In light of their newest effort Are You Dead Yet? Children of Bodom have saddled up once again and hit the North American roads to deliver the trademark Hatecrew sound to the masses. On the second day of their extensive tour, bassist Henkka T. Blacksmith took the liberty to answer some questions with regard to the new album and Children of Bodom in general – Most of the questions being those suggested on the Metalreviews Forum. While sitting together and indulging on some Jack Daniel’s in what used to be an old freezer in the backstage, this is what he had to say:

First off I’d like to thank you for taking the time to answer some questions, I really appreciate it
Not a problem, sorry if I made you wait, things god screwed up with the schedules as usual
Its fine, I mingled with the wannabe “backstage babes” in the meanwhile. So to get the ball rolling, Children of Bodom have virtually been becoming bigger and bigger with every passing day and correct me if I’m wrong but you guys even hit number one on the Finn charts recently, is that right?
Yes that’s right, the last two albums have been quite successful
How are you guys coping with this rising success?
Well the only thing that is really changing is that we’re doing more touring, and touring is really fun so there isn’t really all that much to cope with.
Well I mean you have to admit that there must be a relationship between your success and the number of girls your getting, that must be something new to cope with?
(chuckles and shakes his head) No, no, no
Ah you Finns are so modest. My next question is the many people say that you have pioneered a new kind of metal, and it isn’t uncommon that you hear people say “oh this band sounds like Children of Bodom” n’such. What do you have to say about such comments?
Well, people are always talking about this kind of thing, that a lot of bands sound a lot like Children of Bodom, but I personally haven’t heard many bands that sound too much like us, maybe one or two, but ya you can say there are some strong similarities between us and them. In fact, when people tell me this kind of thing I think it is flattering, it’s only a good thing, and I don’t see it as a negative thing that bands are sounding like us because it makes us feel like we have really created some kind of music style. I personally don’t really agree that we have started a separate music style though, but I do agree that the first album that we did was quite different at the time and from there we have just been developing the sound and here we are today, and the sound of the first album and the latest one has really changed a lot. I think that bands which sound like Children of Bodom sound more like the earlier Children of Bodom.
Are there any specific bands that you believe are worthy of mention that share the Bodom sound?
Well there’s definitely Norther, even though I don’t think they really think they sound like Cildren of Bodom, but they are nevertheless the ones that are usually blamed for it. We don’t mind at all because they’re really good friends of ours and we rehearse in the same room so ya.
My next question flows in quite well to the last issue you began talking about and that is the transitions from album to album. People argue that you’ve distanced yourselves from the more melodic and neoclassical sound of older releases like “Something Wild” and “Hatebreeder” and traded it for heavy and “in your face” kind of sound. Can you explain this change?
Well yeah I agree with the kind of change that has been happening, but there is not really a reason for that and the development is just very natural. We have always been doing the music in the same way and we have always been 5 guys in the rehearsal place with the guitars. Alexi comes up with the riffs and we all just jam together and come up with stuff. We never really contemplate with which direction we should go and what influences we should bring in so we have just done like we wanted and we never thought of any consequences or upcoming trends anything like that. What I have to admit is that there has been some obvious change in the music but there was nothing that was meant, and I do agree that we have left all the neoclassical out somehow.
Would you say that next albums you plan on recording will be in the same vein of sound and heaviness as Are You Dead Yet?
Probably. We like it heavy!
Don’t we all. In the minds of many metal maniacs Hatebreeder is already being held as a classic album and do you believe it deserves this title? And also considering it hasn’t been so long since it has been released?
Well I myself wouldn’t call it a classic, and I don’t think any of us would, but what would you define as a classic album?
A classic album, I would say, is somewhat of a milestone – a metal album that has had a significant impact in the Metal genre or has changed the face of it, and a lot of people regard Hatebreeder as being one of those albums.
To me, it sounds a little too much. And I wouldn’t really call it a classic. For me a classic album is an album like Slayer’s “Reign in Blood”.
What do you think of bands like In Flames and Metallica? And what do you think about people saying that they have been watering down their music in an effort to reach a larger audience?
I think that Metallica was quite big even before they did the Black Album, and I mean it sold like millions. I don’t really know if they wanted to make the audience wider, I never thought about it that way, to me its just a bunch of guys that wanted to do something they’ve never done before. So I don’ think Metallica did it for the audience, but then again I don’t think that St-Anger sounded very natural for the band even though they tried to do something that sounded like the stuff back in the old days. I do like Metallica, but what they did before the black album and since then I had lost interest. Well actually, I bought St-Anger and really didn’t like it. About In Flames, I have always always been a fan of theirs, and Whoracle was the first album I got. Colony I loved, Clayman I loved, and Reroute to Remain was something VERY special to me and then… which one was the one after that?
The notorious “Soundtrack To Your escape”
Ah yes… this one I really never got into it. I didn’t pay too much attention to it. But I don’t know if they can be blamed for trying to reach a larger audience with this album.
I personally did not see your DVD which came with the release of your last EP, but people have been saying you guys seem to be bordering alcoholism on it. What do you say to these “allegations” and do you think that alcohol hinders or improves the sound of Children of Bodom
(laughs loudly) Well yes, for the DVD we got quite drunk, but then again it was just one night so people can’t really say that we’re alcoholics… but yeah… we got totally wasted that night and it was quite fun. About the music, and the creativeness…hmmm… I think that, for example, on the stage if you have a nice amount of alcohol in you it makes the performance better…
Hell yeah, I’ll vouch for that. You think I do this radio show without drinking? I don’t think that Howard Stern became famous by being naturally crazy.
(laughs loudly) Well yeah of course, that’s the way it goes, but, for example, in the studio if you would have to record something while drunk it doesn’t work out too well. We never tried making the songs drunk, but I don’t know maybe we should try it someday.
Well that just about wraps up the questions I had for you, are there any last words you would like to say to all the Metalheads out there reading or listening to this interview tonight?
Hope you enjoyed the show tonight Montreal and we will be back to play for you soon!

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