KORN Guitarist Talks Touring, Songwriting Process

UglyScene.com recently conducted an interview with KORN guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

UglyScene.com: The last show that I saw with KORN was close to the stage and I saw how much of an effort you put into connecting with the audience.

Munky: I think it is important. With the music you already have a connection with people, but for them to see you live, it is like it becomes a tangible object and you become a tangible object that they can see and it all makes sense. The equation kind of makes sense and that goes for the energy behind the music making sure that a connection is being made visually as well as audibly. It’s what makes the experience for a live audience member much better for them to experience a concert. Looking them in the eyes letting them feel alive. I remember when I was a kid and I would go to some concerts in Vegas, and I can’t even remember what band, but I just remember it was really important. It’s the human contact and really how important it is in connecting with somebody on the most human level.

UglyScene.com: You can tell in concert that you have a connection with the audience. The fans really do appreciate that.

Munky: It’s sort of like the band feeds from the energy exchange with the crowd. It goes back and forth and pulsates and they give you energy. On a day like today, it’s been quite a long day and I’m pretty tired, I’m kind of hoping that they kind of lift me up when I get up there to carry me through the show. It’s fun and exciting and you never know. We are going to go out and play the same songs that we have been playing but every night it will be different. The chemistry between the band and the audience, there is so many combinations of things that everything has to make it fall into place to have a great show. A few elements can be off and it’s really important to me, I think, that live shows connect, because for a lot of people there are one or two times they go to concert a year and I want them to have the best time. I want to come off the stage saying feeling like I gave one hundred percent.

UglyScene.com: In the process of writing songs how does the band collaborate?

Munky: When we are creating a song, it’s somebody comes up with an idea or a riff. Then we build on that and everybody puts their two cents on and then it’s like when a dog rolls around in a mud puddle and then shakes himself off. There is still some mud there deep down and those are the ideas that stick. You know that you want to try everybody’s idea and it’s tough in a band because you want your idea to come to life at its fullest and you want everybody else to try their ideas too. You want everyone to feel confident in playing it, performing it and recording it and have the same energy. It’s a process. I make it sound like it’s difficult but it’s really just if it feels good, you play it and I’ll play something that feels good to play too that sounds good and I’ll add that. Everyone throws their own ingredients and their mojo into the pot and it’s magic. I can’t really put my finger on it how it happens. It’s something like when an artist or when painter paints and doesn’t go, “Oh, should I put the chair in here or what color should I use?” It is that stillness in your mind that lets the creative door way through and it’s just shutting everything off and letting it happen naturally. It doesn’t involve thought, really, and it may sound weird, but most great ideas don’t come from thinking.

Read the entire interview from UglyScene.com.