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Children of Bodom Interview

by Mark Hensch

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Mark Hensch took a break from his new duties as editor of Thrashpit.com to speak with Children of Bodom's Keyboardist Janne Warman about a variety of topics including their new album, cover tunes and touring. 

Mark Hensch: First off, congratulations on the new album. I must say I find it getting more and more playing time in my CD player as weeks go by...something about it really grows on ya dude! I really enjoy how far Bodom continues to progress...in an age when power/speed metal is really popular all over the world, something always manages to set you apart.

Janne Warman: Thanks man. Always great to hear somebody likes the new album.

MH: Alright, we'll start with a crazy question. Pretend for a moment that a huge tribe of natives has just been discovered in a remote jungle in the middle of nowhere, and somebody mentions to them that Children of Bodom is a band they should all listen to....when they come to you with no prior knowledge or experience with your band, how would you describe Children of Bodom's sound to them?

JW: Man, I hate this question!!! Haha, I wouldn't even try to do it. We're just Children of Bodom, ya know?

MH: Now, in my humble opinion, Are You Dead Yet? is a pretty wicked album. However, metalheads today have so many great albums to pick up at their record stores, so what would you say is the best reason to get a copy of your band's new album?

JW: Umm, no f***ing idea!!! I guess if you're into guitar shredding and soloing I'd say you'll like the new record.

MH: I'll admit that I wanted to interview you Janne as your keyboards are so important to Bodom's sound. How did you become so talented at playing the keyboards, and where did you pick up the ability to play such awesome, subtle melodies on all the songs (on any album, including Are You Dead Yet?)?

JW: We try to approach the keyboard with some thought into it....new and fresh ideas are key. We like to have me backup the songs with some underlying melody just as you said, and the leads and solos are just my own little parts I think up myself.

MH: Musicians are often called their own harshest critics. Going by this theme, what do you think is the worse song on Are You Dead Yet? and why? How about the best? Any reasons?

JW: In my mind the worse songs are "Bastards of Bodom" and "Trashed, Lost, and Strung-Out." I just don't like them because they don't sound good live. It just isn't any good!

MH: Wow, I didn't see that coming. Those are two of my favorite songs on the whole album!

JW: Sucks for you dude (haha). The best songs are probably "In Your Face" as that one always gets a great reaction live and its really fun for us to play..."We Aren't Going to Fall" has lots of energy so I like that one a lot too.

MH: Your musical output is pretty diverse, and you have strayed outside of Bodom a bit in the past. Are there any thoughts you'd like to offer about your solo-project, Warmen? How about your time in Masterplan or Kotipelto, led by the lead singer of a band as famous as Stratovirus (Timo Kotipelto)?

JW: Seeing as I was only with Kotipelto and Masterplan for one album or so, I don't really have any comments on that. As for Warmen, those three albums are like therapy for me. They are like my free time activity. I really enjoy being able to studio gadgets and being able to produce in my own studio as well, and I've done that with each of the three Warmen albums.

MH: What is your favorite album of all time and why?

JW: Everytime I give a new interview I say a new album! I'm going to have to say Alice Cooper's Trash. It's just such a classic hard rock album ya know? Hell, there's no bad songs on the whole CD!

MH: I'm going to leave the more musically focused questions behind for a bit....I'd like to ask you about Bodom's upcoming involvement with the Unholy Alliance Tour....I know I'm psyched to see Mastodon, Lamb of God, Bodom, and Slayer all on one bill! How did all this come together?

JW: This is a dream come true for us, as you almost have to be a Slayer fan (laughs). We're happy to be on it this summer as it's a really great line-up and we like Slayer and the other bands. We're actually doing it instead of Ozzfest, who've been trying to get us to play for the last three years or so.

MH: Speaking of tours, I'm assuming you've got some decent downtime in-between shows on the road and such. What are some of your personal hobbies and interests outside of music?

JW: Well, on tour, all we do is the waiting between shows! At home meanwhile, I do lots of driving. I belong to this sports car club with Ferraris and s***, and I just love driving around in my cars.

MH: You have a rep as being pretty kind to all the Children of Bodom fans out there. For example, your official forum has a large thread called "Ask Janne" where fans can ask you pretty much anything and you'll answer them if you get time....keeping with this theme, how important are the fans to Bodom in general and you in particular?

JW: The fans are the thing...really important of course! I always try to meet new people in-between shows and meeting cool folks is always ok.

MH: The video for "Are You Dead Yet?" hasn't been out too long here, and before that, "In Your Face" hit American airwaves. What can you tell us about the filming process for both of these videos? Where were both put to tape, and who came up with the ideas for each video?

*At this time a massive train goes by in Wisconsin, the stop on Bodom's tour*

JW: You hear that f***ing train? Anyways, our videos are mainly about us just playing. That's really all we like so we generally just leave it to the directors.

MH: Back to more musical questions....Bodom has this rich history of covering all number of crazy songs. Seriously, you guys have covered The Ramones, Billy Idol, Britney Spears, Slayer, Poison, W.A.S.P., Ozzy, and the Scorpions!!! Obviously, those are some pretty diverse choices. Who decides what to cover, and how do you guys imprint your sound on something like Britney Spears without making it be either lame or boring?

JW: Making cover songs is really fun and it is something all of us in Bodom really enjoy. We just, ya know...(trails off to word himself)...it is more odd for our fans to hear us cover say Britney Spears than say Iron Maiden. It is a stranger choice, and that is why we pick some of the songs we do. As for adding our sound, we just shred!

MH: Children of Bodom's guitarist Alexi Laiho has a reputation as a pretty wild dude. He recently spoke out in an interview against the guitarist of Dream Theater, and in a quote that in my opinion was taken out of context by Dream Theater fans, ignited some smoldering controversy in some arenas. Personally, I think it is a mark of courage when someone can freely speak their mind regardless of who it offends...however, do you guys in Bodom ever get sick of people thinking you are nothing but party-animals?

JW: Coining us as party animals is definitely fair! We like to party quite a bit as it passes the time on tours...if we have to drive everywhere we might as well have fun when we're not playing right? It is a lot of good times for us. Hell, I slept off a hangover till 7 in the evening so you know we get pretty crazy! I was really drunk last night and we had nine naked guys chilling out in the back lounge (laughs).

MH: Nine naked guys? Why not girls (laughs)?

JW: It has to do with Finnish culture...you'll grow into it someday (laughs again).

MH: Back to your keyboards again....when you play, I can hear hints of neo-classical influence in your keys, notes, and chords. Are you a classical music fan, and if you are, how do you take those influences and crossover with them into Bodom's sound without betraying either side?

JW: Some of the early albums were neo-classical...that s*** is so early 1990's! We want to move away from it somewhat as it's really popular right now and we want to find our own distinct sound.

MH: Many would say Bodom is a band on the rise in the music world. Is there any one moment for you that sticks out as a milestone for the band, almost as if you could look back and say that things got better for the music after just that one single point?

JW: I'm going to have to say our first show in Tokyo, Japan, back in 1998. It was a really special moment for me personally. The crowd was just nuts for everything we did. Bands always love being a big hit in Japan!

MH: You probably get this every interview haha....but any comments on the Bodom murders that inspired your band's name? 

JW: Hell no! I don't even want to talk about Bodom, Finland. We get that every f**king interview!

MH: Thanks Janne for your time, I greatly appreciate it. I hope you guys tear down roof after roof on your current tour, and maybe I'll see you this summer with Slayer and all those other great bands. Any last words or closing thoughts for our readers out there in cyberspace?

JW: Thanks for your time too. We're planning on lots of American and Japanese tour dates....next there's a short break in there...we then have Wacken Open Air Festival and a few Finnish concerts/festivals...then we have a short break before the Unholy Alliance Tour with Slayer...after that who knows? Thanks again! Stay metal!


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