Kareless and Krazy
CoC Interrogates Korn
by: Adrian Bromley
Bakersfield, California quintet Korn have been the talk of the music industry ever since the band released their self-titled debut album on Immortal Records/Epic in 1994. The band toured extensively, more than three hundred shows in the last year and a half, captivating concert goers with their intense live shows and watching their fan base grow. The band returns in 1996 with their sophomore follow-up, _Life Is Peachy_, a blistering dose of anger, aggression and powerful screams n' riffs that'll keep the grooves strong and intensity at Level 10. Recently while on tour in North America, singer Jonathan Davis and guitarist J. Munkey Shaffer (the band is rounded out by drummer David, guitarist Brian Welch and bassist Fieldy Snuts) took time out to talk about touring, the sophomore record and life in Korn.

CoC: Let's talk about the music on _Life Is Peachy_. The record seems to showcase a maturity factor and not primarily focusing on individuals or individualism (as on last record), rather society as a whole. How do you view where Korn has headed?

J. Munkey Shaffer: I think we have all matured. I think we are better musicians now than when we started. We took the first record and examined it and decided we wanted to take it to another level as musicians. The angst and anger coming from his vocals or lyrics are still coming from [Davis'] gut but it is now in place with a more mature sound.

CoC: Why do you think this change happened for the band?

Jonathan Davis: It has to be touring. We did three hundred and six shows last year. When you play your instrument every day you do get better at it. We are now being able to do stuff that we weren't able to do as a younger band. Plus we are a band that has been together for three years now, opposed to us being a band for one year when we made the last record. I think it takes a good three years for everyone to fall into place and be a band.

CoC: There is this anarchistic, almost chaotic flow or frenzy that takes over a crowd at a Korn show. Obviously you guys get a lot out of playing live and releasing emotions or expressions. What do you think these kids get out of being at the show?

JD: I think they just let out a lot of aggression. They come to see a good show and they can just get all their aggressions out.

MS: I think the kids, when they come to our show or watch us up there, they see a part of them in each one of us.

JD: They can at least relate to one of us...

MS: ... or all of us. Each one of us is a small part in one of them.

CoC: The press has been almost positive of Korn since the beginning. It has been a gradual climb to success for the band and fans just seem to love you. You have developed quite a cult-like following in the last year or so too. How do you think the exposure of Korn has been?

JD: We don't want to be overexposed because if that happens kids get sick of you. We have always been some kind of an underground or cult band and if you start getting too much press like plastered all over magazines and sorts then you lose your credibility and we don't want that.

CoC: So are you doing a lot of press this time?

JD: We are doing tons... but press is fun. Kids love to read about the bands. Let them do that. When I talk about overexposure I talk about MTV in the States playing the video all the time and making people sick of us.

CoC: Once again you worked with Ross Robinson at the producer helm, what do you think he did with the last record that you were happy to bring him back to do the new release?

JD: Ross is an incredible producer.

MS: You just gotta know Ross.

JD: He has been with the band longer than I have. He was working with the band before I joined the band. I couldn't imagine doing a record without Ross. It just wouldn't be Korn if he wasn't there. He is us. I can't understand bands meeting producers two weeks before recording a record and feeling totally comfortable. He is an important part to our unit.

MS: He is the sixth member of the band.

CoC: What are the highlights do you think of _Life Is Peachy_?

JD: The whole highlight of the record was making the record. From start to finish it was a great experience. We hadn't written anything in two years. Not one thing. We were just aching to write. When we wrote the record within one month's time we had such fun just letting it all pour out and having Ross there.

MS: I think the highlight of making the record was writing the material. We came off the road, took a week off and wrote. It was a great feeling to be able to put our thoughts down into our music.

CoC: And because of the success of the debut record, was there some kind of pressure that came along with making the second effort?

JD: There was a little bit when we were writing. We didn't know what we were going to write.

MS: There was a little bit of pressure. We were thinking about the "sophomore jinx" but it didn't happen and we are glad about that.

CoC: There have been a lot of new bands coming and going in the last few years but still Korn seems to be sticking around. Why do you think that is? What do you think makes people fascinated to you?

JD: I think it is 'cause we are real. That is basically it. We tour and work our butts off. We tour and I sing about real stuff. People can relate to it. There is no gimmick here either. Basically you see what you get and kids respect us for that. If I wasn't in Korn I would be a total freak of the band just because of the fact I think we are real. I dig that.

CoC: Are the visions and goals of the band pretty much the same as when you started out or have they changed?

JD: I think it is pretty much the same.

CoC: And so with the same goals intact and a bit more mature this time, how would you describe _LIP_?

JD: I would say that we have maintained the vibe of the first record but taking our music to a higher level. Maybe even a step further. I think the first record was really raw and we weren't that good and I think with this record we are better at touching more of the things around us and writing about them. We have grown and I am glad to see that happen with Korn.

(article submitted 2/1/1997)


ALBUMS
11/18/1996 A Bromley 8 Korn - Life Is Peachy
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