"We still get nervous this far into our careers" - In Conversation with Children of Bodom
For over 25 years Children of Bodom have been at the forefront of the Melodic Death Metal genre and have consistently ridden the waves of passing fads and stuck to their guns across their varied discography. On the cusp of releasing their tenth album Hexed we were granted an audience with bassist Henkka to dive into the creation of the album, how the Children of Bodom are feeling this close to an album dropping and their set at this year's Bloodstock Festival.
Hey Henkka, how are the band feeling this close to Hexed being released on to the world?
It's getting exciting more than anything, a bit of nerves, frustrations are all gone though. Even this far into our careers we still get nervous, what's changed over time is how we promote the record. Social media is the name of the game these days and that gives it a boost. We post a song up on one of our social channels and we get an almost immediate response from our fans. 15 years ago we would have had to wait for the record label to get back to us to let us know how things are going. Some people don't like that immediate response but you get used to it over the years.
With last album I Worship Chaos coming out in 2015, when did the creative spark fire back up for this record?
Well we decided to take a break after the I Worship Chaos tour and then Alexi (Laiho, guitarist and vocalist) gets back into it to start writing and conjuring up riffs. It felt like we had more time to get this record created compared to other records. We had three songs I think and then we went out on the 20th Anniversary tour and then we came back to the rehearsal space. When the time is right, we get together and write.
You're working with Mikko Karmila again on this one and you've worked with him before on a few of the past records. How was the working relationship this time around?
We know him very well, he produces our sound to our tastes and most importantly we trust him. The recording process is quite stressful at least for me and it's good for someone like Mikko to have our backs and walk us through the process. If he likes my take he will say but if he doesn't he won't hold back and lets me know as well. It's a very simple relationship and one that is straight forward.
What's your personal favourite song on the record and do you have any that you are looking forward to playing live?
We have the four tracks out over the next few weeks, two lyric and two traditional music videos which we are practising for this next run of dates. My personal favourite on the record is 'Platitudes and Barren Words', it was the second song we created.
You're playing Bloodstock Festival as an 'exclusive' UK set this year. You've played the festival a few times before. Are you looking forward to getting back to Catton Hall?
Its always been nice there, it's getting bigger each year but on the flip side, it's not a massive festival and still has that 'close' feel to it. It has a family environment and can be quite cosy. I'm looking forward to getting back there, its more of a metal festival whereas other festivals can be quite varied or call themselves Rock.
We have a North American tour coming up in a few weeks, club shows that we are headlining and then we have about 15 summer festivals which Bloodstock is our last one and then we are heading out across Eastern Europe and Russia.
I first saw the band in an arena of all places supporting Slipknot with Machine Head on the All Hope Is Gone tour at Cardiff Motorpoint. What were your memories of that tour? And how have the band grown since then?
Good question! That was a great tour. We were touring Blooddrunk at the time and was the last time we played arenas in the UK. We've become a better live unit since then I think.
You have new guitarist Daniel Freyburg on Hexed, how has he fit into the band?
Freshness is the name of the game with Daniel. Enthusiasm as well, we kind of took it for granted before Daniel but with him in the band we kind of see things through his eyes anew and how things are awesome. It was also good to have him in the studio, fresh questions and fresh ideas. The previous album Alexi had recorded the guitars himself so it was nice to have someone else on board.
Are there any surprises for Children of Bodom fans within this record or is it going to stand of the test of time and become a classic in your run of albums?
We didn't try anything new so to speak because we know our sound so well and we shouldn't mess with that too much. It's another reason why we hired Mikko again. I tried out a Fretless Bass on the end melodies on the title track of this record which Alex loved.
Children Of Bodom’s latest album Hexed will be released on 8th March via Nuclear Blast, available for pre-order here. They will be playing Bloodstock Festival on August 9th.