Photo credit: Medios y Media via Getty images
With the release of their new album The Nothing, Korn have proven once again that they've still got it in them to produce that dark magic they're known for. In the days leading up to the new record's release we got on the phone with frontman Jonathan Davis to discuss the album, Australian tour plans, playing with Alice In Chains and more. Read it all now.
Your new album The Nothing is set for release next Friday. How does it feel releasing a record in 2019 compared to when you first started?
Every time you've still got nerves. You just want to know what people think of it. I'm not as nervous as when the first album came out. It's just like I can't wait for people to hear it. How much work we put into it and everything I went through, I'm really excited. I think it's a great piece of art.
The Nothing is unmistakably a Korn record, but you have managed to keep it fresh at the same time. Were there any new techniques or processes that you've applied to this record to capture this sound?
It's something that happens with this band. I think over the years we've started to add more electronic elements to it. That started off when we did The Path Of Totality when we worked with dubstep producers and stuff like that. I think the addition of that and doing it tastefully and not making it go too over the top really helped bring some new life to it and just the way the guys are playing - it's just how the stars line up man. We start off with a riff and then we go from there and it works into this living thing and that's just how it goes. That's the magic of this band.
The first two singles You'll Never Find Me and Cold have been well-received by your fans. Which tracks are you most keen for them to hear next?
I mean the whole record is a listening experience. These days in the age of a quick fix and short attention spans, I think when you just listen to the record... You have to experience the whole record to get it. Each song to me is important and the overall body of work. But, Can You Hear Me is one of my favourites and Finally Free.
Looking at the album artwork, we feel a sense of hopelessness. Can you explain it to us?
We hired this art company to come up with the concept for the record. I didn't really think they'd get what I was talking about, what the whole album was about. But, when I first saw it, it was really striking. It represented me and all the shit that I was going through. The way I felt was just an uneasiness of the cables being tangled. For any person that has OCD, that's hell. For me, when I see a tangled cable I wanna pick it up and coil it up haha.
Just having this figure suspended in this horribly uncomfortable way, I think it represented "The Nothing" - that unseen force that constantly through my whole life has fucked me. It's the natural equaliser. In my world, I believe that there is a cosmic balance of light and dark and you need to respect each of them. This record The Nothing was a mixture of those two that were fucking with me. It wasn't evil, but it wasn't good, if that makes sense? It's like getting socked in your nose but not getting your nose broken.
It was something that I always felt was there. That thing in the room. That feeling when you think someone's watching you. That's what The Nothing is. That artwork represented that. It feels like my life is in that suspended uncomfortable state. Some people will think I'm batshit crazy, but that's the way I interpret it.
Last time we saw you in Australia was at Download Festival 2018. Any idea when we'll see you back here?
I have no idea, there's nothing set in stone but I'm sure sometime next year I'm hoping. We flew in for that one show and it just killed me that we only did one show. It's been forever since we played there anyway and we only came up for that one show. It's been way too long and I want to do some amazing Korn shows because Australia has always been there for us.
You've recently been co-headlining in the US with Alice In Chains. Do you have a favourite track by those guys?
Rooster and Would. Those are my... they're equal. Watching them every night every song just like.. They're just a legendary band and every song's so good. Those records they did, oh god, every song. When I watch their set I know every word. But my favourite is Would or maybe Rooster. I just like that dark sludgy slow shit that they do.
This year we have had new releases from Slipknot, Tool, and now Korn. Perhaps you are feeling a little deja vu?
It's good to be in good company. You know Slipknot's doing really good, I've been watching those guys since they were just little fucking kids beating the fuck out of each other on stage. I remember when Ross Robinson told me "Dude I found this crazy band from Iowa, you gotta see this, they are crazy insane and wear masks" and he was so excited and to see what they've blossomed into is amazing. And then fuck, everyone's been waiting for a Tool record for how long? They're an amazing band. It just feels really good to see, you know? It feels like a camaraderie of bands. One band being successful helps all of us because we're becoming a dying breed.
I feel like since the music industry took a turn that there's no more labels willing to spend money to help rock artists be bigger than life rock and roll things any more. It's shit just straight to hip hop and RnB and stuff. It's awesome to see that bands like us are still out there doing this and we're flying the flag for rock n roll. There's still people who want to come see that and enjoy that.
So many artists are going back to and experimenting with sounds that bands like Korn pioneered in the 90s. Did you ever think what you were doing back then would still be so influential today?
It feels amazing. To think that you've done something so special that someone was touched so much by it. That they're inspired to try and replicate or throw something up there in its honour, you know? It's really fucking cool. This whole thing. Me sitting here talking to you is a fucking trip. I never thought that 25 years later I'd be doing this still. And last night with Alice In Chains and that many people, all that stuff is just a trip. I can't believe we are still doing this after this long, that our fans are still this passionate.
Do you have anything to say to your Aussie fans?
I want to tell them I'm sorry it's been so fucking long since we toured there. We're coming and we're gonna do it right and I can't wait to play for you all.
The Nothing Bundles
The Nothing t-shirt, hoodie, and vinyl bundles are available now on the Maniacs store. Get yours here.