The Crystal Method

The Crystal Method
The Crystal Method

The Crystal Method performing at SXSW 2009.
Background information
Origin Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres Alternative Dance, Chemical breaks, big beat, breakbeat, electronic dance music
Years active 1993–present
Labels Outpost, Geffen, V2, Tiny E
Scott Heisler Kirkland
Ken B. Jordan

The Crystal Method is an American electronic music duo that was created in Los Angeles, California 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. The most prominent is the US television series, Bones (2005–present). Their best-selling album, Vegas, was certified platinum in 2007.



The Crystal Method is made up of two members, Ken B. Jordan and Scott Heisler Kirkland. Both of them were born in Las Vegas, Nevada.[1] Kirkland was born when his mother was only fifteen. He grew up listening to his mother's music—disco—and his father's music—rock. When he had grown a little older, he began listening to heavy metal, as well as bands like Depeche Mode. Ken Jordan also grew up listening to classic rock and '80s electronica.

Early days (1993–1995)

By the early '90s, both Ken and Scott had moved to Los Angeles. 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. 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. They named their studio The Bomb Shelter.[citation needed]

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 transplant Stephen 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.

Vegas (1996–1998)

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.[2] It was certified gold by the RIAA in 1998, then platinum in 2007.[3]

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".

Tweekend (1999–2002)

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,[2] 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".

Community Service

Jordan and Kirkland used to have a radio show called "Community Service" which aired Friday nights on radio station Indie 103.1, in California.[citation needed] They played electronic music and hosted guests, like Death in Vegas and UNKLE.

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.[2]

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.[citation needed]

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.[2] It sold over 25,000 copies in its first week.[1]

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,[4] the first year that category existed. It lost to Kish Kash by Basement Jaxx.[5]

It is also around this time that Jordan and Kirkland formed their own record label, called Tiny e Recordings.[1]

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.[2]

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.[1]

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[6]—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.[2] 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.[1]

In 2007, ten years after its original release, the group's debut album, Vegas was certified platinum by the RIAA.[3] 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–present)

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,[2] and also granted the duo another Grammy nomination. The album features guest artists including 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,[7] including "Drown in the Now" and "Now Is the Time".


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.[citation needed]


Studio albums


  1. ^ a b c d e
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Album chart peaks at Allmusic
  3. ^ a b RIAA certification at
  4. ^ "Kanye West Tops 47th Grammy Award Nominations With 10", Chris Dolmetsch and Heather Burke,, December 7, 2004.
  5. ^ "The Grammys Love Ray", Chris Rubin, Rolling Stone, February 14, 2005.
  6. ^ "Music for Runners, Volume 2: Nike Releases Second Recording", Wall Street Journal, October 23, 2006.
  7. ^ "X Games 3D: The Movie ", ESPN, April 23, 2009.

External links

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