Recently while covering Hollywood Undead on tour, we got a chance to sit down with Hollywood Undead drummer Matthew St. Claire aka “Da Kurlzz”. He talked to us about the new record, being one of two drummers in the band, and what the band members do with their masks when they’re done with them. St. Claire has been with the band since their inception in 2005 and has contributed to all Hollywood Undead’s releases.
MPR: This tour marks the live debut of many songs from “Notes From the Underground”, what has the reception been like for those songs?
DK: It’s been great, to be honest with you. We’ve been touring since the new record came out in January, and we were just playing three initial songs, “We Are”, “Dead Bite”, and “Another Way Out”. And we felt that since the record was so well received that we would just start adding a bunch of new songs to our set.
MPR: Can you take us through the writing process of “Notes From the Underground”?
DK: It was very good, it was a lot better than the last record. We definitely had some pressures on the second album; you know, they call it the “second album slump” for a lot of artists, because after the success from the first record there was a lot of pressure to make sure you have a lot of great songs for the next. And our last record did really well, but to answer your question, the process for this record was a lot easier. Every sort of cohesively worked together but separately. So if someone had an idea and they made it go forward they would bring it to the rest of us, and whoever could add to that or just be part of it was. It ended up working really well where we ended up having about 29 to 30 songs to choose from for the record.
MPR: Notes From the Underground is your second album to debut in the top 5, how has that come to be?
DK: It obviously had a lot to do, I think, with the success off the first record. And the second one was very well received too, debuting at number 4 at that time. It was a huge, big deal for us because the first album was one of those first albums that allow you to get there, so we already sort of established ourselves on the first record. And with the second record debuting number 4 it was amazing. And now this record debuted at number 2 in the United States, so it definitely is showing that the band is creating a presence and we’re obviously writing good songs that people like.
MPR: With every album you release, you upgrade your masks, what do you do with the old ones?
DK: Um some people have given them away to loved ones or friends, some people like to keep them. J-Dog put all of his on his wall, which is pretty cool. It kind of displays the progression of the band visually; causes you know, the masks are definitely part of the visual aspect of the band. Yeah I like to personally keep mine in my room at my house.
MPR: You’re one of two drummers in Hollywood Undead, something most bands don’t have. How is it sharing drumming duties?
DK: Well it works great, because you know I’m a percussionist in the group and there’s so many musical elements and drum elements in the band; that we wanted to have someone that was stationary for every song. And seeing how myself, I had a lot of the elements that are in the tracks. So instead of playing tracks with all these percussive elements, I get to actually put them in my drum set, because I play an electronic kit, and you actually get to hear those sounds that you hear from the record. And it gives us a cool element where it’s like “wow there’s two drummers onstage”, it’s kind of cool.