KORN guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer recently spoke with Ethan of the Topeka, Kansas radio station V100. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the band's latest album, "The Nothing":
Munky: "It's always a tricky thing when you put out a new album, because you want the old fans to like it, and you want to accumulate some new fans hopefully. I feel like we kind of accomplished that. I'm seeing a lot of young kids, I guess. I'm old now, so everybody's a kid. I'm seeing parents bring their kids to the show. It's a good thing."
On how the 2018 death of vocalist Jonathan Davis's wife Deven influenced the album's music:
Munky: "We were working on the music all of 2018, pretty much 2019. We were slowly kind of doing it, without a rush. When his wife passed away, we kind of thought, 'We need to go back — even if he wants us to wait.' We took a bit of a break – like, a month — but that wasn't very long. I think that we had to kind of take a look at the material that we were giving him and feel like, 'Did it have enough weight to support the emotional lyrics that he's about to put on top of it?' We had to rewrite a lot of things because maybe it wasn't strong enough. It definitely put some emphasis and some pressure on us to deliver him the right thing to sing over."
On whether the band keeps an archive of unused material:
Munky: "We do. There's an old riff that I'd play for a long time, and it didn't make it on a record until 'Take A Look In The Mirror'. It was the first song on that record, 'Did My Time'. That riff, I'd play over and over, and everybody was like, 'What is that?' Our producer at the time was like, 'Quit playing that. I don't like it.' Eventually, it made it into a whole song. We save all that stuff. Now, things are much easier to save and log and label. We'll have an engineer put them in a folder on a computer and label them. Sometimes, the riffs don't even make the songs, but they're good. We just don't know what to do with them sometimes — it just doesn't have a direction — so we have a lot of that stuff. We have b-sides and full songs with JD on them and everything... If we're writing together, it's meant to be a KORN song. If we put time into developing a riff, it's meant to be a KORN riff. If nobody else likes it, it goes into that folder."
On the band's longevity:
Munky: "It's not easy, because like every industry, especially this one, is a young man's game. There's fresh faces; there's people trying to make their mark in the industry, make their own sound and create their own whatever-it-may-be, trying to be seen, trying their gimmicks out, whatever they are, and look for their new sound as we did. But I feel like we don't really look to the past too much. Maybe when we're writing, if something sounds like, 'Oh, that sounds like we did that before'... Things are going to sound KORN no matter what, because it's all of us playing our instruments, [and with] Jonathan singing, it will inevitably be KORN in the end. But if there's a riff that sounds too much like the past, we will change it, but in general, we don't look back too much, and we don't look too much forward. Let's just deal with today. We're really good about that — let's just get through the day; let's get along; let's put on the best show we can tonight; and tomorrow will take care of itself."
On cell phones at concerts:
Munky: "For people that can't come to shows — if you're in a little house and you live in India, and you can't come see KORN because you don't have the money or the resources – I think it's great. For me, a music fan, if I know I'm going to go to a show, I will not watch a band [online beforehand]. It's tempting, but I'll be like, 'Ah, no — I don't want to know the songs; I don't want to know the setlist; I don't want to know what it looks like.' You've got to use some self-control."
On being a father of three:
Munky: "[It's] another thing that keeps me healthy, making healthy choices today, so I can be around as long as possible. I'm not a spring chicken anymore. I'm very grateful."
KORN's 13th studio album, "The Nothing", was released on September 13 via Roadrunner. The band recently announced a North American summer tour that will see the group co-headline with FAITH NO MORE.