Interview: Stone Sour

Stone Sour have just released their brand new album ‘Audio Secrecy‘ and as one of the biggest metal bands on the planet, we thought that it was only right at […]

Stone Sour have just released their brand new album ‘Audio Secrecy‘ and as one of the biggest metal bands on the planet, we thought that it was only right at this exciting time, to grab bassist Shawn Economaki for a quick chat about the writing and recording process of the new record alongside touring and of course, zombie-slaying weaponry.

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“We were one giant family for this record”

S] ‘Audio Secrecy’ represents hidden tones in music – do you feel like you have surprised yourselves with what you achieved on this record?

SE] When we set out to write and record this, we actually had no expectation of it, as with our previous albums – it’s always just been if we write the song and we like the song, we do it. We do feel though that we out-did ourselves with this one.

S] Do you think it’s your best record so far then?

SE] Absolutely. We were able to spend a little bit more time than we did on the previous record, and I think that shines through quite a bit. We spent two months on the production, and that was the first time the band has ever had that opportunity, so I think that helped tremendously.

S] You all wrote songs together and separately on this record – can you tell us how this approach makes life easier for you during the recording process?

SE] Well what happens is, while Jim [Root, rhythm guitar] and Corey [Taylor, vocals] are off doing Slipknot, Josh [Rand, guitar], Roy [Mayorga, drums] and myself would be in a different state. So, Josh, Roy and I had got together a few times and worked on some stuff and Corey and Jim did the same whilst they were touring. Then, when they got back from that last Slipknot album, we all put our collective ideas together and said ‘I like that one.’ We just worked on this, and everyone taught each other the parts that they’d done on their own, and just added their own layer to it. That’s how we ended up with the songs that we have recorded.

S] Do you think that helped you come up with something really different then – that every track’s got something individual about it?

SE] You see, I’m not sure because basically the last album was written the same way too. I don’t know if it’s just because we’re all in different places in our lives right now, so the fact is we pull from different areas to bring the best out of our material.

S] How receptive are the other members of the band to your writing music?

SE] All five of us write; it’s encouraged. It’s one of the things that makes us, us.

S] Which song are you most proud of from the new record and why?

SE] It’s called ‘Threadbare’; it’s the last track on the album. The reason I like it so much is it’s a departure from anything we’ve done before in the past, and it really takes you on a journey; it’s got a little bit of everything in it. It gets extremely odyssey-like towards the middle. It’s got a basic heavy section in it, and it’s some of Corey’s best vocal work – it’s got everything, that track. That’s why it’s special to me.

S] There seems to be such a diversity between the uplifting melodies of something like our standout ‘Digital’, the heaviness of ‘The Bitter End’ and the softness of ‘Anna’ – did you want to mix up all the sounds people associate with you and expand on that as well?

SE] No, everything just kind of came together; we never actually set out to go a certain direction. It’s just that we like all sorts of different styles. Corey writes a certain way, I write a certain way, Jim, Josh, Roy, so on, and we just tried to pick a nice selection of songs that ebbed and flowed on the album so it has some peaks and valleys to it. No conscious decision; it’s just how it all came out, quite organically.

S] What was the best experience recording the new record at Blackbird Studios in Nashville?

SE] Probably getting it together before we actually started to record. We were all living under one roof, which was also a first. We had a giant house in Nashville that we all lived in and rehearsed in, and it really was nice to have that camaraderie. We’re good friends, so it wasn’t an issue; it was just nice to be able to wake up, grab something to eat and then just walk into the other room and go right to work. Or if it’s three ‘o’ clock in the morning and someone has an idea, they can walk across the hallway, ‘Here, check this out – what do you think?’ Just that aspect of it was nice; it was one giant family under one roof, and that was different.

S] Do you think you got a lot closer during that time?

SE] Sure, absolutely.

S] Josh said that you went into the studio with about 30 tracks, was it difficult for you to bring the tracks down to the 17 on the album?

SE] We had written that many, but when we got in there and we started working with Nick [Raskulinecz, producer], we had a series of demo disks that we’d done in Iowa, and on the first day we literally just sat down and then Nick was like, ‘Okay, I’m feeling this, let’s work with this one,’ or ‘Nah, I don’t like this one.’ So really, he actually helped a lot with the selection and narrowing things down.

S] You’re in the middle of a massive tour – how have you always enjoyed Europe in contrast to playing at home in the States?

SE] Europe is a completely different animal. As much as I love playing at home, there’s just something special about when you’re over in Europe. I don’t know why the world is so different but it is. It seems like Europeans, and the UK especially, they just get it more. They’re a hell of a lot more passionate about their music, or anything for that matter. But it just shows – the shows are stronger, and the bands are just more into it. I enjoy it a great deal. I love playing everywhere, but I definitely love playing over in Europe and the UK.

S] We’re from up north and you’ll be playing dates in Leeds and Manchester this tour – how important is it for Stone Sour to perform all over the UK and in the smaller cities like Leeds as well as bigger places like London?

SE] We take any chance that we can get to spread our music just to any region in the world, especially in the UK. The UK’s been extremely welcoming to us over the years and it’s really nice to be able to get there. If we’ve got our fans there, it’s great to be able to share our music.

S] Is there a good band dynamic between your tour mates on the upcoming Stone Sour UK dates, Avenged Sevenfold?

SE] Yeah, we just did a couple of months with them in the States on the Uproar Tour and got to know the guys really well. Yeah, we get on pretty good.

S] We noticed some strange codes running throughout the video for ‘Say You’ll Haunt Me’ – can you elaborate on that and say whether that’s going to be a consistent theme for this album?

SE] That was just something that we threw in there to kind of go along with the theme of ‘Audio Secrecy’. We had talked initially about trying to connect more videos that we did in the future to be more thematic with that, but we ended up going a different way.

S] So the rest won’t be continuing that theme?

SE] Well, I don’t know about down the road, but we just shot one for ‘Hesitate’ and we also shot one for ‘Digital’ and neither one were tied in with the others.

S] A lot of people still strongly connect Stone Sour with its links to Slipknot – do you think it’s important to establish an identity that’s independent from Slipknot or are you happy to still have that link?

SE] I would be a fool if I were to say that the beginning of our success was not achieved somehow by Slipknot. That said, yes, it would be nice for us to stand on our own feet and in a lot of ways, with the exception of two members from Slipknot being in the band, we’d never actively try and play that card. It’s nice to know that we’ve achieved what we achieved as ourselves, so yes, to me it would be very important that we have the separation.

S] With Stone Sour having achieved so much over the last few years, how will you be pushing yourselves forward to achieve more as we approach 2011?

SE] We’re never going to rest. I mean, of course we want to grab the world by its reins but we’ll just have to see what it’s going to bring us. We’re just going to tour, and work our asses off at it.

S] Finally, a Halloween-inspired random question – in the event of a zombie outbreak what weapon would you use to defend yourself and why?

SE] I’ve been asked this before, and originally I said a chainsaw, but I’m going to have to back out on that because there could be a mechanical issue – you could run out of fuel, and you wouldn’t want to be caught with your pants down. So I’m going to have to say either a baseball bat or some type of machete or something – something that I wouldn’t have to worry about failing because of the power going out or running out of bullets. So yeah, I’d say a baseball bat-machete!

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Lucy Houlden

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