Having initially put out an EP, Shatter, in 2017, Belgium-based SUPER DRAGON PUNCH!! is back with a full-length album, Feral. Led by Jérémie Venganza, SUPER DRAGON PUNCH!! creates highly energetic synthpunk that blends influences of industrial, EBM and retro video game music. In an email interview, Venganza discussed the new album.
Did you have any specific goals in mind in making Feral? Did your approach differ in any specific ways to Shatter?
I wanted Feral’s songs to be a bit more varied than Shatter, but also wanted it to give the feeling of a full album with songs that follow one main story and are part of a complete unit. I also put more attention in creating songs adding more of the typical retro gaming sounds I want for my project.
There is a retro video game soundtrack influence in your music. Could you discuss what appeals to you about video game music (sounds? sequencing style? etc.) and what you draw from it?
I was a huge fan of video games from a very young age, and we used to buy, trade or rent all video game consoles in European, US or Japanese versions, and I also used to manage a video game store for 7 years. Some years ago, I realized that I would always love those kinds of sounds and aesthetics that are associated with retro gaming, and that they’d always bring fond memories to me. I wanted my new project to be like a blend of many things that I love, and those video game sounds would absolutely be part of the package. Nowadays I mainly play handheld indie or retro arcade games, from time to time.
In some tracks, I like those kinds of sounds to be very present, and in others, I just use them as some hidden background effects, but I always try to incorporate them.
Looking around at videos of your live performances, I see that sometimes it’s a duo while sometimes there is bass guitar as well. What will your live line-up be like for future performances?
I enjoy playing concerts where Sem is playing the bass and Noémi is hitting the keyboards the most, as I think we have a great cohesion, great energy, and tons of fun when we all perform together. Unfortunately, there isn’t always the possibility to travel with everyone, so hopefully, someday there will be bigger budgets. I’ve also been thinking for some time that I would like to incorporate even more musicians for our future performances, like a live percussionist, as I believe it would add even more intensity to our performances.
Could you discuss your musical background, and how other projects you’ve been involved with might have impacted or influenced what you do with SUPER DRAGON PUNCH!! ?
I started listening to metal and new wave at around 7 years old, as our Mexican uncles would send us all these cool t-shirts and music from numerous bands. Later I started listening to more punk and industrial bands as an adolescent, while my brother would listen more to gothic and black metal bands.
We created some metal bands with friends where I would sing, but we always gave up after a while as we all seemed to have different tastes in music, so electronic music became the obvious choice as I would be able to create all music on my own without having to search for other musicians liking the same stuff I did.
I followed my brother to our first gothic parties in my late teens and then started picking up my first records from electronic bands that they would play at these parties, and shortly later I met my first musician friends from this scene. I would sometimes see them compose, and they’d help me learn the basics of music softwares.
I love all projects I’ve done live performances with equally, although they are all different, and they probably all have influenced the sound of SDP!! today, as I like all these different electronic styles and I didn’t want my project to be limited to just one genre.
Are there particular musical tools that you feel are key to your creative process?
I like to use synthesizers that emulate old video game consoles or sometimes like to sample those devices myself, mixed with classic or modern synths, and I like working on Macs, but I guess it’s mainly because I’m used to them as I’m an Apple Support Professional.
Do you think there is a sound or style that defines SUPER DRAGON PUNCH!! in mind as you create music (that you drive towards)? Or is it completely organic, with whatever you come up with becoming SUPER DRAGON PUNCH!! music.
I always try to put at least some of those bleep and bloop sounds that I like, but I really have no initial idea of what I want to create when I start composing, as I feel that could block the process. I generally just keep adding elements and keep with the flow of spontaneous ideas and try to not overthink too much if it fits with the rest of the music I have already released, and I hope that listeners might be able to recognize that it’s an SDP!! song at some point.
Was “Sutura” the obvious choice for the first video from the ‘Feral’?
I wanted the first video to be something different from what I had previously released, that could maybe interest a larger audience, and this track ended up being my favorite of the album as well as one of several early listeners. Sutura was actually the track of Feral I started working on the most time ago, but I never got to finish it until nearly the end of this album creation.
You’ve preferred in many different countries; have you found audience response to differ in any significant ways in different places?
I love playing in front of different crowds and being able to play sometimes in front of people who would not usually listen to this kind of music. It’s always a very pleasant surprise to see that crowds that normally don’t listen to this kind of music, sometimes will give the most energetic responses. I enjoy shows in front of smaller audiences a lot, but I find that playing in front of larger crowds always brings tons of positive energy.
Now that ‘Feral’ what is in the future for SUPER DRAGON PUNCH!! ?
I’ve been working for some time now on a follow-up album that I would like to release sometime next I’ve been working for some time now on a follow-up album that I would like to release sometime next year, and I’m trying my best to make all the tracks sound fresh and original. I’m also looking forward to playing my first show since 2019, and hoping we’ll be able to announce more gigs soon, and curious to see the crowd’s reaction to the new songs.
For more info, visit: superdragonpunch.com.