HIM

With: Ville Valo
Conducted by: melanie_haack
Published: 01.10.2005

Band profile:

HIM
HIM are back on the scene with their fifth record "Dark Light". Frontman Ville Valo showed up in Hamburg/Germany which he describes as a city comparable to "London Soho meets Helsinki" and took some time for a little interview.

Now with the new record label, with the success in Great Britain, with increasing success in the States life seems to become even more stressful for you than it has already been before. How do you manage? Do you like this life?

It's good fun. I really consider it to be very helpful for us that we spent ten years of practising like little baby steps rather than having it all at one goal. So actually the band has been ready for this. I think that album is very good and you can hear an album like that anywhere nowadays. It's not goth, it's not metal - it's somewhere in between lots of things.

In the album title "Dark Light" we find again this contradiction - at least it's a contradiction at first glance like we had in "Deep Shadows & Brilliant Highlights", "Love Metal" and "Razorblade Romance". Seems as if you like those opposites that fit together in a deeper sense…

Surprise, surprise… (laughs). But we didn't take that title just because of this contradiction. It's the first album coming officially out in the States, Canada and Japan. So it's good to have something that describes the music very well and the whole vibe. The entire album is about light at the end of a tunnel. It's physically impossible to have dark light which I like, you just cannot have dark light. Also my name last name Valo means light. I wrote this song without thinking about it and then the guys were laughing because "dark" translated in Finnish also means a bit loony, a bit crazy.

Last year you said the next record should be something totally different. It is a bit different but the word "totally" doesn't really fit. Of course, it's typical HIM - I mean it's the same band, song structures are more complex seen as a whole and maybe there are a bit more sing-a-long-choruses… - do you agree?

You can never be "totally different" because as you said it's still the same people doing the songwriting and then of course, people's playing affects the sound and we are still the same but for us it actually is pretty different. It is a lot more textured, a bit more back to Razorblade Romance - big melodies, big choruses and sing-along which I always liked. It is always the same: You have done some stuff and you wanna do something different the next album. We did Razorblade Romance, then I ended up doing the more singer-songwriter, moodier record "Deep Shadows & Brilliant Highlights" which was way too poppy for us. When we started touring we didn't realize it because before we were in a studio and there you don't realize things. Then we really wanted to rock out and that didn't work with that album. So that's the reason why we did "Love Metal" which is probably the most rocking album we have done with "Soul on fire" and stuff. The new material is always reflected on what you've just done. We didn't want to be any rougher than "Love Metal" because there is so many good aggressive bands and we still have that romantic sight. So we wanted to somehow use all the elements from all the albums: have the 80s vibe and the sing-along thing of "Razorblade Romance", have the mood in it of the first one, maybe the melodic aspect of "Deep Shadows & Brilliant Highlight" and the riffs of "Love Metal".

There is this line in the last song "Night-Side of Eden": "We are forever crucified to a dream." Which dream is yours?

My dream which I am crucified to? Becoming a better person - day by day. It happens everywhere when adults or the world outside you pressures you to become something you don't want to be, you are like ass-fucked, you are like raped with that dream in your head and you can never get away from it. When your social environment decides for yourself, that's bad. That's what the song is about.

There is this song "Rip Out The Wings Of A Butterfly" and somehow I immediately thought of Wayne Hussey's hymn "Butterfly On A Wheel". When listening to your song it sounded quite different but there is a bit 80s touch in it...

The guitar riff is actually really The Mission I think. Tim Palmer, our producer, did all the classic The Mission albums. So he uses similar techniques and we wanted to do that on purpose. I love The Mission, The Cult, Jimmy Page - so hopefully it's a bit of all of that in that song.

You escaped for 41/2 months from Finnish winter to record and produce the album in the States. You could totally focus on your music, the all-day-life was far away. Will you do it again this way?

Yeah, probably all the other albums after this one. It was the longest trip I have ever been away from home. We did the same thing with "Razorblade Romance". We went to the countryside of Wales in Great Britain back then but it wasn't that long. The basic idea in Wales and this time was to be away from home so that you don't have to take care of everyday stuff. You are just there to make music. If you do that eight hours a day without thinking the normal stuff it's worth 16 hours.

There is a huge difference between Finland in winter and California at the same time. What is it that makes that place so comfortable to work there for you?

In Finland we don't have any residential places where the band could have stayed together all the time. We would have had to take trains or taxis to get there every day and that takes time and energy. For me California is really good for working. Somehow it's the only place on earth that mellows me out. I hate New York for example, it is too fast and too hectic. There is not a second of piece. L.A. is very peaceful, they keep on smiling, saying hello, good morning, good afternoon. I really like the vibe there. It's very easy what enables my brain to focus on the music. I don't know so many people there which is cool. I know bar hoppers. It's cool to have a couple of phone numbers when you go there so you feel like you can always call somebody when you are there but you can be alone when you want. You can always make the choice for yourself.

You've seen so many places, now you lived in the States for a while - is your hometown Helsinki still your favourite place and something you really call home?

Yes, of course. It is nice to travel because that also makes you respect your home a bit more, you no the differences. It's nice to go back. I don't wanna move out from there. Maybe a small cabin on the hills of Black Denver, in Colorado. There are beautiful places. The good thing about L.A. is that you can go to the beach. You drive two hours and you can even do snowboarding. There are a couple of mountains.

So did you?

No, I don't snowboard, I don't swim. But it's nice to have the possibility. If one day you wake up and wanna snowboard you can do it. I still have the possibility. That's the same as with doing furniture in your house. I believe in space. I'm not talking about minimalism, I'm talking about the fact that you don't necessarily have to fill everything out. And you don't necessarily have to do everything. It is nice to know that there is the possibility of doing something. That's how I see it.


 




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Doc Godin - 16.11.2006 at 08:18  
Quote:
It's not goth, it's not metal - it's somewhere in between lots of things.


Damn rights its not metal.
Warman - 16.05.2007 at 18:28  
I don't listen to this band but HIM interviews in my monthly metal magazine are always fun to read!
Doc Godin - 18.05.2007 at 04:00  
Written by Warman on 16.05.2007 at 18:28

I don't listen to this band but HIM interviews in my monthly metal magazine are always fun to read!

Fun as in this band is a joke or otherwise?
Warman - 18.05.2007 at 13:34  
Written by Doc Godin on 18.05.2007 at 04:00

Written by Warman on 16.05.2007 at 18:28

I don't listen to this band but HIM interviews in my monthly metal magazine are always fun to read!

Fun as in this band is a joke or otherwise?

Haha, I do not like this band but te articles I've read about them are enjoyable.
BrightNight - 18.05.2007 at 13:52  
His Infernal Gaylord .....i really think they are pathetic in the greatest way possible. His voice makes me want to puke my dinner. Its has nothing to do with Metal anyway.
Warman - 23.05.2007 at 18:31  
Yes, his voice actually destroys some songs I've heard and thought were listenable.
Doc Godin - 24.05.2007 at 04:28  
Written by Warman on 23.05.2007 at 18:31

Yes, his voice actually destroys some songs I've heard and thought were listenable.

Yeah thats my problem aswell. Im a 69 eyes fan and they sometimes have similar sounding songs but Villes voice makes me wanna vomit.
iaberis - 25.05.2007 at 12:20  
Written by Doc Godin on 16.11.2006 at 08:18

Quote:
It's not goth, it's not metal - it's somewhere in between lots of things.


Damn rights its not metal.

Actually I do think it's metal. It may not fit to any other genres but it does sound metal to me. Of course I've put their songs, in the "Rock" folder since it's not heavy enough...
It's something like the later works of Amorphis

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