Crystal Method crystal clear

By Rebecca Barry Hill

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You might remember the Crystal Method for their big-beat sounds of the late 90s, thanks to tracks like Busy Child, Trip Like I Do and Keep Hope Alive from their debut album Vegas. But you may not know that production duo Scott Kirkland and Ken Jordan have branched out from the airwaves to the screen.

Their music has appeared in ads for Gap and Mitsubishi, and selected as the theme tunes for TV dramas Third Watch and Bones. Last year, they wrote the soundtrack for the film London, starring Jessica Biel.

It's no wonder their music is popular in the audiovisual world, given its driving basslines, relentless beats and lack of vocals in many cases. But Kirkland says they never write with that in mind.

"We create songs and those songs are enjoyed on our albums, then someone comes along and licenses something or wants to use a piece of music. But I remember hearing a Leftfield track in a Guinness ad in England and thinking, wouldn't it be great to be able to bridge those two worlds, to make a little piece of art."

The duo's biggest corporate gig is with Nike. The Crystal Method wrote a motivational track called Drive: Nike + Original Run for the new sport music section of iTunes. The song is designed to guide athletes through a 45-minute run.

While that might sound more ad than art, Kirkland insists it's not such a leap from the days when they started making music on Apple Macs.

"We put our music on the major labels whose job is to make money for the board of directors. You make videos which are hopefully played on MTV, which is one of the biggest corporations, so it's really hard to avoid those things.

"The purpose is to motivate people to go out and be active. Even though it is for two major corporations, Apple and Nike, they're brands that have been a part of our lives from the very beginning."

Kirkland admits he's not much of an exerciser but he's pretty active on stage, "jumping around and climbing up on things I probably shouldn't be", including a stack of speakers in Perth last year.

It seems the corporate connections haven't dented their appeal or relevance. The duo were nominated for a Grammy in 2004 for their album, Legion of Boom, and they've been touring the world consistently since the 90s.

When they're not performing or writing new tunes, they're running a radio show in Vegas. Guess who their favourite new discovery is? New Zealand electronic band Minuit. "I love her voice, the style. It's not necessarily rock or electronic, it's sort of a hybrid between all these worlds," says Kirkland.

"We've been playing Fuji on our show."


Who: The Crystal Method

Albums: Vegas (1997), Tweekend (2001), Community Service (mix album, 2002), Legion of Boom (2004), Community Service 2 (2005)

Where & when: Boiler Room, 9.30pm

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