Hollywood Undead

On January 22nd Inked Angels sent Brock Landers and Jason to Montreal to interview Hollywood Undead, who is on tour in support of their new album ‘Notes From The Underground’. They asked the band questions about the band, their live shows, and much more.

Brock: Let’s start off by telling everyone who you are and what you play (instrument) in the band?

Funny Man: I’m Funny Man and I’m MC.
J-Dog: His whole body is an instrument, it’s like a human flute. My name is J-Dog and I play keyboards, guitar, bass and vocals.
Da Kurlzz: My name is Da Kurlzz and I play electronic drums in the band.

Brock: Where are you guys from and how long have you been together?

J-Dog: We’re all from L.A., mostly from Hollywood, California. We’ve been together since 2005. Time kind of flies, it’s been fun the entire time.

Brock: How did everyone in the band meet?

J-Dog: We all knew each other growing up, it just kind of made sense. Some of us were in bands earlier and we got sick of playing the same music in rock and punk bands, kind of like the Beastie Boys type thing. We played all the shitty venues in L.A. and West Hollywood. We just got sick of it. We were all listening to hip hop, so we thought, why don’t we just mix in some hip hop, since obviously punk and rock was getting boring.

Brock: Is there a story behind the masks?

J-Dog: Different band members, different things. Some of us didn’t want to be seen, some of us just wanted to incorporate it because it looks different. We feel like our music is different so why not look different. If you take our masks off we all have dark hair and tattoos and look like every other band. Visually, I think it looks cool. When we change our masks every album and I see the new masks in photos, I’m like ‘shit that’s awesome, that’s a cool photo’.

Brock: So each album you guys create new masks?

J-Dog: Yeah it keeps it interesting for us and it’s fun.

Brock: Do you guys ever play without your masks on?

J-Dog: Yeah, we take them off halfway through the show. How am I supposed to get laid if you can’t see me behind the mask?

Brock: How would you describe your style of music?

J-Dog: It’s hard to describe. I hate to use the words rap and rock, but there is rap and rock elements in there. The thing is, we mix them together, but not too much. Some songs are straight up rap songs and some are straight rock songs. It’s not like that groovy old school Limp Bizkit or Korn stuff, it’s really different and hard to explain.

Funny Man: Rock with hip hop elements.

Brock: What bands are your biggest influences?

Danny: Anything and everything. Beastie Boys, Nirvana…
Da Kurlzz: Nine Inch Nails.
Funny Man: African Bombada.
J-Dog: Every band member is different. Literally, it ranges from The Beatles, to Nirvana, to Slayer, Ice Cube, NWA. I mean it goes so far back.

Brock: Yeah I’ve listened to your cover of Operation Ivy.

J-Dog: Yeah we grew up listening to punk music.

Brock: What’s the creative process for writing songs? Are they based off personal experiences?

J-Dog: It really depends because there are so many song writers in the band so it varies from person to person.
Funny Man: You could be in a chipper mood, in a bad mood, in a high mood, you know what I’m talking about…
J-Dog: It just ranges, I mean, each person usually starts off with an idea and brings it to the band. The song can totally do a 180 and you’re like ‘it’s a dark mysterious song’, but then someone starts adding to it, then you hear more of a dark party thing. It can totally morph itself.

Brock: You can definitely hear that from ‘Coming In Hot’ to ‘Bullet’ and ‘Pour Me’…

J-Dog: Some of our songs are serious, some of them are funny, then some of them are seriously funny. That’s a Charlie Scene joke, I couldn’t make it up…

Brock: You guys have released 5 albums now?

J-Dog: 3 actually, we just released our third. We’ve been releasing stuff on the Internet for so long that it confuses people…
Da Kurlzz: The whole live DVD thing…
Funny Man: Yeah people think ‘Desparate Measures’ was our second or third album.

Brock: How hard is it to create a set list for your live shows, how do you come up with that?

Funny Man: Pretty much, you just play the ones that are the singles. You pay attention to what’s being listened to.
J-Dog: It is kind of hard because people think you just pick out the songs you and the kids like. But since there are 6 people in the band that all have a voice, that’s 6 different people that want to pick songs, it’s kind of hard, and there’s a little arguing, but we always come to the conclusion that we just have to make everyone happy.

Brock: Do you guys change it up from night to night or keep it the same?

J-Dog: We keep it the same…
Da Kurlzz: We test songs once in awhile if we don’t know how it’s going to go, and if it doesn’t work we’ll switch it up with something else.
J-Dog: We’re fortunate that our fans aren’t radio fans where they only like the singles. They like every song and know all the words. We don’t really need to switch.
Da Kurlzz: It more about creating a vibe like for the beginning, middle and end. We have songs that are crazy more metal style, then some hip hop, it’s about finding a groove throughout the set

Brock: What are some of your favorite songs to play live?

Funny Man: Right now, ‘Another Way Out’, off our new record ‘Notes From The Underground’.
J-Dog: Yeah I’d say the new ones, the new single off our album is ‘We Are’ and that’s fun to play because it’s new. ‘Another Way Out’ is new too. ‘Dead Bite’ is new because you know you kick the shit out of these songs for so many years of touring that you get bored. Every band says that and it’s kind of cliche but anything off the new record.

Brock: Does you guys have any pre-show rituals?

Funny Man: Shit, usually I’ll throw on some James Brown, but lately I haven’t…
Danny: Have a couple of brews, slam them down, get a party vibe going…
Funny Man: Pick on each other a little bit…
J-Dog: Yeah it’s usually us making fun of each other before we get on stage.

Brock: Who are some of your favorite bands that you guys have shared the stage with?

J-Dog: I think Avenged Sevenfold tops the list for me.
Da Kurlzz: Korn.
Funny Man: Faith No More.
Danny: Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Brock: What’s your favorite city to play in?

J-Dog: Quebec… Montreal…

Brock: Are you guys pranksters?

J-Dog: We mostly just talk shit to each other. When you talk shit to one another it keeps you on your toes. We do pranks once in awhile, but mostly we just talk shit.

Brock: What is a day off between shows like for Hollywood Undead?

Da Kurlzz: Working out, finding food, drinking, hanging out, working on music, stuff like that.

Brock: Do you guys have a favorite fast food spot to eat at?

J-Dog: There’s a spot in the UK called Nando’s, that’s awesome…
Da Kurlzz: It’s the only spot we eat at when we’re there…
J-Dog: It’s like fast food, but it’s really awesome.

Brock: What’s the one thing you have to have with you on the road?

Da Kurlzz: Cellphone.

Brock: What are some of your favorite albums?

Danny: Nevemind by Nirvana, Abbey Road by The Beatles.
Funny Man: Some Black Sabbath for sure.
Da Kurlzz: Korn’s first record.
Funny Man: Lately I’ve been listening to Radiohead’s ‘The Bends’.
*Everyone laughs*
J-Dog: (To Funny Man) You’re turning into a hipster. More current one, because it’s easy to name your all-time favorite record, a band we toured with…10 Years’ ‘Feeding The Wolves’ album. From front to back it’s my favorite record in the last 5 years.

Jason: How do you guys feel about fans at the show recording it with their smartphones?

J-Dog: I hate it man, but there’s nothing you can do. Instead of watching the show through their own eyes, they watch it through the screen. They’re here to enjoy it, but what’s more important, to enjoy it or letting people know you were there?
Da Kurlzz: Maybe it’s just an easier way for them to keep the memory. I mean, it’s retarded like he (J-Dog) said, but it’s something that they can keep forever.

Jason: At the same time though, they’re not living in the moment…

Da Kurlzz: Exactly, how are they going to enjoy the show when they’re worried about recording it?
Danny: There’s so much technology at their fingertips and they have the option to watch or record the show and I guess they choose to record it.
Da Kurlzz: It’s also a bad thing in the sense, I know live music will always be a huge thing for what we do but it’s slowly becoming easier for people to be lazy and just watch stuff online. Some people don’t have access to seeing us so that’s all they have.

Jason: Yeah it’s a double-edged sword because it takes away from the live moment and being part of the music. But then again, I’ve found a lot of bands through watching these video clips online.

Da Kurlzz: Yeah it works both ways.
J-Dogg: Yeah it works both ways, but some people are dumb though because they listen to it and make comments that it sounds like shit because their cellphone speaker can’t handle the bass.

Brock: Do you guys have any sentimental tattoos?

Da Kurlzz: We all have a matching tattoo.
J-Dogg: We all have the tattoo of the dove and hand grenade. We all had that before the band started.

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