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suicidecommando01 byTarasVorobetsInterview with

Johan van Roy (vocals) from Suicide Commando

“For me music still has all to do with passion, music is my life, music is my passion, music is my therapy!” The new album by the Belgian masters SUICIDE COMMANDO is scheduled to be out in summer 2022. As the band’s mastermind Johan van Roy stated, the works on it are almost finished. We discussed the style of the new release, tour plans and live music experience as well as the vinyl version the of the demo of 1988 that is also to be out late summer this year.

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: When 2021 was coming to an end you presented a “to-do” or, as you put it, “challenge list” list for 2022 - there was a new album, US tour, vinyl and lots of live shows on it - do you think it will all be doable?
Johan: So far so good, meanwhile the work on my new album is almost finished. A US tour is still in the planning but obviously depends on how the covid plague evolves, same as all of our other live shows which we planned for this year.

RoD: Let’s start from the beginning - you’ve been working on the new album for quite a while now. Could you tell me more about what’s on it? Will it be more like a continuation of a larger sonicscape created through years by SUICIDE COMMANDO, or a totally new, experimental thing?
Johan: Well, like I just said, I’m almost ready with the work on my new album. I’m working on the last new songs and meanwhile collecting remixes for the bonus CD. Music-wise I think the new album will be a lot harder / harsher than the last ones. It has a lot more anger and frustration to it and is also much more bass driven I guess, a bit more back to the traditional EBM sound of bands like SKINNY PUPPY or FRONT 242.

RoD: Could you give out any details regarding the release at this point?
Johan: As it looks right now, we’re aiming for a release around summer, but we probably will do another (digital) single in advance.

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RoD: Last year I had a chance (and the pleasure) of seeing you during a live concert, and it was a great event. Obviously, pandemic put many of such events as concerts at halt, but some actually did happen. Do you miss playing shows?
Johan: HELL yes! I truly miss being on stage, I miss the connection with our crowd and fans, I miss being on the road, meeting new people, new places… It certainly was frustrating to see all those planned shows get cancelled or delayed. I’ve been doing live shows for almost 30 years now, so it definitely wasn’t easy not being able to go on stage again. But on the other hand, I’m still happy we at least could do a few shows in 2020 and 2021, thanks to the hard work of my booker, clubs and organizers…

RoD: Tell me more about the scheduled US tour - are you planning any European shows as well? I realize planning and then actually doing it - especially in the current situation - are two separate things, but so are you an optimist regarding the future?
Johan: Indeed, it’s not an easy thing to schedule any shows at the moment, not even to speak about organising a complete tour, whether that is in the US or elsewhere… it remains a pretty difficult and above all (financially) risky situation. So many things have to be taken into consideration as the situation with covid changes almost every 2nd week. Right now, we’re applying for a new work permit and visa for the US, and planning a 1st leg of a new US tour, but plan is to return to America (including Canada, Mexico…) for a 2nd leg as well. So yes, I try to stay positive and hope we can soon hit the road again.

RoD: And as to the vinyl of the demo of 1988? That sounds intriguing… any details at this point?
Johan: I’ve been getting a lot of requests over the years to re-release my very first demo tape (released in 1988!), so I’m happy we now got the chance to release it on vinyl. Normally it will be released somewhere late summer as a strictly limited edition on the Belgian Walhalla Records.

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RoD: Tell me more about your individual pandemic experience? Anything good you got out of it for you personally?
Johan: It sure was a difficult but also weird time, something we never witnessed before. It’s been a real rollercoaster from different emotions, from fear to hope, from disbelief to frustration, from anger to togetherness… sadly enough mostly negative emotions. I saw the world glide into a big discord, the believers and the non-believers, the anti-vaxers… Personally I’m happy we still could do some live shows in 2020 and 2021 and the pandemic also gave me more time to work on my new album, so it at least also had something good.

RoD: To wind up our interview - that idea of the very first demo going to vinyl made me think about asking - how do you think your very own perception to live shows and music-making changed through the years? What is the place of music in your life now?
Johan: Oh, it’s like comparing apples with bananas. With the arrival of computers, the music making process changed completely in the last three decades. The technological possibilities have become infinite today, while when I started doing music, computers were still not existing, synths costed a fortune, possibilities were extremely limited… but still I think it had something more unique, you had to be much more inventive & creative to write electronic music. This is something I’m lacking a bit these days. Today you buy a computer, get yourself some music software and two weeks later you have your first album ready… I do miss a bit the passion, the experiments, individuality… in today’s scene. A trillion bands all sounding the same. For me music still has all to do with passion, music is my life, music is my passion, music is my therapy!

RoD: Anything I can wish you for 2022
Johan: Well, if there’s anything I’d wish for it would be that we soon can start “living” again and leave this covid madness behind us. Time to live again!

RoD: Thank you very much for your time!

Pictures by Taras Vorobets

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