"It's almost as if I'm dating again."
You know, I wasn't going to be that guy to bring up the "Ken situation." But, The Crystal Method's Scott Kirkland is comfortable with the fact that his longtime collaborative partner, Ken Jordan retired from the music industry and Scott has now begun to work with a different group of collaborators. These new experiences have been amazing for Scott but he has never forgotten, while always appreciating and building upon, what he and Ken experienced together. In a sense, Scott is home again and ready to start a new chapter of his musical career.
"It gives me the opportunity to find people who grew up on and have the same passion for things that I do," said Scott. Glenn Nicholls (UNKLE, Nine Inch Nails, The Prodigy) co-produced The Crystal Method's sixth full-length album, The Trip Home with Scott and he enthusiastically praises Glenn as "confident, fast, creative and hungry." Scott added, "We've been friends for a long time but didn't really start to work together until 2017. It was good to have him in the studio with me."
With polished, full-length productions not as common as they once were, Scott cites the television show and soundtrack to Stranger Things as an inspiration to make The Trip Home the way he did. "That show and record made me believe that there are still people out there that are willing to take the time to listen to something without the distraction of someone telling me that I had to do listen to it in a certain way," Scott cryptically said.
"For instance, in the streaming world, the last thing you want is for someone to skip through your song halfway into it, but that soundtrack is meant to evoke something in people without limits, and I wanted to get back to making music the way I want without being distracted by things that I've never been distracted by." Scott continued, "No one has ever told me that I needed a chorus 37 seconds into my song, and if I don't do those things then I'm going to fall back into the things that I do, do and it feels right."
With The Trip Home, Scott also wanted to concentrate on the non-glitz side of the industry and the current trend of people saving their money to see fireworks and the big productions but have lost sight of their local clubs that have events during the week. "The grind needs to be a coming back of going to your local club where you know a DJ is going to throw down. I wanted to this record to be almost like a coming back from Vegas."
2018 celebrates the 21st anniversary of the release of Vegas and Scott described how the making of it was similar to the fruition of The Trip Home. "How we put together Vegas was 5 or 6 real songs but brought other elements to it that made it come together. Trip Like I Do was actually two different songs," revealed Scott. "Tool does it, too. They may only have 6 or 7 songs but they have all these strange, wonderful segways that are personal in some way or envoke something that brings the whole thing together." Scott continued, "You're not being bombarded with first chorus, first chorus, middle, bridge, out. You're being treated to this nuance of cinematic storytelling with music that doesn't always have lyrics. With Vegas and The Trip Home, you can listen and enjoy it in several situations which bring memories that are multi-circumstantial."
The Trip Home was recorded and mixed through Sound City studios' Neve console - not the same one used on Nirvana's Nevermind; Dave Grohl has that one - Scott relived a story on how Holy Arp became the mold that would give the record its ultimate sound: "That song stood without any harmonica for about a year as we were working on other things. I knew there was that one thing that was missing but didn't know what it was. My scoring agent, Laura Engel came in one day and noticed that I had bought some lapel pins from a store in Cleveland, one was a New Order pin and the other a Donna Summer. She noticed the New Order pin and a conversation quickly ensued about a guy named Jimmy, who we both knew. He did the harmonica sessions on their album, Drive. Well, he had just done a remix of Blue Monday for Trevor Horn and this whole thing circled back around to the fact that Donna Summer's song, Our Love was the template for Blue Monday! So, within a span of two minutes, I said, 'Get Jimmy in here!' He came in, used a bullet microphone and laid down the harmonica basis for Holy Arp. I ended up tweaking it because I didn't want you (the listener) to know it was a harmonica!" It's little stories like this that show that The Trip Home is just that - a reminder of the early years of grinding it out with Ken and things falling into place at the right place at the right time.
"Recording Holy Arp sounds a little like the first song we ever recorded," remembered Scott. Moment of Truth goes back to the early days of the techno club scene in Los Angeles with the big pulse vibe and you also have these moments where the song opens up. The Trip Home is sort of like that moment before taking off on a plane where you're gripping the armrest and then you hit the airstream and you're just like, 'Ahh!'"
Scott also feels that there are people like him that enjoy the bombastic nature of electronic music. With the big beats, drums, aggression and the dynamics of the pressure of being released, there's a vaporizer of sorts in the songs Moment of Truth, Turbulence or even the back end of Ghost in the City. Scott explained, "With Ghost in the City, I was going for the idea or visualization of a girl that's no longer here. Then, panic ensues like, 'What the fuck just happened?' Then there's a little bit of understanding anger which leads to her dealing with it followed by a lift in the song where she takes advantage of this opportunity to see things differently and in the end, the spirit of her and the song organically deteriorate like a sunset."
The Trip Home is the first of a two album project. The second, which will be entitled The Trip Out, already has a new collection of different vibed songs that are meant to be timeless pieces that shun away from the current trend of music being 'now.' By that, Scott means, "You know, I couldn't tell you the genres of some of my favorite albums and songs. They're all different and that was the goal with The Trip Home where there's really nothing repeated, all the songs are of a different format. If I were to release these songs individually you could still pick a time and place, no matter what your age now, and do your thing whether it's relaxing, working, driving, etc.
A lot of the music that Scott refers to as timeless is also done through the thought process of scoring. "You see it more in the way that music is made and sounds nowadays," explained Scott. "It's a way of creating that narrative and cinematic scale much like Depeche Mode's Black Celebration or Violator albums and the understanding of how scoring is used to bring the listener to a different place each time they hear it.”
“I appreciate the pinpoint accuracy of a lot of the music out there right now, but my songs are meant to allow you to pull back and rethink things to let it grow over you, not to be consumed and thrown away like soda cans. So, I hope that my music does hold a cinematic journey for people," proclaimed Scott. An example of this comes again Through the lump at the back end of A Ghost in the City. Scott explains, "You think it's going to go away but you pull back and think 'Ahh,' you just listen to it, hear it and because it's a sound that's warm you just let it grow over you and if I'm able to do that enough, maybe I can be that diversion for a person for a moment." With doing more scoring, Scott has been able to incorporate these sorts of visions into his songs which make them more about what he feels like rather than what the songs sound like.
Scott wants to make sure that this record and The Trip Out do themselves justice by positioning them well and the team he has built around him are solely focused on that. "I want to make sure that it gets in the hands of people who understand the influences I have, Scott emotionally said. “I've been fortunate to have worked with the countless people who understand and support my vision for over 25 years. People don't realize sometimes the number of people it takes to keep TCM going. Yes, it’s my name on the record, but it wouldn't have been possible without all of them.
Scott's production setup for the remainder of this tour will be getting back to the traditional style of DJ'ing with three or four decks in front of him flying by the seat of his pants! Not ever to do the same show twice, Scott will bring the same enthusiasm each night providing the attendee with a cinematic show through his music, not a scripted cinematic show with visuals. "Sometimes I can play for two or three hours and since its just me who controls the narrative now, I'm going to take advantage of it and meet the people who enjoy my music."
In the end, The Trip Home is really part one of three with a new live show experience being brought together in the summer of 2019 that will bring the two new albums together coupled with the old. "There are so many things that are happening after the release of this album that it really does feel like I'm starting again, Scott enthusiastically said. "The day this stops being fun for me, I don't even know what I'll do!"
The Trip Home will be available for purchase on September 28, 2018.
BONUS: The Crystal Method’s world premiere video of Raze can be seen below: