Guitarist/vocalist Alexi Laiho of Finnish metallers CHILDREN OF BODOM was interviewed on the October 2-4 edition of Full Metal Jackie’s nationally syndicated radio show. You can now listen to the chat using the Podbean widget below. A couple of excerpts follow.
Full Metal Jackie: We’re here to talk about the brand new CHILDREN OF BODOM record, “I Worship Chaos”. You’ve said the new album is CHILDREN OF BODOM reborn. Why did the band need a rebirth?
Alexi: “Well, I think all of us, really… well, all four of us, we felt like that we needed to sort of like reinvent ourselves and push things harder and work harder and even just put more effort on everything. It just sort of… It felt like that the whole band was just getting tired on every possible level. So, we did a lot of changes, and got a new management and the whole nine [yards], basically, and everybody… All of a sudden, everyone was on the same level as far as brand new work ethics and stuff like that. Except for one member, which I am sure you were going to ask about next. And basically, that’s why Roope [Latvala], the other guitar player, well, the ex-guitar player, he’s not in the band anymore. But, anyway… So there’s that. And I think, well, at least in my opinion, you can hear that in the music, too, that it is more energetic than it has been in a couple of years, I would say, anyway.”
Full Metal Jackie: Roope Latvala left the band right before you started recording the new album, so you recorded all the guitars yourself. How did that change the songs, not having the counterpart of another guitar player’s style?
Alexi: “Well, it didn’t really change that much, when you think about it, ‘cause, I mean, I did write all of the riffs. So, obviously, I was working double shifts in the studio, and if anything, I think the guitars turned out a lot tighter, ‘cause, you know, I was just one guy playing them. And, you know, so at least something good came out of a bad thing. Plus, the fact is that I am just the type of a guy who likes to come up with a lot of ideas on the spot when I am recording, so I could do that and actually record that on both tracks without having to explain that to anybody or teach the new ideas to anybody, so it was a timesaver too. So, honestly, you know, maybe I’m trying to put a good spin on a bad thing, but a lot of good came out of it, too.”
Full Metal Jackie: You were commissioned to write music for the Helsinki Festival and you recently performed it with 100 other guitarists. What was the biggest challenge in coordinating that many guitarists?
Alexi: “Yeah, that was definitely not the easiest project ever, I’ll tell you that. It was probably the most challenging thing ever to sort of put that together. ‘Cause it was such a crazy idea that I… Obviously, it was so insane that I couldn’t say no. I mean, when they told me about it, I was, like, ‘Huh? That’s insane! So yes, I’ll do it.’ So, it was a lot of planning, obviously. It was a lot of hard work too, and a lot of sleepless nights again. And the fact that I was still in the middle of writing the ‘I Worship Chaos’ album. So both those two things, they were kind of, like… Yeah, they were keeping me up. I honestly didn’t sleep much at all. But, you know, when I get challenged enough, I get super obsessive and just kind of let it go. I mean, I have to get stuff [to] happen. So, for example, with that guitar thing, I was talking about the planning part. That was new to me, for sure, and another challenge was just the actual song, ‘cause, I mean, they did commission a fifteen-minute guitar piece for a hundred people. So, first of all, that was supposed to be instrumental. That’s something new for me. And for a hundred guitar players, it’s, like, ‘Okay then.’ So, yeah, it was pretty insane. But I did have a group of amazing people around me to kind of like help me out, so we pulled it off. But, like I said, it took a lot of time and a lot of hard work. But, you know, once we got on stage to perform the whole thing, it was just mind-blowing and one of those once-in-a-lifetime-experience sort of things.”