Children of Bodom: Alexi Laiho Discusses Berzerkus Tour
GW Matt Hyde is a great choice. He’s done Slayer’s God Hates Us All, one of the heaviest records of all time, as well as radio-friendly albums.
LAIHO It’s not really about what he’s done in the past; it’s just the way he talked to us about music. We sat down with eight different producers, and Matt just seemed the most committed and enthusiastic. He showed up to rehearsals in Helsinki and just started throwing ideas at us. It was a really cool thing, because we never really had anybody work with us in preproduction, and his ideas were actually good. That said, it’s not a bad thing if he produced God Hates Us All.
GW Do you ever feel confined by some of the musical decisions you made when you were young? It must take a lot of energy to sing and play the way you do.
LAIHO Singing? You mean the screaming? [laughs] Yeah.
GW I didn’t mean to imply…
LAIHO It’s cool. That’s what I think, anyway. I’m a guitar player more than I am a singer. I just scream my ass off.
It does take a lot of physical energy when you’re touring and playing live night after night. It can wear you down if you’re not used to it. I remember the first time we started doing long tours—by “long” I mean more than four gigs in a row—and it was just terrible, because I would lose my voice completely after the fourth show. Nothing would come out, and I didn’t really know what to do about that, so I just started asking other dudes who did death metal vocals. They all tried to explain how they sang from their stomach [diaphragm], but I couldn’t figure out what they meant. Eventually, it clicked. I started using my stomach without realizing it, and after that I never really lost my voice again.
GW Still, your stamina must be extraordinary.
LAIHO I know what you’re saying. It’s not even just the singing and playing. You have to headbang, run around and act a little crazy onstage. I always try to give 100 percent, but sometimes you’re just tired. Our drummer and I will joke after gigs on occasion and say, “I wish I would’ve gave some serious thought before I made a career out of playing extreme metal.” It can fucking hurt. I’ve actually vomited my guts out while playing the solo to “Blooddrunk” and then run back to the front of the stage and kept on screaming. But what are you going to do? You have to get it done, and once you’re done—once you pull it off—it feels like you’ve actually done something, that you did your job. And that’s a good feeling.
GW The grass is always greener…
LAIHO That’s why I’m saying that, at the end of the day, the grass on this side is pretty fucking green. I can’t complain for even one second
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