EXCLUSIVE: Korn on Recording With Ice Cube and the Impact of Cypress Hill

"If there’s no Cypress Hill there would be no Korn"

As Korn prepares to explore The Nothing, the band’s first album in three years, singer Jonathan Davis and guitarist Brian “Head” Welch are looking back at the beginning.

With the sound of rock shifting once again in the 1990s, Korn emerged as a brutal fresh force 25 years ago. “I think everybody loved the Chili Peppers, everybody loved Faith No More,” recalls Davis in the exclusive interview above. “I think with Faith No More, then a band called Mr. Bungle, showed that you could do something to rock. It’s rock but it’s very different.”

“That kind of laid down the blueprint, but the bands that we just straight bit in the beginning… Cypress Hill,” he admits, as Welch smiles and nods in agreement. “If there’s no Cypress Hill there would be no Korn. It’s just the samples. We’d imitate samples we heard in Hip Hop.”

Hip Hop was in the DNA of Korn from the beginning, taking what the “Insane in the Brain” band did and injecting dangerous new elements and progression into the mix. It caught fire, invading the mainstream and giving fans a new voice on the way to millions sold and stacks of platinum and gold. This new fusion would grow and evolve, eventually leading to collaborations with iconic artists like Ice Cube.

“We first met Cube because he was managed by our management,” explains Davis. “That for me was one of the shining highlights of my whole career, was to be able to sit in a room with him.”

“He came into the studio and he was like, ‘I got this idea, about the Children of the Korn.’ He just broke it all down, we’re all, ‘okay Mr. Ice Cube.’”

“He went in there and did his thing and then I did my thing and at the end we all got so hammered after he left,” the singer remembers. “We’re like, ‘we just did a song with Ice Cube’” Davis says in shock. “That was a big moment for us.”

“It was surreal man,” adds Welch. “We watched him work and it was like, ‘oh my god.’”

“I remember he came in and he was like, ‘I wanna see what y’all drink.’ And he got a Coors Light. We got pictures of him drinking a Coors Light. He’s like, ‘Why do you guys drink this? It’s like water.’”

For more memories from Korn including thoughts on JNCO jeans and the drama over the “Freak On a Leash” video, watch the full interview above.

The Nothing is the upcoming new album from Korn, and it is due out on September 13. You can find more details and pre-order your copy here.