Suicide Commando is a long-time leading formation from the dark-electronic scene. The band is an important source of inspiration for numerous new bands. So I got the idea asking a question to artists who are or have been related to Johan Van Roy. What do they think about his music, about the man hiding behind the artist…
I got in touch with Torben Schmidt, Dirk Ivens, Jean-Luc De Meyer, Jan L., Nero Bellum, Markko Barientos and Sakis (aka SynthetiC).
Speaking for myself I got the opportunity to work with Johan on a common project called Toxic Shock Syndrome. That was quite a long time ago now, but all over the years Johan remained the same kind and accessible guy for which I can only express my admiration for the talented artist he is and my respect for the great person hiding behind the artist. There where some artists are ‘struggling’ with their egos, he simply remains himself…
(by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Torben Schmidt is the owner of Infacted Recordings, member of Lights Of Euphoria and Binnary Park plus long-time live member of Suicide Commando.
Q: We all know Johan Van Roy as an ‘artist’ and ‘performer’, but what kind of man is he behind the scenes?
Torben: I know Johan since more then 20 years now and I have to say that he is one of the most loyal and kind guys I ever met. In fact he turned from an artist I respect into a real friend. We experienced so many cool things in the last 17 years being a part of his band which really made us friends. I’m really happy that I got to know him and that we had the chance to expand our friendship.
Dirk Ivens is a living legend of the electronic underground scene, front man of The Klinik, but still involved with Dive, Sonar, Absolute Body Control… he also was a source of inspiration for Suicide Commando.
Q: The Klinik definitely was one of the main sources of inspiration for Suicide Commando. How much of The Klinik do you recognize in Suicide Commando?
Dirk: It looks like more than 30 years after the release of the first album of The Klinik that these songs are still very much alive and were a big inspiration for a lot of bands during the years.. including Suicide Commando. Johan was one of them and especially his early work before he developed and finally found his own musical touch.
Jean-Luc De Meyer is the singer of the pioneers of EBM, the one and only Front 242! He’s also involved with 32 Crash, Underviewer and Modern Cubism. Jean-Luc De Meyer did some guest vocals on the song “The Pain That You Liked”, which was originally released as EP and featured on the newest Suicide Commando album as well.
Q: Jean-Luc, you already sung in multiple projects and did multiple guest vocals, but I never expected you singing on a song of Suicide Commando. What kind of experience was it for you and what’s your perception of the Suicide Commando sound?
Jean-Luc: I’m not that sociable you know so I lately met Johan, maybe 3 or 4 years ago now. But I’d seen numerous concerts of Suicide Commando before. Singing on “The Pain That You Like” was a rather easy job because music and lyrics both were already written and I only had to interpret the song. It was quite simple and a bit of an evidence for me as I felt like a fish in the water singing on this kind of music…
Q: You ever set up Kombat Unit together with Johan Van Roy. What did you keep in mind from this experience and what’s your perception of Johan Van Roy as an artist/performer?
Jan L: Yes, we started Kombat Unit some time ago.. and we had a lot of fun making music together. We both have very different ways of working.. but it worked very well in the end, even if we only finished 2 songs. Our problem was only our lack of time. That´s why we stopped with Kombat Unit.
You maybe know that we both know each other since a very long time and we are close friends. I respect Johan as a very nice person and as a great artist. I also love to work with him, when it comes to mixing/mastering his Suicide Commando stuff. His music inspired countless bands since a very long time and he is a very important person in our scene. Without him our scene would be very different.
Nero Bellum is the front man of Psyclon Nine and get featured on the opening song of the new album.
Q: How did you get in touch with Johan Van Roy and what kind of experience was it for you contributing to the opening song (cf. “The Gates Of Oblivion”) of the new album?
Nero: I believe that my first correspondence with Johan took place just as “Mindstrip” was being released. I had just formed my band Psyclon Nine and had just begun work on our first album. Suicide Commando was one of my biggest influences at the time and Johan was happy to give me advice.
“The Gates Of Oblivion” gave us an opportunity to collaborate in a much deeper way. While Johan had most of the music written when he approached me, I was able to bring live, modular synthesis into the picture as well as my lyrical contributions. Performing the track at ‘Wave Gotik Treffen’ 10 minutes before my shuttle arrived was something that I won’t soon forget.
Markko Barientos is without a shadow of a doubt one of the leading artists from the Mexican dark-electro scene, but he in the meantime became a word-wide recognized artist involved with C-Lekktor, Circuito Cerrado and Kromak.
Q: Do you remember the first time you’ve heard Suicide Commando and what did you think? What means this band to you?
Markko: Yeah I still remember that day, the first time I heard Suicide Commando here in Mexico city we have a ‘Music Market’ named “El Chopo” and I got the “Critical Stage” CD by luck. At that time there wasn’t internet and to find original CDs was something that became a real pain in the ass, but fortunately I found it and it was so blasting that it changed my own panorama from what I was listening to those days. ‘COLD-VIOLENT AND CATCHY’ are my favorite 3 words when it comes to dark electronic music. I just wanted to get more and more from Suicide Commando.
Suicide Commando had already released the “Stored Images”-album around that time I found the “Critical Stage”-album (so you can see how hard it was to find music in Mexico during that time?) From that day I always knew that I was so engaged with his sound and after all these years I still consider it as one of my biggest pleasures and influences in my music. For me “Construct-Destruct” is and will be always one of the best albums. To keep it short, ‘I’M A SUICIDE COMMANDO ADDICT, aren’t you?
Sakis aka SynthetiC from Nano Infect is a Greek artist who definitely found his inspiration in the cold electro sound of Suicide Commando. Johan Van Roy was guest singer on the Nano Infect’s song “Lifeless”.
Q: Suicide Commando clearly sounds like a source of inspiration for numerous dark-electronic bands. What makes the sound of Suicide Commando that special and what specific elements in this sound do you like?
Sakis: What makes Suicide Commando so special to a point that, at least to me, literally everybody is inspired, is the man behind the project; Johan Van Roy himself. He’s a loyal and simple guy while his sound features a straight forward structure plus a melody that gets stuck in your head from the very first moment. Needless to mention the groovy bass lines and that super fat sounding signature snare!
As for the lyrics, you get to see that Johan Van Roy is an everyday normal guy with thoughts like yours and mine… Songs about depression, death, the way the mind works… simple thoughts of a man who feels he has to express them…
It has been an honor to know him and I would like to thank him in public again for everything.
Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries