Interview with Korn
Born Again – An Interview With Korn
Originally published on Ghost Cult Magazine’s Website 16/09/2013
It has been a year of mixed blessings for Korn. The absence of guitarist Brian “Head” Welchled to the band refining their songwriting approach with the high point being controversial Dub Step injected Path Of Totality. Now Welch has returned to the fold, Ghost Cult’s Ross Baker caught up with bassist Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu to discuss Head’s return, religion and new album The Paradigm Shift.
The Paradigm Shift still retains some elements of the Dub Step sound of Path Of Totality why did you move back towards a more organic sound?
Well there are still some electronic aspects on the record but a lot of it was due to having a second guitarist to write with again. We had some ideas for material before we did the shows with Head but once he got back in the studio we knew the magic was there. He and Munky are each other’s right hand man. I think Munky missed Head the most when he was gone as it was harder for him. He had to learn to play all of Head’s parts as well as writing everything himself! He did a great job but having Brian back totally takes things to another level.
I have heard Path Of Totality and the Dub Step direction was influenced by Jonathan’s solo work? What made you approach Skrillex and Deadmau5?
Yeah, Jon listens to a lot of that stuff. I think it’s cool too. It made me think of new ways of developing as a bass player. Most bassists play with the drums but I like to play against them which I think makes Korn unique. We decided we wanted to use more electronics and look at new ways of being heavier. I think this band has always about smashing down boundaries since day one. When we first came out nobody was doing what we were. Some mixed Hip Hop and Metal but not in the freaky way we did. We got Skirellex in because his shit is off the chain. We love that guy! Deadmau5 too! That’s one thing we have always done with this band, chosen great artists to work with no matter what genre they fall into.
I have heard that you are currently very into funk now? Where has that come from?
Yeah Jon loves stuff like Sly And The Family Stone. We all go through phases of listening to different stuff. I’m not gonna bust out any Bootsy Collins basslines but I dig it. I think it’s important to listen to lots of other stuff. It keeps us fresh.
What was it like having Brian “Head” Welch back writing with you guys on this album?
It just happened naturally. Brian was doing his solo thing but he kept in contact and dropped by when we did some shows in California. We got talking and thought it would be cool for him to come play a couple of songs with us. We weren’t thinking of having him rejoin at that time but the response from the fans has been awesome! He has really improved as a musician! He can do all this crazy finger picking and stuff I’m not used to playing so it was definitely a challenge. I think he made us all up our game on this record!
Is the title itself a reference to the change of direction you have taken in a musical sense or does it have a spiritual meaning?
It’s a bit of both I guess. All of our beliefs in this band are different. What is important is how we all fit together better. We have better friendships now than when we started the band and we are certainly better musicians. I think we are more open and honest this time around. We all have families and kids and don’t need any of that crazy drug shit going on. We don’t need to be drunk out of our minds after we play a show. Head is a much calmer person now than he has ever been. I think he got maybe too far into the religious stuff but if it helped him then that’s cool. Some of us believe in things others don’t but we all get along and can deal with our shit now!
I have heard you are looking to bring back the “Family Values” tour is that right? Who can we expect on that bill?
Yeah we have a couple of names ready for that. We have Asking Alexandria and Hollywood Undead who will be doing some shows with us in Denver when it kicks off. Promoters always used to be bugging us to tour with all these different artists but we are happy where we are at. We know there are a lot of festivals and touring packages for fans to spend their money on but I think there is room for this. Metallica have their Orion Festival thing and there have been the Ozzfests but I think we bring a package that can compete with anything else out there!
What do you expect the fans’ reaction to be, given that the new album is clearly modern Korn and no throwback to the debut?
We aren’t interested in repeating ourselves and we aren’t the same guys who made those records. I love those songs and we will still play them but we want to stay true to ourselves. Some fans may not get it but for every one who doesn’t there will be three who will. I think there are about five songs on this album which could be singles and we have worked real hard on these songs. We also had to change the way we played the old songs when Head left but now we will play each song exactly how it sounds on the record. That’s what fans can expect from Korn live now. I think that’s what they want!”
‘Never Never’ is the most pop moment of your career. Have you experienced a bit of a backlash from fans expecting something heavier?
We expect some people to hate that song but we needed to do it. You can’t please everyone Everyone gets pissed off sometimes.
What is your relationship like right now with former drummer David Silvera? He has been vocal in the press about you guys and apparently expressed interest at rejoining.
I’m not really down with what people talk about on the Internet. I haven’t spoken to David in a long time but it’s not up to me anyway. We have Ray (Lucier) who is a badass on drums and we are happy with him. It would be cool to do something with David one day if the time and conditions were right but that’s not my call.
How if at all have your and Head’s religious beliefs changed things for the band? As well as your own lives?
We are a lot more focussed on family life now. We love the band but there has to be a balance. I think we are better at expressing how we feel to each other rather than fighting about the petty bullshit we used to take so seriously.
What is next for you guys following the release of The Paradigm Shift?
We just want to tour our asses off. We will be doing some big shows in Europe in the spring. We want this record to be the biggest thing we have ever done. ‘Love And Meth’ is the first single we put out but there will be more. I would also like to collaborate with other artists and singers. I thinkJames Hetfield would be a great choice! We just want to keep working with great artists and producing music that people spin out on. I think we made a lot of people change the way they thought about things.