Children of Bodom - Hitting Rock Bodom...and Bouncing Back!
By Thrash-head

It’s not often that a band comes along and completely changes the rules of the game. I mean, think about it. When was the last time that you heard a band, and then suddenly a year or two later you begin to notice a million other bands coming out of the woodworks that are similar in terms of sound and style. I mean hey, Motley Crue did it. Metallica did it. Dream Theater did it. At The Gates and In Flames did it. Cannibal Corpse did it. Dimmu Borgir did it.

And yes, Children of Bodom have done it.

Hailing from Finland, a place where some of its musical inhabitants have declared “it’s just always dark and there’s nothing to do, so we just sit in our bedrooms all day working on our instruments,” The Children have been a band of extremes for quite a while. Their music is incredibly fast and thrashy, their vocals higher-pitched, almost black metal-like in their delivery. Their musical prowess is the stuff of legend, and frontman Alexi Laiho is often touted as one of the harbingers of the new age of guitar shredders. And through it all, the band shows an extremely youthful exuberance just not found AT ALL in bands this far along in their careers. Whereas most bands by now would have done a ballad, made their approach a bit more accessible, or fallen completely into their own horseshit that they spew out in an effort to keep their reps and images intact, Children of Bodom is just Children of Bodom. A bunch of young dudes with long hair playing metal that is fast, incredibly heavy and melodic, and is definitely not short of histrionics and acrobatics. When you truly think about it, you can’t help but respect them for having such a carefree, “we’re doing this because we really do love it” kind of attitude.

I talked about the band’s current status with bassist Henkka Blacksmith. (My apologies for the short answer to the first question...the tape upon which the interview was recorded malfunctioned and I lost the first half of the answer)( I hereby sentence you to 20 lashes and three hours listening to Ashlee Simpson as penance!-->

Wormwood Chronicles: What can you tell us about the new album?

Henkka Blacksmith: It was a very different experience for us because of where we recorded the new album. It came out very naturally, but it still ended up sounding like a Children of Bodom album

WC: Where exactly did you record this time that made it a different experience?

HB: We recorded east of Helsinki, so pretty much in the hometown of ours. We just rented an apartment and we brought up all the gear and we hired the guy from Finnvox Studios [Mikka Karmilla] to do the recording and mixing. We did everything there.

WC: Basically kind of a build your own studio and see what happens kind of thing?

HB: Yeah, exactly.

WC: One of the things I’ve recently read is that you have extended your deal through Spinefarm records. Did you look for any other offers to see if anyone else was interested in signing you or was it cut and dried that you were going back with Spinefarm again?

HB: There was a lot of options and alternatives. A lot of good deals coming from different labels. It just came down to comparison between the deals and seeing which was most suitable for us. And we went with Spinefarm. We considered the other deals because we had to keep our eyes open and see what’s happening outside.

WC: Was the fact that now Spinefarm has better U.S. distribution and now it doesn’t need to license your albums out through Century Media or Nuclear Blast a serious consideration?

HB: Yeah that was something we needed in the deal; to get better distribution here [in the U.S.]. Of course it was unknown for us which label would do what for us and we really wanted to consider the American market. We’ll see how the distribution is going. It seems to be going okay I guess.

WC: Speaking of the U.S. market, ever since you’ve come out you guys have tended to do a little bit better and a little bit better over here, now you guys had a U.S. headlining tour around here. How do you think the U.S. market is taking your style of metal?

HB: Uh, it’s going really good. When we first came here, we sold a couple thousand copies [according to] Soundscan. Now we have sold much more after touring three times here. We never thought we’d be able to pull of a headlining tour like this. We’re surprised it happened so fast. Everything seems to be going really good for us in America. The headlining tour has been very successful. We’re happy now!

WC: There’s been talk that you are trying to get on Ozzfest next year. What’s the story with that?

HB: Actually we have a lot of plans for last summer, lots of different kinds of things. I don’t know exactly what we’ll be doing over the summer so I cannot tell you. We’ll confirm something soon and official.

WC: As far as touring itself goes, what kind of touring plans do you have now? When you coming back?

HB: We have one week to go here and then we head back home for Christmas. After Christmas we go on a European tour that will last us almost three months. Then in the springtime there’s plans for coming back to the states for a couple weeks and then a couple of weeks in Asia and Australia and New Zealand. In Summer, we’ll be back in the states with someone or some package.

WC: As far as the songs you’ve been recording lately, what’s up with the covers?

HB: We have always done cover songs throughout our history. When we go into the studio there’s usually a lot of pressure and it’s very hard to work. Doing a cover between our own songs is kinda like relaxing almost. Like fun. Also, there’s business on that part because different markets demand bonus tracks. So we usually do covers during a session and that’s why we do it.

WC: A lot of people might say that your choice of covers is a bit unorthodox. Most people would think a more modern metal band might do homage to the old school metal bands a bit more. You guys tend to do stuff that’s at times a bit more pop-oriented. Is this just trying to do something different that people wouldn’t expect of you or what?

HB: Yes, it’s just a matter of doing a good mix and still having it sound cool We have covers that we really did just to respect them, like Alice Cooper, Iron Maiden, Ramones, and now 2 years ago we did the Andrew WK song, and with the latest session we just decided to do a Poison song, and out of a drunken idea, we decided to do a Britney Spears just to see what happened and to see how people react. Lot of drinking, lot of laughing, lot of fun.

WC: Speaking of drinking, this is something that was brought to my attention recently by a Swede that I recently
met. He says that all Finns are just a bunch of binge drinkers...(Sounds like they could all live in Wisconsin...Dr. Mality)

HB: Uh, what is binge drinking?

WC: You drink a lot, you like to get drunk an awful lot.

HB: Oh...yes, of course! (laughter) I think that goes for all the Scandinavian people, Swedes, Finns, and Norwegian people love to drink!(laughs)

WC: What’s the popular beverage out there? Are there any popular beers out there or is it more of a hard liquor type of thing?

HB: We’re beer drinkers but a lot of us like to do drinks with vodka. We all like Whiskey too, and Bacardi goes with anything. Almost everything. We also drink a lot of wine, too!!!

WC: Staying on the subject of Finland, a lot of bands coming out of there now are tending to sound quite a bit like...well, like you guys...

HB: Oh...yeah...

WC: Do you think it’s a particular Finnish sound or do you think it’s just that everyone around that area is really influenced by you?

HB: Um (long pause) I think it’s kind of like a Finnish sound. I would hope there are bands that are influenced by us. But lately when I hear other bands that sound like that, I just always think “oh, well they must be Finnish!” I don’t see anything like being influenced by us. That’d be great if there were bands influenced by us, but I’d say it’s more of just a Finnish sound.

WC: As for the new album [“Are You Dead Yet”}, there was a bit of a controversy surrounding the title of the new album and how similar it was to a Carnal Forge CD [“Aren’t You Dead Yet”]. Has there been any resolution to this or is someone just trying to pick a fight?

HB: I dunno man. When the album name was printed out in the papers, I just heard that the Carnal Forge guys were pissed about it, and that thought we copied them, and they said something like, “Is there no Google in Finland?” I dunno what’s going on because I’ve just heard this story from other sources. I’ve heard they were pissed and I’ve heard they were not pissed anymore. So many similar album titles in the world that it’s not a big deal to me.

WC: A lot of bands these days are doing the whole DVD thing. Are there any plans for a full-length DVD?

HB: Yeah, we’ve had plans, but now it is starting to be more concrete. We have plans to record shows in early next year, although unconfirmed where we’ll do it. Then we should release the whole package with a show and offstage fooling around material from the past 8 years of being together. I hope it would be ready by the end of next year.

WC: That’s all I got man. Thanks for the interviewer. Any last words for the fans?

HB: I’m just really happy to see how many fans have been at the shows. I hope everyone shows up and buys the album and everyone who has done that already I want to say big thanks!!!

Children of Bodom's Official Website