It’s always great to catch up with industrial music icon Andy LaPlegua, founder and front-man of Combichrist, Icon of Coil and Panzer AG. He’s always got something interesting an unexpected on the boil, and wise words to share with the world. This time proves no exception, and leaves us wondering when he finds time to sleep. We ask him what’s he’s working on at the moment.
“The better mood I’m in, the more aggressive my music’s gonna be”
“I’ve been back from tour and in the studio for a month now. I’m working on a soundtrack for a video game…the new ‘Devil May Cry’ instalment. I’m doing things with it that I’ve wanted to do for a while now…it’s just a lot of fun.”
It sounds to us like the game is going to be a must-have for fans, as most of the material is only going to appear on the game soundtrack, with a few pieces bought over to the next Combichrist album. Andy seems genuinely excited about the project; both in respect to be working on ‘one of the coolest looking games that I’ve ever seen’ and as a way to explore new sound, as ‘some of the stuff is way too aggressive for Combichrist’. We speak for a while about current influences and inspiration and where Andy feels he is in life these days. He acknowledges that he’s been though some pretty wild times before announcing that he’s not been drinking for a year and a half now. “Most people who followed us know how much of a mess we were.”
We are interested to talk about how the “clean-up” has affected Combichrist, and their chemistry. “We’re way closer now than we ever were: More of a strong unity as humans, not just as party-pals. We’ve got a lot, lot tighter. We’re a better live band, with a lot more energy. We don’t become exhausted after twenty minutes. It’s a lot easier to be around each other. We’re just as insane now as we were when we were drinking, we’re just not drunk any more!”
Andy considers the change in lifestyle has made an enormous difference to his health and perspective. He’s built up a new studio and has his hotrod garage in the same building, splitting his time between the two. Is that therapeutic? “For sure. It’s similar to music, because it’s such a passion, but it’s so different, because it’s 100 per cent physical. You kinda just clear your mind. I don’t know how else to explain it.” Such an environment has made a difference to the music, in his mind: “It’s not necessarily happy and poppy, but something different.” No pop albums planned, then? “I’d have to be on a lot of drugs to release a pop album.”
We speak at length about what it’s like when hard-edged artists become comfortable with their lives. Andy doesn’t equate the softening of a sound to do with comfort-levels, though. “I think a lot of that has to do with labels pushing artists in a more mainstream direction. I think it’s when the label takes over and makes decisions for them, and the artist is done as an artist and doesn’t care any more. I never release anything that I don’t stand for: I never did anything because I had to do it; I did it because I felt it was right.”
For Andy, a positive life doesn’t mean that he’ll be writing positive uplifting music, citing ‘Everyone Hates You’ as being far more poppy than later releases. “The better mood I’m in, the more aggressive my music’s gonna be. I truly like dark and aggressive music. It’s not because I feel sorry for myself or angry at the world. It’s what makes me happy.” From life philosophy we move on to discussing other music projects, though wouldn’t be drawn on the details of any upcoming remixes, aside for tipping us a nod as regards a mix on the new Aesthetic Perfection single.
He’s also heavily involved at the moment with his five-piece rockabilly punk band called Scandinavian Cock. “We come together a couple of times a week, have a couple of beers, and play rock and roll.” It’s a band more founded on friendship than ambition it seems. They’re not in a rush to tour: “I don’t want to jump into anything too quickly, as it’s really close to my heart. I want this to be hundred percent. I don’t want anything half-arsed.” Finally, we speak briefly about reformations with old projects, such as the much anticipated Icon of Coil appearance at next year’s Resitanz Festival and the upcoming Halloween gig in Australia. “I get excited about it. It’s more nostalgic than anything else. I don’t see my band-mates except to play. So when I do see them, we have an amazing time, both on and off-stage.”
It really feels for us as though Andy is going from strength-to-strength as an artist, and we’re left with a keen anticipation for not only seeing him fronting Icon of Coil at next year’s Resistanz Festival, but also for a video game and a host of as-yet-mysterious remixes and new projects, too. Great stuff.
For more information visit the official Combichrist website.