SLIPKNOT's COREY TAYLOR On Performing Live: 'You Let The Mask Basically Run The Show'

SLIPKNOT's COREY TAYLOR On Performing Live: 'You Let The Mask Basically Run The Show'

Prior to SLIPKNOT's September 1 performance in Bristow, Virginia, vocalist Corey Taylor was interviewed by film critic Kevin McCarthy. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On the process of making the group's latest masks with actor, stunt man and special effects/prosthetic makeup artist Tom Savini:

Corey: "Largely, the writing doesn't really have anything to do visually with [what we come up with]. I have a certain aesthetic in mind going into it — like, what I want to represent myself for the the album, the evolution [of] where I'm at. With somebody like Tom, who's got years of experience, you sit down and you just start fleshing out ideas, and the practicality of it — just basically bouncing ideas off each other of how to make it work. It was cool — it was a really cool collaboration, and also a lesson in [the fact that] I can hold myself back from freaking out on the fact that, 'Here's Tom Savini.' It was really cool. I got to know him really, really well. He's a super-cool dude. It was great."

On the cinematic influences in SLIPKNOT's music and concerts:

Corey: "It's almost like a live-action movie — a step away from a play, a little more enhanced. It's crazy. To us, it's about setting a scene. Every song should set a scene. Every song should take you somewhere — visually, emotionally. I don't want to say spiritually, because we're not hippies, but if it doesn't move you and put you in a certain mindset, then we haven't done our job. Even songs that some of our fans don't like should have that moment of taking you somewhere putting you some place [that's] maybe uncomfortable, maybe some place you've never really wanted to confront. That's our goal. Purely from an artistic standpoint, we've always said we're much more an artiste band than a gimmick, and it feels like now, after 20 years, people are finally starting to come around."

On the science of setlists:

Corey: "You want to create space. You want to create peaks and valleys and stuff. You don't want to destroy the audience and leave them with nothing. You create it so there's a way for them to catch their breath. At the same time, we're a band now that has so many different types of music that our sets are completely different from the way they used to be. Now, it just kind of comes down to what kind of flow we want it to have. We can pummel; we can permeate; we can draw people in; we can push them out; we can provoke; we can agitate. There's so many things we can do now that actually make it fun to put the set together. At the same time, there's certain beats that you know you have to hit. There are certain songs that if you don't put it in there, people riot. That's the fun of it — playing around with it and making sure you're getting it right."

On performing live:

Corey: "For me, it's about trying to get as close to that album as possible, or maybe even beating that performance. As far as things taking on different meanings and perspectives, the good thing about the audience being right there singing it back at you, it gives you maybe a more positive bent on it. It take you out of that negative headspace where you maybe wrote some of that stuff, and a lot of the crazy stuff that was going on in your head, and it makes you feel like you can share it with them. When you see them singing those words back at you, you know it's not [for] the same reason, but they feel it just as much as you do, so that becomes almost like this sense of sonic empathy, where you're sharing with each other... It helps carry the burden. It helps take that off of you, and it encourages you to entertain and share it even more."

On the fact that the band's 2003 album, "Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses)", doesn't feature any profanity:

Corey: "I was catching so much hell, whether it was SLIPKNOT or STONE SOUR — 'Oh, he can't truly be a great writer because he can't write without using expletives and whatnot.' I was like, 'Oh, really? Okay,' so I did that whole album specifically for that. To me, it was a bigger fuck-you to write a whole album without saying that... I was pretty proud of that album."

On deciding to the band's recent single "All Out Life" in standalone fashion:

Corey: "It would have been different if people couldn't access it, but it's everywhere. To us, it was more about making room for a new song that fit with the narrative, instead of trying to throw this song on that was more of a one-off. Its spirit was really more in line with being a one-off than anything else. I think once we explained that to people, they could grasp it. It's not like we were keeping it from anybody, because you can get it out there, but for me, it made more sense to leave room on an already stacked album for a song that fit more with what was going on."

On his pre-show preparation:

Corey: "Obviously, getting all the crap on. Warming up, stretching out. Just preparing yourself, because it's almost all adrenaline at that point. You get out on stage; you make sure you're going to perform well; and then you just hold on for dear life. You let the mask basically run the show. Once you put that on, you're a totally different person. You unlock something that is inside you, but it's hard to conjure up when you're not wearing it. It's really carte blanche to just let go, and it's pretty dope."

SLIPKNOT — whose latest album, "We Are Not Your Kind", was released via Roadrunner on August 9 — just completed its "Knotfest Roadshow" tour with VOLBEAT, GOJIRA and BEHEMOTH. The group's next live appearance will take place at the Aftershock festival in Sacramento, California on October 11.

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