Children of Bodom’s Alexi Laiho Reflects on Early Influences, Changing Music Industry + More
Children of Bodom are currently heating up the Mayhem Festival tour. The legendary Finnish metal outfit is fronted by Alexi Laiho, who besides playing in Children of Bodom, is also part of the band Sinergy as well as Kylähullut.
Laiho is one of the most respected musicians in metal these days, and he remains just as intense and energetic as he did 20 years ago when the band first began. Loudwire caught up with Laiho on day one of the Mayhem Festival in San Bernardino, Calif. Check out our brief chat with Laiho below:
Alexi, did you attend many festivals like this when your kid growing up in Finland?
Man, I would’ve loved this festival as a kid. And yes I did attend as many metal fests as I could. I remember seeing Suicidal Tendencies when I was about 13 and it was awesome. Changed my life. In Finland, we did have a lot of death metal which was good for us as kids. Even though Finland was kind of out of the way, and we didn’t get as many bands as say Sweden, we still had lots of opportunities to see live music.
What were the first albums that got you excited as a fan?
My dad was always blasting Dire Straits albums as a kid and that’s how I got into guitar. This was me at like three or four years old, saying I knew what I wanted to do. I do not remember that clearly but it’s what my dad tells me today. My older sister was always playing WASP and I thought that was the coolest thing ever. So I was into metal pretty early. I loved WASP. Basically all the bands I was into as a kid was because of my older sister. Slayer, Anthrax, Metallica — all of the black metal — is all because of her. She had great taste which really helped shaped what I listened to. I totally trusted her.
Children of Bodom are now about 20 years old and there has been a lot of changes in the industry since you first started out. How has technology changed the way you do things?
It is pretty crazy. Everything changed so fast. Just like one day it all changed! When we first started, people would go out and buy our CD. There was no downloading of course. And then all of a sudden I remember with our second or third album that we no longer were making promo CDs. It was all about uploading and downloading. Who ever thought CDs would go away this much? Social networking — all of this — when we started none of this existed. So we have been forced to adapt a great deal. And still somehow our music manages to spread and thrive and survive. It is an amazing thing.
Can you give us a sense of what the next six or so months will be like for Bodom?
Lots of touring as usual. We just got back from playing lots of European festivals. After Mayhem we go to Japan and pretty much tour until the end of the year. We get a couple weeks off and then we go down to South America. It just never stops.
Are there places around the world that seem to appreciate your band more than others?
There’s a lot of them but I would say off the top of my head Tokyo, Montréal, Canada, and New York really seem to get us. Many places are really kind to us, but those are a few cities where things get really intense.