“So that was the only main concern that we had was really trying to capture that electricity that comes out of this band when you see us live and really kind of grab hold of that and try to see if we could really get it down like the old ways, like the ways bands used to do it…”
From Release: Iowa hard rock outfit, STONE SOUR, has announced their long awaited Australian headline tour. Celebrating the upcoming release of their highly anticipated sixth album, ‘Hydrograd’ on June 30, the band will play shows in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane this August. Fronted by Corey Taylor the band has sold more than four million albums worldwide over the course of their current five full-length releases.
While in Australia on a promo trip Corey gave us a call to talk about Stone Sour’s new album ‘Hydrograd’, its creation, their upcoming return to Australia, memories, jazz bands, the current state of Slipknot, and more. So without further ado, ladies and or gentlemen, Mr Corey Taylor.
It’s new album time, what are the feelings like for you around album release time?
It’s hard to explain, man, it’s like a feeling in your gut, that anxious feeling like you can’t wait for the last day of school you know? Like you just can’t wait for everyone to feel what you’re feeling, everyone to see what you’ve been seeing for months. Because it’s been six months from the beginning of the recording of this album to the day that it comes out, so we’ve known that the music was going to be killer for all this time and we’ve only really been able to release little bits and pieces to kind of draw people in but once the whole thing hits people are going to lose their shit and we’re just really, really stoked about it you know? So it’s one of those things that’s like hurry up and wait and yet like you just love the anticipation because you know it’s gonna hit like a tonne of bricks.
With ‘Hydrograd’ did you set out to do anything differently this time around compared to your previous releases?
We wanted to really be able to capture the energy of the band, we’ve always kind of felt that we’re in that time crunch so we would always kind of approach albums with that kind of hurry up kind of vibe but with this one we were able to really take our time with it over the year and a half two years that I was going and doing in Slipknot and really make sure that we got the songs together in a correct way and then play them as a band and then really get to a point that once we went into the studio we were able to go in and really play them live as a band and capture that energy that we’ve always prided ourselves on having, and anyone who’s seen us live knows that we have. So that was the only main concern that we had was really trying to capture that electricity that comes out of this band when you see us live and really kind of grab hold of that and try to see if we could really get it down like the old ways, like the ways bands used to do it, you could hear the room around you and you could see the band playing together, it was just a different time and we really wanted to capture that moment and capture that type of energy as well.
You’ve worked with Jay Ruston before in terms of mixing but he’s taken the producer reins this time around, what did he bring to the band and ‘Hydrograd’ in a producer capacity that you felt hasn’t been there before?
Jay is in my opinion probably one of the best in the business if not the best in the business right now. The great thing about Jay was that we were originally going to produce this ourselves because the record label had encouraged us to do so and we were all set to do that and then we kind of stopped and we were like you know what, it would be great to have that extra set of ears, that non biased opinion like the outsider and Jay was the only name that came to mind. We had known Jay forever, we knew that he was a great producer because of the stuff that he’s done with Steel Panther, Anthrax, a million different bands and we just knew because we already had a relationship that we wouldn’t have to worry about that getting to know you period, we could just go in and really just start rocking right from the moment we started and it was perfect. Not only did he have great ideas but he augmented so many of the other ideas that we had and really helped us make in my opinion the best album of our career, and yeah that’s just because he’s one of the best, he’s such a rock guy just like we are, knows every song is a total nerd when it comes to equipment and songs and performances, I mean we just all fit together like the perfect team, man, it was great.
Well he’s made a really big sounding rock record!
Yeah thank you, and originally I was superstitious about it because notoriously producers never mix or mixers never produce and he was so adamant about it and I was OK we’ll see what happens and he fuckin’ proved me wrong like I was the first one to say you know what? This is wrong, this is the best idea, it was the best choice and I’ve been eating those words ever since. *laughs*
Of course you’re also headed back to see us in August, with six albums in tow now does it get harder to structure a set list as the catalogue grows?
Not really man, actually it gets easier because there’s the usual suspects that everyone wants to hear and with every album that list gets bigger and bigger and bigger, and then it just becomes a case of well fuck, what’s a handful of songs we just wanna play? Like it’s cool, it’s kind of dipping in and looking at how do we simultaneously create a set that is a great snapshot of who we are now and also kind of celebrates our past catalogue. So it’s just about finding the balance and not over doing it with too many new songs right out of the gate, but also not just loading it up with a bunch of old stuff. It’s the perfect way to build new fans and get people more interested in the album itself is by finding that balance, and it’s a good way to see just how the new stuff sits with the old stuff.
On a personal note ‘Hesitate’ became a very important song for me at a crazy time in my life so I just wanted to say thank you for it and do you still give this one a run at the shows?
Yeah, I break it out every once in a while, it’s quite a melancholy song and you know, like you I wrote that at a time where I was really kind of in a change that was going on in my life, a transitional period and I’d also taken a hit to the heart and it was really important for me to write. It took me three or four years to record it and really kind of bring it in, but you know, it’s still one of those songs and it surprises me how many people really dig that song and what it means to them, so when I do play it I play it in a way that is more muted, I tend to play it in smaller gatherings and just see what happens when I kind of go there you know?
Well if the mood strikes, feel free to play it in Sydney…
Oh absolutely man, we’ll see what happens *laughs*
I have to mention and man it was amazing to watch you guys do ‘Outshined’ just after Chris Cornell passed, which still fuckin’ sucks, but the justice you did it was amazing, would you ever consider leaving that in the set?
I mean we only really did it to kind of pay tribute and we literally learned it that day and we haven’t played it since. If we hadn’t have been able to get it together we wouldn’t have played it and I feel great that we did it justice and we really did something cool with it. Yeah unless the spirit takes us I think we kind of did what we did with it and I think to do too much would be to take the attention away from Chris and put it more on ourselves and that’s not what we wanted to do. So I think we did exactly what we needed to do with it.
Being to Australia more than a number of times before, do you have a stand out memory of a previous trip here?
*laughs* Dude, the whole first run that we did with Slipknot dude was like the fuckin’ wild west, man, like it was crazy, we were doing shows and instore signings all in one day, like sometimes we would go from a show right to an instore and we were just so out of our minds tired, and crazy, and drunk, and fuckin’ young *laughs* dude it was nuts. The great thing about it was I had waited my whole life to come here, like Australia was the one place I’d always wanted to come since I was a little kid and we got here and it was everything I ever wanted it to be and more and we had so much fun and there are still people to this day that talk about that tour and just how insane it was and they still can’t believe what we did and just how we did it and I’m constantly reminded of it. Every time I come here I come here with that glint in my eye of just how much fun it was coming down here and it’s just a reminder of how much I fuckin’ love this place, man.
So obviously things change over time, but what would you say is the one thing that’s stayed the same over your time together in Stone Sour?
That is a damn good question, I think the thing that is always stayed is the dedication to broadening the musical boundaries and broadening the musical horizons and that kind of dedication to that fearlessness of there’s no musical pasture that we will not try to tread, no matter what whether we pull it off or not, just go with your heart and see what happens you know? That’s kind of been our mantra since day one, if we’re into it fuckin’ play it who cares? That’s why we have stuff that’s brutally heavy next to stuff that is so just quiet and melancholy because it just works for us, and for us that’s just kind of the way it’s always been and not only for us but just for bands in general, that’s the way music was originally written and that’s the way bands put albums together like they didn’t worry about what bin in the record store they were going to go in, they just made music you know and that’s been our approach from day one and I think that’s the one thing that’s never changed with us is the fact that we write music for us, we don’t worry about what it’s going to sound like we just make it because we love it.
Over your career you’ve done a lot so far but is there anything that tops your list of things to do you haven’t yet had the chance to do?
I mean there’s a couple of things man, and I’ve been talking about this a lot, I want to write a movie and then see it through all the way until the premiere night, write the script, produce it with some people, be there while its being directed, help cast it, really see it all the way through until the end and then walk the red carpet and then that will be my odyssey of making a movie. I’ve got a couple of really good ideas for movies that I just haven’t been able to sit down and flesh out but I think if it was the right one with the right team I could get it done and really be able to savour the flavour on it you know? Other than that I also want to do a project like I want to put together a cool, small jazz band and record something really cool with that, man. Like a drummer, piano player, sax, trumpet, bass, maybe a guitar player, just something really cool because I’ve written a handful of songs that could be recorded live with a jazz group, and I would love to do that so that’s definitely on my horizon as well.
It would be remiss not to ask about what’s happening in Slipknot land, anything on the horizon?
Nothin’ really, everybody’s just kind of taking a break, Clown keeps threatening to direct another movie which I keep telling him to because ‘Officer Down’ was so rad, man, like that movie is so good, and everybody else, Jim is kind of doing his thing and writing music here and there but for the most part we’re all just kind of doing our own thing which is fine, I think we needed the break you know?
I wanted to mention ‘Song #3’ and the video with the cool 80’s throwback was great, what was it like throwing on the glam stuff?
*laughs* It was cool, man *laughs* it was one of those things that it looked even better than I thought in my head when I was writing the treatment for it, and working with Ryan Valdez the director we really wanted to make sure that we did something that was funny but it was also smart. So shooting it the way that we did with one long tracking run it became even cooler than the original idea, so yeah I loved making that video, man. We did that all in one day and we were really able to incorporate a lot of cool shit. With some of those long tracks I was able to get a lot of that shit done in two takes so I was pretty proud of that, I mean the problem was just remembering to sing while also trying to act, that was the problem like I would get sort of caught up in the character and I would forget to sing *laughs* and I was like fuck it let’s try it again and start from the top.
Just pretend it’s a musical…
Exactly, and I’m a big fan of like some of those so for me maybe it was my warm up for my Off Broadway run *laughs*
Lastly let’s look ahead to the future, finish this sentence for me by the end of 2017 Corey Taylor wants to…
Take a fuckin’ vacation. I’m definitely trying to carve out like a two or three day period where I just fuckin’ go and have some time for myself, man, because I’ve never really done that. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that.
Catch Stone Sour in Australia at the following dates:
FESTIVAL HALL, MELBOURNE
FRIDAY AUGUST 25
HORDERN PAVILION, SYDNEY
SATURDAY AUGUST 26
EATONS HILL HOTEL, BRISBANE
TUESDAY AUGUST 29
WEDNESDAY AUGUST 30 – Sold Out!
From: Des Moines, IOWA, USA
Band members: Corey Taylor (vocals), Josh Rand (guitar), Roy Mayorga (drums), Johny Chow (bass), and Christian Martucci (guitar).
Forthcoming release: Hydrograd – (June 30 – Roadrunner Records)