INTERVIEW: Korn’s James ‘Munky’ Shaffer

Korn are one of the few bands of the Nu Metal era to have endured. Not only does their original breakthrough material still hold up despite the decade and a half of imitators, they also manage to maintain a sense of vitality in their newer material. Just look at last year’s Korn III: Remember Who You Are. It was a dirty, raw, powerful, vital album at a time when bands often become complacent. But complacency isn’t in Korn’s vocabulary. Their latest, The Path Of Totality, finds them pairing up with various dubstep and electronica producers to put a heavily neo-industrial spin on their established bottom-heavy rhythmic drive. But The Path Of Totality isn’t the only new release that Korn guitarist James ‘Munky’ Shaffer is involved in. He recently – finally – released the debut self-titled album by his long-planned solo project, Fear and the Nervous System, a band which features Faith No More bass player Billy Gould, drummer Brooks Wackerman, and Repeater vocalist Steve Krolikowski.

How did the collaborations on The Path Of Totality happen? Did you work together in the studio? Did you send off recorded parts?

It was kind of mixed up. We started out with Skrillex and we worked in the studio with him on the first track, which was ‘Get Up.'” So we were actually working with him in person. And also with Downlink and Excision. Noisia, those guys are from the Netherlands so we just send tracks through the air. They sent them back and Jonathan (Davis, vocals) was in communication with them. So it was kinda different with each artist and producer.

It must have been a cool challenge to figure out exactly where the guitar would fit amongst all the other stuff going on.

I mean, on a lot of the tracks it seemed really like ‘Where am I gonna put the guitar? Where is it gonna fit?’ And it was challenging for me. Rhythmically it was really kinda busy and I was trying to find the right space and the right notes. It’s like a boxing match – you bob and weave to sort of get your punch in there.

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