Before Hollywood Undead embarked on their 2016 European tour, I got the chance to
skype the band’s current touring drummer Tyler Mahurin for an interview.
German: Hey, what's up!
Tyler: What's up dude!
German: How you doing?
Tyler: Good man! Sorry, I didn't hear ya, I asked you how your doing too. Uh, I'm good dude, just chillin. Just got home from running some errands not too long ago.
German: Alright man, that's good. So i'm just going to jump right into it.
German: So tell me about yourself. Where did you grow up and what made you pick up your first pair of drumsticks?
Tyler: Um, well I grew up in Orange County in Southern California. Not a rich kid, so don't get that aspect about me haha!
German: Same haha!
Tyler: My family worked for everything that we got, as well as myself. I was born in Riverside, California. So i'm southern California person through and through. What made me pick up my first pair of drumsticks actually was a guy most of you know as Dave Grohl! He was in a band called Nirvana back in the day when I was a kid haha, way before most of you guys were around.
Photo by David Uzzardi
German: I grew up with the Foo Fighters, so I know him as a singer!
Tyler: Yeah, for Fah, F, Foo Fighters haha. Sorry, couldn't spit that out. But yeah I was watching and I was really young, watching a video on MTV back when they used to play music actually. Nirvana was doing the Unplugged thing and I thought to myself, "I wanna do that. That's gonna be me someday".
Nirvana during the taping of MTV Unplugged at Sony Studios in New York City, 11/18/93. Photo by Frank Micelotta.
German: Well hey, you did it!
Tyler: Yeah! Still working at it, but yeah haha.
German: So what bands have you been in before joining Hollywood Undead?
Tyler: The first band that I was actually legitimately in that was on a label was a band called A Thorn for Every Heart, and they based out of Chino Hills, California. Um, they were around for a bit,
they stuck around for a bit after I left. I was with them for a couple of years and then through playing
with them I met my next band that I was in called A Static Lullaby which i'm sure some people
watching this might still know or have heard of. I was with them for almost 3 years before I decided
to leave as well. And then I filled in for bands but other than being in those 2, Hollywood Undead has been the next band that I have been kind of in, i'm a touring musician for the band. So i'm not a full-on member. But still, consider myself part of the band.
German: That's really cool. So how did you end up becoming their drummer? What steps led up to you joining the?
Tyler: What led up to me becoming a drummer?
German: No, their touring drummer.
Tyler: Oh! Sorry, I'm doing this on my phone so it's kind of hard to hear a little bit.
German: Do you need me to speak up?
Tyler: Nah, you're fine. I'm a musician, I'm a little hard hearing. What led up to me being their drummer was, I had toured with them previously as a drum tech for a band called Asking Alexandria. And um, I just became friends with the guys in between shows and after shows or whatever. We'd all just sit back, relax at the venue enjoy beers, hang out on the bus, listen to music, and I ended up connecting well with them. And the about a year or two after I met them, I found out that they were going to be replacing their drummer and I had told them that I would like to audition. And I think it ultimately ended up coming down to me and a couple other guys as far as the auditions. I don't remember who exactly cuz I'm sure they actually probably didn't even tell me. But um, It came down to a couple guys and I think I had a leg in on it because I was already friends with the band's manager and I told him I was looking for work and he was like "Oh, I manage that band". I was like "There we go, hook your boy up!". So I got lucky, I ended up doing a video audition I sent them I believe 5 songs. At the time there was only three albums out one of off the first record.
German: Swan Songs!
Tyler: Yeah! Then two off the two following records. Four in total off those two and off Swan Songs.
German: What songs were those?
Tyler: I did Undead, um....god it's so hard to remember, it was almost two years ago. I did Undead, I know I did-I believe I did Dead Bite, From The Ground..um..and you know I have honestly no idea what the other two were hahaha!
German: So tell me about your drum set-up and the company you're sponsored by, well, the new company you're sponsored by.
Tyler: I'm sponsored by DW Drums now, Drum Workshop. It's a huge honor and huge pleasure to be playing for them. It's something that I've strived to achieve my entire career, I've been touring professionally for about ten years. They've been nothing but amazing to me. Any questions I have they're quick on responses, anything I need from them they're super quick at getting it to me. My setup, I don't currently have a drumset, like a full kit from DW, but I'm in the process of getting one. My setup is a four-piece. I play a 14" snare, usually 6 and a half deep, It can vary from about 5 and a half to 6 and a half depending on like, if I bring mine or using a rental or whatever. And I use a 13" rack tom typically. 13 or 12, I kind of mix it up sometimes. Then I've been all about using a 16x16 floor tom, just because I like the beefiness out of it, and then also a 24" kick drum because it has a nice thud to it when you're playing it, so that's my set-up kit wise. And then I do have, um, I use two crash cymbals, one ride cymbal, a pair of hi-hats, and a china as well. So it's a fairly basic set-up.
German: So what kind of drumsticks do you use?
Tyler: Vic Firth! I use Vic Firth, i've been with the company for a number of years now. I'm never as an artist on their web page because I do bounce around from time to time playing for various bands, I consider myself an independent musician. Right now i'm obviously working for Hollywood Undead. I did actually just get a shipment of stick from them for our upcoming European run and that is in March and April so I got a box of sticks in the back of my car. I use 2B wood tip because I like the heaviness out of them and the- is that one of em on the wall right there? Haha! (Looks at stick on wall behind me)
German: Yeah haha!
Tyler: But yeah, I use 2B wood tip, I like the heaviness out of them, they last me quite a bit longer than 5B, which is what I used to use for quite some time. Occasionally I do still go through a couple pairs a show. Don't know why, don't know how but eh.
German: Wood does break haha!
Tyler: Yeah, it makes me feel good I guess haha!
German: So you have-well HAD a drum set that changed colors during the shows. What technology went behind that to pull something like that off?
Tyler: There's a company that the previous kit you're speaking of, went through to have installed the lights and they, I don't know if they just build the box, it's custom. But the company is called DrumLite, and the box that ran it was allowing our lighting guy to program it actually it was super small, it was probably no larger than probably like an iPhone 6 plus I guess. Thickness wise it was about 4 or 5 of them stacked on top of each other, still at the same time it wasn't very thick. It was run by DMX cables which is a five pin lightning cable that allows you to change various colors. There was also 10 switches on the back that you could flip up or down to various different thing. So that was what ran it. All you had to do was, when I purchased the kit, I got sent a cable that had a bunch of different of those DMX plugs that linked all the drums together pretty much.
German: Oh! That's cool. So how much practice does it take to play the drums.
Tyler: I've been playing drums, I'm 30 years old now so shhh, don't tell too many people haha! But I've been playing drums since I was about 7, so that's about 23 years behind the drums with about 10 years of lessons. I feel like it kind of comes naturally to me now, only because I've been playing so long. At the time when I first started playing was hard. There was times where being so young I would go to lessons and cry to my parents that I didn't want to do it anymore, that I couldn't do it. But they made me stick with it, and I started practicing on my own for a couple of hours a day just trying to get different rudiments getting my forearm strength and finger strength down. I mean to be amazing at what you do, you always have to play hours and hours and hours of practice into it. So, not saying that i'm amazing by any means but, I consider myself just a drummer haha.
German: So do you still remember your first drumset?
Tyler: I do! Actually it was Ludwig Vistalite, it was an original with all the ghost hardware. It was purchased second hand by my parents for me just so they knew I had something I could play on and all that stuff and potentially get me into something like this. I loved it to pieces, played on it all time. Back then, I was super shy though, anytime when people would walk around me while I tried to play I kinda curled up in a ball and I'd be like "Don't watch meee" haha, yeah but that was it. An old Vista Lite, it had some stuff patched into it because it had some cracks and stuff. It was a starter kit.
German: Do you still have it?
Tyler: I don't! Unfortunately I gave it to my younger cousin because he was showing some interest in wanting to play drums. And the fact that I already had various other kits to play on. I was like "Here, it's yours, take it. Do as you please with it. Just practice and take of it". And then at the time I didn't know what it was and when I ended finding out what kind of kit it was, my aunt had given it away to one of their family friends and I was like "Nooooooo my drumset!!" Somebody else is playing it and enjoying it so that's all that matters.
German: At least it's being used! So let's say that money isn't an issue. What would your idea dream drumset be?
Tyler: I would probably have about 3 rack toms, two floor toms, a snare, a side snare, probably even two kick drums. Of the top of my head I can't even count how many drums that is. But I would probably have way more than jus two crash cymbals, I'd probably have a smaller pair of hi-hats of to my right hand side because I'm a right hand drummer. DW makes this cool pedal that is like a hi-hat pedal, well it pretty much is a hi-hat pedal. It's got this long thin cable that you can wrap around your kit that will allow you to control that hi-hat opening and closing and stuff. I'd have something cool like that and probably a couple of chinas and all sorts of stuff. You know, bells and whistles.
German: So during your shows, you have a tablet, I think it's to your left. What's it for?
Tyler: That is how I start and stop the songs during the set. That pretty much has all the song that we play live on it. It has the click track which is basically just a cowbell going in my ear. So during our hour and a half show, that's all I listen to, it's cowbell. Just going tok tok tok. It's painful, I hear it in my sleep. But it's just a way for me to start and stop the songs so that way I have click throughout the whole song and then the guy will also have click in various parts in some of the songs cuz they obviously just go off of how i'm playing.
German: So whenever you walk past a cowbell you get goosebumps?
Tyler: I kind of shudder a little bit and be like "Noooo".
German: I'm really sorry to hear that man...
German: So have you ever had any mishaps or accidents on stage?
Tyler: I have yes, I'm only human. I don't play perfectly at all and I don't think I've ever played a perfect show. There has been times where sticks come flying out of my hands. It's just one of those things where you have to be on point and be able to recover quickly from it. There's been times where my bodypack has died when I used a body pack with these guys. If you see a guy walking around on stage with blue and green lights on them, that's what the body pack is. That receives the signal from from the monitor desk that can give them the click in tracks and all that stuff. My body pack died so where I lost where I was at. The guys still had monitors at the front of stage, I was able to hear a little bit from that. Not having click and not having backing track or guitar in my ear kind of threw me off because like I said, I'm only human I'm not a walking robot so I don't know. I could fluctuate at any time haha.
German: Do you have any pre-show warm ups?
Tyler: I'm a believer, i'm a christain and I usually say a prayer before I go out. That's like a few minutes before going on stage. What I normally do is while the band before us is playing, I will stretch and warm up. I do a various number of wrist stretches, I stretch my elbows, I stretch out my forearms and stuff. Then i'll just grab my sticks and if I have something
I can hit in front of me, I'll hit it and do different rudiments and stuff to try to gain strength in my forearms a little bit before going out there. Because if you go out on stage just the amount of adrenaline going through you while you're onstage playing, it can tense you up real quick. So I just try to make sure i'm nice and loose and warm and stuff before I go out there.
German: What was your first onstage show and with which band was it with?
Tyler: My first onstage show? I was young about i don't know, maybe 16 or something. Back then it was just a local band from here in Orange County. I don't even remember what they were called. It was a band that I started.
German: Oh really?
Tyler: Back then I was in a local band but I got kicked out before we even played any shows because I was so young.
All they wanted to do was play covers, I was like "Whaaat? That's stupid". It was a band called Misled and it was me and the singer he was a few grades above me, as well as the guitar player. I'm not sure, I think there was a bar/restaurant here in Orange County called Hoagie BarMichaels where we played out first show at. It was, I mean, being a local band from highschool it was a decent turnout. It was obviously family and friends but it was still fun.
German: So last question, any advice you want to give people who are thinking of taking up drumming or people who
are already drummers?
Tyler: Yeah! Actually I was going to plug myself there, because I started writing a book about my ventures through the music industry. Started writing it about middle of last year. I'm trying to get it done this year or sometime. There's no title yet. And in there I talk all about that kind of stuff and mainly what I would like to say is don't listen to anybody that tells you no. I got told no so many times that I wouldn't do anything that i've already achieved in my career while going through school. Just don't listen to those people. Those people are just trying to bring you down. Stay true to your dreams, stay true to your heart, stay true to yourself, and always reach for the stars. And practice, practice, practice.
German: Alright, thank you for allowing Scene For Dummies to interview you, I hope you have good day!
Tyler: No problem dude, thank you for having me!
German: Good luck with your upcoming tour to!
Tyler: Thank you! Alright man!
German: Peace out!