KORN guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer has set a July 10 release date for the new albums from the first two bands to be signed to his Emotional Syphon Recordings label — DROID and MONSTER IN THE MACHINE.
The label's two launch bands actually helped inspire Shaffer to make his dream of an artist-centric record label a reality. He says, "To just start a company without any musicians or anything creative behind it just seems pointless to me. However, DROID's demos were so good, and they really found such a unique sound. The MONSTER IN THE MACHINE demos also just floored me. The bands are so different too. I wanted to start a multi-genre label. I didn't want to limit myself to just metal, because there's so much stuff out there."
DROID combine the bludgeoning precision of bands like LAMB OF GOD and MESHUGGAH with a down-and-dirty hardcore vocal delivery. Their songs slay with a calculated groove and violent, percussive riffs. DEFTONES frontman Chino Moreno even guests on one of the debut's standout tracks entitled "Vengeance is Mine". Meanwhile, MONSTER IN THE MACHINE hearkens back to the sublime, catchy and downright poignant pop of DAVID BOWIE and THE BEATLES during the "Sgt. Pepper" era. Songs like "Under Your Shadow" showcase a tangible emotion through melody, and the gripping album closer "Don't" features an appearance from Shaffer.
From its outset, the label has solidified its multi-genre approach. "I wanted to establish right away that it's going to be a diverse record label and get both spectrums of the rock world," Shaffer says. "In a couple of years, I'd like to have 10 really strong bands. My main goal is to just get them on the road and making a living at playing music. If one of the records is a hit record, great, but I'm still going to keep everything on the independent level — a small company with a small staff. That's the vision I have for it."
Artist freedom remains paramount to Emotional Syphon Recordings. "When KORN was on Sony, we were so lucky the label never came in and said we couldn't say things," Shaffer says. "We were able to have 100 percent creative freedom. One of my main goals is to maintain that. I'm never going to tell artists on my label what they can and can't say. I want them to push the envelope."
Having an artist front the label allows for serious exploration and boundary pushing. Munky aims to help young bands create what comes naturally. "I've been very lucky to make music and to make a living at it," he explains. "It's been a gift for me. There are so many people that are talented, and I want to help some other people make a living at what they love to do. It's kind of my way to repay what I've been given."
Munky hopes to eventually release his own music as well as music videos and DVDs through Emotional Syphon.
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