Children Of Bodom were in Berlin, Germany for three days to shoot two videos for their upcoming album Blooddrunk. Again the band worked together with the company Katapult and director Sandra Marschner who already directed one video for Children Of Bodom in the past. On a break during the recordings of the videos for the songs "Blooddrunk" and "Hellhounds On My Trail", Alexi found the time for a half an hour phone interview with the fansite Scythes Of Bodom to discuss the album. Enjoy!
I think we'll just start right away with the new album. Of course it's a bit too early to talk about Blooddrunk because I haven't heard the album yet and you don't like to talk too much about your music. I also don't want that you reveal any surprises that will be on it or other things. But maybe you can tell me what's the biggest improvement compared to Are You Dead Yet?.
Alexi: Well, I guess that Are You Dead Yet? has a darker vibe in it and also it was more midtempo sort of music compared to Blooddrunk. Blooddrunk is a lot faster and a kick in your face but at the same time it's very musical with a lot of melodies. And it's pretty catchy. That's what I think.
Would you say that the theme of the album cover represents this attitude?
Alexi: I think this one is definitely pretty fucking hardcore compared to the Are You Dead Yet? cover which I never liked to begin with anyway. I just didn't like it... I don't like the whole fucking layout. I mean, it was a cool idea to have some sort of surveillance camera or something like that and everything is sort of blurry but I think it just didn't work out how we planned it on paper, you know? My favorite album cover so far has been Hate Crew Deathroll and I think Blooddrunk's cover even tops that one. It's pretty fucking hardcore. You need to look at it for a while though but of course you can see the Reaper behind the whole thing. I think it's pretty cool.
This time you also had much more time to compose the songs. Do you think that the songs for Are You Dead Yet? were a little bit rushed when they were written?
Alexi: I think one reason that the songs on Blooddrunk are better is that we had a lot more time to write the songs but then again what the fuck do I know? Sometimes it goes the other way around. Sometimes you need to do the songs in a short period of time and don't need to think about anything but now we had four or five months. Especially after two years of touring you need some time to chill out and... break some bones. (laughs) But seriously, having some time off and then you can start the whole thing with fresh eyes and I think it turned out really good, so I'm definitely happier with Blooddrunk than I was with Are You Dead Yet?. And this is honest speaking and no fucking bullshit.
Is there something on the album you're really proud of? Or is it the album as a whole? I heard that you said that you're not only very happy with the result but also that it means a lot to you.
Alexi: Yeah, I am definitely proud of the album because it's definitely a good motherfucking Heavy Metal album and that's the fucking end of story. But it's nothing I would wanna explain any further but it got some sort of a theme... well, not with every song but sort of though. It includes stuff that I have done before and lyrically most of the songs are very fucking personally to me. One day you wake up and realize that you've been a kind of a human being and it's surprising how you can actually come up with so much text to write about. That's why... I think the fact is that you have to live and then you can write. I mean, if you don't fucking live, then you won't get some shit to write about either. That's how it works, at least for me.
Blooddrunk seems to be a really heavy album, at least some songs on it. Jaska once told me that one of the new songs has the fastest double bass part he ever played.
Alexi: Yeah, that's what he told me, too.
So, still no commercial mainstream acoustic guitar ballad with clean vocals about a cheesy love story?
Alexi: No... (laughs)
Maybe next time. I guess it was you who came up with the album title Blooddrunk. Do you decide alone to give an album a name or do you ask the other members what they think of it?
Alexi: Well, I came up with it and I don't really need to ask the other guys because they trust me when it comes to the album title and stuff like that. Usually they ask me what the album title will be and I don't need to sound like a fucking dictator or anything because it's just some certain responsibilities. When it comes to me then I take care about the music and lyrics but there's a shitload of other stuff for the whole band to take care off and that's the stuff they do. I trust the other guys when it comes to handling the business side and they trust me when it comes to album titles and the music. That's just the way it works and that's just the way it always worked before.
Were there other titles than Blooddrunk that you had in mind for the album name?
Alexi: That was the first one that I came up with and I knew that this was the one.
Is there a special reason why you called the album like that? The title Are You Dead Yet? was very personal when you asked that question to yourself standing in front of a mirror. So, was there a story behind the new name, too?
Alexi: Yeah... I mean, it's pretty much what I told you before. The song Blooddrunk for example is about when you're addicted to spill around blood and this doesn't necessarily mean stupid shit like cutting yourself what I used to do. I mean, I don't do that shit anymore but I used to fucking cut myself, you know? But it's also in other ways, like within the last two years I have fucking hurt myself more than ever and I figured that I have some fucking addiction to hurt myself so bad (laughs) and that's what the song is about.
The words "blood drunk" actually appear in the movie "300". But I guess there was no relation to that, right?
Alexi: I've seen the movie but I've heard it before that, even in other movies. I think it's just some sort of expression and it fits, you know? But yeah, I've seen that movie, too.
Ok, can you tell me some new song names? So far "Tie My Rope", "Blooddrunk", "Pray For The Devil", "Roundtrip 2 Hell And Back" and "Good Morning Roadkill" are known.
Alexi: Well, actually you got the old song titles, nowadays the name of one song is "Smile Pretty For The Devil" and the other one is called "Roadkill Morning", so that you get the song titles right.
I see... well, then it was some wrong information in the internet.
Alexi: Well, when does the fucking internet know anything anyway (laughs)? If you read some fucking shit from Blabbermouth, then never trust it.
I hope the Bodom title will be cool. Actually I'm still waiting for the day when you call a Bodom song "Bodom, Bloody Bodom".
Alexi: Hmm, it could work, yeah... (laughs)
Did you already decide the track listing on the album, which song will be the opener, etc.?
Alexi: Yeah, that's already done and the opening track is called "Hellhounds On My Trail".
You recorded the album at Petrax Studios. Was there a special reason why you went there?
Alexi: Well, it's just that it's a quiet place to record an album and we just wanted a place that's in the middle of nowhere where you can do nothing but to record, play, hang around and drink with the other guys and have a good time without any distractions and nothing else but that. It would never work out for us to record in Helsinki. We tried it once but I think it sucked anyway.
There are two producers on the album: Mikko Karmila and Peter Tägtgren. Why did you want to have Peter producing vocals and keyboards, while Mikko did the rest? Is it because you're still so satisfied with all the hints Peter gave you on Follow The Reaper?
Alexi: Well, Mikko is a guy who is really good with sounds, especially with the mixing. He is really amazing but he was like more of the sound engineer who would just press the button and that's it. Ok, sometimes he would say "That wasn't good, so do it again." but the thing is that all of us know how to play so we don't need some fucking babysitter out there telling us how to play. But when it comes to vocals I totally trust Peter because he can tell me if a take was ok or not. I recorded vocals with him before and he's a singer, too and that's why he knows how to deal with that stuff, especially with the way of I sing.
It's better if he tells me if a take was ok, so that I don't have to run and listen to every take. He also came up with a lot of cool ideas, as well and when it comes to the keyboards, you just have to listen to Pain to understand what I'm talking about. He knows so much about producing that kind of stuff and all those crazy ass keyboard sounds. We always wanted to have something new for our albums anyway and he introduced us to those really crazy keyboard sounds when we recorded the Follow The Reaper album with Peter many years ago. But I'm really happy that he produced the vocals because it turned out to be really good.
Is it true that Peter also did a guest appearance on the album?
Alexi: No, not really. He was just there when we did the group shouts that we all did, so he was like on of us guys who did the background shouts.
Any other guests on the album?
Alexi: Hmmmmm, no...
Alexi: Well, actually for the cover songs but not for the actual album.
Can you reveal who it was?
Alexi: You wouldn't know them anyway, they were just Finnish musicians, not from any band or anything.
It's like a tradition that almost all of your albums contain nine own songs but this time I heard that you actually had a tenth song and you were thinking about putting it on the album, which didn't happen in the end. What was the reason?
Alexi: We already had almost nine songs written and then we just ended in a jam and it didn't go anywhere. Then I got pissed off about it and then I went home and starting writing something else which is actually the last song of the album. Then I figured... as far as the tempo, I couldn't put these two songs together and then we would have nine songs. So I have some leftover riffs and this is the first time that it ever happened and maybe I can use them in the future. But the nine songs we have were all completely finished when we entered the studio.
What about the lyrics? Were they written in the studio or already before that?
Alexi: Well, both.
Did you already decide if the lyrics will be released in the booklet this time?
Alexi: Well, I think maybe five of the songs... but not more than that.
"Tie My Rope" was re-recorded during the album recording sessions. You said that you weren't satisfied with the guitar sound on the first recording but was there another reason why you re-recorded it?
Alexi: Yeah, I wasn't satisfied with the vocals on the first version either and I think that the vocals are so much better on the second recording. And just for the sake of the whole thing, I thought to give it a new spin and a whole new sound. Not that anything really changed but I think that it just sounds so much better now.
Ok, let's talk about the reason why you're in Berlin, Germany: You're shooting two videos with the same company which already directed the "In Your Face" video. One video will be for the first single "Blooddrunk". What's the other song?
Alexi: The other song is "Hellhounds On My Trail", the album opener.
Why exactly did you choose these songs?
Alexi: Well, I just think that they're the most suitable songs for a video and that's it.
Of course I don't want you to reveal too much about the videos but can you at least tell me if there will be some story or is it only the band playing?
Alexi: Well, there's gonna be some cool footage around the band but not exactly a story. We're not gonna fall for that fucking trap again after the "Are You Dead Yet?" video. I don't like that video, that was just fucking stupid. But we have some really cool locations and there is some stuff happening but there's just not any particular story and you can use your imagination on what you see.
Can we expect to see you "acting" in videos again like in the "Everytime I Die" video where you were tied on a bed and killed by the Reaper?
Alexi: No, because that just looked fucking stupid. (laughs)
What's your opinion on making videos? Are you excited about the whole process to create a small visual product for your music or are you just bored to stand at one place for hours and pretend to play?
Alexi: Yeah, it's cool but I try to be really careful with it because sometimes there are some "video artists" who come up with their own ideas, so you gotta be careful with them, you know? You have your own visions and when they clash with the visions of the director it can turn out to shit. You need to have a firm hand when it comes to the whole thing and I think that the whole story thing just doesn't work for a Metal band like we are.
The next release will be the advance single of the new album. It will feature the title track of the album and probably one cover song. Can you tell which?
Alexi: It's gotta be "Lookin' Out My Backdoor" by Creedance Clearwater Revival.
I guess that the Kenny Rogers and Creedance Clearwater Revival covers were inspired by the movie "The Big Lebowski".
Alexi: Yeah, those two songs because of the movie, right. My dad used to play Creedance Clearwater Revival but never Kenny Rogers though. All of the cover songs we chose are very special and they were a lot of fun.
Why did you want to record a cover of a song like "Ghost Riders In The Sky"?
Alexi: Well, why the hell not? I mean, all of us really love those songs and we wanted to make four different cover songs and we can't cover Britney Spears anymore (laugh), so that's why we tried something completely else.
Are there plans to release a second single later in 2008 ?
Alexi: Hmm, I don't know if there will be another single.
After you did the Unholy Alliance tour with Slayer in 2006, you will be a part of Gigantour with Megadeth in spring 2008. How do you feel about that?
Alexi: Well, it's not the same honestly but I think it's gonna be really cool though. The Unholy Alliance was like the biggest thing ever, so nothing can top that but it's gonna be cool with Megadeth and In Flames. It should be fucking great.
Do you have any idea how much playing time you will get?
Alexi: No, I don't know and I don't even care. I mean, I don't know any details so it's better if Henkka will make an announcement about the running times and everything.
So the Blooddrunk world tour will start with Gigantour and I guess that headliner shows will follow after this tour package. Do you already know when you will do headlining tours in Europe, North America, Japan and so on?
Alexi: I think it's gonna start in the autumn and we have to do all the festivals during the summer but I don't know much more yet.
Do you maybe know if another live DVD will be shot somewhere during the next world tour?
Alexi: Hmm, no idea. Now we're just recovering from the album making and maybe we can talk about touring details soon. We all wanna get on the road but we have no idea when the next DVD is gonna come out, that's for sure.
Probably it's too early to ask about the setlist of the headliner tour, but can we expect some older songs again that you didn't play for a longer time on the next tours beside the new songs and your classics?
Alexi: Yeah, it's way too early for us to talk about the setlists but probably yes, as always. New and old shit.
A lot of fans also ask about Sinergy but I guess you can't tell-
Alexi: (interrupts) Yeah, yeah... Next question!
Alright, there were plans to do a big 10 years anniversary party this year but unfortunately you had to cancel it because of the song writing and recordings of the new album. Any plans to do something like this at a later time?
Alexi: I don't know, maybe. But that wasn't really the whole point about it. There was some talk about it and we would have done it but we had to do something else, to concentrate on the new album and all that crap, you know? But of course some of us had a couple of drinks in the studio because of the fact that we've been around for ten fucking years but that's about it.
Anyway, I think it's cool that you see Something Wild as beginning. Lots of other bands celebrate their 15 years anniversary from the time they recorded their first demo with totally different members.
Alexi: Yeah, we almost had the same line up except the time when Alexander quit but it's the same line up as far as the keyboard player, bass player and drummer, so it's special.
So Children Of Bodom's story started ten years ago. You said that you're a totally different person than the 18 year old angry kid in 1997 but are there some things that are still the same like the attitude or spirit, also when it comes to the band?
Alexi: Yeah, of course, man. I mean, if this attitude would ever gonna fade away, then we wouldn't even exist anymore. Obviously it's different now, we're ten years older and people change but the whole fucking concept of the band is so much the same. We saw some parts of the world and we had a good time making our music and everything. Like I told you, a lot of things change but fuck, we still love doing our thing and we'll see what's gonna happen.
The last question will be a very easy one: What can we expect from Children Of Bodom in the next ten years?
Alexi: Ha, well for the next two years you can fucking expect us to tour all over the place and by that I mean the whole fucking world and after that... I hope that the band will still exist in ten years but I'm not a fortune teller. (laughs)
Ok, thanks a lot for doing this! Enjoy shooting your videos and tell the other guys nice greetings. By the way, congratulations that you managed it to do this interview without suffering from hiccups like last time!
Alexi: Oh yeah, thanks a lot!