Interview with Jonathan Davis (FEARnet)

Date published: 2012.02.16
Source: FEARnet

Shock Till You Drop: Where does the film pick up in relation to the last one?

Korn's back on the road supporting the band's latest album, Path of Totality, a departure for the band featuring a distinct dubstep sound and collaborations with dance music producers like Skrillex, Excision and Kill the Noise. On this leg of the tour, the band is bringing along a special opening guest, frontman Jonathan Davis' dance floor-packing DJ persona, J Devil.

DJing isn't new for Davis. He actually started out on the ones and twos as a teenager in Bakersfield, playing with famed hip-hop radio DJs The Baka Boyz. But, times are different now. Where Davis used to play '80s dance music on vinyl, now he's using a laptop and midi controller to piece together much darker sounds. J Devil is a party demon with blacked-out eyes and teeth twisting together horror movie samples and gruesome beats while still keeping the good vibes pumping.

As J Devil, Davis has an EP set to come out through Steve Aoki's Dim Mak Records in the not-so-distant future. He's also working on a slew of new remixes and original tracks. He premiered his first J Devil track in January on the Holy Ship! electronic music cruise. It's called "Let Jesus Fuck You," after the infamous line from The Exorcist, and features samples from the movie. I talked to Davis about J Devil, his new song for Silent Hill: Downpour (out in March) and his favorite horror movies.

You have an exclusive song on the soundtrack for Silent Hill: Downpour. How was it to work on the game?

It was fun. I've always loved that game. I always like the horror kind of games and it was an honor for them to even ask me to do it. I worked out a song they liked, they liked the vibe of it, and went ahead and did it.

My son is featured on it. It's actually his first time singing with me. He's the little kid in the background singing songs and laughing.

Did you have to think about the imagery of the game while you were working on the song?

Yeah, I was given an outline of the game and I went with it from there lyrically and just the stylistic vibe of the song.

It's hard. I saw a trailer, that's all I could really see, so I kind of winged it and thought in my head what it should be like.

How did you come up with the J. Devil character? What were you envisioning when you started working on the project?

It just came together with my initials, J.D., and evil. My wife's nickname was devil. I've always been fascinated by the devil, since I was a little kid, and all dark things, horror movies, anything dark. It just kind of happened.

This character is the embodiment of Santanic values, Christian values, all of the secret societies, the Illuminati, Skull and Bones, Knights Templar... It's all these things mixed together.

My main focus is just a motto that's in the Satanic Bible as well as the Bible, which is do what you're going to do, as long as you don't hurt anybody, it's okay. It's taking guilt out of the equation or control, which, you know, Christianity has a lot to do with that.

For me, it's your life, do what you want to do. If you want to go out and be with tons of women, don't have a wife or a girlfriend. If you do, then don't do that. Don't hurt anybody. Different fetishes, weird shit, make sure you're not hurting anybody while you're doing it. Live your life.

Basically, that's the motto I have. When I DJ, that's what I want people to do, have a good time and express themselves however they want to do it, as long as they aren't hurting anyone.

What are you working on visually for J. Devil?

I have my logo and a lot of Illuminati symbolism in it. I'm still working on that all together. Once I get it all together, I'll have a full show.

If it goes into something where I can have lots of visuals, I want to incorporate all kinds of things, mostly dark horror.

Is there anything you find particularly compelling about horror movies?

I think it's the adrenaline rush. I think people get a fix off of being scared, your heart beating faster and not know what's going on it. It pulls on an emotion that people grasp too. That's what it is for me. It's me being scared and my heart pounding, thinking what the fuck's going to happen. That's what draws me to those dark horror films.

When you're working in a sample from a horror movie, are you trying to get the same kind of fear out of using them?

I twist them and hope that I can get the same kind of vibe...Whatever vibe kind of achieves that moment, gives you that dark vibe.

Jonathan Davis' Favorite Horror Films

The Exorcist
That is my favorite horror movie of all time. That movie really scared the shit out of me when I first saw it, back when I was a kid. It's my all-time favorite. It was so fucking scary and it's still scary to me to this day.

Any kind of exorcism movie scares me. I saw the Exorcism of Emily Rose. That shit scared me. I went and researched what it was based on [Anneliese Michel, a young German woman who died after an exorcism in 1976]. The shit's based on a true story. It's true and that's what makes it scarier.

I saw it when I was maybe seven years old. When my parents would rent movies and go to sleep, I would sneak and watch them. I just remember the trailer with the head and you hear "Suspiria" and then the head turns around there's a skull.

It's been a long time since I've seen it.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
I like that one. It's kind of comedic. There's dark humor in it.

Evil Dead
I love Evil Dead. I love 1 and 2. 1 was really scary, 2 was just fucking scary and funny.

I like the mix of comedy and horror, there's just something about it.

Paranormal Activity
The first one. Things that are shot on a handycam, that were made to look like it was a videotape. That vibe looks real, like this shit is really happening.

It's Alive
Remember when the baby's coming out and slashing the doctors and shit? Those old school horror films are really cool.

This comes from my child's mind. That's the pure essence of horror for me. I was really scared because I didn't know any better.