January 8th is a celebratory day for the innovative who remain uninhibited by the inviting and easy nature of taking the typical path. Where would the music world be if artists chose to be the next Nickelback? One Chad Kroeger (aka Mr. Lavigne) is enough for my likings. The predecessor of stepping out of the box is the birthday boy, David Bowie. The glam rock father crafted his own music styling and therefore, his own journey within the industry. Although of a much different decade and genre, Hollywood Undead similarly take the path less traveled.
Hailing from Los Angeles, the outfit, which consists of Johnny 3 Tears, J-Dog, Charlie Scene, Danny, Funny Man and Da Kurlzz, released their new studio album, “Notes From The Underground” on this fitting day, January 8th, via A&M/Octone Records. Infusing rock with rap and hip-hop, Hollywood Undead relinquish their pioneering sound with the 15 track album.
Following their 2008 near platinum-selling debut, “Swan Songs” and their sophomore album, “American Tragedy”, “Notes From The Underground” upholds the masked group’s tongue in cheek charisma. Hollywood Undead recently released the music video for the album’s lead single, “We Are”, which Slipknot’s Shawn “Clown” Crahan directed. You can hear the rest of “Notes From The Underground” on iTunes.
Check out my interview below with Hollywood Undead’s Charlie Scene and remember Shockya readers, the weirder you are, the better.
What’s the meaning behind the album title, “Notes From The Underground”?
Charlie: It’s basically saying we are going back towards our roots and trying to write the kind of music we wrote before the band was signed. It is the kind of music that we want to write. Also, Johnny 3 Tears from the band is a big bookworm. I think it is the name of a [Fyodor] Dostoyevsky book. All I read is Dr. Seuss.
And is this what separates, “Notes From The Underground” from your previous albums?
C: Yes, a little bit. This time we had total creative freedom. The last time we had that was before the band was even signed to a record deal.
How does this album differ instrumentally and lyrically from “American Tragedy”?
C: We basically went in there and wrote the songs that we wanted to write. Each person was allowed to bring something to the table. It was a lot of fun making this record.
Did you start making this record when you were on tour for “American Tragedy”?
C: Yes, it was pretty much while we were on tour for “American Tragedy”. J-Dog and myself brought some studio equipment out. We also flew out Griffin Boice, who produced most of the record and we did some songwriting with him. We wrote “Up In Smoke” and “Medicine” while we were on tour.
How was shooting the music video for the album’s lead single, “We Are”?
C: It was shot by Clown from Slipknot and he just wanted the video to be f*cking intense. We shot it in the most haunted place in America; this old and now closed down hospital. We just shot all sorts of crazy sh*t in there.
How does all this craziness in the music video connect to the lyrics of the song?
C: It just shows that we are just some trippy ass f*ckers.
If you wanted one of the new tracks to be featured in a horror movie which would it be?
C: “The Shining”.
Have a particular favorite song off of “Notes From The Underground”?
C: “Another Way Out” is by far my favorite and that’s a good theme for a horror movie.
What separates this song from the others?
C: Well, it is one that I wrote and the ones that I write tend to be my favorite [Laughs]. It is an awesome song and I am super proud of it. I think it is my favorite song I have ever written and I am just super excited about it. I can’t wait for people to hear it!
What’s the next single off the album?
C: I think it is going to be “Another Way Out”. We’ll see how it goes.
Have any ideas for a music video yet?
C: I think I am going to direct the video. I directed the “Everywhere I Go” video, which was one of my tracks. With this one, I think I am going to be able to do the same thing. I’ll just go and say that it is going to be super freaky.
In your past interviews, you spoke of some of your influences such as, Tom Petty and even some country rock artists. When your career was just starting out, do you imagine yourself in a rap/rock group?
C: I guess when I was younger, I definitely thought I would be in a rock band. Hollywood Undead is a rock band, but also has that hip-hop influence. To me, our music sounds like nothing else and that is a good thing. And Tom Petty and Johnny Cash sounded like nothing else.
Do you currently listen to any hip-hop artists or do you still stick to the classic rock genre?
C: I tend to listen to more of classic rock. The hip-hop I listen to is LMFAO, but nowadays hip-hop, I am not really into. Muse and LMFAO is the only current shit I get down too.
Any highlights of 2012?
C: A standout moment would probably be turning in the record. When we chose the songs, turned in the artwork and finished everything that was the best feeling of 2012 for me.
Did the album process take a year?
C: The process is not like normal bands who go into the studio for three months and the record is done. With us, it takes us a little longer. We all work on songs alone then bring them to the band and work on them together.
Will you guys be heading on tour this year  to promote the album?
C: Ya, our album comes out on Jan. 8th. We play L.A. that same day then we start a two week tour till the end of January. I’m sure we will continue to tour for the rest of the year.
Do you already have a plan for your next record?
C: Ya, I am constantly writing songs and I have 30 other new ideas already that weren’t used on this album or that I have shown anybody yet. I am sure the other guys have stuff too.
Have a New Years resolution for Hollywood Undead?
C: Everyone should stop being such a d*ck in the New Year.