Hollywood Undead Loving Tempe, Working With Korn, and Varied Musical Tastes

The six musicians of Hollywood Undead blend an eclectic mix of musical tastes -- old school hip hop, heavy metal and classic rock, to name a few. The band wears masks, updated this year based of inspiration from masks created by the fans.

The band ha toured the world, helped sell out UK's prestigious Download Festival, and contributed tracks to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and Madden NFL 2009.

The band's releases, 2009's Swan Songs to 2011's American Tragedy, feature danceable industrial party rock, more hardcore tracks, and surprisingly intricate and subtle lyrics.

You either love 'em, or hate 'em, call them them either avant garde or amateur, or compare them to ICP or Linkin Park.

Drummer/screamer Da Kurlzz talked with Up On The Sun about their new album, (which features Jonathan Davis of Korn and The Juggernaut), kicking off their tour in Tempe, and how a fan working at AT&T saved his ass one weekend in Vegas.

Up On The Sun: How are you doing today?

Da Kurlzz: I'm fucking swell! How are you?

Are you guys excited to kick off your tour with Asking Alexandria in Tempe?

I can't wait to leave. It's gonna be so much fun. We shot our live DVD at the Marquee two years ago and it was one of the best shows of my life.

I know the band is influenced by a lot of societal issues, but what music/musicians do you guys gather inspiration from?

I think, seeing how all of us have a lot of different musical backgrounds--some of us listen to hip hop, maybe some metal, classic rock--but when it comes to making what Hollywood Undead is? I'd say for example Nine Inch Nails, Beastie Boys, Guru, a lot of older hip hop; a lot of really random stuff. A lot of our songs are inspired by some of the most random artists you would think.

What music or bands are you currently listening to?

I'm actually listening to The Weeknd right now; it's the only thing I'm listening to right now. And a lot of the newer screamo, hardcore metal bands out right now, just to kinda pay attention to what people are listening to. But personal choice, I'd say The Weeknd, and this group called Of Mice and Men. They are on Warped Tour and I've never seen them before, but I'm on my way right now.

You're on your way to see them right now?

Yeah! I'm with some friends going up to Ventura in the car right now to see them play. It's actually one of the things I love so much. Not just being in a band but going to see music and concerts. It's probably the only thing I do when I come home from tour.

Well it's good that you love it. It kinda comes with the territory.

I know right? I see the most random bands; I saw Portishead last week, and then Catatonia, and Opeth, and now Of Mice and Men.

Nice! So tell me about project you guys are working on that will be released in late November of this year, American Tragedy Redux. What prompted the band to do the project?

know, we've been talking about doing remixes of our record, or a record, for a long time. You know, paying attention not only to the rock, hip hop and pop scene, but the dance and DJ club scene is obviously blowing up once again. There's always new DJs remixing some really great artists, showing people that you can mix those genres together. And you know, we didn't just pick randomly out of a hat. We thought, "This song would be great for this person" or "this song would be great for that person." Not just because we like their music, but we also think that the sound will really be great for the certain songs that we choose.

You guys had some big name musicians, like Jonathan Davis from Korn, help remix the record. How was that?

You know what, that was actually one of the tougher ones. It was our first single, "Hear Me Now" and it ended up coming out great and we're really proud of it. We saw him last week in Vegas for the 48 Hours Festival, and obviously we had communicated with him throughout the recording process but being able to go up to him and personally thank him was great.

I saw you guys perform a couple weeks ago at the 48 Hours Festival. That weekend was pretty badass. You guys have any crazy stories or any standout moments?

Glad you liked it! For the actual festival itself, I probably had one of the craziest weekends of my life. The friends you hang out with, the people you meet, I broke my phone. Like who wants to being Las Vegas without a cell phone? I took a cab drunk off my ass Saturday morning to at AT&T store switching services for like four hours drunk, and uh, the guy ended up asking me "What band are you in?" and I said, "Hollywood Undead." And he was like, "I freaking love you band! I'm gonna go get you this phone because we're sold out here!" He actually went and got me the phone and brought me back to the festival so I could do press and play the show. It was actually very cool. I had a lot of crazy stories, but not many I can remember at the moment...I don't wanna give you any false information for print!

The first album, Swan Songs, was known for very much having a party-based vibe and lots of humor. American Tragedy had much more of a serious tone, focusing on darker and deeper themes. You guys have had some criticism in the past for switching back and forth between two very different styles. Is this just a progression of the band's growth or will this be seen with future albums just to display the various musical tastes?

To answer that question, you know, Swan Songs was a collection of songs from when we first started the group. You know, written over the past couple years before Swan Songs came out. And American Tragedy was that same thing, but written over a condensed period of time, like, six months of writing. And I think naturally it was just the progression of the band to go that direction. A conscious one, as well. Its not like we write a bunch of songs and say "let's make a song about this or that," it's just how we're feeling in our lives at that time. I mean, obviously we understand that there's a certain element to the band that people like because it has so many different styles. A sad song, angry song, rock song, hip hop...we're just kinda like a hybrid where we get all those styles and they come together.

Does being on tour provoke you guys to write music more?

No, not really, I think we drink more! [Laughs] The last thing you wanna do is actually work. The partying is where ideas come from, then we melt them down and go from there.

Hollywood Undead is scheduled to perform Tuesday, November 1, at Marquee Theatre with Asking Alexandria.

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Lauren Wise has worked as a rock/heavy metal journalist for 15 years. She contributes to Noisey and LA Weekly, edits books, and drinks whiskey.
Contact: Lauren Wise