As part of Slipknot, Sid Wilson has sold more than 40 million records worldwide. While a member of Slipknot for 20 years — known as #0 — Wilson has also been touring the world and doing production work as DJ Starscream. However, August 17th of 2018 will mark the first time Wilson puts out a full-length solo album under his own name, as this month brings the release of ∫∑x©∆p∆D∑∫ øƒ †h3 høP∑£3∫∫ ®øbø†¡¢ — in plain English, that title is pronounced “Sexcapades of the Hopeless Robotic.”
I had the pleasure of speaking with Sid Wilson himself — whose artist name as a solo artist is simply SID — by phone about ∫∑x©∆p∆D∑∫ and plenty more on behalf of PureGrainAudio. In addition to the Q&A below, audio highlights from this chat will also be appearing on an upcoming episode of Paltrocast with Darren Paltrowitz. More on Sid Wilson’s various projects can be found online at www.sidthe3rd.com.
When did you realize the importance of having a space like Moonbase Studio for working?
Sid Wilson: Fairly early on. I had other friends who had drum machines and recording equipment, four-tracks, eight-tracks… I just couldn’t afford to have recording equipment when I was younger, so I practiced DJ’ing. Eventually, I was able to afford studio equipment… Whatever your career choice is, just try to learn as many aspects of it as possible. It’ll help improve what you’re doing. Even if you’re just an artist, just trying to be the person doing vocals, you can still learn the production side so you’re able to work fast and more efficiently and communicate better with the people helping you achieve your goal.
Check out “†He©U®e” from Sid’s new album.
Did you make your whole new album at Moonbase?
Wilson: There’s a song here and there, some traveling or I’m on tour and I have a day off, so I’d set up a studio on the bus. You’d capture things when you’re on the move. But the majority of it was done at Moonbase.
I’ve only had the pleasure of hearing your first single so far. Is everything on the album voiced and performed by you?
Wilson: I did probably 75 percent of the composition. There are other producers involved, for sure. As far as vocals, there’s only one track with features on it. It’s called “Sex Trap,” it’s got Chris Styles doing the hook, singing.
How long did you spend making the album?
Wilson: It was over a period of seven years, which is actually about seven minutes in my time (laughs). You see, I had to time travel to make the album. I had to travel into the future to capture the music that no one else was able to capture, and then travel back in time with it to release it ahead of everyone else. So the problem is if you time travel back too far in time, then you have to wait until the point of origin when you left so that you don’t mess up the time-space continuum. (laughs)
Did you know about the time-space continuum before seeing ‘Back To The Future?’ Or was that something that hit you later in life?
Wilson: I mean, that’s just a part of life, it’s just a term for it, depending on how you think. You can always find like-minded people thinking of the same way that you look at life. You can see how other people have put it that makes sense and translate it… It all kinds of meets together.
See Sid in action as DJ Starscream.
You’ve been trying to spread “the cure” for a long time. Do you find that your new album is going to finally get “the cure” to the right people?
Wilson: The concept is over three albums. The first album is designed to gain attention to everybody. There’s kind of a certain way that’s developed in order to get the attention of the people that may not necessarily be paying attention. So if you’re not able to receive the cure, you’ve got to think of a way to get people to the point that they can receive the cure. But first, you have to kind of put yourself on a level playing ground with everyone else so they’re not necessarily scared of what you think. First, you’ve got to let them know that you are not any different than they are, that you’re all the same. That’s kind of what the first album’s intentions are. To start the relationship, you know what I mean?
At what point will you know that the cure and the overall message have been spread successfully?
Wilson: I don’t know, that’s just all depending on how it all unfolds. When you’re working in times of the future, and you’re trying to move forward, there’s always two or maybe more directions it can go in. Trying to change the path is more difficult. Trying to change the path is a little more touchy and there’s a lot more logistics involved. Things can go wrong. But the future, you can make your own future, so you’re always moving forward. It’s a lot easier than moving backward.
When you’ve been traveling in time to make this solo album, have you always been doing that alone?
Has there ever been the possibility of traveling through time with other people? Or you just have to invent your own destiny?
Wilson: Man, I’m not even trying to go there, you know what I mean? It’s just as touchy as it can be already. I don’t even know if it’s possible. It depends, we’re not there yet, that’s for sure.
The ∫∑x©∆p∆D∑∫ øƒ †h3 høP∑£3∫∫ ®øbø†¡¢ album will be released on August 17th, 2018.
Aside from the new album, many people primarily know you as a DJ. When did you start with turntables as opposed to keyboards? Did you take piano lessons growing up?
Wilson: My grandma had a piano or keyboard in her house. She would play church songs and stuff like that. I would tinker around on that when I was younger and she bought me a couple keyboards. One of them had lights on the keys that would light up when you were supposed to hit the keys. I had a bunch of cards that you would put in the keyboards that had all these classical songs, so I kind of learned to play those a little bit when I was a little kid. But there was just some other s**t that I was fiddling with because I was interested in a lot of different noisemakers. My grandma used to have a lot of harmonicas around the house from her husband, my grandfather. I used to f**k around with those when I was a kid, too.
I tried all different kinds of stuff. I messed around with drums, I tried the saxophone, then I really liked bass guitar, I latched on to that big time. Then writing, doing poetry and then around junior high I started writing some raps. Then when I started DJ’ing, I had a bass guitar that an ex-girlfriend had given me. When I was out of town DJ’ing, she came and took the guitar back and told my mom she could have it back or something (laughs). So then I just had the turntables and focused all my energy into the turntables big time… I tried to be in the background more, making beats, producing, which is good for my skills… At some point, I started doing that again and I redeveloped back into hip-hop.
With getting your start as a DJ, did you ever DJ parties or weddings? Or did you never have to do that?
Wilson: No, I’ve done some house parties and s**t. I’m doing my niece’s graduation party or something, but I never really messed with that. I was trying to DJ warehouse parties and clubs, for hip-hop groups… I had some start-up groups when I was younger. I was taking it seriously, you know?
Clearly, there are a lot of benefits to “French Benefits”…
Away from DJ’ing and your solo career, you are also known to be big into motorcycles. At what age did you first get your license to drive a motorcycle?
Wilson: In Iowa you can get those when you are 16… I don’t know if it’s still like that now. I started when I was young. My dad used to do motoscrambles and road-racing. He had a sponsorship with BSA. Back then if you rode for somebody, you showed up and the bike was there, that’s all there was to it. He was in the military, so BSA — Birmingham Small Arms — that was the motorcycle company… He was probably just being told to do it (laughs).
Was your first bike a BSA?
Wilson: No, my dad’s was.
So what was your first bike?
Wilson: My first bike was a Hondamatic, there’s no clutch on it, you just shift it. I had it for a few months, then a car hit me and it got trashed. Then I had a (Honda) F4i, a (Honda) CBR600RR, I got a (Kawasaki) ’76 KZ900, a (Suzuki) DRZ400 — that’s probably my favorite bike. I’ve got a ’98 Sportster Harley (Davidson) with a flat tracker body on it. I’ve got a (Honda) NSR50 from Japan, so it’s the big rim style, not like the YSR American version. I had a (Honda) CRF50 but I sold that (laughs).
Here are some fun career highlights of Sid Wilson
Is there anything else that you collect along the lines that you do motorcycles?
Wilson: Transformers, I’ve got a lot of Transformers.
Does that have to do with where the DJ Starscream name came from?
Wilson: Yeah, DJ Starscream. The first scratch (as a DJ) I learned was called the Transformer scratch. My favorite cartoon growing up was Transformers. Then my favorite character in Transformers was Starscream, who also happened to be the fastest Transformer. So, when I learned to do the Transformer scratch, it was like God speaking to me (laughs). I was like, “Wow, it’s named after my favorite cartoon, I’m going to figure out how to be the fastest at that.” Life’s funny that way, because that’s a cartoon when I was growing up… It’s like a weird coincidence, you have to pay attention to things in life. The realization of that moment took me a long way.
Is there something that you wish more people knew about you beyond the music?
Wilson: I don’t know, I don’t think it’s so much about me, just more about people feeling good, you know? When you listen to music, you feel better (laughs).
So in closing, Sid, any last words for the kids?
Wilson: I would say, you have to take responsibility for yourself, commit to what you say, and if you do those first two things using love as the motivation to do those, then everything should be okay.