Before their set in Manchester, our writer, Mick Birchall sits with Janne Wirman from Children of Bodom to talk about 20 years of the band and how they kept up in the music industry. Also, touring and the music scene in general.
This year marks 20 years of Children of Bodom. How does it feel to be able to say that you have actually been going that long?
Yes, it’s crazy it really is. We weren’t really expecting that when we started. Back then we were just kids and we played heavy metal metal. Yeah it’s great it really is. Just the though that we’ve made it this far.
You guys have played all around the world. Would you say there a difference in audience, depending on where you go?
You be surprised on how little the differences are really. Metal heads are metal heads no matter where you go. If there are differences then they’d be small things. Such as in Japan, the crowd will probably go completely silent between the songs, it feels a little awkward. However, it is a show of respect. So it’s things like that but when the music is on, it’s on!
Going for 20 years now and with 9 albums. How do you feel you keep your music sounding new without wearing out the same sound, but also without compromising the core of the band?
That’s becoming a challenge after releasing so many albums and we definitely don’t want to be stuck to a formula or get stuck the mindset of “this worked well, let’s just do that again”. As a band you have to keep creating something new and you have to take a risk with something eventually. I mean there’s only so many bands that can release the same album over and over.
Over the years what is the one song you wish you had written as a band?
I would say Redneck by Lamb of God.
What would be the best band that you have opened for and what’s the best band that’s opened for you?
I’d say the best we’ve opened for is Slayer. We did a couple tour with them and it was just great. Their level of production and how well the opening bands were treated it was just amazing.
On the other hand we’ve had the pleasure of having so many killer band open the show for us. We had this band recently play with us. Havok they were really great, we’ve heard them play and every audience they’ve played for people have just loved them. Also we have Oni with us on this tour. They’re really cool, with a xylophone player. If you’re into the weird stuff then Oni is for you.
What’s your impression of the more gimmicky bands out there. The ones who will dress up and get into character for a show?
I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it. Just don’t paste it over your image, if your band sound sounds fine without gimmicks then don’t paste it over the top of it. Only do it if it’s natural to the kind of music that you’re trying to create. Also, if you’re going to do it, make it your own thing. Don’t take another band idea and slap it over your band, try to be original with a concept.
So to end on. What was the hardest thing you had to overcome and how did you overcome it?
We’ve had some obstacles in band. Obviously letting Roope (Latvala) go was a tough decision. We were struggling without him for sometime. When you’ve been in the industry for this long you’ve had up and and downs. At the end of the day, everyone in the band has to believe in the same thing, then between all of you you get through rough times. As long as you have you bandmates there’s very little that they’ll let you do wrong.
Interview and words by Mick Birchall