THE CRYSTAL METHOD'S KEN JORDAN
Interview by Wayne Chinsang

PUBLIC INTEREST IN ANY ONE THING IS USUALLY FLEETING. ONE MINUTE, EVERYONE WILL BE ALL UP IN YOUR SHIT. THE NEXT, YOU'RE YESTERDAY'S NEWS. BUT THOSE THAT CONTINUE CREATING DURING THAT LULL PROVE THEY ARE DEDICATED TO THEIR CRAFT, AND TRANSFORM FROM BEING SIMPLY A CONTRIBUTOR TO A GENRE TO BEING A STEADFAST LOYALIST TO THEIR SOUND. ONE SUCH BAND IS THE CRYSTAL METHOD, AND BEATSMITH KEN JORDAN IS ONE-HALF OF THEIR SOUND. READ ON AS WAYNE LEARNS MORE ABOUT ALL THINGS CRYSTAL.

Wayne Chinsang: So, I know your tour for the Community Service II album is just a few days away from wrapping up.

Ken Jordan: Yeah.

WC: How did the tour go?

KJ: Itís been going really well. Itís the first time weíve taken out a tour bus for a DJ tour, but it worked out really well. Normally when you do a DJ tour you just fly out for the weekends and only hit the major cities. But we took out a tour bus for three and a half weeks and got to hit a lot of the smaller cities, like Memphis, Nashville, Buffalo, Birmingham... all these different places. We were playing those places on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights, and we didnít know what to expect with that. But it actually turned out really well.

WC: Why was concentrating on touring in smaller cities important for this tour?

KJ: Well, when youíve got a tour bus, youíve got to play as much as you can because itís so expensive to just have the tour bus. So weíre playing the major cities on Fridays, Saturdays, and sometimes Thursdays, but we got to hit all the in-between stops along the way, too.

WC: I know you guys tour a lot, but has the feedback been good for this tour in particular?

KJ: Yeah, the feedback has been really good. This [Community Service II] has been our second mix CD. The first mix CD [Community Service]... it wasnít an experiment, but it was our first time, so we were trying to get a lot of things out of the way. We were trying to get a lot of older remixes and things we really wanted to release on there. But this new one was all new stuff. We did brand-new mixes: one for The Doors ["Roadhouse Blues"], one for New Order ["Bizarre Love Triangle"]. And then we had some remixes done of some of our recent tracks from Legion Of Boom. So this was a real new-sounding record. Almost everything that is on Community Service II wasnít available anywhere else previously.

WC: So, with remixing classic tracks from The Doors and New Order, thatís some pretty big stuff. Do you like mixing stuff that is so well-known, or do you prefer to tackle stuff that is more obscure?

KJ: Well, both can be equally as interesting or challenging to work with. The only real difference is that if youíre working with an obscure track that not many people have heard before, then people may not be as aware of what youíve done to it.

WC: Right.

KJ: So itís nice to work with an established track, because everyone recognizes what you added to it.

WC: Sure. It serves as something people can anchor themselves to.

KJ: Right.

WC: With The Doors track, I know that in the past theyíve been pretty protective of their material and how itís used. Did you have to go through a bunch of legal stuff to be able to use that track?

KJ: Well, I know theyíve got this single veto band-making decision thing, where all it takes is for one band member to veto something to put an end to it. But from what I understand, most of the things that theyíre famous for vetoing are commercials and things being licensed for products. But we never had any trouble. From what we know, the band was really into the project, and theyíre doing a whole albumís worth of remixes.

WC: Really? Thatíll be cool.

KJ: Yeah. BT has got a really good remix of "Break On Through", and Iíve heard a Snoop Dogg remix, a Paul Oakenfold remix, and I think there is a new Adam Freeland remix of "Hello, I Love You". So it should be a really good project when it comes out.

WC: And your remix of "Roadhouse Blues" will be a part of that?

KJ: Yeah, it should be on there.

WC: Cool. So, we interviewed Chief Xcel a while back, and he had just remixed a bunch of Fela Kutiís work. And he was talking about how sometimes heíll get a project remixing something that is almost perfect to him, and that it would be hard for him to add something to it. Do you guys ever run into that?

KJ: Well, we probably wouldnít be interested in doing a remix of, say, The Chemical Brothers, for instance. And itís not because we donít love their music or their tracks, but itís just that itís already too similar to what we do. So we just try and remix stuff that has a completely different sound from us. So, no matter how much we like it, if it doesnít already sound like our production, itís pretty easy for us to remix it.

WC: The past couple years you guys have been alternating releasing these mix CDs with new full-lengths.

KJ: Yeah. Weíre still gonna do new studio albums, but weíre gonna do a mix CD between each one.

WC: Do you enjoy doing one over the other?

KJ: Well, the studio albums are always much more gratifying. Itís all your own music, and you created it from beginning to end. Thatís all us. The mix CDs are a lot of us, but a lot of other people are involved in it as well.

WC: Do you feel that you have more hand in the studio albums?

KJ: Absolutely.

WC: What are the plans for your next studio album so far?

KJ: Weíre working on some new stuff now, but we wonít get completely serious about it until this tour is done. We still have a few more dates to do. Weíre also looking at scoring some other projects, like a video game or a film or some TV. But weíre definitely going to start working on the next studio album.

WC: Kind of along the lines of the score work, during the Nineties there was this huge commercial boom of the genre for people like you guys, The Chemical Brothers, and Fatboy Slim. And now, years later, it seems like itís coming back again, because Iím hearing music pop up in commercials, movies, and video games again. Have you noticed your commercial work pick up lately?

KJ: Well, around the release of our first album, Vegas, there was this huge buzz for electronic music. But it got a little too much publicity for our tastes back then, so we didnít think it was going to last. And it didnít. But the music never really went away; we never really went away. But I think the media attention just went away for a little while.

WC: But a lot of people during that interim period went away and disappeared. How is it that you guys managed to keep it fresh and keep making music?

KJ: Well, we just try really hard to stay consistent. We wanna keep releasing records, we keep our website updated, we keep in close contact with our fans, and we tour a lot. Also, I think itís important that we try and get our music out there in other places and donít just concentrate on releasing records. If we only released records, I donít think things would be the same. So thatís why we try and get songs licensed in movie trailers, video games, and things like that.

WC: So what is a non-album-related dream project?

KJ: Well, weíd like to get a song on one of the new Madden football video games, or maybe do a Grand Theft Auto score. Something like that would be fun.

WC: Do you guys play a lot of games on the road?

KJ: We usually bring out an Xbox or a PS2, but weíre not video game crazy.

WC: One of the last things I wanted to talk about was the Grammy nomination that you received for your last studio album, Legion Of Boom. When you started all of this, I know that you and Scott [Kirkland] did it just as two friends that liked making music. But now looking back at your career and what youíve accomplished, is it a bit weird to think that a Grammy nod is on your musical "resume" now?

KJ: We never thought about that stuff. I guess some people might, and it might actually be helpful.

Both: (laugh)

KJ: But it wasnít until I became a voting member in the Grammys that I realized that they didnít really have a place for our music. So it wasnít until then that myself and some other artists started working toward getting a category where at least our albums could be voted on. That was the important thing. And then the Grammy nomination was just kind of like icing on the cake.

WC: Who else did you work with to make that happen?

KJ: BT was involved quite a bit. There were a bunch of other artists involved, like DJ Rap. I canít remember all of them right now because it was just a lot of conference calling.

WC: How did you go about pursuing that?

KJ: There is a set way that the Grammy people have. A committee is made, recommendations get made, and then you get voted on. Thereís a set course. We thought it was going to take a lot longer before it would actually happen, but it happened very quickly.

WC: So lastly, whatís next for you guys?

KJ: First, weíll finish up these dates supporting Community Service II. Then weíre gonna put up a Crystal Method ring tones store on our website. Itís gonna be fun. Weíre gonna create a couple of new tracks just for ring tones that people can download. And lastly, weíre in the process of moving our studio to a new location, and we want to do it without having any shutdown time. So that will be a challenge.

WC: Right on. Well, good luck with it all, man, and thanks for taking the time to do this.

KJ: No problem. Thanks.

BE SURE TO READ OUR INTERVIEW WITH THE OTHER HALF OF THE CRYSTAL METHOD, SCOTT KIRKLAND, BY CLICKING HERE.