Corey Taylor has spoken to NME about finishing the recording his “darker, heavier” solo album ‘CMF2’. Check out exclusive photos from the sessions below, alongside our interview with Taylor.
- READ MORE: Corey Taylor – ‘CMFT’ review: the most fun record the Slipknot frontman has ever produced
The follow-up to 2020’s ‘CMFT’ was first teased earlier this year, with Taylor telling fans they weren’t ready for the “bigger, better” album. Speaking to NME, Taylor has now promised that ‘CMF2’ is “going to be the best rock album of this year, and the next.”
“I can’t wait for people to hear this album,” he said. “It chews up that first record and spits it out. It’s more dialled-in with everything people expect from me, so it’s got hints of ‘CMFT’ but there are also hints of Slipknot, Stone Sour and all the stuff I’ve done in my acoustic shows. It’s got everything for everybody. People are going to fucking lose it.”
The “darker, heavier” collection of songs will feature tracks written across Taylor’s career. “Some fans will recognise a few from other projects that I’ve done while others were written just before we went into the studio,” he said.
“I was really inspired by my band, but also the reaction that the first solo run had, where people leaned into everything,” he continued. “They liked the acoustic stuff, they liked the heavy stuff, they liked the fun stuff. We wanted to make a hybrid thing, but not have it feel chaotic.”
Speaking about the success of his debut solo album, Taylor said that “it definitely emboldened me to run even further. It felt really good to know that there’s trust there from the fans.”
Influenced by different decades of music, Taylor explained how there are songs that pull from the same ‘80s rock that inspired his debut. “There’s also ‘90s grunge, ‘70s punk and the hard-hitting shit that I helped create in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, he said. “It’s a bit of everything, but it was important for us to make it feel fresh.
“There’s a dark, solemn acoustic song called ‘Sorry Me’ that’s got a very old school vibe to it, ‘Talk-Sick’ still has an ‘80s feel to it, but it’s more of a Guns N’ Roses vibe which was always the stuff that made you want to run through walls and the first single ‘Beyond’ is going to blow people the fuck away,” added Taylor. “This album is definitely more of a punch in the face.”
He continued: “The stuff that largely inspires me comes from the stuff I grew up listening to; street hip-hop, punk, metal and all the shit that feels like it came from someplace that I can relate to and identify with.”
However, there are some newer bands where “you can feel them leaning into the passion.”
“Turnstile are fucking amazing,” he said. “Sleep Token are really starting to do something for me, and Bad Omens are great. There’s a whole new generation of bands that are starting to come up that are carrying the flag for heavy music.”
Speaking about Sleep Token, could Corey Taylor be their mysterious, masked leader Vessel?
“No,” he replied. “Listen, I’ve got more than enough going on. I don’t need a fourth band.”
Taylor was also inspired by the recent mainstream resurgence of guitar music, and wanted ‘CMF2’ released to show people how rock should be done.
“There are some good bands out there but for the most part, everything is so soft,” he explained. “It’s the exact opposite of what we had before, where people didn’t want to call themselves ‘rock’. Now, people call themselves rock when it’s actually way more alternative. When are these artists going to take the gloves off? Stop holding back and just fucking go for it. Everything sounds the same.”
He continued: “There’s no reason to make music if you can’t fucking feel it. There has to be a heartbeat to it or it’s just another commercial that you’re trying to get through to get to the next show. With this album, I’m walking in like Hiroshima and I don’t give a fuck what anybody says.”
‘CMFT’ was said to be a “party record” that also touched on subjects like politics (‘Culture Head’) and addiction (‘Silverfish’). Taylor said that the follow-up explores a similar range of topics. “I was trying to make it more aggressive and more urgent thought,” he revealed. “‘We Are The Rest’ is very aggressively about the fact the upper 10 per cent of society kinda sucks and the rest of us are underneath them saying, ‘Fuck you, we’re not going to let you hold us back from succeeding’. It’s very anthemic in a weird way.”
There’s also a track called ‘Punch Line’ which “leans into the sarcasm of narcissism,” while ‘Post Traumatic Blues’ deals with “PTSD and the depression and aloneness that comes with it.”
“It’s an aggressive song though,” said Taylor. “It really runs right out of the gate. It’s trying to get you off your ass and move around, not necessarily to change things but just to make you feel better. As an abuse victim, I’ve struggled with that my whole life. It’s also a nod to the people I’ve met through the Taylor Foundation that deal with it on a constant basis. It’s a rallying cry.”
Taylor and the rest of his band – bassist Eliot Lorango, drummer Dustin Robert, guitarists Christian Martucci and Zach Throne – have been chipping away at the songs for ‘CMF2′ over the last couple of years. It was just as well, because they only gave themselves four days to rehearse the 26 songs they wanted to record.
“Our musical rapport is just really strong,” said Taylor, revealing that the recording wrapped up quicker than he expected. “They know I trust them implicitly to not only get what I’m trying to convey, but also to make things bigger and better. We did 26 songs in six weeks, from soup to nuts. It was special.”
Not all 26 songs will make it onto ‘CMF2’ though. “I’m not trying to go down the King Crimson route. I’m not there yet,” said Taylor when asked about the possibility of a double album. “There are 13 songs on the album that made sense together and really hit, but I’m also holding stuff back because I love the reaction the b-sides album got last time.”
So far, the tentative plan for ‘CMF2’ is to release the first single ‘Beyond’ in May after a short tour alongside Cherry Bombs. “We’re aiming for an eventual September release that’ll fall in the middle of a tour we’re plotting now. Obviously, the best way to make God laugh is to announce your plans though.”
Despite the “darker edge and harder tone” to ‘CMF2’, the album was “built specifically to play live,” said Taylor.
Teasing ‘CMF2’ earlier this year, Taylor told fans “instead of where I came from, this is where I’m going.” Does this mean there are many more solo albums to come?
“Absolutely – it’s almost a weird peace I’ve found myself in,” he replied. “For the longest time, I always felt very comfortable in a band situation. A lot of the time, people look to you as the de facto leader but maybe you’re not necessarily the one who’s making the decisions. It can also be a lethargic process trying to get people on the same page.”
He added: “With this, it’s so gratifying. It’s so much fun recording, but it’s also been played by dudes who know what the fuck they’re doing and love the music. It’s a cool vibe. It’s a fun vibe. I think people can see that camaraderie. This project has definitely reignited my love for playing music. It’s kind of showing me what my future is going to be, for better or for worse.”
Talking about his ambitions, Taylor said: “The reason I make music now is for the same reasons I started doing it 30 plus years ago. It’s because I love doing it.”
That said, the singer revealed that he’s also inspired by the news of Ozzy Osbourne’s impending retirement from touring.
“He’s earned it,” said Taylor. “For me, I am willing and able to take on that torch, if needs be. To have a quarter of what he’s achieved, that’s the goal. I just want to play big shows, take out younger bands, make music with friends of mine and have a fucking blast. They’re goals that are very much achievable. It’ll be cool to be able to take this to the world and see what happens. I mean, go big or fuck off, right?“
Taylor’s currently gearing up for a busy 2023 as he looks to launch ‘CMF2’ and start wrapping up the tour cycle for Slipknot’s 2022 album ‘The End, So Far’. There’s also ongoing work with his Taylor Foundation, building up the Famous Monsters Of Filmland brand and “juggling dad stuff with rock stuff”. But is the release of “lost” Slipknot record ‘Look Outside Your Window’ on the cards?
The record was recorded by Slipknot members Sid Wilson, Jim Root, Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan and Taylor at the same time as 2008’s ‘All Hope Is Gone’ and late last year, Clown said it could be released as early as April 1, 2023.
“’Look Outside your Window’ is Clown’s baby. Slipknot is Clown’s baby,” said Taylor. “I punch a clock and then I punch out. It’s so funny, every year or two I get an email about ‘Look Outside Your Window’ and how it’s coming out. I’m just as stoked as everybody else because dude, I don’t even have a copy. I have a version from 10 years ago that I don’t even think is the same mix that they’re dealing with. I don’t even fucking know the songs are going on this album, that’s how out of the loop I am.”
Taylor added: “I was a guest star on that album anyway, so your guess is as good as mine. It’s so fascinating that something that started as a demo has become the Holy Grail. If you only knew how that album came about and the pain it caused… I hope people dig it but I honestly hope it never gets released because there are so many expectations about it now. It’s like that Wu Tang Clan album that only whatisfuck (Martin Shkreli) has a copy of. It’s almost better to just wonder.”
More news on the release of Taylor’s new album ‘CMF2’ will follow in the months ahead.
Slipknot meanwhile, are gearing up for a busy summer of touring and festivals – including a headline slot at Download 2023 alongside Metallica and Bring Me The Horizon in June. Visit here for tickets and more information.