Children of Bodom Interview / Bochum Matrix / 17.09.2005
Hennka and Janne vs. Metal-Lunatics and Metal Zine
On Saturday the 17th September there was the Release-Party of “Children of Bodom”s new Album “Are you dead yet”. Between partying and drinking we had the chance to meet Hennka (Bassist)  and Janne (Keyboarder) for a little interview, so here you can read what they said!
Metal Lunatics (ML) : Usually you meet us drunk at a concert, but now we are here for our Internet-Magazines “Metal Lunatics” and “Metal Zine”, just up from the underground. What do you think about the Underground-Scene, are you interested in new Bands coming up from the ground and do you support?

Hennka (H) : Ohh.. the Underground scene... We don´t intentionally support the Undergroundscene, but of course, because of beeing in the buisness, beeing a musician and playing in a band, we meet all the people that are more from the underground. They play in bands and, of course, we get the demos from them. We listen to the demos and sometimes, the  best demos we give to our label to be listened to. I used to be a huge Underground Fan before we made a deal with “Children of Bodom”, but I think  I got out of the Undergroundscene somehow, even though I didn´t want to. I`m not so aware of the Underground anymore. As I said when we meet all the fans with their bands, I guess that´s how we`re connected with them.

ML: Do you remember the time “Children of Bodom” was underground? How did you experience your rising up to the top?

Janne (J) : Well I think the thing is, that “Children of Bodom” was never Underground.
It´s kind of funny, when we changed the name and when we did the first record, we already signed a big label. When the first record was released we sold onethousand records in Finland and we were really happy with that. And still. You know, the album did a lot better and it got really world wide almost than shit like that. But yes, the funny thing is that the actual Band “Children of Bodom” never was Underground

ML: Yes of course but when I remember “Children of Bodom” In March 1998, it was the first Nuclearblast Festival Tour, there were just a few people in front of the stage, and there were not many people knowing the band, so I think it´s not really Underground, but a little bit like that.

H: Yeah, maybe in Europe it was more Underground, but in Finland it was never Underground. But we had the band before “Children of Bodom” that was really Underground shit. So we were Underground for maybe four years before we changed our name into “Children of Bodom”. But with the first “Children of Bodom” album we had a big label so it couldn´t be no more Underground thing.

ML: Now you you`re on the top. Many tours, interviews like this, and stuff. We guess that spends a lot of time! Do you still have the time to be not just a musician but a metal fan too?

H: What is the defination of metal fan? I don´t know but… (everybodys laughing) ..

ML: You know, listen to the metal music, support the bands, going to concerts and festivals, drinking… (everybody laughs)

H: Yeah in this case I´m a metal fan, because when I see for example a metalbands show, I go there and buy a ticket and I enjoy the show. I mean in that way I´m a metal fan.

J: And also if drinking is a defination, I´m sure we drink more than every huge metal fan! (big laugher!)

H: But my point was that when I want to see a metal show, I don´t want to be on the guestlist, I usually buy the ticket and go to the show.

J: You have to support the band!

H: Yeah of course!

Metal Zine (MZ) : But I can imagine that when you go to concerts there are Fans who want autographs and pictures and stuff… ?

H+J: Nooo

H: We don´t know, maybe the people are just too shy to come. Well, noone notice us.

MZ: No one notice? (very surprised…)

J: When we would be on a concert in germany noone would fucking know us, no one would recognize us there.

MZ+ML: That´s good!

J+H: Yeah, that´s good!

ML: One of your last shows was at the Onkelz Festival. How did it come you played there? It was very sudden!

H: Yeah it came  that Molly Hatchet were supposed to play there, but they canceled like the week before. Two weeks before the show we had a possibility to go there. We knew there would be 130 000 people so of course we wanted to do it. Even we had not many fans around, but we had the feeling of so many people!

J: It was cool!

ML: On this, and other festival shows you played your single  “In your face”. Why did you take this song for a single?

H: We chose the single because of the fact that we should do a video clip for the single aswell. So when you choose a video clip you have to think about the length of the song, the song can´t be too long, so we have to choose a song that is under four minutes.  “In your face” was one of the songs that maybe would be cut down to under four minutes  and of course it´s one of the songs everybody of us likes the most.

ML: So now we come to your new Album. How would you describe the difference between “Are you dead yet?” and your former stuff?

(Noone wants to answer… Everybody laughs)

J: I hate this questions so he can answer!

MZ: It´s a good question!

H: Yeah it is… So…. Nothing has changed. Well, the way we do the music is the same. We never talk about before we go to the studio what we should do. The process how we do the songs is always the same. Alexi comes up with the main ideas, then we practise and put the songs together. From “Something wild” till now, it´s always the same process. We haven´t change any things in that way. I guess the development has come naturally.

MZ: But you changed your style.

H: Well it has been changing, like naturally. We never think about it. It´s just. Alexi comes up with the music stuff and then we just put the stuff together and we realize it, aswell, it´s different than before, but then we just do it like we have always done. It´s natural.

ML: “AYDY?” seems for us to has some metalcore influences. Is this the natural way?
Do you like this kind of music?

H: We like metalcore, but we are not like metalcore fans. But of course, you know, we have been touring with a lot of bands, so there were metalcore bands aswell and we listen to metalcore bands aswell but we are not like special fans of metalcore. It´s hard to say where the musical influences come from, how they come to our music.  I think it´s nothing intentional to a metalcore thing.

MZ: Will you follow up this musical direction in the future?

H: No. In the next t ime, when we do the new songs, the new music, we start from point zero and we just see how it comes out. So there´s no plan, as I said.

ML: So Janne, you´re quiet today, are you tired or something?

J: No, I´m just drunk. (Everybody laughs)

ML+MZ: Yeah, we are too! 

ML: So what do you think how the fan reaction will be about your new album?

J: It´s a funny thing, because, of course you could never know how the fan reaction is going to be. So one funny thing is, and well I´m about  to say is on the base,  what I read on the message board on the webpage, everytime we release something new, people are like “this is so much worse than the stuff before” and I like to remind just, you know, like we said, we are just doing  what we feel like doing. We don´t think about that. We don´t think “now we should do metalcore”, “now we should do fucking punkrock”, we just do what we feel like doing. And that´s why I think we don´t even need to care at all what fans think. You cannot think about that, it´s gonna ruin your band and your music and your whole fucking carreer. If you just all the time think about your fans and please them musicwise, when it comes  to making the music. Of course on tour, whatever we try to, you know, really be there for the fans, really fucking rock of for them and do the best we can for the fans. But when making the album it´s a dangerous thing to think about the fans.

We just do our own thing. And if people don´t like it they can fuck off. You know, we just do our own thing.

ML: That´s the best attitute a band can have.

J: Thank you. That´s how you have to do it

H: We just have to keep on doing like how we want the music to be. That´s how we have done for “Something wild”. We´re doing the music we like. And when the album comes out, we are just hoping the fans like it aswell.

J: Also with every album we might loose some fans but hopefully also get some new fans, because the style has changed, you know what I mean?

(Then there was a funny discussion about that topic, but we wont mention it here, doesn´t matter for the interview ;-)  ) 

ML: Did you recognize you used a part from “Northern Comfort” (CD Follow the reaper) in the song “Next in line”?

(I couldn´t find the name of the song on my notes so first we had to find out it was “Next in line”)

J: No!

(Everybody laughs)

J: I don´t know what you´re talking about (still laughing a lot..)

H: We have to compare that!

ML: Do that!

(they start talking in finnish..)

MZ: Talk in english please!!

(still talking finnish…)

J: We have to compare…

ML: So not much time anymore, but we thought it would be nice to ask some fan questions.  We asked some fans from forums what they want to know, let´s start:

What do you think is the best way to write a song?

H: Well. That´s a better question for Alexi.

J: Move on, move on..  (laughs)

ML: Has Britney Spears heard your “Ooops I did it again cover”?

(Everybody keeps laughing)

J+H: We hope so yeah! We don´t know.

H: I doubt it.

J: No she really hasn´t… but..

H: We know it, she heard it!

J: Oh yeah

(Still laughing)

ML: What are your favourite songs from your new Album?

H: “We´re not gonna fall” is my favourite and (Hennka is thinking a while.. ) “Living dead beat”

J: Yeah my favourites are “Living dead beat” and “Are you dead yet?”, the titel track.

(They start to discuss a bit.. just heard “Are you dead yet?” and “In your face” between a flood of words..)

H: Well, “We´re not gonna fall” is my favourite!

ML: Yeah, mine too!

MZ: Mine too!

(Everybody laughs)

ML: Why didn´t you put some lyrics on the new album?

J: Alexi writes the lyrics and whatever the musicstyle is, I don´t care at all about the lyrics. If you listen to pop, or rock or metal, whatever, I never listen to lyrics. I only listen to the music. I don´t care at all about the lyrics. But the thing is that Alexi somehow got tired of, you know, getting all the bullshit about “the lyrics sucks”, so he just decided not to put any lyrics on the covers.

H: Also it´s too personal for him to publish it anyway. But he promised me that he´ll put some lyrics on  the website.

J: We will publish some lyrics. Yeah. So it will be on the website later on.

ML: Ok. So the next question. You´ll be on tour for sure, so are there some favourites you want to play there? There was the poll on your homepage, any results?

H: Yeah “Follow the reaper” is now on the setlist. “Everytime I die”, “Children of Bodom” and “Silent night, Bodom night” aswell.

ML+MZ: Thanx for the interview. Have fun today!

J+H: Yeah thanx have fun too!

(Just some funmaking followed…)

Interview was made at 17.09.2005

"Thanx to Universal Music for a great evening"

By Metal Lunatics (Online Zine)
     -Sally Steel
     -Danny D.Sire
     Metal Zine (Online Zine)
     - Michi
All pictures by Klaus Engeländer