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Interview conducted August 21 2015
Interview published October 11 2015

"Spotify is exactly the same as stealing."

Tobbe: Let me know exactly why you decided to call the album I Worship Chaos. [Release date October 2nd.]

Janne: I think, after the songwriting process, when Alexi [Laiho, vocals and guitar] wrote the lyrics, there was just a bunch of song names and we wanted to choose the album title from those song names and that one made the most sense. It did describe the album the best, you know.

Tobbe: Perhaps it describes your situation as well, as a band?

Janne: No, not that much, but…

Tobbe: I believe people will think that.

Janne: They will think that, but in all honesty, Alexi has said that what that song title is actually about is himself being a bit weird and he fucking absolutely can not stand silence. So the chaos he means by that is just, you know, noise around him. So it's not about the band situation at all.

Tobbe: You didn't record this album in a regular studio, so what made you come up with that decision, to do it a little bit different?

Janne: We have a pretty awesome rehearsal room that's fully acoustic. The walls are double soundproof and it's built on floating blocks, so it's fully like studio quality built. But that room is within a big warehouse and Mikko Karmila, the producer, came up with the idea like "Hey, let's do everything over there this time!", so we did the drums in the big warehouse and we were like "Dude, that sounds crazy. Isn't a little too big and crazy?", but it turned out amazing, I think. So this time we did not use a commercial recording studio at all. We did everything in our own place and not only is it convenient for us, but it's also very cost effective, so I liked it, you know. [Laughs]

Tobbe: You recorded as a foursome, but was it actually any bigger difference, because Alexi is still the number 1 guitar player in your band?

Janne: Yes, you're right. Obviously it was very unfortunate that Roope [Latvala] and us parted ways after 12 years. However, the recording process, for me personally, was not different at all, 'cause, you know, I don't hang around there and wait for the guitar players to finish their parts. I do my parts in my home studio. I have a real recording studio at home. So for me, nothing changed. I just got the guitar tracks, as pretty usual, and then did my thing. And honestly, Alexi writes the music, the riffs, and he knows how to play both parts. Luckily Roope was with us for the most of the songwriting, but obviously it was fairly easy for Alexi to play both parts in the studio.

Tobbe: Have we really heard the full story of Roope's departure?

Janne: Yeah, I think we started growing apart a little bit. I just realized today, when I was doing an interview, that I think it started happening already by the time we recorded the previous album. On the songwriting sessions for Halo Of Blood, I think that's when we already started drifting apart a little bit, but now it really like just became very evident for us that, you know, we can't continue like this, unfortunately.

Tobbe: What is Antti's status in the band right now? [Antti is Janne's brother and has been functioning as a temporary replacement on second guitar on the band's gigs this past summer.]

Janne: Antti is with us 'til the end of this year. Luckily he was between jobs, so that he could do it. He was a really good decision for us and we all knew him and all that, and, you know, he can play. So the plan right now is that Antti is with us 'til the end of this year and, I think, in the beginning of next year, we're gonna announce a new member for the band.

Tobbe: But it won't be him?

Janne: No, it won't be him.

Tobbe: With the new Children Of Bodom album, what is the most important thing?

Janne: I think the most important thing, for me personally right now, is that, I've been doing 6 days of interviews now, from everyone who's heard it, every journalist, we've been only getting a lot of positive feedback. Everybody seems to like it and everybody likes that it's a bit darker. It has, you know, a bit darker atmosphere, which I don't mind at all. So I mean, I'm really happy with it. I'm super excited to just get it released as soon as possible and for us to go on the road and start touring with it.

Tobbe: Besides having a little bit darker atmosphere, just like you told me, what does this record actually have that your previous records don't?

Janne: I think, in addition to the atmosphere thing, what we did is that we spent a lot more time on arrangements. I don't think we've released half-assed songs, even in the past, but this time we've really tightened them up a little bit and that's why they became a bit more straightforward, a bit more catchy. We maybe left some unnecessary bits out and we just made our overall sound even a bit more straightforward, which has been, I think, a direction we've been doing lately anyway a little bit, you know, leaving some of the too complex and crazy things out.

Tobbe: When I listen to it, I hear a little bit more heavy metal in it, than the usual melodic death metal, I think. Not in all songs, but in a few of them.

Janne: Yeah, yeah. It's not as crazy fast and it's not as complex and maybe a bit more basic. Yeah, I agree.

Tobbe: So what do you believe that this record can do for your future career? Or is it just another Bodom album in people's eyes?

Janne: I mean, obviously we were not planning on "Hey, let's make a bit more simple album, so maybe it will be played on the radio.". This is not what we're thinking, but obviously there's always a possibility that if the music is a bit more straightforward, it will maybe reach a bit wider audience, but you never know. I mean, in a sense it is just another album, but obviously we try to do the best we can every time.

Tobbe: But I think it's still hard to convince new fans that Children Of Bodom has changed or something, because people have heard about Children Of Bodom for over 15 years now, so people probably know what they are gonna get.

Janne: Yeah, I know. I mean, obviously it has all the trademarks and Children Of Bodom stuff on it. We don't wanna alienate any fans, but we still try to keep it fresh. You know, keep moving on and evolving.

Tobbe: Is it important for you to, stylistically, have your own music?

Janne: Yes. For sure, yeah. I think when we started, we did have quite a unique sound. I think that was one of the main reasons that we got ahead in our career so well in the beginning. So it is very important to keep that, to keep the trademark sound.

Tobbe: Is it possible, in some way, to come out groundbreaking in today's music scene, you think?

Janne: I don't know. I mean, I guess it's getting harder and harder. It doesn't seem like that and now with the physical album sales and stuff like that, it's not getting any easier. I can promise you that.

Tobbe: Alexi has, besides the cover songs, pretty much written everything you have ever recorded, so how much of an input do the rest of the band have?

Janne: It's in the arrangements. Alexi comes up with the riffs and the parts and we sit down together and play those parts. And like I said, this time maybe even more, 'cause we spent so much more time on the arrangements. We all have a lot of ideas and strong opinions, so I think us arranging them, all the songs, together as a group, is a big thing.

Tobbe: But does he write the songs all by himself or does he get a little input along the way?

Janne: I mean, sometimes he shows up and he has just like 1 or 2 riffs, and then we start playing those. He goes back home and the next day he has a couple of more riffs. It's a pretty unique process. And then sometimes, he shows up at the rehearsal room and he might have like half a song, like different parts already and with all the melodies in them. And sometimes we have to sit there and play the riff and think about "Hmm, what should we add to this?". So it varies a lot. Sometimes he hears like almost a full song in his head and sometimes it's just a couple of riffs, where we start growing from.

Tobbe: Do you put a lot of pressure on him or does it just come natural for him?

Janne: It feels natural. We try not to put pressure on him, 'cause, you know, the songwriting part is the one where you don't wanna pressure him too much. It has to come out natural.

Tobbe: Like I said, you have your own style, but how much could you possibly change in a distant future, because you can't like make 30 albums that sound the same?

Janne: I mean, obviously bands do need to change. There's only a couple of bands who can keep releasing exactly the same album over and over again. Like AC/DC, and they're great, but that's their thing, you know. But, I mean, like I said, we do try to keep it fresh and we do try to keep evolving all the time anyways, but it all has to be what feels right to us and we do think about the fans and we do not wanna alienate any fans. But obviously, if some day we would feel that it was time to do something completely different, we would just go ahead and do it.

Tobbe: This is your 9th album and it's getting pretty hard to pick a setlist for your shows, I guess?

Janne: It's getting really, really difficult. I mean, like even how much we really wanna now go on the road and play as much of the new stuff as possible, I know how much of the old stuff we then need to leave out, and that's definitely gonna piss off some people. It's getting really tricky and difficult with the setlist.

Tobbe: And with the singing style of your vocalist you can't play 3 hour shows every night.

Janne: That's right, and the music is so extreme, that so far the longest shows we have played have been like 95 minutes. An hour and a half is already a really long show of that kind of extreme music.

Tobbe: So how much freedom do you have on stage?

Janne: What do you mean? [Smiles]

Tobbe: Can you do whatever you want, or are things rehearsed when you run around and stuff?

Janne: Well, I mean, for us, as long as you play your parts right, you can do whatever you want on stage, you know, 'cause we joke around and we do goofy stuff. So if it makes the show more fun, you can do whatever you want, but you just got to play your parts.

Tobbe: If you supposedly will get a little more mellow in the future and play a little different style, will you be afraid of being called sell-outs, or wouldn't you even care?

Janne: I wouldn't even care, 'cause I think some of the fans of our very early stuff already call us sell-outs. [Laughs] I would not be worried about that at all and also, at the current state of the music business, if you really feel that you need to do something totally different, then just do it. Go for it, you know.

Tobbe: The 4 core members of the band have been together for like 18 years now, so what makes you stick together?

Janne: I mean, obviously it's our love and passion for the heavy metal music, 'cause the older you get, the more different directions people's lives take. You know, some of our guys have kids and families and some don't. In a sense, the relationships within the band keep getting harder and harder the older you get. But obviously it's the true love for music, the passion for heavy metal music, to get out there and play for the fans. That's what it's all about.

Tobbe: Where do you see yourselves in 10 years, with this band?

Janne: I think 10 years is a too long time for predictions. You never know, but in 2 years it's gonna be our 20 years anniversary. I remember when I was in my 20s and it seemed crazy if I would still be playing in this band in 10 years, and now it's like "What! Where did all those 18 years go?". I would say that I would be very surprised if in 10 years we would still be doing this. However, but if we are, it's awesome, you know.

Tobbe: It's still an income and you do this for a living and you can't just quit and do nothing. If you haven't made a shitload of money, that is.

Janne: No, no, no. Definitely not. But the overall state of the music business is all about the live bit, and you know, we do love the live bit and we do love the touring. But we're not getting any younger either, but I know there's a lot of bands who tour, even though they are a bit older. [Laughs]

Tobbe: But a lot of bands, like the bigger dinosaurs, or the giants, are getting pretty old nowadays and a lot of them are in their 60s. But still, most of them don't play your kind of music.

Janne: That's right. You know, like you mentioned, those dinosaur bands are not getting younger and soon they will just fade away, like naturally because they're old. It would be funny if, like in 10-15 years, it's gonna be us extreme metal bands that are the dinosaurs left.

Tobbe: Hypothetically, how much does your band suffer from illegal downloading, Spotify and such channels? If you compare to like your 2nd, 3rd and 4th record.

Janne: A lot, a lot, a lot, a lot. The business is totally different now. I'm glad that we got to do what we got to do early on, when albums were still selling. That was a great time, but nowadays it's just shit. For me, Spotify is exactly the same as stealing. There's no money for the artist. None at all. So that's killing the industry. I mean, it's killing everything.

Tobbe: Now when you have changed, although just a little bit, from your last record. Is it more exciting to have this record out and to see the fans' reaction?

Janne: For now, it really is, 'cause everybody seems to like that record. It's like it really gives you a different kind of feeling about going out there and getting the record out there, 'cause we've been getting such very good feedback for it.

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