Combichrist: Making Monsters, Racking Up Huge Bar Bills
Combichrist is one of those bands that you know just from the sheer number of T-shirts you see at Numbers on any given night. The aggressive synth act founded by Andy LePlegua is entering its seventh year as an unstoppable force of electronic beatdowns. This month the band released its incredible fifth studio album, Making Monsters.
It's not comfortable music. It's the kind of album you put on when your own expressions of hate and disdain for humanity as a whole are just adequate, and you require the input of a true artiste in the realm of clenched-fist rage. Regardless, it is impossible not to appreciate how much Combichrist has grown and continues to grow in terms of sheer songwiritng skill.
You may not neccesarily see the inherent beauty in a song called "Fuck Machine," but trust us, it's there. Rocks Off got LePelgua on the phone at a studio in New York to get some input from the mind behind such a stellar record.
RO: You'll have to excuse me, Andy. I have a cold and accidentally took double the recommended dose of Sudafed right before I called you.
ALP: Right. Accidentally.
Wow, we actually heard someone's eyes roll over the phone.
RO: Now, your new album just dropped, and you're about to go on tour. Why exactly are you still in the studio?
ALP: I'm just working on remixes, and preparing for the next single. I'm also here getting in shape for the tour.
RO: Gotcha. So the thing we really loved about Making Monsters is the way the album plays like a greatest hits of different subgenres of industrial music. There's no real motif, and instead the album has a lot of stretch. Was that done on purpose?
ALP: I've just been doing what I want to, and I didn't really care about style this time around. I just played what came out without worrying about how it was going to fit.
RO: One of the lyrical themes on the album is the degradation of humanity - a pretty common theme in Combichrist's music. Do you really feel we're failing as a species?
ALP: Most of the stuff I'm writing is more personal, I just kind of metaphor it into things people see going on in the world. It can sound like I'm really mad at humanity, but I'm just really mad at one person.
I love humans, but I hate humanity. Like, 70 million people get born every year, and we're already way past capacity. People seem to struggle. I'm not saying there's a solution, I'm just saying people are getting worse and more greedy. Then it gets even worse when religion kicks [in]. Then it just turns into a never-ending loop.
That being said, I'm fortunate not to live in a war zone, and that's what makes me still believe in humans. I still get to see good.
RO: Our favorite title and lyric from the album is "Throat Full of Glass." Where did you come up with that?
ALP: I was looking for the worst possible thing to have to swallow as a metaphor. When people say, "That's hard to swallow," about an issue, I wanted to have an example of something that would be almost impossible to swallow.
RO: You alternate quite a bit on the album between Cookie Monster-metal style vocals and more melodic ones. What dictates the shift?
ALP: I think really I just went behind feelings and emotions. Sometimes the most aggressive thing that can come out of a mouth can be a whipser. You can yell as much as you want, but a whisper can be more serious and crucial.