I Like Music caught up with KOí¿N drummer Ray Luzier before the band’s show at Brixton Academy a few weeks ago and he told them about settling into one of the most established bands in the world, their non-stop creativity, learning to play dubstep live and the tough side of the music business. You can read an extract from the interview below:
“I Like Music because…it’s my way of life. I would die without it.” – Ray
ILM: You were at the BBC’s famous Maida Vale studios yesterday, how was that?
Ray: Unbelievable. That was breathtaking. To this day I still listen to the Zeppelin sessions, and so many legendary bands…the feel there, with the giant orchestra room…I had chills!
ILM: How have the shows been going so far?
Ray: Really good. It’s cool to see people sing the words to the new stuff. For the first couple of shows in the States it wasn’t out yet so people were still kind of grasping the concept that it was way different from what we normally play. But now they’re singing Narcissistic Cannibal as much as Freak On A Leash, so that’s a good sign.
ILM: It seems dubstep is the big story with the new album. When did you guys discover it?
Ray: Jon was the main source. Korn has always had an element of hip hop: rap, funk. People call it nu-metal but I just call it Korn. It’s hard to classify. It’s so identifiable. Jon Davis sings one note and you know it’s him. He told me the other day “I never even intended to be a singer. I played a bunch of instruments and I just happened to sing…” Maybe that’s why he’s so unique. But the dubstep thing: he always plays music. I played drums on his solo record, which we did about two and a half years ago, and it’s fricking amazing. I can’t wait for it to come out. I don’t know when that’ll be, cos of the timing of everything…
ILM: Is that the J Devil stuff?
Ray: No, completely different, Jon’s solo thing. It’s kind of like the JDSFA thing that came through, but even different to that. It’s like a Peter Gabriel meets Korn thing… It’s insane and intense, but he’s not on that page right now, he’s on this page. But he’s always playing us new stuff: “you got to check this out, you got to hear this, oh my god!” He’s so passionate about it. I love being in a band with people who are just crazy about music.
ILM: And he played you some dubstep?
Ray: Yeah, he played Get Up by Skrillex for the first time through the PA system. He was just like “you gotta hear this.” We were literally dumfounded, staring at the PA. Then he’s like “I’m gonna sing over this,” and I’m like “what are you going to sing?” He’s like “I dunno, but I’m just feeling so many ideas.” He came back with Get Up. To come up with all those melodies to that kind of stuff is really challenging.
ILM: How did it work from your point of view, as a drummer. The drums are typically programmed aren’t they?
Ray: Yeah. A lot of times I was the last one on the record. The drums are already programmed, and I respect that. A lot of drummers would be like “wait a minute, what about me?” But I’m a huge fan of Nine Inch Nails, and Marilyn Manson and Ministry – all those bands that program stuff – and I just wanted to make sure I was playing it live. Jon’s a drummer too, and he goes “I want you to play all this stuff live. We’re just gonna replace the snare drum and kick drum with electronic pads, trigger the sounds from the record and you’ll play it like that.”
ILM: What’s the most challenging part of Korn’s set as a drummer?
Ray: Ummmm… Well, we start the set with four songs that are very old school – for the die-hard fans – then we change it up a third of the way through and do five or six of the new ones before ending with the hits. I would say our new single, Chaos Lives In Everything, is the hardest bit. I’m trying to recreate what’s on the record, and to recreate a machine is a challenge. I like Way Too Far, because on the record I embellished the electronic sound with organic drums. There’s a floor tom that goes with the chorus part. So it’s chugging along with the electronic sound and all the rest of it – the cymbals and toms and everything – so that’s probably the most fun to play. Of the old stuff, I don’t know. They’re all kind of challenging in their own way. Maybe Good God. It’s a weird song. There’s a weird bounce thing on the drums and you’re finding your balance constantly. There’s a lot of stuff going on.
Read the full interview over on I Like Music by clicking here – it’s always a great read when Ray’s involved!