By Carl Begai
Children Of Bodom frontman Alexi Laiho is equally recognizable as a vocalist and a guitarist. With that in mind, during our recent interview for BW&BK (found here) about the band’s new album, Relentless Reckless Forever, we sidestepped from the standard Q&A about how much he and the band shred and kill to discuss a few guitar related odds and bits…
For starters, Laiho’s gives axe-slinging partner in crime Roope Latvala his due. He makes it clear Latvala is an integral part of Children Of Bodom even though he’s often overshadowed – in the press, at any rate – by Laiho and keyboardist Janne Wirman. Nobody should underestimate Latvala’s contributions to the Bodom soundtrack, because even though Laiho plays musical director, he isn’t about to start ordering around the former guitarist of the legendary Stone, a band he idolized.
“(Laughs) Exactly. Roope’s the kind of guy that obviously knows how to play, so he brings his own twisted ideas of letting music out to the table. He’s always coming up with crazy ideas and half the time it’s like, ‘Dude, what’s going on in that head of yours?’ (laughs). The other half of the time he has these crazy and ingenious ideas.”
In recent years Laiho used some of his rare downtime to film instructional DVD material for Rock House. Basically, a Shred-Like-Laiho video handbook for the serious musician.
“I’ve done two of those Rock House DVDs,” he says. “I’ve done guitar clinics before, so it’s not like it was a new situation for me to do things from a guitar teacher’s point of view, but the first DVD was kind of awkward because I had a script to follow. Sometimes I had to make them stop shooting and do another take because they were making me say stuff that just didn’t sound like me. Stuff I’d never say (laughs). There’s a lot of cool stuff in there and it’s worth checking out, but I pretty much had to play along with it. I haven’t even seen the damn thing but if felt kinda weird. The second DVD, I think it brings out my real personality more.”
“It’s a whole different fucking planet (laughs). Then again, it was a challenge and I like doing stuff like that. I like to keep active and do different things.”
Laiho also boasts his own line of signature ESP guitars, something he never pushed for and certainly never imagined actually happening to him.
“I’m definitely involved with it,” he says of the line. “The guitar is designed to my specifications and made exactly how I want it. It’s fucking weird (laughs). Sometimes I stop and think about it and it’s like, ‘I have my own line of fucking guitars? It’s insane.’ I must have done something right (laughs).”
And finally, while some fans are quite naturally disappointed that the long overdue Sinergy album, Sins Of The Past, is a dead issue, they may find comfort in the possibility of a new Kylähullut album. For the uninitiated, Kylähullut (translated: Village Idiots) is his punk side-project put together for the fun of it. Recorded entirely in Finnish, the albums – two full length and two EPs to date – make for a unique course in learning the language.
“I don’t know, maybe there’ll be another one,” says Laiho. “Hopefully. I think it’s going to happen one day, but I have no idea when. The albums are fun to do, and you don’t really have to understand what’s going on in the lyrics.”
Unless, of course, you start singing verses to a non-metal Finnish audience…
“Yeah, I guess that’s true (laughs).”
Photos by Carl Begai. All rights reserved. Seriously….