EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD Talk 'American Tragedy Redux' & Reveal New Album Details
Published: December 5, 2011 - 12:36pm
I recently caught up with guitarist/vocalist Charlie Scene of Hollywood Undead to talk about the band's latest release 'American Tragedy Redux' and if he's worried how fans will react to their songs being remixed. We also spoke about an upcoming new studio album and how Scene promises to bring back party anthems before summer 2012.
During a recent interview, I spoke with Charlie Scene and we reflected on what it's like working with Korn singer Jonathan Davis, possibly dropping the masks one day, partying with Avenged Sevenfold, if the band is better off without former vocalist Deuce and much more.
Hollywood Undead recently unleashed a remix album of their latest offering 'American Tragedy' and it features several guest musicians ranging from Andrew WK to KMFDM. You can read my review of that album HERE.
Keven: Are you a fan of remix records? It seems like a bold move and I was wondering if you were concerned that some of your fans might be a little protective of their songs getting remixed?
Charlie: We just thought it would be cool because after touring, you make friends with certain artists and you know that they do remixes. So we thought it'd be cool to have these people that we met along the road or played shows with, take our songs and give us their take on our music.
Keven: You have Jon from Korn on there and I was wondering if you had spoken with him prior to handling his remix?
Charlie: He's the one that we were probably closest with out of all the people who are doing the remixes. He gave me one of his tracksuits that I wear around.
Keven: Did he pick the song or did you approach him first, how does that come up?
Charlie: We presented him with 'Hear Me Now' because it was our first single from 'American Tragedy' and we wanted to give him what we thought was our biggest and best song.
Keven: Your band is such a mash-up of various styles of music; where are your personal roots as an artist?
Charlie: I grew up listening to whatever my dad listened to, so I grew up on a lot of classic rock like Tom Petty, John Fogerty and the Alman Brothers. Also some country stuff like Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash. That’s what I grew up listening to. A lot of the other guys, obviously The Beatles or hip-hop for some of the others, Nine Inch Nails or Deftones. The reason why I started playing guitar was Tom Petty.
Keven: With larger groups, like you guys have, there must be a lot of conflicting personalities. At one point in time when you had released 'Swan Songs', there may have been talk about it being your first and last album. Did that dissipate after Deuce left the band?
Charlie: Yeah, after he left the band everything got a lot simpler. There's no way we're not gonna keep writing music and keep performing as artists. We were actually more excited to do so without him. After this tour were gonna start working on our third record. So Swan Songs was definitely not the only thing we wanted to do. There's a lot more we want to do and accomplish as artists.
Keven: The chemistry must be a lot better now but I've heard there may have been some altercations in the past couple years and I'm wondering if it's ever gotten to that point of hanging it up again?
Charlie: No, with this group – that was the only person we had issues with. No one else has really given trouble to anyone. We all grew up together. It's not like we were a band that just formed cause we're all musicians or something. All these guys – I've known my entire life. Our parents are friends in some cases and we went to highschool and elementary school together. There are no real big egos; it's just a group of friends. Except for the e-drum player, like there's a fag; I barely know him. (laughing).
Keven: I know you guys are sick to death of the stupid mask question, but because it is such a huge part of your on-stage persona, do you ever foresee a time when you'll change it up or drop the masks entirely?
Charlie: I think for every new record cycle we're gonna change the masks. (Right now) The masks are a little bit different than Swan Songs, we changed them a bit for American Tragedy and I think we'll tweak them again for the third record. I'm sure one day we'll get rid of them but never completely. It's not like we're trying to hide our faces, we only wear them for a few songs. So we'll do that for as long as it makes sense.
Keven: Have you ever had any Slipknot fans or anybody talk s*** about your guys' masks, or do you think people are past calling you copycats?
Charlie: No I haven't really heard anything. I'm sure there's people out there somewhere talking s*** about our masks..And the day I find those motherf***ers – they're dead. (laughing). I don't really go around in chatrooms and s*** or other bands' blogs. I'm sure that some of the other bands we tour with, that their fans probably have something to say but I don't really go and check that stuff out.
Keven: You're hitting the road with Avenged Sevenfold again, are you friends with those guys? They seem like they have a crazy atmosphere within that band and I was wondering if you ever partied together after shows?
Charlie: Yeah those guys have an after show party…after every show. Last time we toured with them, there was a big room dedicated to an after party after every show so we got to know those guys even better than we did before. They're really, really cool dudes.
Keven: Will we see the new record next year in 2012 or will you need more time to refine it?
Charlie: That's one thing that we definitely don't want to do is take as long as it took for us to do 'American Tragedy' so there will definitely be a third record out next year and we're hoping for at the latest – summer.
Keven: Have you written anything for it yet, or is it still in the early stages?
Charlie: We have a bunch of songs written and we're writing more on the road. We brought some studio equipment with us so we've been able to work on stuff while we're touring. After this tour and we're back home, we'll be able to work with producers that we want to work with and dial all the stuff in that we have – skeletons of songs. We have some really good stuff that we're excited to work on for sure.
Keven: With this remix album out and featuring a bunch of guest musicians, that sort of opens a bridge for collaboration where you could possibly have one of these guys cameo on a new track, is that something in the cards?
Charlie: That would be awesome. I think it's bad to do that on your first couple records, to ask people on, but I think that the third record is kind of the point where maybe you can have somebody featured. I think it would be really cool to have someone else sing a chorus on one of our songs or do a verse.
Keven: On 'American Tragedy' I noticed there are less party anthems and the material has become darker, for the next album will you continue in that direction or will it be a combo of the first two albums?
Charlie: Usually I'm in charge of the party songs. On this last record I was…too busy partying instead of actually writing the songs about partying. So this time I'm gonna try not to party and just write songs about it. Hopefully there will be a lot more party anthems on this next record. I think there were only one or two on 'American Tragedy' so the new record will be more along the lines of 'Swan Songs' in that way.
Keven: I personally like it when you have more fun and I think it sets your sound apart from the rest of the bands out there who keep it dark, so I'm looking forward to it.
Charlie: Yeah, it'll definitely be our same style with serious songs and there will be fun songs and we're gonna try to have it be as much of a mixture as possible.