Jonathan Davis on Barack Obama as Satan and Korn's Dubstep Crossover: "We had to keep the integrity of EDM music and of what Korn is"

Jonathan Davis IMG_7642.jpg Matt Oliver
Matt Oliver/OC Weekly
Jonathan Davis (left) Ray Luzier (right)
For over 20 years Korn has been at the forefront of Nu Metal. Winner of many awards for their distinct aggressive sound and innovative music videos (including two Grammys for "Freak on a Leash" and "Here to Stay"), the LA-based metal monsters are proving to the world that they are not done yet. Last Monday, Dim Mak Studios in Hollywood threw a listening party for Korn's latest record, Path of Totality.

Jonathan Davis 7495620.87.jpg Matt Oliver
Matt Oliver/OC Weekly
Jonathan Davis performing at the Hollywood Palladium for Korn's CD release party

While speaking with frontman Jonathan Davis, he stressed how difficult the dubstep-metal crossover album was to produce. "If metal wasn't done in the right fashion it could have been a disaster. We had to keep the integrity of EDM music and of what Korn is. We made a Korn record with EDM influences." Korn had to tune guitars differently, he said, their new drummer, Ray Luzier, was put through hell because Davis took his kick drum and snare away.

"It was so massive, I had to work with Fieldy and he had to play mid-bass. The guitars were high tuned. You don't do that in metal. It was just crazy journey and we had no idea what we were doing, but we just went with it," he said.

Despite the seemingly incongruous genre-hopping on Path of Totality, true Korn fans have learned to cope. "Its fun to see our heavy metal fans and EDM fans with their glowsticks and shit at our shows. You see mosh pits going, they stop and then the EDM fans jump in with glowsticks [Davis makes glowstick moves] then our metal fans start moshing again. (Laughs) It's crazy! You see the people come together and it's really cool."

With dubstep now a part of Korn's sound, Davis has also found a new passion: deejaying. Recently signed to Dim Mak, Jonathan Davis now opens every Korn concert with a DJ set as his alter ego J Devil. With the added touch with an all-black mouth grill and black contacts, Davis stressed that his name does not promote satanic rituals or Satanic in any way.

J Devil - Matt Oliver
Matt Oliver/OC Weekly
J Devil

"I'm all about the idea of indulgence instead of abstinence.  The basic law is to do whatever you want, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone.  You want to hook up with a different woman every night?  That's fine, as long as you don't have a wife or girlfriend who will be disrespected in the process.  I think we live in a society that is laden in a lot of Christian guilt, where we constantly feel bad about ourselves.  I don't think Jesus was about that at all; judge not lest ye be judged. I want to be that little demon that tells you to do what you want to do, as long as you're not causing anyone harm.  Have fun, enjoy music, enjoy yourself!  That's what I want to see at my shows."

To open every J Devil set, there is a theologian recording that translates President Barack Obama's name as Satan. This stems from some really interesting theories that Davis found online: "A lot of websites have pointed to the fact that if you reverse Obama's big campaign slogan, "Yes We Can," it reads as "Thank You Satan."  There are also some eerie similarities between the name "Barack Obama" and the Hebrew translation of the Bible, talking about the devil.  People can research it and take it however they want.  I'm not bashing the President, and I'm not taking myself or these sorts of conspiracies too seriously--it's all just very entertaining."

Even though he has overwhelming success with his band, Davis wants to take his J Devil project all the way. JD is currently working on an EP and doing shows all through spring and summer, and threw out the idea of playing various festivals. He also mentioned his excitement for other side project that includes Sluggo and Tyler Blue titled Killbot.

Evillution - J Devil

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