Just before 2012 ended, I had a chance to catch up with Hollywood Undead‘s Charlie Scene to discuss their upcoming album Notes From The Underground (review), their plans for 2013, and what it was like working with Slipknot‘s Shawn “Clown” Crahan. We also discussed some of Scene’s favorite movies from 2012 as well as his favorite albums. You can check it all out below.
Bloody-Disgusting: How are you doing?
Charlie Scene: Good man, how are you?
BD: Doing good! What’ve you got going on these days?
CS: Everything’s good, man! Just ‘bout to get rolling.
BD: What do ya got planned? What’s coming up next?
CS: Well, we just turned in the record and it’s going to be released in a month, which is Jan. 8th, 2013.
BD: So just a lot of planning and coordinating for the next step then?
CS: Yup! Lots of coordinating. We’re trying to look at tours right now and set that up. We’ll probably be touring all of 2013 and the year after that. We’re gonna be hitting all the major markets. We’re gonna be going back to Europe, to Japan. We won’t be home for all of 2013 and probably a good part of 2014.
BD: Tell me about Notes From The Underground. What sets it apart from Swan Songs and American Tragedy?
CS: On this one we didn’t have any direction or influence from the label or them telling us what to do when, on the last one, we kinda did a little bit. But this time they let us have full creative control, which was good, because that’s what we had on Swan Songs. So, we’re super happy with this record and it’s exactly the way we want it and we’re super proud of it and we think it’s going to be huge for us.
BD: Because you had that freedom, did you decide to take any risks while recording the album?
CS: We always kinda do. We always have these songs that are out of nowhere and sound nothing like what we’ve ever done. That’s the cool thing about our band is that we don’t have to stick to one genre, you know? We write a lot of the stuff that is the “Hollywood Undead sound” but then we can venture off and write stuff is completely out of left field. So there is a couple of those on the record and then there is some Hollywood Undead sounding songs on the record.
BD: Because there are several members, I’m sure each member brings their own tastes and influences to the table. How much of those influences play a role when recording a new album?
CS: Well, everyone would have a different answer for that, obviously [laughs]. Our drummer, Da Kurlzz, is a huge Miley Cyrus fan, so he tries to bring a lot of those sounding riffs and melodies and we just go ahead and throw those away. Then we bring out badass influences, like Nine Inch Nails and Ludacris and whoever is hot right now. I don’t know who’s on the Top 40 but they probably influence us too. That’s usually how we roll.
BD: You guys just filmed a music video for We Are. Can you tell me a bit about that and what fans can expect?
CS: Working with Clown was frickin’ awesome, man! He’s such a cool guy. He talked to each of us individually for, like, an hour on the phone before we even met him in person where we talked for even longer. It was just really cool working with him. And this video is unlike any other video we’ve ever done before. I know some of our videos can get kinda similar, with the band performing and hot girls in the video and drinking and blah blah blah. In this video, there’s none of that. It’s completely different. Each member in the band has their own segment, which they came up with on their own. In mine, I set a guy on fire. So, look out for that shit. It’s pretty intense.
BD: Was something going on in your life that made you think, “Man, I really need to set a guy on fire?”
CS: I just pretended like he was talking shit about my momma! [laughs]
It was cool! We shot it like a horror movie, you know? It’s awesome! We filmed it in the most haunted place in the world, the Linda Vista Hospital. It’s a trippy ass, old, fucking abandoned psychiatric hospital. That’s where we filmed the whole video. It’s pretty creepy.
BD: It’s no secret that Hollywood Undead has some strong horror influences. What is it about horror that appeals to you?
CS: I just like the darkness of it. Most of the time when I’m watching movies, that’s what I watch is horror movies because you can sit there watching chick flicks or action movies but I like seeing people get fucked up. I like seeing people get killed and seeing trippy shit.
BD: Horror is often categorized as a very intense, visceral experience, which are terms that are just as often attributed to music. What do you suppose it is about horror that allows it to be so influential on music?
CS: I think just because horror is so entertaining. People love watching that kind of thing. Those movies are so entertaining and, with music, you have to keep it as entertaining as possible as well. You take people to a dark place or feel a certain way, which you can only do with a horror film or with dark music. But we also have songs that aren’t dark at all. We have party tracks.
BD: And that’s how it is with horror, right? You have some dark scenes, some people get killed, and then there’s a party.
CS: Yeah, there’s a party scene with a couple of girls getting boned. And then they get killed. After.
BD: What were some of your favorite horror films from 2012?
CS: Oh shit. I watch movies on Netflix all the time but I forget the names. But I saw a movie called The Pact that was pretty good. I saw The Innkeepers and that was really good. I think those are the only two I can think of off the top of my head.
BD: I loved The Innkeepers.
CS: It was good, right?!
BD: What I loved about it was that it had a very light-hearted feel that was almost comedic throughout and then, at the end, it got real serious real fast.
CS: Exactly! That fucking creepy old man?
BD: On that line, what were some of your favorite albums of 2012?
CS: The new Muse record had some good songs. And any band that we toured with. If they had a record out in 2012, that was my fave.
BD: Charlie, thanks so much for your time! Best of luck to you and the rest of the Hollywood Undead team with Notes From The Underground! Hopefully I’ll get to check you guys out when you come near Detroit!
CS: Hell yeah man, that’d be awesome! We’ll watch a horror movie!