【email / interview】KORN

KORN’s new studio-album was released on December 6th via Roadrunner Records and much has already been written on it as it mixes two very different genres of music : Metal and Dubstep. Find out below remarks from the band’s frontman, Jonathan Davis, about this controversial CD. Note that KORN will be at Bataclan, Paris (FR) on March 12d. Tickets are already on sale !

Korn

« The Path of Totality » is a very new direction for KORN. How did the decision to stray from your traditional sound come about ?
Jonathan : I think our decision to stray from what we usually do came from our desire to experiment. We wanted to try different things, different styles of music. It gets boring to do the same thing over and over again. I stumbled upon dubstep stuff when I was DJing. I heard something I thought could mix really well with KORN. There was one artist in particular we wanted to work with and he goes by the name of EXCISION. He has invented heavy-dubstep which is dubstep with guitar riffs and bass rumbles. It is very dark and heavy. So, I talked to him first and we did a song together. It went so well that I called SKRILLEX. We asked him to come down. He’s actually a big KORN fan so he agreed. We wrote those three songs and it just started-out. It was totally experiment, we didn’t know it was gonna be a record or anything. I just wanted to try something new. The rest of the band was like « hell yes, let’s do this ». It just came out of an idea.

Originally this was not meant to be a full record but an EP. Can you explain your decision to make a full-length album with dubstep producers ?
Jonathan : The reason is that we had so much fun making it. Seeing the spark in Munky’s eyes, seeing SKRILLEX jumping up-and-down and me having fun like a little kid made it worth it, made us want to keep going. It kinda makes me feel like 1994 again when we used to fuse hip-hop beats and dub bass lines to make our music back then. We did « Get up » in three and a half hours, everything just felt right in the place. After the track Munky and I did with EXCISION, we decided that we should continue on and see what happens next. So we kept making more songs and more songs. Originally, it was supposed to be an EP, yes, but we had so much fun that we dedided to keep going.

How was the writing process ?
Jonathan : The writing process on this record was really different. Usually, we hold-up in the studio for a couple of months and write songs. Then we start recording and I say when it’s done. This one was very different, it took a year to make and we were touring in between. Basically what went down this time-around is that we would get in a room together, we would hang-out a little bit, then it’d start-out with a beat, the producers would just lay down a skeleton of beats and some wobbles here and there. And then it’d go to Munky, he would be messing around with some guitar riffs, then it’d go back to the producers. They would write some bass lines and stuff around the guitars. We worked in digital and in analog at the same time. We’d pretty much come-up with parts and my job was to arrange it all. SKRILLEX knew Rock N Roll arrangements because he’s been in a band before but the rest of the guys had no clue. In dance music, you got intro, drop 1, drop 2, breakdown, drop 3 and then you’re out. This is a very different way to have verses, choruses and bridges. This formula was some kind of alien to them so assembling parts, gathering all that stuff together, was my job. I wanted to keep the integrety of both sides of music. That’s what took so long. I took my time and this was the hardest KORN record we ever did !

Dubstep – SKRILLEX in particular – polarizes music fans. How are you expecting long-time KORN’s fans to react to « The Path of Totality » ?
Jonathan : Some fans are going to be unhappy, some others will love it. We can’t satisfy everybody. Some elements of our music stay with us until we find the next thing. It has always been working this way. « Path of Totality » is not necessarily a dubstep album. But you know, a lot of producers we worked with said to us that we were dubstep before there was dubstep. Because of the fact that we tune down very low, because of the fact that we’ve always been about the bass. The roots of the band have basically been dubstep and we didn’t even know it. So, I think it’s been this way for a long time. It’s not really guitar and drums oriented, there are electronic elements but people will eventually catch on it, they will feel it.

Can you tell us more album the title of the album ?
Jonathan : I’m horrible with titles. Munky came-up with it. He actually brought me a list with about twelve different ones. The Path of Totality refers to the fact that in order to see a full solar eclipse, you must be in the exact right place in the exact right time, everything has to be in line right. That’s how this album came together. My manager had to line all these DJs’ schedules up. They were all on tour, it was not easy. Everything had to line-up perfectly for this album to work. Everything had to fall at the right place at the right time with the right people to make this happen. So we thought it was just a fitting title. And the eclipse, to me, was the rebirth of this band.

What about the other producers ?
Jonathan : I was super-surprised that NOISIA wanted to work with us. It’s the highest you can go as far as production in drum n bass. He didn’t know anything about metal but he came down to the show, after that, we talked a while. I felt like I was being interviewed. We started playing music back-and-forth and he said OK. He wanted to know my intentions first, I think. He’s very creative, it was an honor to have him on the record. FEED ME is the most musical, he mixes all kind of genres in his music. “Bleeding Out” just blew me away, when I heard this song, for the first time in a long time I really wanted to put bagpipes on a KORN record. So I think I did the first ever bagpipe solo on a dubstep song ! EXCISION is a KORN fan. He used to wear a KORN t-shirt and go skateboarding (laughs). He, DATSIK and DOWNLINK didn’t understand at first what we wanted to get. Like I said earlier, they come from heavy-dubstep so of course they nailed it on the heavy stuff. I had a blast making the three songs we did together. I love those kids, they are amazing ! Working with KILL THE NOISE was awesome too. He’s an amazing producer. His new album is coming-out soon.

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