On March 8th, Finnish melodic metal heavyweights Children of Bodom will release their latest studio album, Hexed, through Nuclear Blast. The album, the tenth of their career, will be followed by another extensive run of touring including a return to the UK in August when the band will perform at Bloodstock Open Air. Ahead of the release of Hexed (pre-order your copy here) we spoke with bassist Henkka Seppälä about the album and returning to the road.
Thanks for your time on this Friday evening, Henkka. Hexed is about to come out, how are things with the band? Henkka: Things are good, it’s very exciting. The record itself was actually finished back in July but we had to hold on to release it because of business technicalities. A few things needed to be sorted out then the date was probably not the best time to put it out because of various business things so we decided to hold off until now.
You’ve spent quite a bit of time on this record do you think that was a good thing for the album and do you think it affected the way the record turned out? Henkka: I’m sure it did affect the way the record sounded. You know, even midway through the album the schedule changed and, well, we actually ended up with more time that we thought we had. At that time I think we had about three songs done and we got the chance to go on tour so we took a break from the album, did the tour and it was nice to play those songs then come back in the studio. I think it made listening to them again very interesting.
See what life is really like for Children of Bodom on “This Road”.
Talking about touring, Alexi said that life on the road has become a blur after twenty years. How is it for you? Henkka: For me, life on the road is more disciplined. You wake up, you look at your schedule and you have that all planned out then you get to do the highlight of the day which is play the show, then you come off stage and you repeat the process. When you get home, it feels like you are a little lost because you have spent all this time following a routine and you come home and there is nobody to tell you what to do so it’s a little strange for a few days.
Given your relentless touring schedule, how important was it for you to take some time out to record this album? Henkka: I guess it was but, you know, like I said the record was ready in July and back then we were ready to go out on tour again. We did a special tour towards the end of last year in Finland which was a lot of fun but, like I said, we’ve been ready to tour since the album was finished in July (laughs).
The artwork has a very back-to-basics feel to it, did that affect how you approached writing the music at all? Henkka: Not at all, we didn’t think about taking it back-to-basics. I know some people have already said that but there was no conscious effort to go that way. I think because of the twentieth anniversary shows where we played some of the older material, that may have subconsciously affected the material but it wasn’t something we planned.
The album Hexed dropped on March 8th, 2019, via Nuclear Blast Records.
In terms of the artwork what inspired that approach this time? Henkka: Well, it is something we have talked about for a few years now. We’ve talked a lot about the idea of using a painting for the artwork but it just hasn’t felt right. I found the artist online and everyone agreed now was the right time. The thing about it is that, before, you could see it progressing and you could make changes but, with this, the artist gave us some sketches then the next thing we saw of it was the final product. It was very exciting but, at the same time, very scary.
You also worked with longtime Children Of Bodom collaborator Mikko. How much does it help working with someone who gets what the band is about? Henkka: It’s very comfortable for us as we trust him 100%. He makes the right choices and we know that when he tells us that something is finished then it is and the same as if he tell us we need to change something or try something again. Trust is the most important thing for us and we have 100% trust in Mikko.
You’ve tried a few different things on this album including a slower track in “Hecate’s Nightmare” and a reworking of an older Bodom track “Knuckleduster”. Henkka: Yes, we have a couple of slow songs on the album and “Hecate’s Nightmare” being one of them. It’s something different for us - it’s simple, catchy and it has a great chorus. As for “Knuckleduster” that was something we had talked about for a while and, again, we just decided to give it a go.
This is obviously the start of a new chapter for the band. How do you feel now, almost twenty-five years into your Children of Bodom career? Henkka: [laughs] Well, twenty-five years, it’s a long time but I feel very grateful that I get to do this every day and have done for a long time now. I feel very lucky but, you know, twenty-five years, well, that makes me feel really old when I think about it like that [laughs].
Check out “Under Grass and Clover,” a new track from Hexed, right here.
Onto the future then, how would you describe the mood in the band looking ahead? Henkka: We’re very excited! We’re actually seeing each other again for the first time in quite a while shortly so that will be great. It will be the first time we’ll have all been together for quite a while and I’m looking forward to getting onstage again to rehearse and play the new songs.
And here in the UK, we’ll be seeing you at Bloodstock in August? Henkka: Yes, we’re very excited about that. Bloodstock is a great festival and we have always had a great time there. It has a great atmosphere and while it is a big festival, it also feels quite cosy.
Hopefully though, that won’t be Children of Bodom’s only visit to the UK this year? Henkka: I hope not. We’re doing some festivals then a few weeks in Russia and the Ukraine then hopefully, we would like to do a full headline tour of Europe before the end of the year which we would like to include a tour of your island. Every time we go over to the UK it gets better so we want to get back as soon as we can.
Amen to that! Thanks for your time Henkka, good luck with the album and hopefully we’ll see you soon. Henkka: Thank you! I can’t wait for the fans to check out the album and hopefully see us at one of the festivals we will be playing. If you can’t get to one of those though then hopefully we’ll be back before the end of the year so check us out then!