Children of Bodom - Interview with Henkka Blacksmith
Mickel: Okay, First question. You guys have a new disc out, Hatecrew Deathroll, I hear a lot of heavy slow riffs, and some typical thash sounding riffs as well. Did that happen when you guys were jamming along, or did someone say "hey lets use this and that for a change"
Henkka: No, it was just, the whole songwriting process was totally the same like is has always been. We never think of anything specifically to do on a new album, It came as it was, and it sounds like this.
Mickel: Alexi has a typical style of playing guitar, its very recognisable, will we see more changes in the Bodom sound, like on Hatecrew Deathroll?
Henkka: On this album, the whole band was really into the arrangement of the songs, especially me, and Jaska, we were doing alot about the arrangments with heavyness and stuff, its just that it has developed that the band, as a group, to make the songs. Alexi is the guy who does the riffs and so, you never know whats next with him, might be some Jazz.
Matko: Bodom is a really technical band, compared to some other bands. Are you guys completely self taught, or did you guys had any education?
Henkka: Alexi and Jaska they went to a musical school in Espoo, thats where they met actualy. Its a normal school, but with a specific class who do alot of music things, and they went to that one. Alexander went to a music school somewhere else, where Alexi was as well, so they met there. But on the other hand, for me, Im completely self taught. Jaska has taken some drumlessons, but he is pretty much self taught as well. But Janne (keyboards) is the most educated one in the band.
Mickel: I've read that when Janne first got to know you guys, he didnt even have long hair, and didnt like metal in the first place.
Henkka: Haha, no, he just came to record the first album, and that was supposed to be it, like "this is Janne, this is the keyboard guy", and we were like, "weird looking guy, let him play his parts, and get rid of him", but he is still here, haha.
Matko: Children of Bodom have played on several big festivals last year, like dynamo, and now you are doing a club headliner tour. What do you prefer?
Henkka: Clubs, clubs are the best. Every bands knows and that plays on a festival, that it will be pretty fucked up anyway. You get no soundcheck, anything could happen, so it will be shit in the first place. Its like really, all the time you play festivals you are really scared, for what it going to happen.
Matko: But isnt it that when you are at a festival, that there are alot of people in the crowd that dont really care for the band, while when you play in a club, most of them are fans?
Henkka: Yeah, but festivals have a good side as well, for example, Ive you know about Wacken Open Air, it was amazing, you see 25.000 people in front of you, and 15.000 are a fan, so if you see 15.000 hands clapping allong with Downfall, thats like, "wow, what the fuck is going on", so there there are two sides about festivals.
Mickel: If you had your own headline tour, you could pick your own opening bands, which ones would you pick?
Henkka: Well, I always fancied ourselves opening up for Slayer, that would be my dream for that.
Mickel: If I ever go to Finland, what food should i really try out?
Henkka: Hehe, We dont have much traditional things in Finland, foodwise, but I can really recommend reindeer, every forms of it, its delicious.
Matko: About the name of the band, Children of Bodom, its based on the bizarre murder on 3 teens near the Bodom lake in Finland. Why did you choose that name? Because its a morbid thing, or because it just was a cool thing?
Henkka: At that time, we were changing our name, we were actually forced to change our name
Matko: What was the previous name?
Henkka: Inearthed .death metal stuff.. We had lots of different suggestions from the guys in the band. One day, at the Spinefarm office, and someone from Spinefarm came to us and went, "hey guys, do you know this Bodom murder thing", and we were "oh yeah, we heard about it", and we figured out its huge thing, and its still a pretty "known" crime in Finland. And the town we're from, Espoo, is kind of near the lake, so it reminds us of our home. On the other hand its quite brutal, with the murders, so we figured out "Children of Bodom".
Matko: Did you guys had any on stage bloopers, or other funny things that occure, or a blooper or something?
Henkka: Hehe, well, funny things happen all the time, one really nasty thing was, when we were on Colombia, the first and last South-American tour so far. The plane was delayed, so we landed and pretty much had to go straight on the stage, and we had to leave a few hours later. So, it was really hectic.
And you know, South America has some nice effects on your stomach so Janne had to shit his pants during the middle of the set. He played on, but during the song "Touched by an Angel of Death", where had a long part where he didnt have to play, he ran backstage, and changed his pants, haha.
Mickel: Last question, you guys are really popular in Finland, you are a top ten band over there, while here in the Netherlands, you only get local "gay rock bands" in the top ten. Do the finnish people like heavy metal alot or something?
Matko: Yeah, because both CoB and Nightwish have gold records, so how is it to be one of the biggest bands?
Henkka: Ofcourse, its cool, but you have to think rationally. Spinefarm is a really strong label in Finland, they can really connect to the market, and they do alot for the bands, so alot of big bands in Finland are from Spinefarm, but not all of them, like Sentenced. But Spinefarm has us, and Nightwish ofcourse. Its a good label for Finnish bands. Thats one of the reasons.
The other reason is that the Finnish market is pretty small, so if 20.000 metalheads buy the new Children of Bodom cd..
Mickel: It gets straight in the top ten?
Henkka: Straight to one actually, haha. So with Hatecrew, it spend three weeks on one, so we're like, "wow". Its pretty amazing that this sort of music is on number one in Finland
Mickel: Okay, that was our last question.
Thanks for your time, and have a great tour!
Henkka: You're welcome!
Interview by Mickel and Matko