Hellbound's Adrien Begrand recently conducted an interview with guitarist/vocalist Alexi Laiho of Finnish metallers CHILDREN OF BODOM. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
Hellbound: You've always been influenced by classic 1980s metal, but the riffs on [the new CHILDREN OF BODOM] album ["Relentless Reckless Forever"] seem to really draw from that era. Was that the case?
Alexi: I do agree; there's a lot of '80s hard rock guitar, especially with the guitar riffs, there's a lot of influence from that type of music. I think it's more out there with this album than it was on, say, "Blooddrunk". I don't know why, but that's just how it turned out.
Hellbound: At times it feels like you're channeling Warren DeMartini and George Lynch.
Alexi: That can be the case. [Laughing] Those guys, among many others. I grew up listening to it, and I still dig their stuff.
Hellbound: The interaction between guitar and keyboard has always been part of the band's sound, but as the lead guitarist and songwriter, how hard is it for you to envision Janne's [Wirman] keyboards as you're writing a new song?
Alexi: It's always been a part of CHILDREN OF BODOM's music, and I'm not a good keyboard player or anything. I know how to play well enough to at least come up with some keyboard stuff. Usually I don't need keyboards like that, I'll just play it in my head and just tell Janne what to do. And we've been working together for such a long time that it's easy to communicate as far as telling him what to play and how to play it. He gets it at the snap of a fucking finger. As far as the keyboard solos, he improvises the stuff. It's a cool thing, something different as opposed to two guitar players. And like you say, it's always been a really big element in CHILDREN OF BODOM's music.
Hellbound: The melodies on this album seem to come so naturally; nothing seems forced. Have you been noticing your own improvement in the actual craft of songwriting?
Alexi: The working method was exactly the same, it always has been, and we've never sat down and talked to each other about what we should sound like. I just started writing, and whatever came up, came out naturally. We just like to keep it that way. I don't know if people ever want to plan beforehand what they want to sound like, but we don't. That spontaneity has always been part of our sound.
Hellbound: Hearing how strong these new songs are, did you have a different mindset at the time when you were writing them as opposed to previous albums?
Alexi: Um…I don't know! [Laughing] I do remember that this time around I had this fucking drive, I felt like that I really want to fucking kick ass. I've felt that same thing since I was fucking 19 years old. It felt like it was a time to show the whole world that we know how to fucking kick ass. That would definitely be a good thing. [Laughing]
Read the entire interview from Hellbound.