Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan hints at Slipknot’s pivot to single-based releases: “Physical product is becoming obsolete”

“Look at what we can do when we are free to dip our paintbrushes anywhere”

According to Slipknot percussionist Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan, the iconic nu-metallers may look to abandon their traditional album-based release patterns.

During a new interview with NME – where Clown detailed Knotfest’s upcoming debut in Australia – the artist (who doubles as Slipknot’s de facto “creative director”) opened up about the band’s newfound independence; after signing to Roadrunner Records in July of 1998, their contract was officially completed with the release of their seventh album, ‘The End, So Far’, back in September.

Noting that Slipknot will be fully independent as of March 31, 2023, Clown gushed that he was “in love with the idea of having no restrictions”. He explained: “I always thought, ‘What would it be like if Slipknot was big enough that we weren’t held to albums?’ Let’s say Clown could convince you, ‘Hey, instead of waiting two years for 12 songs, I’m gonna give you one song every month.’ So in reality, I’m shaving a year off for the same thing.

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“You have to go with me on this journey, but what I promise you is, there’s artwork that goes with it, there’s utility that goes with it, it’s cheaper than what a normal individual song would be… And it’s gone through all the filters – it’s gone through the band, it’s gone through Corey Taylor, it’s gone through a professional mixer and masterer – no avenues have been chopped up, it’s all business as usual. And we want to do this because I think it’s time for you, our fans, to get everything.”

As for why Clown considers this a viable strategy to release Slipknot’s future material, he declared that “absolute albums are going to be a thing of the past” because “physical product is becoming obsolete”. 

He went on to explain that if they were unrestrained by the confines of a traditional album, the band may also look to experiment more with their sound. “I’ve always thought it would be interesting for our fans to know more about us,” he said, “So if the Clown and [frontman] Corey Taylor and [guitarist] Jim Root were all interested in playing with the Number One sitar player on the planet – and we would be because we’re artists – and we brought this person to our location, and this person adorned us with their craft and taught us about the sitar… If we got to sit in and listen, and partake, and touch and smell and feel that vibration… Wouldn’t it be interesting?”

This, Clown said, is possible now specifically because of Slipknot’s independence. He explained: “Let’s say that sitar player’s on a label and they have management – well fuck it, I’m going to call them up directly and they’re only going to have to talk to their label, and their label’s going to have to talk to my management. It’s not going to be my label and their label, and my management and their management, and then me and the artists. [When it’s like that], we never get to work together; we never get to make this piece of art. So being free, in that sense, gives us the freedom to explore deeper, more surreal opportunities to hone in with our craft; it’s a win-win for everyone.

“The philosophy is for the fans to be sucked into thought, rather than just heavy metal, record labels, video channels, radio… No, it’s the love of music – you love us as artists, you love our band, you know we have our own filter… Look at what we can do when we are free to dip our paintbrushes anywhere.”

Last month, Taylor told NME that Slipknot parted ways with Roadrunner due to changes at the label. “It’s such a different label than it was when we first signed with it,” he said. “Once you’re in the hands of people who don’t care, it’s just a fucking business. And that’s what happened.”

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‘The End, So Far’ marked the band’s final release on Roadrunner, arriving on September 30 with singles including ‘The Chapeltown Rag’, ‘The Dying Song (Time To Sing)’ and ‘Yen’. In a four-star review of the album, NME’s Andrew Trendell said it “may rattle many of the metal faithful, but for the prowess and lasting impression of this record alone, this is a true Slipknot record”.

Last week saw Slipknot announce the Australian debut of Knotfest. The inaugural edition will be held in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in March, with the line-up also featuring Megadeth, Parkway Drive, Trivium, Knocked Loose and more.

Earlier this week, too, Slipknot announced a nine-date European tour for next June. There is currently no word on potential UK dates being added, but last month, Taylor addressed rumours that Slipknot will headline the 2023 edition of Download.

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