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INTERVIEW – Alexi Laiho of Children of Bodom, June 2013

| 18 June 2013 | Reply


Every metal head from coast to coast is waiting for Mayhem Festival this summer.  I got the opportunity recently to chat with Alexi Laiho from Children Of Bodom about their new disc, the Mayhem tour, and classic cars…

ToddStar: Well first of all I wanted to take time out and say thank you to you for taking time out for us today. We really appreciate you taking a few minutes out of your busy schedule for us today.

Alexi: No problem, man.

ToddStar: Let’s talk about the new album, Halo Of Blood. You’ve got a new album out, well on its way. What can you tell us about the album first listen through that a fan might not pick up on?

Alexi: Well it’s really hard for me to analyse my own music. I’m just too close to it, but from what people have told me, almost everybody says that it’s got a lot of elements from the old school COB era, like the first three albums. But also with an updated sound and it’s got a lot of new things in it too. We have basically the fastest song and the slowest song in the history of the band on that same record, so there’s a lot of new shit in there too, but yeah I guess it does have a lot of that old school COB going on in there too. So yeah…

ToddStar: Halo of Blood, the title track is just killer, but you’re leading with the single Transference. Was that more of a label thing or is that something where you yourself said this is what we should lead with?

Alexi: Well I thought it was going to be just a video song and I figured that’s the way to go. We made the decision, but I didn’t even know it was going to be a single or anything, but it works as a single too because it’s pretty simple, structure wise, and it’s got basically all the COB elements in there, and it’s very catchy as well. I think it works as a single.


ToddStar: I’ve listened to the album and you guys are keeping everything fresh with a new sound, but like you said in the beginning kind of calling back to some of the old classic sound. Is that something, like you said you don’t like to critique your own music, but when you sit down and write is it something where you get into a mind-set, or do you just let things flow?

Alexi: I really just let things flow. When I write music I basically just try to clear my head and clear my mind out of everything, and just try not to think about anything because that’s basically the only way for me to write music that’s spontaneous and fresh. I have to be… it has to be genuine and like, its most like thinking about stuff like okay, should I write this album so that people will like it, or the fans will like it, or the press will like it. That’s you trying to please everybody and that’s not genuine. That’s not the way I roll. Like I said I just, yeah, I just let it flow.

ToddStar: When you were doing the album you guys worked with the engineer you’ve worked with in the past, and you worked with the producer Peter Tagtgren. How do you guys get the feel for different people that you work with, because you guys have a very distinct sound? You guys can’t really be lumped into any genre ’cause you guys are so distinct. How do you find someone to work with that kind of brings that out in you guys?

Alexi: I don’t know. I guess we just accidentally ended up working with Mick, the engineer, ’cause he mixed the Hatebreed album, he didn’t actually record it but there’s that, and he did a great job. So after that we always wanted him to mix the albums and then he ended up recording us as well, and Peter Tagtgren, we’ve known him forever, old friends and we’ve recorded with him before, ’cause I know he’s done a killer job with other bands. So there’s that and also I wanted to record my vocals with him because it makes the vocal recording process more simple for me, to have somebody record me who is a singer as well, so they can explain things better for me, they throw in some ideas of what I should do differently. He’s pretty good at that, so it’s a good match. I mean those two guys, I think it was a good thing that we went back working with them for this album.

ToddStar: Cool. We’ll just talk about you a little bit because we’ll get to the big tour coming up in a minute, but I understand that you love Seinfeld.

Alexi: Yeah, it’s funny, isn’t it?

ToddStar: Yeah, now you’re laughing.

Alexi: Where did that come from?

ToddStar: I made you break the mold, didn’t I? I reached out to a very good friend of mine who I know is a good friend of yours, actually two very good friends of mine, Steve Lagudi (FOH Engineer) and Corey Pierce (Drummer – God Forbid).

Alexi: Oh, okay, got it.

ToddStar: And I said if you were going to interview Alexi, what would you ask, and they told me that you have an interesting story about how you broke your arm on the Lamb of God tour as well.

Alexi: Oh yeah, that was pretty fucked up. I was sat on my bunk, I used to sleep on the top bunk and I don’t know what happened because I was out, but I guess the driver had to make a sharp turn or swerve, something, I don’t know, and it basically flung me out of my bunk and I just slammed the floor and I broke my shoulder and two ribs. Yeah, but I was wasted so I didn’t even really feel anything. The guys helped me back in my bunk and the next day I was like fuck me, this shit hurts. I did the show in a great deal of pain and I did another one, then I was like fuck, something’s wrong. I’ve got to see a doctor and they told me I got a shit load of broken bones and, you know, that I should not carry on with the tour. But I was like fuck that man, I have to finish the tour at least. So I did, I think I did ten more shows with the broken bones but then the pain just got so much worse. I don’t know if you’ve ever broken ribs before, but broken ribs, they fucking hurt man, even breathing hurts, talking, let alone screaming your ass off on the stage. So the pain just got to the point where I really just couldn’t do anything about it. Nothing helped. So we had to skip the last four shows or something. It was pretty messed up, but fuck, at least I tried.

ToddStar: Certainly. Now is that part of why you don’t drink as much?


Alexi: No, not really. I’ve cut back a lot, but that’s not really the reason why. I don’t know, I’m not twenty five anymore. Fucking hangovers are so vile and long now, you know, I don’t want to feel that way on the stage, you know, so that’s why. I take it a little easier.

ToddStar: Tell me about your love of old classic cars.

Alexi: About what?

ToddStar: Older and classic cars.

Alexi: Oh yeah, I’ve always been into American muscle cars and stuff. I’ve got a few cars in Finland. I’ve got a ’74 Dodge Monaco, which is kind of like the Blues Mobile, an ’87 SS Monte Carlo which is like, I don’t know, it’s just like so ridiculous that it’s awesome. I’ve had like Trans Ams and Firebirds before, and I have a ’57 Plymouth Belvedere here in LA. I just love them, man. I just love cars in general, especially the old ones.

ToddStar: Let’s talk about Mayhem for a second. This is a big tour for you guys to be able to jump on in the US. It’s going to give you guys a lot of exposure. How did it come to be that you guys were able to get on this, because I’m excited to see you guys get the exposure you’re going to get?

Alexi: Oh yeah, me too. I think it was our management that got us hooked up with the Mayhem tour and so you know, we finally, we’ve been wanting to do that for a few years but basically it just never worked out because we always do so many festivals in Europe. So this time around we got the offer and it was a good offer, so we decided we were going to go for it and we had to cancel some of the European festivals, but I think that’s a really good thing for the band to do right now, and like you said, it’s an insane amount of exposure that we’re going to get on that tour, so I’m definitely psyched about it.

ToddStar: What I’ve always liked about Mayhem is there are so many different styles of bands together. I wouldn’t lump you as anywhere near Rob Zombie in a CD collection, but you’re going to get Zombie fans checking you guys out and running out and downloading it and purchasing, and all that good stuff. So it’s a good mix. And your fans might not listen to Zombie, so it’s going to be a cross for everybody really well. It also is nice that you guys had some open dates in there so you guys were able to drop some dates, but you’re going to pick up some headlining shows as well, it looks like.

Alexi: Yeah, I don’t know how many yet, but I know we have a few booked already and some of them we’re going to do with Amon Amarth, so yeah, it should be killer. We’ve toured with those guys before so I know that we can put on a good show, that’s for sure.

ToddStar: If you had to pick a line up for a good Children of Bodom tour, you guys headlining, who would you like to take out with you that you think complements you guys and that you would also complement?

Alexi: Oh fuck, I’m so bad at this kind of question because I know there are like a shit load of bands out there that I want to tour with, but right now I can’t think of any, I’m still trying to wake up. I’m not used to waking up this early, dude.

ToddStar: I bet. Well if you had to pick one piece of music through the history of time that you wish you had written, what would it be?

Alexi: I would probably go for Lacrimosa by Mozart.

ToddStar: Oh, okay.

Alexi: Yeah.

ToddStar: That’s not what I expected.


Alexi: Yeah, not everybody could write that kind of thing.

ToddStar: Definitely. Now, are there any songs out there that you wish you could cover, ’cause you guys have covered some cool tracks through the years, is there anything out there that you would just love to put your own vision on?

Alexi: Everything that we have always wanted to cover so far we have. So, we’re going to keep doing that. We love doing covers, especially the weird shit in general. Not covering metal songs or anything, as you might know. We’ve done some pretty interesting songs, like Britney Spears and stuff like that. I don’t know, whatever’s challenging and fun, that’s what making covers is all about.

ToddStar: I know you’re a busy man so I’ve only got a couple more for you. As far as Halo of Blood, this thing is just getting ready to come out, I think June 11th is the date, is there anything looking back that you wish maybe came out a little different, or you’d tweak this, or tweak that, or are you really happy with the album the way it is?

Alexi: I’m sure that will happen at some time, but I’m not quite there yet. It’s too fresh. Honestly so far I’m very happy with it. Right now I wouldn’t want to change anything.

ToddStar: Who made you want to stand behind a microphone and sing, Alexi?

Alexi: It was our drummer and just basically a bunch of other guys who were playing with the band back in like ’93 or whatever. I remember nobody wanted to sing and, ’cause I was supposed to be, you know, the guitar player of the band. Then I was like all right, fuck it, I’ll sing. It’s not what I always wanted to do, but I’ll do it I guess, and it sort of happened like that, and then I just got stuck behind the mic and that’s what I do now.

ToddStar: Last one for you today, what’s the meaning of life?

Alexi: The meaning of life would be awesomeness. That’s all I’ve got.

ToddStar: Let’s be honest, you’re getting ready to jump on one of the biggest tours of the year, you’ve got a killer album getting ready to drop in a month, I’d say life is pretty awesome for you right now.

Alexi: Well yeah, I’m not complaining that’s for sure.

ToddStar: Well listen man, I appreciate your time and we really appreciate you and we can’t wait to see you guys on tour. I get to see you after the tour is in season when you guys his Detroit, so I’m looking forward to that.

Alexi: Cool man, have a good day.

ToddStar: Bye.

Category: Articles, Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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