Children Of Bodom

De nog immer jonge honden van het legendarische Finse Children Of Bodom blazen dit jaar alweer vijftien kaarsjes uit. En zoals het hoort kende hun pad vele hobbels, maar zoals zanger en meestergitarist Alexi Laiho in dit interview zelf al aangeeft, daar staan ze nooit te lang bij stil. De band leeft voor muziek en heeft in de jaren met een ijzersterke mix van passie en hoogwaardige muziek een grote schare achter zich aan weten te krijgen. De eerste keer dat ik de band hoorde kon ik niet anders dan zwaar onder de indruk zijn en dat is altijd zo gebleven. Alexi wil overigens niet ingaan op zijn plotselinge ziekenhuisopname van twee maanden geleden, maar is desondanks wel bereid om voor één keer terug, in plaats van vooruit te kijken. En de kritische geluiden die er zijn over zijn geesteskind, ook daar heeft hij wel een mening over.

Door: Ramon | Archiveer onder speed / thrash metal

First of all, happy anniversary to you and the entire crew, man. Second, how are you doing? I heard you got hospitalized with great emergency.
I'm doing good. Yes, I was in a hospital in Oslo, Norway but I won't go into any further details on this one..sorry. The bottom line is that my health is good and I'm back writing music and kicking ass

Fair enough, good to have you back, that's indeed the bottom line on this one. Fifteen years have passed now for you. Was the decision to drop all you worked for in order to pursue a career in a band a tough one?
It was never even an option for me to let anything or anyone come between me and music. Sure, I have done major and sometimes difficult sacrifices for Children Of Bodom, but that's part of the game if you wanna make it in this business

Are there any times when you wonder what your life would have been like, should you not have had the guts to jump into this?
I honestly have no idea, but something tells me that I would be in a very bad place had I not picked up the guitar.

'Holiday At Lake Bodom' is out, a retrospective to celebrate fifteen years of the band. It is also a farewell to Spinefarm, since you signed with your old label Nuclear Blast, right?
Yeah, we hooked up with Nuclear Blast, which we are very psyched about. We had a great and long run with Spinefarm for fifteen years, but it was simply just a time for change. Spinefarm did amazing things for this band and they were the only label who believed in this band in the early years, so god bless 'em.

Why was the time right to switch labels again, I thought you were just about the flagship of Spinefarm, which you won't be at Nuclear Blast, despite all the courtesy they will give you?
Like I said, it was a time for change, absolutely nothing on a personal level.

Picking songs means leaving out songs, but was it a collective decision, which songs should have been on the compilation?
I think we did a pretty good job coming up with the playlist, it was basically a mix of all the songs on the live setlists we had ripped on over the years. It wasn't easy though, I can tell you that.

Which song would you have added, should there have been space for one more track on 'Holiday At Lake Bodom'?
I would have wanted to record more new cover songs, but it was a matter of lack of space and we wanted to include a DVD in the package as opposed to putting out a double album.

Yes, that is a very great feature in this package I think. Off the record, can one actually book holidays to Lake Bodom, nowadays?
Well, a lot of people come camping out there, including a lot of crazy COB fans from all over the globe, which I think is beyond awesome, gotta love them.

I know The Beach Boys or the Beastie Boys never did either, but have there been times when you questioned whether or not the band's name, Children Of Bodom, would suit you?
Well at the end of the day it's just a name, like when you hear it you don't think about the meaning, like when you hear the name Cradle Of Filth, I don't think anyone thinks of an actual cradle filled with crap, you think of the band.

Good point. For those who don't know, could you sum the story behind the name up one more time?
Aye yi yi...check out the explanation here.

Hahaha, we will redirect our readers then. A tough one: despite all the praises, respect and compliments you as a band have earned, there's always guys having remarks. The two biggest remarks I heard about you guys, I am sure you can have it, knowing it is not my opinion, is that you address to very young kids and that you might bend to expectations of your fans, when you write new stuff. So therefore I would like to give you the opportunity to oppose those few guys. Unless you don't give a fuck about those who don't dig your music.
It has never been our agenda to consciously please or annoy anyone with our music, we write exactly whatever the fuck we want, straight from the heart. And if people like it, it makes me more than happy. If not, I don't care. You can't be everyone's friend. And if you try, you'll end up being no one's friend before you know it.

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What is the biggest appeal of your music, when you observe it as a listener?
It's just the way it makes me feel, which can be so many different emotions, that's the beauty of music. It can make you feel aggressive, calm, happy, sad, crazy, horny, strong, depleted… You name it man.

I couldn't agree any more. And speaking of the new stuff, is there material on its way for a follow up to last year's 'Relentless Reckless Forever'?
We're working on new material as we speak and planning on hitting the studio on January.

When you look at the enclosed video, does it surprise you too that you even get to record anything, with all the fooling around and drinking?
Well of course getting the work done is always a top priority and you do it, bust your ass until it's done good. Then it's time to party, not a second earlier. We work hard and take it pretty fucking seriously, but we like to have fun too and we're not afraid to show that.

That's the way to do it, man! Have you got any idea how many bands with great potential fall apart from having the same party-hard way of life you guys have?
Like I said, we take our work more seriously than anything else in life, obviously those guys didn't.

The drinking is always a prominent aspect when you're not playing. Suppose you do appeal to some younger listeners too (besides older guys like me), don't you feel you have some sort of responsibility to them?
I never encouraged kids to drink, or do any of this other crazy shit that's gone down over the years and I never will. I would not want any of the kids to harm themselves in any way because of something I might have done or for any other reason. But as far as responsibility goes, that's the parents' job.

You travel all around the world and party hard, yet do you take the time to get to know the places you travel to a bit?
Yeah, whenever there is time, or an interesting place to explore.

To be a bit chauvinistic, what's your greatest memory of the Netherlands
Honestly, every time we played a show over there, the Dutch crowd is one of my favourites in Europe, no bullshit.

Yeah, we like you guys too. The band has had its share in setback. You broke a couple of things, you've been robbed off guitars and there's lots more to tell, which makes the adventure even greater, I guess. But what are your best and worst memories?
Shit happens and you don't just stay down and cry about it, you pick up the pieces of yourself and move the fuck on. The best memories are always from the stage, no point of remembering bad shit.

You have survived fifteen years, which passed by in a heartbeat in my eyes. Johnny of Unleashed dared to answer me how long he thought his band would continue. Could you do that too, or do you just take it as it comes?
I don't know and to tell you the truth: I don't even wanna know. Life is just so much more exciting when it's not predictable.

Good point (again). When you're not on the road, do you still hang out together?
We do, usually after the show, cos we all have pretty different sleep schedules. I like to sleep as long as possible, so I feel rested for the show

Is it hard to have friendships and stuff like that? You are away very long times, but on top of that, you will never know if new friends like you because of who you are, or because you are in a great band?
I have a group of friends from musicians to radio DJs, to skaters who have been there for a long time, but I make new friends on the road a lot, funnily enough you always end up hanging out with other musicians at the end.

Before I forget, one could win a guitar at ESP, when the best idea for a cover song would be handed. The winner suggested you'd play 'Eternal Flame'. You never did it in the end, did you?
Nope, a good pick though.

You may skip this one, if you don't feel like answering it. Is there any band you will never play live with again, because they are assholes?
Let me put it this way, we almost always get along with other bands, but there are a few bunch of total douchebags that we certainly won't tour with again.

Well, again congratulations with fifteen years of very successful existence. Never a dull moment, not many can say that. I could go on forever asking questions, but I l call it quits. I'll leave you now and give you the honour of taking the last word.
Thanx, see you soon on the road. Horns up!

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