Hollywood Undead's Johnny 3 Tears Talks New Album, Notes From The Underground
By Natalie Perez
LA's Hollywood Undead have been busy lately, creating a slew of videos, releasing free downloads and — biggest of all — releasing a new album.
Their latest, Notes from the Underground, was released January 8 via A&M Octone.
We recently caught up with Hollywood Undead's Johnny 3 Tears, aka George Ragan, who assures fans that the new disc, despite some cool changes, is very much a Hollywood Undead album.
"We like to think we're getting better," he said. "It's different, with some ballad-type songs, and it steps in a different direction as well — but it's still a Hollywood Undead record!"
REVOLVER: How do you think being in Los Angeles affects your sound?
I think we are heavily influenced by the LA scene, but I don't think it changes our sound. We have written songs about being here in LA.
What was the inspiration for the album name, Notes from the Underground?
I think it's where we come from musically as a band. A big part of it is writing songs of places and experiences people may not want to go too. I think we as a band want to show you another side of life to us that isn't into today's mainstream music scene.
Speaking of names (and LA), where did the band's name come from?
We grew up in the Hollywood, the Los Angeles area, and would see everyone go out at night, so we use to call those people "undead." So when we came up with the name, we thought of Hollywood and would become those type of people.
Has the band's sound evolved on this release?
Absolutely. We're always trying to evolve, but not to the point of, "What happened?" We want to make everyone happy, but we want to make it happy for us and interested. So we experimented here and there with different writing styles that the last record didn't have, but it's till very Hollywood Undead.
What do the masks represent?
When we started, we didn't want to look like every other band. We wanted that representation of a band, tearing down that wall between the people who make the music and listen to it. So we kept this unknown vibe. It makes the others more involved, so we wanted that type of feel that was progressive and connect with it.
What made you want to return to your original roots?
I think what we meant by that was it's been stripped down and the elements of what the band is sometimes you can over produce the sounds, but having enough time you can work on the songs more, so we wanted it to be basic.
Did the band have any definitive goals they were shooting for before the recording process began for this album?
George: Of course you want to record a great record, and writing it, is like an adventure you don't know how it will turn out but you get to challenge yourself. You can write a song about this or that and hope that people will like them or write songs that will be the best that's the goal. So we try and make sure by the end of the day, that we couldn't write a record as best as what we could have done with this one.
Are you using any new instrumentation you've never used in the recording process before?
We use about every instrument there is, unless I start playing the flute or something. Using different programming, broaden the horizons a bit but didn't get too crazy.
Did you feel any pressure to follow it up?
We put pressure on ourselves of course, but once in the studio we kept to ourselves. So when a lot of people care on what's going on and close that door doing it as a band, because once the outside focus enters there's too much going on. We keep those away and are delivering a record we can and how we want it to be, sticking to the honest aspect of the music.
What are your expectations for the CD?
Haha I'd expect to sell a zillion records but who knows. We would like the record to do well so we can make ourselves and the fans happy expanding on that. That's the goal is to keep the fans new and old happy along the way. I don't expect anything really it can be a massive success or a failure so it's left for the others to decide.
What are the plans for you guys for 2013?
A whole lot of touring, writing, doing what we gota do playing places we've never been so just keep on going in that direction.
Anything else you want to add for your fans?
Go pick up the album and see us on tour and hopefully you will like the record!
Southern Californian Natalie Perez has a fiery passion for music, writing and photography. Dying to know more? Connect with her via her own reality she calls Natalie’s World.