Korn‘s Jonathan Davis is not a fan of the current rock scene. “The music business, at least in the rock world, has been really stale,” Davis tells Rolling Stone. “It’s like there’s a certain formula you have to follow to get on the radio, and songs all sound the same.”
As the conversation continues, his words become more blunt. “Rock has been so fucking lame lately,” he says. Rather than just complain, he did something about it for Korn’s next album: “I just went toward what excites me now, and that’s the electronic scene.”
The long-running Bakersfield band’s upcoming album, The Path of Totality, finds the group teaming with several producers from the dubstep world, most notably Skrillex, who was the first to sign on, according to Davis. “His production, his sound, and our guitars and what we do with it, it just worked, and that’s what set the ball rolling,” Davis says. “Initially we were just thinking about doing a couple of songs, an EP, [but we] kept rolling with it more and more with different DJs, and it just turned into this record that took on a life of its own.”
Working out the kinks with Skrillex set up the band to work with other dubstep producers. “After working with him, it was a lot easier when, like, Excision and Downlink came in,” says Davis. “They were huge Korn fans, and we’d pick up their ideas and turn them into song form and arrange them with a verse and a chorus.”
Still, Davis admits making The Path of Totality was not easy: “I’m not gonna lie,” he says. “It was a bitch. It was very hard to do, a lot of hard work, a lot of hours. But we pulled it off at the end.”
The record doesn’t drop until December 6th, but the band will be offering a six-song preview on their current tour, which kicks off tonight. Embracing the DJ world even further, Korn will be taking Downlink and Datsik on this leg of the tour. “People are gonna hear just straight heavy dubstep in their sets,” Davis says. Also joining the tour will be Dope D.O.D. “When I heard them I was floored. It was like some really heavy-ass hip-hop, stuff I’ve been missing because it’s gotten watered down over the years. It’s more pop, hip-hop is now,” he says.
Davis promises this Korn tour will be unlike any the band has done before, including during their own sets – yes, plural. “The first thing is we’re gonna come out and play, like, four rarities that we don’t really ever play live. From the first record we’ll play ‘Predictable,’ and we’re playing ‘Proud,’ which is on the I Know What You Did Last Summer soundtrack, and we’ll play a couple of other ones that we haven’t really ever played. So that’s for the old-school Korn fans,” he says. “Then there’ll be another segue and we’re gonna do the new electronic Korn stuff, we’re gonna play six songs off the new album. Then we’re gonna go off again and do all the hits at the end.”
Breaking down their show into sets came about because of the new album. “We couldn’t really mix the electronic ones and the later Korn songs in a set together, because the electronic set is so much huger it makes the Korn songs sound really teeny, with how massive the bass is and everything else,” he says.
So the album was a bitch to make and it’s forcing them to experiment on tour. But Davis believes it’s been worth it, and that fans will feel the same. “We’ve always tried to shake things up and experiment and do new things and go against the grain,” he says. “I think it’s kind of a breath of fresh air for a lot of kids. They’re really excited about this new genre of music we made.”