Korn released See You on the Other Side
In a career marked by a series of firsts, KO?N have done it again. Got a problem with that?
They’ve already revolutionized the heavy genre with their bold, unsettling music that defies categorization and presented it to their fans with unprecedented multi-media events. Now they’ve taken their music to astonishing new heights with SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE, their debut album via a partnership with EMI/Virgin Records. It’s a unique alliance that will enable KO?N to be even more innovative in the way their music is presented to their fans, who constitute one of the most fiercely loyal followings in all of rock ‘n roll.
Listening to such daring new songs as “Twisted Transistor,” “Politics” and “Love Song,” among others, it’s clear that KO?N--JONATHAN DAVIS, JAMES “MUNKY” SHAFFER, FIELDY and DAVID SILVERIA--have opened the doors to even more creativity and disarray. And no one does “disarray” like KO?N.
Title: See You on the Other Side
Release date: 12/6/05
Label: Virgin Records
Buy at: Amazon
“We were sitting there with one less member, and we decided to check out some other types of producers, experiment, and see what happens,” says DAVIS, referring to the departure of former guitarist Brian “Head” Welch (who left for spiritual reasons), and the band’s ensuing decision to switch things up in the studio following the self-produced release of 2003’s Take A Look In The Mirror. “It just came to the point where we had to reinvent--here we are, the four of us, let’s make some music that’s different, and music that people are going to flip the fuck out over. We can go in so many different directions as a band, why be closed-minded?”
Their decision was anything but closed-minded as KO?N--who’ve already sold over 25 million records worldwide and encapsulated their body of work on 2004’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 1--entered the studio with a team of producers as different as night and day. The one constant is DAVIS. He handled the majority of the production on the band’s last album, and remains a producer on SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE, joining forces with The Matrix and Atticus Ross. “We knew we wanted to experiment and see what would happen, but we had no clue it would end up like this,” laughs DAVIS. “It really worked out—we may have lost a member, but we gained another two with Atticus and Matrix.”
The result is the most revolutionary KO?N album since their debut, a barb-wired, bastard son of blinding musical fury, dark and twisted lyrical candor, and searing, sociopathic tendencies. It’s the culmination of everything KO?N have come to represent musically, morphed with an industrial-strength alter ego that’s been suppressed—until now. SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE is more than the evolution of KO?N, it’s an evolution of heavy.
“There needs to be something more,” says DAVIS. “A lot of people are doing ‘heavy,’ and they’re doing it great, but we’ve always been about pushing the levels and coming up with some new shit. We ushered in a genre of music, and now we’re trying to stay ahead of that curve. This isn’t minimalist, old-school KO?N--this is a natural progression for us, and we’re kicking it up a notch.”
Kicking it up a notch, with pulverizing effect. A hybrid funk and medicating, metallic shimmer radiates from opening track “Twisted Transistor,” steamrolling into the abrasive guitar attack of “Politics,” the industrial textures of “Throw Me,” and the military precision of the anthemic “Coming Undone.” While “Eaten Up Inside” and “Getting Off” don’t stray far from the decimated path KO?N have left in their wake, the true gems are found in their more forward-thrusting manipulations. While DAVIS notes that “Love Song” is a song sure to impress “all my depressed, goth peeps out there,” his delivery is more in the style of David Bowie, than death metal Bauhaus.
“When we listen to what we’re doing and look at each other with scared, fucked up feelings in our guts, that’s when we know we wrote something special,” says the singer. “That’s how we know we’re breaking down the boundaries and doing some new shit, because we’re scared about it.” Scary might be the best way to describe the epic “Seen It All,” which jumps from a sludgy, dark and droning intro, to purging, soul-shattering depths. KO?N have always spoken directly to their fans through their music, and the new release is no exception. In fact, DAVIS found his co-producers to be the perfect collaborators to free even more of his inner demons.
“I’ve written seven albums worth of shit, and I have my style, but I wanted something different, not the typical lyrics that I always write. I want to come out and say things in a different way, so getting those different people around me, with their different perspectives and different talents, really helped me a lot. I’ve always had a problem getting across what I’m trying to say, because I’m always limited to what I can do within the phrasing and melody of the lyric, but they helped me a lot with that, without losing our vibe.”
For evidence, look to closing track “Tearjerker” where the arrangement is ambient, spacey and soft, yet the emotional baggage is heavy. “That’s just inspired by some fucking bad times, like when I’m on the road and I get in a fight with my chick, and I feel like I can’t go anywhere or do anything, and I’m so alone that there aren’t even ghosts chilling with me. I know people can relate to that—maybe not in the same way I do, because everybody’s not out on the road, but everyone has shit happen in relationships, or they lose a loved one, and they’re like, ‘What the fuck am I going to do?’”
At a more global level, “For No One,” rings of adolescent rebellion, but isn’t limited by boundaries of age. “It is very adolescent rebellion, but I still feel that way now,” says DAVIS. “People try to label it as ‘teen rebellion,’ but I don’t think anyone ever really gets over feeling like that. There are times I just want to get in the car and fuck shit up… Then keep going and fuck more shit up, just rebel. That’s more about America, in general—I’m having a real hard time with how conservative the United States is. I love it here, but it drives me fucking nuts! A titty pops out, and the whole world stops—so what if a child see a breast, he’s sucked on one, for fuck’s sake!”
On a lighter note, though biologically similar, the frontman has other words to describe the rhythmic vocals and effervescent, techno bounce of “Open Up.” “Fieldy gets really funky on his bass with that one--that’s a titty-bar song.”
You think someone might have a problem with DAVIS’ inspirations, and off-the-cuff choice of words? If so, “Hypocrite” was written with them in mind. “That was straight from my heart,” he says, suppressing a laugh. “That’s my jab at organized religion, and the whole movement, in general--those same fools that are taking our money for God? You see them in titty bars all the time, they’re fucking hypocrites.” And it’s all served with a side-order of irony--if you think the chorus to “Hypocrite” sounds a bit like some twisted Broadway romp, you’re not wrong. “I’m telling a story, and it’s very fucking Broadway--I love that shit, it’s what I grew up on, and those influences have finally come out. The reason I got into rock ‘n’ roll was because of the Jesus Christ Superstar. Funny, huh? Of course, when that came out, because it was a rock opera, they though that was blasphemous.”
Blasphemous. The same has been said of KO?N, but it hasn’t slowed them down one bit. The scariest part? They seem to only be getting stronger. If KO?N’s first decade ushered in a new era in heavy music, brace yourself, because the next decade has been launched with their most unrelenting musical maelstrom to date.
JONATHAN DAVIS: Vocals
JAMES “MUNKY” SHAFFER: Guitars
DAVID SILVERIA: Drums
"See You on the Other Side" by Korn - release date: 12/6/05..