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Interview with Children of Bodom’s Alexi Laiho

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On the cusp of the release of their new album Halo of Blood, Children of Bodom’s Alexi sat down with Nelli from Heavy magazine to discuss touring, recording, and getting naked for David Lynch.

So you guys are a hot rumour for Soundwave in 2014. Have you made any plans to tour outside of mainland Europe yet?

We are pretty much booked up for the rest of the year- we’ll be heading to the US, all through Europe, Japan, but hopefully Soundwave, when is it, March? We’d really love to come back to Australia. It’s always such a great crowd, awesome weather, we love everything about it over there. I don’t know if they are still around but I love Sadistik Exekution from Sydney, apart from AC/DC they are my favourite Australian band. Touring is always so crazy with us. I can’t really remember the best stories because they are always the ones where you are too fucked up to remember anything!

I noticed a Twin Peaks sound byte on your new album, Halo of Blood. Is any of your songwriting influenced by David Lynch?

That’s funny you mention that because we tried to pick an obscure quote that would be harder for people to pinpoint, but I’m always so influenced by dark and disturbing books and movies.

Speaking of movies, I also heard a Children of the Corn sound byte as well?

Ha ha! You are the first person to pick that! But yeah I always love dark and disturbing literature and movies, they inspire me and my writing, so I love David Lynch and all that dark shit.

He’s certainly known for his obscurity, if he invited Children of Bodom to be in a film, but the catch was that you had to perform naked, would you do it?
FUCK YES! Oh fuck, in a heartbeat! I would fucking love that!

The general consensus at CoB HQ is that the new album’s title track, Halo of Blood, is your collective favourite CoB song ever. What about it is so stand-out for you?

It’s really hard to explain because I’m so close to it, I mean I wrote it so it’s hard to look at it objectively. Sometimes it just all comes together, you know? We just managed to capture this super dark and cold feeling that hits you with this intensity that’s like a kick in the face, and that really captures what CoB is all about.

The standout song for me is definitely Bodom Blue Moon. You mentioned that it was a real pain in the arse to record, but I think it’s definitely worth it! What made it such a trial for you guys?

It wasn’t so much the recording process, more the writing and arrangements. I just fucking hated it so much and kept changing it. There was always something that bothered me, or the rest of the band. Before we went into the studio I didn’t even want to record it, I just fucking hated that song. While we were in the studio we came up with these final touches that just brought it all together and made it work, it was such a close call.

“Dead Man’s Hand on You” was your slowest song in the history of the band, how did you feel pushing yourself out of your comfort zone?

It was a challenge, but I live for challenges. It was so cool to do something so different, the way the song came about was just another musical accident. It started out much faster and heavier, but I just kept slowing it down and slowing it down, then I put in the clean guitar. I’m so used to playing really fast and really heavy, so it’s a bigger risk of sounding like a goddamn moron if you aren’t careful.

CoB fans seem to be notoriously hard to please, how do you think they will receive a song that is so different to the rest of your catalogue?

That’s a really good question, we’ll just have to wait and see.

 You guys are known for your interesting choice of cover songs, have you covered a song for this album? Should your fans brace themselves for a Justin Bieber song?

No! No fucking Justin Bieber! Haha, we did though, we recorded a few covers for this album. Cruel Summer by Bananarama and Sleeping in My Car by Roxette. It’s just so fun to do something different and unexpected.

You are one of the most successful Finnish bands of all time. How do you find the mainstream embrace of metal in Scandinavia differs to that in places like Australia and America

Well Finland and the rest of Scandinavia are much smaller countries, you can’t concentrate on just playing in Sweden or Finland. It doesn’t matter to me if metal is popular or not in any given country. If we get a kickass crowd it doesn’t matter, you know? Charts don’t matter, they don’t mean shit to me. I mean it’s awesome if we get a #1 album but that’s not important, it’s the people that come to our shows. If we have a great crowd at our shows I don’t give a fuck how popular metal is.

Obviously like most Scandinavians, your English is impeccable. I mean hearing you speak, if I didn’t know better I would assume you were from Los Angeles. I’ve always been fascinated by bands who write such eloquent lyrics in their second language. Do you think of your lyrics in English, or in Finnish first, then translate them?

Well I’m in Los Angeles now haha! I always think of my lyrics in English – writing lyrics in Finnish is impossible to me. I’m so much more comfortable writing in English, it sounds the best in rock music and metal, it just flows much better. English sounds the most natural in music unless it’s like, opera or something. It’s a great language to write in because there’s just so much you can do with it, it’s not rigid and rules-based like Finnish.

Being that Australia is a country where metal is definitely not in the mainstream, how do you find playing to smaller crowds here?

Again, I don’t care how popular it is in a country or how big the crowd is. We could be playing to a tiny room and if people are into it, and the crowd is going crazy, it makes me happy.

You and Jaska formed a bond early on over death metal bands such as Dissection and Obituary. I’m sure you’ve heard of Allen West’s arrest and also the recent arrest of Tim Lambesis from As I Lay Dying – what do you think pushes musicians over the edge like that?

I dunno Allen West, that was crazy, you know, running a meth lab?! I have no fucking idea what makes anyone do shit like that, whether they are a musician or a regular Joe. Maybe he sucked at guitar playing so he had to start cooking meth instead…? It’s not in my plans to start my own version of Breaking Bad any time soon, you know if I sucked at guitar I’d rather practise my arse off than give up and go run a meth lab.
And Tim Lambesis- What the fuck? That’s even crazier, why would he do that? Why would anyone do that? Who the fuck does that, seriously, that’s the kind of shit that happens in the movies, it doesn’t happen in real life! Clearly he’s not the sharpest tool in the box.

Speaking of other bands, how do you feel about a well-known band naming themselves after some of your songs (Every Time I Die)?

I dunno if they were named after us, I don’t want to assume. I think it may have just been a coincidence, but if it were the case we’d be very flattered – I’ve seen them live a few times and they put on a great show!

The eighth studio album by Children of Bodom Halo of Blood is due out internationally on June 11.

Photo By John Raptis

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