Korn’s Munky Reveals Film Score That Inspired His Guitar Sound
James "Munky" Shaffer is best known for the crushing riffs he's created in Korn, but the musician is indulging another side of his musical tastes at present, recently launching the experimental electronic outfit Venera with electronic musician Chris Hunt. And according to Munky, his love of electronic music was a key part of his musical development, even helping him to shape his guitar sound.
While speaking with Revolver, Munky revealed one of the key influential pieces of music that impacted upon him in his youth, changing the course of his music tastes in the process.
He recalled, "When I was young, I remember seeing [the 1978 film] Midnight Express. This was even before I started playing music. [Giorgio Moroder's score] was so cool; I've had a love of synths and electronics since then. But I didn't get into that sort of experimenting on my own 'til later."
Giorgio Moroder, "Theme From Midnight Express" + "The Chase"
Elaborating on his love of the Midnight Express film score, he explained, "It was just the weight of the keyboard sounds, and the intensity of it. That struck me. It was aggressive in a way that a guitar was."
He recalls, "At that point I'd been listening to Black Sabbath and Uriah Heep, these metal bands with an intriguing [approach] that I loved about the guitar. That took me in, and eventually I picked up the instrument. Midnight Express had that dark, aggressive sound to its soundtrack. Once I started playing guitar, I tried to chase that. Like, "How do I make my guitar sound like a synth?"
And yes, if you were wondering, that love of the Midnight Express score also impacted his current work with Venera.
"I still do that! That's what I tried to do with this record," says the musician. "I tried to blur the line between what's a synth and what's not. Some things are obviously guitar, but some things are texturized so much that you're just not sure."
Where Can You Hear Venera?
As stated, Munky is currently promoting his more electronic-leaning Venera album between Korn records. The band's self-titled set, featuring the song "Triangle" with a guest turn from Alain Johannes, is currently available at this location.
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Gallery Credit: Lauryn Schaffner