Interview with ALEXI LAIHO of Children of Bodom + Relentless Reckless Forever Video

http://wallpaper.metalship.org/images/children-of-bodom3.jpgAlexi Laiho, vocalist and lead guitarist of Children of Bodom, sat down to do an interview with Chad Bowar of About.com.  Relentless Reckless Forever is Children of Bodom’s seventh studio album and the first time the band has used an outside producer using Matt Hyde of Hatebreed and Monster Magnet.  Here’s that interview as follows:


Chad Bowar: Was your writing and recording process for Relentless Reckless Forever any different than usual?
Alexi Laiho: The songwriting process was pretty much the same as always. I think the only difference this time around was that we had a longer period of time to write the songs, which is a good thing. It was less stressful. We actually had a real producer this time around, to add something new and spice things up.

Was bringing in an outside producer (Matt Hyde) the band’s idea?
It was management’s idea, and we were reluctant at first to try it out. They kept going on and on about it, so we decided to do it just to shut them up. (laughs) His attitude was so good, the way he talks about music and how committed and determined he was to make, in his words, the best Children Of Bodom album ever. I really thought we were on the same page as far as making music. It was great working with him.

How would compare the sound of this one to your last couple releases?
It is a little different. Blooddrunk was more dark and super heavy. This one is really sharp and aggressive. It’s hard to describe your own music, but I think this one has more old school Children Of Bodom going on, and an ’80s hard rock riff thing going on as well. It’s more melodic, that’s for sure.

How did you decide on covering the Eddie Murphy song “Party All The Time”?
I think our bass player came up with the idea. For us it’s getting harder and harder to come up with funny covers. We’ve done everything from Slayer to Britney Spears. It’s hard to surprise and shock people now. The Eddie Murphy song was a good pick.

You came to the U.S. for the video shoot of “Was It Worth It,” which includes some pro skateboarders. Are you guys into that scene, or was it just something that was cool for a video?
I’m definitely into skateboarding, and most of us are. Skateboarders and any kind of extreme sports get along with our kind of music. We shot the video in the middle of a tour. We went to Pennsylvania where a skate park was. It was really cool to do. Usually video shoots are really boring, but this was actually fun.

What has the early response to the album been like?
The single “Was It Worth It” has been out for a while, and people really dug it. I was kind of surprised, because it’s a little different than your normal COB song. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Do you have specific expectations for albums, like sales numbers or chart positions?
It would be nice to outsell the last album, but I always try to expect nothing. We do what we’ve always done. The album comes out and we hit the road, play a bunch of shows and hope for the best. I try not to expect anything.

You toured the U.S. with Black Label Society last year. How did their audience react to you?
For the most part it was really good. There were some towns where the front row was full of bikers looking at us like, “Who the f—k are these guys?” I kind of like that. It’s a challenge for us. And 99 point 9 percent of the time, those guys are into it by the end of the show.

You’ve done a lot of touring in the U.S. Do you think you’ve been successful growing your fan base here?
We are certainly tryng, and I think we have so far. We’ve been constantly touring since 2003. We have gone forward. It takes a long time, and is a little different in the U.S. You have to tour your ass off before you get recognized. There are so many bands there, so you have to be around all the time and do something that makes your band stick out.

It looks like you’ll be in Europe for most of 2011.
We’re going to do two months in Europe, and then Japan and some other Asian dates. Then we’ll do a North American tour. That’s all I know so far.

You were able to play live in China on the Blooddrunk tour. How was that?
It was pretty rad. It was definitely something different.

Did they know your songs?
Surprisingly enough, they did. None of our albums have been officially released there, but nowadays that’s kind of unnecessary. People can find the pirated copies. I think our kind of music was banned in China up until a few years ago, as far as I know. More and more bands are going over there. The fans really appreciate getting a heavy metal show there. They get pretty crazy.

I imagine you sell a lot of merchandise in places like that, since it’s not as easy to get as downloading music off the internet.
That’s true. That’s why merch becomes more and more important, not just in China, but all over the world.

How difficult is it to come up with a set list now that you have so many CDs to choose from?
It’s been a pain in the ass, and even more so now that we have a new album out. It gets pretty difficult. We try to do at least one song from each album. We want to do at least four new songs, but it’s important we do the old tracks as well.

When you listen to older COB material, are you able to enjoy it, or do you hear things you’d like to change or wish you had done differently?
When we come out with a new album and I listen to the one before, that’s when I start bitching about it to myself, things I could have done differently, played better, etc. But the older stuff is ancient history, so I can actually listen to it every now and then and kind of enjoy it. I’m not constantly blasting old COB albums, but it’s fun sometimes to listen to a song we did 10 years ago. It’s like going into a time warp.

It seems like a popular topic of conversation during recent interviews is how you’ve tried to scale back on your well-known partying lifestyle.
It’s something I personally needed to do. There’s nothing to really talk about, I just needed to slow it down, take it easy for a while. It got a little crazy at some points and I was drinking way too much. I just have to cut back. I remember so many times I would go out drinking even if I didn’t feel like it. I don’t know why I did it. Now I ‘m at the point where I say I’ve been there, done that. I don’t need to go out there and do something really stupid just to prove a point. I can hang back and take it easy if I feel like it.

Did the drinking affect your on-stage performances?
No, it never got to that point. That is something I take dead seriously. I would never get wasted before a show. All of us are really professional when it comes to playing live. When you go onstage the adrenaline kicks in and you forget about everything.

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