Reggie "FieLdY" Arvizu
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?
I think everybody puts in their own distinctive part. I guess that's what it is. Most of the time when we write, DAVID, MUNKY, HEAD and I will do all the music and then JON will come in and he won't write lyrics immediately--he'll sing a melody of just nonsense words and write lyrics later. On this album, we were getting JON to try writing lyrics without having a melody first. We were just playing along with his words and let a melody come out as the words were flowing. So we did a little bit of different stuff on this album. We actually wrote a couple of music parts around a melody that he already had. That's different from all the other albums--trying new things. Musically, when we're writing, I think everybody helps each other. Sometimes, MUNKY will be working on something and I'll tell him to try this pedal or something. We help each other especially if we're having problems.
Do you write with the philosophy that if you can't play something in concert, you don't record it?
Everything we do on the album, we do live. If we can't pull it off live, then we don't record it on the album.
What do you personally contribute to KORN's sound and to FOLLOW THE LEADER in particular?
My sound is more like a drummer. I'm a percussion-sounding bass player. A lot of times people think that what they're hearing is drums and it's actually in the bass. For instance, when Les Claypool (of Primus) heard some of the new stuff, like B.B.K. & he said, "That's a pretty cool double kick!" And it wasn't, it was my bass. On the business side of KORN, I do all the T-shirt designs for KORN, all the merchandise, like the hats and stickers. All the merchandise you see. That's all me. I think everybody could do it. I think everybody's just lazy. So I end up being the one that does it all. I come up with a bunch of designs, show them to the band. They either approve or disapprove.
What's your favorite new sound or technique that you used for the first time on this album?
I think my favorite thing was the bass synthesizer. It's a pedal. You can give it pretty much any kind of sound you want. I use it a lot on the new album. Now everybody can go out and buy it and start bitin' my style.
How do you feel the production was different on this album than it was on the last album?
I guess we had a budget of $500,000 rather than $150,000. That's production right there. If you have money, then you can make things happen. Of course, it's gonna sound better, cuz we had a bigger budget. We also just got out of a 1902 studio and moved into an updated 1998 studio. Pretty much all of us put the modern technology to use. We broke out all the new pedals and effects and crap like that.
How do you think working with new producers helped enhance the KORN sound? How was it different than your previous albums with Ross Robinson?
We were going for a whole other level, so we thought we'd try a new producer. Toby Wright, who finished it with us, is someone we'll probably work with again because we really liked working with him. He was on our level. He had good ideas. He had a good ear for tone and all that crap. When you listen to the new album, you feel like you just went on a huge rollercoaster ride. There's a lot of dynamics in it, a lot of ups and downs. It's pretty crazy. That's how I always feel. I feel like I just got off the Colossus at Magic Mountain. Compared to the other two albums, this one's gonna make those two look boring. We do what we do. The producers come in and say, "That's cool." I mean some producers do more than others. Like me working with Videodrone (KORN's second signing to their Elementree Records), I actually write a lot of the music with them and arrange a lot of shit. But on our new record, the person who came up with a lot of the tones and effects that were used was Caco, our guitar tech.
Do you feel like you could relate to JONATHAN's lyrics even though he writes about his own personal experiences?
I think everybody can from our generation. Not just me, personally. Pretty much everybody we know is just about in our age bracket, and we were all kinda raised the same.
Was there a particular sound that you came up with on this album that surprised you?
The only thing that surprised me was that I came up with "Children Of The KORN" which we did with Ice Cube. I did everything with that song. I just went into the back room one day, when the other guys were working, and I ended up playing the bass guitar, drum beats...everything on that song. It turned out really phat. I just laid down the drums first, put the bass down, and even played the sitar on it. Then I played a couple of guitars on it. It all only took one day.
Compared to when you first started to record the album, how do you think the band has evolved?
We've evolved so much, it's gonna take us a long time to learn how to play these songs. I mean it's totally like musicians are gonna trip out on it.
Did you come up with so many new sounds during the recording process that the songs don't sound anything like they first did when you wrote them?
Some of the songs sound a lot different, `cause when we left rehearsals and finally got in the studio, we started running a lot of pedals and effects and crap like that through them. When JON got to do all his backing vocals, he ended up changing a lot of them, period. There were a few songs that we totally hated. We were like, `No way. They´re not gonna make it on the record.´ And now they're like our favorite songs. "Justin." was one of those songs. That was like a "for sure, no way going to make it on the album" song. When JON ended up changing some shit, and all his vocals, it became one of our favorite songs. And a song called "Pretty"; that was another one. After JON changed the vocals, and MUNKY and HEAD changed their guitars, it ended up being the best song on the record.
What are your musical influences, and what books or films or any other cultural stimuli do you feel inspires you?
The only thing that inspires me is hip-hop--all west-coast hip-hop. Not that I favor west-coast or east-cost, but that's just what seems to inspire me. Just the beats and the style.
How do you feel about the current state of music, and what is KORN contributing to it that's different?
I think it's horrible right now. Like alternative music, I hate it. It's crap. It's garbage. It's fuckin' weak 'cause it's all the same. But I think in the next few years, it's gonna be really good. What's different about what we're doing? There's no label for us. They always had a label. I mean, Pearl Jam, they were called grunge. And then you had heavy metal. And then you have us. What's KORN like? Nobody ever has a label for us.
What is 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.)
When it came down to it, all that really mattered was for him to get better. Nothing really mattered but his health. We can always tour, but if he's dead...we're not touring. Of course we can get another guitar player, but it'll never be the same. So we were just concerned about him getting better. If it meant canceling the whole tour, then that's what it meant. We gave it a few days, he wasn't getting any better. We gave it a week and we just said, "Fuck this." Even if he does get better, he needs to be off, relax and get well. Our fans pretty much know KORN don't cancel shows for no reason. I think they got the vibe, and they knew this was a pretty serious occasion. I think all the fans were really understanding and they backed us 100%. As far as what the band thought, I don't think anything could have brought us closer together, because we've grown-up together. We're already like brothers--we've known each other for 15 years.
What are your personal goals for Elementree Records?
I think we'd all like to sign some bands that everybody is scared to sign. That's pretty much our goal and, of course, to make them as big as KORN, if not bigger. I think the '90's are really hurting for some music. You only have a handful of good bands right now.
What inspired you to create the "Family Values" tour?
We wanted to do a tour where we bring the bands we like with us. Everybody is in the same vibe instead of putting a "Lollapalooza" together that's half slow-ass bands and some reggae. Fuck that. "Family Values" is a dream tour for us. And this is going to be an annual thing, too whether KORN is on it or not. And we'll arrange it, too, setting up the bands who will be on it.
Can you describe the on-stage chemistry in KORN?
We just feed off each other and the crowd. We push ourselves so hard, it's like when we walk off stage, it's like we're going to collapse. A few times a couple of us have. And I don't know how everybody else feels, but personally, when I'm playing that music and it's that loud, it fuckin' makes me go crazy. I guess there could be no crowd out there and it wouldn't matter. Yeah the crowd enhances our performance when people are going crazy. Still, playing that aggressive, groovin'-ass music just makes you go nuts. Especially when it's loud as fuck.
What's your favorite song on the album?
On this album there is so much variety, you can't pick out your favorite because they're all different. But if I had to play one song for somebody, I guess it would be "Freak On A Leash." I think it has a little bit of everything that KORN is about. I tend to play that one the most.
From "All In The Family", what's your favorite anti-JONATHAN line and your favorite anti-Fred line?
I think I like when Fred says, "I'll jack off in your eye, you pumpkin pie." And when JON says, "Come on hillbilly can your horse do a fuckin' wheelie?"
If you had the chance to change places with any other member of the band, who would it be and why?
I'd like to get inside HEAD's head. He's kind of a freak. I'd change places with him and see what's going on up there.
What five albums would you want to be stranded on a deserted island with?
The new KORN record, of course. Chris Rock's live comedy album. The biggest old school hip-hop compilation you could get. So I could have a variety of a bunch of shit. Psycho Realm. And Erykah Badu Live.
If you could bring five items with you on the road from your house, what would you take?
My car, my big screen TV with surround sound, my couches to go with the big screen, my bed, and a picture of my two daughters.
Describe your life, right now in five words or less.
I'm fuckin' stressed out man.
What's the best advice you have for an inspiring musician?
I guess I'd have to say, don't give up. That's all.
Any final thoughts?
Yeah. Look for me to put out a solo project in 1999 called FIELDY'S DREAMS. I'm gonna be playing all the instruments on it. Keep an eye out for it.