Slipknot has made it very clear that their latest record The End, So Far – their final with Roadrunner – is a closing of one chapter and the start of a brand new song. Now in an interview with NME, Slipknot percussionist and founding member Shawn "Clown" Crahan said that new chapter might be more singles-focused. Or as he puts it, "absolute albums are going to be a thing of the past" because "physical product is becoming obsolete."
"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.
"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 [singer] 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."
Clown certainly has a point, in that albums are generally 10+ songs long… but you're not going to release 10 singles. So a good chunk of albums go by the wayside on streaming services as the singles continue to gain traction. Not to say that there aren't people out there that don't appreciate full albums – I'm one of 'em – but the business landscape in 2022 seems to favor singles much more. Even if there are over 100,000 of them hitting Spotify every single day.
So how would doing singles instead of albums go for Slipknot? Clown elaborates.
"I've always thought it would be interesting for our fans to know more about us. So if the Clown and 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?"
"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."