“I wanted it to be really off-putting. Like, you couldn’t really look at it.”
Taylor’s mask, designed by celebrated horror special effects specialist Tom Savini, split opinion among fans when it debuted in the band’s video for ‘Unsainted‘. Now, Taylor has discussed how he wanted the warped and semi-transparent mask to have a “DIY” look for “nefarious reasons”.
“We were playing around with a bunch of different stuff,” Taylor told Mistress Carrie on Boston radio station WAAF. “We were kind of throwing stuff back and forth, but nothing had that DIY look that I wanted. The way I was describing it was I wanted it to look like it was made in a basement. For real. Like, someone had crafted it in a basement, maybe for nefarious reasons. You never know. I wanted it to be really off-putting. Like, you couldn’t really look at it. And, that’s how we got to that one was by going, ‘Well, what if you could just almost see through it? You can kind of see your face, but then not?’”
He continued: Almost, like there’s a movie called Alice, Sweet Alice, which is really disturbing. It’s a little kid wearing this almost see-through mask running around killing people. That really inspired me from that point of view, and then I would paint my face underneath, and the cool thing is I could paint it differently every night.”
Taylor went on to discuss the impact of reactions from fans.
“Then I actually got some feedback from some people, which took me in a completely different direction of people who had grown up with burns, and it actually resembles the mask, like the new skin kind of thing that they wear as the skin is healing,” said Taylor. “And they said that seeing me in that was very, I don’t want to say ‘liberating,’ but it was [it made them feel so not weird]. I loved that.”
He added: “I immediately took it out of that horror book idea and immediately was more metaphorical and actually more in line with what the lyrics for the album were about. It actually felt really good to be able to kind of have something that touched people in a way. I know a lot of people didn’t like it, but I don’t really care.”
This comes after Taylor shared a “humbling” story of how one fan connected to his new mask, after suffering life-changing burns as a child – adding that he was “so glad that it could explain something I was trying to describe”.
“This album is indeed about rising above the pain and being reborn,” he added. “And the mask is also a reflection of it all.”
Speaking of his work on the mask, designer Tom Savini said earlier this year: “There was a lot of negative response, initially. “The fans were like, the fans were like, ‘Savini? Oh shit, my sister could have done better than that.’ Someone even fastened a milk carton to their face and posted a side-by-side and said, ‘Nailed it!’ Regardless, the mask looks excellent.”
He added: “You know, he puts the makeup on underneath it, the hood, everything. It’s a nice mask, but he sells it. He’s the one who makes it look the way it looks.”
After scoring their first Number One album in 18 years with the acclaimed comeback record ‘We Are Not Your Kind‘, the masked metallers will be celebrating with a huge run of shows next year. Check out their full UK and European tour dates here.