Children of Bodom’s Alexi Laiho Talks ‘I Worship Chaos’ + More
Children of Bodom's Alexi Laiho was the guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show. The singer-guitarist took some time to chat about raising the bar on their 'I Worship Chaos' album, shared a little bit about leading the 100 Guitars project at this year's Helsinki Festival and offered some advice for players looking to make music a career. Check out the chat below.
We're here to talk about the brand new Children of Bodom record, I Worship Chaos. You've said the new album is Children of Bodom reborn. Why did the band need a rebirth?
Well, I think all of us really, you know, well all four of us, we felt like that we needed to sort of like reinvent ourselves and push things harder and work harder and even just put more effort on everything. It just sort of felt like the whole band was getting tired on every possible level. So, we did a lot of changes and got a new management, the whole nine basically and everybody -- all of a sudden everyone was on the same level as far as brand new work ethics and stuff like that. Except for one member, which I am sure you were going to ask about next. Basically, that’s why I threw out the other guitar player. Well, the ex-guitar player. He’s not in the band anymore. But, anyway, so there’s that. I think, at least in my opinion, you can hear that in the music, too. It’s more energetic than it has been in a couple of years I would say, anyway.
Alexi, what would life be like if you didn't have music to bleed out your anger and frustration?
Oh god, I try not to even think about it. But, I know it’s cliche to say this but I’d probably be dead or in some sort of a mental institution. Maybe jail, who knows. Like I said, it sounds like a cliche but in my case, it is so true that music saved my life for sure.
Roope left the band right before you started recording the new album, so you recorded all the guitars yourself. How did that change the songs, not having the counterpart of another guitar players style?
Well, it didn’t really change that much when you think about it, because I mean, because I did write all of the riffs. So obviously, I was working double shifts in the studio and if anything, I think the guitars turned out a lot tighter because you know, it was just one guy playing them. And you know, at least something good came out of a bad thing. Plus, the fact is that I am just the type of a guy who likes to come up with a lot of ideas on the spot when I am recording. So I could do that and actually record that on both tracks without having to explain that to anybody or teach the new ideas to anybody so it was a time saver too. So honestly, you know, maybe I’m trying to put a good spin on a bad thing, but a lot of good came out of it, too.
What's the most important thing you hope young and up and coming players learn from looking up to your playing?
It’s honestly just about practice and more practice and basically devotion and sacrifice. I mean, if you want to do that professionally, you cannot let anybody or anything to get in between you and the music. It’s a sad fact. It’s probably going to cost you a lot of girlfriends, or boyfriends -- whatever, and school and whatnot. But, if you believe in it and if you work hard enough it will happen. If you want to do it as just as a hobby that’s totally fine, but you might want to get another job then.
You were commissioned to write music for the Helsinki Festival and you recently performed it with 100 other guitarists. What was the biggest challenge in coordinating that many guitarists?
Yeah, that was definitely not the easiest project ever, I’ll tell you that. It was probably the most challenging thing ever to sort of put that together. Because it was such a crazy idea that I …obviously it was insane that I couldn’t say no. I mean, when they told me about it I was like, “Huh? That’s insane. So yes, I’ll do it.” So, It was a lot of planning obviously, it was a lot of hard work too and a lot of sleepless nights again. And the fact that I was still in the middle of writing the I Worship Chaos album, so both of those two things were kind of like, yeah, they were keeping me up. I honestly didn’t sleep much at all. You know, when I get challenged enough, I get super obsessive and just kind of let it go. I mean, I have to get stuff happened. For example, with that guitar thing, I was talking about the planning part and that was new to me for sure and another challenge was the actual song because I mean they did commission a fifteen minute guitar piece for a hundred people.
First of all, that was supposed to be instrumental. That’s something new for me. And for a hundred guitar players it’s like “okay, then”. So, it was pretty insane. But I did have a group of amazing people around me to kind of help me out so we pulled it off. But like I said, it took a lot of time and a lot of hard work. But, you know, once we got them staged to perform the whole thing it was mind-blowing and a once-in-a-lifetime experience kind of things.
What are the plans for U.S. touring?
I think we’re talking maybe next February, as far as I know. The beginning of next year for sure. We're going to start from Asia, Australia, and then Europe and that’s going to take up the rest of the year. So, the U.S. definitely on the list for the next year.
Awesome. Definitely looking forward to it. Love seeing Bodom live, congrats on the new album. Thank you so much for taking the time.
Well, Thank you.
Thanks to Children of Bodom's Alexi Laiho for the interview. You can pick up their 'I Worship Chaos' album via Amazon and iTunes and look for the band on tour at these stops. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie's weekend show at this location.
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