Drummer ELOY CASAGRANDE Talks Audition For SLIPKNOT & Decision To Leave SEPULTURA: “I Didn’t Want To Stop Playing Drums At The Age Of 33”

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Eloy Casagrande, Slipknot‘s newest member, has finally shed light on his dramatic exit from Sepultura and the high-stakes world of Slipknot‘s auditions. Casagrande‘s drumming skills may be undeniable, but his journey to don the iconic Slipknot mask wasn’t for the faint of heart.

Casagrande‘s revelation, unveiled in an interview with Brazil’s Veja São Paulo, illuminates the intricate series of events that led to his joining Slipknot, a decision not made lightly but propelled by a convergence of circumstances. The demise of Sepultura loomed large on the horizon, prompting Casagrande to seize an opportunity rather than succumb to the silence of uncertainty.

“I received the invitation to audition for Slipknot after the Sepultura farewell tour was announced. The big thing, the reason I agreed to audition, was the end of Sepultura. The band was going to break up, and I didn’t want to stop playing drums at the age of 33.”

The drummer’s attempt at a delicate balancing act between two iconic bands proved untenable, leading to a decisive departure from Sepultura: “I had a chat with Slipknot, asked about their schedule and if it would be possible to juggle the two bands, but they said no, it wouldn’t be possible, I’d be exclusive.”

Slipknot is made up of nine musicians, so there are many spheres and layers, and they needed everyone’s approval before they gave me the okay. I think it was on February 5th or February 6th that I received confirmation that I had passed the test. I told Sepultura my decision when I closed the deal on February 5th or 6th. That very day I called a meeting and explained the situation. That was it, an individual decision.”

His journey to Slipknot, however, was not without its trials. The audition process, cloaked in secrecy and intensity, tested Casagrande‘s mettle in ways both musical and psychological.

“They asked me to record and send them some videos from right here in Brazil,” Casagrande explained (as translated to English by fans on Reddit) “Initially there were three songs, then they asked me for three more and asked if I had any plans to go to the United States, and I was scheduled to perform there in January with my instrumental music project, Casagrande & Hanysz. So they moved my flight up a bit, and I spent five days in Palm Springs, rehearsing with the full band. Then they asked me to extend my stay by another five days, so we could record some things. I think that was also part of the audition. They threw new ideas at me to see what my songwriting was like. They wanted to test me in every way.”

“At first, they didn’t explain what we were going to do. It was all kind of in the dark. The first thing they sent was a NDA document, so I couldn’t discuss it with anyone. I learned the setlist, prepared myself, and, four days before the trip, they sent me a list of 32 songs that would be important for me to know. Many of the songs I was learning weren’t on that list, so I started looking for sheet music. When I got there (in the United States), they gave me a setlist on the first day, which had some songs I didn’t know either, but we went out playing,” Casagrande added.

Casagrande describes his initial performance as “terrible,” but through daily setlist changes and the support of the band, he eventually found his rhythm: “On the first day, I was very nervous, because the band was complete, and it’s quite an impact to see the guys there in front of you. It’s a band I’ve been listening to since I was a teenager and followed on TV. On the first day, I was terrible, I didn’t like my performance, but from the second day on I improved. Each day they played a different setlist in the morning, so I had a few hours to learn a song or two that was missing. Overall, it was very smooth. I had everyone’s support.”

Perhaps most intriguing is Casagrande‘s reflection on the transformative power of Slipknot‘s iconic masks. Beyond mere costume pieces, these masks become vessels for a distinct persona, channeling the essence of both the band and the individual.

“The first big change when wearing a mask is mental. It’s another persona in there. The mask has life. If someone else puts it on, it won’t be the same. I created it together with Shawn Crahan — we worked out the design together — so it’s a combination of SLIPKNOT and my personality. But when you put the mask on, something different happens. I can’t explain it yet. And the physical aspect of playing is calm, I thought it would be worse. Of course, it gets hot, because it’s full of foam, so I get very sweaty. But there’s a good space to breathe. Before the first performance, I was rehearsing with a mask made for athletes, which simulates altitude. It has several valves and covers the nose and mouth, restricting breathing. This helped me play more calmly.”

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