This October, the small army that is Slipknot will be invading our shores under the banner of their latest album .5: The Grey Chapter. It’s a rare spectacle to see them performing in a headline capacity, one that is sure to instil twice the shock and horror of their festival performance at Soundwave 2014.
Prior to their impending arrival, we spoke to founding member, integral force and percussionist Clown, A.K.A Number 6, A.K.A Shawn Crahan.
Music Feeds: It’s been a while since you were here for a headline run. You were last in town for Soundwave 2015 and our ears are still ringing. How do you plan on blowing our minds in a headline capacity?
Shawn Crahan: I think just the intimacy will be enough. We’ve got a new album we’re supporting, Australia has not seen any of the new songs, so besides just the new songs I think just the intimacy; being out of the festival circumference and coming into what we really love – the intimacy between just us and our fans with an opener is fantastic and I think that’s going to be mind blowing for everyone.
MF: How are you finding the album goes down live with both fans and the band?
SC: It goes down great. For a while – the past two years – we were opening our shows with the song Sarcastrophe which is off the new record. That is a big statement seeing as most of our career we’ve either opened up with People = Shit, Surfacing or Sick. Very rarely will we get out of that mindset and Sarcastrophe felt just like Sick used to back in the day.
I mean, at one time we played more songs off the new record than we did off the old ones, we had to pull a couple back to make it fair but we’re just having such a good time with this new album. It’s a lot of fun to play, we did a lot of work, we went through a really hard time in our life so I guess it really reflects in our passion for the new songs. People are gonna love it.
MF: That must be a really rewarding feeling, knowing new songs have resonated so successfully with fans.
SC: I don’t really look for success in any album. They’re paintings that get hung up on different walls in my brain. They’re really just therapy sessions. I didn’t get into rock and roll to make albums I got into rock and roll to play music, to literally play it with my friends. Like I said, they’re like therapy sessions, you get your problems out – whatever’s at hand and what needs to be discussed and you give it to the world.
MF: Speaking of albums, Iowa turned 15 this year. Is that a bit of a head trip?
SC: People talk so much about Iowa! I think it’s great but I think it’s more the time period that reflects on people more. The time of the world back then, it was a very intense place and I think Slipknot was right in the groove of being able to express what was happening in the world and it left quite an impact.
I love all of our albums equally. I can’t pick one over the other but that was one of the hardest album cycles physically, mentally and everything – there were a lot of problems that went on. I really appreciate that people love that record so much but it also fascinates me.
MF: It seems as though every Slipknot fan has one album in particular they are wildly obsessed with, knowing just how much Iowa, and its follow ups mean to your fans, how complicated is it to put together a set list that keeps everyone happy?
SC: What has been done in the past is what works, and what does Corey want to do – we have to take into account singing and guitar tuning. They can go back and change guitars any time they want but we usually just like to rock and go. So we’ll put the Drop B songs in a certain chunk then the Drop A songs in a certain chunk then Corey thinks about melody then we think about comparison.
For example, we would never put The Blister Exists and Psychosocial next to each other. Why? Because they both have marching snares in them. So we want to spread them out. So you have to think about the vibe and tempo for the fans and how to pace what they need.
They need a great rock show and they want to be whisked away with their favourite songs. You want to make sure they ‘get it’ and they can ‘get to it’ also. If you make it confusing it’s hard to get any of it. Sometimes we put songs that we want in the set and it goes right over the fans’ heads and they’re like “what the hell?” [Laughs] It’s a difficult thing to do.
MF: You’ve taken your slipknot brand festival Knotfest to a few Japan times now. Japan is so, very close; will you ever bring Knotfest all the way Down Under?
SC: I’m pretty positive we will. It’s a small thing; the world needs to know that it’s a destination spot. We don’t want to just take it out on the road, we won’t want to make a proper tour of it right now. Maybe along time from now that might be something but right now it’s a destination spot.
Part of the reason why it’s working is because we’re taking our time. We have a promoter over in Japan who wanted it, they really, really, really wanted Knotfest. So we spent a couple of years working on it. We went over there and did two shows and it was incredible so we came back.
It’s a lot of people involved – of course the band members want to go there, we know the fans want it to go there but it takes a promoter, it takes a facility, it takes the right weekend – it takes the right everything.
The good news is we’re on our third year, we’ve done a couple of Japan and things are rocking. Australia is another home to us, as is South America, as is Europe so I imagine this trip to Australia will really determine whether we could get something like Knotfest down there.
MF: The Grey Chapter will soon be turning two years old, has there been any talk of new material yet or am I asking too much?
SC: We’re gonna take some well-needed time off. We’ve been touring for over 2 years. People in the band want to go out and do their thing, which we all support because you need time. But some of us in the band are going to start writing right away. Anybody in the band that wants to write, we’re going to try to make it so we can take a couple of months off and start working.
We have a certain idea where we want to go and it’s going to take a long time. We’re going to start early, some of us, and as people can, they’re going to join and we’re going to build this thing and when it’s appropriate and the right time we’re going to release it to the world.
MF: Clown, man, thanks so much for the chat
SC: Watch out, we’re coming.
Slipknot’s Australian tour with Lamb Of God will kick off this October. See dates and ticketing details below.
Gallery: Slipknot @ Soundwave 2015 Melbourne / Photos By Brett Schewitz
Slipknot 2016 Australian & New Zealand Tour
Supported by Lamb Of God
Tickets on sale now
Wednesday, 26th October
Vector Arena, Auckland
Tickets: Live Nation
Friday, 28th October
Entertainment Centre, Brisbane
Tickets: Live Nation
Saturday, 29th October
Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney
Tickets: Live Nation
Monday, 31st October
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
Tickets: Live Nation