Children Of Bodom recently started their Ugly World Tour after releasing their seventh album Relentless Reckless Forever. Tonight they're visiting Gothenburg and I got the opportunity to do an interview with the band.
As an old Children Of Bodom-fan, I've had a couple of years to come up with questions I've been wondering about. I've always wanted to know more about their perspective of the music and personal issues. This is why this interview will not contain questions about how the songwriting and recording process went this time, or why they choose to work with Matt Hyde, or who's idea it was to cover Eddie Murphy; Because many journalists already did, probably many more will, and I simply have other questions I want to know the answer to.
The perfect interview would have been if everyone attended, but today I only get to talk to Jaska. But I'm glad since I never really read any interviews with him. This is what he had to say.
When I ask Jaska how he's doing he answers that it is actually not so good. He has been up all night due to a stomach virus. He is calm and polite and takes good time to answer the questions.
So how did Stockholm treat you last night?
- It was really fun, like always. I think we all like playing there and people really like seeing us on stage. But in the the first song we had some trouble and the power went out, so it was a bit awkward. But after a few songs I just had fun and didn't even remember it happen.
Which songs from the new album did you pick out for this tour, and how has the response from the audience been so far?
- It’s Not My Funeral, Ugly, Roundtrip To Hell And Back, Shovel Knockout and Was It Worth It?. Well, I think it has been great, I mean people have had enough time to listen to them and I think these songs are good live songs. At least people are moving around and not just standing there, hehe.
You have always had “Bodom” in at least one of the track titles on your albums, but not this time. Why not?
- I heard that Alexi just forgot it. So there is nothing mysterious or anything, it was just a mistake…
- Yeah, shit happens, hehe!
Do you make the decision about which bands who will support you on tour?
- Usually it is like, our management gives us options and we choose the best option, to somehow bring more people. Sometimes we would like to have a specific band but it's not possible because of that bands situation, maybe they're touring or have other plans.
So what's it like touring with your friends Ensiferum?
- Well they are Finnish guys, we know them well and they're funny. I think it's very easy.
In which country does Children Of Bodom get the best audience?
- Well, hmm. Recently it has been Canada, it has been very good for us. But on last world tour we somehow fucked everything up, you know by playing our European headline like a year after the album release, which was really frustrating. So now it's really good to start the tour from Europe and I think that the Paris show has sold out already, so I think they might be very good, crazy ones.
Now, when you hear or play songs from the three first albums, and I say these three because on Hate Crew Deathroll you started to sound different and on Are You Dead Yet? you took a big step away from "the old". Since you still have that new sound; Can you still identify yourselves with the old music, or do you think it's just… crappy?
- No it's not crappy, but the thing is we just make music that sounds good to us and we're familiar with. It's not like, we don't have any kind of like, hmm… We don't plan anything. Everything comes out like…
- Yeah! I mean of course we plan what everybody does on this and this song, but everything comes out naturally.
Yeah, and I think no band sounds like they did ten or twenty years ago, but some bands just never play songs from the first album, like they're almost ashamed of it. But that's not the case for you then?
- No, we have been playing songs from the first album, but not on this tour because the thing is that we have seven albums out now and it's getting hard to pick. We always try to choose some interesting songs that people may not have heard so often, you know to get the old fans satisfied, because we respect that.
I have a question about the vocals, so I don't know if you can answer this but, you know that Alexi's vocals has changed during the years; back then he had a deeper growling sound and now he has more of this screaming voice. Do you know if the change of voice came because of the change of music?
- I think that sounds reasonable. I think because the vocals are just an extra instrument for us…
Janne comes into the room, opens his laptop and starts to ask Jaska something in Finnish, apparantely something about Evergrey.
- Ah, Evergrey. Do you know Evergrey? Jaska asks me.
- No, not really, I answer. They exchange a few more words and then we go back to the interview. I accidently move on to the next question, so I never got to hear Jaskas opinion about the vocals…
You've achieved a lot with this band, and I guess that you're all satisfied and just want to keep doing what you're doing right now. But do you have any personal goals that you want to achieve, aside from the band?
- Uhm... I've been wanting to write a book at some point, that has been one of my biggest dreams.
Really? What kind of book?
- I don't know yet, I have a couple of ideas but it's like, I've been meaning to do that at some point but now the band is taking so much time for me.
Yeah, I guess writing a book requires the ability to focus and shut everything else off…
- Yeah, exactly, and the band is almost 24/7 for me now so.
Anything else you want to do?
- Hmm… maybe to do some more music. But that I think every musician dreams of… I think.
Is there anything in the band that you regret or wish you had done differently? And also, what makes you the most proud?
- Well, hmm. To answer the last question I'm proud of COB in the way that we have worked so much with this band, it's not like a shooting star, we're growing a little bit at a time and nothing has come to us like this, he says and snaps his fingers. We have been working our asses off, and where we are now I'm really proud of, because we are hard workers.
- And all the decision making is, I'm answering to your other question… Sometimes when you look back at what happened in the past you could say that this and this I would have done a little bit different, but it's all the circumstances that… somehow you have to adjust to all that other stuff that is around. So, I say that I don't regret anything. Not even the first album, he says and smiles.
Well that's a great album!
- Haha, well sometimes I listen to it and, it's very hilarious, we were so young and so keen to do music and, there is so much passion, you know...
I think you can hear that on the album, I think it's really great!
- Yeah I mean it's hilarious and funny and at the same time it's very "evil", haha.
I actually read in an old interview, many years ago that you and Alexi decided to never play In The Shadows live, because you thought it sucked so bad. I don't know if it's true, but…?
- Yeah, on almost every album there is one song that is like…
…"The bad one"?
- Yeah the bad one and In The Shadows is like… I mean I can't even describe the song because, you know it's riff after riff after riff… I mean ehe, we're not gonna play it. Ever.
Hehe, well that's a shame, I say and we both laugh, but I'm quietly grieving in my mind...
Well, I know it takes a lot of time being in a band, to be out touring, rehearsing, recording albums. Did you have to sacrifice a lot to be able to do this?
- Yeah, I have done that a lot. Even right now I'm feeling a little bad because I got a kid a year ago, and I had to leave her home.
That must me hard?
- Yeah it's hard, but I'm such a work orientated person that this is my life. When I was a teenager I decided that I would become a rock star, I just decided that I'm gonna do whatever it takes and I didn't have any time for anything else but music, and all that family thing, it's… I mean, I have sacrificed a lot, you know almost my own health because of hard practicing and all that. But I don't regret that either. At this point I have a little more time for my family, we have longer periods that we can stay home and I get money enough to offer something special for my daughter. I like that.
Is there any song from the entire discography that means extra much to you, that brings certain feelings or memories?
- Hmm, he says and rubs his chin. That's a good question. Yeah maybe there are lots of songs, actually on the first album, because like I said, there you can hear so much passion. Everytime I listen to it I get all the memories back from when we were doing it and you know, there are good memories. I was 17 when we recorded it, and it was a success, at some level. I mean I never thought that it would sell that much.
Back to the new record then. On Pussyfoot Miss Suicide and Ugly there are some samples in the beginning of the songs. Where are these taken from, and why?
- The intro for Ugly is taken from House, the tv-series, we're all big fans of Dr. House. But the other one I don't actually know. But we have had these kind of samples on our other albums, but I think on Blooddrunk there wasn't any, so maybe we went back a little bit.
Last question; What are your biggest hopes for this year?
- Well I hope that we can go to Japan. Because of the catastrophies we don't know, and we have a tour happening there in june and I hope that the country somehow can manage the catastrophies. And of course I wish all the best for them.