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Slipknot: The natural progression towards ‘The End, So Far’

While Slipknot might be a nine-headed, complex beast, that doesn’t mean that they’ve completed their evolution. With their new album The End, So Far, the band have emerged from their studio hibernation more monstrous, and certainly more nuanced, than ever before.

Tracing back the Grammy-award winners genome to 2019’s We Are Not Your Kind, or further still, 2014’s .5: The Gray Chapter, you notice flickers of ideas, bread crumbs and moments that would become the bones of The End, So Far. And yet, the album is far from predictable, with plenty of the unexpected still lurking around its corners.

Fortunately, Australian fans will be some of the first to see the album unfurled live, with Slipknot leading the Knotfest Australia charge. In March 2023, the iconic alternative culture haven will be making its Australian debut with a world-class line up. Ahead of their upcoming trip down under, we spoke to bassist Alessandro ‘V-Man’ Venturella.

Slipknot has been firing on all cylinders for most of the year. Have you had a moment to sit down and enjoy the new record yet?

My little process is that I like to wait until it’s all done, I’ll go to the shop, I’ll go buy myself a copy and I’ll take it home. I get my nice studio set up with my speakers, and I’ll put it on there and I’ll listen to it. And I’ll take it in, and that’s when I know it’s done.

Are you able to enjoy the music at all in the studio? Did you have any moments where you looked around and you thought, “This is going to be a great album?”

Clown, Mike and I were staying in a house together. And at the end of the night, we’d come back and we’d put it on, we’d be listening, always listening to stuff that we did in the studio that day. And we were just like, “Wow. Yeah. Oh, wow.” There were some times when I was just like, “Where’s this going to go? How does this go into that?” And then all of a sudden, something just turned upside down. And you’re like, ‘Wow, there you go. Okay, there it is.” There were a few of those moments.

I think it was when we got to the studio and we just all were together, we were like, “What happened?” And then having Joe [Baressi, producer]’s expertise, the more the layers kept coming, the more we’re like, “Well, actually let’s try this, let’s try that.” And then all of a sudden, you’re like, “Right.”

How diplomatic was the writing process? It really does play as though there was input from multiple imaginations.

We all came at it at different angles. I came over to Clown’s and I brought what I’d done, the heavy, like ‘Dying Song’, ‘Yen’, ‘Warranty’ and ‘Chapeltown’. They were demo formats in the sense of riffs, drums, bass. Jim did the same. Then we smashed it all together. That was the beautiful thing about it.

I think there’s still this progression from what we’d done with The Gray Chapter or something that I was never a part of in a way of writing, maybe the odd bass line here and there, but then We Are Not Your Kind and this record, I think there’s this flow that’s going in between them all. And I think this album is the mixture of those two records.

There are songs where however, a listener might go, “Whoa, that’s so out there.” But really, when you listen to those other two records, I don’t think it’s too far away from it. If anything, the back end of The Gray Chapter or scattering throughout We Are Not Your Kind, all of those individual art pieces, if you really put those all together, that’s where I think it’s a natural progression for this record.

For me, ‘Adderall’ was the moment where I thought “Whoa…where is this going?

Yeah, there was never like, “Right, we’re going to do this because we did this on this record.” You are coming off of that, but you’re into this now. So your brain, I think, naturally wants to go more from where you were. You’re not just going to go write some random riff that’s completely different that doesn’t fit in with anything you’ve ever done in your whole discography.

Like ‘Adderall’ was a song that was Corey and keyboards, and that was it. And then all of a sudden, drums got added to it, bass got added to it, guitars. And then it just grew and grew and grew. That was just a natural progression. It never started off as, “Right, we need to make it sound like this.” You could have taken the original version of ‘Adderall’ and released as a song in its entirety, but that’s the thing, once you have everybody on it, that’s when [the sound of] Slipknot comes in.

It seems like a lot of the steps in this progression worked, many of the ideas you threw at the wall stuck. Is there anything from The End sessions that you’re excited to explore further?

That’s a tough one. It’s like driving a car, or…I like doing racing and stuff like that. And I feel like if I take too much of a break off from doing that, or shredding, something which is highly focused, I feel like you’ve got to get the steps back out to get back into it again.

So with Pro Tools recording and stuff like that, if I take too much time away from it, I feel like it’s like relearning again, and I don’t want that to happen because then I’m not inspired. I want it to be like, there’s a guitar ready, there’s a bass ready. I can just pick it up and just put an idea down. It’s not that there’s something new coming, it’s more myself.

The Pro Tools is out of date, you know what I mean? And it was just like if I wanted to record something right now, I couldn’t. And then I’m just like, “Eh, I’ll just do it tomorrow.” And then tomorrow turns into a week, and then the week turns into two. “Oh, I’m going to go on tour now.” So do you know what I mean? It’s like six months and it’s just gathering dust. So that’s what I mean. You need to constantly just be aware. And if I need to dive in, I’ve got to dive in.

The End, So Far is out now.

Knotfest 2023

Pre-sale for Knotfest Premium Members will kick off at 8am on Thursday, November 3rd
Early bird pre-sale will be on-sale at 9am on Thursday, November 3rd (you can sign up here)
General tickets on sale at 9am, Monday November 7th

Parkway Drive
Amon Amarth
In Flames
Knocked Loose
Story of the Year
Alpha Wolf
Void of Vision
Bad Omens

Friday, March 24th
Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne
Tickets: Knotfest

Saturday, March 25th
Centennial Park, Sydney
Tickets: Knotfest

Sunday, 26th March
RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane
Tickets: Knotfest