Zugegeben: Ein wenig nervös waren mein Kollege Stephan und ich schon, als wir in den Backstage-Räumlichkeiten der Live Music Hall vor den Dressing-Rooms von Children Of Bodom auf unseren Termin warten. Zuerst wackelt ein junger Bursche aus dem Zimmer, nuschelt irgendwas in der Richtung "Hi", steht schwankend kurz am Buffet, geht wieder zwischen uns durch, kommt aber gleich wieder unter einem Kapuzenpulli versteckt raus und verschwindet. Der umtriebige Knabe nennt sich Janne Warmen, und so angeschlagen er auch wirkte, seine Soli waren später beim Gig perfekt. Als nur eine Minute später ein kleiner Derwisch zwischen uns hindurchfegt, der entweder "Hi" sagt oder rülpst und schnell aufs Klo verschwindet, ist unsere Nervosität am Gipfel, schließlich war eben dieser Kerl Alexi Laiho.
Als uns dann aber Henkka freundlich begrüsst und auf seine entspannte Art auch uns beruhigt, geht alles seinen friedlichen Lauf. Offen, ehrlich und nett beantwortet der Tieftöner unsere Fragen. Die Tatsache, dass die Fragen eigentlich auf Janne ausgelegt waren, stellten keinerlei Problem dar, so meinte Henkka nur "Fragt mich einfach den Kram, das passt schon!"
Kein Wunder, dass Henkka als Ruhepol der Band gilt. Doch lest nun selbst!
Moritz: Hi Henkka! Great pleasure to meet you! In fact, I have to change the questions now a little bit, because Janne was supposed to do the Interview.
Henkka: Ah, I can try to answer for Janne.
Moritz: Ok! So let's start with some general questions! So now you're back in Germany, it's the first gig in Germany on the Are You Dead Yet Tour. How do you feel to be back here?
Henkka: We all feel very excited actually. We realized that we haven't been playing here for three years now, almost three years. We've been touring the USA the last two years and it's great to be here now, because we almost forgot how it is here. I'm looking forward to seeing how the people are, and we all are very excited.
Moritz: So you have been touring Australia and Japan just some time ago. What have been the experiences there been like? Was it the same with Japan as everytime, these amazing crowds? You are so popular there.
Henkka: Yeah, Japan is always the same! Always very good. You know what you get there. You get excactly what you expect. This time we toured there very long, we did 9 shows there. We've been to Australia and did 4 shows, and all were sold out. That was great too. We're very happy about that.
Moritz: So, you're touring the "Are you dead yet?"-Album. How do you feel about that record now, some months after the release?
Henkka: Lucky, always we've done an album we always think that's the best one.
That's very important for the musicians I think, they always can say "yes, we are little bit better now". Are you dead yet? is so much different to the "Hatecrew Deathroll" album. Kind of two different worlds. So I love Hatecrew Deathroll and I am proud of it too, when it came out, but somehow the new one is little bit better because different. The new one is not so predictable.
Stephan: In how far predictable? Concerning the "Hatecrew Deathroll" album?
Henkka: Yeah I think "Hatecrew Deathroll" is just predictable. Now we are more surprising.
(geile Nachfrage Herr Stahl! Anmerkung von Moritz)
Moritz: Before you started the rehearsals for the current album you came in trouble because of Alexi's arm.
Henkka: Yeah hehe. When he was drunk he climbed up a car and he fell down. He smashed his face and he broke a couple of bones (was für ein Satz! Legendär!!). So he couldn't play for some months.
Stephan: Do you know the intention for doing this?
(noch geilere Nachfrage Herr Stahl! Anmerkung von Moritz)
Moritz: Just take the "Are you dead yet?" album and compare it to all the other C.O.B.-releases. Would you see any differences there? Or is it just one step further in the story of Children Of Bodom?
Henkka: We didn't want to change anything. I think Children Of Bodom is one path we are going. We started with "Something Wild" and now we are here. We never stepped away from that path. We never tried to change our direction or to go another way or to try a new style. We just try to play the songs and the music we want to do. Okay, the new one is little different, but better as we think. We always do music the same way: Alexi shows the riff and then we are jamming together, we're putting the songs together, and then there is a new album! It's just a natural development.
Moritz: So you are very proud of the album, but not of the cover-artwork. It has been Janne and Alexi telling that in the Rock Hard Magazine some months ago.
Henkka: Yeah, that was before they saw the final artwork. They only saw the raw version. Alexi thought this would be the final and thought: "What the fuck is this?? Looks like a demotape!". But the final one was better then.
Moritz: So now, for the people who don't know so much about the band, please just give a little history of Children Of Bodom.
Henkka: Hm, yes, we have been friends in school. Alexi had the idea to make a band and I joined. So then we did a couple of demotapes and then the first album and in 1997 we got the record deal for "Something Wild". Just before that album, Janne joined the band. He was supposed to be a session player, but he remained in the band as you can see.
Stephan: How long did it take to get your record deal and how many demos did you record?
Henkka: We did three demos. And with the third demo we got the deal. But then we got into different labels. So "Something Wild" was recorded by ourselves, and the Label we got then was not the best. But when "Something Wild" was ready and Spineform Records heard it, they took us.
Moritz: So what are your personal finnish top bands?
Henkka: Finnish. ööhhm.... Give me a second. Down My Throat, Metalcore from Helsinki. Stratovarius have been a great influence for us, unfortunately they are not doing so well now, but they have lot of legendary stuff. Sentenced. They have always been a great influence too.
Moritz: And what are your personal influences or favourite bands outside the metal scene?
Henkka: There's a lot. We all love different styles of music. First of course there is Rock-Music like AC/DC or a finnish band called Peer Gynt. Then I like some funky stuff like Prince, he is a genious, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And almost everything Madonna has done. That's really influencing.
Moritz: What was your personal first touch with metal?
Henkka: That was either the first album of Deicide or A Vulgar Display Of Power from Pantera. After that I got the first one of Cannibal Corpse, and then Slayer's "Seasons In The Abyss". Those four albums were the beginning of my metal career.
Moritz: Then do you have any idols? Or do you have any musicians that inspire you as a musician as well?
Henkka: No I don't have any idols. But as a musician for example Flea is so great (Chili Peppers-Bassist) or Slayer as a band, kind of a perfect career in there world of heavy and extreme stuff.
Moritz: So Children Of Bodom always plays music with very high and hard technics to play. What are personally for you the most difficult ones to play?
Henkka: The new ones. Usually of course the new ones are most difficult. At the moment it's "Living Dead Beat". It not so fast, but has some very hard parts to play.
Moritz: Okay! Then there is one more question at the end: If you would have the possibility to create your perfect band with all the musicians living all over the world: What would be your line up?
Henkka: Well I mean of course Children Of Bodom is the perfect band for me. I have my friends there, great musicians, the music I live, really perfect.
But if I had to choose: Then there would be Zakk Wylde and Steve Vai, Flea and Phil Anselmo. Drummer would be Chad Smith from Chili Peppers.
Moritz: So that's it! Thank you for your time and hopefully play a great gig later!
Henkka: Yeah, thank you!
Authors: Moritz Kellner & Stephan Stahl