BW&BK Interview: CHILDREN OF BODOM – Halo Of Blood Listening Session: “There Are No Filler Tracks On This…”

By Carl Begai

Back in March, BW&BK was invited to attend the listening session for Children Of Bodom’s highly anticipated new album, Halo Of Blood, to be issued through their new label Nuclear Blast on June 7th. The ‘net is abuzz with reports that the band have taken a back-to-the-roots approach this time out, and while it may seem that way on the surface, turns out Halo Of Blood is so much more than a rehash of a successful formula. For those that have written off the Hate Crew as having their best years behind them, Halo Of Blood will be a a pleasant surprise for some, a kick in the nuts for others.

We sat down with keyboardist Janne Wirman and drummer Jaska Raatikainen following the initial run-through of the new album.

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BW&BK: Making the move from Universal to Nuclear Blast seems like a logical step considering you were on Spinefarm/Nuclear Blast at the start of the band’s career. Was moving to a smaller label a case of feeling lost in the shuffle on a big roster of artists?

Janne: “The first three albums were just licensed to Nuclear Blast, so we didn’t really have that much of a relationship with them, but we’re excited about the move. We had a great relationship with Spinefarm, but Spinefarm got sold to Universal as you know, and when a major label takes control of a smaller label things don’t always go as planned. Little by little it started to be a sucky deal for us, so when our deal ended with them we started shopping around for a new deal. A lot of labels made offers, but in the current market when major labels are going down anyway, it was a good decision to go with an independent metal label that is also the biggest metal label in Europe.”

Jaska: “Everybody always says we were a Nuclear Blast band because of the licensing deal, and the first tours we did were Nuclear Blast festival tours. Still, we knew the people involved so it was nice to come to this label. As Janne said, it was a logical decision.”

BW&BK: Alexi (Laiho/vocals, guitars) is and always has been the songwriter in this band, but there has to be more that one guy involved in the creative process for a band to be around for 15+ years. Did the rest of the band have more input on Halo Of Blood compared to the last few records?

Janne: “Maybe the whole band’s arranging of the songs had even a little bit more to say this time. Alexi is the musical director, he’s composing the music, but we played around with ideas more this time. We tried different things and experimented a lot. I think we spent more time arranging these new songs together than we ever have in the past.” Continue reading BW&BK Interview: CHILDREN OF BODOM – Halo Of Blood Listening Session: “There Are No Filler Tracks On This…”

ALEXI LAIHO – Lick This!

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.” Continue reading ALEXI LAIHO – Lick This!