Hollywood Undead: On the road and writing with SONAR X1 Expanded

It’s two weeks into the tour and Hollywood Undead’s guitarist/vocalist/music creator J-Dog is without his tour laminate.  “All the dates are on the back of the laminate,” he says in a calm voice and smiling, “so it looks like I won’t know where I’ll be heading for a while.”  It could be a good thing, because J-Dog doesn’t need any distractions as his mind is set on a few specific targets; gearing up [already] for the next record, and giving Hollywood Undead fans everything the band has to offer on this tour.

The band, who currently are working on SONAR X1 Expanded for their next record are fighting through what is known in the industry as the “Sophomore Slump,” and winning.  “You can’t let your guard down for a minute these days.  You have to keep on working and keep your head on straight in order to stay in the game,” J-Dog tells me in a candid conversation.  “Even though our new record is doing well and the touring is killer, we have to keep it moving to the next record.”

The new record American Tragedy (A&M/Octone) came out with a bang and landed nicely in the Billboard Top 10 surrounded by Brittany Spears and Radiohead.  For Hollywood Undead fans, American Tragedy offers the same power and delivery as the debut record Swan Songs, but also shows a bit more depth to the band in terms of the writing.  Undeniable hooks are found throughout the record along with an authentic rawness and conviction that only tested souls could possibly deliver.  How does the band continue to write great songs like this one might ask, and the answer lies somewhere between work ethic, crude talent and tools such as SONAR X1 Expanded; but it’s certainly not a fluke as they are one of the hardest working bands out there today.

On this day on tour, somewhere unknown to J-Dog due to the laminate-tour-dates  mishap where a ravishing fan got the best of him and stole it while on stage, he and Da Kurlzz could be found hidden away in a hotel room doing what they do best, creating new music.  Although the new record is still fresh in the minds of the band and the fans, Hollywood Undead continues to press forward with their eye on the future and another record.  I got a chance first hand to see how they work on the road and it’s quite impressive.  All the members of the band pretty much have their own style and when it all comes together is when the thing-you-can’t-put-your-finger-on happens. 

While on the road today, J-Dog was working on a new track in X1 in his hotel room that he started on the tour bus a few days prior.  “X1 works great for us as a band that individually has so many different ideas from its members.  Everything is right there in front of you so the work flow keeps us creative through the writing process and beyond. Getting ideas down is simple, but I can also go deep into programming that I can then just hand off to our producers or our label [A&M/Octone].”  On the road the band is using a Cakewalk A-300Pro controller, a Roland Octa-capture, a Roland Quad-capture, two PC Audio Labs laptops, and SONAR X1 Expanded with all the expansion packs as well as the PC4K-S Compressor and PC4K-S Expander.

What keeps Hollywood Undead on top of the game in this climate is a combination of many factors besides the great music.  The bands management team Maple Jam Music is a key factor along with the label A&M/Octone who continue to think outside the box with Hollywood Undead in terms of promotion and marketing.  For example, the band is releasing a remix record and they gave their fans a shot at participating on it through a contest where the winning remix actually made the record.  For a Major Label band, this is an unprecedented event with fan-involvement on the music side.   The remix record which will be released later this month [November, 2011] on A&M/Octone will feature some of the bands favorite artists including the likes of Korn‘s Jonathan Davis, Borgore, Andrew W.K. and more who have contributed their remixes of the bands material.

“This is our first remix record ever. We got to pick the DJ`s and re-mixers that the band really likes. ‘Borgore,’ ‘Jonathan Davis (Korn),’ ‘KMFDM’ and ‘Andrew W.K.’ are a few on the list.  Who would have thought that someone you grew up listening to would one day remix your song.”

Another example would be the way the band works with radio stations to hold unique promotions when compared to other bands on the circuit.  This week, J-Dog and the band are coming off another win in the game of “Corn Hole [Bag Toss]” where a major radio station held a contest to play a round with the band to try to beat them.  “We’ve never been beat,” says J-Dog.  “A few have come close, but no one has gotten there.  We play it on the road all the time in parking lots where the bus is parked.  Radio stations even have custom designed Hollywood Undead Corn Hole boards made up from city to city– it’s pretty crazy.”  He goes on to say, “I think factors like this are important.  A lot of bands do the same old promotions but we really like to think of different things for our fans.”

On the international front, Hollywood Undead is making some great strides as well.  Recently the band made it over to Australia, The U.K., and also two shows in Japan at SummerSonic which really showed the bands integrity. “There’s no way we were going to cancel those shows in Japan after the recent tragic events,” J-Dog stated.  “That country needs help, and if giving them music that they want to hear helps even a little bit, we’re in.”  The two “Japan SummerSonic” concerts were back in August 2011 in Tokyo and Osaka, and featured some of the world’s most prominent rock acts.  With this trip being Hollywood Undead’s second run to Japan, it was obvious the music has caught fire in their nation as “fans knew the lyrics to just about every song,” admitted J-Dog.

Currently, the band is headlining a new World War III Tour with Asking Alexandria and Borgore which runs right up to the December Holiday Season.  You can click here for concert dates and the schedule.  Seeing the band live is quite a refreshing experience this day in age.  It’s rare to see and hear an artist with such great melodies also delivering undeniable power and conviction such as Hollywood Undead does.  We here at Cakewalk are excited to hear their new music being made on SONAR X1 Expanded, and of course wish the band and crew all the best for continued success.

More Information:

SONAR X1 Expanded

Hollywood Undead

PC4K-S Type Compressor

PC4K-S Type Expander/Gate

Cakewalk A-300Pro

Roland Octa-capture

Roland Quad-capture