Korn doing dubstep? If you thought it wouldn’t work, you may need to check your knowledge of the legendary Bakersfield metallers who built their reputation as pioneers of an entirely new sound in the mid-90s.
While the world was still knee-deep in the grunge movement, Korn were inventing a whole new sound with album Life Is Peachy , only to do it all over again with the introduction of nu-metal thanks to Follow The Leader .
“That’s the thing with Korn – you can’t be surprised when they bring out something totally new, because that’s what they’ve always been doing,” says recently-added drummer, Ray Luzier. “All other bands try to sound like someone else before them when they first come out, like, ‘Who’s big right now, okay let’s sound like them.’ When Korn came out in the 90s – they messed everybody up because they had a sound noone had ever heard before, and you know that’s true whether you were a fan or not.
“At the time all other bands were still busy trying to sound like Nirvana and the whole Seattle scene, then Korn came out of nowhere and it just changed everything. That’s what I love about this band – they’re always trying to do new things, always trying to maintain that energy, and we’re all lifers – we want to play music forever.”
And one way to ensure it is to not only stay in the loop but continue to evolve as a band, despite the kind of legacy you’ve already managed to acquire for yourself. The key is to keep moving forward and explore new sounds, as Luzier explains, and it’s a philosophy Korn has adhered to since day one.
“Jonathan is a really big fan of electronic music – we all are – and he’s always bringing different things into the studio, like, ‘You gotta check this out!’ About a year and a half ago, he brought in some Skrillex and he’s like, ‘This dubstep shit sounds amazing,’ and we were blown away! At the time our first reaction was how the fuck are we going to work with such a crazy sound, but it actually proved to be surprisingly easy. For me, being a drummer, I thought it would be a nightmare, but the sound is so much heavier live, it actually works.”
It didn’t take long for Korn’s management to approach Skrillex about a possible collaboration, and when the experiment proved to be a huge success, the band employed other dubstep heavyweights the likes of Excision, Downlink, Noisia, Feed Me, 12th Planet and Flinch to contribute to brand new album The Path Of Totality. Enjoy getting out of your comfort zone? Then this album is for you, affirms Luzier.
“We’ve started touring the album and it’s been fucking wild,” says the drummer. “You know what I love the most so far? We’re getting Korn fans coming up to us and telling us, ‘Man, I didn’t want to love this new stuff, but I love it!’ And that’s the great thing about Korn fans – they’ve always had a more open mind than anybody else. Even better is that I’m getting all these emails from like 16-year-old Skrillex fans who’ve never heard of Korn before and they’re like, ‘Man, I love your band, I’m gonna go find all your old records!’
“Personally, I loved the Skrillex collaboration because it’s just the sound that he does, it’s absolutely jaw-dropping! He’s been the first person to really amaze me with this new sound. I think the main reason he appealed to Jonathan and the rest of the band is because he’s very much on the same level in terms of always wanting to be creative and doing something different. We’re not afraid to take chances and neither is he, and I think the same goes for our audience.”
With 2012 now fast approach, Luzier says he’s looking forward to a whole year of partying or, as some call it, ‘touring’. Kicking off with the official album launch in Los Angeles next month, Luzier says Korn can’t wait to bring the party over to our shores in the not-too-distant future, too.
“With Korn, it never ends, that’s the cool thing about this band, we’re either writing or we’re recording or we’re touring. Next year is going to be a huge touring year for us, I can’t wait to see all the fans. I know that every band think they have the best fans in the world, but Korn fans are just amazing. They go crazy with the tattoos of Jonathan’s face on their backs – I think it’s more of a lifestyle for people rather than just being into a band. So many times we get people coming to the shows and coming up to us saying, ‘you guys saved my life, thank you so much for the music’, and it’s so powerful. Nothing gives you goose-bumps quite like that.”
– Nina Bertok
Korn release Path Of Totality in Australia on December 2nd, through Roadrunner. Check out what happened when Korn hooked up with Skrillex and Kill The Noise on “Narcissistic Cannibal.”