Playing for Real

September’s Identity Festival brings back Vegas home team The Crystal Method

Before 1993, Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland made ends meet by working at a grocery store. Jordan, a radio program director at UNLV and a Las Vegas DJ, shared with Kirkland his science of record spinning. After the boys moved to Los Angeles and with the construction of an in-home studio christened “The Bomb Shelter,” The Crystal Method was born. Their last album, Divided By Night (2009), earned a Grammy nomination, while the most notable and aptly named Vegas (1997) went platinum. The DJ duo cooks up a treat for Sin City as they headline the touring Identity Festival, which rolls into town Sept. 5 at Mandalay Bay. Vegas Seven caught up with Jordan while he was on tour in Philadelphia.

It’s your first week on the Identity Festival tour. What acts have already caught your attention?

I really like Le Castle Vania’s set; Datsik’s is a lot of fun, and Kaskade is just totally amazing—it’s all really good.

Are you doing anything differently on this festival than on a tour of your own?

Yes, we are debuting these really crazy devices, which are CDJ players. It all started out as part of the Pioneer DJ Art Mix Tour. We created this piece of art to go touring around on the art exhibit tour; our original one is up for auction for VH1s Save the Music Foundation. It’s like a CDJ-2000 but it’s got our album cover artwork kind of wrapped around it, and it’s got a double-neck bass guitar and a keyboard. Pioneer liked it so much that they asked us to make working versions of them, so we got two made and those are what we’re DJing on. Scott comes out and plays the bass and wears it like a guitar in the beginning. They look really cool and work really well.

What are you calling it?

We are desperately trying to name it; we should have a contest or something. Everything we’ve come up with is a little too long or it just doesn’t sound good.

Being born and raised in Las Vegas, your musical roots are planted in the desert. How has the city and its electronic scene changed?

Well, before there was really no electronic scene. The first very cool thing was this great club, Utopia. We actually shot part of our first video for “Busy Child” there; we loved that place. It’s just amazing how Vegas used to be this big valley with nothing in it and now there are houses from the base of one mountain to the base of the other; there’s not too much open space there.

That was nearly 20 years ago! Times and people change, which is also a common theme for artist separations. Unlike many DJ duos, you’re one of the few acts that haven’t suffered a break-up. What keeps the team strong?

We learned to be patient with each other. It’s the longest relationship either one of us ever had, so you learn to work at it. We’ve had our share of arguments and stuff like that, and we’ve also learned how to get along with each other really well.

You obviously both love what you do too much to let anything get in the way. What’s the secret to keep on keeping on?

We just really love what we’re doing. We love working on music, we love making our albums and playing to our fans and trying to make new fans, and so we just chose this to do as our jobs. We really love it and planned on doing it even if it wasn’t our job. I think if you just stay committed and are really passionate about what you’re doing, everything else kind of falls in the right.

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