The Finnish veteran metalheads, Children of Bodom, came once again to play in Hamburg and Stalker got a chance to have a chat with Jaska Raatikainen, their drummer, about their tour, new album as well as frequently asked annoying questions.
How has the tour been going –you´re still quite in the beginning of the tour, as you still have England, America, Wacken etc. ahead of you, how has it been going until now?
Well, until now it´s been really good. The gigs have been great –we have been getting good reception from the audience. They already recognise the new tracks and seem to like the new stuff a lot. Apart from me being sick about four days ago – some kind of a puke disease-, it´s been all good and luckily the other guys have been healthy. Let´s hope that I will be the only one.
You´re going to be bouncing from here to England and then back to Germany and then the festival season is starting; do you have any favourite festivals?
Well at least there´s Wacken, just because it is so fucking big. The people have always really liked us there. We have a lot of good memories from there.
About the new album; as far as I know, this was the first time you had a producer on board. Previously you have just had someone to record it, so how did you come to this?
We got a lot of pressure from the record company and management. They were really twisting our arms. We told them that we´d try it, even though we couldn´t promise anything, but we would definitely meet up with these candidates and see how it worked out. Then this Matt Hyde was somehow in with the whole thing in his own price and he was really resolute in wanting to make a really good record and he was so into it, that it affected us too somehow.
If you look the record sales now, the numbers are through the roof –do you think that the new producer affected it?
There may be some smaller effect to it if you look at who he´s been working with – bigger bands and smaller ones. He´s a veteran in that and there may have been an influence on the American market.
Do you think that he may have had an effect on the album on an artistic point of view?
He did come up with some really good ideas. He flew into Finland a month before we were supposed to start and the songs were still being written and he jumped on board really well and he may have had an effect on the composition. But he didn´t want to disturb us too much and he wanted us to do it as he knew that we knew what we were doing.
After Britney Spears and co., you ended up with Eddie Murphy – how did that happen?
It was coincidence. I think our bass player, Henkka heard it somewhere or saw the video and right after that he suggested it as it hit the Bodom funny bone. We always try to keep our eyes and ears open for new covers and I think this one was an immediate hit.
In 2009 Alexi said that if there is one thing in this world, which is certain, it is that there will always be a song with “Bodom” in every CoB album –this time not; how did that happen?
Yeah, he fucked it up. He forgot.
Yes, there is nothing more mysterious to it.
In the video of “Was it Worth it” there are skateboards; how did you end up there?
We know this guy, Chris Cole, from years back and he´s always been our fan; our management wanted us to collaborate and we have already previously worked together and it all boiled down to us making a music video together. At first we weren´t sure if it would turn out too commercial, but the director (Dale Resteghini) made it look surprisingly heavy.
But there was no influence from your producer? I mean that there was previously no producer and now that there is one, we are seeing skateboards.
No, it was just a coincidence.
If you look at the development of the band during the last 15 years, all the way to the times of Inearthed and you look at what you were dreaming of in those times, does today´s reality mirror the dreams of those days?
Well, yes, I think so. I am very satisfied with what we have achieved, but we are still hungry for more. The dreams have become real and more realistic; we are going one step at a time. But all of this is a product of hard work and in that sense I am happy that we haven´t become stagnant, but have worked our asses off.
Okay, that was going to the past, how about in 20 years, where do you see Bodom as well as yourself then?
Hmm…then I´ll be 50, I don´t know. I usually just look towards the next record. I don´t dare say anything to that, never say never. It could be that we´re doing a comeback-tour.
If you look at the new record as well as Bodom in general, the most criticism is that the new record doesn´t differ from the last or the one before that. How do you react to the criticism?
I think that it´s always about the same thing that the last album was ok, but the new one is shit and when the next one comes, they say the same story –the same person may say both things. You kind of forget this kind of things as they make no sense. I´ve noticed that some journalists are fans of the band and they can´t kind of get out of it and deal with it professionally.
Could it be that you have found a certain sound for the band and you don´t want to move away from that?
I think every album is different. In a way, we are making music that we think is good and we make it with a sound, which we think feels just perfect for those songs and in this way we want to renew it on every record. We have certain likings of how we want to make the song, so that there is a certain Bodom-thing to it, but still every song hasn´t been done before, so every album is different.
Looking at the most frequently asked questions, which questions piss you off?
Of course it pisses me off to blabber on about the Bodom murders; even though we have been around for 15 years, we still get asked what this Bodom thing is. Like “is it some sort of happening?” Also it pisses me off that some reporters have an idea in their head that this is somehow Allu´s (Alexi) solo project, meaning that some people say that I get to play with Allu –what the fuck? We are still a band with five members and everyone has the same amount of votes, so this is really democratic.
If you got to play with any artist, dead or alive in any situation, whether it was on stage, in the studio or just jamming at home, with whom and where would you play?
Hmm…well, as an old Death fan, I would probably want to collaborate with Chuck Schuldiner. I think his own projects were at their strongest in the studio. I think I would do a record with him.
Photos: hfr. by Spinefarm Records