Corey Taylor Talks New Recording Process Behind Stone Sour’s ‘Hydrograd,’ Wants to Write a Movie [Interview]
Slipknot / Stone Sour singer Corey Taylor was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. He discussed Stone Sour's highly-anticipated new album, Hydrograd, how the recording process differed from previous efforts, his new book, America 51, ambitions to write a movie and more. Check out the chat below.
How are you?
Good Jack. How are you doing?
Great to hear your voice and catch up again, it's been a minute. As usual, you've got a lot going on.
I've got a thousand things going on. [laughs]
Let's talk about the Stone Sour album that's going to be coming out this summer, Hydrograd. I've seen you talk about a lot and there seems to be a lot of excitement around this release.
People are really stoked. Every once in awhile you get that perfect kind of collision of your own excitement matching the excitement of the people who hear the material. Right now we're kind of feeling that kind of mutual excitement going on. We didn't realize just how excited people were gonna be until we really started playing it for people and they were just blown away by it. We only really played half the album. So it's a good problem to have as I am prone to say as the spirit takes me. It's just made us so pumped for people to hear the final product.
Johnny Chow has said the new album was recorded live and not pieced together with Pro Tools. Why does that make such a difference, especially with this album?
For anyone who is not used to hearing albums recorded a different way it really, right out of the gate, gives you a whole different perspective of how albums can be made. It's the difference between listening to a drum machine and listening to a real drummer like a drummer who can really play. It's the difference between listening to a Casio keyboard try to be a piano and listening to someone actually play a real piano. The difference can be slight but it can be overwhelmingly massive in the long run in retrospect.
The cool thing is that this band is so talented that we were like, "You know what? Let's go back to the old way of doing things," because a lot of people don't realize that's how albums were made. That's how albums were recorded. You would get everybody in a room, you'd bang it out, you'd go back in and layer some stuff, but you keep that energy and that's what we did. We really wanted to set a precedent with everything with this album by making it so different from everything else that's out there and keeping that alive spirit; the spirit of rock 'n' roll that we have been chasing.
Corey, you've already been a part of some really great albums. Why are you even more enthusiastic talking about Hyrdrograd?
The cool thing about this album and why I'm so stoked about it is that I've been wanting to make a real true hard rock, rock 'n' roll album for a very long time. It's nothing against any of the albums that I've made before. I've been very fortunate to have made some really successful albums. I've been very fortunate to have the latitude to be able to pursue all these creative musical creations.
With this one, the reason I'm so stoked about it is because it is such — I don't want to say a departure, but it is so reflective of that type of album that I've wanted to make for a very long time. It really feels like a greatest hits rock 'n' roll playlist when you put it on and you listen to it from top to bottom. It just has so many different musical spirits; so many different kinds of good hard rock, metal, punk, rock 'n' roll. There's even some bluesy California country on it which is really really cool. We went all out on this album and it paid off in so many different dividends that it is going to blow people away and that's why we are so... that's why I'm so excited about it. I'm still listening to it. That's how good it is.
Corey, the last two Stone Sour albums were two-part concept albums. How did doing something as involved as concept albums affect what you wanted to do next, or not do with Hyrdograd?
Doing the House of Gold & Bones albums really showed me that our audience — our fan base — was so ready to hear something so... they were ready to hear something that was more versatile and more, kind of not spastic but just more — just more all over the place, basically. More about experimenting, more trying out different things and seeing what stuck. That really proved to us that our audience was ready to listen to whatever we had.
The success of those two albums really paved the way for being able to make Hyrdrograd because we took all of those things and ideas and styles and concepts and musical directions and we honed them down to 15 killer songs. We really put a lot of energy and effort into making sure it was exactly what we wanted. Yeah, it kind of set the stage for everything we wanted to do with Hyrdrograd. That's why it was so important for us to do the House of Gold & Bones albums.
Stone Sour are a very different band than your other band, Slipknot, of course. How conscious are you about using different creative methods and performing techniques depending on which band you’re working with?
I'm conscious, but I'm also unconscious because it comes very easily. It's the whole reason why I love doing both in the first place because I'm allowed to be able to do different stuff. If it was just a lighter version of the same music, then it would be different. With Stone Sour there's such a specifically different sound going on that it makes it very easy for me to kind of let go and try different artistic approaches: different approaches live, building different shows and different sets.
Really, between the two bands it allows me to be kind of an all purpose versatile frontman, singer. It really lets me evolve and try different things and strengthen ideas that work. It's just the best of both worlds of me. I'm very fortunate to be able to do both of them. So when I get to work on one or the other, the difference is, especially creatively, they come really easily.
Corey, your fourth book, America 51, is going to be published later on this year, yeah?
Oh yeah. It's looking like August.
What have you learned after writing four books that's made you an even better writer?
I've learned that I don't ever want to write another political book ever again, [laughs]. It was so heavy. Even coming at it from a sociopolitical standpoint, knowing that I'm more in the middle than I am left or right, it really was exhaustive. I did a lot of research. I did a lot of soul searching when it came to trying to figure out where I was in this social climate. Trying to be just, supremely honest in a day and age where by doing that you may or may not turn off a part of your fanbase.
There is stuff in this book that might turn off people who are Republicans and it will definitely turn off people who are Democrats. At the same time, I think it needs — it's kind of that time to say things that shake things up. It's kind of that time to say things and try to get people to talk to each other instead of screaming at each other. That was the whole reason why I wanted to write it. However, I will never write a political book ever again, man. It is time consuming. It's an angry book too, so I can't wait to see what people's reactions are [laughs].
You're already established yourself as a musician and a writer. What other forms of expression would you like to apply your talent and personality to?
You know, it's a damn good question. I definitely want to do more acting. I've been hit up for a couple of more acting gigs and where I can, I try and thread the needle and fit it in with the time that I have. As far as that goes, I really really want to write a movie and see it kind of made, take it from the concept stage to the premiere. Take it all through the stages that encompasses that. I've got some real cool ideas, at least I think, for movies and I would love to see that happens. I don’t know if it ever will, but here's to hoping. It could be something really, really cool.
Where are you going to find the time? [laughs]
Yeah, right? [laughs] And trust me, I try and find time and that's also while trying to be a dad and a husband. It's just, I think the best problem I ever had was the fact that I have too many interests.
Do you sleep?
Yeah, but I'm up every morning at like 6:30AM or 7:00AM. Sleeping in for me — look I'm not bragging, I got to sleep in until 8:00AM the other day and I was on cloud nine, man. I woke up, I stretched, I went, 'Eight o'clock!? What is it, my birthday!? This is amazing!'
Thanks to Corey Taylor for the interview. Pre-orders for Stone Sour's 'Hydrograd' can be placed at Amazon or digitally through iTunes. Catch them on tour this summer with Korn (dates here) and find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show at this location.
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