Children of Bodom's Alexi Laiho
Interview and live pictures By Luxi
The successful Finnish metallers Children of Bodom have without a
doubt done their most aggressive and heaviest album since HATEBREEDER
titled HATE CREW DEATHROLL. I decided to find out from the bandīs
highly talented front man and main song writer Alexi Laiho some
noteworthy reasons why our very favorite īBodom beach terroristsī
decided to sharpen and polish their axes for a fatal sonic strike. A
strike that will prove to be a bloody murderous rampage like in those īgoodīnīold
daysī in the misty morning, somewhere near by the lake Bodom
HATE CREW DEATHROLL surely is one hell of a punishing album and even
more, but let Alexi continue from this on
NEW ALBUM: "HATE CREW DEATHROLL"
Letīs have a couple of words of curiosity about the covers of
your albums for starters. On FOLLOW THE REAPER you placed your own
gruesome Grim Reaper in the middle of some graveyard scenes and on HATE
CREW DEATHROLL we can see him playing with his main ītoolī on the edge
of some urban city environment. Did you have some sort of a theme in
mind when you decided to find him īnew scenes of murderī on the cover
of this new album?
we didnīt have any pre-planned theme in our heads when we came up with
this cover. Normally people used to see our reaper standing somewhere in
a desert or in a forest, so we just thought letīs find him another,
scene where people havenīt seen him before, so that urban city
environment was eventually that kind of place we thought would be cool
for him. We actually didnīt put that much thought into it, but thought
this new environment fits well to our reaper. We also thought that we
wanted to stick with a īreaperī-theme as itīs an integral part of the
band, but now a significant difference is that our reaper is full in
action on the cover of HATE CREW DEATHROLL compared to our previous
album covers. As you can see, now heīs actually ready to kill someone
on that cover as previously you have seen him just standing there
without doing anything specific really.
As I have been listening to your new album like 20 times in a row
now - and reading the lyrics and looking at the cover with a closer eye,
I have come to the conclusion that this cover actually describes quite
well and nicely the whole content of your new album; having a bit more
aggressive, straight yet malicious approach than what your previous
album FOLLOW THE REAPER had. Would you say the cover serves the songs on
the album somewhat perfectly and vice versa?
Yeah, I can agree with you. This was actually our first time when we
doubled the guitars on H.C.D.R.. To say it in the most simple way
possible, usually I have played the first rhythm and then Alexander have
played another in our recording sessions. But this time we figured out
that it would be cool to get a bit thicker and more massive guitar sound
for this album, so we decided to double our riffs on this new album and
Iīm glad we did so īcoz as you said yourself the guitars kick your
butt more than on our previous albums. And as far as the lyrics on the
new album go, they are mostly based on all these situations that have
happened in my real life situations; when you are pissed off at someone
and hate someone so much that you kind of wanna spit out your angriness
and pure hate via your own lyrics, yīknow. But also you need to keep in
mind that we have a certain amount of īblack humorī included into our
lyrics as well; in some lyrics a bit more and in some a bit less, but
still that element always is - and will be a part of our lyrics for
In fact, you can tell according to the song titles on HATE CREW
DEATHROLL that thereīs a certain ītongue-in-cheekī -thing involved in
them. Some people, however, have already misunderstood your song titles
on your new album and said without any hesitations that they are the
worst song titles you have come up with so far - without realizing and
seeing through your īblack humorī there...
Well, luckily many people have been capable of understanding that we
are not īthatī serious band as far as our lyrics are concerned. We
havenīt dealt with that serious topics with our lyrics ever and have
always tried to keep them on a certain level where you can have a bit of
that ītongue-in-cheekī aspect as well. I wouldn't wonder too much if
some stupid fuck took for example "Triple Corpse Hammerblow" a
ībit tooī seriously due to its lyrical approach. Well, what can you
say really... the case would be closed from anyone's part for sure then
who cannot get them - īnuff said, I think, he-he!! I donīt feel like I
should explain the lyrics to them any further...
As many people have surely already been marking when seeing the
C.o.B. album artworks, the use of certain main colors on the covers of
your albums have been following a certain rule. On your debut album
SOMETHING WILD, the red cover was the main color, HATEBREEDER was
blessed by a forest-green color, and on FOLLOW THE REAPER the main color
was a deep blue. What made you choose a deep red as a main color for
HATE CREW DEATH ROLL again?
Well, we have always wanted to keep a certain type of theme on our
covers as far as the use of main colors on them is concerned. As far as
the cover and colors on HATE CREW... go, I have to admit we indeed did
use a lot of time for pondering whether this or that color would fit it
the best. For example yellow was out of question since we start thinking
of it in the very beginning. First we thought to use black as a main
color for the cover and then add some other color for it, too - like
silver or something alike. We did try many things for it in order to get
some ideas for it from some different artists, but eventually none of
them did turn out too well and we simply abandoned all those sketches.
We probably were pondering it too hard at one time; and eventually we
got rather frustrated over the whole thing, I have to tell ya. Then we
just started thinking of this īdilemmaī a bit more simply way and
finally this red color was chosen for it as a main color again. Besides,
this red color describes quite well how our reaper uses his ītoolī on
the color - with all the drips of blood as you are able to see on it,
Also, I could add that red color describes very well the content
of your album as itīs a rather aggressive effort all in all (compared
to FOLLOW THE REAPER) and red as a color is normally known as an
aggressive color as well...
Yeah, I agree with you. The cover matches together with the songs on
it really well in my opinion, too. And yes, itīs a slightly more
aggressive album as wholeness compared to our previous album FOLLOW THE
You have recorded 9 songs for this album. Did you have some kind
of theme in your mind that connects songs together one way or another -
or does every song basically contain its own story without having no
strings attached to the rest of the albumīs material?
In a way we have sort of a īfuck you!" theme on the album that
links up each song together. Then I also have to admit that we cannot
leave the lake Bodom happenings out of our albums completely as thatīs
where we originally got inspired by in the very beginning. That īBodom
thingī is a part of our band, yīknow. We have thought that way we just
have to have at least one song on our albums that has
īBodom-somethingī in a song title which tells something about those
tragic events there in the late half of the 60s. Anyway, in a way most
of the lyrics are based on, one way or the other, around those murders,
but I cannot say we can talk about any concept album in here or anything
īcoz thatīs what it certainly is not. Thereīs no connection between
single songs on this new album at all. We have a song called "Bodom
Teach Terror" on HATE CREW DEATHROLL that deals with those murders,
but it also has its own ītongue-in-cheekī thing hidden in it as well.
We wanted to describe some of those happenings there in a bit of an
exaggerated way and bring a part of the whole story to completely new
heights in a way, trying to achieve some sort of a horror story feeling
Then you have a song titled "Angels Donīt Kill", the
5th song on the album, that is one of the heaviest songs you have ever
Yeah, itīs indeed a very heavy and slow song according to our
standards at least...
I was just wondering whether you wanted to get at least one
totally heavy song for this album on purpose in order to add more
variety and contrast for the album or did it just end up being there
accidentally without intention
No, we didnīt plan anything during our rehearsal sessions when we
chose these songs for the album. We didnīt make this song telling each
other that this MUST turn out to be our heaviest song we have ever done
before. Thatīs simply not our way to rehearse our songs in the first
place. The whole song just turned out that way without any intentions to
make it the heaviest song for H.C.D.R.. However, I have to say that we
put lots of time and effort for that particular song. We had a bunch of
really heavy riffs ready for that song and when we started to put all
these riffs together at very early stages, we even slowed down some of
the tempos in that song and turned down our guitars a little bit as well
in order to make it sound even heavier than it was originally meant to
sound. Like I said, it was a heavy and slow tempo enough song at very
early stages already, but after all these things how we were working
with it I mentioned just recently, it became probably the heaviest song
we have made ever in our history. I wanna point out, however, that we
never thought that this type of a song just needs to be recorded for our
new album īcoz we have so many fast and aggressive songs on the album
already. It kind of was born without any īforcedī feelings in our
heads when we started working with it if you know what I mean.
JEFF IS THE GUITAR GOD....
The third song on your album is called "Chokehold (CockedīnīLoaded)"
and excuse me, but I have to say in my opinion thereīs this certain
Jeff Watersī school riff mastery there going on, so could you consider
Mr. Waters as one of your favorite īguitar heroesī of all time...?
Yeah, I have to admit that I dig his playing style a lot and I donīt
deny that song may have some similarities to some of those riffs and
stuff Jeff has done on his albums. But in the very same breath I also
have to say those riffs for that particular songs came for it just
accidentally and not the way like I would have been after for any of
riffs and stuff on purpose. So yeah, it has a certain Annihilator feel
on it for sure, I donīt deny it at all. Jeff has always belonged to my
personal TOP 5 list of the best guitarists and in my honest opinion
heīs a very underrated guitarist who deserves more recognition. I have
no idea why people donīt talk about him that much as a guitarist even
if heīs one hell of a guitarist in my opinion; very talented and
skilled with his 6-stringer for sure.
Maybe heīs a bit underrated because I think people know him as a
creator of great riffs and rhythms more than a guitar hero who churns
out lengthy solos that steal most of the show on some certain albums of
some certain īguitar heroesī like f.ex. Yngwie Malmsteen does on his
Yeah, I agree that may be a part of the reason. But just think of
NEVER, NEVERLAND from Annihilator and youīll notice that Jeff had some
really hot and spicy solos on that album for sure. He absolutely kicks
our butts with the tightest and sharpest riffs ever in my opinion.
BODOMSī CARCASS SONG TERROR
Then the 4th song called "Bodom Beach Terror" starts off
with a very familiar drum part that seems to be taken straight from the
Carcass song "Corporal Jigsore Quandary" off their DESCANTING
THE INSALUBRIOUS album. How come that particular drum part came to that
song? By accident, or was it some sort of a tribute from you guys to
those English īgore meistersī?
I honestly have to say that I donīt know anything about it. I
havenīt got the slightest clue that the same kind of a drum part can be
found from that particular album as well. It had to end up being for our
new album accidentally as I wasnīt aware of that earlier. Heh, thatīs
quite weird and funny indeed... Anyway, I have to also say that the song
itself has kind of a Carcass feel. For example, if you think of the
chorus riff in that song, it has a certain kind of a Carcass vibe going
on in it; in a way, I mean. But that particular drum part in question in
the very beginning of that song came as a complete surprise even for me.
Letīs move on and talk about the song writing process for this
album a bit more next. Did these songs you have on this new album come
out any easier if we compare the whole thing to your previous album
FOLLOW THE REAPER or any of your earliest works you have done before?
What surprises me a little bit is the fact it was actually kind of
easy to get the songs done and together for HATE CREW DEATHROLL;
actually much easier compared to FOLLOW THE REAPER for example. When we
did FOLLOW THE REAPER, we toured a hell of a lot for that album - AND I
was also committed to Sinergy; doing songs for them and touring for them
as well. It took lots of time from me to do all these things together at
the very same time. All this lead into a situation where I had even less
and less time for Children of Bodom - I mean, some particular people
were constantly hanging on my neck and pressuring me that I should get
started writing new songs for this band again without realizing too well
my situation that I was occupied with some other projects as well (doing
songs for Sinergy + touring for them intensively around Europe, etc.).
At one point I was totally wrecked due to all the pressure that was
thrown toward my direction as they somehow didnīt realize that I was
already involved with so many other things at one time. It all lead into
a situation where I told them loud and clearly that they just MUST
understand that I can only start writing new stuff for Children of Bodom
when Iīm not on tour or I donīt have to think of any song writing for
Sinergy and so on. They couldnīt realize that there was no more than 24
hours in a day. Itīs somehow funny that even if we didnīt write a
single song for over a year after FOLLOW THE REAPER came out, of course
we already had a bunch of riffs, etc. laying on some tapes and even in
my head. Some people oddly think that if you donīt have any full songs
ready within some certain period of time since your last effort came
out, you kind of īfailī to make others around you convinced that
thereīs still all the time you may need to get your next album done in
an sufficient time. But some people just donīt get it and thatīs what
irritates me a hell of a lot.
When we started to put our songs together last February, to our
surprise we got them ready sooner than anyone could have imagined in the
first place. The studio was already booked for August and we almost had
the songs ready in February already. Still some people thought that we
didnīt have any new songs ready as we hadnīt sent any samples of them
to anyone and August was only a few months away and we should have
started becoming somehow worried about the whole situation. We just had
to tell them to cool off a little in order to provide us some healthy
space for working with them a bit more. And thatīs what happened. All
the ideas were ready for them in my head and some riffs and shit were
also written for them; and all we needed was just a certain amount of
time to get them together, and that we did too.
Itīs always better if you can concentrate on one thing at a time -
and not do many things at the same time, yīknow. Since I didnīt have
any obligations for Sinergy either song writing or touring-wise, it gave
me this chance to concentrate on the new Children of Bodom album only.
Of course it always takes some time to finalize your songs as you want
your songs to be perfect in every possible way. You just try to get 100%
out of yourself when working with your new material and we all really
working our asses off for this new album as hard as we possibly could at
our rehearsal place. Also, I need to tell you if we wanted to have like
15 songs for this new album that would have well been possible, too. But
on the other hand we thought if we have even one single riff that kind
of doesnīt please each of us, then we simply abandon it without any
hesitations. Thatīs also what we did on HATE CREW DEATHROLL. All the 9
songs on the album are results of many other songs. I mean, we may have
used only one riff off some song that we left out from this album īcoz
the rest of the riffs in that particular song may not have sounded good
enough for some of us, yīknow. We have circulated many parts off some
abandoned songs for these 9 songs that we eventually decided to choose
for this album. Thatīs the way how we work usually. If some songs
donīt kind of sound as good as some other songs for some reason or the
other, we simply throw them straight to our own junkyard of abandoned
I also need to admit, HATE CREW DEATHROLL isnīt that lengthy as a
full-length album, but on the other hand why should it be in the very
first place īcoz of course quality goes over quantity in this camp for
sure. I donīt need any īso-soī -songs for our albums.
Besides, of course everyone who has at least a bit cultivated and
sharp ears, can quite easily sense out of any album that this or those
song(s) are out of line from the rest of the material if you are about
to throw in a couple of īfillersī in order to give a more length for
some certain album...
Yeah, I agree with you again completely. Thereīs no point of using
fillers at all.
So, you only got these 9 songs out of your recording sessions for
Yeah, thatīs pretty much everything we got done during those
recording sessions. Maybe a few useable riffs are still left to be used
for something, but only these 9 songs were completed during our
What were you guys were thinking... you didnīt record any extra
songs for a Japanese CD release as a bonus as they always want their CDs
with some īextra joysī, yīknow...
Yeah, I know. This time they just have to become satisfied with some
cover song that will find its way to a Japanese edition of HATE CREW
DEATHROLL. There will be that Slayer cover ("Mandatory
Suicide" that is) song in the Finnish edition that will be limited
to first 5000 copies, I think. And the Ramones cover song that we
originally recorded for our single "Youīre Better off Dead!"
off HATE CREW DEATHROLL, will be included for the forthcoming European
release of our new album. That single was kind of exclusively made to
serve, in a way, for the Finnish fans as a main priority, meaning you
have to buy the single if you wanna get it īcoz we didnīt want to get
it included for the Finnish edition of the album any more. We originally
recorded that Slayer cover song for a Slayer tribute CD, but as far as I
know, it wasnīt that well available here in Finland, so we thought it
would be kind of cool to get it available on this new album so that
everyone would get a chance to hear it eventually here in Finland as
STONEīS HERITAGE FOR A YOUNG METAL GENERATION
Going back to your previous album FOLLOW THE REAPER with my next
question, many people who got to hear it, came to a conclusion that it
had its moments when the Finnish Speed Metal īlegendsī, Stoneīs name
was brought up into the surface due to some similar hints to their
material and so on, especially here in Finland for some obvious reason.
Now however, while I was listening to your new album, you have left most
of those influences more of a background; in fact you cannot find
īthatī straight similarities to their material from your new album any
more, but have concentrated on rather different musical venues on HATE
CREW DEATHROLL. Did you somehow try to avoid to be compared to Stone on
purpose while you were working with the material for this album or were
there some other reasons involved since you started the song writing
thing all over again?
No, we didnīt think of it at all. All these songs came together very
spontaneously indeed without thinking too much whether we could sound
like some other band or get some influences from some other bands. I
havenīt ever thought that we should try to sound like this or that band
- or avoid sounding like this or that band, yīknow. But I donīt deny
that fact either that I still consider Stone as one of my main
inspirations even today. Stone was a very underrated band in my opinion,
Could I possibly claim that when you were penning down riffs, etc.
for the FOLLOW THE REAPER album, you had your strong period going on
when you were heavily listening to Stoneīs material and thatīs the
main reason for all that why some of that influence was grabbed by the
songs on FOLLOW THE REAPER?
He, he... that may well be possible and I cannot see any reason why I
should deny it at all. Stone was an awesome band and they have surely
influenced many other bands here in Finland as well than us only. For
example all those background vocals that Stone had on their albums, some
of those elements have been used even on our new album as well. We do
have some of those īshoutsī on HATE CREW... for sure, too. The old
school Speed Metal rules indeed!! I am a big fan of the Stone albums and
like 4-5 years ago I shamelessly tried to imitate some of those riffs on
Stoneīs albums with my guitar īcoz those riffs and rhythms on their
albums are actually quite wicked, unique and complex in many ways
indeed. I can rather openly admit that I have learnt many cool things by
listening to Stoneīs albums; understanding that thereīs so many cool
ways to make your music sound unique and interesting and not always
trying to find the easiest way out if you know what I mean by all this.
Stone had some really crazy harmonies and stuff on their albums and I
have always admired what f.ex. Roope Latvala (Stone, Waltari, Sinergy)
did on Stoneīs albums with his īfire gunī. Heīs really an
outstanding guitarist in my opinion. And itīs no wonder if people are
able to spot some of those things from our new album as well īcoz that
influential band they have always been for me, absolutely!
COPY PROTECTION & PIRATING
Your new album is also copy-protected...
Yeah, thatīs what I have heard, too...
So, are you saying that you havenīt heard from someone yet that
some people could have bought an illegal copy for your new album from
some well-known pirate countries...?
Luckily I havenīt heard that kind of ībad newsī from anywhere yet,
but if ever that kind of news hit me before the album is released
Did those kind of ugly things happen with your previous album
FOLLOW THE REAPER with illegal copies floating around before the album
was officially released?
No, I cannot remember such things happening, but afterwards it was
found from the internet and thereīs was probably a few different
bootlegs for sale from that album as well. But what is bugging and
worrying me mostly at the moment is that our new album would end up
being available from the internet before itīs officially released. It
would a disaster. And to be really honest with you, thereīs actually
one other thing that kind of pisses me off. Namely it will be released
here in Finland 6th of January 2003 and in the rest of Europe sometime
around March, so there will be a rather long gap between the release
date in Finland and the rest of Europe. That means that thereīs always
a danger that someone will put it on the internet some day for a free
download and thatīs why Iīm quite worried. I honestly think itīs just
unavoidable that it will be found from the internet some fuckinī day.
But thereīs of course a reason for all of it why the European release
date will be as late as in March 2003. They need more time to do all the
ground work for promotion and that kind of thing, yīknow. So in a way I
can relate to them, too. Here in Finland we are able to do all these
interviews for example, within a little amount of time as Finland is a
relatively small country compared to may central European countries and
we have much less media here than in Germany for instance. I mean,
interviews and such promotion for certain new albums can be done within
a few days whereas in Europe they need like 2-3 months for the promotion
due to a vast number of more media. They have hundreds of music
magazines in such countries like Germany or France or Holland, etc., so
naturally all the promotion takes just much more time over there than
here in Finland. In the other words, now when our new album will come
out in Finland on the 6th of January already and in the rest of the
Europe in March, thereīs a great unfortunate possibility that our album
can be found from the internet before that. And as I said, I donīt like
that at all. I hope that all those who possibly may download it from the
net in advance, could also buy the real thing once it will hit the
stores around the world.
As we were talking about the lyrical side of your songs on this
new album a while ago, thereīs a lot of pure hate involved in them
against certain kind of backstabbers, shit talkers, etc. Now I was just
wondering whether you could pick up one song off your album and dedicate
it to all these rip-off assholes exclusively who are running some bad
intentions in their swollen heads and pondering to get H.C.D.R.
available in the net for a free download for everyone who basically
donīt wanna pay for anything, what song would it be off the 9 songs you
have on the new album?
Itīs definitely the last song - and the title track of our album
"Hate Crew Deathroll" in that case. I think that song involves
a message in itself to all these scumbags of the earth. Itīs for all of
YOU ASSHOLES who try to rip us off or talk shit behind our backs. Itīs
really sad that someone tries possibly make some money out of something
thatīs not his/her property at all. Itīs great, though that now people
are more aware of this ugly pirating thing in the net and keep on
talking about it constantly on how to try to fight at least a bit
against it. Many people in the music business are loosing shitloads of
money because of this, so itīs great that some action has taken some
place in order to get rid off some of these assholes on the face of the
earth. Itīs also great that thereīs actually some laws and rules made
in our society as far as copyright and stuff are concerned.
Out of my own curiosity, what kind of collection do you have of
Children of Bodom bootlegs in your personal collection?
I have some and naturally I have always wanted any C.o.B. item for my
collection that has come on my way. Thereīs actually quite a few of
them available; like this strange live-CD that was recorded in Japan
some time ago.
Have you ever checked out eBay what they have available there, by
Yeah, I know the thing, but havenīt been curious enough whatīs for
sale in there...
Well, I just recently was surfing there a little and found this: A
bootleg or a CD-R containing Children of Bodomīs B-sides of some
certain singles, some cover songs you have recorded and the Inearthed
demo as whole on it as well.
Whatta HELL...!!? Someone is selling them there...?! Fuckinī FUCK!!!
Damn... this really pisses me off. This is so fuckinī outrageous. This
fuckinī homo is making money at our expense. This guy needs to be
eliminated for once and for all. Fuckinī gay!! I have nothing against
it if someone puts our demo in the net for a free download, but making
money out of it all is a completely different thing for sure.
"NEEDLED 24/7" - A NEW VIDEO
Then moving toward a ībitī lighter subjects... you just made a
video for a song called "Needled 24/7" just a while ago. What
kind of a script did you have for that video?
To tell you the truth, it happened quite spontaneously as a matter of
speaking. First off, nobody asked us anything or heard what we may have
wanted to be included for it or anything even if we should have been
heard out in my opinion. Even a director was chosen for it in advance
without hearing our opinion first, so we basically said: "Ok,
letīs just do it...". Then we were told that this particular video
in question will be shot in some sort of a circus tent. First we were
heavily against the idea, but eventually we agreed to do it there with
big teeth, though. Then we got to read a full script for it and became
very suspicious about the whole thing again īcoz someone had planned to
get some ballerinas, clowns and that sort of īnot-so-cleverī things
for the actual script. I saw this video just yesterday as I have been a
month away from everything and had no idea how the final version of it
may look like. And when I saw it, I was so utterly pissed off at what I
saw. But also the rest of the guys in the Bodom camp became pissed off
īcoz they didnīt like the video a bit... first. We told them that we
donīt need any damn ballerinas for our videos or anything alike for
that matter. There, however, was one kind of neat thing in that video of
which I was kinda pleased. There were these two guys who are able to do
some extreme things in their life generally; piercing their nipples and
dragging some metal cages behind them only using their nipples for that
eye-catching purpose. That was the only cool thing in that video in my
opinion. Those kinds of things represent very well for us and what we
are after indeed. Then there was this one guy in that video with a top
hat tightly placed around his head, sitting at the seats inside that
tent; a ballerina flying across the air, etc.; just terrible. Also the
other stupid thing is that video was that the only close-up footages
were basically taken from me and Jaska, our drummer - and the rest of
the guys were totally left unnoticed which is unfair and just wrong in
my opinion. It would be have been much better if some of these pathetic
ballerina and other circus characters had been replaced by some footages
from the rest of the guys in this band. Well, the video is done and it
would be just a waste of time cry for it afterwards. We cannot do
anything about it any more.
And what channels will show that video then...?
Here in Finland I can only think of MoonTV and thatīs all about it.
If itīll be shown through some cable channels around Europe, then
thatīs just fine. I must say thereīs nothing wrong with the quality of
that video, but Iīm afraid to say that the content of it doesnīt
please me too much, unfortunately.
Has that kind of thought ever crossed your mind that you might
link it up for your own official homepage and all the curious parties
would go there and down load it for free for their own computers? Namely
as far as know, there are some countries on this globe that havenīt got
any channels for this kind of īmarginalī music...
Yeah, why not... it would a cool idea to serve all those people that
way who havenīt got a chance to see or get it otherwise from some cable
channels, etc. Not a bad idea at all, I have to say.
Why did you actually choose to make a video out if this song - and
not using your single song "Youīre Better off Dead!" for it,
Well, I donīt know. Maybe thatīs because it was already released as
a single and we wanted another song released as a video. Also, I think
"Needled 24/7" fits quite well for a video īcoz the song
itself represents us very well musically. It was all of us first option
for a video track without any compromises to tell you the truth.
When will your new album be released in the States? Have you been
informed anything about it yet?
Well, I donīt know for sure, but I assume that it will be released
over there exactly the same time as in the rest of Europe as well,
sometime in March 2003.
... and in Japan?
I guess it will come out in Japan a bit earlier, around in February
FROM JAPAN TO BACK HOME TO EUROPE TO...
Talking about Japan just a bit more next. You have a great fanbase
in that country and lots of your albums have been sold there. You have
visited Japan with the band two times previously, right?
Yes, thatīs correct...
And in March 2003 youīll go there again to do 6 gigs in cities
like Tokyo, etc., supporting Rob Halfordīs band on those gigs. How on
earth was this opportunity offered for you guys? Did he contact you
personally or did this request come from their management?
Their manager contacted our management and asked whether we would
like to support them on those forthcoming gigs. The original idea was
that we indeed wanted to go there alone first and do our own headlining
tour there, but now we got this chance and are able to play slightly
bigger places in that country which is fuckinī cool. Besides I think
both Halford and us make a really cool package together īcoz we now
have a chance to introduce our band to Halfordīs loyal crowd as well
who otherwise may not have heard from us before. If we can get even one
new fan for this band playing with Halford, then thatīs cool.
Do you have any idea whether Mr. Halford himself has heard your
band before, by the way...?
I have no idea about that. Would be nice if he heard our band,
though. I know that he also digs newer bands quite much like Dimmu
Borgir, Emperor and so on. And thatīs really cool in my opinion īcoz
everyone of us surely knows where heīs coming from. Itīs also great to
notice that he hasnīt stuck with the past and has constantly been
moving on, finding and trying new elements musically with his band.
Letīs have a word or two about the Japanese media. I remember
seeing your face in the cover of one issue of BURRN! magazine, well, was
the year 2000 or 2001 - I cannot remember precisely any longer, but you
were chosen as the guitarist of the year in some award by the readers of
the BURRN! magazine. How did it actually feel like to get your face on
the front cover of that highly respected magazine?
Actually I wasnīt chosen as īthe best guitarist - or newcomer
guitaristī either - or anything by the readers of BURRN!, but I just
made it as far as to the īTOP 10 guitarists" list or something.
Janne won the award as the best keyboard player in that year (2001),
though. Anyway, I have to say I donīt know what kind of characteristics
they use there when they were giving votes for the best guitar player of
the year 2001 īcoz the final results turned out to be a bit odd and
strange for my taste to say the least. I cannot remember my position on
that list any longer, but such legendary guitarists as Steve Vai,
Satriani, etc. got les votes than I did. It honestly went all beyond my
own belief, I really need to confess that. Japanese tastes concerning
some musicians seem to be kind of strange sometimes, he-he!! Of course
it felt rather flattering and cool to see my face on the cover of that
highly respected magazine. Itīs definitely my favorite metal magazine
out of all metal magazines in the whole world. I also consider YOUNG
GUITAR magazine as the best guitar magazine made ever on the face of the
earth. The only thing that bugs me is that I donīt understand their
language at all. That magazine contains some īreal guitaristsī and
thereīs no space for some Papa Roach guitarist that some people may
consider as some of a guitarist of modern-day īmetal musicī.
Then moving on backwards again a little to things concerning your
gigs. After you have come back from Japan in March, you start preparing
the band for a tour here in Finland...
Yeah, weīll go to all these familiar cities where we have already
played before: Tampere, Oulu, Nivala and so on...
And after that youīll have your own headlining tour in Europe?
Yeah, thatīs right, Weīll start touring there around in April 2003
and tour in different countries for 5 weeks in a row. This time we will
be playing in England for the first time, too. Hard to say how they will
dig our band in that country, but that remains to be seen then. I hope
at least a bunch of people will show up for our gigs in that country.
Are you going to have any support bands on this forth-coming
I know for sure that at least Swedish metallers Soilwork will be one
of the two support bands on that tour. The 3rd slot is still a bit open,
but will be announced soon, I guess.
A BRAVE NEW DEAL WITH SPINEFARM
You made a new deal with Spinefarm Records as FOLLOW THE REAPER
was supposed to be the last album from you guys as a part of your old
contact with them. What made you re-sign a new contract with them again?
Was it the fact Spinefarm made a contract with Universal Records in
order to make a better distribution for their own releases, getting a
better promotion for the Spinefarm releases under this new kind of
Yeah, you pretty much summed it all up. That was the main reason why
we ended up signing this new contract with them. When we got to hear all
the news about a joint venture between Spinefarm and Universal, we were
a bit skeptical about it first īcoz Universal is so much bigger as a
company compared to Spinefarm that has been an independent label for all
these years. You cannot be too sure whether this kind of cooperation is
meant to be successful or not, so of course itīs only natural that you
wanna look at it from many different perspectives first. But eventually
we started to believe that all the effort that itīs possibly to get
from their direction for this band, will take this band a couple of
steps further toward better things in the future. Thereīs always a
risk, but without any risks you cannot go too far and make an impact you
may deserve. I hope we did the right move. Only time will tell. On the
other hand, we have been working with the Spinefarm staff for so many
years already and have been very pleased how things have worked out
between them and us thus far, so we know that we can at least trust
them. In a way, I have to say we wanted to stick with them originally
īcoz they have been doing great work for this band.
I remember you had these plans to release a Children of Bodom DVD
with them some time ago. What happened with those plans?
Well, weīll put one out eventually, but we donīt want it to be any
rushed project. We still need more footage for it and we want it be be
professional and all that. It wonīt come out in 2003 yet, but maybe a
year after that in 2004 or something.
I was wondering if there are some major countries for metal music
where your album hasnīt been released yet? Have any of your albums been
released f.ex. in Australia under a license deal or something, for
I guess so, but I donīt think our albums have done too well there.
Officially our albums have been released in Russia as some sort of
license deals that our label Spinefarm Records has offered to them. But
I guess in countries like Russia a normal format to get music out quite
usually is a cassette format; just like in countries like Poland,
Hungary, Romania and so on.
ABOUT ACHIEVING STATUS...
I remember when your debut album SOMETHING WILD was released in
1997, it started some sort of a boom at least here in Finland when metal
bands started to add some keyboard sound into their own music; bands got
overall very technical and got recognized by different forums and people
because of that, too. How do you feel for being some sort of a road sign
or a milestone for all these young, but very talented bands that have
been trying to follow your musical path and obtain similar elements into
their own soundscapes; with this question Iīm referring now to such
bands as Throne of Chaos, Eternal Tears of Sorrow, Kalmah, Norther,
Well, that was a hard question. I have listened to all these bands
such as Kalmah, Norther and so on, but I have to say itīs kinda hard
for me to be any judge whether they have - or have not imitated a bit
Children of Bodom musically. But I also donīt deny it that some of
these bands have some similar elements that we have in our own sound,
too. But as you may understand, I cannot start pointing my finger toward
any bands for ripping us off musically or anything īcoz every band
basically is influenced by some other band in this world. Itīs only
natural that some bands have this tendency to sound the same; itīs
actually very unavoidable. If some bands shamelessly admit to be
influenced by Children of Bodom, then of course that feels great and
everything. Still, itīs hard for me even nowadays to place myself into
some certain position and simply be some kind of an influence and
inspiration for some younger musicians, yīknow. I still cannot think
that way at all as Iīm still learning things myself even these days,
how to be a better musician, make better songs and overall make this
band working out effortlessly and so on, yīknow.
However, nowadays when you read some reviews or interviews of some
certain, most often new bands, quite often Children of Bodomīs name
pops up here and there in all these articles, etc. as you may have
noticed yourself as well? In my opinion Children of Bodom as a single
band has gained some amount of some sort of a īstatusī as a very
technical and skilled metal band that combines keyboards with other
instruments successfully and is able to impress a lot of people because
of all these previously mentioned ingredients. Any comments to this?
Well, I have noticed that Children of Bodom has been compared to some
technical, atmospheric sounding Black Metal bands due to my
īshriekingī vocal style, keyboards in our sound and the technicality
that we have in our music. It ainīt any bad thing by any means.
Actually it feels rather nice to become compared to some bands every now
Also, itīs been quite hilarious from time to time to see how
people in general have tried to fit C.o.B. to some certain categories;
some successfully and some less successfully as your music is pretty
damn hard-hitting and mostly īgenre-freeī īcoz you seem to combine so
many different styles into your music. Thereīs one guy on the message
board of Metal-Rules.com that gave the following description about your
style by describing it the following four words. He said that you are:
īNeo-classical blackened Power Metalī. What do you think of that?
WOW...!! That was one hell of a description for sure... cannot deny
that. But when you listen to our new album, I personally would drop two
things away from that description; the first is: Power Metal. I cannot
say we have anything to do with that category at all. Thatīs simply not
us. I have to say Iīm not too thrilled myself about that category as a
description ībout our music, sorry! Not even our FOLLOW THE REAPER
album had that much to do with that category at all in my opinion. As
far as īthe term īNeo-classical ī goes, I admit that our first two
albums contained some elements that had something to do with that
terminology, but already on FOLLOW THE REAPER we had pretty much dropped
all those īneo-classicalī elements away from our music. It would be
easiest way out and just say we play metal and thatīs it. I havenīt
ever liked when people try to fit bands under different categories and
come up with new categories for them all the time. Therefore, in many
cases, itīs kind of a restrictive thing to bands to expand and develop
their music further from their original roots, yīknow. As for our music
we are representing these days, itīs a tough thing to put it under any
category that could describe us what we are musically. We have some
elements from Speed Metal, Black Metal, Punk Rock, etc. in our sound, so
try to figure out a suitable category for us by keeping mind all those
elements. I personally wanna call our music simply as īmetalī and that
should be enough to describe this band in my opinion.
What kind of music or what kind of bands do you listen to
nowadays? I assume that each of you have a long list of your own
personal favorite bands that you have been dug and are digging even
Yeah... we dig and listen to many different bands. Everyone of us has
his own fave bands for sure. I have been digging the old-school ī80s
metal for years; bands like Twisted Sister, W.A.S.P., etc. - and the
list goes on. As far as newer metal bands come in question, I like f.ex.
In Flames, Dimmu Borgir and Hypocrisy a lot. But I also like bands like
Nine Inch Nails and Billy Idol very much as well as The Ramones and Sex
Pistols have both always been close to my heart. Iīm a rather
open-minded guy for different kinds of music as a matter of speaking.
This was it... thank you Alexi for your time and best of luck for
2003. Any last īcliche-filledī words for the readers of
Mega-thanks to everyone of you who have bought our albums. Drink
(more) beer and listen to more metal!! Cheerz...!!!
Official website: www.cobhc.com