The first Aussie show of a global metal phenomenon needs a legendary headliner - a band that has permanently inspired heavy music with its legacy. With over two decades of music under their belt, a pair of Grammys, and a cool 35 million albums sold worldwide, it's fair to say that Korn have earned their place amongst the genre's royalty. Guitarist and songwriter Brian 'Head' Welch couldn't be more stoked to head our way.
"When we were told we had the opportunity to headline the very first Download Festival in Australia, we were ecstatic," Welch said. "We think very highly of Australia and we don't tour there as much as we'd like to, so we are looking forward to it so much. I am personally flying out a few days early so I can vacation a bit before the show."
One of the largest events of its kind in the world, Download Festival is set to hit Melbourne with the force of a thousand suns, brandishing an arsenal of stellar acts, including Prophets Of Rage, Limp Bizkit, Mastodon, Clowns, Suicidal Tendencies, and King Parrot. Since first playing here in 1996, Welch has noticed the appreciation Aussies have for music and how passionate their fans have remained for over 20 years.
"We first met the promoters of Download Festival through our international agent, Rod, who's been with us forever," Welch explains. "They are good people and have become friends, and they treat their bands very well. It really makes a difference when you can work with great people with great reputations who started out in this crazy music business with one motive: love of music.
"Download has an authenticity that many festivals strive for, and I seriously can't say enough that we are very honoured they allowed us this opportunity."
It's been a little while between drinks for Aussie fans, who are no doubt pumped to hear both the band's classic tracks and newer highlights from 2016's The Serenity of Suffering. A powder-keg of Korn's classic nu-metal stylings, Welch noted one objective during the creative process: "Guitars, guitars and more guitars.”
"[Guitarist James 'Munky' Shaffer] and myself, along with producer Nick Raskulinecz, were determined to get the guitar sound and riffs to a heavy place that they hadn't been in a while," Welch says. "I came back to the band in 2012, and me and Munky thought, 'There are two of us guitar players in the band again now - if the guitars are not heavy as balls, then what's the point of having two guitarists?' We are very pleased that we achieved our goal."
Both within Korn and his own solo projects (such as Love and Death), Welch has observed the evolution of his work develop in increasingly unique ways over the years. Though he says that creating music in the studio with his "brothers" is his favourite thing to do, Welch cherishes the ability to get back out on the road again.
"The intent of my motives with everything in life has changed," Welch says. "Back in the day, creating music was more for selfish reasons I think, and [now] my motives are based on connecting with our fans. There is so much division in the world and music brings so many people together in unity. There's nothing more beautiful than unity when it comes to human interaction.
"I think our biggest strength has been that people feel something when they hear us," Welch continues. "Either in the sound, melodies or vocals/lyrics - and when we capture that magic from all of the above, like we did on [The Serenity of Suffering], it is like a tidal wave of power sweeping across the world to our fans that are always rooting for us on every new record.
"Every musician is a fan of music first, so being able to influence other musicians and bands out there is a huge honour, because we are just like them: fans of music."
Korn will headline the first Australian Download Festival at Melbourne’s Flemington Racecourse on Saturday March 24. The Serenity of Suffering is out now via Roadrunner Records.