Bristling with a punk energy and otherworldly technical chops, Children of Bodom’s latest disc Blooddrunk is a masterwork of everything these Finns do so well. From the explosive opening of “Hellhounds on My Trail” to the blinding “Roadkill Morning,” there is barely a moment of peace as the band charges through a maelstrom of thrashy riffs, virtuoso solos, and ravaging vocals with deceptive ease. Eager to get back on the road, vocalist and guitar whiz Alexi Laiho offers his thoughts on the band’s sixth studio release and what keeps Children of Bodom going strong.

Blooddrunk is a lot more energetic than Are You Dead Yet?.
Yeah, I would agree. It is obviously faster and just more aggressive as well. It’s just the way it came out. It was never a conscious thing while we were writing songs.

Did you approach it any differently in the studio?
Nah, not really. The recording process was pretty much the same as we have always done, though everything was already written when we entered the studio.

The title track, “Blooddrunk,” has a classic Children of Bodom feel to it. What led the band to choosing it as the first single?
We just figured it was a little bit different from the last couple of singles that we’ve had. It has that sort of triplet feeling, that timing going on, and it’s a little bit slower, too. So we figured it would be cool to put out something different as a single.

Blooddrunk has been released on vinyl, and so have the older Children of Bodom albums. Is it important for you to have them out in that format?
I think it is cool for a certain group of people who are still into vinyl, though for me, I don’t really care. I mean, it’s cool to have a picture disc, but I’m not really a vinyl guy or anything like that, so it’s more for the people who are into that kind of thing.

“Done with Everything, Die for Nothing” has an almost punk feel at the start and then goes through a couple of progressive parts. How did that song come together?
That song was a serious fucking pain in the ass. It went through so many different forms. I don’t even remember how many riffs we tossed. It just never sounded good, no matter what we tried, you know, different riffs, different arrangements, whatever, it just never seemed to work. Eventually, it was the last song that we put together, and at the end, I just threw a couple of the riffs in the garbage and came up with new ones and then it started to work. Also, when I first started writing that song, it was one of those things where I just wanted to do something a little bit different, maybe more progressive as far as the song doesn’t have that verse/chorus/verse/chorus thing going on. It’s got a bunch of different sounding riffs and different feels in it. That kind of song is usually hard to put together or make sound good, but I think it turned out pretty good at the end.

Your cover art has always been very direct, and Blooddrunk is no exception. Did you achieve what you were aiming for on this one?
Yeah, pretty much. We always want to do a cover that fits the music on the album, and I think this time around especially, it worked out. The cover is pretty damn aggressive, so is the album. I really like the cover a lot.

How tough is it to work out the solos between you and Janne [Warman, keyboardist]?
It’s not like any tough decision to make. You just know when there is a spot for a solo, and it’s like, “Okay, now I’m going to go first,” or sometimes it feels like the keyboards should go first.

Children of Bodom has been on some high profile tours, from Dimmu Borgir to Slayer, and this year you did Gigantour. How did you hook up this one?
Actually, we got the offer to do the Gigantour like two years ago or something, but we couldn’t do it because we had so much stuff already booked. We got the offer again, and it sounded like a good package, so what the hell.

You’ve chosen some amazing songs to cover. How much of the selection process comes down to them being favorite songs versus a song you can totally fuck with?
Usually, we just take a song that we figure would be sort of funny, but also that would work as a metal version. That’s the thing, we take songs that are not metal because, at least for us, covering metal songs is kind of boring. It’s just more fun and challenging to do something completely fucking crazy like Britney Spears or like this time around we did Creedence Clearwater Revival and Kenny Rogers, stuff like that. Obviously, we usually pick songs that we like, but not necessarily songs that are really important to us. Usually, there is a lot of humor involved when we do cover songs.


Is that sense of humor an important element of the band?
Yeah, not to say the whole goddamn thing is a joke because it’s not, but we have a good time doing this and we want to show that to people as well. It’s not all that goddamn serious.

You seem to be party guys on the road but manage to keep things together quite well. What do you attribute that to?
I mean, we do drink a lot, but we don’t get drunk before the show or anything like that. I think that’s the stupidest reason to fuck up a gig or whatever. You’ve got to be professional and do your thing, and once you’re done with the show, then it’s time to start downing some fucking vodka. After the show, you can just have fun and do whatever the hell you want, but you’ve got to be professional about the playing part. That’s what we are there for after all.


Children of Bodom has retained a very consistent lineup over the years. Is that just due to you guys being friends?
Yeah, that’s how the whole thing started. We were good friends and still are. We get along on the road, and that is one of the most important things—that you do get along with the other guys, because when you take off for a tour, you are stuck with them 24/7 for like two years in a row. So if you don’t get along with them, you’re fucked. I guess we are just lucky that we do. It’s important for us to maintain the same lineup. I don’t want to be one of those bands where you have new members every second week, so that’s always been an important thing for Children of Bodom.

Peter Tätgren [Hypocrisy, Pain] produced your vocals on Blooddrunk. Is that because he’s also a vocalist?
Yeah, exactly. We have recorded with him before, and the part I actually liked about it the most was recording vocals with him. He’s a singer and sings kind of the same way, plus he knows his shit when it comes to vocals and to recording, so it was really good. I just wanted to have somebody to record the vocals that would know what the hell is going on, and somebody that I could trust as far as when I ask if a take was okay and they say it was good. I don’t have to haul my ass into the control room and listen to it myself. It just makes it easier for me, plus he threw a lot of good ideas in there, too. So yeah, I thought it was a good idea to bring him in, and hopefully we can do that again in the future.

Do you think Children of Bodom will ever take an extended break at any point, or are you happy about the workload you have going?
Oh yeah, we are definitely happy about it. Now is not time for a break, that’s for sure. All that work has gotten us where we are right now, so it would be kind of stupid…not that we would even want to take a break, but it would be stupid right now because now is the time to do as much shit as possible. Who the hell knows what’s going to happen after two or three years, but at least right now, we just want to get out there and tour as much as possible.


How has touring so much all around the world changed your outlook on life?
We started touring like 10 years ago, so obviously all people change. I’m sure it has changed me and the other guys as well. The whole touring thing is just a whole other world, and once you get used to it, it’s just hard to adapt to the real world, so to speak. It is hard to say things about myself, like how I have changed or whatever. Sometimes I feel like I’ve just gone too crazy, too out of control with everything, but other times I feel like I’ve calmed down, so it really changes all the time. Who the hell knows? One thing that I do know for sure, since the first time we a did a proper tour, I’ve loved it and still do. That’s what we do, the whole thing is about playing live. Making albums is obviously very important, but playing live, that’s like the shit.

Outburn sends its deepest condolences to Alexi Laiho’s many fans, friends, and family.