The Chil'Un Must Rise
CoC interviews Children of Bodom
by: Adrian Bromley
"We didn't know shit about anything when we recorded our first record _Something Wild_", starts guitarist/vocalist Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho over the phone from Finland. "It was all just thrown together. The writing, the recording and everything else that came along with it. We weren't even expecting to sell 1000 copies of the record. But something clicked and people picked up on it. We were onto something."

About the writing process for the debut disc, Laiho says, "I came up with a lot of ideas for what we were going to do. But when we went into the studio we were pretty fast to hammer out the ideas. It came together very rapidly. We didn't really take our time. We didn't care too much to hang around in the studio, 'cause we would have lost that feeling of intensity, not to mention spending too much on studio time."

The band -- which also includes guitarist Ale Kuoppala, drummer Jaska Raatikainen, bassist Henkka Blacksmith Seppala and keyboardist Janne Wirman -- have recently put out their second full-length through Nuclear Blast America called _Hatebreeder_, a continuation of where they left off with their debut disc, a record chock full of black metal-tinged operatic assaults, coated with heavy duty guitar solos, haunting keyboards and well-textured sub sections.

So what was the mentality going into _Hatebreeder_? Pressure from the label? Pressure to compete with the success of the debut disc? Laiho states: "There could have been a lot of pressure going into this record, but I had to block out all of that to make this record. I had to focus on music that suited what we wanted to do, rather than what people expected. I'm happy with the final result. We have gotten a lot of experience since _Something Wild_ came out with all the touring we have done and just living and surviving in this music business. I think we have improved as musicians and I for one have improved as a songwriter and that's good to see."

On the topic of song writing and studio work, he says, "Writing material takes time for me. I go through phases to write material. I will usually be able to write for two months, and then my mind will be blank for writing for the next three. It gets stressful when you are trying to work on material and nothing is coming to you. The studio is a great place to be. It's where a lot of things change for bands when they are recording. A lot of ideas shape shift in the studio. When we go into the studio I make sure that we have the general idea and we work on it from that point on. Sometimes it takes just the smallest idea to help fuel some creativity and alter a song or chorus. I always record everything I come up with in the studio. Who knows where I can use it down the road."

One reason why Children of Bodom seem to stand out from the rest of the pack is their intensity and the band's unique blend of metal both old and new. Laiho agrees. "We have a lot of black metal tendencies, but most of the stuff we play has a lot of old metal influences. It's heavy metal with black metal tendencies. We have classical metal influences, too. Our music is an amalgamation of many musical styles."

"We're not afraid to venture out and play music with massive guitar solos and melodic harmonies. We're not afraid to do any of that, but the key thing that needs to be done is to do it with a definite feel for it. Don't just add it into your sound for the hell of it or 'cause it's the flavour of the month. Growing up and learning guitar, I was heavily into the works of Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai. That was a reason why I focused on doing cool guitar soloing on both records. I keep our music pretty straightforward. I don't want to hear a certain band and want to sound like that. I want to do what comes natural and keep it simple. I think it's more interesting if songs have very technical parts. I get off on that."

"It's funny to watch all of these bands out there try to jump on a certain sound and try to play it sincerely", says Laiho. "You can see right through them most of the time. I mean, take for example HammerFall [another Nuclear Blast band -- Adrian]. They play '80s-styled heavy metal, you know, hero metal. It's cool and all to be doing that, I mean, we have our own share of '80s influence too running through Children of Bodom, but after they came out all of these other metal bands either came out of the woodwork and starting playing that style of metal or bands added that sound to what they were already doing. It's stupid."

He finishes, "Musicians should always play music for the love of it. If it all comes down to how much money you can make with a certain type of music and that appeals to you, then I suggest you leave this business. We don't need that kind of band. There are already enough bands competing out there. I want my band to make it in this business and I don't want any uninspired or rip-off bands keeping me from getting there."

(article submitted 12/8/1999)


CHATS
1/16/1999 A McKay Children of Bodom: Wild Child
ALBUMS
4/19/2011 J Carbon 4 Children of Bodom - Relentless Reckless Forever
7/22/2003 Q Kalis 7.5 Children of Bodom - Hate Crew Deathroll
5/13/2001 A Wee 7 Children of Bodom - Follow the Reaper
6/15/1999 A Bromley 6 Children of Bodom - Hatebreeder
7/8/1998 B Meloon 8 Children of Bodom - Something Wild
GIGS
11/29/2006 J Smit Slayer / In Flames / Lamb of God / Children of Bodom Hung, Drawn & Quartered
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