Iguana Death Cult Face ‘Social’ Ruination on “Oh No” [Exclusive Premiere]

“I decided to write a song about how incredibly amazing I am,” joked Jeroen Reek.

Videos by American Songwriter

Iguana Death Cult’s latest single “Oh No,” off the band’s forthcoming album Echo Palace, out May 12, was inspired by the Dutch writer and painter Jan Cremer, known in the Netherlands for his explicit sexual content.

“This sort of self-mythification seemed funny to me since I spend most of my days wallowing in doubt and worry,” adds Reek, who penned the song. “In the end, it became a metaphor for how we polish up our lives to near perfection on our social media accounts, while mental health problems are becoming more norm rather than an exception.”

It’s hard enough to think to this persona / While reality is playing hide and seek / The measure of a man by the way he shakes your hands / Barbaric, now it’s rendered obsolete, sings Reek through the frenzied verses.

Following their previous singles “Sensory Overload” and “Pushermen,” from Echo Palace, “Oh No” captures the Dutch rockers’ manic universe of hyped-up garage rock. The song is accompanied by a color-distorted video, featuring the band’s 6′ 5″ friend Max Manse dressed as a knight and trekking through the city of Rotterdam — by foot, by bike, and in bars — and through the more meditative, jazzed-up closing of the track.

Reek spoke to American Songwriter about the deeper meaning behind “Oh No,” what keeps him writing, and how the songs on Echo Palace evolved into something more “old school” Iguana Death Cult.

American Songwriter: You mentioned that on the surface “Oh No” speaks to how we mask our real selves with the “happy” facade social media often allows us to create. Have you found it cathartic to write something more vulnerable and realistic?

Jeroen Reek: I do, and it mostly does — sometimes only for a second — but it does work like that. [It] might be the sole reason for me to keep writing. Finishing a song does more for me than any pill or any therapy session ever did. In this particular case, I was trying to write but found myself constantly distracted by my phone.

I got annoyed by how everyone, including myself, was running marketing campaigns for their own lives — trying to look all pretty and flawless, trying to be some sort of gut-wrenching messiah. It all feels so empty and insincere. Of course, it’s very appealing to get that quick fix of instant gratification, that nice little dopamine rush, but real fulfillment doesn’t work like that. You got to work for it.

In the end, we’re all just flawed human beings, looking for a purpose in this life. Something that you will never find if you’re going to try to be perfect all the time. So go make mistakes. Make a fool of yourself. Fail. Be human … failure is the most fertile soil for human growth.

AS: You’ve described Echo Palace as more “old school” Iguana Death Cult. Sonically and thematically, how does “Oh No” fit into the general storyline of the album?

JR: Well, I think the general theme of the album, if there was one, would be trying to keep up with a world that is constantly changing. I still see this as a song that fits our new material very well, but it is actually very old. I think we wrote the music in 2018. It was on the shelf for a while and we decided to make it work for the new album.

AS: Of your recently released singles — and any upcoming tracks off this new album — which have you been most excited to perform live?

JR: I think that would be the next single “I Just Want a House.” It’s such a fun song to play, very groovy, and people really start to dance when we play this one.

That’s our main goal: getting people to move, whether it’s a mosh pit or just a nice two-step.

Echo Palace Track Listing

1. “Paper Straws”
2. “Echo Palace”
3. “Pushermen”
4. “Sunny Side Up”
5. “Sensory Overload”
6. “Conference to Conference”
7. “I Just Want a House”
8. “Oh No”
9. “Rope a Dope”
10. “Heaven in Disorder”
11. “Radio Brainwave”

Photo: Tom van Huisstede / Courtesy of Tell All Your Friends PR

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