» H. Seppälä - Children Of Bodom
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Interview conducted September 25 2013
Interview published September 28 2013

A few hours before Children Of Bodom's gig in Stockholm, Sweden, Metal Covenant met up with bassplayer Henkka Seppälä. The band's flight had just arrived from Finland and the bassplayer himself looked like he just stepped out of bed.

Tobbe: We at Metal Covenant haven't talked to you for a while, so let's begin this with your latest album, Halo Of Blood. It's been a couple of months since its release; how do you see the fans' reaction and the response to the album thus far?

  • Henkka: It feels better than usual, like the reviews and for the reactions and stuff. That's always a good thing.

Tobbe: What do you think differs Halo Of Blood from your recent albums?

  • Henkka: I don't know. Well, we did it the same way that we always did. Maybe there's more melodic melodies and maybe there's more dark or cold melodies. That's how I feel it.

Tobbe: But still Children Of Bodom to 100 percent.

  • Henkka: Yes, there's not much change, you know. It's the same thing.

Tobbe: What do you do to not repeat yourselves from the recent albums?

  • Henkka: That's a good question. I think Alexi has this capability of clearing his mind when he starts to write music, which is amazing. When we hear some new stuff from him, it's quite often that what we hear is surprising and like "Where did this come from?" and then we play it a couple of times and get used to it. He has this capability of starting from scratch and having like no kind of boundaries when it comes to writing music.

Tobbe: This album perhaps have both your most brutal song ever, the title track, and also a mellow one, Dead Man's Hand On You. Was that intentional or did it just happen?

  • Henkka: Nothing is intentional with us. It just happens like that. We never set any boundaries for us. If we feel that it sounds good, we use it, you know. Of course, nowadays we always think a little bit somehow, "Okay, can we do this? Is this cool with the fans?". But then it's like "Fuck, we shouldn't think about these things, because that's not us.". From the first record and on, we always did our thing without thinking of what people would say.

Tobbe: When you mentioned your first record, I was thinking about your keyboards. I mean, you have pretty loud keyboards in your music and still it's death metal. Was that intentional from the beginning or did you intend to have them in the background? Were you talking about that from early on?

  • Henkka: Of course we have them as they are on the first record. We just wanted to make something that we wanted to hear ourselves and that was combining all these different elements of music. We didn't have any fans of course, so we just did it for ourselves. Then we didn't care, because there was nobody to care for. Ever since it has been the same; we try not to care what people think.

Tobbe: Were you influenced by other Finnish bands?

  • Henkka: Yes. Stratovarius was a big influence, and Sentenced, and Impaled Nazarene.

Tobbe: Death metal is a kind of narrow space to play in. Maybe I should ask Alexi this, because he writes the songs. Don't you guys ever feel like doing something different, more mellow or even more brutal?

  • Henkka: No. (looks puzzled)

Tobbe: I mean, a lot of bands change, you know, and Children Of Bodom has pretty much been the same all throughout your career.

  • Henkka: Yes, but then again. Like you said, this album has the Halo Of Blood song and Dead Man's Hand On You, so in a way we always go somewhere. But we never wrote anything that we feel like we couldn't use as Children Of Bodom. Alexi always says that he has no intentions to write any kinds of songs to somebody else, so everything he writes, he writes for us. But still, basically there's no boundaries, so we could go more brutal or mellow.

Tobbe: So in 10-15 years, you will pretty much be the same band?

  • Henkka: Probably yes, but who knows? One thing we've been talking about, or at least we mentioned it, is that we never want to be one of those bands that, you know, go in a way soft when they go older. That's what we heard when we were young, we heard how bands got milder, you know. We will try to restrain ourselves.

Tobbe: You guys have been together for a long time, with very few lineup changes. It was 10 years since you had a lineup change. What's your secret?

  • Henkka: I don't know, I don't know. Maybe because we started so young. We started so young, so we didn't have to sacrifice anything, like a job or something. There was never any big fights about big decisions. We where young guys, straight from school, started touring, enjoyed it, so it was quite easy.

Tobbe: Still, when you were young you were different persons. It was 16 years ago since you released your first album. You guys aren't old, but you were very young back then.

  • Henkka: Of course we're different persons now. You can see how we have very different personalities, but it doesn't matter. We're more like family, than friends. A tight group.

Tobbe: When you were 14-15 years old, did you have any goals for your music, or were you just playing?

  • Henkka: No, the first goal was to get a record deal. That was the only goal. That was kind of a dream.

Tobbe: When did you start playing?

  • Henkka: Maybe at 13, or 12.

Tobbe: You're obviously on tour right now and tonight is the first gig on this two month trek through Europe. So what are your plans for the remainder of this year and for 2014?

  • Henkka: We first have a month off and then we're going to do a headlining tour in the States. Then we have a gap for a couple of months where we try to cover areas we don't visit much, like South America and Asia and then we come back to Europe for the summer festivals.

Tobbe: You've been playing live for a long time. How do you find your energy on stage and what drives you nowadays?

  • Henkka: It's just the energy between us, the fans and the music, I guess. It's the music and the reaction of the fans. It would be very hard to play some other kind of music, because the energy on the stage is a big thing about this.

Tobbe: If your fanbase decreases and you will play in front of 100 people in the future; how will you respond to that?

  • Henkka: As long as we can do this for a living, I just enjoy it. I just respect everybody who buys a ticket. I don't really wanna bother myself with the big figures, like did we go down or did we go up? At this point I'm just happy to be able to do this for a living and I enjoy all the people who are there and I don't care about the people who are not there.

Tobbe: When did you first realize that you could earn a buck by playing music?

  • Henkka: Well, little by little. It came very slow. There were many years that we were totally broke, when we had no money. At around 10 years ago we started to get a little pay off.

Tobbe: When you're up on stage; which song is most fun to play?

  • Henkka: At the moment it's Halo Of Blood. It's so challenging and it's new and so fast. I like that one.

Tobbe: So how much are you playing from the new album?

  • Henkka: It's 4 songs.

Tobbe: I wanna hear a lot of new stuff, because I've seen you many times before. I know many fans see this in a different way though.

  • Henkka: Yes, it's always tricky, but I'm glad we play 4. It's quite a lot and we feel confident with this album.

Tobbe: Alexi (Laiho) was hospitalized last summer. Do you guys see things with a different perspective now?

  • Henkka: Yeah, everybody knows and especially Alexi tries to take care of himself better, or at least I hope so. I mean, he realizes that he has to take it easy and take care.

Tobbe: Which is the best Children Of Bodom song? You can't name one from the new album.

  • Henkka: Best Children Of Bodom song? Not from the new album?

Tobbe: Correct, because you would pick one off it.

  • Henkka: Well, I always think about it from the live experience. Well, maybe In Your Face.

Tobbe: Okay, the worst song then, or a song you don't like?

  • Henkka: Well, there's a couple of songs we always play, like for example Hate Me!. We played it ever since it came out and, you know, sometimes I get a little bored.

See also: review of the gig the same night

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