LLR: The themes in your music tend to flirt with the darker side of life. Where do you tend to draw your influences from?
LaPlegua: The biggest influence when I’m writing is when I’m on tour, and when I’m on tour I tend to write more personal stuff, and it’s not just heavy, but also more emotional stuff. When I’m home it’s a bit more of a comfort zone, like being inspired by movies, you can write more of a character. I watch a lot of 70’s exploitation movies. I love this whole genre, from 50’s horror movies to slasher movies like The Hills Have Eyes. I tend to write a character from those kind of movies.
LLR: You’re well known for tackling taboo subjects. Are there any subjects that you would like to bring to your music but feel are too controversial?
LaPlegua: If I want to I will bring it in there. There are certain things that are just are not interesting for me to cover I guess, and I never wrote to be controversial or to shock. There is no shock factor in music any more. Marilyn Manson tried dot be a shock rock artist. He didn’t really shock anybody. He just did what Alice Cooper already did.
LLR: So you don’t self-censor?
LaPlegua: If I want to write about it I write about it. Like something about love, I will do it, which is probably the most provocative thing you can do as a hardcore band. But it’s whatever I want to write about. Whatever fits the music, whatever fits the song.
LLR: How do you feel your music has progressed over the 5 albums? Which direction do you want to take it in now?
LaPlegua: In the right direction! I mean, whenever I made an album I did whatever I wanted to do at the time. I never changed because I thought the last album was wrong. I always changed because I thought the new one was right. I didn’t want to just repeat myself over and over. AC/DC can do it, we don’t. There are some bands who can repeat themselves and still be amazing. We don’t trademark one song and play it over and over.
LLR: The last album was released in 2010. Are you guys writing or recording any new Combichrist material at the moment? When can we expect to see the new album?
LaPlegua: I’ve been working on the new album this year so I haven’t rushed it or anything. I don’t want to release an album just to release an album. Every album is important to me. Right now we are doing this tour to kind of wrap up everything we’ve done in the last ten years. That’s why we called it the Evolution Tour. I brought my old keyboarder back, Sean, who’s been with me for a long time. It used to be just Sean and I on stage. We played super-small clubs but it was still high energy. And then we built on and had a drummer and we built on and built on. So we are starting with older material and then newer songs and we kind of build up the set. So at the end of this tour we kind of feel like we’ve kind of wrapped up the last ten years.
LLR: I understand that you’ve been working on the soundtrack for a new video game called Devil May Cry. How do you manage to find time for such projects?
LaPlegua: Y’know, for everybody else, when you look at it, it looks like we are constantly 100 percent touring, and we have. But I actually did half a year off tour where I was only working. There’s a lot of material.
LLR: Are you a fan of the series?
LaPlegua: It was amazing. I signed up writing music as Combichrist but it ended up sounding nothing like Combichrist, it was a lot of metal. I was just sitting in the studio and there was obviously something there that I’d wanted to do for a long time but I thought it was too big of a jump to do as Combichrist but it was so much fun to do for a game. The boss fights, it’s like Slayer all the way you know! It was a lot of fun. I thought that the character was already there, the storyline was already there, you just kind of adapted what you were seeing. It was a different approach for me to work to because I didn’t have to come up with any of the background kind of thing.
LLR: Andy, I understand that the band’s name came from a character in an old fanzine of yours. Are there any other aspects of the Combichrist character that have found their way into the band’s music or your onstage persona?
LaPlegua: It used to be a 100 percent character. That character was what I was on that stage. I was Combichrist. That, over the years, comes and goes a little bit. It was more important to me in the beginning to be that character, now, whatever’s right is right. I don’t focus much on the character anymore.
LLR: What do you like to do when you’re not making music?
LaPlegua: Cars. Hot rods: 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s. I’ve got a few cars. I’ve got four cars I’m working on right now: a ‘59 Chevy, a ‘47 Chevy, a ’31 Ford and a ’52 Ford. If you look back, my connection to it was knowing that in the 50s they did the hot rods up because you can get them and strip them down light and put big engines in them and they went fast! And there’s kind of a part of that culture that I’m stuck with, old 50’s culture.
(Interview by Steve Love and Andy Roles)