The Crystal Method is one of those big-beat electronic acts that makes the Ultra Music Festival so unique – an exciting live band with a rock-‘n’-roll attitude that goes beyond the typical DJ-behind-the-decks-twiddling-knobs cliche. The Las Vegas duo – consisting of Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland – will light up the stage Friday with reworked versions of their dance anthems “Busy Child,” “Keep Hope Alive,” “Trip Like I Do” and “Comin’ Back.” Scott Kirkland took some time to talk to Miami.com.
I’ve seen you at Ultra many times. Do you play Ultra every year?
No, we don’t – I guess we have played it pretty often, but not every year. It is like a religious experience at Ultra, but we’ve done a lot of things at Winter Music Conference. I think over the last 13 years we’ve only missed a few of them. So we’re definitely in Miami a lot.
Do you have any other events planned for this year?
We do have a to-be-announced charity event that we will be DJing afterwards – I don’t even know if I’m allowed to mention it.
You guys bring a rock ‘n’ roll vibe to electronic music. Where does that come from?
It just comes from growing up in Vegas, where you didn’t really have any other choice but to listen to rock music. Obviously there were pop stations and more contemporary stations, but the big ones were rock, and in Vegas in the ’80s all the rock shows that I experienced as a 12- and 13-year-old – like AC/DC and Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Motley Crue – put on big shows. If they didn’t have the budget to put on a big show, they had the rock attitude in the sense that they really showed the crowd that they were having fun and not just going through the motions. And that was something that we wanted to see when we went to see electronic acts – we didn’t necessarily want to see them run around in Spandex and have strippers onstage, but we wanted to see them have a connection with the audience. We wanted to see the electronic band come out from behind their gear and show some effort at musicianship or show the crowd something – that you could see their hands hitting the keyboard and the sounds coming out.
Like with [AC/DC’s] Angus Young hopping around with his [Gibson] SG [guitar], or [Motley Crue’s] Tommy Lee banging on the drums – you want the artist to have that interaction with the music and the songs and the equipment. So after being sort of disappointed with some of the other acts when we were forming the idea of becoming a band, we decided to be more interactive. Raves were notorious for just being a sound system in a room with a DJ hidden away somewhere, and you couldn’t really tell what the artist was doing onstage. And although we loved lots of things about the raves – the openness, the lack of authority – we wanted to bring a more rock vibe.