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Interview with

Johan van Roy from Suicide Commando

Introducing SUICIDE COMMANDO? Not necessary, as Johan van Roy and his band is part of the electronic music scene for nearly 30 years. For those who still haven’t heard of SUICIDE COMMANDO: Mix interesting beats, interesting synthesizer arrangements with lyrics about failed relationships, the evil side of humanity or war and you have a song of the Belgian master mind Johan van Roy. Reflections of Darkness talked to Mr SUICIDE COMMANDO himself, Johan van Roy, about his upcoming show at Out of Line Weekender, Smurfs, bootlegging concerts and about love and relationships.

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: So you’re playing at Out of Line Weekender on Friday. Are you looking forward to this show?
Johan: It’s always fun to be on stage, so yes, even after all these years, I’m still looking forward to it.

RoD: Are there any bands you like to hear yourself that day?
Johan: It looks like it will be some kind of “Belgian” day on Friday, with bands like THE JUGGERNAUTS, SIGNAL AOUT 42 and DIVE, so it will be cool to see so many familiar faces of the Belgian scene. Also looking forward to see COMBICHRIST again on stage, and I finally hope to see SUICIDE COMMANDO as I heard they’re simply amazing (laughs).

RoD: SUICIDE COMMANDO? Never heard of them. (laughs) Is there any song - your own or from another band - that you just can’t listen to anymore and why?
Johan: Can’t recall one right now, but to refer to my own songs, even after all these years and probably hearing it a thousand times, I still can listen to songs like ‘See you in hell’ or ‘Hellraiser’… Without being an ego dick I think I can easily say that’s what makes songs a classic and immortal, being able to listen to them after so many years and so many times.

RoD: I’m still laughing about your introduction of ‘Dein Herz, meine Gier’ as ‘Dein Herz, mein Schlumpf’ [comment: Schlumpf = Smurf] in Görlitz a few days ago. Do you like smurfs?
Johan: I haven’t had anything to do with smurfs for over 35 years when I had to sing the original at school, but talking about our kids, it suddenly slashed open old wounds and traumas (laughs).

RoD: We all have that Smurf trauma, I think. But they’re tiny and blue and cute. So what’s your favourite one?
Johan: The blue one… They’re all blue, right? Damn…

RoD: Probably you should cover the Smurf song and make an electro-version. Well, would you?
Johan: I’m sure our son would love that, but maybe we better shouldn’t wake sleeping dogs.

RoD: Just to get away from Smurfs and the Smurf trauma: What was the most interesting thing you ever tried in your life?
Johan: Eating spaghetti as I used to hate spaghetti (laughs).

RoD: I read about that technician which attacked you in 2012. What happened to him? Is he still alive? Who won that fight?
Johan: No idea, didn’t send him a Christmas card afterwards, so kind of lost contact (laughs).

RoD: I guess, he’s quite unhappy now you haven’t sent him a nice card.
Johan: No seriously, it was only a sad incident and I regret that in all my frustration I blamed him for the bad lights and show. I already apologised to the club and crew shortly after the show, so as far as I’m concerned it’s all forgiven and forgotten. I don’t want to abuse this small incident to get some more attention, I leave that for all those other attention whores…

RoD: What was the dumbest question you’ve ever been asked in an interview?
Johan: This one (laughs).

RoD: Well, congratulations to me: I asked the dumbest question. I hope I’ll don’t get fired now (laughs). You did a lot of interviews in your life, I guess. Do you think interviewers should prepare better and just don’t ever ask nearly the same questions?
Johan: I fully agree. I know it takes a lot of time and work to ask interesting questions, but I indeed do lack some more inspiration and especially preparation of interviews, or also for reviews of albums. Sometimes I even have the impression these writers didn’t even listen to the album properly and just write in auto pilot.

RoD: I totally agree with you. I don’t like the way everything is written in auto pilot. I appreciate your honesty. You’re one of the kindest persons, I’ve ever met. And on stage you seem to be aggressive as hell. Is that all show and attitude or do you feel aggressive when being on stage?
Johan: Sure it’s also part of the show as I don’t think anyone would be interested in seeing “the kind side of Johan” on stage, but it’s also a part of me, a part of my inner self. I think everyone has a dark and a bright side, so once on stage my dark side awakes. My music always has been my way to get rid of my frustrations and aggressions, so my music is my therapy.

RoD: I read a text where someone said, electro is all anti-female and that bands like SUICIDE COMMANDO are somehow treating women not right, especially in their videos. Do you agree?
Johan: Well, I’m not singing about the birds and the bees, that’s for sure, but I can also say that I’m NOT anti-female. But we have to face the fact that we’re living in a violent world, so why should I close my eyes for reality and show people only peace and harmony? It’s the same with the disturbing videos we’re showing at live shows, some people claim that I’m
glorifying murder and aggression, but all these images are just taken from television or the internet, they’re all reality. Just switch on your television and you’ll get flooded with such kind of images. I don’t want to glorify anything, I just want to show people reality, and unfortunately, despite feminism, women often still are abused and mistreated.

RoD: So back to Out of Line Weekender in Berlin: What can the audience expect from SUICIDE COMMANDO on Friday?
Johan: The usual recipe: harsh electro with a bit of a punk attitude, the necessary chaos, aggression and fun.

RoD: What do you think of bootlegging concerts? I mean the really bad bootlegs taken with cell phones?
Johan: A sad example of how technology screwed us. No seriously, I’m not happy with it, but unfortunately there’s nothing you can do about it.

RoD: What about cell phones in front of stage taking pictures all the time? Necessary or just annoying?
Johan: It doesn’t annoy me, but it isn’t necessary either…

RoD: Will you ever be writing a song with a more positive look at love and relationships or is that just not SUICIDE COMMANDO?
Johan: Well, who knows?! But it just wouldn’t fit the music in my opinion. But who ever said ‘Love breeds Suicide’ isn’t a positive song? After all it deals about the unconditional love for someone, loving someone that much that you would even be prepared to die for that person.

RoD: When I go out I hear the “older” people complaining that the younger girls do wear nearly nothing. So what do you think about girls who are about 16 years old and go out to concerts or clubs with nearly no clothes on?
Johan: Where? Never seen any (laughs).

RoD: Well, you should come to Germany and go out to see them. Or you probably don’t see them because mostly they look like 18 or 20 something while still being 16 years old.
Johan: I’m not here to judge on others, so if they feel happy with it, it’s fine with me. Already wrote about it in my song ‘Hate me’, I think people often judge too fast without even knowing that person or group. Same about me, I often read comments on my person or my music about people who don’t even know me personally, sometimes not so nice things, so I wonder why they feel the urge to do that? Are they bored with their own life? Anyhow, we’re living in a free world (well, at least we think so), so if those youngsters want to get dressed that way, who am I to judge or condemn them?

RoD: You’re into music business since nearly 30 years. Is Electronic music with aggressive lyrics just a trend in your eyes or will it last?
Johan: I don’t think it’s a trend, but it’s a fact that people always will try to become more controversial in their music and lyrics. After all nearly all already has been done once before, so people will always try to be more extreme and controversial, just to get attention (there are the attention whores again). But we have definitely too many “fucks” in our lyrics these days. And yes, I’m to blame too, so fuck you (laughs).

RoD: Thank you for answering all of these questions and enjoy your show at Out of Line Weekender. See you in hell, just to quote you.


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