Henkka Blacksmith Photo by Michael Demos
 
Interview by: Nicole Marie


Children Of Bodom, Eluveitie, Revocation and Threat Signal were our phenomenal guests last night at Club Reverb in Reading, Pa. Four diverse bands and a very diverse crowd; old, young, long hair, leather, chains, and blue face paint are only a few of the things we saw last night, and let me tell you, we all pulled it off, and it made for one AMAZING show! Fresh off the 70,000 Tons Of Metal Tour, and back on dry land, I was happy to sit down with COB’s Henkka Blacksmith for a talk about the band, their crazy busy schedule, and what us fans can expect from them next...N.M.

PI: Henkka, what do you think, because of your Finnish Heritage, makes you different from other metal bands?
HB: Umm I don’t know what it is about Finnish Bands. They say it is the culture of silence and long periods of darkness and high level of musical education, so maybe those are the rational reasons.

PI: For people who don’t know what your name stands for, can you please explain it, and why the band chose it?
HB: Bodom is a lake in southern Finland; it used to be a very popular lake in the summer for families. It has a nice beach with water slides and camping areas. And in the year 1960 two teenage couples were camping and during the night, somebody came and cut the wires of the tent so the tent collapsed on the teenagers inside, while they were sleeping, and then this person or persons started stabbing them through the tent. In the end, 3 of them were killed and 1 survived. The murderer was never caught and the motive was never found. Its actually one of the biggest crime mysteries in Finland. We chose it because it’s a funny word, Bodom is not even a Finnish word, I think it’s Swedish actually. And also because we are from that area; we were all kids when the murder happened.

Alexi Laiho Photo by Michael Demos
 
PI: So, Henri Samuli Seppälä is your real name, but you have a very extensive nickname “Henkka T. Blacksmith”, can you please explain where this nickname originated from?
HB: Well Henkka and Henri are pretty much the same meaning, Seppä means Blacksmith in English. The T stands for Torso. A couple years ago, for some reason I was using the word Torso for a curse word, like just as a slang thing, and then the other guys just started calling me Torso. That’s where it all came from, haha.

PI: I’ve read you can play many different instruments: bass, guitar, drums, & you can do vocals as well. If you had the chance to change your current position in the band, without anybody getting mad, would you switch to something else?
HB: No, haha. Maybe just for fun, one time, but.. yea, probably not, haha. Drums are too hard, I couldn’t pull that off. I probably couldn’t pull of guitar either. I’m good the way it is now.

PI: Compared to other Metal bands in your genre, your sound is very tight and technical. Did most of you learn this from more of a formal musical education or are you mostly self taught? Or both?
HB: Well most of us are educated. Everybody took lessons, that’s for sure. And some of us even went to musical schools. So because of that, the theory is definitely there. Most of the riffs are out of the theoretical world as we were taught. Although we do add our own sound and make it work for what we are doing. So to answer, yes, there is education, and like you said, you can hear it.

Children Of Bodom Live Photo by Michael Demos
 
PI: Do you still study political science and political history in the University of Helsinki? How exactly, with your busy band schedule, do you find time to do that?
HB: Yes I still do. I actually just finished my Thesis for my master’s degree, and I should be graduation this spring. (PI) Wow, masters, that’s pretty impressive, can you tell me what you did your thesis on? (HB) Well thank you, and I did it on development aid. And yes, I should be done with everything this spring. It’s hard to find the time, of course, that’s why it’s taken me 10 years to get my masters, haha.

PI: So you guys just got off the 70,000 Tons of Metal Tour, how did it go?  How does it feel to be back on dry land, haha? (The World's Biggest Floating Heavy Metal Festival. a total of 40 bands and 2,000 fans for a 4-day Caribbean adventure on a luxury cruise ship)
HB: Haha yes it went very well. There were a lot of bands we knew, actually there were like 5 or 6 Finnish bands. So yes it was a lot of fun, a lot of drinking! But it feels good to be back here, to be on the bus. You know you can’t be on a cruise forever, it’s quite rough to do. (PI)Yes I can imagine, would you do it again if you had the chance? (HB) I would probably not go as a tourist, but as a Musician I would definitely do it again. I loved it.

PI: Can you tell me, how are you treated in the US compared to how you’re treated in Finland?
HB: I would say in Finland we are a little bigger, the venues are bigger and a little more organized. Here it is more a low key thing, more down to earth. (PI) Do you like that better? (HB) I really don’t mind, as long as everything works out I am happy. And we always have the same crew, so we know the stage will always be ready when we need it and there will be no surprises.

Nicole Marie and Henkka Blacksmith Photo by Michael Demos
 
PI: Can you explain the title "RELENTLESS RECKLESS FOREVER?
HB: There is really no explanation for it, haha. It just means that after 10 years of doing albums, we are still doing the same thing that we want to do, and the thing we started with, and without doing any compromising. We are still doing our thing, that’s what it essentially means. (PI) Do you feel that you have continued on the same path that you originally wanted? (HB) Yeah, definitely, we never changed.

PI: So how did it feel to work with famed rock producer Matt Hyde (who also produced for Slayer, Monster Magnet), on your new album Relentless Reckless Forever?
HB: It felt really good. He is a really, really nice guy and that’s why we chose him. We saw that he could produce a really good record and he was a great guy. We all got along very well. He was very enthusiastic and committed to the whole process. We really enjoyed working with him.

PI: In your songs, a lot of your lyrics talk about, or tend to fixate on hell and the devil, can you explain to me what your personal beliefs are on those things?
HB: A lot of our lyrics come from daily situations, and normal things such as love and hatred. Its all metaphors I would say, like the devil maybe standing for a girlfriend or something haha. There are no actual religious meanings or anything, its all just symbols.

PI: A song on your latest album asks the question “Is it worth it”, do you believe it is?
HB: Yes, totally I think it is. When we were starting out we had no expectations, and we did everything step by step to get where we are now. But yes I believe it was all worth it. I wouldn’t change anything.

PI: Talking about another one of your songs, the very popular “Are you dead yet?” So if you don’t mind, can you tell us why exactly aren’t you dead yet?
HB: Haha! Well, I really haven’t done anything bad that would cause me to be dead yet, I would say I live a quite safe life. So that’s probably why, I would say, haha. Of course accidents can happen, but let’s hope not! (PI) Haha, yes, we don’t want any of those.

Children Of Bodom Spinefarm Records
 
PI: So after a long time of touring here, can you tell me, what is something about America that you love, and even that you hate?
HB: I really love the diversity, both geographical and culturally from this country. From Miami to Minnesota, and from Texas to Manhattan, I love how everywhere is so different. You know, two days ago we were in the port of Miami and now we’re in Pennsylvania, and it’s crazy to see how different it is. Like the climate and everything, it’s nice to see so many differences, and see so many different things to do in one country.  (PI) You’re very correct on that one. So what’s something that you hate? (HB) Well, I miss the city life. For example, here, there no like real cities, there’s just the “office hours” cities. Like tonight here in Reading, on a Sunday afternoon the city is dead. There’s nothing open. I was walking around and couldn’t even find a coffee shop that was open. That’s one thing I miss, and one thing I don’t like most about American cities. Of course there is places like in New York and Los Angeles where that isn’t the case, but that’s the biggest difference I see between here and Europe.

PI: So you guys have traveled all over the world, and you’re in America now, I have to ask, who has the hottest women, Finland, or America?
HB: Like I said about America, you have so many diversities that we just can not compete. We has such a small country, that there is no way we can compete with your great.. big.. diverse.. multicultural nation. Haha!

PI: Can you tell us, what is your favorite reason for doing this, or that makes you stay in this business?  What makes you wake up in the morning and keeps you doing what you do everyday.
HB: We have amazing live shows, they are always good. We get to really connect with our fans. Also seeing different places and different people. Those two combined is my reason.

PI: So what’s next on the agenda for Children of Bodom?
HB: Well these next 35 tour dates, we’ll do this tour, and then we go home. And then we will actually start writing new songs for an album in May and then we’ll go back on tour for summer and keep writing for the that album. Hopefully we can start recording at the end of the year.

PI: Well Henkka, I have to thank you so much for sitting down with us and giving us a chance to get Plug’d In!
HB: Of course! Thank you for having me!

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