Q&A with Johan from Suicide Commando
1. Can you share what inspired the themes and sound of your latest album?
Even though some of the songs on “goddestruktor” were dealing with the dangers of religion, “goddestruktor” was not a real concept album. It also dealed with the other “usual” themes like war, murder, suicide …
The sound on “goddestruktor” can be considered as a continuation of the sounds from “the forest of the impaled”, the album before “goddestruktor”. Even though most songs still have club potential, I did try to walk away from the usual paths of electronic music becoming faster and faster. Most songs on “goddestruktor” go back to the classic 120 bpm sound.
2. Could you walk us through your songwriting process for this release? How does it compare to your previous work?
My writing process remains pretty similar, combining softsynths and plug ins with hardware gear. But with each new release I just try to reach a higher level in writing and especially production. That’s usually my goal, to do better with each new release. I never start with a plan, for me music has to be spontaneous.
3. Which track from the new album is your favourite, and why?
That’s really hard to say, as I like them all. If I wouldn’t like a certain song, it wouldn’t end up on my albums any way.
So I don’t really have any favorite.
4. How do you feel your sound has evolved in this latest release compared to your earlier music?
The basics remain the same, but like I just said, I always try to do better productionwise, whether by using new and more professional gear or by spending more time into the details. Musicwise I think my music remains unique with the typical Suicide Commando style and vibe, without being a copy.
5. What were some of your biggest challenges while creating this album?
With each album writing interesting lyrics becomes my biggest challenge. It’s difficult to not end up copying yourself. And I try to avoid writing silly and hollow words & lyrics as some bands tend to do unfortunately.
6. Your lyrics often carry intense messages. Is there a central theme or message in this latest album you hope fans will connect with?
The central theme on “goddestruktor” sure were the dangers and excesses of religion, whether that being war, terroristic religious organsations, child abuse by priests in the catholic church …
In my opinion religion is one of the world’s biggest dangers.
7. Did you collaborate with other artists or producers for this album? How did these collaborations influence the final product?
The only collaboration on “goddestruktor” you can hear in the song “land of roses”. That song was written together with Charlotte Nuytkens, who was a finalist of “the voice of Vlaanderen”, a vocal competition on Belgian television.
All other songs were entirely written by me, as usual 🙂
8. How have your fans reacted to the new release? Was there any feedback that particularly surprised or pleased you?
The album got very good feedback and reviews and even made to the N° 9 position in the official German album charts.
Maybe that was the biggest surprise to see “goddestruktor” next to big stars like Harry Styles or Rammstein …
9. Are there any tracks from the new album that you are particularly excited to perform live? Why?
I like to perform them all …
10. After this latest release, what direction do you see Suicide Commando heading in? Are there new styles or themes you want to explore in future projects?
With each new release you pick up new sounds or themes, bands saying they’re not being influenced are lying as fuck 🙂 I listen to all kinds of music, so it’s normal that you pick up ideas by listening to other music, whether that is deliberate or unintentional is not important.
But of course the main sound and typical style of Suicide Commando will always remain intact. That’s just my trademark. I started back in the eighties being highly influenced by bands like Front 242, Klinik …, well even today they’re still my biggest inspiration, even though my sound evolved a lot compared to my first albums.
11. How do the individual members of Suicide Commando contribute to the band’s unique sound and creative process?
Well, basically none as I’m writing my songs all by myself. In the studio Suicide Commando will always remain my solo project, my baby, my flesh and blood, my passion !
On stage I’m joined by the fantastic Mario Vaerewijck doing live drums and Torben Schmidt doing the live keys, but they don’t have any input in my writing process.
12. What are some of the critical influences or artists that have shaped the sound and ethos of Suicide Commando over the years?
Like I just said, I’m heavily influenced by the old Electronic Body Music style which had its origin in Belgium with bands like Front 242, Klinik, The Neon Judgement … and later also bands like Wumpscut, Leaether Strip, Placebo Effect …
13. Looking back at your career, what has been the most memorable or impactful moment for the band so far?
I can’t really think of one specific moment as there have been so many memorable events in my career. I’m above all thankful that I could make my music my job. I feel so privileged that we can travel the world to do live shows and tours all around the globe, I feel so privileged to have so many wonderful fans all over the world.
Maybe that tops all personal moments, having the best fans in the world.
14. What message do you wish to convey to your loyal fanbase following you throughout your musical journey?
Well, I’d like to grab this opportunity to thank them all, from the bottom of my heart. Without my fanbase I would be nothing. I’m so happy they join me in my musical journey.
15. Industrial and EBM music has evolved significantly over the years. How do you view Suicide Commando’s role in this evolution and the current state of the genre?
I’m honored that Suicide Commando could contribute to this evolution. Evolution is good and necessary.
When “Mindstrip” with songs like “hellraiser” or “love breeds suicide” became so popular, many bands tried to copy that sound. I’m still happy I could be part of that important evolution in the scene.
You are coming to Malta Dark Malta again. Are you looking forward to this?
Hell yes I’m really looking forward to it ! We were one of the very first electronic bands to play in Malta thanks to Rene Hades Farrugia in making this all possible. This guy should get a statue in Malta !
Johan thank you so much for taking the time for such great answers.
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