The Crystal Method is an American electronic music duo formed in Las Vegas, Nevada by Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland in the early 1990s. The Crystal Method's music has appeared in numerous TV shows, films, video games, and advertisements. Their best-selling album, Vegas, was certified platinum in 2007.
The Crystal Method is made up of two members, Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland. Before The Crystal Method was formed, Ken and Scott started working on music while working at the grocery store and while Ken was a local DJ in Las Vegas as well as the college radio program director at UNLV. Ken taught Scott how to DJ, and when Ken moved to L.A. to work for a producer, Scott took over his job DJ'ing at the local club. Scott would follow Ken out to L.A., and they formed The Crystal Method in 1993.
Early days (1993–1995)
By the early '90s, both Ken and Scott had moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland bought a house together, in Glendale, California, which had a small underground shelter beneath the front lawn. Originally intending to turn the shelter into a studio, it proved to be an unrealistic idea and the duo set up a studio in their house (which was located under a Los Angeles Overpass. They subsequently named their studio The Bomb Shelter. They were interviewed on the front lawn of the house in the documentary Better Living Through Circuitry.
After The Bomb Shelter was built, a tape of The Crystal Method's music found its way to a British DJ named Justin King. King was interested in starting a record label that would showcase American electronic dance acts. King teamed up with Scottish Steve Melrose to form the record label City of Angels. The first official release from the City of Angels label was The Crystal Method's "Now is the Time". The Crystal Method were signed to Outpost Recordings in 1996.
After the band signed with Outpost, they began working on their debut album. The group's second (and last) single on City of Angels was "Keep Hope Alive". Their next release was on the Mortal Kombat: More Kombat soundtrack, "Come2gether".
On September 8, 1997, The Crystal Method released their best-selling album, Vegas. Vegas peaked at number 92 on the Billboard 200. It was certified gold by the RIAA in 1998, then platinum in 2007.
Five of the album's ten tracks were released as singles: "Trip Like I Do", "Busy Child", "High Roller", "Comin' Back", and "Keep Hope Alive".
A reworking of "Trip Like I Do", called "(Can't You) Trip Like I Do", was also included as a collaborative effort with Filter on soundtrack to the film adaptation of "Spawn" in 1997.
In 1999, the band went into the studio to record their next studio album, Tweekend, which featured more guest artists than Vegas had. The album was released in July 2001, and peaked at number 32 on the Billboard 200, which is still the group's highest album chart position.
Featured guests from the album include Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, Stone Temple Pilots vocalist Scott Weiland, and others, like Doug Grean, DJ Swamp, Ryan "Ryu" Maginn, and Julie Gallios. Four singles were released from Tweekend: "Wild, Sweet and Cool", "Murder", "Blowout", "Name of the Game".
Jordan and Kirkland used to have a radio show called "Community Service" which aired Friday nights on radio station Indie 103.1, in California. They played music and hosted guests, like Death in Vegas and UNKLE. Their show came back on air in 2011 and airs weekly on Sirius XMs Channel 52.
A year after the release of Tweekend, The Crystal Method released a continuous mix album based on their radio show, titled Community Service. The album does not feature any new studio material from The Crystal Method, but is composed of remixes of bands like P.O.D., Rage Against the Machine, and Garbage, plus remixes of songs from Tweekend. Their remix of P.O.D.'s "Boom" from this album, also appeared in the video game Amplitude.
Community Service peaked at number 160 on the Billboard 200, number five on the Top Electronic Albums chart, and number 15 on the Top Independent Albums chart.
Legion of Boom (2003–2005)
After the release of Community Service, The Crystal Method went back into the studio to record their third album, Legion of Boom. During the recording, they used the house as their recording studio instead of The Bomb Shelter.
In December 2003, the single "Born Too Slow", with vocals from John Garcia and guitar by Wes Borland was released. Legion of Boom was released on January 13, 2004, and peaked at number 36 on the Billboard 200. It sold over 25,000 copies in its first week. The track was also part of the soundtrack of the very popular racing game Need for Speed: Underground, used prominently especially in its demo.
The other single released from Legion of Boom, "Starting Over", featured vocals from Rahzel from The Roots. No other singles were released but other songs, including "Weapons of Mass Distortion", "Bound Too Long" and "Realizer", appeared in various movies and TV shows. "I Know It's You" appeared in the trailer for the film Resident Evil: Extinction, and includes vocals by the movie's star, Milla Jovovich.
In 2005, the album was nominated for the Best Electronic/Dance Album Grammy, the first year that category existed. It lost to Kish Kash by Basement Jaxx.
It is also around this time that Jordan and Kirkland formed their own record label, called Tiny e Recordings.
Also in 2005, Jordan and Kirkland composed an original theme for the TV series Bones, which remained in use for seven seasons before Jordan and Kirkland remixed the theme which has been in use since the beginning of season 8.
Community Service II
On April 5, 2005, The Crystal Method released their sequel to Community Service, called Community Service II, another continuous mix of electronica songs and remixes of music by artists including The Doors, Unkle, New Order and Smashing Pumpkins. The album peaked at number 31 on the Top Independent Albums chart and number 8 on the Top Electronic albums chart.
A 5-track EP, Community Service II Exclusives, was also released through the iTunes Store. It included one new track, "Badass", and full versions of four tracks from Community Service II. It was removed from the iTunes store not long after it was released
Drive, London, and Vegas re-release (2006–2008)
The group composed and performed the score for the film London, which was released in February 2006. The soundtrack album included excerpts from the score, two Crystal Method vocal tracks—"Smoked" and "Glass Breaker", which were also released as a single—and songs by artists like Evil Nine, The Out Crowd, and The Perishers.
Shortly after the release of the London soundtrack, The Crystal Method was approached by Nike to take part in a series of music releases specifically designed to be listened to while running. The group's contribution, Drive: Nike + Original Run—the first in the series—was initially released digitally, in June 2006, with the physical release following a year later. Drive peaked at number 23 on the Top Electronic Albums chart. The album, a 45 minute continuous mix, starts off slow, increases in tempo, and slows at the end, following the arc of a typical distance run. In 2006 the track Robogirl released by the duo appeared on Dance Dance Revolution: SuperNOVA as well.
In 2007, ten years after its original release, the group's debut album, Vegas was certified platinum by the RIAA. One month later, a special edition of the album was released, with a second disc including remixes and video.
In late 2008, the group remixed their song "Now Is the Time". Where the original version featured samples of Jesse Jackson, this "Vote '08 Remix" used samples of Barack Obama, marking the presidential election.
Divided by Night (2009–2012)
Following the release of Legion of Boom, The Crystal Method began construction of a new, full-sized recording studio in Los Angeles—Crystalwerks. When it was finished, they began work on their next album, Divided by Night.
On April 14, 2009, The Crystal Method released the digital single "Drown in the Now". A second single, "Black Rainbows", was released via Beatport two weeks later.
The Divided by Night tour started in Boston on May 6, and the album was released the following week. It peaked at number 38 on the Billboard 200, number two on the Top Electronic Albums chart, and number four on the Top Independent Albums chart, and also granted the duo another Grammy nomination. The album features guest artists including LMFAO, Peter Hook (of New Order), Matisyahu, Meiko, Justin Warfield, Emily Haines (of Metric), and Jason Lytle.
X Games 3D: The Movie, released in August 2009, included a number of Crystal Method songs and remixes, including "Drown in the Now" and "Now Is the Time".
The Crystal Method (2013–present)
On February 22, 2013, TCM tweeted "We'll be playing tracks from the new album @BellyUp tonight!!! Thank you Aspen. Scott".
Originally scheduled for a June, 2013, release, the self-titled The Crystal Method was delayed by a surgery to remove a cyst in Scott Kirkland's brain. The album was released on January 14, 2014.
When approximately halfway creating the next album process, Scott Kirkland received news that he had developed "what's called a benign posterior fossa arachnoid cyst that needed to be removed from my head." He explains, "It's a simple procedure as far as brain surgery goes, but they still had to cut into my skull and noodle around in there. The surgery wasn't as bad as the infection afterwards, which landed me in the ICU for ten days. Thankfully, I made it out okay. In hindsight, as weird as it sounds, I think we were able to make a better record because we came through this." Following his 2013 recovery, Scott regrouped with Ken Jordan and continued working on the album.
In late 2013, the duo was adding the final touches to their new self-titled album and asked to compose the score and opening theme of Almost Human, a science fiction android driven crime drama airing on the Fox Network.
Appearance in video games
"DDR Max 2" was privy to the song Busy Child.
"Name of the Game" appeared in the dancing music video game Pump It Up as a playable song. The track also appeared as an opening sequence track in the PC game "Splinter Cell".
"Sine Language" was included in EA's soundtrack for the game Need for Speed: Nitro, and "Born Too Slow" was included in the game Need For Speed: Underground.
FIFA 97 used "Busy Child" as its theme song followed by the use of the "Keep hope alive" and "Now is the Time" track in both FIFA 98 and FIFA 98 World cup ("More" featured in 98 world cup, while "Busy Child" featured in both titles) "Smile?" was also used extensively in the videogame Blur.
"The Purifier's Resolve" was used as theme music for the character Lucian in League of Legends. The Crystal Method did a live performance of this piece at the game's Season 3 World Championship Finals.
"Keep Hope Alive" was included in Project Gotham Racing 4.
"Now is the Time" was used in the Gran Turismo 2 soundtrack.
"Play For Real (Dirtyphonics Remix)" and "Over It" was used in the Asphalt 8: Airborne soundtrack.
6 tracks from Vegas, "Trip Like I Do", "Busy Child", She's My Pusher,", "Cherry Twist", and "Vapor Trail" as well as 4 remixed tracks "Busy Child [Uberzone remix]", "Now is the Time [Industrial Cloud remix]", "Comin' Back [Front BC's Comin' Twice remix]" and "Keep Hope Alive [AK1200's Wild Ride mix]" appeared in the Sony Playstation game; Nitrous Oxide, or N20 for short. The tracks that appeared in the game were shortened, sometimes cutting off almost a quarter of the song. Like many other Playstation games, if you put the game in a car, or home CD player, the music tracks could be listened to if you skipped track 1 which was PSX data.
Appearance in video game trailers
"Play For Real" featuring The Heavy, an iTunes exclusive song, appeared in two major video game trailers. First, appearing in ShootMania: Storm's announcement trailer, remixed by Dirtyphonics.
The second appearance of the song "Play For Real" was in the Call of Duty Black Ops II Multiplayer Reveal Trailer. The remix artist is currently unknown.
"Re:Generation Music Project 2012"
The Crystal Method's most recent track "I'm Not Leaving" featured a collaboration with Motown's Martha Reeves for the Re:GENERATION documentary. The film followed five DJ/producers who each collaborated with one of five groups of musicians, each from a different genre of music.
The Crystal Method use a wide array of equipment, with the Clavia Nord Lead being most closely associated with their style and sound. It was the primary source of sound for their first album Vegas.
- Vegas (1997)
- Tweekend (2001)
- Community Service (2002)
- Legion of Boom (2004)
- Community Service II (2005)
- London (2006)
- Drive: Nike + Original Run (2007)
- Divided by Night (2009)
- The Crystal Method (2014)
- Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
- Real Steel (2011)
- Skyline (2010)
- The Nostalgia Critic (TV Series) (2008)
- Wipeout HD (Video Game) (2008)
- Tropic Thunder (2008)
- Check Brights (Short) (2008)
- Drillbit Taylor (2008)
- Nobel Son (2007)
- The Time Tunnel (TV Movie) (2006)
- The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
- Annapolis (2006)
- Coachella (Video documentary) (2006)
- Shooting Gallery (Video) (2005)
- Bones (TV Series) (2005)
- The Longest Yard (2005)
- Cursed (2005)
- Gran Turismo 4 (Video Game) (2004)
- Blade: Trinity (2004)
- Entourage (TV Series) (2004)
- Crossing Jordan (TV Series) (2004)
- CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (TV Series) (2004)
- The O.C. (TV Series) (2004)
- Amplitude (Video Game) (2003)
- Need for Speed: Underground (Video Game) (2003)
- Foolproof (2003)
- Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)
- Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003)
- Extreme Ops (2002)
- Splinter Cell (Video Game) (2002)
- Half Past Dead (2002)
- Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002)
- Life or Something Like It (2002)
- Blade II (2002)
- Malcolm in the Middle (TV Series) (2001)
- Mad Dash Racing (Video Game) (2001)
- Zoolander (2001)
- Driven (2001)
- 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001)
- Roswell (TV Series) (2001)
- Wings of the Crow (2000)
- Witchblade (TV Movie) (2000)
- Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000)
- Romeo Must Die (2000)
- Gran Turismo 2 (Video Game) (1999)
- Third Watch (TV Series) (1999)
- Stigmata (1999)
- Better Living Through Circuitry (Documentary) (1999)
- Need for Speed: High Stakes (Video Game) (1999)
- Urban Legend (1998)
- Permanent Midnight (1998)
- Lost in Space (1998)
- Daria (TV Series) (1998)
- Senseless (1998)
- The Replacement Killers (1998)
- Spawn (1997)
- at AllMusic
- at the Internet Movie Database