Children of Bodom drummer Jaska Raatikainen
Interviewed on June 30th, 2011 by JP
The Ugly World Tour 2011 / Academy, Manchester UK / April 2nd 2011 / Photo: Amelie Lund
In late June I had the chance and very great pleasure to sit down with Jaska Raatikainen drummer for Children Of Bodom. We met backstage just before the COB hit the stage in Calgary, Alberta on the 6th date of their North American tour. It is very rare for the soft-spoken drummer to grant interviews so we are very pleased to present you this discussion.
Thank you very much for joining us today. I’m going to ask you first, the most obvious question. How is the tour going?
Jaska: It is going quite well. We arrived to the US one week ago and we have played five shows so far. This is the first tour in the US in support of the new album so it going quite well.
I understand you are a new father.
Does that make this tour harder to be away from home now?
Well, in a way yes. Of course I miss my daughter but in a way this is my job and I have to deal with it. I make money with the band so this is my job.
Do you tell the band now that you would like more breaks or shorter legs of the tour so you can dedicate more time to family?
Well, I guess I am the hardest working…I like to be on tour as much as possible. We make money with the band and promotion. It doesn’t effect my decisions or anything like that. All my decisions are for my career and for the band and for my family.
We are very lucky to be talking to you because you don’t give many interviews and I want to talk to you about drumming. Are you still endorsed by Pearl?
Do you have your own signature kit?
No. It’s a little bit custom made. I mean, I have a toms that are various sizes but there is nothing like the Jaska Signature Snare or anything like that. It’s quite basic.
Would you like to do clinics one day to teach young musicians how to play?
I’ve been thinking about doing that but we are so busy that all those things that we could do when we are not on tour, I need to rest and be with my family. Maybe in the future when we have a longer period off touring then I might do something. We’ll see.
I know that COB are very influential and many bands have come along like Kalmah and Norther and are imitating your style. Re you flattered or upset when so many bands take your ideas.
I feel…it’s quite confusing sometimes. There are younger bands and they say that COB is their biggest influences. We have done this for so many years so I can’t step out and listen to our band objectively. I feel a little flattered. I am still a fan of other bands myself so I listen to other bands…like a fan. I get influences as well so it is hard to get them being so fanatic when they start up a band. I think it’s cool.
It’s the price of fame?
I know you are very busy and very talented and you have many other projects. I want to talk about them, tell us about Virtuocity. What happening with them and can we expect a new album?
With them I made at least one. The one I was in, the album (Secret Visions) but since then I didn’t hear from them again, after that. Maybe they thought that I am so busy with COB they didn’t want to ask me again.
They can’t afford you now!
(laughs) I hope not! I don’t think that is the case. The other one, Evemaster, I was about to join them for their new album but I was super-busy at the time they were going to the studio so they asked another drummer. I wish them the best!
Tell us about the project Gashouse Garden. We hear there are some demos and the die-hard fans are waiting to hear it!
That is the same problem as the other projects, I just don’t have that much time. The other players involved have their own bands. We did a demo-tape and we were planning to do something else, but COB got so big that we never stopped the band but you know, it’s there…just waiting.
So, back to COB. You guys like to do a lot of cover tunes for fun. Do you have any choice about which songs get picked? Do you picked out of a hat or does someone in the band say ‘This is what we are doing’?
Sometimes it’s just drinking on the bus, listening to some bands and suddenly someone suggests, ‘Think about doing this, in this and this way’. You know, and everyone laughs, it comes out like that. We are all big fans of The Big Lebowski, the movie. There was this CCR song we liked a lot so we did the CCR cover song. I’ve been a big fan since five or maybe six, my father was listening to CCR a lot so I think that one, that song is one of my favourite ones that we have done with the band. When we did the music video in the same style like CCR had done like when back in the 70’s. That’s a good song.
I guess we should talk about the new album. I notice it’s a return to the older sound. Do you agree?
Yeah. I hear, lots of people have told me that we have gone back to our roots…old school Death Metal…old School COB…I don’t know. I’m glad with the new album there are very many songs that we can play live. Compared to other albums, there are nine songs and six or seven are playable live. That’s a big step for us. I think the Bloodrunk album is very good but we noticed there are only there are only two or three songs were are going to play live. Sometimes we notice that the songs are good on the album but…
…they don’t translate well live?
Yeah! The new album works well when you are listening to it sitting or when you are playing it live. The songs just work.
What your favourite song to play live from the new album?
Shovelknockout. I like that there is some blastbeats and some good melodies and all that. Not My Funeral…they are all good.
Do you have any last message for the fans?
Buy the album!