Sweden’s Metal Shrine recently conducted an interview with keyboardist Janne Wirman of Finnish metallers CHILDREN OF BODOM. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Shrine: With Alexi [Laiho, guitar/vocals] bringing in all the stuff, the rest of you guys, do you come up with stuff as well and it all gets turned down or…?
Janne: No. We’ve just realized that it’s the best for everybody if he writes all the stuff. I mean, he’s got such a strong vision of how it’s supposed to be. I don’t think all of our stuff would get turned down and, of course, when we are rearranging and putting songs together, everybody’s got ideas about the songs. I think it makes a lot of sense that Alexi writes all the stuff.
Metal Shrine: It seems to be more and more common when you release an album that there are three or four different versions and you have a deluxe version as well with a 64-page booklet. Is that in any way worth it these days or is that just money you lose to get your name out, considering that people don’t really buy records anymore?
Janne: Releasing all these different versions, I guess, is all record label stuff. I guess they’re worried about album sales and that the whole music business is fucked, so I guess they do what they can and one thing is to release these special editions and try to boost the sales or something. We’ve never had like, “Hey, let’s do this and this edition!” It has nothing to do with us.
Metal Shrine: Putting a 64-page booklet together, are you not involved in that either?
Janne: Actually, yes! That was pretty cool. The photographer who took all the photos and all that stuff and they are previously unpublished, I was there to supervise the final version and it’s actually a lot cooler than… I mean, to me it sounded really lame. “A photobook? C’mon!” But it’s really well put together and it’s actually pretty cool.
Metal Shrine: What about your jazz schooling? Did you grow up listening to jazz?
Janne: Well, my parents put me through piano lessons when I was five and I started with classical stuff, of course, and then I got interested in other stuff and by the age of ten I got into the pop jazz conservatory in Helsinki. I studied there for six years, but then again after that my interest in jazz music has really… I have a funny relationship to that. Every three years now I pick it up and try to play jazz and then I get really tired of it. (laughs) If I’m honest, I don’t really have a great talent for it. You need to have a spark or whatever and really really understand jazz and I don’t have it. I mean, I like it and I like to listen to it now and then, but it’s not really my thing.
Metal Shrine: Are there any similarities in any way between jazz and the metal stuff you do in CHILDREN OF BODOM?
Janne: Well, I play a lot of solos and a lot of the stuff in my solos lately, as I try to play outside the comfort zone, I wouldn’t call it jazzy or anything but of course there are like chromatic passages and playing a bit outside the scales, so it is somehow related to jazz.
Metal Shrine: As a musician, do you go back and listen to your own stuff just for fun?
Janne: Yeah, sometimes but not often though. If I’m in my house drinking with my friends and someone mentions an old CHILDREN OF BODOM song, we might dig out the album and listen to some of the stuff and have a few laughs. Sometimes when I’m waiting at an airport or something, I might listen to some of the old stuff for fun, but not much.
Metal Shrine: You’ve been doing this for a lot of years, is it still fun and does it still get you excited?
Janne: It’s still fun. Our music is such that we think of ourselves as a live band, so that’s such a important part of our whole thing. We release an album just to go on tour for a couple of months. It’s mostly fun, but then again when it gets really hectic and you only see the airports, the hotel rooms and the venues it can be a little hard on you, but most of the time it’s still fun.
Read the entire interview from Metal Shrine.