Korn: 'We Were Dubstep Before Dubstep'

Jonathan Davis says his band invented dubstep long before the likes of new Korn collaborators Skrillex and Noisia.

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Jonathan Davis says his band invented dubstep long before it became a staple of club music.

"We were dubstep before there was dubstep," Davis told Billboard. "Tempos at 140 with half-time drums, huge bassed-out riffs. We used to bring out 120 subwoofers and line them across the whole front of the stage, 60 subs per side. We were all about the bass."

He makes to comments after his band which found its fame through nu-metal has turned its hand to dubstep, a genre that has caught the attention of young music fans just as nu-metal did in the 90s.

"Probably the most active young audience out there is the dubstep audience, just as Korn's was when they first came on the scene," says Peter Katsis, who has managed the band since their 1994 debut. "There's a reason why they're attracted to each other; why a guy like Skrillex went from [singing lead in a hardcore] band like From First To Last to doing what he's doing [today]."

"These kids are onto something completely innovative and new," Davis says. "It's pure and awesome and underground and heavy and different, not like stale metal and rock'n'roll. I love them all, but the old-school metalheads are not open to change."

Davis' theory might not ring proud through the UG comment section, but it's a fair observation; metal was itself a cutting edge genre, and now a new generation inspired by metal is upping the noise game with other worldly computer generated sound.

But should dance and rock music stay separate, or will music fans find a happy medium between the two? Davis thinks the latter.

"It's really cool to see glow sticks at the show, to see dance music culture infiltrating and becoming one with the metal community," he says. "At the last show, there was one mosh pit where they were moshing, and another with kids doing glow stick tricks. They were taking turns and sh-t. I think we've opened up a new style that both sides are happy with."

"The Path Of Totality" launches on December 2, and features collaborations with electronic artists including Skrillex and Noisia.

261 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Amuro Jay
    Well I think... This is just... In my opinion... Shit, I have no words.
    Kakatara
    Initial reaction over. Jonathan Davis is an idiot, and Dubstep isn't new, and is really stale. My two cents
    jedke
    So they switched to dubstep from nu metal because that's what kids were listening to. Does that not make them a huge sell out act?
    IUseAPurplePick
    People are way too closed minded about the word dubstep. Artists like Skrillex have branched off from the original sort of dubstep, but it's simply another kind of it. It's not too drastically different to say it isn't dubstep, simply another take on the genre. It's like saying The Beatles and Red Hot Chili Peppers aren't rock because they sound different. Surely they fall into different sub genres, but they're both definitely rock. And as far as the article goes, you really can tell that Korn wanted to be dubstep (or whatever the guys that overly defend the meaning of the word dubstep call it) and wanted the sound they've lately acquired, they just didn't know how to exactly go about doing so. It's just ridiculous that people flip shit over a name of a genre, it's still music.
    ne14t
    Why am I doubting Korn ever had 120 subs on stage? Combined with the large cabs required for deep driving bass this would essentially mean there entire stage itself was made out of subs, could only imagine how many amps and miles of cable would be needed for this setup. Slayer uses one of the largest rigs I have seen live (thats actually real) and combined Kerry and Jeff use 24 cabs multiply that by 4 speakers per cab and you only come up with 96 speakers, anyone that has seen a Slayer show knows that wall of amplifiers is insanely huge. Your telling me Korn had this in SUBS let alone regular amps, yeah I call Bullshit till I see pictures of said rig setup in an arena.
    IUseAPurplePick
    Forgot to mention that I dont think he's trying to say that he "invented" dubstep. He's stating the similarities between the two and saying that their music was always connected to that sort of genre. I just believe they never knew how to actually completely fuse the two together.
    JoeFlips
    Chaduah wrote: sorry but when was dubstep ever hipster-orientated? hipsters are all about indie stuff (Rilo kiley, the shins, etc), while dubstep is just open to anyone who wants in. if anything the premise of dubstep goes against the whole hipster ideology?
    "We were _____ before _____"=Hipster
    Bananafish003
    This is really...just not true. Almost anyone who has done any research into the history of dubstep knows that it evolved in UK clubs...not from a ****ing past-prime nu-metal band.
    link no1
    We were dubstep before there was dubstep
    So give it another year or two and nobody will care??? Can't wait
    the_skiv
    I love korn.. but the last album cycle for the album KORN 3 Remember who u are.. JD was goin on n on about how the band needed to get back to there roots n create something towards life is peachy.. which they did.. n then do a complete 360 n create an entire dub step album.. with the worst title ever.. The Path Of Totality.. what the ****?? i sreiously love korn but choose a musical direction n stick to it!!
    reaper08
    they really think Skrillex invented dubstep? Skrillex just made it go mainstream so many other shitty singers and artists could use failed dubstep in their songs.
    LordRyur
    AsOneIStand wrote: Been sporting the black leather jacket and denim vest for a long time and I love the hell outta me some Maiden and Priest, and I also love today's metal scene. Hell, I think Nu Metal as you call it was a breath of fresh air for metal. The least that can really be said was that it opened up the airwaves for metal again. To hate on Nu Metal is ridiculous. Because if I remember, it was the God Rob Halford himself who said that bands like Korn and Manson put metal back where it needed to be. Not instrumentally, but it put it back to being evil and scary and well, you know, METAL. Oh and I also remember Ozzy clearly validating Godsmack several times, who also was considered to be Nu Metal. But me, being the music lover that I am has to say that metal elitism is bullshit. It is close minded to say the least. I myself happen to like some R&B on occasion and some good ol' Red Hot Chili Peppers.
    But.. Here's the thing. Rob Halford, best guy, Judas Priest is still going strong, also seems to like Bring me the Horizon and other such crap. The guy can make good music, sure, but I'm not so sure I can trust his .. err.. "opinions" on other music. Ozzy? Ozzy had a couple good albums after he left Black Sabbath. But the guy's a joke now. Ozfest is horrible, his newer stuff is horrible, and the guy wouldn't know Metal if it hit him in the face. The most he knows are the bands/artists he's recently worked with, or ones he's probably heard about the same way an average magazine-reading Metal fan has. Even Metallica can still name of some good bands, even though they've been using them since they first started as a band. And there's nothing scary or evil about a bunch of angsty music fuelled by 13 year olds who are the alternative version of modern Pop listeners. I mean come on, when exactly did Metal even need to get back to being "evil and scary"? Last I checked, Death Metal and Black Metal were still going relatively strong when Nu-Metal first arrived, and both those genres are far more "evil and scary" than Nu-Metal, and I'm not even talking about glorified gateway bands like Behemoth and Cannibal Corpse. Metal isn't even meant to be purely "scary", either. The whole idea of extreme, scary, evil music didn't come about until Venom, and it didn't get wide-spread support until Exodus, later Slayer and early Death Metal. Before then the staple Metal stuff was high fantasy, Conan the Barbarian, Lord of the Rings, dungeons and dragons, etc.. Thrash Metal was either about politics, Thrash and killing posers, or drinking. Only the most extreme bands went to the "evil and scary". Then there was Doom Metal scary, which usually involved damnation and toying with your very soul and the occult. Doom Metal is probably one of the most evil genres of Metal. Death Metal is horror-scary, Black Metal is extreme-scary, but Doom Metal, they deal with stuff that's beyond all that, while throwing in all that. Today's Metal scene has been alive and well since the '80s, and some dumbed-down and overly-distorted Alternative Rock had nothing to do with it.
    Iommianity wrote: That's true, and I wasn't trying to knock that image. But when people think of close minded metalheads, that's what comes to mind. There's nothing wrong with patches and denim. Hell, my tastes mostly skew old school, and if I could pull it off, I'd be rocking denim with Celtic Frost and Voivod patches. It just seems people have this stereotype about close minded metalheads holding the genre back, usually when they're spewing their own close minded opinions.
    Voivod and Celtic Frost ruuule, argh! It's usually because most of us are very.. vocally against bad music. We are technically close-minded, but only to poorly-made music, in all genres and sub-genres. We hold Metal up to the same type of judgement as we do non-Metal genres. Hell, we're even more critical of Metal because it's what we know best! And it's even more evident when we've actually taken the time to learn about the genre. You mix that with the fact the average Metal fan has turned into an overly-accepting shadow, whittled away by bad magazines and commercially-fed, simple bands, and you'll end up with "UR DUM PURISTS AND ELITISTS METAL IS METAL ACCEPT IT AWL HRURNGN".
    thrashmetalhed
    i try to be as open-minded as a musician and music lover as possible.. but i truely value technical ability in music, and im definately not seeing that in dubstep, or really any modern pop. i give credit to those who can sing well in pop and compose their own music.. but, for those that say using a computer to create music is like fretting a guitar is terribly mistaken.. how long did it take you to learn to click a mouse? then compare how long it took you to train your finger/hand muscles to effectivly move around a fretboard while using sweeping, economy, tremolo, and legato techniques. on top of extensive theory studying, i find that people that learn guitar/piano/any other instrument (strings,woodwind,brass,etc) are much more dedicated to their work, and MUCH more willing to practice and play.
    deathofarev
    erm dance = rock to me = The Prodigy. sorry korn you ain't all that new to me, although Imma still check out the new album when it comes out next monday (I think)
    hornet224
    mikkem719 wrote: Most of you people are morons. Korn is not claiming to have invented dubstep, they are merely stating the similarities between nu metal and dubstep. In fact, if you actually listen to some new dubstep music, it does have a very heavy metal feel to it. Also JD is pretty right about old metalheads not watning to change, whens the last time a band like Megadeth has done anything really different? While i like and respect the older genres of metal, I am looking forward to hearing how this interesting combination sounds.
    WHAT THE RISK?!? Yeah, that's that album MegaDeth put out before many people even knew who KoRn was that was almost completely opposite of their traditional style. Great use of example, broski.
    CronoMagus
    Nethero wrote: Actually, Kirk Hammett is the official unnintentional inventor of dubstep
    lmao this. wah wah wah wah wah wah
    Root Beer
    soapalot wrote: To me it sounds like Korn has found a new bandwagon to jump on in order to remain relevant and are giving two middle fingers to their old fans as it rides away. And I can't respect that.
    So much truth to this statement.
    jwalk3r
    Dubstep has got nothing on Rock and Metal. Who the **** is this interviewer?? Most metal fans that ik do not appreciate dubstep as a style of music and find it to be stupid and talentless containing no more than some prick messing around with computer software. listen to music that actually takes talent! METAL!
    earplay
    Trends come and go, and good music will prevail forever. Dubstep is a trend if I've ever heard one.. hopefully in a couple years it will evolve into something cool. Like early Rammstein.
    true_bacon22
    Metal mixes with random genres all the time. Ambient, Industrial, Post-Rock, Jazz, hardcore etc
    drummerjmp
    I'm not a huge fan of dubstep. Or even of Korn. But I saw their show about a month ago and it was the most fun I've ever had at a concert. So they're obviously doing something right.
    adamzam
    I can make an article and sample an interview and take what I want out of it to do what I want. None of know what was really said. They just post these to fuel hatred. I know what the article is about. What Jon is saying is that he has a good feeling about it and doesn't give two ****s what anyone thinks. In someways thats a true metal attitude.
    NoInnerKind
    the_skiv wrote: I love korn.. but the last album cycle for the album KORN 3 Remember who u are.. JD was goin on n on about how the band needed to get back to there roots n create something towards life is peachy.. which they did.. n then do a complete 360 n create an entire dub step album.. with the worst title ever.. The Path Of Totality.. what the ****?? i sreiously love korn but choose a musical direction n stick to it!!
    I think you mean they did a 180. Doing a 360 would mean they're back where they started.
    mikkem719
    Most of you people are morons. Korn is not claiming to have invented dubstep, they are merely stating the similarities between nu metal and dubstep. In fact, if you actually listen to some new dubstep music, it does have a very heavy metal feel to it. Also JD is pretty right about old metalheads not watning to change, whens the last time a band like Megadeth has done anything really different? While i like and respect the older genres of metal, I am looking forward to hearing how this interesting combination sounds.
    Iommianity
    I like how easy is it is to pigeon hole metalheads in place of a real argument. If you're going to make a claim that metal is stale, you don't help yourself by listening to stale artists and using them as your reference point. I think someone listed Rob Zombie and RATM as metal bands they still listen to. If you're stuck in a certain mindset, how can you possibly confuse that as a sign of how the genre is doing? A lot of 'metalheads' I know listen to plenty of different types of music, especially if they're also musicians. I have no idea why people complain about this outdated stereotype of an 80s metalhead with a denim vest hating on anything that's not metal; this is 2011 ffs. The genre is stagnant? No, it's not. If you think Korn mixing dubstep with their music is genre defying in any way, you should take the time to explore metal. Bands have been incorporating jazz, gothic music, electronic elements, classical, ambient music, hardcore, and everything between since the late 80s and all through the 90s to today. Mixing outside influences isn't about watering down your style with the most base aspects of other genres to get some kind of heavy pop hybrid or something. All Korn are doing is trading one fad for another. They wouldn't be pissing as many people off if they embraced dubstep and actually did something with it.
    Maxico
    Davis, you are wrong. I have a subwoofer. I invented dubstep.
    bastards
    Skrillex didn't invent dubstep. Given, Korn had it's bass-whoring roots back in the day, but they weren't using electronic sampling and didn't have the technology (For one, it hadn't been created). Give some love to Daft Punk, Korn.
    The genre is stagnant? No, it's not. If you think Korn mixing dubstep with their music is genre defying in any way, you should take the time to explore metal. Bands have been incorporating jazz, gothic music, electronic elements, classical, ambient music, hardcore, and everything between since the late 80s and all through the 90s to today. Mixing outside influences isn't about watering down your style with the most base aspects of other genres to get some kind of heavy pop hybrid or something. All Korn are doing is trading one fad for another. They wouldn't be pissing as many people off if they embraced dubstep and actually did something with it.
    QFT.
    goingnowhere21
    Inventing dubstep, even if they did, isn't really something to be that proud of. It's more overrated than just about anything these days.
    pokerhappy
    For a minute I thought this was Ultimate Guitar taking him out of context like they do with every band, but then I realized this was Korn.
    LordRyur
    Iommianity wrote: A lot of 'metalheads' I know listen to plenty of different types of music, especially if they're also musicians. I have no idea why people complain about this outdated stereotype of an 80s metalhead with a denim vest hating on anything that's not metal; this is 2011 ffs.
    Denim and leather is VERY much alive in Metal. I just added a Razor patch to my denim vest. I also put some Eazy-E and Ice-T buttons on my leather jacket, alongside my Cro-Mags and Inepsy buttons. You'll find that the "hating everything that isn't Metal" stereotype is MUCH more common amongst those who hate the "OHSEWOUTDATED" denim 'n' leather look. Posers always need to try harder, after all, even if that includes hating on everything that isn't Metal because METAL IS THE BEST EVAR. Besides. Run DMC made a kick-ass song about leather. Tougher than Leather, now THAT'S how you mix Rock/Metal and Rap.
    Iommianity
    LordRyur wrote: Iommianity wrote: A lot of 'metalheads' I know listen to plenty of different types of music, especially if they're also musicians. I have no idea why people complain about this outdated stereotype of an 80s metalhead with a denim vest hating on anything that's not metal; this is 2011 ffs. Denim and leather is VERY much alive in Metal. I just added a Razor patch to my denim vest. I also put some Eazy-E and Ice-T buttons on my leather jacket, alongside my Cro-Mags and Inepsy buttons. You'll find that the "hating everything that isn't Metal" stereotype is MUCH more common amongst those who hate the "OHSEWOUTDATED" denim 'n' leather look. Posers always need to try harder, after all, even if that includes hating on everything that isn't Metal because METAL IS THE BEST EVAR. Besides. Run DMC made a kick-ass song about leather. Tougher than Leather, now THAT'S how you mix Rock/Metal and Rap.
    That's true, and I wasn't trying to knock that image. But when people think of close minded metalheads, that's what comes to mind. There's nothing wrong with patches and denim. Hell, my tastes mostly skew old school, and if I could pull it off, I'd be rocking denim with Celtic Frost and Voivod patches. It just seems people have this stereotype about close minded metalheads holding the genre back, usually when they're spewing their own close minded opinions.
    Instant Mash
    Dubstep is one of those genres I need to give more attention. I've liked most of what I've heard, but I'm certainly not a fan of Skrillex. That said, decent article I thought.
    MuseAddict123
    Cammy Hendrix wrote: American's dont know **** all about dubstep, you all think skrillex is dubstep ffs.
    this guy knows
    rockstaralex24
    John, i really love you and all but... no... no no no. Dubstep actually dates back to Reggae music when Soundsystem subculture boomed and the original "Dub" music was formed... sorry john
    Evangelion 00
    Korn has lost so much... now even more. It breaks my heart that one of my favorite bands growing up has turned to shite. epically sad days... Korn is no longer