Given the painstaking approach that Slipknot took with the making of We Are Not Your Kind, it’s understandable that they’re not quite ready to drop the entire record into their live performance just yet. Producer Greg Fidelman had them working hard in the studio, building layers and expanding on the demos with multiple takes per song.
“A good day is finishing a song completely, with back-ups, and doubling everything up,” Corey recalls to Kerrang!. “But with Slipknot, and especially working with Greg, we tried so many different things before we would settle on the best idea. Sometimes I would sing songs two or three times, trying different choruses or verses here and there to make it better. Sometimes I would finish a song and be like, ‘Okay, this one’s fucking done,’ and then I’d get a call where it’s like, ‘We wanna try something on this now…’ and I’m like, ‘You fucker! Why didn’t we do that in the moment?!’ Sometimes it would be a case of coming back and trying something two or three times. You’re emotionally spent and physically drained, but then you listen back and you’re like, ‘Fuck! It was so worth it.’”
“This album was such a thought process from a long time ago, towards the end of the cycle for the last album [2014’s .5: The Gray Chapter], when I had begun thinking about this album,” continues founding percussionist – and one of the core minds behind all things We Are Not Your Kind – Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan, of the journey here. “Time was important for this album: as much time to be working on it. Fortunately and unfortunately, to work on what we work on these days, we don’t push art – we don’t come into the studio and make drum beats to write songs on, or Jim [Root, guitar] doing a solo and go, ‘Okay, that’s good.’ You need time. It might not be today – it may be a month from now. Time was the most important thing to give ourselves on this album, and we did it. We got as much as we needed and wanted, and everyone was there to support it. And here at the end of it, with my life being different, I have this art piece, We Are Not Your Kind, that is just mind-blowing – the time that went into it, the writing, the effort, everyone’s thoughts and concepts, and the ability to be able to go in and work. I think time was the biggest thing for this album, and we got it. There was months and months of just setting our eye on the prize – beginning at zero, and trying to work to 11, and get something that makes sense in order for it to start moving in another direction.”
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“We would pop over to LA and work for a few weeks, and then pop back,” explains Jim. “And while I was at home I would listen to the latest versions of demo stuff that we’d worked on, and that was the time we were afforded to let these things evolve, where I was able to listen to it and go, ‘Yeah, that’s cool, but maybe if I tried this it would work better.’ And that’s when it gets to the next level. I think it was a progression and an evolution. At the beginning, I kind of felt like, ‘I don’t know if any of this is good.’ When more band members start coming in, and when you listen to it back with new people and you pick it apart more, it’s a really good thing that we were able to do all that, because it just makes you go, ‘Okay.’ You know, usually when we write records or whatever, halfway through the tour cycle I’m like, ‘Oh shit, I could have done this on this song,’ or, ‘This harmony would have been good here,’ or, ‘Maybe this should be half as long.’ But we had the time to work that stuff out a little bit during the process, and with the help of Fidelman, everything came together. And it just kept getting better, the more we worked on it. When we started tracking it, the more band members that came in – Sid [Wilson, DJ], Craig [Jones, samples], Mick [Thomson, guitar] – they would add their touch to everything, or interpret riffs differently than how I had written it on the demo.”
Given the time, resources and freedom afforded, it’s no surprise that Slipknot are now loving being The Nine more than ever.
“This is the greatest time of Slipknot,” Clown nods. “We worked so hard for so long, and it was really hard to stop and enjoy the success, and enjoy what was happening around us. You get those sorts of traits when you’re older, and we’re older now – we’re 20 years in. And all the hard work, and all the blood, and losing people… it all makes you stronger. I refuse not to understand what’s happening around me. It’s just a wonderful time to be in Slipknot, to be around Slipknot, and it’s a wonderful time to watch and experience Slipknot. I feel like everything we are is working at its full potential. Our management, booking agent, lawyers, label, our fans, ourselves… I feel like all of us are just working to the best benefit of Slipknot to get the vision out. That’s really what it is. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had, and I’d be bullshitting you but I don’t feel like we’ve grown up, but I just feel like we’ve found a way to understand what we don’t want to deal with, and it’s effortless for everyone.”