Korn To Mix Hip-Hop Elements Into Sound On Next Album

SoCal thrash-punkers plan to collaborate with a "big" hip-hop artist.

Korn is about to enter the studio to begin recording its next album, the follow-up to their smash sophomore effort, 1996's Life Is Peachy.

"We're definitely taking our time on this one," singer Jonathan Davis said, adding that the upcoming album will include more hip-hop influences and less screaming vocals than previous releases. "But it's important to us to keep getting records out. I'm not trying to bag on them, but, like, Tool gets one out every four years. We just want to keep our fans happy."

The Huntington Beach, Calif., band is hoping for a summer release. The album is the first piece of work the group has done since a viral illness struck guitarist James "Munky" Schaffer during last summer's Lollapalooza tour and forced the band to drop out after completing only 14 of 33 scheduled dates.

"Munky's doing great," Davis said, adding that Korn is heading in to record the dozen or so new songs the band has written since last summer's aborted Lollapalooza stint. "These songs are just so bad, so awesome," Davis said, describing the new tracks as taking a different direction for the group that has built up a rabid fan base via an amalgam of thrashing guitar-rock and Davis' raw-throated, angst-ridden vocals.

The new material is an approximate mix of the sound of their 1994 debut and Peachy, he added, with one exception. "I'm not really screaming as much," Davis said. "In some ways I feel like 'What's there left to scream about?' But on the other hand, I'm growing up more, and I know our fans are, too, and they relate to other things now than they did two years ago, or four."

Still, Davis said he remains perturbed about plenty of things. It's just that now he's got responsibilities to concern himself with, such as finding bands to sign to Korn's new label, Elementary Records, and finalizing details for the band's upcoming "Family Values" summer package tour.

Korn manager Jeff Kwatinetz said the new label won't get in the way of Korn recording a killer third album. "Korn is their first priority," manager Jeff Kwatinetz said. "I don't think the other stuff is distracting at all, since they've been doing A&R, bringing bands like Limp Bizkit and the Deftones to my attention for a few years already."

According to Davis, the new album will likely be more "textured" than Peachy, which he now admits the group rushed to record after spending only one week writing the tunes. Expect some sonic enhancements as a result of the band members experimenting with new equipment -- for instance, bassist Fieldy's recent penchant for synth basses and effects pedals.

"This one will take you on a trip," Davis said.

Expect the next album to feature a collaboration with a "big" hip-hop artist whose name Davis was reluctant to reveal. And Korn plan to hook up with Limp Bizkit vocalist Fred Durst and rapper RBX, Snoop Doggy Dogg's cousin. The album is being produced by Steve Thompson (Butthole Surfers, Blues Traveler, Guns n' Roses).

"This album will definitely be more hip-hop influenced," said Davis, who recently got his first sampler. "But too much of that blows up in your face, so we'll still try to keep our edge." [Sat., Feb. 21, 1998, 9 a.m.]