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SEPULTURA to SLIPKNOT: Eloy Casagrande Explains the Drum Switch in New Interview

Former SEPULTURA drummer Eloy Casagrande throws down a double bass beat on his reasons for leaving the Brazilian metal legends to join masked maniacs SLIPKNOT. In a recent interview with Brazil’s Veja São Paulo, Casagrande spills the details on his surprising departure, adding a new layer to the musical headbanging saga.

The 33-year-old powerhouse drummer, who solidified SEPULTURA‘s rhythm section for 12 years, reveals he was approached by SLIPKNOT‘s manager last December – right around the time SEPULTURA announced their farewell tour. This unexpected opportunity to join the Iowa metal juggernaut presented a tough decision, forcing Casagrande to choose between two iconic bands.

“They asked me to record and send them some videos from right here in Brazil,” he explained in his native Portuguese but 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.”

Casagrande was then asked when he finally got the confirmation that he was the new drummer for SLIPKNOT, to which he replied: “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.”

Discussing the audition process in more detail, Eloy said: “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 [non-disclosure agreement] 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 it 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.

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“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.”

Casagrande also revealed what lead to his decision to leave SEPULTURA, saying: “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. “

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. So it was my decision to leave SEPULTURA. It was complicated. I told [SEPULTURA my decision] when I had closed the deal [with SLIPKNOT] on February 5th or 6th. That very day I called a meeting and explained the situation. That was it, an individual decision.”

When asked if wearing a mask and make-up presented any challenges for him playing live, Eloy said: “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, SLIPKNOT percussionist and co-founder] — 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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Eloy Casagrande‘s arrival behind the SLIPKNOT drumkit became official on April 30th, just days after the band unleashed their fury on the 2024 festival scene.

Metalheads were treated to a double dose of SLIPKNOT‘s new era at the Sick New World festival in Las Vegas on April 27th. This marked the band’s second live performance with Casagrande, following a surprise warm-up gig on April 25th at Pappy + Harriet’s in California.

But the music wasn’t the only throwback! To commemorate their 25th anniversary, SLIPKNOT donned a classic look for both shows. The iconic red jumpsuits from 1999 made a triumphant return, with their modern masks incorporating elements of those early designs. This special anniversary aesthetic added another layer of excitement to Casagrande‘s debut with the band.