|Korn formed in the early 90s in Bakersfield, California playing over 200 shows before releasing their self-titled debut album and touring alongside House Of Pain, 311, Danzig, Marilyn Manson and others. Their ferocious mix of hip-hop & hardcore is propelled by Fieldy's 5-string bass work. The ground-breaking bassist recently took time out from work on Korn's next album to talk to Guitar Center's Dustin Hinz about the band's unique sound and the gear behind it.
GC: What do you like about Ibanez basses? Why did you decide to go 5-string?
Fieldy: When I first started playing bass, I looked at the Ibanez because they were small, smaller than other basses, so that was the main reason. Then I played it, and it sounded better to me than all the others. Then, the five-string came along and I just wanted a lower string for lower grooves. So that's why I got the fifth string.
GC: Your bass sound is pretty radical with a lot of extreme low end coupled with a high percussive attack and rattle. How do you get that sound?
Fieldy: I don't use any mid-range, it's all highs and lows. I take the mid-range and turn that s--t off. And when you slap, it's just real clicky sounding and when you use your fingers it's real low. I take the graphic EQ at 180Hz and I take that all the way down too. That's the style I play. I'm a drummer. I'm a drummer on bass.
GC: Does playing with two seven strings change your role in the band? Does the extra low end coming from the guitars require you to change your sound in order to clear out room for them or to be heard in the mix?
Fieldy: Actually that's where the clickier sound comes in. It cuts through and makes the notes stand out more. As long at you use the straight low end, I think it might get a little muddy. So, it kind of likes helps the tone. If it was just a low bass tone, then it would be kind of a muddy sound because they're so low.
GC: What kind of bass gear would you recommend for someone who doesn't have a lot of money to spend?
Fieldy: Any kind of 4x10" speaker cabinet pretty much, I think. I think 10's are the best, they sound good, they're punchy, they push air, they're loud. Something cheap to start with then once you're ready to move up, you can get a mesa boogie! When you're starting out, you can use pretty much any cabinet. I would say the bass head has to have a graphic EQ. I can't do the treble bass and mid-range, I need a graphic EQ in there.
GC: Then where would they go from there to improve their sound?
Fieldy: I would go with another 4x10" so you have a total of eight 10's. Then if you want to improve from there another two 4x10" cabinets and another bass head so you have four cabinets total. That's going to be your best sound right there, running one head with two cabinets and another head with two more cabinets. Then maybe get a couple of bass pedals.
GC: So two cabinets improve the sound quite a bit over one cabinet?
Fieldy: Like a million times better! If you don't have the money, you can start with one, but if you can get two, it's like night and day!
GC: What do you think of the bass set-up you have now?
Fieldy: Right now I'm using 4 cabinets with 4-10's in each cabinet and two Mesa Boogie bass heads. I'm getting ready to switch to 6x10's in each cabinet, which I think is going to be unreal sounding! So I'll have 4 cabinets each with 6-10's in them.
GC: And what about your bass?
Fieldy: Ibanez sound gear. That's all I've ever played my whole life. I've tried other basses, I don't like them.
||GC: What's the coolest recent addition to your bass rig?
Fieldy: I would have to say probably my bass pedals: the Boss GEB-7 Bass Equalizer, SYB-3 Bass Synthesizer & TR-2 Tremelo. It's fun to combine the bass synthesizer with the tremelo. That's my thing, my most recent newest s-t!
GC: What's the next thing you'd like to get? What's on your wish list?
Fieldy: Well, I want the 6x10" cabinets, but that'll be soon. I'm looking for an Ibanez 5-string acoustic bass too.
GC: What's in your home studio?
Fieldy: I have a Tascam mixing board, an Alesis Adat , a dat machine, a CD burner, Akai MPC2000 sampling sequencer, Roland JP 8000 keyboard, compressors and a Tama drum set. I'm trying to do some solo stuff, but we've been caught up doing this new record. As soon as I get a chance I want to do a solo project. I actually cut a demo in there for the band I produced, Video Drone. I cut their demo that got them signed, we did it on all that equipment. It sounds good! It works man!
GC: Do you practice a lot?
Fieldy: I play when I have to, I don't practice ever. If were going to write a song, I'll play, but I don't sit around and play my bass ever. Not even on my most boring day! I used to practice back in the day. But, I mean, I'm not about practicing today. I'm more about creating songs and we only do that when we're in a room together. I don't just sit around watching TV practicing or trying to make songs up.
GC: How do you write?
Fieldy: We all go in a room as a band, and everyone just kind of jams out. Whoever comes up with something we'll go off of that. Everyone will just start making noise, and somebody will go, "What's that?" then we'll play off of that.
GC: Do you warm up before a performance? If so, how?
Fieldy: I stretch for about 10 to15 minutes, just like leg stretches. I don't warm up on bass, I just put the s--t on and play. The whole band likes to stretch a lot before we play because we're thirty now and you've gotta stretch when you're thirty!
GC: What advice would you have for a young player who might want to model their career after yours?
Fieldy: You've got to put everything aside, no matter how tired you are. Make it a priority, Nothing else. Music has always got to be your main priority, don't let anything get in the way of it.
GC: Do you shop at Guitar Center?
Fieldy: We've shopped there kind of a lot. It's a good place! They've got everything you need, a million pedals, guitars, whatever! It's a good place!