1.) How did u become involved with slipknot and what were your first impressions
Shawn Crahan called me some time in 1994 about the possibility of recording at SR Audio. Shawn had recorded at my old studio (South River Recording, Indianola, IA) in the mid 80’s with his previous band called Heads On The Wall. I’m not even sure if the band was going by the name Slipknot when he first called me. They may have been using the name Meld. Anders was the lead vocalist. Sean McMahon was working for me as in house producer and engineer.
I sent McMahon to one of there practices and he came back and said he was “blown away”. He said he had never heard any band that sounded exactly like them, expecially in the Midwest. The closest band he could liken them to was Sepultura. I didn’t get to actually hear the band until they came into the studio a few weeks later and started to record tracks for what would eventually become MFKR. But I, too, was blown away, and knew that we had to help these guys get a record deal.
2.) Whilst recording MFKR what was it like having slipknot around the studio – were they your typical clients?
Knot was definitely KNOT a typical client. The first night after they had recorded, I showed up at the studio and they had chalked marked police body outlines all over the studio parking lot–except they had included breasts and male and female medically accurate but extremely oversized genitalia to all of the drawings. The studio shares its parking lot with some other businesses and my neighbors were none too amused. The Knot also decorated the main recording studio into an very eery alien industrial type environment while they were recording and I would find “scatalogical” porn taped to Joey’s drums for “inspiration”. Sometimes the band would have to just stop and yell at each other for 5 or 10 minutes about something before continuing. It was very stressfull at times on Sean McMahon, who was not used to the band’s “angry” method of motivation. One time after the band returned from a very heated debate the had taken outside, they found McMahon lying on the floor of the control room with the lights off trying to deal with the stress the band was causing him. Eventually McMahon learned to deal with it much better.
3.) In terms of the recording of MFKR what was the process like for laying all the tracks and mixing the album
Knot worked on MFKR for over two years. Partly for financially reasons and partly because they were such perfectionists that they insisted on recording take after take to get the right vibe for each song. Shawn Crahan pretty much financed the whole album himself with money loaned to him by family members–in excess of $30,000 over two years. The recording process when pretty much as follows. Drums, bass, guitars, and a guide vocal were recorded at the same time to get a “live” feel. Once the band agreed they had a take of the song they all liked, usually, only the drums would be kept. Bass, then guitars, then percussionists, then vocals were overdubbed in that order. Mixing was usually left up to Joey and Sean McMahon.
4.) Do you feel rewarded knowing you had a part to play in getting slipknot to where they are today?
Yes, it is very rewarding to know that we had a part to play in helping Slipknot achieve their success. And it is a great credit to them that they have not let success go to their heads and still acknowledge SR Audio and all the friends and family that have helped them along the way.
5.) Do u feel confident slipknot will record at SR audio for upcoming albums or is SR purely for side projects?
Because of contractual obligations with Ross Robinson and RoadRunner it is unlikely that Slipknot will ever be able to record an entire Slipknot album at SR Audio. (Robinson only likes to record at certain studios and would probably never agree to come to Iowa to record no matter what the band said) I knew that when they got signed. However, they will probably always continue to do their pre-production here. Also, Joey and Clown love to work here and I am sure they will continue to do projects for years to come. Murderdolls just entered the Billboard Top 200 at #102!! Clown is working on some projects as we speak (but I am sworn to secrecy…sorry). Corey was going to do Stone Sour here, but Joey and Tripp had all the studio time booked up (he gives me and SR a thanks in the album credits) Hope I was able to answer your questions. -Mike Lawyer Owner, SR Audio