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Discussion in 'Children Of Bodom' started by COBHC Webmaster, Oct 17, 2005.
Oh please, please do!
Or send it to my home, I'll scan it for you
Here's the translation of Soundi interview with Alexi, sorry about possible spelling mistakes.
EDIT: There was also a list of Alexi's cars plus the working titles of the new songs, I'll put them on tomorrow if someone's interested.
HALO OF BLOOD OVER LAKE BODOM
Alexi Laiho, the vocalist-guitarist of Children of Bodom, admits that he is excited. Not because their 8th studio album is released in early June, but because they've been off the road for long enough. Alexis real home is in the tour bus and apartments in Helsinki and Los Angeles are vacation spots.
On the cover of the new album wanders the Reaper lost in sleet. Now he's in his place, because on the record Alexi is remembering his friends who have died too early. At the same time, he has written the fastest and the slowest Bodom song ever.
It's the year of celebration. It has been 20 years since school boy Alexi Laiho formed the band IneartheD with his friend Jaska Raatikainen. The band made their first album four years later and changed their name to Children of Bodom.
"It really has been 20 years since the band was formed and 16 years since the first album. We were maybe 14 years old when we started to write music. We had an ambition to get a record deal and to sell 1000 copies, it would have been great. But when the album got out, so much started happening so fast that we couldn't even start thinking about it. We got our foot in the door from the start and got on great tours."
Are you regretting that you couldn't stay to play in Impaled Nazarene? You were the guitar player in this band lead by Mika Luttinen when they released Nihil in 2000.
"It was unfortunate that I could only play a couple of tours with them, after that Bodom started to get too busy. But it sure was something when I took off with Impaled to Mexico when I was 19 years old! It's like if an australian aboriginal went skiing in Iceland for two weeks."
The line-up of Children of Bodom has remained through the years. During the first years the keyboard player and bassist changed, but after the first album "Something Wild" in 1997 only one member has changed. The guitarist Alexander Kuoppala went back home in the middle of a world tour in 2003. He was replaced by Roope Latvala, who started his career in Stone and has been sticking with Bodom.
"It is very important to us that the band is not a project, but it has the same dudes. Even though I write basically all the songs, it wouldn't be the same without the other guys. They have big roles too."
"None of us just hasn't burned out. If we're not on the road, we're making an album. The longest real break we've had is probably about a month, but after that I get anxious. I can't do nothing for longer than a month. This is hard work and we all have spent our adult lives on the road. Either in the tour bus or on airports. But we haven't gotten sick of it, we love so much to play live."
CoB has tuned up their rehearsal place in Helsinki so that they decided to record their new album there, except the drums.
"The rents aren't that cheap and we like to hang out there even for five weeks in a row so of course we should take advantage of that. It wasn't that different as I first feared. We all live in the city so I thought that our personal lives mix with the recordings, but it didn't happen. If someone was needed in the studio, he would be there."
Mikko Karmila was chosen to record the album and he also managed the schedules. Alexis vocals were recorded and produced by Peter Tägtgren from Hypocrisy and Pain, who Alexi consideres to be excellent in his work and also able to work around the clock if neccessary.
"I have a bad habit of modifying the lyrics all the time. As the song evolves, new ideas for lyrics arise. Music is ready before the studio, but it's also important to listen to other guys' opinions. They could figure out how to link the song parts together or they could think of something that I couldn't have."
On "Halo of Blood" there are songs like: "Scream for Silence", "The Days are Numbered", "Dead Mans Hand on You" and "One Bottle and a Knee Deep". Alexi admits that until now, his lyrics have been pretty much punk and "fuck you" -type, but this time he didn't want to settle for that.
"Now I really had a different feeling. I wanted to write a song for my dear friend Tonmi Lillmans death (played with Alexi in Sinergy and Kylähullut, also known as the drummer Otus for Lordi). That lead to writing about my other late friends, who didn't all die a pleasant way. That became almost a theme for the album, even though there are also songs about other subjects. When the subject is dark, so are the lyrics. Hopefully I don't have to make that kind of an album again! But it was also therapy for me, I could handle these things in my head."
Now there's also a song about lake Bodom: "Bodom Blue Moon".
"Yeah! Fuck, I screwed up on the last album when there wasn't a Bodom related song! Of course we should have one on every album. Some of us noticed that we didn't have one now either, so we had to make one and there's also another song that relates to Bodom. After a few albums we could make a compilation of all Bodom-songs! Don't know if it would be good though. We have joked about how cool would it be to hold a one-day festival at lake Bodom."
Aöexo admits that Halo of Blood has returned back to the feeling of first three albums. This wasn't planned, the songs just started to go to that direction and have the rawness of the beginning.
"This album has the slowest and the fastest song ever, the extremes. But there are the familiar guitars, keyboards and vocals. You can hear from my playing that I grew up with all kinds of music, there are stuff from 80's hair metal to black metal. It also helps that I know Roopes playing so well, we used to play in Sinergy already before Bodom. Roopes technical abilities are outstanding and he can also bring his ideas in. We don't have to talk that much about how to do this or that, same goes with the other guys. For example our drummer Jaska Raatikainen evolves all the time and he's able to practise so much. The same thing with Janne and his keyboards, sometimes you just think of something and immediately it comes out in his playing."
"This is our 8th studio album, so we have always started to work on a new one right after touring. It's important to do something all the time. It's terrible to watch some great bands who suddenly do nothing, it's so fucking frustrating to me!"
TOUR BUS IS HOME, HOME IS VACATION
In the US, there are lots of finnish bands touring, but what really measures your popularity is if you're able to headline.
"It's really hard territory and sometimes you almost have to pay to tour there. But if you get to warm up some big band, it's an investment. You just have to believe in yourself and not let it get to your head."
"Because of US and other tours we haven't played that much in Finland, but we have to invest in that too. It still has this special feeling to play here. That's why we have a whole 4 festival dates in Finland in June and then it's our job to throw people a good party. It's the most important thing that people are having fun!"
In the end of June CoB are starting the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem festival tour in US, which lasts until the beginning of August. On the tour are also Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Machine Head and other metal bands. On the day outs Bodom have their own gigs.
"After that tour we do headline gigs in Canada, for some reason it's an important area for us. It's a bummer that we miss most of the European metal festivals because of the US tour, but this is the investment. And in autumn we tour first in Japan, and then through Europe for 9,5 weeks."
"So from June to christmas we just tour, but it's fucking cool. I think that tour bus is my home and my home is my vacation spot. We tour for 200 days in one year. We can have our own space in the tour bus as well, just go to your bunk behind the curtain and watch shitty sitcoms or play video games. But if a musician has a family, of course it requires understanding to let the guy go working abroad for 200 days in a year."
"We are trying to have a day off after five gig days. It's just because of my vocals, it does go out a bit. When I was 18 years old I could sing for 15 nights in a row, but unfortunately I'm not 18 anymore. Fortunately my vocals are just shouting so I could fake it and go punk. The audience wouldn't neccessarily even notice it, but it pisses me off."
"I like to move around, but when flying all the time, you're really testing your physical and psychological boundaries. Once we did a tour that went to Asia, Australia, South America and Central America. Two months just flying. Sitting on airport floors every day hoping that local authorities don't try to rip us off. And you don't get a decent sleep at all. On the other hand, those tours get us to countries that don't have that many foreign bands touring. When you play in Philippines for example, everybody's so excited and greatful."
"That's a good question, why is metal so popular in South and Central America. I guess they're so hot-tempered that they like to jump and shout. It's true that the youth is pretty distressed in there, during the gig they forget about their problems. It's not like they say in travelling brochures in there, they actually live in poverty and dangerous environment. You have to have a body guard in there. If you try to walk through a crowd, your clothes and hair are torn off."
"But it's true, if you want to tour for a month in a year, don't get in this business! We used to do 3 tours in the US in one year and didn't earn much, but it was the only way to go. In here people tend not to realize how big USA is!"
In addition to touring, CoBs popularity may also be affected by its freedom of metal genres. In their gigs there are fans of black metal, death metal, power metal, thrash metal and other subgenres, and even average rocker won't be bored.
"It also means that every gig there are these guitar cops, who are not neccessarily the best audience. Well, at least they buy a ticket before they go next the mixing table and start writing down who blew up and when."
But is there any subgenre of metal music that Alexi Laiho hates?
"I don't really hate any, but I got quickly tired of hero metal for example. In the end of 90's Stratovarius was really cool and still is, but then suddenly there were 50 similar bands. Same happened in the US when metalcore got popular. There were so many bands and some of them really sucked trying. In Europe there are a lot of folk metal bands nowadays and they're not all good. But the record labels sign them because of the hype. When it goes out of fashion, no one cares about the bands anymore."
"We started at the right time in the sence that record labels were still investing in bands for the long run. But what I'm really qurious about is, where are all the new and good black metal bands! There must be some, but the record labels aren't interested in them."
FUCKING SLEET, IT DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Alexi admits, that making the set list gets harder every year. There are already so many mandatory songs that people want to hear, that there's only room for 3-4 new songs.
"So which of the new songs will be our summer hit? (laughs) I think "Halo of Blood" will work and also "Dead Mans Hand on You" could come in handy. A slow song could do good in the middle of chaos and it's got some rare clean guitar sound. It's slow but the chorus is heavy."
"After a year you can really see how the new songs are being welcomed. The good thing about metal gigs is that you have room for improvisation, and people dig that. We won't ever re-arrange our songs, it would be the worst thing for a band to do to a fan. It would be distressing if we did an AOR-version of one of our songs. When I was 16 and I saw Whitesnake, they played blues versions of all their 80's hits. It was so distressing, I thought that I never want to do that!"
"But when you think of the big bands who always play everything in the exact same way, it could be that they have a contract that denies modifying songs, that requires them to sound the same live as in radio."
Alexi says that it doesn't matter if the band sells 100 000 or a million copies. What matters is that the band knows what it wants to do and does just that. And CoB know. All their albums have sold gold in Finland and their DVD also sold gold in Canada.
"Of course it's great, especially for this kind of music. But it has required working all the time and not stop for a year. If you stop, stop for good. Or if you play death metal and suddenly want to do something like Depeche Mode, do it solo or with another band. As a teenager it pissed me off that some bands changed style and raped their old name. Even if they had returned to roots, the feelings of the fans become lame. Then you just know that the band doesn't feel like doing it anymore."
"Bringing new things to music is important and a good thing, but if you change everything at once, it doesn't work. I lost interest in Paradise Lost after "One Second"! In the honor of AC/DC I have to say that they haven't fooled around, they haven't probably even seen the machines to make music."
So when are you changing direction and doing a solo album?
"I can't say never, but right now I've got no ambition for that. I dig bands, so if CoB wouldn't exist after 10 years, I would probably make an album with another band rather than solo. And of course I've had the chance to different things by doing guest appearances for other bands. Of course it would be fun to do a Steve Vai styled experiment, but I would want to do that just for myself, not for sale. I have recorded some guitar instrumetals at home just for fun, but I don't want to publish them."
Alexi has been selected the best metal guitarist in Guitar World, Total Guitar and Soundi, but on the internet some people say he lost his skills along with his switch from Jackson to ESP. Alexi finds this amusing. Of course everyone's entitled to their opinion! And really it's the most stupid thing ever to read about people judging you on the internet.
"Sometimes I've thought how this would have turned out in the 80's, before the internet. But what's the use, now is now."
In Finland Alexi has an apartment in eastern Helsinki, but year after year he's more comfortable in LA, where also his girlfriend lives.
"Both places have their advantages, but after watching another winter in Finland, LA wins easily. But on the other hand, I noticed that the climate of Finland affects my head while writing songs. I've always said that the environment doesn't matter, but it does! Fucking sleet, it does make a difference and not neccessarily in a bad way!"
"Spending time in Finland I've had the chance to see old friends. At times I've also gone to bars and check out bands, but while making music I've been up so much that I had to get some sleep too. I missed Steve Vai and Stone gigs because of that and the to the Manowar gig I didn't go, because I've had a bad feeling about them after getting to know them while performing on the same festivals."
"But if we're talking about Helsinki and LA, I think I want to end up in California. It's just that the other guys of the band live here, so I also have to be here for part of the year. In California I've got lots of friends, my girlfriend and cars. I've built a life for myself there, but I'm still a Finn and proud of it."
Alexi still lives partly in LA and he knows local musicians. Has he been invited to join american bands?
"Well, let's say that not much. They know me and my skills, but they also know how important CoB is to me. I gladly do guest appearances on gigs, not for money but because it's fun. Sometimes I play a solo for another bands album, actually I'm going to play one on Annihilators album."
"As long as I don't end up as a studio player. Juha Björninen of Burbank! Or I don't know, I guess it could be cool too. Fact is that there are tons of great musicians in LA, that it's hard to break through without contacts. I know a lot of great guitarists with much talent, who still play cover gigs at clubs."
When finnish bands tour in the US, it's hard to say which of them actually stand a chance. Alexi points out, that for example Ensiferum and Finntroll have a crowd waiting there. Also Nightwish and Amorphis have steady fan base, but they require active touring as well.
"I think finnish bands have learned that you can't drink a bottle of tequila before the show. For Klamydia that might work out, but not for many others. And I've had to cut down too, I'm not 18 anymore and I have a big responsibility on stage. I have to sing, play guitar and talk to the crowd. At some point of a gig I noticed that my hangover was starting to affect, it wasn't fun anymore, it didn't make sense. I had to set my priorities straight and calm down. I don't want the last memory of me being the stumbling idiot on stage."
"I've also lost interest in gambling. I always have bad luck in Black Jack, for instance. When you lose 300 bucks drunk, it's not cool. It's different thing playing with friends."
"But it doesn't mean that I don't know how to party or have fun. I have just learned that it's way fucking better to do a good show than get loaded."
Wow! Thank you!
Wow, huge thanks for the translation!!
It's a great interview with plenty of cool and new things.
All joking aside, I think they can pull of a one-day festival at Lake Bodom. It would be a great location for a new dvd and a unique setlist.
Also it's interesting to hear his opinion on bands drastically changing their sound, lyrical content on Halo of Blood and confirmation that Dead Man's Hand on You is the slowest song (although we might have heard that already, I can't remember) and more.
Many thanks for that, random-x; much appreciated
Seriously one of the best Alexi interviews I've ever read!
Totally agree with him on the huge number of generic folk metal bands that have been showing up lately.
Here's the list of working titles for the new songs (probably not in any order):
Trondhaeim ("Halo of Blood" written next to this)
Joulukinkku ("Christmas ham")
FC Pettymys ("FC Disappointment")
Ei niin Säästötalo ("Not-so Säästötalo", don't know how to translate) ("Drive with a Dead Man" written next to this)
Moto GP ("All Twisted" written next to this)
Kananmuisti-ilmiö ("Chicken memory phenomenon")
In the Shadows 2012
Eka ("First") (I'm not actually sure if these three last ones mean songs..)
And here's the small section about Alexis cars in case there are car fanatics here.
Alexi Laiho is known to be a car enthusiast. He's had several Trans Ams, but at the moment there's not one in the garage. Now he would want to have a -69 Dodge Charger, same kind as the "General Lee" in "Duke of Hazzard" movie. It could be matt black and not have the Conferedacy flag on the roof, though. And it would also be nice to have a Pontiac Trans Am like the one in "Smokey and the Bandit" movie one day. Here's Alexis current car selection!
Dodge Monaco -74
"Tuned up 7,2 litre engine. Almost 400 horse powers. I've had it for 10 years already and I'll keep it. It's just so great blue car with lots of great memories attached to it. It's one of the biggest ones from that time, mean looking and familiar from "Blues Brothers". This is the real Blues Mobile!"
Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS -87
"White pimp car, that's fun to cruise with. This I only use in the summer time, but it's useful car. Sporty looking."
Dodge Ram -05
"You gotta have mopars! 4,7 litre V8 engine. Black car with black front grill, black windows and black tail lights. Really looks like an avenger, people don't want to get in the way of this! It's the most reliable car I've had, no problems for the 4 years I've had it. This kind of a pick-up is very useful and big enough, we've moved band gear often with it."
Audi A8 -07
"The wierd one, 4,2 litre V8 gas engine. It's different than the big old American cars. I still dig it and use mostly just this car to travel to finnish festivals. Someone else can drive me back to Helsinki while I drink beer. Comfortable and fast travel car with enough room."
Plymouth Belvedere -57
"Almost the same as the killer car in the movie "Christine", though it was a Fury. I always wanted to have a 50's car and I got this from LA, where I also keep it. 5,2 litre engine that was just repaired. When I go back to LA, me and my girlfriend are gonna go cruising longer trips. There's no air conditioning, but you can keep the windows open! It's blue and white, so it's got the colors of Finland! It's a piece of art, a little different than some South Korean Kia."
^ Thanks again
Thanks a million for the interview, much appreciated
Thanks for your hard work @random-x, all the community are appreciated.
There is a short interview with Alexi in polish Metal Hammer, he preety much said the same thing as always f.e. less drinking, inspirations, writing proces and his "doesn't care" of critic opinions about last few albums...
But he also descriped "Dead Man's Hand On You" as a slow ballad with piano, clean guitar and unusual vocals, and said that it was hard to make this track sounding gloomy and reliably. He also admitted, that this is his favourite track from HOB.
The slow song Alexi's favourite track on the album... maybe it's a good slow song then. Every slow song by COB has a lot to live for, thinking they're matched against Everytime I Die and Angels Don't Kill...
The new Alexi car interview is videoed here:
He said that Halo of Blood was his favorite Bodom track ever on the track by track video.
It seems the trend about COB continues with this album: each and every song by them is someone's favourite. It's a matter of taste.
Yeah, like how Henkka wanted to play Touch on the 15th anniversary tour, but I'll bet Alexi was like fuuuuuuuck that.
Yeah he actually told me personally five years ago they practiced Touch but it didn't quite sound right. I think RLIME 1 deserves a live attempt again, but I can imagine it's a challenge to get it sound right, musically and vocally...
Thanks so much Random x for the translations - they're greatly appreciated.
Not really an interview I spose: