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Interview: J-Dog And Daniel Of Hollywood Undead Talk New Record, New Look And More

Hollywood Undead is currently getting ready to release their sixth full length studio album. Along with the release of their upcoming album the band will hit the road this February and embark on a co-headling European tour with Papa Roach that will see 22 cities starting February 16th, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain and will run through March 18th, where the tour will make its final stop in Denmark, Copenhagen. I recently had the chance to chat with a couple of my close friends, J-Dog and Daniel of Hollywood Undead about the upcoming record and tour.

ME-Whats good guys, how’s everything been?

J-Dog– Slowly Dying, the usual. Been busy cultivating weed more then Ive been focusing on music. But Im going to go on tour and start writing and producing again. 

Daniel– I’ve been good man, it’s been nice to be home with the family, when I’m not on tour or in the studio writing and recording I try and make the best of my time at home with the wife and two little ones. Time flies man!

ME-Two weeks ago you guys dropped some bombs on your fans the Undead Army! First there was the world premier of your new single “Already Dead” on Sirius XM’s Octane, following a few days after came a huge announcement that Hollywood Undead and Papa Roach will be co-headlining a European tour in early 2020, then you guys released the music video for your new single “Already Dead”. With all this hitting publicly days apart from each other, is it safe to say we can expect the new album soon?

J-Dog– Im not sure when the next album comes out. That is one of those things I never pay attention to. The tour is in February so probably around then. One thing I learned to do is relinquish control of certain aspects of our band. Trying to control a record label is impossible. They make good decisions, they make terrible ones. So when it comes to album release times, I think they’re good at that. Me knowing everything literally doesn’t make a difference, so I stopped paying attention. 

Daniel– We have the first volume of a two part album coming out on February 14, 2020! A little Valentine’s Day gift for all of our fans because we love them so much

ME- Has the album been a title yet?

J-Dog– It is called New Empire. We have a song called Empire and we liked that title. I think Johnny 3 tears came up with it. We are actually releasing a double album. Vol. 1 & 2. We always record enough music for 2 records so this time were going for it. Balls deep on a double penetration. 

Daniel– Shit is beast bro!!!

ME- With the new album being a double album, and Volumes 1 and 2 being released separately, will this be a concept record with somewhat of a storyline?

Daniel – It’s not a concept album, but when we were all finished up in the studio we ended up with way more songs for one full length album, like 20 songs and we really hate it when the extra songs never see the light of day like every past album, and We have never done a double album, we’ve seen other artists we respect do it in the past and have always been interested in doing that at some point. So we said fuck it let’s give the fans some now and when they’re ready for more we have the follow up all ready to go.

ME- Last year you guys launched Dove and Grenade Industries which is mainly a cannabis cultivation brand, and along with the cultivating you guys are now getting ready to open a dispensary in collaboration with a brand called 46 Releaf. How did this come about and why in Oklahoma City?

J-Dog – Cause California and LA is so fucked on the legal side.The government really got greedy with taxes, they screwed us and a lot of other cannabis cultivator who tried to do the right thing. Being self invested its hard to play ball with people who have millions to invest. We don’t have that. So we have friends in OKC we partnered up with. We plan on coming back to California but who knows when. It has to be on Uncle Sams terms.

ME- Following the launch of Dove and Grenade Industries the band now has Dove and Grenade Media as well. Is this now an independent label that you guys started?

J-Dog – We just release content, but we’ve been slacking. Were like almost every other band, drunk and dumb.  I think starting a label in the current music climate is a terrible idea. A money pit. I’d rather buy a boat and lose money there.

ME- Are there any future plans to bring on other bands who are big into cannabis culture to Dove and Grenade Media?

J-Dog – Its all cannabis related so soon we’ll work with other artist, rappers, growers, anything that makes sense in the cannabis world. 

ME- In 2018 Hollywood Undead released a 5 track ep called Psalms, the ep itself really seemed to have an almost experimental feel to it musically then your previous albums. Were you going for that type of vibe or did it just happen come out that way?

J-Dog – All songs that didn’t make the record. If we released an EP after every record it would be like that. Cause we tried to make our records cohesive, some songs don’t really fit on them. So the B sides might sound a little different. Or you get smart and use the B sides for an EP and keep stacking that streaming cash playa. 

ME- Why did you choose to release the ep?

J-Dog – Money. Not really, certain songs like Live Fast I put a lot of work and soul into. I want people to be able to hear it. As an artist you want your work to be appreciated. We all have songs we want heard that sometimes don’t. 

ME- Something you guys are well know for are your mask, its something your fans are huge on and it’s definitely something they seem to really look forward to when it comes to the release of your new albums, aside from the new music, there’s  the new mask. On your last tour you co-headlined with Cypress Hill, you guys came out and performed without the mask for the first time on a tour. Has this now become something permanent?

J-Dog – No more masks, were just over them. They’re very expensive to make as well. They’re a hassle to perform in, sometimes you don’t know if people are taking you serious when you’re wearing a mask. The ascetic is cool but we finally got over it. We lose a shit ton of them too and their expensive. Charlie Scene’s bandana always smells like shit too. I wanted it gone

Daniel – As far as the mask thing goes, I think we’re always going to try and keep them around somehow with our artwork or our stage production, but I’m kind of excited to be able to try and connect with our fans, and I’m stoked to be able to breathe normally while performing for once. Those things get fucking hot, I’m too old for that shit! Hahaha. No in all seriousness It was just time to make a change.

ME- What made you guys decide to drop something that’s was a big part of the bands identity?

J-Dog – Felt we just out grew it. This is the most rock record we’ve ever made. Wearing masks and playing rock music just seems kind of corny. Sometimes if we debate if the masks actually held us back from being taken more serious…. Or was it the songs about dicks?

ME- With the bands new look, being no mask, what can we expect now musically from you guys on the new album

J-Dog – A lot heavier and more rock. I love playing heavier music on stage. Its Alot more fun. Im excited about it. I personally listen to metal more then anything. Bands like Martyr Defiled and Nasty and Norma Jean. Our shit isn’t nearly that heavy but I def like heavier music.

ME- Daniel, I know your pretty well rounded instrumentally and vocally, how did you feel going into recording this record knowing it would be more of a heavier rock album then your previous albums?

Daniel – I was pretty stoked, we all were. Knowing exactly what you’re trying to create before hand, was really helpful for us. We knew what we had to do and the common goal was to just write a whole Lotta heavy. I think we really succeeded in that, and I can’t wait to see what the hard rock world thinks of it. I know a lot of people say this to help promote their projects, but in all honesty this is easily my favorite music we have ever created. Out of our last 5 albums

ME- Since the huge announcement of the co-headling European tour with Papa Roach, has there been any talks of bringing this tour stateside 

J-Dog – Not yet, but there should be. Rock is still hurting in America though. Hiphop and EDM is still dominating. I think America needs a rock resurgence of some kind. Not sure how or when it’ll happen but one day it will. If rap rock comes back?!?! Im cashing out boie!

Daniel – I’d love to do the P. Roach tour in the states as well, we will see how everything goes in Europe, but it’s definitely an option.

ME- Daniel, how do you feel about rock hurting in America, wouldn’t  you say its making its resurgence, with bands like Slayer and The Misfits selling out Madison Square Garden and Louder Then Life festival setting a record as the largest rock festival in America with more then 128,000 in attendance?

Daniel – I’ve noticed throughout my life that music comes in waves, I think rock music is going to come back bigger then ever! people are getting tired of listening to all this fake digital music. They need that real music with lyrics that invoke real emotion again. At least that’s what I’d like to believe

 

About Mark Smitty Neal

NewYork Based Photographer. Music Enthusiast with a background in Graphic Design. Whether I'm shooting a live event or just out wondering the streets its about capturing the moment.

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