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Interviews   

Joey Jordison runs at full speed


Slipknot’s rhythmic mastermind Joey Jordison is an artist with an insatiable creativity just like Corey Taylor – frontman of the Nine from Des Moines – who also steers the Stone Sour boat with success while the rest of the Slipknot crew remains docked. After the Murderdolls adventure with Wednesday 13 was brought to an end earlier this year, maybe for good this time, the drummer had to find another outlet to channel his exuberant desire to create. It’s now done with Scar The Martyr. As he stresses in the following interview, Scar The Martyr is a band and not a project; and creating an “all-star band” was far from his mind even though the presence of Kris Norris (Darkest Hour) or ex-Nine Inch Nails Chris Vrenna could have given some of us the wrong idea.

If Joey Jordison has decided to put together this new band, it is first and foremost to write good songs. In order to prevent the audience from thinking it is indeed an “all-star band”, Joey hired an unknown (maybe not for long) singer, named Henry Dereck, with whom he has worked on building this intensely-metal act with an industrial inch. In spite of everything that is happening, Slipknot remains Joey Jordison’s head office. The new band was therefore created so that his qualities of songwriter and multi-instrumentalist could find a new cradle and enable him to write his own personal story as a frontman, accompanied by musicians suited for the titles he composed.

Considering Slipknot, Joy Jordison would like to reassure the fans by saying that “there’s some Slipknot material on the horizon,” “a bunch of songs” even, as the band is working on “getting this record out.” It is therefore “just time that [they] get to them” and they see the light.

« This is like what I was hearing in my head, this is like the record I wanted to make for a long time. »

Radio Metal: On this project, your influences are mainly industrial bands. Can you tell us more about this specific taste you have for industrial music?

Joey Jordison: Well, I won’t say it’s totally industrial but it definitely did play an influence, for sure. So yes it’s very apparent on the record. I’ve been into that flavored music for a long time and, if I was going to do something outside of Slipknot, I wanted to do another band or project, whatever you want to call it, that I had not done before. All the songs that I’ve done, like in the Roadrunner United or in Murderdolls and the bands that I’ve played with like Rob Zombie, Korn or Ministry, they all have a specific style. I wanted to do a project that went into a musical territory that I had not experimented with totally yet. You know, I wanted to do something that was challenging. So, when I started writing riffs, initially, it wasn’t going in that direction, it was just a very dark heavy record and it had a lot of black metal influences. And then over time, I started to concentrate more on the songs and then after that, I wanted a lot of keyboard influence, because I bring a lot of Killing Joke influence and some Skinny Puppy influence and Tool as well. And still keeping it all heavy, very guitar oriented and pummeling. I definitely wanted that Industrial effect on top of it to make it more unique.

You wrote the album by yourself, with the help of Henry Derek. Do you think that in the next albums, if there are more albums, other members will contribute to the writing process?

Yes, for sure, because Kris Norris from Darkest Hour and Jed Simon from Strapping Young Lad, and Chris Vrenna from Nine Inch Nails and Tweaker… Those were all guys that came in and did… the guitar players did their leads and then Kriss put his stamp on the record, like all the keyboards and stuff like that… But as far as the writing process, for the next record all the guys are going to be involved.

Do you see Scar The Martyr as a band or as your solo project?

No, it’s a band, I don’t like doing things that are just… you know, like one ass. If it was going to be something like that, I probably wouldn’t have picked such serious members, I guess it’s the way to say it. I would just do it myself and I would just put out projects and not tour, and just do it on my side like that. I might do it in the future, but this is a proper band. I mean, we really concentrate hard on the songs, and they’re really in that, and we really put our all into this record, so it’s definitely a touring band.

You recorded the drums, bass guitar and almost every guitar parts on this album. You pretty much did everything on this record! Can we say that it’s the most personal thing you’ve ever done?

Yes, for sure! Positively, yes. I mean, when I really came down to it, the song writing was really personal. This is like what I was hearing in my head, this is like the record I wanted to make for a long time. You know, I’m very prominent in the Slipknot songs right in the course, but it doesn’t sound like Slipknot until we have all nine guys on it! Every guy brings their own thing to the base of the songs, that’s what make Slipknot sound so chaotic. With this, I pretty much wrote the majority of the material. But at the same time, I needed keyboards on it, I needed percussion on it, I needed two different lead players, I needed a vocalist that’s very versatile. And it came out really good, man, I’m like super proud of it.

« I definitely wanted that sound and I’d been looking for a while and just couldn’t find anyone that fit the bill. And I like the fact that he [Henry Dereck]’s hungry, that he’s unknown. »

The name of the band has a religious connotation, because of the term “Martyr”. Can you tell us more about the meaning of the name of the band?

You know, I knew I would get a lot of questions like this! But basically, it’s kind of a play on words, without getting too involved in religious aspects. I kind of leave it up to the listeners because that’s a very tongue-in-cheek title.

About your singer, Henry Derek, you declared that you didn’t want to hire a well-known vocalist because you didn’t want this project to be seen as a “super-band”. Can you tell us more about how did you meet and recruit him?

Yeah, I met Henry through a mutual friend. Tom from Gorgoroth and also James Murphy (LCD Sound System), that’s how we got Kriss. So, it’s guys that we’ve known in the scene for a while who kind of made recommendations and stuff like that, because I had never met Kriss before. Henry was a guy that I’ve found through a mutual friend, I sent him some demos and he hit me back with like four songs. And… I was very surprised with what I heard because I wasn’t expecting that, you know? It went beyond what I was looking for. I mean, I definitely wanted that sound and I’d been looking for a while and just couldn’t find anyone that fit the bill. And I like the fact that he’s hungry, that he’s unknown and his vocals are just amazing. And they fit the music perfectly.

You also declared about this project: “I focus my efforts on writing for the better of the songs”. Do you think that nowadays bands tend to forget this and write music to satisfy their ego?

Yeah, exactly. Thank you for saying that actually, because that’s the best way to put it. It’s not like a big drums solo record, which I think a lot of people would maybe possibly think… or with two versatile guitar players, be more… I don’t know shredder-oriented or something like that… But no, this is all about the songs. And writing good songs, something that the audience can grab on to, something that resonates in your head! That was the goal of even doing a project. Because the flash is cool and stuff like that, but no, we’re on the same page, we want to make songs. That’s what I get off on! Songs that I can sink my teeth into. I don’t like flash projects, you know when it’s a bunch of soloing and ego tripping on an instrument and stuff like that. There are sections of that in the songs only if it calls for it. We wanted something that was infectious and that people can grab and hold on to.

Can we say that this project is born of the frustration of not doing anything new with Slipknot?

No, not really. Of course we all want… we’re working towards getting in a new Slipknot record, that’s why we’re doing shows and stuff like that right now. But on the time that I’ve had off, I needed to make music, I needed to be creative. And I went into the studio and start demoing a bunch of songs and then it kind of became a monster on its own, it kind of took over! I became like a part of this thing that I kept creating, I couldn’t stop. Then I wanted vocals on it, so I searched for a while and found Henry, I sent him songs and he sent me demos back. And after that I was like OK, I booked studio time, you know, and he started writing a couple of songs too, he sent them to me, I wrote some more and sent to him… After that I started looking for people to complete the line up as far as who I think would complement the songs the most. And that’s how I decided on Kriss Norris, Jed Simon and Chris Vrenna.

And did you use all the material you wrote at that time for Scar The Martyr?

There are more songs! Yes, there are more songs but we haven’t recorded them, I don’t know how many there is, it’s probably up to seven? They’re really good too.

Will all these songs be used for Scar The Martyr or will you keep some of them to use within Slipknot?

No, I have a bunch of Slipknot songs written. I still do that all the time. There is a bunch of songs written for Slipknot, it’s just time that we get to them.

« Slipknot is my main project, no matter what. »

What can you tell us about those songs that are written but not recorded yet for Slipknot and Scar The Martyr?

Basically, we ran out of time for the Scar the Martyr project. We already had like up to nineteen tracks, so that was more than enough. So we definitely wanted to save some for the future, we were writing all the way up until we literally had to stop. We’re always writing and we’re even writing more now, you know, sitting there and playing with guitars… I’m always trying to write at least a skeleton of a song a week when I’m home, sitting and demoing with a little recorder. Even with my phone to record some riffs… So I just have like a plethora of riffs to work on new material. Same thing with Slipknot, we have a bunch of songs, but right now, the priority is getting this record out, touring it and at the same we’ll probably do Slipknot shows too.

So there will be a tour with Scar The Martyr?

Yes, there will be a tour.

Do you have some shows scheduled yet?

No, right now we’re almost done with the mix of the record, so it will be maybe at the end of this year or around this area.

Corey Taylor seems to be focused more on Stone Sour and so are you with Scar The Martyr and you’re very enthusiastic about it. Can we say somehow that Scar The Martyr is now your main project and Slipknot is a secondary project?

No, I would never say that Slipknot is my second project or is on the back burner. Slipknot is my main project, no matter what.

Do you have one last thing to say?

Just thanks to all the fans and everyone that has read the interview. There’s some Slipknot material on the horizon and be sure to check out the Scar The Matyr release! Thanks for the support!

Interview conducted by phone on June 26th 2013 by Metal’O Phil
Introduction: Amphisbaena
Transcription: Amphisbaena

Scar The Martyr’s official website: scarthemartyr.com

Album Scar The Martyr, out since October 1st 2013 via Roadrunner Records



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