Alexi Laiho: Fifteen Years & No Signs of Stopping

I’d Love To Play Guitar For The Rest Of My Life... There Is No Other Way To Live

I can’t believe it; I don’t want to believe it…. Yes your calculations are correct; it has been fifteen years since the dawn of Children of Bodom with their debut album Something Wild. My youth is now officially gone, how about yours? Metal As Fuck caught up with Alexi Laiho; shredder extraordinaire and vocalist of Finland’s biggest metal export, Children of Bodom to discuss the restlessness a Halo of Blood and a fifteen year love affair with heavy metal….  

You’ll have to excuse me Alexi, it’s early, I may still have my slippers on. [Laughs] that’s ok, I am jealous of your slippers, I want my slippers! I’m pretty tired”… [Laughs]. Yeah and I’m just coming to grips knowing it’s been five years since the release of Blood Drunk not to mention fifteen years since the band’s debut album Something Wild – are you still something wild after all these years? “Yeah afraid so [Laughs] it’s a good thing though”. After fifteen years can you say your passion is still there for the industry, the lifestyle? “It is, I mean, I’m used to it you know, I don’t really think about it, I started in this industry at the age of eighteen, I’ve been touring all that time – my entire adult life but there is no other way to live truly, I love it! I get super restless when I am in the same spot for too long so this lifestyle suits me. Although I’m not eighteen anymore [Laughs] and maybe not drunk as much either [Laughs]

Either way, fifteen years can have a toll on someone’s creativity – would you say its stronger now for you personally and for the band? “Yeah, you only have to listen to the new record to see that the spark is still there”.  Can you imagine a life after Children of Bodom? “No. Not really, I don’t want to, I’d love to play guitar for the rest of my life. One day it will be over but I don’t usually like to plan too far ahead, I love to live in the moment”. What would you like to be most remembered for? “Being a kick ass guitar player” [Laughs]

The latest album Halo of Blood: I’ve had a preview and the band has definitely gotten back to their old school sound. Was this something you kept in mind to commemorate the last fifteen years? “Well when I write I don’t plan anything – I keep my mind clear, let it flow, we don’t really ever have a plan, we just let it all come naturally”.  Now the music for Bodom is written first; keeping your mind clear - do you have an idea of what story you want it to tell when writing the lyrics? “I generally feel the vibe in the music, when the song is written it’s easier to write the lyrics, I’ll write random sentences down but not whole songs until the music is finished”.

In all your discography, what has been the most fun album to make thus far? “The thing is they have all been equal. I like the process when it’s efficient. Recording and writing ideas whilst on the road is too hectic, I personally need peace and quiet, it’s all very spur of the moment. I hate wasting time, wasting time is wasting dollars, Halo of Blood was recorded in just six weeks, just the way I like it”.  

 The title track Halo of Blood has your signature markings…. I’d say it's my most favourite track of the album. It’s not Bodom without a solo. “Yeah it’s my favourite too! It’s actually one of the fastest songs we have ever written, it has a brutal vibe, sort of kicks you in the face” [Laughs]

Are you still one of the biggest musical exports for Finland? I was shocked when I travelled to Finland in 2011, the entire population seems to be under 40, metal everywhere – it is the heavy metal capital of the world, I don’t care what anyone says – I mean I ate at some Mexican restaurant and even there Rammstein was playing over the speakers. [Laughs] I totally agree! It’s funny in Finland though, Children of Bodom are considered mainstream like some sort of pop artist in the States - you can’t get that in any other country. We have some of the most extreme metal fans there are, the Finns know their metal and love their metal”.  

You’ve mentioned that Halo of Blood has got the fastest and the slowest songs you’ve ever made and lyrical themes that had never been approached before – what can you tell us about this statement? “Approaching new themes? For example I wrote a song (title track) about a friend that died about twelve months ago. The song goes into about dying in fucked up ways, again this all just happened as a spur of the moment thing. It’s not a themed album; I mean we aren’t writing in obvious ways, you wouldn’t have known that Halo of Blood was about a friend dying if I didn’t mention it”.

 I don’t think there is a country you have not visited yet? How does it feel to know you have now toured the world with Children of Bodom? “It’s pretty awesome; it’s far beyond anything we’ve ever dreamed of. We just wanted to play you know and we had that chance. Still got to get to Africa though [Laughs] oh and South America, yeah that would be cool”.

How is your persona on stage these days since you’ve put the wild child on a leash? “Well I still go crazy, my mindset on stage - I’m not in charge of anything that happens and I want to keep it that way, just going with the flow. The music we play is aggressive, we have to be aggressive”. So what plans does the band have to promote the album tour wise? “Um… I don’t actually know yet [Laughs] I think that we are doing a Europe tour starting in June then the states in the summer, then Japan then another Europe tour. I would love the chance to head back to Australia; we’ll have to see what happens”.