Corbin King, another Georgia-native and long-time friend to Rittz recently chatted with us about his work on Top Of The Line and his style of playing. Knowing Rittz for almost 16 years now, Corbin presented us with some awesome insight into Top Of The Line.
You did some incredible work on Top Of The Line. I understand you guys have been in contact for quite a while. How far back does that relationship go?
I was actually just thinking about that. It’s got to be at least 2000. We used to work together back at a music store called Mars Music. I even went to his house way back then. He had tons of computers and stuff in his basement, probably like 20 or 30 computers. He had these ideas and beats even back then, and I was putting some guitar riffs to that. It’s been a long time I’ve known that boy.
It looks like you worked on “Ghost Story”, “Propane”, “Back To Yesterday”, and “Day Of The Dead” from TOTL. Do you have any personal favorites of the work you’ve done on this album?
“Propane” was awesome. I really love that one. He came to the house before he started tracking his vocals. We don’t live that far apart, so he came out and brought the demos over to let me hear, which I totally prefer getting to hear the stuff ahead of time so I can work to it. But “Propane” was just smooth. It had that laid back vibe, so I didn’t want to go all crazy on it. He’s usually like, “just go crazy” most of the time (laughs). On this one, it needed a certain feel, so I was thinking more blues type stuff. “Day Of The Dead” was really fun. I can’t wait for people to hear that one. For that, I remember him saying, “play something that sounds like you’re attacking somebody with a chainsaw” (laughs). That’ll be kind of cool for people to hear that.
I got the vibe of some classic thrash bands, like a Testament or Slayer sound.
Oh yeah! Those are two of my favorites. That’s kind of where I come from. I’ve had a heavy metal band with my wife for years. We used to play around, do festivals, and release some CD’s. I’ve always come from that school. That stuff just kind of works. Rittz digs it too. It’s unique in a way, you don’t really hear that a lot.
You mentioned the band that you’ve been playing with. Is that Vainglory?
Yeah. I think I first did that in ’98. The music came out good. The record label we were on is actually how I met my wife. I never could find a vocalist, and we got hooked up that way. That was a more traditional heavy metal. That’s where I’ve come from. I’ve always liked that kind of guitar. I spent a better part of my life practicing and stuff, but I guess that’s what you’ve got to do!
But, working with Rittz is fun for me. It takes me out of my element.
I was going to ask how going from metal to hip hop works out.
It’s challenging, but almost feels natural. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve known him for so long, it was kind of easy. It was like we were hanging out as friends. I just go off of the rhythm and beat. In hip hop, it’s just different instrumentation. I go off that and the rhythm. It’s kind of fun – it’s refreshing. You’re in a different atmosphere – you have to take everything you know and put it in a different place.
You mentioned the “chainsaw” sound. What kind of creative freedom does Rittz give you while talking music?
Sort of a little bit of both. He usually has some pre conceived notion of what he wants it to sound like, or the placement. Other than that, he lets me do my thing. I have a studio here at the house, so transferring files is no problem. I can email it like, “is that cool? Is that what you’re talking about?”, and if not, it’s no problem to go back and do it again. It’s been pretty easy to do, actually. I think on this one, I only had to re cut one of the songs for a different feel. For the others, it was usually the first one I sent him back, I want to say.
It sounds like you guys definitely have some chemistry.
Ah, yeah man. That just goes back to how long I’ve known him. We’re talkin’ about 16 years – that’s a long time. I’ve seen him in all the different incarnations of what he’s doing. I’m really proud of him.
I’ve got to ask. What kind of axe are you working with? I know you’ve got a few.
I had a few. My wife and I don’t really play as much as we used to. I had a Dean ML, which is most known from what Dimebag Darrell played. That was sort of my “heavy” guitar. My main guitar starting out is just a US Strat. They’re like hot-rods. You can do whatever you want to ’em. This one’s got some definite battle scars. It doesn’t resemble a Fender anymore. It’s got a different neck on it, with no logo on the headstock or anything. It’s like a Frankenstein. It’s my go-to for everything. I use that on pretty much all of the stuff I’ve done with Rittz, just because of the comfort factor.
One last question. I know you’re in Atlanta – what’s the rock and metal scene like down there?
Oh boy (sighs)… not very good. I should’ve taken a hint years ago. I think I had my first gig when I was like 16 and it was bad back then (laughs). Ya know, there’s been one or two bands to come out with more notoriety, like Mastodon. We used to be able to get on festivals and all kinds of things. Like weekend-long metal festivals. The exposure you get doing that over a weekend, you can just play to so many more people, rather than doing 200 local shows. I don’t know what it is with Atlanta, you just cannot get people to come out. It’s pretty much like, “okay, let’s play a show: how much money are we willing to lose?” It’s not like the bands are bad, granted, there are some, but it’s just always been that way.
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