Jay Weinberg has been a member of Slipknot for eight years and three albums, yet he very much sounds like a founding member of the Des Moines-based band. With 2014's '5: The Gray Chapter', 2019's 'We Are Not Your Kind' and now 'The End, So Far', Weinberg has carved out a place for himself in the band and in the hearts of fans. Here is what the recently anointed Metal Drummer of the Year had to say to Qobuz following the release of 'The End, So Far'.

'The End, So Far' sounds like the culmination of what Slipknot was trying to do with '5: The Gray Chapter' and 'We Are Not Your Kind'. Did you follow the same method for writing and recording, together with Joe Barresi, the producer of the two previous albums.

Man, it was so different. I mean, Joe has worked with us mixing our records before, but we’ve never been in the studio together. So now, having him working on the recording, the production of it… it was awesome. It was great working with Joe. The writing process is very different from anything that we've done before because we were all apart from each other, so we’d all become pretty adept at being good self-recorders. We had to settle into our own studios and I had to learn how to record my drums with ProTools - and so on and so forth - to get demos sent back and forth between us. Then once we got into the studio and started actually recording it… once everything was written, it was interesting that mostly each of us worked with Joe. There was rarely a time when two of us were in the studio together, because of the pandemic. So yeah, it was very different, but it was a great time working with Joe. He's somebody that we really respect and trust. He brings a new set of ears to the band, which is always interesting just to see, you know, how someone else can interpret what we're doing and record it in their way with their talent

Paradoxically it feels like you reached a level of unity never heard before on a Slipknot album...

Thank you. I deeply think Slipknot is unbeatable when it's all nine of us, especially when we are on our best days, communicating very well musically and capturing the spirit of the sound we're trying to go for. It's what makes all of us really proud to do what we do, because that's the exact moment we really unlock the potential of something that's powerful and special to us. Every one of us has to really deliver and bring their A-game.

How did your playing evolve between '5: The Gray Chapter' and 'The End, So Far'?

Well, it’s my third record with the band, and again I'm not satisfied by just kind of ‘doing it’. I think it's very incumbent on us to always step up our game. We tried very hard on The Gray Chapter. Then when we were making We Are Not Your Kind, I felt very motivated to top what we had done on The Gray Chapter, and I feel like we did. Then coming off of We Are Not Your Kind, I felt motivated to top what we did there again. We're not topping it in the sense of competing with anybody else but just ourselves. We want to be the best version of Slipknot we can be. I'm very proud of that mindset and that we're doing everything we can to maintain it. I feel really proud that we're accomplishing that.

"Acidic" is a song that gets right to the point. You've described it as "the heaviest blues song ever made"?

Yeah (smiles), that’s what I said because I really feel like we tapped into a new side of what we want Slipknot to be about. And we're very proud of that song and taking those artistic risks, and kind of pushing the envelope as far as what we kind of consider Slipknot music to be. That was a great challenge - we really did a good job with that one. Personally, it’s one of my favorite songs on the album, and yeah, a song like that is so different for us. It’s the type of song where you really throw out all of the benchmarks which we traditionally have for a Slipknot song. Our creative freedom really lets us not overthink that because it's so different. We just kind of see what the song wants to be. And then if we're patient enough, it becomes something that we're really excited about presenting as a new way of putting our music out there. "Acidic" is one that's really wild. I'm really proud of us for going there. I hope we play that one live a lot. It's going to add another dimension to what we do.

Slipknot © Elektra Music Group

Talking about Slipknot’s identity and sound, do you feel like there are any limits when it comes to writing music for the band?

Actually, I feel like we're still growing. You hope to push each other into those new territories where you feel like, wow, this is a risk for us. This is something dangerous for us. If you did stuff that you just knew was your strong suit and you're like ‘oh, people are going to enjoy listening to us like that’, that doesn't interest us at all. Our best days in the studio are when we take risks and do things that are completely out of the box and surprise us, and find ways to be proud of it. Being a Slipknot song means we're pushing everything forward. That's always the intent of this band, to push everything forward. We're not so interested in doing things we've done before, and I think this album is a testament to that.

You and Sid Wilson (the band's DJ) have incredible chemistry on this record.

Totally. And you know what, it’s so natural that It's not necessarily something we ever talk about (laughs). Our musical connection kind of goes beyond us discussing things. We just kind of let it happen completely organically. We're not really sitting down with each other and being like ‘ok do this, do that’... We find our spots within our song and try to maximize our contribution to that to really let the artistic and creative voice speak for itself, and it’s the same for each of the nine of us. We really fight for our artistic and creative voices to be heard. And we don't fight, it’s always in a collaborative way, it’s always positive. It's all got to be harmonious and it has to be collaborative in that way. To answer your question, yes, Sid’s involvement is really something special. When we feel that maybe we've brought a song to a certain peak or a plateau and this is all that we can do with it, a wild Sid appears! (laughs)... All of a sudden it'll become a different thing entirely. And that can come in a number of different ways. I don't understand what he does (laughs). Sometimes it sounds like stuff from outer space–it's really amazing. The same can be said for any one of our bandmates in Slipknot, you know. It's super important that everybody finds a way to put their unique voice on a song. And so, when everything is done… when we're done working on it, we can reflect on it and be like ‘yeah, that's a Slipknot song’! Because you can hear all the nine of us, and that's something that's unique to us

'The End, So Far' is a great album title to get your fans thinking...

It's open to everybody's interpretation. We approach every album like it's going to be our last since, well, there's no telling what the future holds. I remember when I first joined the band, we were talking about how The Gray Chapter was a huge statement for us to make–could easily be one last hurrah. Then We Are Not Your Kind arrived. I don't know if that's necessarily fatalistic, but this is our approach. We put everything we've got into everything that we do, so when we made this record, we had nothing left. There's nothing left in the tank. This is it. So that's kind of how I approach it: like every album is going to be our last. And then if we're blessed to have this spirit kind of continue with us and feel motivated to make more stuff, then we'll do that. But we have no pressure. There's no outside pressure for us to continue or do this stuff. It's just because we want to do it and we're motivated to do it. I think that helps us create the purest representation of where we're at. When you do look at it that way you bring the best out of yourself. What shapes up to be Slipknot's legacy is very important to us. For us it feels like the ending of a chapter and the beginning of a new one, we'll just see where that takes us. But it's certainly an exciting time to be in Slipknot, right?


Listen more