2007 Update: Earlier in the year Alexi had a bowling accident and broke his shoulder. He was ordered by doctors no playing for 6 weeks, which caused them to cancel a few shows. Now he is all better. Children Of Bodom have entered the studio to record their sixth studio album scheduled to be released on April 2 (Finland) and April 7 (Europe) in 2008. You can follow the recording process via the band's studio diary. Keep coming back for regular updates on it and also stay tuned for another episode of COBTV! They have been playing tons of shows and a lot of festivals all over the place.
Update: Drum tracks for the new COB album have been successfully
recorded already. Now the band will start working with guitar and bass tracks.
Recordings should be ready by the end of May!
done and submitted from Scott McCooe
onto the scene with 1998's 'Something Wild', Children of Bodom have made
it clear that they are a force to be reckoned with. Truly a worldwide
phenomenon, the Finnish act's brand of technical, melodic death has connected
with fans in their native Europe, Japan and, cemented by a break-out performance
at the Milwaukee Metalfest, the United States. With Bodom's third studio
album 'Follow The Reaper' ready to drop, the Metal Update had a chat with
guitarist Alexander Kouppala.
you tell me a little bit about the story of Bodom Lake?
Yeah, well the story of the lake is that there was a murder, 40 years
ago. To be exact, it was 1960, the 5th of June. There were four campers.
Two guys which were 18 years old and two girls which were 15 years old.
They were camping there, having fun and stuff like that. In the middle
of the night someone came and cut the ropes of the tent, jumped over them
and started to stab them. Three of them got killed immediately and one
survived. He still lives nowadays but he doesn't remember anything about
the event. It's a really famous crime story here in Finland and what is
really interesting is that the killer never got caught. So that's the
Was there a sudden change musically when the band
changed the name from Inearthed to Children of Bodom?
Yeah, for sure. The first demo tapes we did were more like just pure death
metal style. We haven't made any radical changes to our music. It just
developed towards what it is today. When we make music we just want to
make good music. We don't want to think about how the fans would react.
We just make the music and let them decide.
Have any of the band members attended music school?
Alexi, who makes all the music - he studied to play different styles of
music, as myself. We played jazz and blues and whatever. It is important
to listen to and play different kinds of music. It gives you an impression
of how to use your instrument so you can get everything out of it. So
it is very important to study and listen to different kinds of music.
We also listen to a lot of classical music and stuff like that. Our keyboard
player has been studying in music schools also.
You can definitely tell from the playing. You
guys play some intense and technical music yet it appears that you guys
like to drink. Is there any partying before you hit the stage or the studio?
Not before we go on the stage. We have to play the best that we can. After
that, of course we can drink shit loads of beer and booze but never before
then. We were in the studio in September. There we did these nine to six
days, eight hours per day. After that we had a party once in the week,
not too much of course.
Yeah, with some types of music you can probably
get away with some partying but as far as how technical your music is
you probably have to keep a clear mind.
If you are a fan and you come to see our show, you don't want to see any
drunken idiots on the stage. We want to offer them the best show that
we can do of course.
What is Asphalt Annihilation?
(laughing) Where did you hear of that?
Well, I was checking out the web site and I saw
that is was mentioned a couple of times in the band profiles.
Well the story behind that game is when we were in the studio. It was
the second or third day. Our VCR broke down and we had nothing to do.
When a human being has nothing to do it, it tends to try and figure things
out. We got a bunch of blank paper and made games. One of them was this
kind of formula game - a car race game - we decided to call it Asphalt
Annihilation. It was a really cool game but it doesn't exist anymore.
You should try to market it and make some extra
money on the side.
Yeah, perhaps, but it was just that we had nothing to do and made the
games ourselves. We didn't have any kinds of channels on the TV, the VCR
was broken. We had no games. Nothing. We had to make something up.
What was your motivation to start playing guitar?
When I was ten years old I got my first guitar and from that point. I
liked music. I liked. . . well every musician mentions KISS of course.
Then I started to listen to heavy metal. WASP and Judas Priest. Then I
decided that was what I wanted to do. Along the way I have played different
styles of music. Not metal, but blues and whatever to just get the feeling
of what is out there. I have never thought of anything else other than
music. So, the first day I got my guitar it was like. . . my mother showed
me the first chords and I was like, "yeah, this is what I want to
do." But as a guitarist, I started listening to Yngwie Malmsteen,
Steve Vai and, of course, Ozzy Osbourne guitar players Jake E. Lee, Randy
Rhodes and especially Zakk Wylde. He is one of my favorites.
Which do you prefer, playing live or in the studio?
Live definitely because you get the energy and you are there for the fans
who come to see you. It is really good to perform and try to create a
conversation between the band and the fans. It is really important that
they really feel that you are on the stage just for them and not yourself.
In the studio you have to be so sharp all of the time and do the best
that you can do. It's really stressful.
Yes, it is really stressful. What was your worst
experience with the band?
Worst experience? Whoa. There have been so many.
Within the band, we have very good spirits. We never fight. We are very
good friends with each other. We don't have any personal problems and
that's a very cool thing. But there have been a few gigs where the equipment
doesn't work or whatever. Or I fell from the stage on the Montreal gig.
Something like that. Nothing really bad has happened.
Is there any significance to the Reaper on the
majority of the Children of Bodom album cover.
When we picked the cover for the first album, it was purely an accident
that we found a reaper picture and it was just "OK, this is very
cool" and I think it is a very powerful picture. A red cover and
the reaper is reaching his hand towards you. And the second one, on the
Hatebreeder album the cover is green and it's a little bit mystical. On
the new album the cover is blue and is like "follow the reaper."
It is asking you to follow. Of course we don't want the fans to kill themselves.
We ask them to follow our music and stuff like that.
I read in one interview that someone was kind
of complaining about the band name and the album covers, how it takes
away from the band. Personally, I think the album covers add a lot. The
simplicity is a really nice thing. Just the one color on the album and
then the reaper with a fairly simple background. It's really effective
if you think of it.
I think the color issue is very important. To have the controlling color.
To have red, green and now blue. But I don't know what the fourth album
is gonna be.
You ran out of the red, green and blue.
Well I don't know. I know that we cannot do a black album because Metallica
did it. It can't be white but let's see what happens.
Maybe you can combine the 3 colors.
Perhaps yes. But anyway, the reaper is gonna be there somehow. I don't
know how yet but somehow. I think we have to figure something new out.
Not the same kind of style anymore, something new.
Why did you release a live album after only your
That's really bizarre for a band. It was just an idea from our label to
record the gigs and we were like "OK, let's record them, but we don't
want to release an album." Then we mixed the stuff and decided, "This
is not so bad. OK. Let's go." It's limited to like 20,000 copies
for the really dedicated fans. Nowadays I'm really comfortable with the
idea. It doesn't sound so bad. It has the mistakes and everything but
it's really a live album.
It was surprising to me because from hearing the
albums I was like, "I can't believe those guys can even play that
live." Then I heard you came out with the live album and I ended
up seeing you play in Milwaukee. I knew then that it can be done.
Yeah but we have problems with live shows. Sometimes
we play the songs too fast. In Milwaukee we had lots of problems with
technique but the festival gigs are always like that.
I think the crowd was impressed overall.
Yeah, I think so too but of course as a musician things on the stage were
bothering me like these monitor didn't work, but what the hell.
Will the lyrics be included on the new album?
Actually no. There are lyrics for two of the songs. That is kind of tradition
for us. On our web site we are releasing more of the lyrics. But anyway
it was just kind of an emergency solution because we had to get the album
out in Finland and Alexi was really busy with Sinergy and stuff like that.
Yeah, lyrics usually seem to come after the fact
on Children of Bodom albums.
Yeah, but now we are releasing a few of the lyrics on the web site anyway.
For the fans it's really important. In our chat room everyone is screaming,
"I need the lyrics!" It's really important to give them what
they want there. We are not releasing all of the lyrics but a few.
You guys concentrate on the music more than the
Music is the number one here of course.
How was the recording experience this time around?
It was really different. So far we have done everything here in Finland
and now we decided to go to Sweden to Abyss Studios to escape the same
style of recording and the same sound and stuff like that. We wanted to
do it differently and the first one was, of course, the Abyss Studios
because we knew that Peter is a very good producer. He can produce very
good sounds. Tight sounds but still with attitude. That is what we wanted
to do because we had a few problems. The studios that we've used, they
put effort more to clean and technical sounds and they forget the attitude.
That's not our style. There has to be aggression and rage. We are really
satisfied with the guitars on this new album.
Definitely. I think Peter does a great job. He
knows how to bring out every heavy band.
Yeah, the only problem we had with Peter is that he is a really busy man.
Hypocrisy was releasing a new album and he had tons of interviews and
stuff like that. So he said, "just go to the studio and record until
you are happy and then I will come and check if there is anything to change."
But when we started to do keyboards and vocals, then he was a really professional
guy. He had amazing ideas for vocals and he gave Alexi a few lessons on
how to use your throat. It was really amazing what he does.
And you guys co-produced the album?
I give the whole credit to Peter anyway.
Have any of you guys had production experience
Not so much. When we did the first and second album, we brought our ideas
more. But then we didn't know so much about what we wanted. We didn't
know anything about producing. Now we let Peter decide everything. It
was a really good decision.
What do think this new album offers that perhaps
the previous albums do not?
The first album was very very primitive album - aggression - not so clean.
Hatebreeder was a very technical and clean album and I think this is between
them. Some people said that this is a really complicated album to listen
to. They hear it the first time and they are like, "What is going
on?" When they hear it the third or fourth time they are like, "Now
I get it. These are really good songs." Or course it's better that
way. If you listen to it. . . every time you'll hear something new.
So what other projects are the members of the
band in? Probably not much except for Alexi, right?
Yeah, well he has the Sinergy thing going on. It is his second band kind
of. And our keyboard player released a solo album. The rest of the guys
are just concentrating on Children of Bodom and nothing else. We don't
What's the keyboard player's other project called?
What was your first impression of the US metal
It was the first time I had ever been to the United States of America
and I was in Milwaukee. The local people came to me and said, "How
do you like America?" and I was like, "This is fucking great.
Awesome." They were like, "Excuse me but you are in Milwaukee.
This is the worst place to be in America." I was like, "What??
This is a cool place." But anyway I think the audience was great
and I really hope that next year we can provide a proper tour with a good
tight package of like three bands or something and then we know exactly
what is going on. Our equipment and stuff like that.
Exactly. I think you guys definitely proved yourselves
and I'm sure you'll be one of the top priorities for a good package in
the US. You guys are going to be touring soon in Finland, correct?
After Christmas we have this mini tour. Six gigs only and we are playing
in the most important cities here in Finland. It is really important for
us to play for the Finnish fans because most our fans live here in Finland.
We are selling many records here and it is very important to show our
faces to the audience. It was July when we last played here in Finland
so we really have to get on the road with this new stuff especially. After
that we have a European tour with Primal Fear in February and some intentions
to go to Japan in April.