(Interview with David)
by Matt Peiken
MP: Tell me how you guys managed to find each other in Bakersfield. I know there are a lot of people there, but it's not necessarily a music mecca.
David: The music scene in Bakersfield goes in peaks and valleys,
but when it's on a high, there's a lot more happening there than people
would think. And we happened to get together when things were going all
MP: But every player goes through some kind of learning curve. Who or what were your models for development?
David: I kind of developed naturally as I went along, without ever
really worrying about it. I started playing with some guys in high school,
and even back then we were doing originals. We weren't any good,
but it helped me develop my own style. I wasn't trying to copy anybody
else's songs or sounds. I just played my own way.
MP: Were you always serious about music? I get the idea that music just sort of happened for you more than your making it happen.
David: Well, I always liked playing. I mean, there was nothing else I really wanted to do. But I don't think I really took it seriously until Korn.
MP: But prior to Korn you recorded an EP in 1990 and an album in 1991 with LAPD.
David: Yeah, but they weren't really very good. We were still
trying to find our own band sound and develop our own individual sounds on
our instruments. If you listen to those records now, you wouldn't even
think we were the same guys playing on them. It was kind of a heavy,
up-tempo punk, not at all what we're doing now.
MP: What made you shift from the more upbeat pop-punk music to what you're doing now in Korn?
David: It was a matter of maturing and finding our own sound as musicians. I know I just got tons better as a drummer. I became a lot more creative and percussive, using more of my set to create beats. I started mixing up the hi-hat, snare, and toms a lot and fooling around with different combinations. I'd heard some other drummers using the set that way, and I liked it. I didn't pattern myself after anyone, or try learning their beats, but it inspired me to kind of go in that direction.
MP: With your style of playing and how it fits into what Korn is doing, it seems like you couldn't afford to be too loose. In fact, you seem really tight and precise on the record.
David: I think that has to do with staying in shape physically more than staying in shape just for drumming. When I'm at home, I work out five days a week, and I think that has something to do with how I play the drums. I can take a break and not feel rusty when I come back.
MP: Let's talk about the recording process with Korn. Once you're in pre-production, do you work your parts out much beforehand, or do you just go in with some very loose ideas before the tape rolls?
David: On the first record, I had everything already worked out
before we started tracking. We took a year and a half to put that record
together, and I'd played the songs so much that my parts were already
second-nature by the time we went into the studio. But for the new record
we went in really fresh, and we wanted to get it done quickly to capture
that energy. So it was probably about 60% knowing what I was going to play
and 40% just playing whatever came to mind at that moment.
MP: Do you ever come up with beats on your own that turn into the basis of a song?
David: "Good God" is one song where I came up with the beat first, just messing around with a beat I kept hearing in my head while we were writing for the new record. The opening song, "Twist", was like that too. That's how we come up with a lot of the music. Somebody will start playing something and the rest of us will work around it and see where it goes.
MP: Tell me a bit about your kit. You seem to go for high-pitched sounds with both your drums and cymbals.
David: I use a 20" kick drum and a 3 1/2" piccolo snare. They're
small drums, but I get a lot of volume out of them. I get a punchy sound
out of the kick that I really like. I use a hard Danmar pad on the head
and I turn my DW beaters around, so I'm hitting them with the hard side.
MP: What about your drumming future? Is there any area of music you want to get into, or any element about your playing you want to work on?
David: No. I'm pretty satisfied. I know I'll get better on my own.