Somewhere over middle America, the Weekly attempted some not-so-instant messaging with Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland. The duo known as The Crystal Method was flying from L.A. to Boston on May 5 for the first stop on their Divided by Night tour, and taking advantage of the in-flight wi-fi. Unfortunately, the technology wasn’t as state-of-the-art as we had hoped and the slightly comical results were reminiscent of dial-up AOL.
The following is an excerpt from the chat log (our typos and all):
[14:04] TCM: welcome!!!
[14:06] DeannaRilling: Hey, who's this?
[14:06] TCM: Scott & Ken here
[14:06] DeannaRilling: Hey again. It's Deanna from the Las Vegas Weekly.
[14:06] DeannaRilling: So where are you guys at right… now?
[14:06] TCM: Hi Deanna, How r u?
[14:07] DeannaRilling: Hanging in there.
[14:07] TCM: Where on a Virgin America flight from LA to Boston
[14:07] DeannaRilling: Somewhere over middle America then?
[14:08] TCM: wireless internet on our laptops on the plane
[14:08] TCM: very middle kansas & mizz
[14:08] TCM: we're on
[14:08] TCM: not where on
[14:09] TCM: very tired and bad typer plus booze at 36,000
[14:09] TCM: yeh
[14:09] DeannaRilling: Not a prob.
[14:09] DeannaRilling: Who' :S typing?
[14:12] TCM: that was scott. ken here now
[14:13] DeannaRilling: (That was an "S," not a cranky face)
[14:15] TCM: Hello Deanna? Did we lose connection?
[14:15] DeannaRilling: I dunno
[14:15] DeannaRilling: I'm still here.
[14:15] DeannaRilling: There's a major delay
[14:16] TCM: sorry
[14:16] DeannaRilling: Not a prob. You're on an airplane afterall.
… [14:24] DeannaRilling: Oy. I'mback. got kicked off.
[14:24] DeannaRilling: Anyways.
[14:30] DeannaRilling: Hey Scott and Ken? This thing is wicked delayed right now. We're going to try and line up [another time to] chat sometime this week when you're on solid ground. Cool?
[14:31] TCM: Yes, no prob. This is fun though, doing press at 30k ft
Thankfully, we were able to lineup an interview via telephone with Ken Jordan later in the week while they were in Canada.
Deanna: Hi again, Ken. How’s it going?
Ken Jordan: Good, good. We tried to do the airplane thing… (laughing)
Deanna: That’s ok. Anyway, let’s try this again. First off, you just started the tour. What can we expect as far as a new set-up for the live show when you come to Vegas on May 22?
Ken: There’s a new set piece we had designed that all our gear sits on. And the lighting and everything visually is all brand new. We’ve got amazing new prototype lights that aren’t even available to anyone else from this high-end lighting company. It really looks and sounds really cool.
Deanna: Who did the lighting?
Ken: Our lighting designer is Lawrence Upton. But all of the new, cool lights are from High End [Systems] out of Austin. They like using us to put their new lights out on the road … Expect more of a concert setting with amazing lights and sound and it’s us playing all of our own music instead of us DJing some of our music and some of other people’s music.
Deanna: The new album, Divided By Night, comes out May 12 and is your first artist album in years. Did you intentionally go for a more song-oriented and mellower vibe than previous releases?
Ken: It wasn’t a conscious decision to make a mellower record. We definitely did want to go more song-oriented and we always have collaborations, but it just seemed like all the collaborations we were trying on this record were all working out really well so we wanted to include them all. Definitely didn’t want to make a mellower record, but maybe it is a little less hard than ones past.
Deanna: Do you think the songs on Divided By Night will translate better as a live performance versus club tracks and are the new tracks suited more for one area than another?
Ken: Yeah, it think it’s better for live shows. More club-y tracks are better for DJ sets. We had LMFAO join us on stage at Coachella [and Matisyahu on stage in New York City]. So, we’re going to be getting random guest appearances all along the way.
Deanna: Speaking of LMFAO, what’s up with the lyrics on track 6, “Sine Language”? How involved are you guys in writing stuff, or is that all them?
Ken: They were all the verses and we did the choruses. So yeah, all the funny stuff is them … they’re really funny guys.
Deanna: What tracks do you recommend people check out, especially if it’s a new listener that’s isn’t very familiar with dance music or prefers rock music?
Ken: A rock audience may want to check out “Kling to the Wreckage” featuring Justin Warfield [from She Wants Revenge]… I think one of the best tracks on the record is the last track with Meiko, “Falling Hard.” [It] is the just the most beautiful song we’ve ever done.
Deanna: Grammy-nominated Jon Brion collaborated with you on a few Divided By Night tracks and has worked on some amazing projects (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The first version of Fiona Apple’s Extraordinary Machine, Sean Lennon’s Friendly Fire). How did his involvement on the album come about? You’ve known him for a while, correct?
Ken: Yeah, we met him a long time ago when I was engineering for this producer in L.A.. He was actually in the band ‘Til Tuesday for a little while and they were recording their second album and that’s when I met him. That second album they were recording actually turned into Aimee Mann’s first solo album. So we’ve just been friends even since and he played some cool stuff on the first album and he’s the only one that we bring back for multiple appearances.
Deanna: When the Weekly talked to Scott in October ’07, you guys had about five tracks done for Divided By Night and were hoping it’d be out in Spring of ’08. Why the delay?
Ken: (laughing) Yeah. What happened there? … Well, we just wanted to get it perfect. Things sometimes take longer, especially for us.
Deanna: Being from Las Vegas and coming back on a fairly regular basis, what have you noticed as far as the evolution of the dance music scene here?
Ken: I think, like most of America, it’s really going a little too mainstream for my taste. But luckily there’s some promoters and some venues that are still playing cool dance and electronic. I know the Palms is still trying really hard with Rain and I’m sure there’s a couple other venues there. But most of the big super clubs are all that top 40 crap that I’m not crazy about.
Deanna: Is there any particular reason why it’s been so long since you’ve done a live tour?
Ken: We only like to go out and do the live concert tour now when we’ve got a brand-new studio album out. So it’s been a while. The biggest reason is that we’ve changed studios and it took a long time to build. So even though it seems like five years, we were only really working on this album for two years. (laughing) But still, that’s a long time... Come to the show. But it’s going to be a late one, though. I guess House of Blues booked, like, a comedy show or something. Doors are going to open at midnight.