Kill the Noise: "People like conflict"

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Before adopting the Kill the Noise moniker, Jake Stanczak went by Ewun. As the story goes, after a few years of getting by comfortably as a drum & bass DJ and producer, the release of Justice’s '†' set his career off in a different direction. “That record came out, I moved to LA and got introduced to Skrillex,” he told Mixmag. “We knew the US needed something new and we started figuring out what it was.” Kill the Noise was born and a few years down the track, the change of pace has really worked out for Stanczak. Now, dance music is big business in the US and as part of the OWSLA family, Kill the Noise is in the thick of it.

This weekend, the bass fiend touches down in Australia for Future Music Festival, where he’s sharing the Warrior’s Dance Arena alongside The Prodigy, Boys Noize, Zeds Dead and Feed Me. But before leaving L.A., the OWSLA name got on the phone to inthemix to talk through a checklist of hot-button issues: the Grammys, dubstep, trap music, Korn, drug overdoses and the imminent death of journalism all getting an airing. Weighty stuff, maybe. But as Jake Stanczak was keen to reiterate: he’s just trying to have fun.


I saw that you got up on stage with Skrillex at the Grammys the other week. We were watching it on the live stream and it was funny, they'd pan around to the audience and it seemed like the place was half empty. Was it strange being like sequestered in this pre-broadcast section of the night, when to so many people Skrillex is superstar level?
Well, I really had no idea of what to expect from the whole situation. So I was more focused on what was happening on the stage than anything else. And actually, just hearing the passion from all the other artists that accepted awards – versus like the main show – was really inspiring to me. Because the main televised Grammys portion is really just a big concert full of celebrities. I felt like the pre-televised stuff was kind of more about the story of the record, and the kind of people that were accepting the awards seemed to have a lot of really deep meaning behind the work they were doing. Sonny is a perfect example of an artist like that. So I thought it was perfect, really. And it wouldn't surprise me at all if one of these years Sonny ends up on that other stage, you know. Or, hopefully, maybe one of us.

So you moved away from dubstep a bit on your Black Magic EP. Was that a conscious decision?
No, not really. The first record that I put out on OWSLA, I guess it had a bit more dubstep on it. But it also had some house records on there, and drum & bass record. Same thing with Black Magic. I think that, if anything, maybe I've gotten a bit better at doing stuff outside of dubstep. So maybe those other records that were on Black Magic stuck out a bit more, and people maybe played them out more and they got a bit more exposure. So, I'm glad that that came across that way because I'm interested in all different types of music, not just dance music. I'm glad that it came across that way, but it wasn't a conscious effort.

Yeah, fair enough. So going back a couple of years, you helped out on Korn's album The Path of Totality. I don't know what the reception was like everywhere, but I know that in Australia there were a lot of people who weren't a big fan of that record. Were you aware of the backlash that it got from some audiences?
Maybe I'm not as aware worldwide of the way it was received. I know here in the States, it wasn't received badly at all. I mean it got a lot of radio play, and Narcissistic Cannibal in particular was probably the single kind of 'big tune' off that record. I mean, again, I'm seeing it from my perspective, so I just saw a lot of positive stuff coming from all the people that were involved. But I can understand why some people might not have been into it… I mean, I guess the biggest thing for me as an artist that I'm trying to figure out what it is that kind of inspires me. So being given those kind of opportunities to work with bands, and people that are doing something a little different to what I'm doing is just fun.

I hope that at the end of the day, fans of my music realise that's why I'm making the music: because it's fun and it's supposed to make people happy. I think that to anyone that takes things overly seriously, my message is that I don't take what I'm doing that serious in that sense, at the end of the day I'm just having fun. I'm lucky enough to have work, and I'm sure that's the way the guys in Korn feel, and I know for a fact that Sonny feels the same way. We’re all just having fun. We're very grateful, and if it isn't something that you like, I hope that people still pay attention, because we do all kinds of stuff.

I think that part of the reason that it irritated some people was because it was released when dubstep started getting really massive and whenever anything becomes really popular really fast, controversy is bound to follow. Do you feel that dubstep is less controversial now than it was in 2011?
Well, I just feel like there's always something, you know? People like to talk. They like to discuss things, and obviously that leads to arguments and all that kind of stuff. I think at the time it was definitely like everyone was really paying attention and everyone had an opinion. The thing I've realised though, it's funny, even some of the people who have the strongest opinions and seem really angry and militant aren't. I've had a lot of people come up to me at shows and kind of, air their feelings about projects I've done. That one in particular.

Really?
Yeah. It's just funny that people's whole disposition changes when they realise you're a person, and that you're really passionate about your art the same way they are with their opinion. I think that because of the internet now, everyone's a bit closer than they realise to the people that they're talking about. To me, that's a really positive thing. I think that it's made me a better person in the sense that when I see criticism online about stuff, I'm like well, that's the persons opinion but it’s not like they hate me. Like, I'm sure if I met that person they wouldn't want to kill me or anything, just because I've done something that they don't like. Everybody has their own philosophy or opinion. I just try not to take anything too seriously, including myself.

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