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Go BackROCK SENSIBILITIES PAY OFF FOR CRYSTAL METHOD - Ken Jordan & Scott Kirkland scoop Best US Act + two other DanceStar Awards

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Everybody wants a piece of electro-rockers Crystal Method now. Well we got one.

We were so thrilled and surprised at the three dancestar awards," gushed Ken Jordan, the more loquacious half of the group, today. "We had a really great performance of 'Born Too Slow' with John Garcia during the show, and winning the best single award as the final category in the evening topped off the terrific evening. We want to thank everyone who voted for us at, we would also like to thank Dancestar for putting on their third high quality awards show and can’t wait until it airs.”
"It was very cool," said his partner Scott Kirkland.

Nominated for Best Act (Us Artists) - Best Album (Worldwide Artists) - Best Single (Worldwide Artists) - Best Video (Worldwide Artists) & Best Use Of Music In A TV Show (Us TV Shows) The Crystal Method secured three awards at the DanceStar Awards ceremony on the 9th March in Miami. They got industry recognition for their efforts, and awards for Best Act, Best Album and Best Single.

One of the principal American electronic bands around, The Crystal Method have successfully bridged musical divides between rock, soul and dance music to create a unique sound, true to themselves. Since relocating from their native Las Vegas to California, Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland have helped facilitate electronic music’s progression as a US export. Together Jordan and Kirkland have toured the world with their distinctive brand of hybrid ‘electro-rock,’ and spent years dividing the States into more approachable pieces with their gritty ‘punk-rock’ road shows. The Crystal Method (TCM) have since had their music used for many a Hollywood production, and they’re now proudly looking at their third album release, titled ‘Legion of Boom.’

Legion of Boom’ (out already in Europe/April in the US) keeps TCM inherent tradition of mixing up styles and genres to their advantage. They collaborate with the likes of (ex-Limp Bizkit) guitarist Wes Borland, Milla Jovovich, Lisa Kekaula and the Roots' human beat-box Rahzel. Hard to pin down with words like break driven, alternative rock induced, and electronic beat based; TCM simply avoid categorisation, you must listen to comprehend.

The minimal dance music ‘infrastructure’ in the US has undoubtedly helped define TCM’s resultant sound. With less electronic media and radio compared to the UK and Europe their journey to the top has been long and challenging. Incredibly explosive when playing live (or even djing) TCM are touring their ‘Legion of Boom’ in the US until May, before trouncing Europe, the UK and the world’s festivals with their electronic cinematic symphonies.

Needless to say we grabbed at the opportunity for an interview with TCM’s Ken and Scott, and here’s what they, (well mainly Ken) had to say.
Did you ever consider changing the band’s name? I read that name ‘The Crystal Method’ used to be your code term for taking a (car) ride from some chick in Las Vegas, is that right?
KJ: “She was actually a friend from LA. We were working with this rapper many years ago, and he asked how we were going to get to the club that night. We said ‘Crystal was giving us a lift…’ He replied smartly ‘Oh the Crystal Method,’ which we liked and wrote down - it just stuck! A few years later we used the name for our band. At that time in the US, the drug ‘crystal’ was really far down on the list of popular recreational drugs, and in the UK no one really knew about it, so as we liked the name we just went with it. We met with a few people early on who said we ‘wouldn’t go anywhere with that name,’ but we’ve kinda proved them all wrong!”

First the ‘Vegas’ album then ‘Tweekend,’ now ‘Legion Of Boom.’ What’s new?
KJ: “Well I think we’ve added some stronger elements especially on the single, ‘Born Too Slow.’ We’ve had great (guitar) tracks before, but we’ve got the combinations right here on each and every track.”

You’ve said previously that you don’t argue over production credits in the studio, you obviously harmonise really well. What’s your secret?
KJ: “Therapy! (They laugh) No fortunately I think we’ve just been friends for so long it’s become a very natural musical relationship. Like brothers we both have strong opinions but we’re really just coming from a loving place, and want to make the best music and decisions possible. We’ve sometimes argued and even fought over silly things before, but in the end it’s the work that matters, and moving forwards!”

Do you have any regular methodology to TCM productions, for example do you lay drums and bass first and then concentrate on the all important hook and melody line?
KJ: “We prefer to come at our own tracks from all different angles, we don’t really have a formula. So you know we sometimes start with drums and bass, then other times we start with the hook, a riff on the guitar or something else… Maybe we begin with a simple chord progression - generally we write in many diverse ways.”

‘Born Too Slow,’ is an amazing video, do you usually have much creative input?
KJ: “We mainly just get involved with choosing the director. In the past we’ve always taken notes on videos we like ourselves, but for this particular video it just came out of nowhere. We got a call from the production company who said they had a treatment for it, and there it was – a great idea!”
Do you think your form of musical expression is political at all, and should modern day music get involved in such things?
KJ: “We’re not too political… It’s hard to be really political if your not lyrically based as a band. But we’ve had releases involving Martin Luther King and Jesse Jackson, so there’s a few political overtones in there and on the new album. It’s like walking a tightrope. I think everyone should be concerned about what is going on in the world, so I guess that means everyone needs to be political. At the same time though I believe you can be too political with your views, and that’s not good for the music.”

How do you see the divide between rocked out guitar kids and the devil’s dance music disciples?
KJ: “I think there’s a real healthy mix to our fan base, especially in US. We’ve tried to make our stuff more rock based there, working with people like Limp Bizkit and Korn. Then there are the radio shows, where we’ve appeared with acts like Green Day, the Foo Fighters - bands like that. We’ve think we’ve been well received overall… I mean we love all soul, rock and hip-hop styles, but mainly we’re driven by our love of electronic and club music. We are not afraid to bring our rock sensibilities into the mix and collaborate with other artists to enhance our own sound.”

What’s the most poignant TCM moment you’ve shared on your live tours lately?
KJ: “One of the coolest things ever was when we were playing in Brazil for the first time. We played Rio and San Paulo and weren’t really aware of our level of support there. We didn’t know if our tracks were out or expect anyone to know the records there. We thought it would just be a nice vacation combined with a show, but when we got to there the crowds were unbelievable. They knew every note to every record we played, it was amazing how these fans were – it was a really good response!”

You like your Nord Lead 2 for live the gigs, what other toys do use?
KJ: “We tour with a lot of samplers, we use Emu; a Mac G4 for sequencing and backing drums and so on. We’ll be using an Andromeda 6 from Alesis on this tour and loads of distortion pedals, delays and things of that nature. Oh and a custom made transformer box that Scott plays by hand!”

How does the American market compare to the UK/ Europe audience?
KJ: “We haven’t DJd or played live over here in the UK for a while, so we will let you know what the differences are. But I think the people here are maybe more educated about this kind of electronic music, they’re keenly aware in fact.”
SK: “Plus there’s the point that you have important national radio programmes in a country of this size is a factor. The radio shows are hosted by influential DJs and this really helps break artists. The fact it’s possible that a radio DJ can get given a 12” by some kid in a club the night before and that that it gets national airplay the next day is amazing, meaning some influential people get to hear that track from ‘nowhere.’ It’s key to breaking new artists and also to moving the scene along, in the US you don’t really have anything like that. It’s hard to break through in the States, as you have to spend years on the road touring, visiting all these small radio stations to try get them to play your song.”

Can Ken tell us something we wouldn’t know about Scott, and vice versa please?
KJ: “Scott’s favourite band is Depeche Mode. He met Martin at some LA after hours well before TCM started. They were talking away and hanging out… At the time Scott didn’t have any paper to write on, so he gave Martin a store credit card and wrote his number on there! Years later we hooked up and Martin remembered that card, he was good enough not to use it though!”
SK: “Ken’s a big hockey player. He loves league and celebrity hockey games, he played one recently with Keither Sutherland, David E Kelly, Keanu Reeves and loads more people…”

Any other news you’d like to reveal?
KJ: “Everyone should check out our website for updated information. Our US Tour finishes in early May, so we’re hoping to come back to the UK after then and do some proper live dates in Europe!”

The Crystal Method’s third album ‘Legion of Boom’ comes out January UK/ April US, on V2 Records.

Track listing:

1. Starting Over
2. Born Too Slow
3. True Grit
4. American Way
5. I Know It’s You
6. Realizer
7. Broken Glass
8. Weapons Of Mass Distortion
9. Bound Too Long
10. Acetone
11. High And Low
12. Wide Open

The 2004 DanceStar Awards for TCM

BEST ACT (US Artists)
Winner 2004: The Crystal Method
BEST ALBUM (Worldwide Artists)
Winner 2004: The Crystal Method: Legion Of Boom
BEST SINGLE (Worldwide Artists)
Winner 2004: The Crystal Method: Born Too Slow


Words by Lisa Loco