Scott Kirkland’s Method

Scott Kirkland is one-half of one of America’s best known dance acts, The Crystal Method. Their new album, “Legion of Boom,” features appearances from Rahzel and former Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland. The album is also nominated for a Grammy for Best Electronic/Dance Album. On the phone from New Orleans, Scott discussed the state of dance music in America, the R.A.V.E. Act (Reducing Americans’ Venerability to Ecstasy) and wanting to work with P.J. Harvey.

Your music features many different styles. What is your definition of The Crystal Method sound?
It’s sort of a cross between electronic music and a bit more edgy rock music. A sort of organic electronic music.

You are considered by many to be the best dance act in America. What do you feel is the current state of dance music’s popularity in America?
It’s in a down cycle just because there’s not a lot of the bigger acts releasing. There is also all kinds of pressure from the federal government on enforcing different laws that go against dance music.

You’re obviously opposed to the R.A.V.E. Act. 
The one that got through was a watered-down version of it. They snuck it in on the tail end of the Amber Alert bill, which nobody in their right mind would’ve voted against. It’s a watered-down version, but still the concept of going after establishments because of the products they sell. Because they are selling water or glow sticks that is seen as a reason to limit that establishment because it is possibly encouraging people to do drugs. Unfortunately, people do drugs; it’s also unfortunate some drugs are illegal. The fact that it’s focused on electronic music, and the proprietors that support dance music and electronic music is pretty ridiculous. There’s drugs and illegal behavior in all forms of music, it’s just unfortunate that they’ve been focusing on electronic music.

Did growing up in Las Vegas have an impact on your music? 
It was limited as far as the scene; it was focused more on radio. Radio was pretty limited; there was rock and pop, and that was about it. What really started to influence us was after we went to L.A. and got in the rave scene. That’s really what pushed us forward.

Do you remember your first gig as The Crystal Method? 
Yeah, it was opening up for The Dust Brothers, who eventually became the Chemical Brothers. I remember that show very, very well.

What DJs influenced you? 
In the early days there were some DJs, like Michael Cook, who was a big DJ in Los Angeles at the time. It was more bands that influenced us. Bands like Leftfield, Fluke, New Order, and of course The Chemical Brothers. Depeche Mode was a big influence on me early on. Rock music also had a big impact on me; bands like Metallica, and AC/DC.

Do you have a favorite place to perform? 
We perform in so many cities that we have quite a few. Austin is always good, Boston is always good, Tulsa is always good, and Chicago is always a lot of fun. Seattle always seems to be good to us. Different parts of Florida, we always seem to have a good time down there. It’s always fun for us to play cities we haven’t played before. This tour we are doing a few cities we haven’t had the chance to do before.

Do you write songs while on tour? 
Sometimes we’ll start ideas, but never complete a song on tour. We’ve never done that.

Do you have a certain method when creating your songs? 
It’s a combination of many different things. We’ll start with the drums, or some sort of hooky element; whether a synth or a vocal hook. Each song is different, it just depends whatever inspires us in the beginning.

Do you create tracks with specific vocalists in mind? 
All of the vocalists were brought in after the song was already going. When you’re working on a song, you get to the point where you want to hear something. You hear the sound of something you want to reach out to in an artist or vocalist. Each project is different.

Do you choose all the vocalists, or do they come to you? 
No, we reach out to all of the vocalists.

Are there any vocalists you would like to work with? 
I’d love to work with P.J. Harvey. I’ve always loved P.J. Harvey.

What are some of your favorite tunes out now? 
There’s this remix that DJ Hyper did of a Sarah McLachlan track called “Stupid.” That’s one of my favorite tracks.

What’s your favorite track off “Legion of Boom?” 
“Born Too Slow” is a track that I’m very proud of. It’s a track that has lots of different elements. That really tested our ability to produce. I love “Wide Open,” “Bound Too Long”. “High and Low” is a good dance floor track. There are quite a few of them.

The Crystal Method’s latest release is “Legion of Boom,” out now on V2.

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