In the aftermath of Korn’s controversial tenth studio record, ‘The Path Of Totality,’ the bands’ guitarist, James ‘Munky’ Shaffer, has sat down with Guitar World to talk about why the band decided to take the risk of releasing a dubstep album.
“It was more or less the concept and everyone coming to an agreement that we would try this and see how it went. Jonathan came to me backstage at one of our shows last year and started playing me some Skrillex tracks from his ‘Scary Monsters’ album, and I was like, ‘Wow, this is really cool and fresh.’ It was something he was starting to get into, and he played me some tracks and asked, ‘How do you feel about trying to incorporate some of these elements into what we do on our next record?’ I thought, ‘That’s a pretty big challenge, but let’s try it and see how it works.’ Next thing you know, we called Skrillex and he came down to the studio, and that’s where the song ‘Get Up!’ began.”
While criticism of the album was in mass abundance prior to any of the songs being heard, in the time since the release of ‘Get Up!’ it has become quite obvious that Korn and dubstep go hand in hand. Munky says that while the music is different, it isn’t too much of a step beyond what Korn have been doing for nearly twenty years. “…we just had so much fun and we got really excited about how the elements combined and complimented one another that it became pretty effortless. The stuff we’ve been doing for years — including 808s and trying to find those low notes that really move air on the lower end of the sonic spectrum — it was like a really exaggerated version of what we did already.”
Though the introduction of dubstep into Korn’s sound, has meant that the iconic guitarist occasionally needs to take a step back and let other instruments take the lead, Munky says that he actually fells as though he has more freedom on the fret board. “It was a bit of a struggle, but I never felt like I had to take the backseat. I feel like I had a lot of freedom on the guitar end of writing.” However, he did find it hard to merge the sounds together. “I think one of my biggest challenges for recording the guitars on the record was having those big synths and bass wobbles and trying to get the guitar tones to sound interesting. Also, a lot of the songs we wrote are in different keys and typically, we’re used to writing in Drop A. All the stuff we wrote, I used standard tuning. Getting used to writing in those other keys was sort of different for me, but it was nice because I could create different chord voicings and move around the neck to new positions.”
The guitarist finished by voicing his concerns over how fans will take to the new album. “Yeah, I think there’s definitely some preconceived notion that we made a dubstep dance album, and that’s not the case at all. We have pushed ourselves in a creative direction — as we have with every record — and I think most hardcore Korn fans know they’re not going to get the same record every time we put out an album. We’re always trying to challenge ourselves, and I think it’s good to try and challenge the listeners too.”
Click here to hear ‘The Path Of Totality’ in its entirety.
You can check out a live version of ‘Kill Mercy Within,’ from the new album below.
‘The Path Of Totality’ track listing:
01. Chaos Lives In Everything
02. Kill Mercy Within
03. My Wall
04. Narcisstic Cannibal
06. Burn The Obedient
08. Let’s Go
09. Get Up!