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Shedding Light on Years in the Darkness: 15 Minutes with Christian Olde Wolbers

By Charlie Steffens, aka Gnarly Charlie, Writer/Photographer
Wednesday, July 22, 2009 @ 9:32 AM


"Until everything legally gets resolved on who can do what with the name (Fear Factory) and tour under what entity we have no idea until our lawyers come to an agreement."

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Fear Factoryís Christian Olde Wolbers is part of a new machine called Arkaea. The band is made up of vocalist Jon Howard [Threat Signal], bassist Pat Kavanaugh [Threat Signal], Wolbers on guitar, and Fear Factoryís Raymond Herrera on drums.

Wolbers checked in with KNAC.COM to talk about Arkaea and the release of its debut album, Years In The Darkness, and discuss some additional dirt as well. Here is what he had to say.

KNAC.COM: How long did it take for Years In The Darkness to be made?

WOLBERS: We started on it in 2007, like around March, April. We worked on it a good solid two years, two and a half years, almost.

KNAC.COM: Some of the songs on the Arkaea album were originally written for Fear Factory, right?

WOLBERS: After 2006, our last tour, we basically were going to write the next Fear Factory record and since that didnít start happening and we started noticing that we werenít going to do a Fear Factory record anytime soon, we decided to use some of the material and do something on the side to keep us busy. And, I always wanted to start a new band or do something else a little more experimental and that was the perfect band for it, actually. I called Jon [Howard] and Pat [Kavanaugh] from Threat Signal. Since I produced their 2005 record, I became good friends with those guys. Jon was actually the first singer I wanted to use for something new. So we started working on the Arkaea record and we got picked up, we got signed, and we started turning into a real band. Fear Factory at that point still wasnít doing any record and we hadnít planned to go in the studio to actually finish an album, so I kept working on Arkaea with Raymond [Herrera]. So it turned out to be a full-blown band.

KNAC.COM: You and Ray still have the Fear Factory name, right?

WOLBERS: We are both equal shareholders of the Fear Factory name. Iím just trying to see whatís going on with that.

KNAC.COM: The reformation of the original Fear Factory could still happen?

WOLBERS: Yeah, youíre hoping as much as I am (laughs).

KNAC.COM: Itís well-reported that Burton [C Bell] and Dino [Cazares] have mended fences, so to speak.

WOLBERS: Itís good that theyíre friends again. I canít say anything bad about that. They were originally the two that had the issue and thatís why Fear Factory had to continue with the lineup that we know today. That theyíre good friends again and that they want to get Fear Factory going again, itís up to them, but obviously thereís a lot of other intentions going on from their camp, so thatís why we ended up in a huge lawsuit and a legal battle. Until all that gets resolved, then nobodyís going on tour with anything.

KNAC.COM: What happened that made the band break?

WOLBERS: Burton was doing his own side project, his own solo thing, and being a family man as well. After a while we were writing songs and we just feltóme and Raymond could tell--that we werenít going to be making a Fear Factory record anytime soon. And then there were all these demands. Burton came back with these different demands of what he wanted, and Ray and I were definitely not seeing eye to eye with him on a lot of issues and business issues. Ray and I wanted what was best for the business and what he [Burton] was trying to change wasnít really good for the business. It was only bad for the business, so thatís why he went into that whole phase of hijacking the name and trying to run with it (laughs).

KNAC.COM: So, right now Fear Factory is defunct until further notice, with the four of you as equal shareholders, split into two bands. Thatís the way itís going to stay for a while.

WOLBERS: Until everything legally gets resolved on who can do what with the name and tour under what entity we have no idea until our lawyers come to an agreement.

KNAC.COM: Has the Arkaea record met or exceeded your expectations?

WOLBERS: Yeah, Iím definitely happy with it. I mean, thereís still little things here and there that we could have improved. But for what it is right now, Iím very proud of it. The little things I want to improve I can always save that for the next record. Itís still like a growing phase. This is our first record, still trying to find our formula and our niche of making music together. Itís all still a little new for us, but weíre going to start building it up. I can already tell that the next recordís definitely going to be mixed by Terry Date again and weíre trying to bring Terry in for the production side of it a little bit as well. We definitely want to try to build our sound with him. Just like he was a big part of Pantera or Deftones, Iíd like him to be a big part like that for Arkaea as well. Weíre just going to keep making records. This is just the perfect start. Iím very proud of this record, for sure.

KNAC.COM: Does Jon throw his voice out a lot? He screams like a madman.

WOLBERS: Heís got some mean screams (laughs). Those things are ear-piercing. They break down walls. Heís very talented. Heís got great range. All around heís got what it takes. Heís just talented in so many different ways; writing, heís got a good singing voice, he has production skills now, too. All around heís just hungry. The recordís about to come out, but if I still asked him today to change something on the record he would gladly do it without any question. Heís open and easy to work with.

KNAC.COM: Are you a bass player turned guitarist or is it the other way around?

WOLBERS: Itís kind of like the other way around. I used to play bass back in my younger days, but I used to play upright bass for psychobilly bands and rockabilly bands. Then I picked up the guitar. My first instrument was definitely guitar. Then I started playing upright bass. Then I started playing guitar again. Then when I hooked up with Fear Factory they needed a bass player, so I started playing bass. And then I picked up the guitar again in 2003 or something.

KNAC.COM: When are you guys going to start the Arkaea tour?

WOLBERS: We got stuff lined up for October weíre working on now. Hopefully weíre up for the Anthrax tour. Hopefully for December we might be going to Europe. That would be good for us to set up the European continents. Our recordís doing really well in Germany and stuff, so we definitely need to go out there and do some winter tours.


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