LOS ANGELES — Jonathan Davis has several grills, but Wednesday night he made sure to wear his favorite one.
“Everybody got diamonds, but I got rubies,” he said, flashing a red sparkling smile.
The occasion was a studio collaboration with Atlanta snap hip-hop provocateurs Dem Franchize Boyz on a mash-up of their “Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It” and Korn’s “Coming Undone.”
“Rock and crunk, they the same thing,” DFB’s Apollo said at the landmark Village recording complex, where John Mayer was playing Ping-Pong in the lobby. “It’s just two different names for it.”
“It’s all energy,” Davis added. “Crunk music’s like heavy hip-hop, so it mixes right. It’s perfect.”
The mash-up was actually suggested by Virgin Records, home to both Korn and Dem Franchize Boyz. And it turned out both acts were fans of each other.
“It’s a family thing,” DMF’s Butter said in between bites of a midnight dinner. “The family came together and produced a nice thing. And we’ll continue to work together.”
Rather than just have a remix producer combine the two singles, the acts enlisted Scott Spock of the Matrix, who produced “Coming Undone,” to mix elements from both tracks with new parts recorded specifically for the mash-up.
“The songs are at almost the same tempo and I knew it would work right off, so it was just [a matter of] going into the studio to make it happen,” Davis said. “So we hooked up with the boys … and they’re talented. It’s fun and just different.”
Different is something Korn have been attracted to a lot as of late. Their just-wrapped arena tour featured four additional members (see “Korn Rock Hometown, Have Street Named After Them On ’Official Korn Day’ “ ), and the band’s about to perform acoustic for the first time in its 14-year career.
“We’re doing ’AOL Acoustic Sessions,’ ” Davis said. “When that was first brought up to us, I was like, ’Hell no,’ but then I got more into it. I thought it would be cool because what we did with the new album, we didn’t want to set any kind of boundaries of what Korn should be. Korn doesn’t have to be straight heavy metal.”
For the acoustic set, Korn will play “Alone I Break,” “Thoughtless,” “Coming Undone” and “Falling Away From Me.”
“It should be interesting,” Davis said. “I can’t wait to hear these songs acoustic, but a couple of them I wrote on acoustic guitar, so I know it’ll translate. … Hopefully fans will appreciate it. Some will hate it, but whatever. Who cares? We’re gonna go for it. We haven’t practiced, we’re just showing up a couple of hours early and going for it.”
As for those grills, Davis said he actually “rolls with them” more than fans might expect.
“I wear them onstage and everything,” he said. “I never wanted to wear all kinds of rings and jewelry and sh–, but I might as well throw them on my teeth.”