NewsDecember 22, 2023 10:35 AM ET6,574 views

Sleep Token mask creator shakes off Mushroomhead comparisons

Sleep Token 2023

In a new interview with Metal Hammer, Lani Hernandez-David, the sculptor behind Sleep Token's enigmatic new masks, addressed recent comparisons made between their masks and those of Mushroomhead, firmly denying any imitation.

The artist was introduced to the world of Sleep Token at a music festival in 2022. Hernandez-David explains:

My first time ever hearing of them was my friend going, 'We should go see Sleep Token,' at Bloodstock last year.


The casual introduction took a professional turn in late October 2023, when Hernandez-David received a message from Sleep Token member II, expressing admiration for his work and a desire to collaborate on mask designs. 

Hernandez-David shared:

This was huge for me. I've always wanted to create masks for a well-known band, but Sleep Token hadn't crossed my mind.

The timeline for this project was tight. Hernandez-David was about to leave for America and was faced with the challenge of completing these intricate masks by December 2, just a few days after his return. 

It sounds like a lot of time, but it's not. 

The process involved life casting, sculpting, molding, painting, and casting.

When Sleep Token's instrumentalists debuted their new masks, comparisons to Mushroomhead's iconic masks surfaced immediately online. However, Hernandez-David dismisses these as superficial. In his view, the Sleep Token masks bear no resemblance to those of Mushroomhead, pointing out that the world of metal band masks is inherently derivative

I was aware of Mushroomhead but never studied their designs closely. To me, our designs are distinctly different.

Hernandez-David noted the cyclical nature of mask design in the metal scene, arguing:

Masks with features like ponytails and eyebrows aren't unique to Mushroomhead or even Slipknot. It's a broader creative field, and no one can claim to have invented these elements.

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