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DJ Interview: Native sons

Sin City’s own Crystal Method return home to perform at Devil’s Night 10

Deanna Rilling

If you’re like most fans of The Crystal Method, you may have found your copy of the duo’s groundbreaking album Vegas permanently borrowed by friends. Fortunately, the platinum album has been remastered for its 10th anniversary and is now available. Vegas (Deluxe Edition) is sure to please listeners with a two-disc set that includes remixes by Paul Oakenfold, Koma and Bones, MSTRKRFT and other DJs hand-picked by The Crystal Method’s Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland.

“About six months ago, the label contacted us and said that we were coming up on the 10-year anniversary. They said they would like to put out a special deluxe edition,” says Kirkland. “We wanted to remaster the original album and then put together a second CD with remixes and a couple of rarities and also put together a really nice package. The booklet that’s inside really does a great job of taking the person back to that time in our lives.” In addition, the new version of Vegas includes a brief history of each track, as well as the videos for “Busy Child” and “Comin’ Back.”

Kirkland and Jordan have been pioneers on the electronic music scene for more than a decade. The Las Vegas natives’ early careers were surprisingly normal, contrary to popular rumors (such as that the duo began by DJing at Las Vegas strip clubs). “There were false urban legends that were created way back in the day when we were first starting out,” Kirkland explains. TCM’s first record label, City of Angels, “made up all kinds of stories” to create an image for the duo after they moved from Vegas to Los Angeles. “Thank God the other ones they made up haven’t surfaced,” Kirkland says. “There’s a few other ones that I’m not even going to go into details about!” Kirkland believes the strip-club-DJ rumor persisted because their music is sometimes played in strip clubs and “over the years my partner has been to a few of them.”

Jordan used to be the program director at KUNV in the mid- to late ’80s. Jordan also hosted a radio show in conjunction with a club night at a now-defunct sports pub across from UNLV. While Kirkland says he didn’t participate in the radio show or station, he did take over Jordan’s DJ spot at the sports pub for a few months in 1989 when Jordan moved to California.

The versatility of The Crystal Method is evident in the diversity of their influences and albums. Not only do they have their studio albums, like the Grammy-nominated Legion of Boom, but they have also released two mix records (Community Service and Community Service II). Is there a different target audience for the studio albums versus the mix records? “Yeah. I mean, since over the last five years we’ve started to DJ out more, the mix CDs sort of come out of that love of that particular type of club music,” explains Kirkland. Studio albums “are based on or formed out of our love for our influences and different things that we are into, from rock to hip-hop to old soul and R&B, and for me metal—and, of course, all the electronic music that’s inspired us over the years.” In contrast, Kirkland feels the duo’s mix CDs are more reflective of “that side of our life, and we go out and DJ and we hear all these songs, and we try to put together a 70- to 80-minute-long set of mix music which exists differently from our studio album.”

During the recording process, as well as the live shows, Kirkland explains, while they both do a bit of everything, “Ken is more of the engineer/producer and I’m more of the performer and the writer. Onstage we both try to play as much as we can.”

Kirkland and Jordan are working on their fourth studio album while also performing around the world. Kirkland hopes the new record will be out in spring 2008. “It’s coming along pretty well. We’ve got about five tracks going.” Kirkland would like to see 12 tracks for the finished record. “I like the direction that it’s going in.”

Fans and newcomers alike will be treated to a live DJ set from The Crystal Method in Las Vegas on October 26 when they headline Devil’s Night 10. “It’s going to be great,” Kirkland says. “We’ve been DJing really well. Lots of new things to play, and it’s going to be a fun night.

For more information about TCM or Devil’s Night 10, visit www.thecrystalmethod.com and www.awolproductions.com.

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