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Children Of Bodom (III)
Interview mit Alexi Laiho [Children Of Bodom], 08.04.2013, phoner



Im Juni wird es nochmals frostig, denn Children Of Bodom veröffentlichen ihr neues, düster-metallisches Werk, "Halo Of Blood", mit einem recht verschneiten Artwork. Das kommt wohl davon, wenn man den lieben, langen Winter im Studio verbringt, um frisches Songmaterial aufzunehmen. Über den Entstehungsprozess der achten COB-Platte sprach ich mit Sänger und Gitarrist Alexi Laiho an seinem Geburtstag.


Happy birthday, Alexi! Did you already get a lot of presents?

Alexi: [laughs] No, not yet. I got a cake from Nuclear Blast, though... That was nice!

In June you will release your eights studio album called "Halo Of Blood". Which feedback did you get so far especially by your families and friends?

Alexi: So far it's been really positive from the press. The thing is, I didn't really play it to so many friends. I guess, I'm just totally paranoid about it. It's weird, but I've been really reluctant to play the album for that many people. I really don't know why, but it's like that sometimes.

What is special about the new CD in comparison to the previous one "Relentless Reckless Forever"? Where did you put the main focus on referring to the music and sound?


Alexi: Well, it's always the same thing, you know, working during holidays on the songwriting processes. I just let everything out of my mind. And that's what I did this time, too. That's what happened! So again this is an album that wasn't in any way planned or thought out before. Everything came out spontaneously.

So it's not basing on any concept…

Alexi: No.

On the CD there's the fastest and slowest song COB have ever created. How did this come about?

Alexi: Oh, that also just kind of happened. [laughs] It's a funny thing! So there's the title track with blast beat almost throughout the whole song except for the verses. It's just superfast and almost like black metalish. And then we have another track called "Dead Man's Hand On You" which is definitely something we have never ever done musically with COB before. There's a clean guitar, piano on top and the vocals are different. That song was in general a really big challenge for us to make it sound believable and as dark as it does. But I think that one turned out really well and it's one of my favorite songs.

Would you say the slowest song was harder to record than the fastest?


Alexi: Kind of, yeah, for sure.

How does a COB-song usually come into being? Is everybody involved?

Alexi: I write everything, but we do the arrangements together. Usually I'm at home and write some stuff like the riffs, melodies or whatever, and then we go through them at the rehearsal place, just jam on them and put the parts together. And that's the time when usually everybody is involved – just arrangement wise. The whole band definitely plays a big role!

When did you start writing the new material?


Alexi: I think it was around September or late August in 2012. And then we started recording in the end of December and the whole thing was mixed and mastered in the end of February 2013.

What have been your inspiration sources in the songwriting process?

Alexi: For example lyric wise there is something different almost throughout the whole album. I wanted to write a song about a friend of mine who died over a year ago and so I did which kinda let me writing a song about another friend that died a long while ago etc. So all the songs are basically about my dead friends. And that's something different lyric wise at least.

Jaska told me in one older interview that "Blooddrunk" was for example a quite personal album for you. How is it this time? How much personality can be found on the new CD?

Alexi: It's always personal for me. Every single fucking time it's personal. I mean, in the rest of the new songs I'm basically letting out negative feelings. The most common topics are about negative feelings.

Are you really such a negative thinking person?

Alexi: [laughs] I'm not a negative person. I can actually think positive, too. But the thing is, I scare from so much darkness in my head. It's there, I know it, everybody knows it. And this is my way of dealing with those feelings. Well, we're just writing extreme music and that's how I get those thoughts out of my head.

To what extent are you influenced by Finland's winter time darkness?

Alexi: [laughs] Yeah, that's maybe an influence. But except for the last winter I haven't spent the whole winter in Finland for ten years. This last one I actually did it and the whole writing took place in fall and winter, so I'm sure that affected the songs as well.

And what does the album title "Halo Of Blood" mean in this context?

Alexi: Well, that's the song that I wrote about my friend who died a while ago. It's hard to explain, but you know, it came from a dream that I had about him a couple of months ago. Let's put it that way.

The album recordings took place in different studios. For which reason?


Alexi: Actually we got a new rehearsal place which is like a big hall and there are three different rooms in there. In one of those we decided to build a studio. So we recorded demos in there and the actual album, too. So everything except for the drums was recorded in there.

In Helsinki?

Alexi: Ja.

And where did you record the drums?

Alexi: The studio is called Petrax and it's in Hollola.

Once again you worked with Mikko Karmila and Peter Tägtgren…

Alexi: When we were thinking about making a new album, it felt like the right thing to do, to get back to those guys. It was very simple actually. I mean, everybody agreed.

Are there any anecdotes to tell us about the recording sessions?

Alexi: This time around it was actually very smooth in almost every way. Of course it's been a lot of hard work and long days, but for example recording with Peter is always fun and inspiring, too. We used to spent ten days in the studio just doing the vocals and I think they turned out really good, so it was a really good idea to get back to those guys.

When did you start in the mornings, when did you leave the studio in the evenings?

Alexi: It depends. Usually when it came to guitars and stuff, I started maybe around one o'clock. Sometimes I stayed till late at night and sometimes I could manage a couple of songs in a few hours. But Jaska for example, who did the drums, wanted to start pretty early. I think he always started like nine o'clock in the morning.

But you're a long sleeper?

Alexi: Yes. [laughs] I'm just a night person, I don't function so well in the mornings. I'm cranky!

What about drinking coffee?

Alexi: Yeah, [still laughs] but that just makes me even more grumpy. I'm just so much more creative at night time.

Same with me. I always work during night…

Alexi: Okay, so you know what I mean.

Yeah, I know. But which problems did you have to overcome in the recording process?


Alexi: As I said before everything was smooth overall. Of course you always run out of time, so within the last week it was pretty hectic. But you know, that happens every time. It's nothing new.

Who was responsible for the mixing at Finnvox?

Alexi: It was Mikko Karmila.

On your facebook page I already saw a picture of a video shooting. For which song?

Alexi: It's for "Transference", the track number four on the new album.

Can you already give us some hints about the music video?

Alexi: All I know is that there's for example some kind of graveyard we're playing on. The stuff that I saw from the camera so far was pretty cool. There are actors and actress, too, but honestly I have no clue what's gonna happen. I have kind of high hopes that it will be pretty cool.

But you didn't contribute any own ideas?

Alexi: We just told the guys that it should kinda look like a horror movie. And I think they were for that idea, too…

Then again I've heard you continued your tradition doing cover songs. Which ones this time?

Alexi: We did a Roxette cover: "Sleeping In My Car". [laughs] And we did "Cruel Summer" by Bananarama. And then we did one just for the Japanese Edition…

Who's decision was it to choose these covers?

Alexi: We just sat down, talked about it, came up with lots of different options and ended up with those. Everybody was involved.

With "Bodom Blue Moon" you once again dedicate a song to Bodominjärvi. Are the children often hanging around at lake Bodom in Espoo?

Alexi: [laughs] That song is once again a horror movie style story about what happened at lake Bodom and stuff like that. So it has a lot of dark black twisted humor in it.

Your new album will be published in July and the cover artwork shows the reaper in a snow scene. Why did you decide to let Sami Saramäki doing the artwork again?

Alexi: I guess, we just wanted to go back to him, because we knew that he had done good covers before. And this time around he did a really good job as well.

In June you will play a lot of summer festival shows in Finland, France and Germany and then Children Of Bodom will take part in the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival in the US – together with Rob Zombie and a few other bands. How did this come about?

Alexi: We just got the offer through the management and weighted the options. We had other offers from European festivals around that time. I think it's the best for us right now to do as much as we can…

Which event are you mostly looking forward to?

Alexi: [laughs] I have no idea what is planned, I'm sure about a couple of them. So we just have to wait and see.

You have no idea where you will all play?

Alexi: At this time I have no idea where we will play. But yeah, Mayhem is a cool thing, I just haven't seen the whole list yet. They change things a lot…

How do you prepare yourself for the shows?

Alexi: We will rehearse intensively for a week or something. That's usually what we do.

And when will you be back on the road in Germany?

Alexi: Right after the US-tour we will go to Japan and then do an European tour including Germany as well. We will be in different cities.

Which cities are you especially looking forward to in Germany?

Alexi: I am looking forward to all of them. It's been a while, so I'm really glad about coming back to Germany or Europe in general.

What can the fans expect from the shows?

Alexi: We're still working on the stage setup, so I cannot reveal too much yet. But I would say that on the European headline tour we will present the coolest show ever. The setup's gonna be the biggest. Yeah definitely, it's gonna be a super aggressive heavy metal show with a lot fun in it.

Please present shortly each new song in two or three sentences! Let's start with "Waste Of Skin"…

Alexi: That was the first song that I wrote. It was also the hardest one to put together arrangement wise. But it turned out to be a really good one.

"Halo Of Blood"…

Alexi: At the moment it's my favorite track of the whole album.

"Scream For Silence"…

Alexi: That started as a really fast death metal song that I came up with first, but then I slowed it down and it turned out to be one of the slower songs. But it's very catchy.

"Transference"…

Alexi: That's structure wise one of the most simple and catchy songs of the album. And we shot a video for it.

"Bodom Blue Moon (The Second Coming)"…

Alexi: That was another one that was really, really hard to put together. And I would honestly say it was a big pain in the ass. At some point I really hated that song. [laughs] But finally we just came up with a couple of ideas that made a huge difference and I think the vocals helped a lot as well to make the song better. It's actually good now.

"The Days Are Numbered"…

Alexi: It's a really hardcore, thrash, black metal and punk rock song. You know, it's really intense. It's one of my favorites, too.

"Dead Man's Hand On You"…

Alexi: That's my second favorite song on the whole album. [laughs] And it's the slowest one we have ever done before and it was a big challenge.

"Damage Beyond Repair"…

Alexi: That's probably one of the most aggressive songs in the album and it's got a different groove from the rest of the songs. But it's good that it's different.

"All Twisted"…

Alexi: It has an updated sound and also a very strong chorus. So I like it a lot.

"One Bottle And A Knee Deep"...

Alexi: It's pretty simple and pretty catchy, so it's something which is really easy for everybody to listen to and get into. And it is a good last song.



Interview: Lea S.
Foto 1: taken from cobhc.com
Website Band: www.cobhc.com

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(c) Zillo Musikmagazin / Ausgaben 05/13 & 06/13 / www.zillo.de

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