Korn frontman Jonathan Davis walks off the tour bus at Cypress Hill’s SmokeOut holding a Monster energy drink and a cigarette. The energy drink is for a boost after a busy evening in Las Vegas the night before, where he played three sets – two as his DJ alter ego, J Devil, and one fronting Korn.
The two passions, metal and electronic, came together for him last year when Korn teamed with white-hot dubstep producer Skrillex and others on the band’s The Path to Totality album. These days, the two are mutually inclusive. “I love DJing, and I love rocking out,” Davis tells Rolling Stone. “It’s fun going from DJing electro and heavy dubstep to Korn. It’s therapy for me.”
While Korn plans to tour throughout 2012, Davis is still devoting plenty of time to his passion for electronic music. “I’ve been working on my EP. I got a studio on the bus. I write every night,” he says, adding that the collection will be released sometime this year on Dim Mak records.
Given that his band worked so closely with Skrillex, one has to wonder how much Davis’ new music will be influenced by the pairing. Somewhat, he says, but not as much as people might assume.
“I love what he does, [but] I think the only influence I took was mashing up different kinds of genres of music,” he says. “It doesn’t really sound anything like him. I’ve had a chance to work with all the best guys in the business and it taught me a lot. I like to come up with my own style, so I’m getting respect from lots of people.”
Davis just completed a track with Datsik and Infected Mushroom, and there are a lot more names on the J Devil project, including Downlink and Excision, as well as Slugoo, who is on the bus as we speak. And Davis has more big plans: “I met Big Mike from Evol Intent last night. We’re gonna get together and get Jake from Kill the Noise – he used to be E1, back in the drum and bass days – and Spor, which is Feed Me now. We’re all four gonna get together and do a collaboration,” he says. “That was the old supergroup they had back in the Nineties called Lifted. We’re gonna do some songs.”
How would he describe the new music? “It’s all these different genres,” he says. “I love electro, I love jungle, I love drum and bass, I love dubstep, so it’s a mixup of all that stuff.”
After almost two decades in Korn, working in different styles is very important to him: “It keeps me motivated. It keeps me being creative and not getting bored with music.” And he is enjoying electronic music boom. “This is the biggest the EDM scene has ever been. There’s so much creativity out there, and I love watching people play with their laptop. It’s a new instrument.”