human evolution as man moves forward to a mechanical state of being.
Founding member and front man, Burton C Bell says the concept for Genexus was inspired by author Ray Kurzweil’s writings about singularity, where humans are machines and machines are human.
“It all starts with one particular thought pattern, and the thought pattern I was going with this time was Ray Kurzweil’s theory of the singularity, where by the year 2045, man and machine will become one,” he says.
“The concept of the album really starts to develop when we finally decide on a title, and when we decided on Genexus, it really started to come together and the song titles started to develop into a concept. Then we sit and talk and philosophize, and we really think about where it can go. After the title is done and the lyrics are done, piecing the concept together and creating a narrative was so fun. That’s where it really gets its own life.”
Speaking to The Upside News from sunny Chicago, Burton muses about the new album and how pleased he is with the end result.
“Historically, this is what we envisioned, but conceptually, it became better than I ever thought. What happened is that the concept took on a life of its own, inspired by the character Roy Batty from the movie Blade Runner, who was one of the androids searching for his creator to extend his life. That concept was a really big driving force of it,” he says.
With song titles like, ‘Autonomous Combat System’, ‘Soul Hacker’ and ‘Church of Execution’, the future of a man-plus-machine society appears bleak, but Burton says we’re already-part way there.
“I think about what would happen all the time. I see the seeds of it happening now. Man is becoming so dependent on the machines we have already, that we let machines work for us. We let them think for us, remind us of things we need to do in our daily lives, and that is called dependence. If there is an uprising of machines, it’s going to be because we let it happen; because of our apathy,” he says.
“There really is no message in Genexus. It’s just really telling a story. But it really is about humanity. It’s machines searching for humanity, but they’re all mechanical beings. The question is, when humans and machines become one in the future and achieve singularity, will this next generation of humanity, which is called Genexus, be oppressed? Ostracised? Will they be inferior beings, or will they be considered human? These questions are very human in themselves. To me, there’s always a ray of hope in the songs. There’s not really a message, I’m just telling a story and relaying a possible future.”
Currently on tour with Coal Chamber, Burton says an Aussie tour hasn’t been planned as yet, but is definitely on the cards.
Fear Factory were here in February this year for Soundwave Festival, and are always keen to return to a country they love.
“We were there with you guys in February. It was fantastic! It’s a great country. The Fear Factory fans and our audiences are always super receptive. We always have great shows there, and touring the countryside is beautiful. People are wonderful and when we’re over there, the weather is always great,” Burton says.
“We plan to come back, but there’s nothing definitive at all. At the moment, we’re touring, touring, touring! We’re currently on the road playing support for Coal Chamber. Then we continue with our own headlining tour in the United States. In October, we’ll head to Pacific Rim, then November, we’ll go back to Europe and tour Demanufacture in its entirety. Then we’ll see what happens in the New Year. But that’s how you’ve got to do it in this day and age.”
Fear Factory was founded in 1989 by Burton and legendary guitarist Dino Cazares, and throughout the years have been major influencers on the metal scene.
But Burton says the industry has changed throughout their career, ironically due to technology, and fans need to understand their need to support their artists better.
“It’s always been important to get out and tour, because that’s bands’ bread and butter, but what’s changed now is that you don’t put out a record to sell, you put out a record so you can tour. The internet changed everything. It’s devastated the music industry; everyone is suffering, and fans don’t understand they need to support their artists by not stealing from them and downloading for free. They need to support them properly, because if they don’t, their favourite artist won’t be their favourite artist anymore. They won’t be able to tour, they won’t be able to put out records,” he says.
“And that’s what fans need to understand. Another thing that’s changed is that there is no mystery anymore in music. The internet destroyed the mystery. Before, to learn about artists, you’d have to buy a magazine, or go to a concert. You couldn’t just bring it up on YouTube, or read about the artist online. There’s no interest to get out and learn about an artist. You can just go online. The internet destroyed a lot of really cool aspects of the music industry. It was cooler back when there was mystery and you didn’t know about your artists and you had to go to a concert to figure it out.”
Fear Factory’s ninth studio album Genexus is available now in stores and online, grab the technology before the technology grabs you.
By Libby Parker