Slipknot's first-ever compilation, Antennas to Hell, is out today, and the first thing you'll likely notice after peeling off the shrink-wrap is that many of the usual components of a compilation are absent. There are no band photos. There are no lyrics. No information about recording dates, etc., etc. Instead, you get a demonic head on the cover, and a booklet stuffed with ominous, captionless photos—a dead bird, various edged implements, and a mysterious figure. Clown, who designed and created all this artwork, spoke to us about why it's like this.
The artwork for Antennas to Hell is really striking. Can you explain the idea behind it?
Thank you very much. I have personally been working very hard on my inner self with art, and I don’t wanna just roll around and take pictures anymore. I wanna work on my mind and take what is almost impossible in concept and dig it out, cut it out, like with those utensils [in the booklet], and make it tangible. I want you to be able to see it, and hold it, and that’s what I’m working hard on. So I took all the photos and I made the album cover—I made the head, the table it’s on, I made and painted and burned, all that shit. I spent weeks. There’s an outfit in there, I designed that whole thing and had to have a close friend make it cause I don’t fuckin’ sew. I went to a certain location, cause I wanted it to be just before night. I have a whole concept, but I don’t want to tell [people] what it is, because it needs to be what it is for you.
A long time ago, I loved a band and I really thought [the music] was made for me and being sung to me, and then I heard an interview from the band, and it’s not that it changed my love for the album, because I still love the album, but hearing that it wasn’t in particular to what I thought it was, it didn’t ruin it but that thought was interjected into my own thoughts, and I wish I would never have heard that. I wish I could have just kept my thoughts forever. So I’d much rather have people look at it and wonder why there’s a dead bird that starts the booklet. Why is this dead bird here? What does it have to do with everything? And what is up with this thing in this outfit? What is that? Where the fuck are they? And what the hell is going on with this album cover? Everything is in parallel to me. But I’m working on what I consider fine art right now, which is polishing, sharpening my skills and going really deep into concepts. Almost like revision in poetry. You write a poem, you come back and revise it, you come back and revise it again, you keep admitting to yourself that it’s not quite the best it could be, that you can go further. So I spent a month creating that thing. Hard work. And for me it paid off, without one person seeing it. When it all was done and I had it, I was like, this is exactly—when I chose the album cover, I chose it because I had made the item and I had shot it at the right time of day, just before dark, and I actually got what I set out to do. I have thousands of pictures of that day, and when I saw that one, I was like, that’s what I envisioned. That’s what was in my subconscious that I wanted to dig out, and here it is. All the items, everything has a purpose and it’s all very serious. I don’t want to explain it, cause it needs to mean what it means to you. But I’m sharpening my brain into a deadly weapon for iconic imagery for myself. Now, whether it’s iconic for you is up to you.
Some people just don’t like art, or they could care less and they’d rather just listen to the music. But for me, I don’t like greatest hits. To me it means the band’s breaking up, the band’s in trouble, or they’re trying to get off the label, and none of those apply to us. And I’m really fuckin’ honored that everyone took this seriously, because there’s a lot of aspects. The first is that you get all these songs, put in an order chosen by us, and you can by yourself or with your friends listen to one song and go into another song into another song, and not even a machine could have picked it like that. So you get that experience. You get four records and a couple of live songs as well, and you get to hear them in this weird order, which might not even be that weird, but there’s a philosophy behind it. Second of all, you get a booklet, you get art. You get imagery to make you think and feel and touch and smell and ponder, and just go out of your mind to try and figure it out and love it and make it yours. And then you get a live CD, from Download 2009. "Greatest hits," I hate it. It reminds me of an infomercial with some old dude saying, “Remember the ’70s? Remember this song?” and it’s just some label trying to milk their whole catalog. I’m just like, fuck, I wanna kick my TV in. fuck you. But not only do you get our songs, but a live show. And a third disc of videos. And you can buy three different versions—all of it, half of it, or the smallest version of it, because not everyone is interested in the same things. So we give you the decision.
Antennas to Hell is available everywhere now; you can buy the single-disc version, the double-disc version with the band's complete live set from Download 2009 on Disc Two, or the three-disc version including a DVD containing all the band's videos, and the brand-new "Antennas to Hell" clips spotlighting individual bandmembers, all from the Roadrunner webstore!