2013, Features, Interviews — October 1, 2013 at 7:30 am

Joey Jordison of Scar The Martyr


“If people like it, that’s great, that’s awesome, I make music for my fans, I make music for myself first, but I wouldn’t work so hard of it if I didn’t want to get it out to the world. I just do not care if there are naysayers or there’s the people that don’t like it or do like it, I’m really comfortable with that now.”

From Bio: The career of Joey Jordison is one that, by any measure, stands among the most creative, and impressive in the history of modern American rock and metal.  It is a career that really has been many careers – musician, songwriter, and producer – from small town beginnings to global stardom.  Jordison’s journey has included an extraordinary string of hits, 11 platinum and 40 gold records, and a Grammy Award with Slipknot as well as numerous industry accolades for his top tier musicianship and, above all, an immeasurable influence on countless fellow artists and passionate fans around the world. Now with Scar The Martyr we see Jordison treading in new sonic territory and expanding upon his already remarkable abilities as a songwriter and performer.  A searing rock record that draws elements from post-punk and industrial music to create an immersive and modern attack, Scar The Martyr creates a menacing and enveloping palette of surging synthesizers layered under heavy guitars and Jordison’s trademark precision drumming.

We chatted to Joey about Scar The Martyr, the album and the band as well as the future, not only for this band, but that other band he’s in you may have heard off called Slipknot…

Thanks for your time today, Joey, so to start off, what was the idea behind putting Scar The Martyr together?
It actually started with my just demoing a bunch of songs I had, I went up to the same studio that we did Slipknot’s ‘All Hope Is Gone’ and I went up there as I just had so much material and I was writing in a direction that I hadn’t really experimented before, so I was just up there with no plan, no real idea of what I really wanted to do, and I just started writing from scratch. There was like fourteen, maybe fifteen or sixteen songs, I don’t know, it’s all a blur now, I had a lot of material and I started moving in some different directions that I’m known for, I wanted to go heavy, but at the same time kind of like use some post-punk influences and some industrial influences as well and make the record. I wanted to expand on my song writing, period.

Are there nerves when essentially introducing a new band to the world?
Well you know what?  Really at this point not only in my career but in my life and the way I look at things, I’m not trying to impress anyone anymore you know? When I was younger it was all about that and you were in your first band and stuff, I don’t worry about that stuff anymore, I write for myself, I write for the better of the song, I think about my fans for sure, and ultimately I’ve got to satisfy my creative urges, so I really don’t worry about repercussions anymore. If people like it, that’s great, that’s awesome, I make music for my fans, I make music for myself first, but I wouldn’t work so hard of it if I didn’t want to get it out to the world. I just do not care if there are naysayers or there’s the people that don’t like it or do like it, I’m really comfortable with that now. I’ve been doing this for a while, when we first came out I’d like to say I didn’t care what people thought, of course I did, I was young, I was coming out and luckily Slipknot came at the right time and all that stuff, I’m at a point in career that I write music for myself and I’m lucky that’s there’s people out there that want to hear it and see where I’m coming from so I couldn’t ask for anything more, man.

How did you approach the writing of these songs and what if anything was the inspiration behind them?
It was kind of like that time and place of where I was in my life. I left all the lyrics up to Henry the vocalist because I trusted him, not only does he have an amazing voice and his lyrics and I like and there’s no reason, and I write a lot of lyrics but on this album I really wanted to have a singer that really made his stamp, I didn’t want to find a singer and say ‘hey sing this’, I had to find somebody that was completely unique and showed every type of strength that I was looking for. These qualities Henry has and could do everything I wanted vocally, but his lyrics are great, theme wise you’d really have to ask him as I don’t want to step on his toes. The lyrics for me when I listen to them from my perspective is I get a bunch of different meanings out of them, and his lyrics are really open and direct, and there’s kind of a dichotomy and there’s so many things you can get out of his lyrics and maybe it’s not exactly what he wrote, what he was thinking, but I get a great meaning out of it, you know what I mean? That’s the beauty of lyrics.

These aren’t short songs either, I think only a couple clocked under 5 minutes, what was the idea behind these longer tracks?
You know what, I didn’t even know they ended up as long as they did *laughs* the reason they ended up that long is because I was having fun. That shows you right there, if they were all clocking in around 3:30 people would be like, really, he’s following a formula. You can tell with the different times, one song is four minutes, then ‘The Last Night On Earth’ is clocking in at like nine minutes or whatever, there was no preconceived type of things with this record I kept writing until I thought the song was complete, I didn’t try and shorten songs, or try and make it radio friendly in a three – three and a half minute format, I was writing jams because the songs were just writing themselves and I was having so much fun writing in the studio and you know what I’m not going to worry about radio or whatever people say about that you need short songs to get on the radio, I really didn’t care man. You know what? I’m not going to compromise whatsoever with what I want to do with the record, so that’s what it took to get the songs to the right headspace and however long they turned out was when I knew the song was done.

Recording wise, you took on many of the duties in the studio, how did this differ for you compared to previous recording sessions?
In The Murderdolls when I did that thing I did bass and guitars as well, so it wasn’t that different, the music is completely different… but I have kind of an advantage, I’ve played guitar for so long, it’s the same right hand that’s the right hand that’s on my hi-hat or my ride cymbal, so I can walk in really well if that makes any sense, I know it’s the same person playing and I know exactly how to lock in exactly to my drums. When I was laying down rhythms, I didn’t have Jed or Kris at the time, so when I was looking for lead players, that’s how I ended up with Jed and Kris and I’m not a lead player like them, I was looking for not only lead players that can truly shine and I thought would really compliment the music, but also guys I could really get along with and respect as lead players as well. I’ve known Jed from Strapping Young Lad, I’ve known him for man, since 2000, and Kris on the other hand, I’d never met at all, he came recommended by James Murphy, me and Henry, he’s like a mutual acquaintance and I work with James on ‘Roadrunner United’ on a song called ‘Annihilation by the Hands of God’ and so it’s all kind of a little circle. Chris was recommended by him and he came in and we hit it off, he was super cool and super talented, we just got done with rehearsal five minutes before this call started, and just watching them downstairs, these guys are just amazing guitar players, it was awesome.

Do you go into a new project to try and differentiate yourself musically from what people know you as from say Slipknot or Murderdolls?
Yeah, that’s why this album is completely different, it’s another chapter in my life, it’s another musical endeavour and it’s another challenge for me, and that’s what so fun about the new record, I’m completely just starting from scratch again, that’s what I loved about forming this thing, everything’s new, so everything was wide open, there was no, ‘we’re going to be like this’ or ‘I want to write in this style’.  We kind of let the songs write themselves by me just being in the studio and just trial and error and whatever riffs I was hooking on and drum beats and all this stuff, I was just vibing in the studio all by myself where there was no outside influence, I wasn’t listening to any music at the time, I was just by myself in a studio, locked in and lived there and got in this headspace and just took myself there. I wasn’t thinking about Slipknot, I wasn’t thinking about management or labels or really anything man, and it was just me in there and I had the freedom and I wasn’t thinking about anything, and that’s the beauty of the record, I was just sitting down there jamming and we were sitting there playing the song ‘Never Forgive, Never Forget’ and I was playing and drifting off into a different mindset, I was just thinking away I remember sitting there writing this song upstairs on my couch watching some random thing on TV and I was just recording on a handheld record and now we’re down here jamming it ten months later, so it’s just cool to look at that kind of evolution.

Touring wise you’re out on the road now, how are the shows going?
Actually we’re not out right now, we’re going out right now, in a way we are on tour, we’re in last rehearsals. We did the Danzig tour, this is our second tour we’re going out on right now…

So I have to ask, when can we expect to see Scar The Martyr out heading to Australia?
You know what? We are actually in talks about that right now, so hopefully if all goes according to my master plan *laughs* it’ll be hopefully the beginning of next year…

I have an idea of what you might be talking about…
Yeah I think I’ve been down there before around that a few times.

Well you would be a great addition…
Thank you man, we hope so.

Do you mind if I ask about the status of Slipknot?
No not at all, the status of Slipknot is exactly how we left it. Everyone’s good, everyone talks to each other all the time, there’s material it’s just a matter of time of when we get around to it because everyone’s busy with other projects now. We’ve been doing Slipknot, well since I’ve been involved since ’95, and we’ve done so many amazing tours, four amazing album and in a way Slipknot is not like a normal band you know what I mean?, it’s so intense and it takes so much energy and not only is it a band, it’s now like a business, it’s crazy. We’ve been doing this band like I said since ’95 and when we do a record, once we get through an album cycle, we’re so drained, it’s so hard to just put yourself into it, we’ve made a record that is mind competing to get everything done to make the record, then you go out on tour and we’ve got the heavy coveralls, we’ve got the masks, we’ve got the crazy tour schedule, we’ve got all the pyro we use and all that stuff, it’s a huge show and I wouldn’t have it any other way. So when we do about fifteen months it’s almost impossible to get right back in there and make another Slipknot record, now these days, we did that right after the first Slipknot record we literally went right back in and did ‘Iowa’, ‘Iowa’ is still my favourite record *laughs* because at that time we came off the first record we did eighteen months and we were working on material on the road the entire time, actually did you know that we wrote ‘People = Shit’ actually in Australia, there you go, there’s a little trivia for ya, we were working on that at sound checks when we did our first tour of Australia. So we still toured all that year until October, so we were working on material all that time so we pretty much had that record ready to go as soon as we got done with the first album tour.

What does the future hold for Scar The Martyr?
Well right now we’ve done one tour, the record comes out in a few days and right now is just touring like crazy, we’re trying to tour as much as we can on this first record before I go back to Slipknot because Slipknot is going to make a monstrous record and we’re going to be out for a while, so we’re going to try and be out for a while, and it’s not just me as not everyone’s ready to go back to Slipknot right now, but what I can say is there is material and we will be making another record.

Well, at the moment let’s hope to see Scar The Martyr in say, hmm… February and see how we go…
That sounds awesome dude.

Essential information

From: Iowa, USA

Band members:  Joey Jordison – Drums, Henry Derek – Vocals, Chris Vrenna – Keyboards, Jed Simon – Guitars, Kris Norris -Guitars

Latest Release: Scar The Martyr (Out Now – Roadrunner Records Australia)

Website:  http://www.scarthemartyr.com/

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