It would seem these days that Norway is a country synonymous with Black Metal, however in the last few years it has been home to the new electro body music hard hitters, Combichrist and it's founder/writer Andy LaPlegua. Having previously met with success with Icon of Coil, Andy brought to all of us his vision of debauchery to a trance fused soundtrack that has been infecting the dance floors on epic proportions.
I caught up with Andy while getting ready to launch his next chapter of dance floor mayhem, appropriately titled 'Today We Are All Demons'. This will serve as the first part in a two part interview about all that is Combichrist, the second part will be a video interview when Combichrist hits the states with Wes Borland's Black Light Burn. So sit back, enjoy, and get your body beat to one of your favorite bands Combichrist:
DeathWish: Some people may not be familiar with your past, from what I understand you have experimented with a hip hop project and metal project before making an electro project, how did you decide to get into electro and how did these other styles influence you in your future projects?
Andy LaPlegua: My “hip hop project” was what we now call “electro” but I’ve been doing punk, rock n roll, metal, hardcore, trance, etc. - in no specific order - throughout my career. I’ve been jumping between genres because I grew up surrounded by all kinds of music and found inspiration from music regardless of what genre it came from. Ultimately, each of these influences, genres and projects synthesized into my own personal sound.
DeathWish: Now in some places it is stated that Combichrist was originally going to be called Drive while in others it states the name was going to be Hudlager, which story is correct and what made you decide to change the name?
AL: It was supposed to be Hudlager. Drive was never a real project, it was just something I named one song for a compilation and it was really just for fun. Hudlager changed its name because the character in the comic book was much more appropriately named Combichrist and that name was a better fit to the overall project.
DeathWish: On the topic of the comic book strip that you were working on before, are there any plans to restart work on it and incorporate it with the band?
AL: I hope so but right now there’s just too much stuff going on so, hopefully, I will get back to it.
DeathWish: It would seem one of the downsides of current “EBM” or “industrial” music is the lack of attention to over the top stage shows, what made you decide to make your show as big as possible?
AL: Is there any other way to do it?
DeathWish: Do you think that such an approach compromises the music at all?
AL: No, I think it sets the music alive.
DeathWish: ‘Everybody Hates You’ turned out to be your first major album here in the US, what would you say separated this album from previous ones?
AL: There was only one album before ‘Everybody Hates You’ and that album was more experimenting with noise and beats rather than focusing on what I wanted Combichrist to become. ‘Everybody Hates You’ was the start of a specific sound that I wanted.
DeathWish: Speaking of breaking through to the US fan base, one tour that certainly helped was the tour with KMFDM, what was it like to tour with legends like them?
AL: It was great, we were like a family from the first day and they’re all amazing people. I can’t say a bad thing about anyone or anything from that tour. We’re still in touch to this day and they’re still a part of my family.
DeathWish: That tour’s last date was in Seattle, which saw the Combichrist crew pulling a “prank” on KMFDM, for those of us not there can you tell us about it and how they reacted to it?
It was Halloween so we dressed up as KMDFM and we each picked a character to impersonate and, of course, Joey was Lucia. We went on stage during one of their encores and pretended to be them. Good times.
DeathWish: On a more serious note you have had your material since the tour remixed by Kaptin K himself, how has your involvement with him influenced your music?
AL: My involvement w/KMFDM has not changed anything as far as my music. My personal experience with touring and with people, positive or negative, always affects my life which, in turn, affects my music.
DeathWish: Since the tour you have brought in more members to work on Combi material, how has it been to make the transition from a one man project to collaborating with others?
AL: In the studio it’s still just one man so the change isn’t that big at all. The biggest change is always the live experience; I finally managed to have more chests w/out making more maps.
DeathWish: Your new album ‘Today We Are All Demons’ is set to be released at the beginning of next year, what different directions is this album going to take?
AL: It’s Combichrist baby
DeathWish: You have had some ups and downs in the recent years with your life, is this album going to be in some way your response to these events?
AL: Oh, definitely. It’s definitely my most personal album and that is also the reason for the title of the album -- it has a lot to do with fighting my own demons.
DeathWish: I understand that you are getting ready for a tour with some familiar faces and some new ones, what is the story behind the new ones?
Joey is still in the band. Kourtney wasn’t able to join this tour so we’ve replaced her with Trevor from Eighteen Visions (and she had recently replaced John… it gets a little complicated). Z_Marr, who replaced Sean on keyboards, has been touring with Combichrist since May. I am 100% confident that both Trevor and Z_Marr will kick serious ass.
DeathWish: Now we have all heard the rumors about how crazy a night with Combi crew can be, what has to be the craziest experience for you?
AL: The craziest experiences are the ones where someone has to tell me the next day what happened the night before!
DeathWish: If any two items were always a Combi favorite it would have to be BBQ sauce and Jack Daniels, what would you say is an ideal Combichrist BBQ party?
AL: You know, Jack Daniels makes a mean BBQ sauce.
DeathWish: With your return now undeniable and fans are still here going strong, what would you like to say to them?
AL: We have always appreciated our fans and we love to go out on the road to hang out with them. We can’t wait see new faces and familiar faces and to make new friends. Without our fans we wouldn’t be able to do this. Our fans are a big part of who we are.