Corey Taylor's new album ‘CMF2’ is out today (September 15), so we caught up with the Slipknot frontman to hear about the musical aims and writing process behind his latest solo release.
You can read the full interview inside Issue 300 of Rock Sound, available now for preorder alongside an exclusive Corey t-shirt, only at SHOP.ROCKSOUND.TV.
Check out an extended extract from the interview below:
RS: You really seem to use this as an opportunity to explore all manner of musical influences. It felt like you were almost like tipping your hat in places to artists that have clearly inspired you growing up.
COREY: “Oh, absolutely. There are so many people I have not had the chance to to acknowledge, to thank. Music kept me alive. Music was the only source of happiness for me for the longest time, you know, from when I was a kid, all the way up until even into my 20s. Music was the only thing that made me feel something other than horrible about myself. I’ve had a chance to show my respect over the years because of Slipknot and Stone Sour. I’ve been able to talk about my influences but there’s still so many out there that I really want to acknowledge. There’s also going to be this album that comes out with all the ‘B-Sides’ stuff. In addition to the covers, it’s not just acoustic versions, it’s actually leftover originals that didn’t make the first album. So it’s always evolving. It’s everything that I’ve ever wanted to do and I’m finally getting to do it now. Because I’m the boss, and I get to fucking make the decisions.”
RS: When you are writing in these different genre styles, does your process remain the same as it would with the band? Or do you have to go into a different headspace to approach it?
COREY: “That’s a good question, man. I think for me, when it comes to songwriting, I’m a psycho, especially if I get a great idea in my head. I will worry at it, and toil on it for a minute. I’ll keep coming back to it until I feel like I’ve wrapped my head around at least the arrangement, then I have a firmer grasp, musically, of what I want to hear. But here’s where I’m different than other people – when I bring it in, and I demo it for the rest of the guys, I play everything. And it’s really just meat and potatoes. So I’ll play bass, I play the drums, I play the guitars, I’ll do it all on the keyboards, the piano, whatever is necessary, I bring it in. And largely it’s just bare bones. And I’ll go, ‘okay, today, I want you to do your thing, Zach (Throne, guitarist)’. We have such a great musical language together that they get what I’m saying and we can kind of vibe off of it. And nine times out of ten everything that they come up with stays, because it’s fucking rad. I think that’s one of the reasons why it’s so different from other solo groups. Because to me, it’s a group effort, you know what I mean? And that allows them not only to put a little more creativity into it, but to put a little more heart into it, because we know we’re doing it together.”
RS: The artwork for the album shows many of your different outfits from over the years, including with Slipknot. Does it feel like you are playing different characters when you approach these songs and styles?
COREY: “The funny thing is that whenever I’m singing a song by a different person, I invariably try to mimic their voice. So if I’m singing a Bowie song, I immediately start to almost go into Bowie’s vibe, you know. I don’t know if I necessarily slip into a different character in the music but there’s definitely a different timbre to my voice. It’s definitely something that changes. If you listen to the song ‘Midnight’ and the kind of solemnness that I’m trying to convey, especially in the first part of that song, and then compare it with the joy that I feel on ‘Someday I’ll Change Your Mind’. There’s a natural, almost a lightness that comes from that song. And then the very next song is ‘All I Want Is Hate’, it’s just such a different kind of screamer. I don’t know if it’s a different character, but it’s just different sides of my personality. It’s definitely wearing my influences on my sleeve. It’s definitely sharing the emotions that we all feel. I feel like this album is kind of a throwback album anyway. So it’s really what people used to do. It didn’t have to be a fucking straight line of music. It didn’t have to be, you know, okay, I have to play the same person over and over and over and over and over. Now it’s just whatever that song needed. You lent that emotion for that song. It’s about not just showing different characters, but it’s just about showing different sides of the same person. Because none of us are the same person all the fucking time.”
RS: ‘Beyond’ is another one of the songs you have held onto for a long time. What was it about that track that endured for you?
COREY: “The chorus was so catchy on that song but the rest of the song wasn’t. I hung on to it for a while and I knew, one of these days, I’m gonna restructure this and play with it and try to find a riff that works with it. Once I had time to focus on it, I knew that I was going to put it on ‘CMF2’. Let’s strip this thing to the studs and start filling in the blanks and making the rest of the song match just how good this fucking chorus is. I rewrote the lyrics of the verses and took it into a place that I didn’t think it really necessarily was at the time. Sped it up a little bit, gave a little more danger to it. And that was the key. That was what cracked the code on it. So the only thing I kept really was the chorus and the bridge. Then once I had that dialled in, I was like, ‘this fucker is gonna play’, you know, and when we recorded it, and we demoed it, everyone that we played it for said this one was special. And I was like, well, there’s your first single.”
‘CMF2’ is out now. Listen below: