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A tried-and-true Method

Giants of electronic music blend their beats with Martha Reeves' vocals.

February 17, 2012|By Katherine Tulich

Glendale isn't normally considered the center of modern electronic music, but for one of the genre's legendary acts, the Crystal Method, the area has been home for nearly two decades.

When Scott Kirkland and Ken Jordan, two Vegas-based DJs, moved to Los Angeles in the early '90s to be central to the thriving rave scene, they rented a house in La Crescenta that housed an abandoned bomb shelter on its front lawn. In honor of the Cold War relic, the duo built their first studio on the property, which they dubbed the Bomb Shelter.

“It was right on the 210 Freeway. You could stay up all night and play music. Nothing was louder than an 18-wheeler driving past at 2 a.m.,” says Kirkland. “No air conditioning, a makeshift dry wall, no natural light. You could be working on this big beefy track, walk out in the morning to this very suburban, family-oriented neighborhood with kids playing and neighbors walking their dogs. It was the most ridiculous thing, but we made three albums there.”


The studio was their creative home until 2006, recording such landmark dance-electronic albums as “Vegas” and “Tweekend,” before moving on to build their state-of-the-art studio, Crystalwerks, in North Hollywood.

While Jordan moved to Encino, Kirkland has remained in Glendale, where he has lived since 1996. “I guess System of the Down are famously from Glendale, but I don't think people consider this a hotbed of music,” says Kirkland, who has a son, 6, and a daughter, 3. “But this is a great place to raise a family.”

While the Crystal Method are still an in-demand act touring the world, these days Kirkland would rather be home sipping margaritas with his wife at local favorite La Cabanita or watching movies plush-style in the nearby IPIC (formerly Gold Class) cinema in Pasadena. “I had many years of doing the crazy rave Hollywood thing, so I like being away from that,” he says.

Earning their place in the forefront of American electronic music, the Crystal Method were one of the first artists called on to participate in “Re:Generation Music Project,” a documentary directed by Amir Bar-Lev (“The Tillman Story” and “My Kid Could Paint That”) and produced in association with the Grammys.

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