It’s 2 in the afternoon in Finland, and the country is in the throes of one of its coldest, most brutal summers in recent memory. Maybe Mother Nature snuck an early listen to Children Of Bodom’s punishing new album, I Worship Chaos and reacted appropriately.
The band’s 9th studio LP is due to arrive on October 2nd, and the heavy metal capital of the world’s favourite sons haven’t wasted any time plotting a celebratory trip Down Under for what will be their biggest Australian tour yet, supporting thrash legends Megadeth at arena-sized venues across the nation.
Bodom bassist Henkka Seppälä can’t wait to escape the bone-chilling cold of the Finnish summer for the steamy Aussie spring this October, and he sat down to chat with Music Feeds about his favourite Aussie brew (you’ll be surprised), his top Megadeth album, his thoughts on the bass chops of Metalocalypse’s William Murderface, and tease us to no end about the identity of Bodom’s new mystery member, who it seems is already waiting in the wings.
Listen: Children Of Bodom – Morrigan
Music Feeds: G’day Henkka, so we’ve gotta start with the news that just broke – you guys are coming back for a tour this October – do you still get excited about schlepping all the way down here after so many years together?
Henkka Seppälä: Yeah, always, always. I think we’ve come about 3 or 4 times now but [this time’s] very special because it’s bigger. We only ever did our own headlining shows so this is our opportunity to play to a lot bigger venues [and to] bigger crowds. So we are actually more excited than we normally are.
MF: After growing up somewhere as notoriously cold as Finland, do you still get a touch of body shock coming to a place like Australia where it’s so hot and humid?
HS: We’re used to it. And I really enjoy the heat and I really enjoy tropical weather so I love it, it doesn’t matter how hot it is. But I know that some of the guys won’t agree (chuckles).
MF: Are you much of a surfer?
HS: I’ve only surfed once in Manly beach, close to Sydney, that’s the only time I’ve had time to surf there… I was on a nice long-board and quite mellow waves so it was good, I got a couple of nice ones… Hopefully this time I have more time to go surfing.
MF: And how do you feel about Australian beer?
HS: I’m a big beer drinker, I like the Aussie beers. VB is good because I love the shape, and for lager it [has] a little bit more bitter taste.
MF: Ooh, controversial.
HS: (Laughs) Yeah, I would say that’s my favourite.
MF: So you guys are touring buddies with Megadeth this time around, have you had much to do with those dudes before?
HS: We did one tour with them some years ago in the States, that was a long one I think, six weeks or seven weeks, so yeah we know some of the guys. There’s been some lineup changes lately so I don’t know the new guys, but I’ve always been a fan, so it’s good to go back with them.
MF: Do you have a personal favourite Megadeth album?
HS: It has to be Rust In Peace.
MF: Good choice! And like you mentioned, the ‘Deth have gone through some lineup changes lately, which they have a tendency to do, but you guys have also undergone a bit of a reshuffle since the last time you were here… Has having (keys player Janne Wirman’s little brother) Antti on guitar changed the vibe onstage much?
HS: Well he’s with us only temporarily filling in for this year. By the end of the year we will have somebody else permanently playing in the band, but he is doing a great job. It’s amazing how fast he picked up like 20 songs, and his playing is amazing, so I just have to give him a lot of respect and I’m very happy that he was able to fill in with such short notice. It’s very good to have him.
MF: Have you guys decided who the permanent replacement for Roope (Latvala) is going to be?
HS: We are talking with one guy already and everything seems to be good with him, and I hope that things will work out and he’s gonna be the new guy. And I think that by the end of the year we should have everything set. But yeah, I guess I shouldn’t say any names yet (laughs). By the end of the year you will know.
MF: Are we allowed to ask if he happens to be from a band that we might… perhaps… already know?
HS: Yeahhhhhh…. At least he’s been in some bands that some people might know, yes.
Listen: Children Of Bodom – I Hurt
MF: Ok well we won’t milk you for any more info, but colour us intrigued! So we have to ask this one for our own safety. With just how heavy the new album is sounding, is there a chance that fans might get their eardrums blown completely off before Megadeth even hit the stage at these shows?
JS: (Laughs) I don’t know. We will probably play a couple of songs from the album and then we will play some old tunes of course, we will see. I don’t even know how much stage time we have on this tour, but hopefully we have enough to play some from the new and lots of old ones too, so something for everybody.
MF: So let’s talk about the new album, we heard it for the first time today and it’s absolutely pulverising… What are the main things you want fans to know?
HS: It’s really hard for me to describe the music itself because we’ve always done it the same way… But we are more excited about this record than we have been in the last 10 years. So there’s something new going on here, I cannot really put my finger on it [but] we are really, really happy with it.
MF: And after releasing 8 albums, sitting down to write number 9, what was that like? Are you guys at a point where the pressure’s off and you can just pretty much do whatever the damn hell you want?
HS: I think we’ve always done [that] (laughs). But at the beginning of the career I think the pressure was harder because we didn’t really know how to deal with it. You know, we just do our thing, and we just try to keep on the basic notion that ‘let’s do the thing that we want to do and let’s not try to think about other people’s opinions while writing the songs’.
That’s how the band [was] formed in the first place and that’s how we always try to keep the spirit with the band. And now it is a little bit easier because we’ve done – as you said – nine albums.
MF: When you’re always writing and playing such heavy music all the time, do you ever like to listen to other stuff as a guilty pleasure? Could we ever find you unwinding with some smooth jazz, for instance, or – dare we say – pop?
HS: (Laughs) well jazz I never understood, but yeah I do hip-hop some days, and I think my guilty pleasure would be some old American country music.
MF: Oooh, anyone in particular?
HS: Well my favourite record – I think it’s a best of, by Hank Williams Jr.
MF: And you guys famously covered Britney Spears back in 2005, are there any other pop songs around today that you think Bodom would do a pretty mean cover of?
HS: I don’t know, I think if there was we would already have done it (laughs).
MF: Something else random that we’d like to know – are you guys fans of the show Metalocalypse? Because I heard a rumour that the character of Skwisgaar Skwigelf was based on Alexii?
HS: Yeah we know the series and we’ve been watching most of it. And I don’t know if anyone is based on Alexii but I know that there was some episode that was something about us, like a band from the lakes of Finland.
MF: And do you rate Murderface as a bass player?
HS: (Laughs) I don’t see much similarities with him. He’s a good man. He’s pretty handsome.
MF: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today. Do you have any final words for your Aussie fans before you come see us in October?
HS: Like I said, we’re just very excited to come back to Australia and play all these massive venues. There’s a lot of people who’ve never heard of us, because before we played only these small clubs, but finally we’re going to be doing these big ones with Megadeth. So it’s a great opportunity for us and hopefully some people who’ve never heard of us will at least see how we are. Whether they like it or not.
Children Of Bodom tour with Megadeth this October, grab all the deets here.
Listen: Children Of Bodom – I Worship Chaos