Shawn Fernandes of GibsonGuitar.in recently conducted an interview with KORN guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
GibsonGuitar.in: When KORN started out in the early ’90s, you were right at the front of the nu-metal movement. Almost two decades later, nu-metal and many of its most famous acts have fallen by the wayside but KORN’s still alive and kicking. What’s kept KORN going all this while?
Munky: We’ve never considered ourselves “nu-metal,” or any particular genre for that matter. When we came out, certain media outlets coined that phrase to group all these bands together, but we’ve always tried to do our own thing. We love metal, but also incorporate hip-hop, funk, electronic music, and try to keep challenging ourselves to be different and push our own boundaries with our music. I think that’s kept us in a good creative space that our amazing fans have been so supportive of, thankfully.
GibsonGuitar.in: With your current album, “The Path Of Totality”, KORN has made a massive shift, diving into the world of electronica and dubstep. What triggered the change?
Munky: Jonathan Davis, our singer, has always been into electronic music, and was a DJ in high school before he joined KORN. When we were looking for a new direction for our next album, Jonathan came to me, sat down and started playing the wildest, most interesting music I had heard in a while. “What is that??” I asked. He told me it was this DJ named Skrillex. He asked if we wanted to incorporate these sounds into our next album, and I was all for it. We were very fortunate to be able to work with all these incredibly talented electronic music producers for the album, and it came together in a way that we were very happy about.
GibsonGuitar.in: A lot of KORN’s music over the years have been inspired by experiences from life. How hard is it to maintain that level of well, rage when you’re now well-off, reasonably happy rock stars? Or do you just find other sources to inspire the music?
Munky: We are definitely all in a different space than when we were 20 years old. [laughs] We have kids now, are older, more mature. But like anyone, we all have conflict in our lives, things that drive us or fuel our creativity. I know Jonathan channels a lot of real pain and emotion into all of his lyrics, even to this day. We’re still making music because we have something we want to express, not because we “have to.”
GibsonGuitar.in: How different is a KORN tour now from the way it used to be in the ’90s? Is the band better behaved now? Are the tour buses/hotel rooms quieter now?
Munky: [laughs] Definitely! We are more mature, better behaved, quieter, and less drama. I think we’ve also grown as musicians from playing for so many years. We all have families and enjoy each other’s company, and the road is a less hectic place than it was when we started out.
Read the entire interview from GibsonGuitar.in.