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Dino Cazares of Divine Heresy
Interviewed By: Dave Fonseca
Date: 9/21/2007
Transcribed By: Dave Fonseca
View All Reviewed Media For This Artist

Dino Cazares - Divine HeresyDino Cazares recently took some time to talk to Metal Review's David Fonseca about his new band (don't call it a project) Divine Heresy and why 13 years after the release of Fear Factory's Demanufacture, he's looking to create another classic metal album.

Dave Fonseca: Did you write these songs before you started the band with Tim Yeung or was it a joint effort?

Dino Cazares: I wrote like half the album before I even started with Tim. Songs like “Savior Self,” “The Threat is Real,” “Rise of the Scorned,” “Soul Decoded.” A good half of the album was written before Tim came into the picture.

DF: Have you ever played with a drummer as fast as Tim before, and did his playing challenge you to step up your own game a little bit?

DC: No, I haven't played with a drummer who was as fast as Tim before but I did play with a drummer who was close to Tim – Nick Barker.

DF: Why did you decide to start up another band? Were you unsatisfied with the other projects you were dabbling in?

DC: Because the other band I was doing, Asesino, was just a project, and it wasn't something I'd ever be able to devote a lot of time to. Tony Campos is in Static-X, and they're doing really well and they're always on tour. Also, I've been trying to work on this project for four years or so, and I just didn't have the time. I was doing Brujeria, Asesino, and the Roadrunner All-Stars, and I wanted to come back and do a world-wide band. Whereas other bands I was doing like Brujeria and Asesino were somewhat world-wide bands, but really were more successful in other countries. Also, these are bands with lyrics all sung in Spanish, which makes it harder to reach out to everybody. I wanted to do something that would reach to everybody and be a world-wide touring band.

DF: You wanted to do something with a broader appeal, as opposed to something regional like Brujeria or Asesino?

DC: Well, something with a broader appeal only because it's in English, but not more commercial.

DF: Was there any music out there that inspired you while you were making this album. I hear a little bit of Meshuggah on “Soul Decoded.”

DC: Uh huh.

DF: Were you grabbing inspiration from a bunch of influences, or were you just keeping it internal?

Tommy Vext - Divine HeresyDC: Well, I've been doing this since 1989. I've been making grind-core and death metal for a long time. I was in a band called Excruciating Terror that was all grind, and I started Brujeria before I started Fear Factory. Each project that I do I try to go for a different approach. Obviously, with Tim Yeung, there's a lot of grinding death metal influence in there. So, when we wrote a song like “Bleed the Fifth” a lot of those elements came out. So, I really can't say I listen to one particular style or band or anything like that. All I can say is that a lot of the stuff that's old, is new. A lot of the stuff that came out of England like Carcass and Napalm Death is starting to resurface with a lot of the younger bands. A lot of these bands like Suicide Silence and Job for a Cowboy pretty much remind me of what was going on back in the late 80s and early 90s. So, If I ever listen to a band like Job for a Cowboy it's basically like I'm just re-listening to Napalm Death with some Obituary stuff thrown in there. Not to downplay anybody, but it's not really something I would be influenced by.

DF: If you've been hearing the same stuff for the last 17 years it's hard to listen to it again and get inspired.

DC: I'm also an older individual and I've been in the scene longer. There are 14 and 15 year old kids out there that have never heard of Napalm Death before. When they hear Job for a Cowboy of course it's gonna be something new for them. They don't know the history from where it all started from. So, me, knowing the history, whenever I feel inspired by something I know its usually something from the past. What's gonna be in the future has probably already been done it the past.

DF: Who was in charge of the lyrics for this album? Did you write them?

DC: No, I didn't write the lyrics for this album Tommy wrote them. But, it was a mutual thing between me and him. We went over the lyrics of every song together. And, basically, what it deals with is a lot of the personal strifes you go through in your life and how you overcome them. Unfortunately in this genre of music there's a lot of jealousy and lot of people that like to talk shit about you behind your back. And, a lot of people want to see my projects fail. This is a big “fuck you,” to all those people. I've always tried to be a positive part of this scene and support people and support bands whenever I could. And a lot of bands don't do that, they'd rather just talk shit. But, the songs aren't necessarily dedicated to any particular bands, just people in general. And, it's basically just a big “fuck you,” to all those people who want to see me and my projects fail. “Bleed the Fifth,” is kind of like a play on words, instead of plead the fifth – which in our justice system means, “I don't wanna say nothing.” But, it's kind of like a contradiction because we want to say a lot.

DF: Where do you think that jealousy comes from? Because it seems like something relatively new to me.

DC: Well, ever since I've been in bands I've gone through it. It's something you unfortunately can't ignore because you're in the scene. But, whatever, you just gotta shrug it off and move on.

DF: Or use it for inspiration.

DC: Or use it for inspiration as we have. There's a lot of jealous people out there. And this band is just saying, “fuck you,” this threat is real.

DF: How long did it take you to find a vocalist, and what was it about Tommy that made him stick out from the rest of the crowd. Were you looking for somebody who could sing clean and carry some of those big choruses you like to write?

Tim Yeung - Divine HeresyDC: Before I started this project I had a couple people recommend Tommy to me. The President of Century Media Records (Marco Barbieri) as well as Melissa Cross, who is a vocal coach, recommended Tommy to me. Melissa Cross cross has taught Corey from Slipknot, Randy from Lamb of God, and Phil from All that Remains how to protect their voice and how to use it properly. So, I was like, “Wow, a vocal coach recommended him, that's pretty impressive.” So, I sent him the CD and he sang on it and I was very impressed. What I like about him is that he's very aggressive, very powerful, and he can actually sing. If we wanted to be a death metal band -- we could, if we wanted to be a screamo band -- we could, if we wanted to be some melodic band -- we could. That's the talent this guy has; he can do it all. But, that's what Divine Heresy is. We're an aggressive, well rounded metal band. I wanted to find musicians that could play and mix all different genres of music. Obviously with Tim Yeung it's gonna be insanely fast, and with a singer like Tommy Vexx he's gonna do whatever is called for. What I like about him is that he really has the anger, the power, the aggression – he sounds pissed.

DF: Do you feel more liberated as a songwriter now because you can write any kind of part you want and he can sing over it and nail it?

DC: Correct. And Tim Yeung as well. He played with Nile but he also toured with Hank Williams III, which is country. So, we can play whatever we want. It's what is in us. And definitely the aggressive side of metal is in us. Divine Heresy will always be a metal band. Sure there will be some other stuff thrown in, but the majority of it will be in your face metal. I think some of you people get confused when you look at who the players are and you make assumptions about what kind of music it's gonna be. We also have Joe Payne from Nile. So when people hear those names they expected it to be all (grunts) death metal. But we're not. That's the one thing about this band ... we're not. We're kind of between a rock and a hard place. We're not death metal enough for the death metal guys and we're not Fear Factory enough for the Fear Factory guys. We're trying to make our own sound, and I think once people get past all that genre stuff they will realize that Divine Heresy is a killer fucking metal band.

DF: When you're on the road do you like to get out into the crowd and socialize or do you try to stay away from that.

DC: Usually what I do is go over to the merch both and wait for the kids to come over and I sign all their shit. Y'know hang out and have a beer. As long as I'm not busy. Sometimes the bigger the band gets the busier you get. Right now Divine Heresy is at a smaller level where we can go out into the crowd and have a beer, sign shit, shoot the shit and whatever. But, when I was in Fear Factory it became like a headache. I had so much shit to do I didn't have any time to hang out. It sucked. I just wanna go hang out and have a beer and talk to the kids.

DF: Inevitably people are going to compare whatever Divine Heresy does to whatever Fear Factory has put out for the last couple of years. Does that faze you at all?

DC: (laughs) I don't really think there's much of a comparison do you? If people compare Bleed The Fifth to Fear Factory it will be to old Fear Factory that I created. They can't compare it to new Fear Factory because I think we all know what that is.

DF: Are you competitive with those guys at all or are you over that?

DC: I don't think they're any competition at all do you?

DF: Well, the two bands are completely different animals.

DC: (laughs) Yeah, two different animals. I don't think there's any competition at all. I definitely feel competitive with myself and what I created back in the day. I would love to write another Demanufacture classic album. Not something of the same style, but a classic metal record. I think that is something that all musicians strive for. To have that MetallicaMaster of Puppets, SlayerReign in Blood, Fear FactoryDemanufacture, PanteraVulgar Display of Power type album. That's my goal for this band; to try and write that record.

DF: What's your discipline as far as guitar playing goes? How did you refine your signature style?

DC: I practice anywhere from two to four hours a day. You definitely got to keep that right hand picking up. I've gone a few weeks without rehearsing and your forearm starts hurting. When I was younger I was doing eight to ten hours a day, and I would practice ankle weights on my wrist.

DF: What is the first metal album you ever bought?

Joe Payne - Divine HeresyDC: That's tough to say because when I was a kid the only metal was like old Van Halen, Black Sabbath and AC/DC and stuff. If you want to call that metal, which I guess back then it was, then those were my first records. The first time I heard Black Sabbath I freaked out. That shit was huge. Then obviously we crossed over to fuckin' Judas Priest, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Slayer and all that shit.

DF: What's the last metal album you bought?

DC: That's a hard question. Jesus, what's the last album anybody has bought? I'm listening to the new Suicide Silence. Vehemence. And I'm writing songs for the new Asesino record.

DF: What's the first song you learned how to play on guitar?

DC: AC/DC by “Whole Lotta Rosie.”

DF: What song would you like to cover with Divine Heresy?

DC: “Fight Fire with Fire,” by Metallica with blastbeats.

DF: What are five albums you would take with you to a deserted island?

DC: All the classic metal albums I mentioned earlier, as well as Brujeria Matando Gueros, Asesino Christos Santanico, and of course Divine Heresy.

DF: What are some South American bands that the readers of Metal Review should check out?

DC: Leprosy.

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   VoiceOfReason 10/19/2007 5:27 PM 
Firstly, even if this guy had any fucking talent, that's still no reason to have such a fucking ego. But he's a fat fucking slob who couldn't write a good riff if you hit him in the face repeatedly with a fucking brick.

Secondly, (and I just wrote something about the band in their review section) comparing Suicide Silence to what was being done in the 80's and 90's? Sounds like Napalm Death with a bit of Obituary thrown in? Is he fucking deaf?

There was nothing like Suicide Silence back then, and it's certain not even close to either one of the afore mentioned bands. It's leagues heavier and more brutal with it's own style. It's like apples and oranges, for fucks sakes.

Then, after stating that in an almost down-putting manner, a few questions further down he states that he's listening to the new fucking Suicide Silence album. Fucking... what!?

Fucking fat retarded jag-off. Lay-off the baked goods... all the fat is clogging your fucking brain.

I've listened to Divine Heresy and it's fucking shit.

Learn how to write good fucking music before you open your mouth. Even then, no need to have such a god damn ego.

   Jason w/MetalReview 9/25/2007 2:07 PM 
@ Jimb: That was genuinely funny, even if it's in poor taste. =p

   Jimb 9/25/2007 10:52 AM 
There's no way fat-assed Dino could survive even a day on a deserted island...well that is, unless it was a "desserted island"! Zing!! I'm on a roll today!

   Jishwa 9/23/2007 8:57 PM 
Dino seems to be a pretty cool, laid back guy that just loves playing music...but man he's got an ego, and why can't he shut up about Fear Factory? In this interview, the stupid interviewer had to go and spark shit up by asking how Fear Factory, but those days are long gone, but every single interview he's in he always mentions something about them and i'm getting tired of it.

   Jon 9/23/2007 7:04 PM 
the fact of the matter is it wasnt even the hip-hop i was referring to and if you hate christian because he's into hip-hop, hey, thats on you. as a fan of metal, i do know i have listened and loved hip-hop, so i dont see how that is the issue here. dino has always claimed to be the driving force behind Fear Factory, so does Digimortal and its absolutely tired riffing fall onto his shoulders as the "driving force"? I can point to a number of songs on that album that were just bad due to basic absolutely uninspired riffing that was just a half-assed dino TRYING to ape himself....Yes, the one with cypress hill, which yes, was olde-wolbers' and herrera's affiliation, was horrid. however, considering how that was not even what i was referring to, i dont think my facts are incorrect. the point is, dino continues to take shots at his old band when they moved on years ago. if he doesnt want it to be an issue, he needs to shut his trap. simple as that.

   Matt w/Metal Review 9/23/2007 6:42 PM 
You don't, they were removed from the website permantely because they weren't up to par with the quality writing craftmanship published by the current team.

   Mike 9/23/2007 3:38 PM 
How do I find the archived review?

   Matt w/Metal Review 9/23/2007 2:06 PM 
Mike: I totally agree... and I actually stated that in the Digimortal review I did a couple years ago (which has since then been permantely archived)...

   mike 9/23/2007 1:56 PM 
cool interview , but to many ff questions .The journos need to get over it ..
Christian was the one that brought the HIP HOP element into ff .Christian was the one that was playing in Cypress Hill at that time and he was the one that invited B-Reel into the studio,and came out in a Cypress Hill video he is also wearing a dew rag in the lynchpin video and on the cd,and on there home dvd Christian is showing off alll his HIP HOP beats .
Jon you need to know your facts before you start talking .. but i do have guestion for you or anyone "why does the Fat Man (Dino)get blamed for all this meaning Digimortal.?

   Jon 9/22/2007 8:38 PM 
JB, youre right... Dino was the one who pushed for the simpler stuff on "digimortal", which is why it is so lackluster. The fact of the matter is, that album is so uninspired because of the riffs, and no other reason. So, it took him 4 years to write something that is a little better, but not by much. Dino needs to get over himself and get over the fact that FF saw he was getting lazy with his playing. Sure, FF hasnt written a great album since, in my opinion "obsolete", but dino was part of those failures as well. "Archetype" was pretty damn good and "transgression" not good at all...but the dude seriously swears he's more important than he actually is. go have another burrito. long live FF.

   JB 9/22/2007 8:18 PM 
Good record. I don't see how any fan of the old FF stuff wouldn't like it. Kinda weird, but I always thought Dino was the one who pushed for Digimortal to sound the way it did, with all the nu-metal hip hop stuff. That being said, I liked Digimortal for what it was. And like it or not, Dino, Divine Heresy will always be compared to FF. But they'd better do a hell of a lot better to keep up with DH.

   enraged 9/22/2007 7:53 PM 
Id say that John Stanke from Devolved is pretty damned close to Tim as far as speed goes and I know that Dino wrote with him.

   Matt w/Metal Review 9/22/2007 2:13 PM 
"No, I haven't played with a drummer who was as fast as Tim before but I did play with a drummer who was close to Tim – Nick Barker."

Hmm, I wonder if that was aimed towards a Fear Factory drummer I know of who has lightening fast kicks... ; )

   Sculpy 9/22/2007 12:29 PM 
I want to know why this elastic man is hailed as kinda metal hero. Good interview, exposes how the guy is more scene and core than he actually is metal. 'Grinding death metal influence' on Bleed the Fifth??? Is the guy trying to be funny or is he really that ignorant of the metal scene and his own music?

   Halfhazzard 9/22/2007 6:07 AM 
I want to know why there's only one song with the 8 string beast.

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