Children Of Bodom interview (02/2012)
|Conducted by:||D.T. Metal (in person)|
Children Of Bodom
Dubbed the "15th Anniversary" North American Tour, Children Of Bodom are currently trekking through our continent with special guests Eluveitie, Revocation and Threat Signal. Before playing an almost sold out show at the Gothic Theater in Englewood, CO I had the opportunity to chat with rhythm guitarist Roope Latvala.
Birgit: Hey man; thanks for taking the time to do this interview and if you don't mind, let's start with a bit of history. You are the newest member of the band, joining in 2003 after Alexander left. In a nutshell, how did you land this gig?
Roope: Well, originally Alexi and I played in another band together called Sinergy. Children Of Bodom still had some touring and random gigs coming up when Alexander had left and we had decided that I just fill in for the tours. This was during the Hate Crew Deathroll era. And then it just happened that there came more tours and then it was time to start recording a new album and it kinda just settled in, I somehow sneaked in. (laughs)
Birgit: So was the guitar your first instrument?
Roope: I played a little bit piano when I was really small and then I started playing the classical guitar.
Birgit: You used to play Jackson guitars; did your joining Children Of Bodom made you switch to ESP, since Alexi and Henkka use and are endorsed by them as well?
Roope: No, I just wanted to switch. It was during that time when Jackson was sold to Fender [ed. Jackson/Charvel was bought by the Fender Co. in the fall of 2002] and Alexi's guitars got stolen. The local endorsement guys turned to ESP and they promised that they can actually build me whatever I want. So I thought why the hell not. (laughs)
Birgit: Do you still play your Jackson?
Roope: Yes, from time to time if we do some Stone stuff. I still have three Rhandy's at home.
Birgit: A lot of people call Blooddrunk the beginning of the thrashier era for the band, but in my opinion it was Are You Dead Yet?; meaning your first album with the band. Do you believe your experience with Stone changed the sound of Children Of Bodom from that point forward?
Roope: Well, (pause) actually yes, but I can also find a lot of similarities in the Hatebreeder stuff. There are some riffs and it's pretty clear where they came from, just to be completely honest here. (laughs)
Birgit: Is there a chance that Stone will ever reunite?
Roope: I don't think so, we might do a gig or two but we haven't had any talks about putting new stuff out.
Birgit: Let's talk about Relentless Reckless Forever for a minute. On the cover for "Party all the Time" James-Paul Luna from Holy Grail did guest vocals which was very surprising to me. So how did you end up enlisting Luna?
Roope: I think he is Matt Hyde's friend and he happened to be around the studio at this time.
Birgit: I see, well and speaking of Matt Hyde; this was also the first time you brought in an outside producer. How was your overall experience and can we look for another release with him on board?
Roope: We haven't talked about producer and stuff like that yet. We actually have some plans on doing the next record in our own rehearsal site since we have a full functioning studio in there too. But working with Matt Hyde was kinda like with Mikko [ed. Karmila]. Both guys are quick how they operate so all worked out. (laughs)
Birgit: About the Video shoot for "Was It Worth It?"; do any of you guys skate?
Roope: Alexi used too when he was younger and the other guys do a little skating. But no, not really; it's not healthy breaking bones. (laughs)
Birgit: I assume this is the last touring cycle for Relentless Reckless Forever here in North America; so did you already write some new songs or do you do that all in at home or in the studio?
Roope: We do that at home. It is pretty hard to write when you are touring, different things happening every day and it's hard to focus. But once this tour is done we will begin writing stuff immediately.
Birgit: What comes first in a Children Of Bodom song; the music or the lyrics and who are the main composers in the band?
Roope: It's usually the music for sure. I think Alexi is writing some lyrics already but I don't know if they will end up on the new album. We start with a bunch of riffs and then decided how they match with each other. Alexi is the main composer, but I will drop a riff or two and then we pretty much arrange it together. We start jamming and then it becomes teamwork at some point I guess.
Birgit: Real quick about touring; you guys just played on the 70 000 Tons of Metal cruise; how was it and what kind of impression did the cruise have on you?
Roope: Massive hang-over for sure! (laughs) But it was fun with a lot of good bands playing on the ship and the fans were also great. The weather was nice, so just standing on the deck with a cold drink and having a lot of good friends there as well, what could be better?
Birgit: So, was this the first time you played on a cruise ship?
Roope: No, we played at Spinefeast one time. It leaves Helsinki and travels to Estonia; so just a little cruise, one day.
birgit: This tour is your 15 year anniversary tour; who chooses the set list? Is that a democracy or is Alexi the dictator on what get's played?
Roope: (laughs) it's a democracy. But it is pretty hard to do our set list because there are always some songs you have to leave out because of playing time. We are actually messing around with the set list right now and I am not sure what we will play today. We try to sneak a few oldies in there as well. But there has been way too much fuss about that 15 year thing; 15 years is not all that long. (laughs)
Birgit: How often do you rehearse before going on tour?
Roope: Depends on what we play. For songs we haven't played in a long time we listen to them at home and then practice them a bit so it looks like we know what we are doing. (laughs)
Birgit: Do you prefer playing at a big festival or the more intimate club gig; and why?
Roope: I like medium size clubs. There seems to be a better sound and more often a better atmosphere or vibe in the house. But festivals are also cool, the summer ones.
Birgit: You store some of your backline here in the states now;
Roope: yeah, finally. We should have done that a long time ago; shipping costs a lot of money.
Birgit: So what gear do you bring with you from Finland, well other than some guitars and maybe cymbals?
Roope: That's about it, personal ones that you have to have. But the amps and bass drums, at least the frames and stuff like this is all here in the states. And we have cabinets from Engl now, so it's cool to just have them here.
Birgit: Makes it easier to travel for sure then. Now just a couple odds and ends questions to wrap it up; it has been a while since you released a DVD; any plans for a live DVD?
Roope: There was, but now the plan is buried and I don't know when and what.
Birgit: There were talks about a photo book; did that thing come out already?
Roope: I don't think so but it should be out sometimes this month, I guess. It should have been out a couple of months ago but I don't know what happened.
Birgit: Whose idea was it to launch the "Mobil Backstage" app, the label, the management?
Roope: I think so and Henkka has been really active on it. I forgot we had it, I guess I really need to check it out. (laughs)
Birgit: Do you think this is the future of interacting with the fans compared to the old message boards or band newsletter?
Roope: It could be. We have a really active Facebook page and I am just amazed on how many people follow us, one and half a million or so. And when we write something and don't check it for a while, it's like shit; there are already 500 comments on it. (laughs)
So yes, in a way I think social media sites are the up to date thing and you instantly can share things with a lot of people.
Birgit: Speaking of your fans; young, old, male, female, what are the major differences playing here in the states compared to Europe or the rest of the world for that matter?
Roope: I don't know. I think they are the same all over the world, polite young heavy metal people, you know. But it's different in every city.
Birgit: So where do you think you have the best fan base? I hear playing in South America is sick.
Roope: It sure is, but also here, especially in the bigger cities, like New York or Los Angeles. And Montreal has always been good to us; it's a great heavy metal town and Toronto as well. An of course there are places that always sell good, like Paris and of course home town shows are always great.
Birgit: How about Germany? Your last album charted on Nr. 20 there.
Roope: It's kinda slow there. Universal [ed. Music Group] in Germany is actually not all that interested in us, so we got those few territories that suck pretty bad for us right now in a way. But of course it's always great playing in Germany. But they get a lot of bands playing there and there are always a lot of tours and festivals happening; I don't know if they are a little spoiled in a way. (laughs)
Last time we played in the eastern territories, like Bucharest and Sophia and that was surprisingly great. I like to check out new places and we have a great fan base there.
Birgit: So what is next for Children Of Bodom after this tour?
Roope: Recording and also some Summer Festivals pretty much starting from late May on.
Birgit: Will you be playing at Bloodstock?
Roope: No, I don't think Bloodstook was one of them; Graspop for sure and a bunch more, but no Wacken this year. Hopefully we will get the Roskilde Festival slot since I always wanted to do that one.
Birgit: So, would it be safe to say that the next time you will be touring in North America will be after the next album is out?
Roope: Well, let's say maybe. We are definitely coming back but I don't know when.
Birgit: Sweet, so we can maybe hope for your return sooner rather than later. Well, that's it, thanks again for taking your time to sit down with me.
A review of the show can be found here.
Thanks to Amy from Good Fight Entertainment
and to Roope for his time.
Conducted by D.T. Metal.
Thanks to Amy from Good Fight Entertainment
and to Roope for his time.
Conducted by D.T. Metal.
Posted on 14.02.2012 by
Professional concertgoer ... dangerously armed with a camera!
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