Why don't you tell us a little bit about the attitude with which KORN went into the studio this time? What were you hoping to achieve?
We were hoping to write and record the best record we could. We didn't want to make it sound like the first or second record, but we wanted to keep it sounding like KORN. We wanted to take the songs to a new level even with somewhat of a new writing style. We just basically wanted to make a good record, one we were happy with, something that sounded like it took a step up from the first two records.
What's really amazing about the music of KORN is that you really created this really intense hybrid sound that has elements of hip-hop, it has elements of Brian Eno experimentation. Why don't you tell us about what goes into the creation of the KORN sound--what happens during the writing process?
We sit in a rehearsal studio, set up recording equipment and we meet everyday. Unless someone has an idea they thought of at home or something, we pretty much sit down with our instruments and start trying ideas. And far as the KORN sound goes, it's just what we like--it was not preconceived that we have to write like this and make every song like this. We try anything and if we like it, we use it. It's pretty much simple as that. There was not a lot of thought behind the creative direction, and we didn't say that we have to stay on this direction--it's music we like and the way we write the songs.
Do you write with the philosophy that if you can't play something in concert, you don't record it?
Yeah, we try to write like that. There are some overdubs as far as the guitar and vocals go because obviously JONATHAN can't be three people at once. We try to keep it where the main parts of the songs are always possible to do live so it's not missing anything big. It's much better than bands that have one guitar player, but on the songs you hear two or three main guitar tracks. And when they play live, they pick one of the tracks to play and then it's missing a lot. It really stands out, I've always hated it when I hear bands like that.
What's your favorite new sound or technique that you used for the first time on this album?
Technique-wise, I think I still play the way I always played. I started using D-drum samplers on this record, but I actually ended up not using them as much as I thought I would. I just got a few more shaker sounds and stuff like that. I think the feeling of my playing on the songs is just really fun, and it's the way the songs on this record feel.
How do you feel the production was different on this album than it was on the last album?
I don't think the production was that different, but the studios were a lot different. We used some of the same equipment, some different equipment which varied in sound. I think since the studio the album was recorded in, and the studio the record was mixed in were different studios, it had a dramatic difference on the way the record came out. That was the main thing on the production.
How do you think working with new producers helped enhance the KORN sound? How was it different than your previous albums with Ross Robinson?
As far as the KORN sound goes and how it turned into new sounds as we went, I don't think that had so much to do with a producer. I think most of it was just writing a record, reflecting on it, then taking all of our thoughts and using them towards the way we want to write the next record. I'm not saying I don't think the producer's ideas were good, whether it be Steve or Ross. I think that they did have something to do with helping the sound, but I don't think they had a tremendous amount to do with the sound. I would credit us very much as far as our sound goes. The biggest difference in recording FOLLOW THE LEADER would probably be Toby, the engineer/co-producer, and NRG, the studio. As far as the quality of the songs, I wouldn't say they got better because the producers were doing this or that. They helped motivate us. They helped us to keep going if we were getting tired of writing or whatever. I think they helped more in that way rather than actually helping us to form a sound. We just listened to what we did in the past and thought, `You know kind of like that. We didnīt like that. Letīs go more in this direction.ī I think we had more to do with it than anybody.
Do you feel like you could relate to JONATHAN's lyrics even though he writes about his own personal experiences?
Personally, I didn't have a bad childhood, but I can relate as far as I've heard other stories and seen so many things that happen. And every time you turn on the TV, you hear the awful things that happen to children. I understand it all even though I didn't have a bad childhood. Some of the other issues...I understand, but he writes a lot about fighting with your own personal insides. I don't really have things like that going on in my head. I'm pretty at ease with myself and with my life.
Are you influenced by any other artists?
There's music that I like to listen to, but when it comes to writing our music, I don't really get influenced by anyone else's music. I get influenced as we write our music. The part comes up and it influences me to think a certain way about the part and about how to go about writing to it.
How do you feel about the current state of music, and what is KORN contributing to it that's different?
What we are contributing is high-energy music, intense, aggressive music, fun music. And I think there are more mellow-style bands doing the softer alternative, poppy kind of sound. I think the scene needed a little bit more of the intense, high-energy music, which we're bringing to the fans.
What did the sudden cancellation of Lollapalooza because of MUNKY's illness mean to you as an individual and to KORN as a band? (Note: KORN played 14 out of the tour's 27 dates.)
It was kind of a disappointment, because all of us in the band had wanted to play "Lollapalooza" for so long. We were excited about doing it. After MUNKY had been in the hospital for a few days rather than a couple of days--like when it turned into five or six days--everyone started getting really worried about him. Then we said we should probably take him out of the hospital, take him home to L.A., get him treatment there and get him better, because no tour was worth anyone's personal health. We were not going to drag it on and have him sitting in a hospital feeling this weight on him thinking everyone was counting the hours for him to get up and come back to the tour and play. It was kind of disappointing at first about the tour, but everyone was cool with it because we new it was MUNKY's personal health that was at stake here. That is more important than a tour. The business aspect of it was just something we had to deal with.
What inspired you to work with Todd McFarlane--the creator of the Spawn comic book--for the album artwork?
We had heard from Al Masocco (Epic VP of Marketing) that Todd had actually referred to us as "the Doors of the 90's" and it got everyone really excited. So after we were asked to do the "Spawn" soundtrack and we had seen his art, we knew what he was capable of. Al came back and asked us if we were interested in working with him more. Then we approached Todd to do our album cover and he seemed real enthusiastic about it. We were really excited and everyone was kind of surprised that he was anxious to work with us as we hoped he would be. I guess we didn't think he would be into it that much, doing the album cover, but he came back to us right away saying he would love to do it. We were blown away. We didn't think this guy would want to work with us as much and like the band that much.
What are your personal goals for Elementree Records?
My goal is for it to be a real record label. We see things happening in the business with other bands, like we see them being signed and then the way they're treated throughout their career. We think we can take everything we know and put it all to use in a positive way and actually create a good record label, actually sign good bands, make a success out of it and hopefully earn our way to be taken seriously in the record industry.
How much of hand do you have in the running of the label and overseeing the progress of a band's development once they're signed?
Our main job is to sign bands to the label. As far as running the company and overseeing it, we actually have as much involvement in that as we want to have. When we're on the road it's obviously harder for us to do it. We have phone meetings and sometimes in-person meetings with our management, with whom we're also partners with in the label and who run most of the day-to-day stuff. We get updates on everything that's going on, and obviously we ask a lot of questions. As much as we want to be involved, we can be on every aspect of it, from just the signing, to the recording, to any of it, advertising, anything.
What inspired you to create the "Family Values" tour?
We saw other festival type tours out there and there really weren't any of them we wanted to be on. So we thought, "why don't we try put together our own festival and we can pick the bands and determine the vibe of the festival and how it's run and where we go with it?" We thought we would give it a shot. So, we got some partners together to help us with it and starting creating the tour. We put everyone's ideas in a pot and started writing out a map for it. It actually ended up being really good, and we thought we could do something better than what was out there.
Can you describe the on-stage chemistry in KORN?
I would say the chemistry is a very comfortable feeling. We have been playing together for so long, everyone feels like we're tight, like everyone thinking as one. Even though our backs are turned to each other on the stage, it seems like everyone is kind connected through the mind. Obviously there are some days that we feel like we're more "on" than other days, and we're all thinking in the same way even more.
What inspired you to create "KORN-TV," the Internet network, and where do you hope to take it in the future?
I think we just wanted to find out new ways to reach out to Internet users. We had Internet shows for our last record, and they went over really well. We just wanted to take it further, do something even more original and bigger for this next record. I guess we'll figure out more stuff to do on the Internet. Just try to keep everything fresh and new and be one of the leaders.
What's your favorite song on the album?
I think it's "B.B.K." I just like the groove of it.
From "All In The Family," what's your favorite anti-JONATHAN line and your favorite anti-Fred line?
I think I like when Fred calls JON Austin Powers and bags on his teeth, and I think I like when JON calls Fred a hillbilly.
If you had the chance to change places with any other member of the band, who would it be and why?
I wouldn't. I like what I do, and I like my life. I wouldn't want to have any other life but my own. I found a happy place.
What five albums would you want to be stranded on a deserted island with?
I'd say Filter's "Shortbus," Blondie's "Greatest Hits," Orgy's "Candyass," I guess our new record. Gotta be honest. Um...let me think. Probably Helmet's "Meantime." And Weezer's first album.
If you could bring five items with you on the road from your house, what would you take?
I don't know, I'd bring everything. My refrigerator, all the food in it. My bed. My dune-buggy. All of it.
Describe your life, right now in five words or less.
If you could open for one of your favorite musicians, dead or alive, who would it be?
What's the best advice you have for an aspiring musician?
Persistence. Try to do the best you can do.