InternetDJ recently spoke with Ken Jordan of The Crystal Method while in NYC promoting their new release, Legion of Boom. Find out why Cindy Margolis has it in for Ken! Read and listen to the entire exclusive raw interview right here.
I can safely say, The Crystal Method were one of the driving factors behind the creation of InternetDJ. Their 1997 release "Vegas" solidified my love of electronic music and began the pursuit to find other like-minded producers and music programmers who felt the same.
When the opportunity to speak with Ken Jordan of TCM arose, I jumped at it. Alas, the only time available was when I was outside of NY. So our faithful member and partner Aurelia volunteered for the interview. And if Ken and Scott stop by the site, drop a line in the Forum, there are some talented producers and music programmers here that love what you do!
Now about their new album. Rolling Stone Magazine editors need a wake-up call on their review system. 3 stars for the completely original "Legion of Boom"? 4 stars for some recent "Best of" and "Compilation" albums? The Crystal Method's new album is a precisely constructed electronic masterpiece. We give it 4 stars and we never review compilation CDs. Make sure to vote for them at dancestar.com and show them what's what.
(internetdj): What was your inspiration for the album?
(Ken Jordan): Besides the fact that we obviously love making music, the inspiration for the sound and the feel of the record, I think, was – after Tweak End came out and we kind of stepped back and listened to it after awhile, we kind of thought it was a little more dark and heavy and dense than we really intended it to be, so we kind of wanted to get back to a more of the Vegas sound, strip it down and have it based on the songs, rather than layering sounds and tracks.
(internetdj): What is the Legion of Boom? Is it anything like the Legion of Doom? Like who's the head of it?
(Ken Jordan): Well, the head of it is Scott and I. Well, it's either Scott and I, or each individual song is part of the Legion of Boom and they all make it up. But yeah, if you fold out the artwork on the commercial release it's this cityscape where Scott's sitting and I'm standing on top of this building. We're overlooking Gotham City, trying to protect it with our beats. But anyway, there's this one big billboard thing that is actually this piece of artwork that we had Todd MacFarlane do, which shows us as superhero characters in our little "Hall of Justice". You should be able to download it on our website. If not, you'll be able to do it soon.
(internetdj): Excellent. "Born Too Slow," massive hit. The names you come up with for these songs and albums is just incredible, they have so many different meanings behind them.
(Ken Jordan): Yeah, we've learned to embrace the double entendre just to scare parents enough to make the kids want to buy the record.
(internetdj): Twenty-five thousand copies your first week. Well, almost 25,000 copies your first week. You kicked Sara McLaughlin and Mariah Carey's ass. That ought to make you feel good.
(Ken Jordan): That does feel good. And then on iTunes, we were number one the entire week. That was pretty cool.
(internetdj): Me and my iPod thank you. Now you have this phenomenal 50-city tour you're going to be doing with the Fuse TV network. Now Fuse has definitely come out of the box this year. They're at their eight-month anniversary mark, and you are really are the only electronica tour that they're involved in or have been involved in.
(Ken Jordan): Oh, is that right? Cool.
(internetdj): Yes. They did Voodoo Fest, which was very cool, but you're like the babies for the next 50 cities. So how did that come about?
(Ken Jordan): We wanted to be involved with a channel that's really still promoting music videos. So it was something we were really interested in. We're just happy that they've jumped onboard.
(internetdj): You're nominated for best act and best album of Dance Star USA this year. How does that feel? Everybody that is on the academy board, your peers, have decided to nominate you.
(Ken Jordan): That's great. Now are all these categories ones that people can vote on on the Internet?
(internetdj): Everybody votes for the winner on the Internet, but the nominations come from the academy, which is everyone from promoters and club owners to record label people and radio jocks.
(Ken Jordan): That's awesome. I think last year we were nominated for a bunch and didn't win any, and the year before I think we were only nominated for two but we won one, so I don't know if it's a good sign or not.
(internetdj): Speaking of voting and Dance Star, last year you thanked vodka. How much of an influence has vodka been in your life?
(Ken Jordan): Depends on what time of the night you're talking to. ;-) So at that moment, I was very thankful for vodka because I wasn't too nervous on stage.
(internetdj): I think Cindy Margolis got jealous.
(Ken Jordan): Well it was really funny because Cindy and Scott and I sort of worked out a deal beforehand. We're ready to go up there, read the nominations and announce the winner; she said "OK you guys, now I'm going to say something really nice about you, so you have to say something nice about me." And I said "OK, great!"
So she came out and said something nice about us, and then I said something nice, but she was kind of upset. I don't know what else she wanted me to say about her, like she's the most downloaded woman or something. She seemed upset by the whole vodka comment. ;-)
(internetdj): What has been your favorite gig recently?
(Ken Jordan): I'll tell you what was really good. Just recently we had a release party on Tuesday the 13th at Garden of Eden in LA. It was combined with the BPM launch of their new issue, which happened to have us on the cover, so it was really a good party.
(internetdj): I also heard that you guys have had a run in with a couple crazy fans over the years. What's your craziest stalker experience?
(Ken Jordan): Well, we don't have many. There's just a couple of them that kind of bug us. There's this one in Cleveland. She's been telling Scott that she's going to die any minute to try to get sympathy and have him hang out with her every time we play that area. It's been going on for four or five years, and the first time we met her, she said, "I'm going to die next week."
(internetdj): Oh, my God!
(Ken Jordan): So she's still saying that today, you know what I mean? ;-) "I've not much time left". She fully does the whole thing, where we haven't talked to her or anything. She just goes to every security guard, and somehow makes it back to the bus. It's kind of scary.
(internetdj): Do you have any advice for the upcoming producers in the electronic and dance music?
(Ken Jordan): As far as advice I'd say, try to establish a sound. Try to figure out what you want to do and try to excel at that, rather than trying to do any or all kinds of sounds. Although that's nice to be versatile, it really isn't too helpful sometimes.
(internetdj): Now you're going to be on a Grammy panel, which is, one of the better panels to be on, because this is the "serious-hardcore-producers-getting-awards-in-Hollywood" kind of panels, and you did it last year with Roger Sanchez, BT and Steve Hurley. Do you love the Grammys? Would you like one?
(Ken Jordan): Well, I'm kind of on the fence right now. I like the concept of the Grammys, artists and people in the industry recognizing each others' work. But we've started this electronic music advisory panel because basically electronic music is a big part of music in America. There's a Billboard chart for it. But there's no Grammy for it. They have a Grammy for fucking polka music. They have a Grammy for American Indian music. They have Grammys for the most smallest, tiny, zero-fraction of music. But at the same time they're not recognizing the music I make, and that's really upsetting at this point. So I'm trying to get involved and change it. But it's going slow.
That leads to the question mainstream versus the underground. You have a lot of fans that don't like it when people start getting successful. They feel like you guys have not been true to the underground scene when they see you in Rolling Stone, and on MTV, and on . And it's kind of a Catch-22.
For those people I say, please contact me when you get out of junior high school. It's as though you make a record, and they like it, but somehow other people like the record – somehow the music on the CD has all of a sudden changed and it's different now. They have to realize that they want so badly to be cool themselves, and if someone else likes their music that they're not cool anymore. You know? It's always been funny to me, we still do exactly what we've always done well. We just make records for ourselves and for our fans, and it's not in our control to decide who likes it and who doesn't.
(internetdj): We like it. We think it's incredibly sexy, funky, one of those throw you up against the wall, rip the clothing off kind of albums. OK, this is for all the stalker fans. Who's married? Who's not? This is for the Teen Weekly segment of our interview.
(Ken Jordan): I'm not. Scott is.
(internetdj): So do you protect Scott from like the panty throwers?
(Ken Jordan): His wife usually tells him when he's messed up, but he's well behaved anyway, whether or not his wife's with him.
(internetdj): So the next step, the next single will be…?
(Ken Jordan): It might either be “Weapons of Mass Distortion” with a new vocal on it or it could be “The American Way.”
(internetdj): Now if you could have anybody remix those songs, who would you pick?
(Ken Jordan): I'd probably pick Eric Morillo again because his remix of our new track is like the only form of floor record we play. We just really like that track a lot.
(internetdj): Do you have anything else you would like to say to the mass Internet media?
(Ken Jordan): On this tour we're have this promotion running; you come to the show with the CD booklet, you get to have a little meet-and-greet right after the show and get your booklet signed and get to hang out with us for a little bit.
(internetdj): You guys really do care about your fans. I've noticed that over the years, you've been interactive where a lot of the celebrity electronic acts and DJs have kind of started to put up barriers at their shows. Thank you so much and hopefully we will see you in Miami.
Thanks for your time Ken, next time we want a photo tour of your studio. Your composing abilities are the admiration of the core producers of internetdj. -risda