KORN guitarist Brian “Head” Welch spoke to Alternative Press about the progress of the recording sessions for the band’s twelfth studio album, due out later this year. He said: “[The new material] is awesome. It’s mainly James [‘Munky’ Shaffer, guitar] and I. We really wanted to go into what KORN does guitar-wise. James, Ray [Luzier, drums] and I started riffing back in June of last year. Then we’d go on tour, come back and spend a week or two just jamming out. We started getting ideas pretty quickly once we started going into bigger studios and everything. It just went in that direction of the heavier sound. It’s the most intense KORN music in a long time vocally [as well].”
He continued: “We were thinking about the live show when we were writing the songs. The last record had good songs on it, but we only played like two or three of them live, because not all of them really translated live. This album has more of that quiet/loud dynamic but also sounds current. The whole band is pretty happy with it. We’ll be announcing the album title, song titles, release date and some new partnerships soon.”
Welch also spoke in more detail about the importance of making music that will translate well in a live environment. “It was easier to [pick songs from] the last album [to play in concert] because a lot of the songs just didn’t work live,” he said. “It will be harder with this one because I can think of at least five of the songs that would be slammin’ in a set. I would love to play at least four of them to push the new album.”
He continued: “I think [the new songs] are going to go over well, but people have their memories of certain songs and they want to hear them when they come to see you live. My hope is that as people get excited about the new album and the word spreads that it’s a kind of back-to-basics KORN album, the core fans will really like it and we can play more of the material live and get a good reaction. But you do always have to play certain songs. Sometimes we’ll get bold and [skip] some of the big ones and people usually aren’t happy about that. [Laughs] ‘What? You guys didn’t play ‘Freak On A Leash’?!'”
Regarding the possibility of playing the entire new album live, Welch said: “To me, that’s scary to do that on the first tour for a new record. I would like to do that after a couple of arena tours because then people have had a chance to get to know the songs. Going right out with it — ‘Hey, here’s a new song, you’ve had the record for a week!'”
Welch said in a 2015 interview with “Do You Know Jack?” that touring with SLIPKNOT in 2014 inspired KORN to get back to a heavier sound, saying, “I think it sparked and reminded everybody in the band what KORN started out to be.”
KORN last fall completed a North American tour on which the band performed its debut album in its entirety at every stop.