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.
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
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.
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
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
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
Tobbe: So how much freedom do you have on
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
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.
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
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
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.