Aniversario - Love and death tales
Suosikki, August 2000
Interview with M1
Minna Helminen's interview with Ville Valo
Riff n° 13 - Portugal
Prince of light
7 days (August 2000, Finnland)
I am in love all the time - HIM on love and life
Metal Hammer (May 2000.)
Classic Rock (June 2000.UK)
HIM - Love metal story (2000. jan.)
HIM - metal for girlies? (UK)
OK magazin interview (April 10th, 2000.)
STOP (Slovenia, April 2000)
Riga Times (June 4th 2000.)
Kaista chat with Ville and Migé
Musiques Blind Test
Polish radio channel 3 - interview with Ville Valo
Stop - interview with Ville Valo
ANIVERSARIO 1982-2000 MAGAZINE Nº205
HIM: LOVE AND DEATH TALES
To solvent our doubts,the fashion finnish guys went to Spain and fought for their rock band condition,in presence of black-dressed public and others,only radio-hits lovers who didn´tknow where they were.
Two great records and their finnish and german nº1´s honoured their front a public, with northeuropeans too, attracted by the possibility of seeing, in a warmy and tiny local, one band that have had a great impact in the cold north lands.
With a little delay the curtain was retired and the stage received a band that,without despair their massive exit,conform a group who recreats in showing where they were coming from.
"Your sweet 666"hardly starts and soon they have been honoured by the fact that in Live Zoltan Pluto´s boards loss leading in favour of Lily Lazer´s guitar and Mige Amour´s bass, both lovers of destensions(*) on their instruments´strings.Gas Lipstick increases the sound with a beated typical from a big man like his make up.That sounds heavy and whoever don´t appreciate it it´s because don´t want,even their appearance has changed into another less chic since the publication of their record, their look is now like a total heavy band, that is what they are in their hearts as we can be able to see.
The frontman and main composer,Valo,tops off whith his alternative voice, sometimes hurt, and his throaty style typical from goth music.
After "Poison girl" has been cleared the fact that he is more than enough voice, that it isn´t only look what he gives to the band.He recreates himself breaking and changing the themes´ tunes giving us a big kind of recordings.
Great singer,that smokes a lot, even on the stage, perhaps that´s the reason for his virile voice, but it happens to me too after a good alcohol and tobacco orgy.
Are played songs from their first album,I regret I couldn´t listen because they sound better than the others from "Razorblade Romance",heavier and more guitarist,from Sabbath´s school, but always fighting with Valo´s romanticism,a kind of angel-devil that sometimes touches your soul and anothers makes you afraid.
For the moment that the sound of the piano that opens "Bury me deep inside your heart", one of the best and most representative songs,there are a few coloured bras hanging up from Mige´s micro;Valo´s glam stand join this morbidous fact get carried me away to the happies 80´s although Him´s leader had said that he doesn´t like happy music by and large.At this point and in spite of being on depend to the limits of have only two records,they decided to give all and play another of his exits:their infernal version of Chris Isaak "Wicked game",but it isn´t one of the best because Mige Amour´s chorus were and octave higher than in the record taking away depth.But the public enjoyed a lot.
If they only live from their spectaculers versions will be a little frustrating for them,but the real fact is that they have great own songs like "Death is in Love with us"or the brilliant "Razorblade Kiss".
Valo´s call on, with a bier in his hand,to us to join with him being proud of lift our index and little fingers is another unmistakable sign from their school.And,just in case,another anecdote appeared in an spontaneous way and was useful to the sincer to clarified that he is a wild rock singer:A little toy was thrown and he revolves it in his hands to continue saying"it´s not bad but I´d rather prefer a Jack Daniels whisky bottle",his following intention is trying to behead the cow silencing the awkwards >from the typical unsubstancial girls,but his white tooth couldn´t do it,he was surpassed by Ozzy Osbourne in this kind of things,one of his main influences when he started in music and still worked in his father´s sex shop.
The concert is going to end with"Our diabolikal rapture" one of their most brilliant and furious songs from their debut album "Greatest Lovesongs vol.666"(I´ll try to seek it).To finish,at least by now,with two of their hits "Right here in my arms" and the smash hit "Join me",by the way they presented this song spoken about wasteful youth,not like a trivial love story.
After the farewell´s theatre they back again to their instruments to play the sweetest notes from their real lovesong "Right here in my arms",but they couldn´t finish in that pop way,luck that they were keeping another of their successful versions "Rebel Yell" by Billy Idol.Korns were reappeared,it was well,but I always remember with love the cover of the same song made by Legion,from cataluña,another representatives of national trash(What would happen to them?).
At last they star a risky jam session which wasn´t appeared on the set list,and that was compossed by competitions between guitar-voice like Zappelin(said by Valo),speed increases in Gas´bass and a final bawl that in presence of another more kindred public would have an extraordinary answer.
They got the right for the most changing public,the room was crowded,but I guess that the most important to HIM now is to strengthen his appearances like a rock band and win the real public,the kind of public who don´t leave them when the capricious fashions give them their backs.
In that way HIM convinced.* impossible for me to find the translation of this word
Suosikki, August 2000
In addition of Bomfunk Mc´s HIM is the biggest and well known Finnish export item in today's music market. In the middle of a busy summer of touring, the charming front figure Ville Hermanni Valo gave Suosikki an in depth interview. During the interview both musical and personal issues were discussed.
For starters I promise to Ville I won´t try and dig into anything too private and give him the universal rights of not to answer any questions that don´t please him. The universal right shows out to be unnecessary as Ville is more than happy to answer all the questions.
The only time HIM was seen in Finland this summer was on the main stage of Provinssirock (Which is the biggest "alternative" festival in Finland). Ville tells me that the reason they only played once in Finland was solely based on they´re timetable. And that anyways Provinssirock is the ultimate favorite among the band.
"We didn´t have time to go through all of the festivals as our time is limited. Provinssirock is sort of a constant thing to us. The order in there is so good, as you yourself know, and there were such great bands playing again, Queens Of The Stoneage and such."
HIM has spent the whole year going around european clubs and festivals.
Ville feels that there isn´t much difference between Finnish fans and the fans from other countries. Though he has no precise knowledge of the craziness of the fans anywhere in the world.
"I never go brag in the audience after the gig as it is not my way of boosting my ego. So I really don´t know what is going on", Ville smiles. "Though the culture is somewhat different. The teenage scene is on completely different grounds elsewhere in Europe. In the Middle-Europe there´s this real teenteen-press which is horrifying and partly even poor quality. But it´s kind of hard to say as it has been some time since we toured in Finland. The record wasn´t so familiar to people in here either."
I´ve heard a lot of rumors that your german fans make pilgrimages to Helsinki and to your favorite pubs and so on, is this true?
"I don´t know, there has been some Germans in here. But they´re the freak fans that have followed us around from the beginning. We have sat in bars with them and such. It´s kind of hard for me to answer that as I've spent so little time here. I really can´t say yes or no or anything in between either."
Gigantic phone bills
Where do you draw the line between privacy and publicity? Is there some things that definitely are no business of anyone else than you and the people closest?
"The size of my phone bills and relations with my friends. It always depends on who´s asking. There are so many different kind of interviewers and so many different publications that are are made in such different ways. I don´t know if there´s such things, because the situation is different every time. I can´t tell you any one thing in which I´d draw the line. You´re going to try and find one now, aren´t you?", Ville bursts into laughing and lights another cigarette.
Yes! By the way, what did you think of the story that was in the City-magazine that was based on the bands minute schedule and to the fact that Susanna exists?
"I haven´t read it. I don´t read the stuff that is written about us, I´m not interested. The meaning of the articles is to sell some more records, it isn´t some personal boost to me. I mean in the way that we´d get something out of there being stories of us in the papers."
I just think it´s quite exceptional that everybody´s so interested in you´re private life. Usually it isn´t so in Finland, the musicians have they´re private life and then the public life.
"Yes, especially the rock musicians. The interest to your private life has been a part of the pop scene, not the rock scene. I feel that in some way it tells that we´ve accomplished something."
You´re beginning to be a living legend?
"Not yet, but we´ll see", Ville starts grinning again.
The Finnish melancholic Kelly Family
Even though Ville is the interest number one of HIM the other band members can´t get away from the fans either.
Ville tells that all of the guys get personal adoration from the fans.
"Every one of us have our own fans. For example in the internet there are Gas-, Linde-, Mige- and Juska-pages. I guess I have some more fans than the others because I´ve been a bit more in the front since the beginning, well, actually a lot more in the front. But it´s only natural that people know my face a bit better because I´ve been on the covers all the time. Oh well", Ville starts to smile again.
Has all of this started to affect you´re life? Do you have any time of your own anymore or is there always some strange person near you that wants to talk to you?
"Well, it´s not that bad, and I don´t think I´ve ever had any private life. I have always had this obsession about rock and it has taken my private life. It´s not private life when you sit in a tour bus on a tour. There are alot of other guys in that bus too. For me this is sort of a mission of life (sorry, couldn´t figure out how else to translate it. Any suggestions?).
We´re this Finnish melancholic Kelly Family, at some point we´re going to start breeding in the bus. Then I´ll be something like eighty and they´ll take me to the stage in a wheelchair. This is sort of a never ending story."
You just have shorter hair than the Kelly Family.
"Yeah, and when I´m eighty there can be a bold version."
Constructive criticism is always welcomed
Has there been some things in the success of Razorblade Romance that have come to you as a surprise? "In a way I was surprised as it has been quite a long time since the record came out in Finland, not to talk about recording it. I would never have believed that one song (Join Me) is going to give us such a success. I couldn´t imagine that we´d be in such a hurry. Somehow I thought the situation would be more relaxed and that the whole thing wouldn´t become this big. But no, there hasn´t been any huge shocks."
Are you interested in the things people say about your record?
"Yes, of course!"
For example do you care about it when some puritanistheavymetalclowns say that you´ve sold yourselves?
"I don´t think there is such a thing out there than a puritanistheavymetalclown. If you compare our record to some eighties Dio or Iron Maiden record and such. Most of the heavy metal guys listened to Bonkka´s (Bon Jovi) Slippery when wet back then. And if you compare it to our record you can hear that ours is hell of a lot harder. Thinking like that I can´t get the point. Plus all of those bands have sold millions of records. What on earth does it matter if people buy our records and we have a lot of fans? It can´t be selling out because you can´t know what´s going to happen with the record while making it.
Of course I´m interested to know what people think of our record. Most of all I´m interested in constructive criticism. In any case we made this record a year ago in the summer, so it´s sort of an old thing. I think it represents well what the band was then. Razorblade Romance is a part of that times diary. Right now it might turn out completely different. But we´re not going to have any polls in the internet to find out how many people out there would want the guitars to be louder on the next record. We do what we want."
Food, booze and band-aid
Should we talk about the tour life? What do you usually have in your raiders?
"Food and booze, nothing out of the ordinary. We were thinking that on the next tour we should add bibles or something to our raiders. Our raiders include food, different drinks - water, juices and beer - and then band-aids and Burana (a finnish headache pill) and such."
You don´t request personal sushi bars or some other diva things like that?
"No", (laughter), "I thought about the sushi at some point though as we all love Japanese food. But we left it out as fish stays good for only such a short time. It should be so fresh that we´d need someone to prepare it to us and we thought that´s a bit too glamorous for us. In Finland all of that works quite differently. The rock-culture in here is so different that you can be happy if you get a sausage sandwich or a warm meal once and a while if even that. But abroad the whole thing is completely different."
I was going to ask that next.
"It´s like night and day. The big bands have been touring the other parts of Europe for so long already, which is not the case in Finland. The bands have been touring there since the seventies and blaablaablaa. There must have been some egocentric maniacs out there that have been asking for all kinds of shit. They´re used to things like that out there. It helps a lot with our hectic schedule to be able to get sandwiches somewhere so you don´t have to run to a snack shop somewhere to get something to eat."
All the gigs are fundamentally shit
What usually happens after a gig?
"It depends on the schedule. If we´re going to stay for the night or do we have to start driving to the next place right away. There´s so much adrenalin in your blood after the gig that I can never get to sleep right away. And it also depends on how the gig went."
What kind of wibes have you had of the gigs? Have most of them gone well?
"No. All of the gigs have their good moments but fundamentally their all shit. And I think it´s good that it is so. It would be awful if you´d get used to being always perfect. Now we always have something to strive on. It´s different every time, there are good gigs and bad gigs and something in between. It is versatile and keeps touring interesting to us."
What versatility would there to be found if you´d notice that you´re playing perfect gigs all the time. Though I don´t even think you can do such a thing.
"I don´t know, there are a lot of good gigs. But there are so many things that affect to it. There are so many different places and so many different audiences, the technique affects, the way how you hear it to the stage yourself, is it easy to sing, can you hear your own singing or not, did we get those sandwiches in the backstage or not and blaablaablaa. Complicated things", Ville starts laughing again.
What do you think are the best and the worst things in tour life?
Yes. Isn´t it crappy just sometimes to wait and wait for something to happen?
"No, when you have great guys in the band. It´s kind of psychological tension between the guys. It´s not bad. When we´re waiting we read books and civilize ourselves. The same things that everybody else are doing too as they come home from work in the evenings. Make food, make something, just wait for the next day of working or weekend or something. The life of all people is sort of waiting for something. I don´t mind the waiting, I like traveling and busses. I don´t like airports though, but I don´t mind that either. Sometimes you get pissed at never getting a good nights sleep but that´s the never ending problem everywhere. This job has such a different rhythm than any other job. It takes quite a long time to get used to it. But you get better at it all the time, you find out what your limits are, understand when you have to go to bed and when you have to shower. This is non-stop learning."
"A rock career is a lot less rock than you´d think"
When can we start expecting the next record?
"Hopefully will get to record it in the end of this year, so we can get it out in the spring. But you never know what is going to happen. It depends on how this record goes. Like if the Japanese suddenly go crazy over it and we have to go there to make some gigs, it would completely ruin the schedule again. We should be able to get this out a lot faster then the last one though. We´ve got quite a lot of songs ready already."
Have you been able to play the new songs on gigs?
"Not yet, we haven´t had the time to practice. I have a lot of them in store. But as we haven´t spend that much time in Finland, we haven´t been able to practice them. Now the main thing for us should be to get somewhere to train them."
Have you been thinking about the so called future after rock career, incase you don´t become the new Kelly Family?
"I don´t know. We just dig these places and wait to see what will happen. It´s all hanging on such a fine thread. Anything can happen, the next record can be a huge flop and it can be the end of this. But I haven´t been thinking of a plan B in case of that. I never think things like that. I just concentrate on the music and won´t start to think about any escape methods. I feel it would be giving up."
Did you have some illusions that have rubbed off as the career has moved forward?
"Maybe that that the rock career is a lot more stressful than I thought and a lot less rock than you´d think. The rock is in the gigs and the training sessions, but the other stuff is not that rock. Like right now i´m sitting here in the morning drinking Perrier. I think I was a lot more rock when I was fifteen then I´m now. I think that has been the biggest illusion I´ve had. That you have to work in the side when you rock! It´s not real work, more like hanging out. Killing time. But I´m much rather here than at home watching telly."
What happens to the HIM dollars?
How much fan mail do you get? There must be a whole lot of it.
"I have no idea. That department is really poorly taken care of in our organization. We really should take care of it, one way or the other. We thought that the net pages would be enough, you can chat in there and such. But people don´t use computers everywhere as much as we do here. All people don´t have money to get one, or to use it, we we´re really surprised of the amount of the regular letters. We really should take care of that department."
You must have gotten quite a lot of royalties? As RR has been selling quite well?
"Actually the money comes afterwards."
Well yeah, but they´ll come anyways. Will all of it go to musical mayhem or will you start living nice and easy life?
"Actually I have no idea as they haven´t come to my account yet. If I get something extra, I´ll put it aside. I could buy a used Toyota Corolla or something. I haven´t thought about things like that. And as there is money coming to the band it´s not personal income. That money will go into something profitable for the whole band. I´m satisfied in getting the rent paid and to be able to buy some beer. And cigarettes, in case the cigarettes thrown on stage will end some day. You never now if they´ll find Elvis Presley alive from somewhere in Cuba and he´ll make a comeback-tour and ask us to be the opening act. And then we can´t go as we have no money. Things like this, just in case. And we have to have money for instruments and blaablaablaa. When we go to the studio and we suddenly realize some Hammond worth eighty thousand would sound great then we´d have the money for it. But probably we´ll just waste them into gambling or something. That´s part of the rock tradition, right?"
And Ville keeps on grinning with his morning-perrier.
Interview with m-1 (09/2000)
m-1, lithunania, gods and devils
DJ: "It's 15:44 p.m. and there is HIM fronton Valo at our studio. And now we'll describe you how he looks like.-(to Ville)-"Say "Hi" to our listeners"
Ville: "Hello listeners!"
DJ: " He is very tall, about 15 cm taller than Marazas and about 15cm slimmer than he is. He looks as fine as on CD covers. His eyes are a little bit red after yesterday concert. He is wearing black clothes of course. Perfectly shaved, with bell-bottomed trousers. And I saw he has a very cool belt-(to Ville)"Show us your belt please"-Oh it's heart-shaped, not with heartagram, but with simple heart. And now all people who sent us Questions, be ready-Ville will be asked these questions, 'cause he came here alone without any guy from his group and it's fine-(to Ville)"OK we can start to talk"
Ville: "OK beautiful"
DJ: "We have some questions and the first one comes from Gintare, a very good question, Do you believe in Satan?"
Ville: "E-e. . Unfortunately no. I'm not religious kind of guy, I don't believe in forces like that. I believe that when we die we will just rot in our graves"
DJ: "So, what about symbols like 666 or Heartagram?"
Ville: "M-m-m The Heartagram is not satanic in anyway. It's like combination of pentagram and the heart. And actually pentagram is used to be a symbol of a man."
DJ: "One preach said : "A Satan found a new way to young people's hearts-through HIM with love."
Ville: "Oh my God! You know Satan brings love, faith and death to young people. It's beautiful, you know, but I don't believe in that, really"
DJ: "Do you like Lithuanian girls?"
Ville: "Hm, I’ve only met a couple, like a waitress in the bar at the hotel where we stayed last night. She was really beautiful, yeah. But I didn't have time to speculate on them longer"
DJ: "Do you drink before performance?"
D J: "..But not water or juice or.."
Ville: " yeah , I love Jägermeister.."
DJ: "Have you tried Lithuanian vodka?"
Ville: "No, not yet. But I tried some whiskey and it was really good"
DJ: "Did you enjoy your yesterday show?"
Ville: "Yeah, it was beautiful, yeah, and there was a lot of people and they seemed to enjoy, so I can’t complain. A very good time."
DJ: "Do you like some pets in your living room in Finland or where you live?"
Ville: "Sorry?. . "
DJ: "Some pets. . "
DJ: "Yeah, dog, cats. . . "
Ville: "No , I'm allergic. When I was a kid I used to have some parrots and everything: dogs, cats and stuff like this. Since I grew up I became allergic. I can't stand animals any more"
DJ: "Did you hear some Lithuanian music?"
Ville: "No, not yet. I heard a couple of tracks yesterday, but I didn't buy any record myself."
DJ: "Is it true you was working in a sex-shop?"
Ville: "Yeah, my father has a sex-shop in Helsinki, so I used to help him a couple of time."
DJ: "This question comes from me-Who cut your hair?'
DJ: "You? Yourself? Took and cut?"
Ville: "Yeah, but not with scissors, but with knives..."
DJ: "With knives?!!!!"
DJ: "Oh my God! You were drunk?"
Ville: (mysteriously, after a pause) "No-o..."
DJ: "Tell the truth!"
Ville: "Oh, really . I have been cutting them like that last three years ."
DJ: "OK some more questions to you Valo"
Ville: (without any emotion)"Oh my God!"
DJ: "What do you think about the groupies?"
Ville (semi-mysteriously, semi-playfully): "Hey groupie...I have never seen one"
DJ: "Never had seen? Never contact? Never had sex with them?"
Ville: "Never had sex. I like to know personally ladies I'm with . It's more important for me than to make sex with people I don't know really"
DJ: "You are a kind of a romantic person, yeah?"
Ville: "well, to a certain extend, yeah"
DJ: "How many girlfriends do you have?"
Ville: "I like to know personally people I'm with, you know. I usually turn to spend time with one person for a long time."
DJ: "You have a girlfriend?"
Ville: "At the moment yeah."
DJ: "You have her picture here with you now?"
Ville: "No, unfortunately no. (after a pause). But she is beautiful. "
DJ: "So, I think it's all. Thank you for coming Valo. Have a nice show!"
Ville: "WE SHOW!!!"
Minna Helminen's interview with Ville Valo (March 11th, 2000)
MH: Let's start with some warm-up questions. These are mostly for me 'cause I'm so nervous, I know you don't like "favorite colour" questions.
VV: How can you know that?
MH: You've said so.
VV: Well, I always lie in public.
MH: All right, what's your favorite beverage at the stage? Red wine, label?
VV: It's not red wine anymore, maybe I'll have to say water.
MH: Right, after that fall.
VV: What fall?
MH: I read that you've fallen during a gig in Nivala.
VV: Ah, right, right. Well there were 50 teens holding my leg. I was trying to struggle free and... actually it was part of the performance! Iggy Popp and Mike Monroe are still falling at the stage and it's part of this adrenaline spirited rock myth!"
MH: There was nothing about the public in the magazine?
VV: Well, I was probably drunk. And nobody held me either.
MH: "...evidently drunk, red wine-loving Ville..."
VV: Yes well, it's like that. Linde's ex-girlfriend is writing for that magazine and thinks she can have all the information she wants.
MH: Your perfect day?
VV: Well, this is pretty close to perfect. I'm having warm food, I've had a good rest and we're having a gig. Food, rest and a gig."
MH: A perfect woman?
VV: What should I say. You? Everybody's perfect in their own way. People are so very different, at least I haven't met a perfect creature yet.
(To Linde) What are you giggling?
Mige: Let Linde laugh.
MH: What are you doing on the bus while touring?
VV: Usually sleep. There isn't time to do anything else. And anything else to do, for that matter.
MH: What ring tone do you have in your Nokia?
VV: Halloween's theme song. But I usually keep it silent.
MH: Do you know how many Join Mes have been ordered? You get something like 90 pennies of each.
VV: I don't know how much we get, you mean out of a sold single?
MH: I meant ring tone.
VV: 90 pennies? They have made a ring tone of Join Me!?
MH: I have it also. But it doesn't sound like it very much.
VV: Oh, how lovely. I don't have the slightest clue how Teosto (Finnish music performing rights society) is going to handle that. Let's see if we get anything.
MH: What animal would you be?
VV: Oh, a cow. Probably.
VV: Well, there is a lot of ruminant qualities in me.
MH: You don't read books, are you planning to read "Gone With the Wind" sometimes?
VV: I haven't read it, I've seen the movie. That's enough. But I do read books.
MH: Start, at least.
VV: If I start I also finish. It's a question of concentration, I rarely have that much time.
MH: I don't want to stick at this issue, but I do, so how about Dorian Grey?
VV: I've started it three times at the age of 14. It was quite many years ago, almost ten.
MH: I've had too much time to gather the background information.
VV: It's good that somebody remembers.
MH: Is your weight already 66,6kg? You've said that you're aiming to that.
VV: Do you mean is it more or less? It's quite close, it depends on how much food is in my stomach. Somewhere around that.
MH: Do very fanatic fans scare you?
VV: No... not really. What would be so scary about them. It's nice when people like us.
MH: By ripping hair out of your head?
VV: Usually the situations are organized so that if there are very fanatic fans then...
MH: But it has happened to you, hasn't it?
VV: It was in Leipzig, but there are...Everything can happen.
MH: You don't like religions in general. Isn't this hysteria starting to get some religious features?
VV: I don't think about things like that very much. It's nice that people like us. I have personally digged many bands fanatically so it's not a very strange thing for me.
MH: You have two kinds of fans; there are "Ville" fans and those who dig your music but have been suspicious at first, because of your looks.
VV: There is always this problem of credibility, for some people, if thing goes on pages of Suosikki and Mix-magazine (Finnish teen magazines). Some people think that the album is going to somehow change, if there are articles about it on different magazines, which is not true. There are so many different aspects.
MH: Do you remember when and where you heard your own song for the first time?
VV: I was probably at home. I think it was Wicked Game in Radio City. It felt pretty cool, though I don't value radio that much.
MH: The music was directed for a very marginal public.
VV: So it was at first, it has kind of furtively ran out of hand.
MH: And your first gig was...?
VV: It was in Helsinki, at Teatro, which doesn't exist anymore. We were supporting Kauko Röyhkä. It was a small party. We were so nervous that we drunk ourselves almost to death before that.
MH: You've been praised for your stage performance. How about a live album?
VV: Not yet, this is however such a new thing. Let's see after the third album. We are different in live, I wouldn't say that we are better or worse. Many have also said that we are better on record. It's an everlasting issue to speculate on.
MH: When are you going to record the new album?
VV: I guess it's going to be sometimes at the beginning of next year. Terribly hard to say, schedules always draw out. The plan is to get the record out autumn next year.
MH: Your best gig?
VV: Mige, what has been our best gig? I liked the one in Nivala, I think it was the best. This band is still so young that we develop during every gig. And when the pieces fall into right places, then the gig will always become the best.
MH: At the first album your style was Love Metall and on the second Goth and Roll?
VV: Well, they are both rock.
MH: And the third album?
VV: What could that be. Groth? Record companys are having these categories where they want to put bands in. We are trying to avoid that by making up our own styles. The first album was a bit harder rock than the new one. It's just rock. The new one has a bit more Tsugu Way.
MH: Say what?
VV: A title of a Hurriganes album. (A famous Finnish band)
MH: Ah, ignorant me.
VV: Well, I don't have any of their albums. I've just picked the name out somewhere.
MH: The gigs in Germany are mostly sold out and some have been moved into bigger places.
VV: I guess some have been moved, I don't know what's the situation there at the moment. The biggest places sold out are about four and a half thousand.
MH: It's quite a big thing there. You're on Viva 2 quite lot and there are many German web sites about you.
VV: Really? That's great. We'll see what is going to happen there. Let's not stress about it in forehand. More important right now is to handle these gigs in Finland first.
MH: Your success in Germany is reflecting also to Moldovia, Latvia, Lithuania...
VV: Well, those again are issues to speculate on. If you're on the Moldovian radio, station two, it's hard to say what that concretely means, as we haven't been there.
MH: What's the meaning of your life?
VV: Mige, what's the meaning of my life? That's too difficult a philosophic question. I'm too young to answer to anything that smart smartly.
MH: But at this moment?
VV: The meaning of my life at this moment is to get rest before the evening's gig.
MH: You don't think very far ahead?
VV: No, I think that's a bad habit.
MH: Where goes your limit for selling yourself? How about a Ville-doll?
VV: It would be nice having some dolls, you could then rip their heads off! I guess there is some limit, the limit of good taste. And the limit of good taste varies depending on the amount of your braincells. And at this state, probably, the limit is very undetermined.
MH: What would you like to be remembered by?
VV: Maybe that I have been a pleasant person.
MH: Not your music?
VV: That would be bonus too, but why think so far ahead. You have time to screw up so many things so many times.
MH: Do the close ones to you suffer when you are composing?
VV: No... well maybe Mige. When my fury of creating is as its' highest, I'm constantly spiteful to other band members. But I'm spiteful nicely.
MH: Do you fear that one day you'll be just totally empty.
VV: No, I don't, no. Once again, that's not worth of speculating. It's the same thing, if I started speculating will I get rheumatism when I'm old. No, at least I don't wanna believe so. It would be stupid to fear things like that, because it would take so much energy away from this moment.
MH: You are fascinated by contrasts and conflicts, aren't you?
VV: Well, I don't know if I like them any more than somebody else does. You can hear that mostly in our music. You don't look for contrasts just for that there should be contrasts, they'll come if they'll come. I'm not a very contrastic person in civil life, mostly flat.
MH: Ha, nobody believes that.
VV: Mige knows the truth. And Lintti half of the truth.
MH: Your music gets softer, at least compared to the first album.
VV: You can't please everybody. I don't give a fuck about what somebody thinks about it. There are heavy moments and soft moments on the album, and everything between that. That's the idea.
MH: You won't end up like Dolores from Cranberries after she got her baby?
VV: I haven't heard about a man who's capable of giving birth. I bet that I myself won't get pregnant but...
MH: You know what I mean.
VV: Of course when you get older you get more serene. I don't have the strengt; my joints don't bear any more of that constant partying, big emanation and loud volume. My ears are totally shattered and joints totally shattered, my voice is totally shattered, lungs totally shattered, I don't see anymore, we've had too much bright light and lasers on stage. Hair is getting thinner. This is horrible, this is what getting old is. This is like a document of getting old.
MH: A crisis of the 30's? "I won't see my 30:th anniversary, I'd rather kill myself?
VV: No, I don't have a crisis, never had. I don't think so. It's more of a Glen Benton´s stuff, killing yourself at your 30's.
MH: I don't know him
VV: Well, good for you.
MH: What is the first thing you will do after this tour?
VV: It seems like the tour is going to end at May 19th. Or actually it's going to continue until the beginning of July. What will I do first is that we'll make a demo and then we'll continue touring. I'll probably sleep in my own bed. Trying to get some rest when I get home.
MH: A word for the fans?
VV: Be nice and pleasant people but remember to fight against the new smoking law! It should take people to the barricades. I think this is cowardly discrimination. For example in this restaurant, this is like 300 squaremeters, there is only ten squaremeters for smoking and eating.
(We have the strictest smoking law in Europe. There's even a law proposal that it would not be allowed to smoke in front of the children or on our own balconies!)
MH: And the maybe coming balcony prohibition?
VV: I don't have a balcony but I will then probably leave the country. It's wonderful in Germany, you can smoke everywhere. In record stores, McDonalds, everywhere. And I'm going to smoke in front of the children. Today it would mean that I couldn't smoke on stage because there are so many children in the audience. We have enough money that we can pay the fines beforehand. We'll see. That's the biggest defect in the world right now.
MH: That's about that. Thank you!
VV: Thank You.
Riff n° 13 - Portugal
Born in Finland HIM have come to conquer the sales TOP's in every country they have visited. Fans of W.A.S.P. and Black Sabbath they have comed up with a sound which is easely assimilated by most people which has traslates in huge legions of fans from all different quadrants of Europe. Contrary to most metal bands, which once they reach the tops tend to drift away from they original fans, HIM have managed to balance both which alows them to sell records both in the comom pop market as in the metal underground market. We have chatted with Ville Valo and Mige Amour by the time of their tour in portugal.
The name HIM - His Infernal Majesty has any special reason or you just came up with it?
Valo: When we started we were just a tribute band to Black Sabbath so we choose this name has a form of tribute.
Your music speaks about what?
Valo: They talk about love
You call your music LOVE METAL. Why?
Valo: Honestly we just stopped. inicially we did because in our first album we believed that that was the best description to our music, but not now.
Valo: well... Metal is a too strong word to what we are doing now. it's a word too limitative for a band with our profile.our first album was heavier but this one is more like hard rock 70's
We heard that Wicked Game was recorded because you were just missing a song for the album. Is this true?
Valo: No, in reality when we started we didn't have enough song to play live so we had to play a lot of covers. We were also fans of David Lynch and Wicked game was part of the Wild At Heart soudtrack
Mige:We are all good fans of Lynch. My favorite is the weird one with the ear, what's it's name?
Valo: Blue Velvet
(Don't Fear) The Reaper is an unknown song. Why the cover?
Valo: I'm a big fan of horror movies and i heard this song in the first Halloween film.
Mige: The song gives the movie a great environment
Valo: actualy it's just a demo version. We needed one more song for the album so...
The theme Join Me reach most of the big top's across europe. It's also on the 13th floor OST. Did you record it just for the OST?
Valo: no. we were in studio at that time and some guys from the record company saw the artwork of the film and thought it was perfect for the movie. we proposed it and they accepted it
When your first album came out you where compared with typo o negative. how did you feel about it?
valo: in the begining we enjoyed it a lot because bloody kisses is still one of my favorite albums but the last ones aren't so good. In our first gigs we sounded alike but now we' re the wimps because we got a lot softer than them.
Do You believe that your work is similar in sound with the first couple of albums of Glenn Danzig?
valo: i'm a big fan of danzig but i don't know how far we gone influenced by them. i think their sound is quite different from ours. even the lyrics aren't the same. their's are more satanic than ours. ours are more sentimental
what are the main differences between your first two albums?
valo: john Fryer, the producer of our first album was sort our spiritual councileur. he created atmosfears and on my opinion he was more like an eng. than a producer. besides when we recorded our first album we had only 15 gigs in finland and when we recorded the second we had over 150. that afects the band alot because we're older and tired and it's harder to do heavy music still. we're closer to death...death...death...
what is your opinion about your success?
valo: it's weird but good. i was getting tired of seeing all those techno songs in the top's. It's wonderful to see some of the old rock sound there. more pure and true.i guess everyone else too. that's why we're getting such a great response from the fans. everything else is crap. we do our music and hope you like it~
aren't you afraid that now that you have a contract you'll lose some independance => some of you sound?
valo: no. actualy we never had so much freedom than now. We do money they keep out of our backs.
Why chance Join me in Death to just Join me?
valo: well join me in death is a spooky title for a song and since the movie was rated PG. But that doesn't influence the song in anything
Valo, most times it is you who gives a face to HIM. Why?
Mige: yeah! come on, explain it!!
Valo: Err... Why not? It all started... Well, i write the songs and the lyrics and they are all too lazy to do it . Mige here wrote some wonderful things in the past but he doesn't want to bless us with any of them.
Mige:The music write is more like heavy metal and i'm too old to go on stage and play them. Maybe sitting down...
valo: In reality he only writes them to show off in enterviews and fuel up his enormous ego
mige: no way!!!
valo: by eg. the cover foto. we just too many pictures alone and together and that one was the best for the cover. also the rest of the band is very short sighted., the drummer only knows how to talk about drums and he talks and talks and .....etc.:)) The guitarist on the other hand is so quiet that he would only be good to interview after a bottle of whisky:-)
in what way success has changed your life?
valo: we don't spend so much time with our families and our friends but apart from that i try not to let it change anything else. the band also has a good chemestry. we've been friends for a long time (10 years) so it's not too hard to get along. has for the new members i don't know. it toke us 10 years to get here and now they come, take our money and ....:-))
And success, how has it influenced you?
valo: it has made us stronger. we're together everyday and we haven't drove each other crazy :-) we here me mige and lily are the bermuda triangle that can maque dissapear all the others.
mige: than we can get a sequencer and an electronic precussion
valo:yeah, and it would be cheaper also
for what you've seen of Portugal what do you find best and worst?
valo: Well, the beer is a bit strong for my taste though the people are very nice. it's hard to find anything vegetarian so we have to settle for soup.
mige: it might be a dull thing to say but the clima is wonderful
valo: yeah, back in finland it's 7o C
mige: it's a very nice country, specially the north which reminds me of scotland but with mediterranean elements like palmtrees which fascinate me.
valo, once on an enterview you stated that your tatoo was an accident, can you explain that?
valo: it was probably a lie. Probably it was an interview to once of those stupid teen mags. i said i got drunk and when i woke up it was there. anyone who understands anything about tatoos knows it was a lie because you can't do a tatoo like this in one night. this one took me 4 months. in a way it was really an accident because it was a very troubled time for me and i was really desorientated...
do you feel a sex-symbol?
valo: NO :-) look at me. do i look like a sex-symbol to you. that was something the media brought up and since it has helped us to sell records i try not to be against it. mige, what do you think about it?
mige: i think it's great because it calls attention to us and to our music so...
Your image is like a mix of j. morrison, m. bolland and m. manson. All of which with a strong sexual image. are you like that or is it all just part of the show?
valo: i think mige is best suited to answer that one since we share hotel bedrooms
mige: i've been lucky enough that that vile continues to hide his sexuality from me and i sincerelly hope that continues to be the case.
valo: i haven't arressed him in corridors or anything. it is amazing what the media can build just from a couple of pictures. we're like cameleons. maybe one day i'll get drunk paint my face white and pretend i'm michael jackson :-)
The prince of light
Ever since Ville Valo was a kid he has wanted to see his name in lights.With the new HIM-album his on the verge of his biggest dream, international rock stardom. "Buy the record out of pity if for nothing else", he asks.
Ville Valo is sitting in the corner table of Soda (a restaurant in Helsinki), reading a book. Reading a book? Ville Valo shouldn't have time for such intellectual fiddling. When you see the cover of the book you can sigh with relief: It´s the autobiography of Grace Slick, the lead singer of Jefferson Airplane.
"The biographies of rock stars are an ABC to living. I read them to find out what to do. Those people have blown it so many times that I really don´t need to repeat they´re mistakes."
Within the last two years Ville Valo has become The Finland's official rock star. In public the 24year old, demonically smiling Valo said he loves fast cars, beautiful people and women with big breasts. Things that are cool are always cool, and morality has nothing to do with the surface.
"For me a rock star is someone like Paul Stanley of Kiss. Unfortunately it is impossible to become that big in Finland.", Valo says now. "It is not possible to make enough money in here to be able to acquire the distance you need for rock stardom. Beautiful women, a lot of money, fancy cars… Not in Finland. I don´t know any models and I don´t even own a drivers license."
Still Valo doesn´t regret any of his publicity campaign, during which the statements he gave were as carefully considered as the guitar riffs of HIM´s new record. For example he told the press he smoked three packs of cigarettes in a day. During the interview, which took an hour and a half he only smokes three cigarettes.
"I have just forgotten how much I lied the last time I was asked about it.", Valo laughs. " I still want to spread the word about the joys of smoking. It´s a pity that none of the tobacco companies want to sponsor us, although I´ve gotten at least two german girls hooked on nicotine with my bragging."
"It´s one of the biggest clichés in the world to advertise a guy with him drinking loads of red wine and smoking all the time. Anyone can do it. I don´t even like red wine, it just looks more fateful in a glass than a beer. Nowadays I understand that the root of evil is in the quantity and not the quality of alcohol."
Something has happened to Ville Valo in the last two years. The man sitting on the other side of the table seems more mature and grown up, maybe even a bit more tired. He regrets that he´s not able anymore to get as fired up for the interviews as he used to,
"Back then every interview was a powerful experience, highlight of the week, but now there´s so much work to be done all the time."
There´s more then enough of willing interviewers around. HIM´s first album Greatest Love songs Vol. 666 sold 50 000 copies in Germany and that is believed to have only been a prelude. HIM´s second album, which comes out in january of 2000, has been recorded in Wales using big bucks and a famous producer. They can´t afford to fail, as second chances in the international pop industry are nothing more than fiction.
"It would be hell if this would end now.I wish that people would buy this record out of pity if for nothing else, so I´d be able to continue doing this. This is my only chance."
Maybe that´s the reason why the five new songs that have already been played to the press seem to follow the if-it´s-not-broken-there´s-no-reason-to-fix-it-method. The biggest hit in the first album was When Love And Death Embrace, and on the new album there´s a song called Death Is In Love With Us.
"Connecting love and death to songs is a good way of making money.", Valo says cynically and smiles sincerely. In HIM´s world love is dangerous, tragic, fateful; a poisonous rose, which has thorns so sharp they cut open the lips from the dancer who goes frolicking with it in his/hers teeth. But what would happen if Ville would meet the love of his life and want to start a family? Would it be the end of everything? It´s difficult to wallow in fateful romantics when a kid with octopussylimbs should be dressed in raingear and the dustbin should be emptied.
"I don´t think it´s impossible. Maybe when I´m older or burned out. It would be nice to have some seven year old Tiina Valo to bring daddy flowers as he´s lying in the Betty Ford-clinique."
Or maybe Valo is most scared of people to understand how seriously he really takes his music. Maybe the shocking statements to press and the photos are really planned to cover up the reality of just how big and well planned his musical ambition is. A little bit like-gulp- a real artist.
"Happiness can be terribly tragic if you haven´t had any of it before.", Valo says. "Happiness takes awfully lot of work. Making music is kind of a trip to me-how to write beautifully out of ugly things.The contrast is the starting point of everything: If the music is terribly beautiful the lyrics have to be ugly and vice versa."
"I hope that our music can be a pink bow around all of that shit people have to face daily."
7 days (08/00)
This interviev was in the Finnish magazine 7days that came out 3.8.2000. Fans were able to send questions to Ville on a postcard and this is the result.
How are you?
-Fine thank you. I´m back in Finland for the first time in a while. I´ve had time to relax and to meet my friends. Were going to the studio for a week to rehearse the songs for the upcoming album and on saturday we will travel to Budapest.
How did it all begin?
-I heard the debut of Black Sabbath as a teenager and decided to become a singer (He seems to have a new explanation ready for every interview, doesn't he? ;) ).
Do you have people harassing you?
-Nothing too serious, only phone harassers.
Are you religious?
-No. Even at school I studied Life philosophy (I have no idea what´s the right name of the subject in english!) instead of Religion.
Do you have a pet?
-No, because I´m allergic and never at home.
Or a girlfriend?
-Many. One magazine brought up Susanna's name, but she´s just one of my women.
The time you were most drunk?
-I was drunk for the second time in my life on junior high and that was a bad one! I think I passed out…
Have you got any near to death experiences?
-I´ve got asthma. When I was 17 I forgot to take my medication and was taken to a hospital for almost two weeks. After that I´ve taken better care of my illness.
Do you only smoke because of your image?
-I´m a huge fan of James Dean, that got me started. Nowadays I smoke four packs in a day.
How fluently do you speak swedish? (It´s compulsory in Finland to study swedish at school)
-My school grade was 4 (on a scale from 1-10), so I speak it poorly.
-It´s in the center of Helsinki and really untidy. Because of my interest in collecting things the floors are full of stuff.
What was the last book you read?
-A book about Janis Joplin. I love reading biographies.
On what do you spend your money?
-On junk. I´m a collecting maniac and I buy a lot of books and records. I have over thousand cd´s. So I basically collect shit. Last time I was in Reeperbahn I bought a Elvis-phone that plays Jailhouse Rock!
The lyrics of Join Me are said to provoke youth into committing suicide.
-Art is always criticized and always an outsider gets the blame. I´m not saying that I´m Shakespeare or something, but if his Romeo and Juliet would be published nowadays it would probably be banned. Join Me and other songs on Razorblade Romance deal with my feelings from the summer of 1999 and the life of our band then. The death only works as an metaphor.
What wouldn´t you give up for any price?
-Mige gave me this Jesus-painting from the beginning of the century. I hanged it on the best place of my wall.
Are you going to act in a movie?
-I have never acted in one and I´m not at all interested to do so either. Though I´ve never gotten any offers to perform in one either.
Do you like Finnish music?
-Very much. Jari Sillanpää is great at what he does (He´s a Finnish tango artist). I´ve never met the guy and I wouldn´t sing his songs because he can do it a lot better himself.
Do you know any celebrities?
-I know Henry Saari (He´s a Finnish porn star better known as Henry the great ). He´s a great guy, I even went to his birthday party.
Would you do a porn film or pose for nude photos?
-Under no circumstances! I´ll leave that to Henry.
How does it feel like to put some make-up on?
-The guys in Kiss use some make up too so at first it was exiting. I´ve almost stopped using make-up nowadays.
You´re going to studio. When have you had time to write the songs?
-I´m a workaholic. When the other guys wedge out on the couch and watch telly on their days off I fool around with the guitar and try new melodies out. I´ve made 11 new songs while touring.
What does your dream woman look like?
-Beautiful of course. Women are always beautiful.
Are you playing some kind of Villevalo-role?
-No. This is not some built up thing. I´m me all the way. I don´t have time to think about which role should I play today.
What kind of exercise do you do?
-I walk to get my mind at ease, sort of a brain exercise. I really don´t have time for yoga and other exercises anymore.
What´s best in being a rock star?
-I´m living my dream right now. I get to make music, perform and travel. I haven´t traveled that much before so this is the first time I get to see the big cities of europe. I´ve never even been been to US.
Where would you like to travel?
To Lapland. I have never been there and I´d love to see the night less night (In Lapland the sun is always up on summer time).
What do you eat?
-Anything. I don´t eat meat on tour, because it is too heavy. I wouldn´t be able to move my hips on stage if I´d eat those heavy foods. Ethiopian food is really good. It´s a bit like Nepalian food in which you dip breads into different sauces.
How do you relax?
-This can sound kinky but I only relax at work. Either on a gig or rehearsing with the band. I get total peace of mind on gigs.
What does it feel like to be an idol?
-I myself am a huge fan of the gothic band Fields of Nephilim and collect posters of them. I understand my fans well.
How do you feel about drugs?
What do you regret?
-Yesterdays drinking. I drank a bit too much of absinthe with my friends. Absinthe was once the favorite drink of existential poets.
What is the part of alcohol in your life?
-I drink a lot but I´m not an alcoholic. I´ve started to drink less of my favorite drink red wine, because it affects my singing voice .
Your dream car?
-I should have to get a drivers license first. One of those 50´s mortuary cars would be cool.
You´ve become rich with the success.
-Well, I get enough to pay the bills and there´s still something left. I´m not saving for anything because I haven´t been able to figure out a reasonable thing to save on.
Are you going to stay in Finland?
-Not necessarily. Paris might be an interesting place to live in, because it would be easy to get anywhere from there.
Do you still dream about a family?
-I don´t even like children that much. I just want this dream to continue: to be a rock star and to tour. I also dream about making a perfect record.
Did you know this about Ville?
-Ville Hermanni Valo
-183 cm, 66kg
-Started as HIM´s bass player, started to sing in 1995
-Favorite movie: The sleepy hollow or Nightmare before christmas
-Favorite actor: Clint Eastwood
-Favorite food: Sushi
-Best friend: My band. I´ve known Mige & Linde since school.
-Favorite tv-program: Magnum
I am in love all the time - HIM on love and life - 2000. 08. 18.
When HIM where on stage last Friday during the «Little Big One»-Festival in Vaduz, about seven bras came flying through the air. No wonder. The Rockers from Finnland are very charming.
Actually, Ville Valo is the frontman of the band, but in interviews, basser Mige is with him almost every time. Probably because his majesty needs some time to chainsmoke and drink lots of whisky.
L: Neue Liewo V: Ville M: Mige
L: Are you tired?
M: Slightly. I came from our homecountry finnland today. But Ville must be very tired. He comes directly from the Reeperbahn.
V: I had three days off. I liked it on the Reeperbahn. Lots of bars and nice people ... It was really relaxed.
L: I saw on the tour schedule that you are going to belgium tomorow ...
V: We are driving the night through. After that we are going to germany , then to portugal and from there we’ll fly to Amsterdam and from there probably directly to our graves ...
L: That’s one of your favourite topics, anyway. Graves and Death and the devil and so on. How much of that is PR?
V: (quite shocked) Nothing! None of this is PR. Of course it sounds good ... Hello old man.
(A guy walks in. He carries some toy, a fish, which can sing the song «Take me to the river». It’s really funny. Mige starts laughing, Ville smiles and watches the fish sing quite puzzeld.)
V: Thats terrible! Where did you get that from? From a friend? Well my friends are as mad as I am!
Let’s go on. Where were we?
L: Graves and Death.
V: Right. It’s no PR at all. The texts are just nice little stories with a melancholic twist. And besides, there are not so many devils in there anyway, are there?
L: Well, always this number, 666 ...
V: That has got nothing to do with the devil. It’s more of a kabbalistic thing. 666 ist the number of the man who represents the more carnal side.
L: And when you have a day off you go to the Reeperbahn to learn more about the more carnal side.
V: Not always. (Thinks for a minute.) Well, maybe I do. When I’m off, I try to eat something good and meet nice people and go out. And sleep. It’s very important to keep you in shape, you know. My voice ist totally wrecked today because I couldn‘t sleep this morning. I woke up because some funny girl called me up in my hotelroom. She asked me whether I was the singer of a band called HIM. I am still angry.
L: What did you say?
V: I said that she was right. She asked a lot of stupid questions.
L: Like journalists do?
V: No. She wanted a backstagepass. I was very polite and told her that it was not possible and so on.
M: But it makes sense.
V: In a way it does.
L: What do you think about all the girls that start to scream when they see you?
V: I never saw any girl scream. (smiles)
L: Well, yeah, sure. Tell me about it.
V: Well, sometimes they do.
L: I’ve read somewhere that some of your hair was ripped out by some of that girls.
V: (laughs) That’s true. But that was when I still had long hair.
M: He lies. He’s just loosing his hair and he’s ashamed of it and says that girls have ripped it out.
V: Bullshit. Anyway, there are not so many girls. Our audience is about fifty-fifty which is really cool.
L: Weren’t you a little surprised to be so successful with this style of music?
V: You never know what will make the charts. Metallica were an underground band in the eighties, and then they suddenly hit number one all over the world. You just have to keep the faith, and do what your heart tells you to do, and be strong ... and ... well I think that’s about it.
M: Yes, you have to be very strong and try again and again.
L: How long have you been trying?
V: Almost all my life. I began playing when I was about six or seven. I never had a regular job, I dropped school, all because of the music. I didn’t have time for school.
L: Do you sometimes wish you had a regular job, work from nine to five?
M: Not really. You get funny ideas from time to time.
V: I would like to have no job at all. Buy a house and stay there and relax and do nothing.
M: That would be fascinating. You’d be surprised what you could do when you do nothing. That’s not boring. I would think.
V: Right. I’m the doer, he’s the thinker. One could say that I am the body and he is the brain. (laughs) Actually we should have become one person.
M: That’s right. Something went wrong in the factory up there.
V: Sorry for that.
L: No Problem. Is there anything in your job that you don’t like? What are the bad things about being a rockstar?
V: We’re not rockstars. We’re not even really famous.
L: You‘re not? Well, then I must have the wrong information.
V: Really. We are just a bunch of musicians from finnland who are happy to be able to do all this. And one of the best things about it is to get to know funny little countries like this one is. It’s not the big house or the fast car. I don’t have a driving licence anyway. I am afraid of huge things. (laughs)
M: He always needs a taxi.
V: Helsinki is a tiny place. I live in the center and I can walk where ever I want to go to. And if I can’t walk to a place, I don’t want to go there.
L: What do you do before the show starts?
V: Nothing. Think. (The girl who cared for HIM that night told me later that Ville was sitting backstage all the time before the concert, drank a lot of beer and read a book.)
M: I go take a pee. I’m always nervous.
L: Are you still nervous before concerts?
M: Very. But that has to be that way.
V: Otherwise it’s not funny. There would be no magic in it.
L: Even with small concerts like here?
V: Size doesn’t matter.
M: That’s bullshit. Of course size matters.
V: If there’s only twenty really enthusiastic people, it’s enough for me. Gigwise it’s always the same anyway. But the audience and the place change. You know what I really like? That beautiful castle up there where you look at when you’re on stage. (Ville meant Vaduz castle, where the prince of Liechtenstein lives.)
L: Are you bored to play the same songs all the time?
V: Yes. That’s why we play also new songs. And we change the old ones from time to time a little.
L: Why do you always write lovesongs?
V: Why not? I’m intrested in relationships. And I am always in love. I’m not intrested in politics or religion or things like that. Everybody can identify with love. It’s the same allover the world, no matter whether you are in Alaska or Uganda.
L: But why do the poor people always have to die at the end?
V: Well, Romeo and Juliet is a beautiful story, isn’t it. And it’s not nessecarily about physical death. It’s about emotional death. Dead feelings, dead emotions. Love is a flame which can’t be tamed.
M: You’re such a philosopher.
V: Actually that is your job.
Tipps v. Ville und Migé:
Spine Farm: Ecke Fredrikinkatu/Arkadjankatu. Der Laden gehört Freunden von HIM. Ville: "gute Alternativabteilung".
Indian Bazar: In der Shoppingmeile der U-Bahn-Station unterm Hauptbahnhof. Mige: "Ein guter 2nd-Hand-Laden, wo du unter anderem indische Hemden kriegst, wie ich sie gern trage."
Metal Hammer (UK) - HIM
They’re on the cover of magazines right across Europe, their sound is kind of melodic, uplifting goth, but who exactly are HIM? And are they really named after a ‘70s gay porno mag?
"Black Sabbath is the only reason why we started this - it’s all about our love for Sabbath and ‘70s rock," announces Valo, singer and songwriter with Finland’s biggest phenomenon, HIM.
But despite the remark - reiterated by HIM’s stoner rock-loving bassist Mige Amour - don’t expect the five Finns to sound like their doom-laden heroes, for HIM deliver moody gothicism combined with uplifting pop-inspired melodies.
"It’s more about Finnish melancholy than gothic music," reasons Valo. "It’s a natural thing, usually Finnish people listen to sad music; sad music makes us happy, and I’ve always liked pretty, moody and melancholic songs. As for my lyrics, I’d like them to be considered as the verbal version of Gone With The Wind - they’re overly romantic songs - in an Andrew Eldritch (Sisters Of Merccy frontman) and William Blake (18th Century English poet, painer and mystic) way."
The quinter - also featuring Lily lazer (guitar), Gas Lipstick (drums), Zoltan Pluto (keyboards) - release their debut UK album ‘Razorblade Romance’ on May 15. Produced at Rockfield Studios in Wales by John Fryer (Raging Speedhorn, Rachel Stamp), it includes upcoming single ‘Your Sweet 666’ (released June 5) and a cover of Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’.
Valo reckons getting recognition in Finland by singing in English is pretty tough, but HIM have managed it. Perhaps it’s something to do with their interesting choice of cover song…
"I remembered hearing it (‘Wicked Game’) in the David Lynch film Wild At Heart. It had such a good melody and we just tried to make it rougher and more danceable - and I think we did it quite successfully."
Mige is keen to highlight the fact that the song was recorded before the dominance of ‘Cover-mania’ currently being witnessed in rock circles.
"That was the very first song, we did it in ’95, and it was released in ’96 (on the band’s Finnish debut album, ‘Greatest Lovesongs Vol.666’ - the original version is included on ‘Razorblade…’) a week before Marilyn Manson did ‘Sweet Dreams’ and the whole cover-mania came about. Sure, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin did covers, but bands like Orgy who just do one cover song and have an album full of shit just give the whole cover-mania a totally bad name," retorts Valo.
And finally, what about that moniker, guys?
"It’s a strange name for strange people," smiles Mige enigmatically. "In the ‘70s there was an English gay porno mag that was called ‘HIM’ and there’s one company in Germany that makes wedding costumes for transvestites called HIM," says Valo, "But it doesn’t really mean anything, it doesn’t restrict us. It’s masculine; it’s like a modern day version of Manowar, but a bit more PC!"
Article from - Classic Rock (June 2000 UK)
Think Finland and rock ‘n’ roll and you’re probably hard pressed to come up with anything more than Hanoi Rocks, Gringos Locos and a handful of godawful death metal jokers. Now add to that list HIM.
Fronted by the enigmatic and dark voiced 23-year old Ville Valo, along with the more unfeasibly titled Lily Lazer (guitar), Mige Amour (bass), Gas Lipstick (drums) and Zoltan Pluto (keyboards), HIM are currently ploughing a lucrative furrow through Europe on the back of their second album,
‘Razorblade Switchblade’. A heady melting pot of Type O Negative’s dark metal, ‘Love Like Blood’ -era Killing Joke and Billy Idol-style pop the band have already reaped rewards in their homeland for their ‘Greatest Lovesongs Vol.666’ debut, which saw them walk away with two Emmas (Finland’s version of a Grammy) and a handful of magazine awards. Now they’re riding high in the German charts with the hauntingly atmospheric ‘Join Me In Death’, which has been taken from the forthcoming Roland Emmerich movie ‘The 13th Floor (ironically, in Scandinavia, the band have been replaced on the soundtrack by Swede popsters The Cardigans).
It is the success of ‘Join Me In Death’ that has really set their current European tour alight. "It’s really going brilliantly," enthuses Valo before the band take to the stage in Stuttgart for a soundcheck. ‘Join Me In Death’ did so well here in Germany that we’re now playing really big venues."
Not bad for relative newcomers?
"We’re pretty popular here and in Finland, but that’s only a couple of countries," intimates Valo. "It’s not the whole world, we’re still working on that, but it has been going amazingly well. But we’ve been working really hard."
‘Razorblade Switchblade’ has just received a deserved UK release through RCA, and play UK dates this month. But can HIM crack it here where others have failed? The UK and America still look down their noses at Euro-rock, although if Andreas Johnson and Aqua ca make the Top 40…
"The scene in Finland’s much more concentrated on the underground," Valo explains. "There are loads of black metal bands. Peculiar heavy metal combos which are world-wide known but on the underground. "The Finnish record industry aren’t used to taking any bands abroad. Even major labels have to spend their own money out of the American parent label. So it’s kind of hard. And they’re not really experienced in it. Not like, say, Sweden, who’ve been doing pop acts since ABBA. But in Finland nothing’s really come out."
HIM themselves had to slog it around the Finnish club circuit before finally getting their big break.
"We had a tribute band called His Infernal Majesty in the early 90’s," he says. "We played really shitty retro. We did the stoner thing before the stoner rockers did it, and we didn’t want nine to five jobs. So we gave it one last fling, and here we are. We’re just imitating our idols."
"I started playing because of Kiss," admits the singer. "I saw them when I was about seven and I thought Gene Simmons looked so fucking cool with the blood and fire. I thought that if I became a bassist eventually I would get the fire and blood out of my mouth, but it didn’t happen so I had to switch to singing.
"Sabbath, Zeppelin, we liked all that stuff. And in the 80s it was Sisters Of Mercy, Depeche Mode. We all like totally different things which probably affects our sound. I’m the goth guy, the bassist is the hippy, the guitarist’s into 80s hard rock and the drummer’s the American metal guy. It’s quite different."
Which perhaps explains the stunning cover version of Chris Isaak’s excellent 1989 hit ‘Wicked Game’, which features on ‘Razorblade Switchblade’. "I first heard the song from David Lynch’s Wild At Heart and had to get his album, "Valo enthuses. "When we started, we didn’t have many songs of our own so we played lots of covers. Stuff like Madonna’s ‘Live To Tell’ and other pop songs given the heavy treatment."
‘Your Sweet 666’ is released as a single on June 5. Why the constant fascination with the Devil’s number? Not practising diabolists, are we?
"It’s more a tribute to 80s heavy metal, bands we grew up with." Explains Valo. "Iron Maiden’s ‘Number Of The Beast’, stuff like that. For me, it’s a sense of rock ‘n’ roll, not polished and glam like the pop music now. There’s an element of danger in there. It’s not a religious thing at all."
Religion? From a chap that worked behind the counter of his father’s Helsinki sex shop. I doubt it.
"I used to work there part time," he laughs. "But the band was getting on so well I had to quit. It was a strange experience, but it was just a salesman job. Instead of selling bananas I sold dildos. At least the shape’s the same - you just put it in the other hole."
Classic Rock - Review
HIM - Love metal story>
interview by Guillaume Michel
translation by Acid~Burn
HIM...If that word only evokes to you the unlikely English version of a famous magazine for men, you'll soon realise it's actually one of the most fascinating musical phenomena of the year. In fact, this Finnish band has, for almost a year now, made our neighbours from beyond the Rhine forget about the enoooooooooooormous records of Rammstein by continually appropriating the n°1 seat in the charts with 700 000 albums sold at the speedometer!
A couple of years ago, the young Valo ("light" in Finnish) sitting behind the counter of his father's sex-shop in Helsinki, had no idea he was gonna become a goth-metal star...
Interview with an impressively charismatic person, romantic poet that the media already compare to Jim Morrisson.
Where does this strange name come from?
Valo: When I started the band in 1995, I was eighteen and I was a fan of Black Sabbath and of these old Hammer scary movies, so I named our band His Infernal Majesty as a tribute to these works, which were at the time a major influence for us. During this period, we played a lot of gigs for a very hard audience, black-metal fans, which wrongly thought we were a satanic band. To avoid any kind of further misunderstanding, we quickly decided to shorten our name and keep only the initials.
HIM was signed straight away by BMG Finland in 1997, didn't you feel overcome, didn't you feel things were getting too much for you when your first album was released?
Valo: Yes, a little, but we got the chance to immediately meet people who believed our music had a great potential, since everything which sounds metal is usually considered by the majors as an alternative genre which doesn't rhyme with commercial success.
Eventually, HIM hit it straight away in Finland and soon after in Germany where we played a lot.
Not being a satanic band, why did you risk yourself using recurrently a demonical imagery on the album Greatest Love Songs, Vol.666?
Valo: It was simply a way of expressing my darkest feelings by referring to subliminal messages you could hear on certain metal vinyl records played backwards. Those are just images, codes which anyone can interpret the way he wants.
In all your songs, you talk about your feelings. Are you a "broken-hearted"?
Valo: If all my lyrics are different, it's because they all refer to experiences with lots of different girl-friends (laughs)! But I don't write anything whiny, everything I sing is personal and sincere.
Razorblade Romance, your second album, which is being internationally released only now has been produced by John Fryer. Was it a personal choice?
Valo: Not at all, but I knew and admired his works with White Zombie, Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode. So I was really glad our record company offered us his services, it was a decisive step since he managed to get us rid of the sound we had at the beginning which was a bit too raw to turn our music into a more attractive mixture of dark metal and romantic pop.
You've just described the music of HIM without mentioning this intriguing term of "love metal", a new musical genre of which you would be the leader...
Valo: Actually, the media always need to put bands into categories, and I was expecting to be labelled as gothic metal, which I wasn't specially happy about. That's why I made the first move and asked the people from our record label in charge of our promotion to use the term "love metal" to describe the music of HIM. That's my musical genre, I'm the leader of it and the unique member (laughs)!
Why did you cover "Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak?
Valo: I've always been a great fan of David Lynch's, and when I saw Wild At Heart, I had a crush on that song whose lyrics are very close to mine. We used to play it only in concerts, then it seemed to us that it could so much have been a song of HIM that we recorded it on the first album. Like "Your Sweet 666", "Wicked Game" is an old title which is on the export version of Razorblade Romance.
"Join me", your new single, is part of the soundtrack of The 13th Floor, the new movie of Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, Godzilla...), is it simply a commercial choice?
Valo: Yes, it will of course contribute to the promotion of the band, but "Join me" wasn't specially written for the movie. This song which tells a story in the line of Romeo and Juliet, existed months before it was picked for The 13th Floor, a tripe I don't even wanna talk about!
Finally, can you tell us honestly what gave you this reputation of being a dark poet, breaking hearts of thousands of fans? Is it a false image?
Valo: HIM live is a mixture of Kiss and Sisters of Mercy! Being romantic doesn't automatically mean making music for teens...t.
HIM - Metal for girlies ?<
interview by Philippe Lageat
translation by Acid~Burn
Valo is a star in Finland and in Germany. His angel face is over every magazine cover whether it's hard specialised or not. The snag? In France, the "love metal" of HIM, a fine mixture of blood, death, heavy and Goth, not depressive at all is still unknown. Still, the odds are this "feminine rock", stylish and eminently seductive, could over here too easily win your votes. So without any further ado, let's move on to presentations...
Hard-Rock: Despite the extraordinary success HIM achieved in Finland and in Germany, you are still unrecognised in France. Can you tell us how the band was formed?
Valo: It's kind of a boring story actually. I've known the bassist and the guitarist for ages, we played together in tons of bands before forming HIM. Until the day we decided to push things a little further and really work hard to form a band which we could make a living on. It's as simple as that and boring to death. There's no magic, nothing mysterious behind it all. It's just three pals playing together. The rest came to us naturally and almost unconsciously.
Hard-Rock: Which kind of music did you play before?
Valo: Oh, loads of stuff. I started playing the bass when I was 7, then I began playing the drums, and finally the guitar. With years, I tried everything, from punk to reggae, through grindcore. When HIM started, we sounded very 70s, almost retro, in the line of Black Sabbath, and our sound asserted itself step by step. We had no precise idea of the direction in which we wanted to go.
Hard-Rock: You often insist on the fact that HIM is not your solo project...
Valo: That's true. It's very important to be surrounded by true friends when you're in a band. There's nothing more detestable than going on tour with people you can't stand and that you have to live with 24 hours a day. We are really like brothers. The other members of the group are my best critics.
Hard-Rock: But still you remain the image of the band...
Valo: That's right, but that's the way it is, I didn't plan it this way. It happened by accident: we only had a few pictures for the cover of the first album, one or two sessions at most, and we chose a shot on which I was. Same for Razorblade Romance. It wasn't premeditated. I didn't tell myself: "I have to be the only one on the covers etc. etc.". Those two pics were cool, full stop.
Hard-Rock: Is HIM a democratic band?
Valo: Musically, we can't say so, since I remain the main composer. But emotionally, yes, we are a democratic band: each has his say, nobody is smothered. Even if it's true that the keyboard player and the drummer joined the band only a year ago and they still need to affirm themselves as part of the group. This always takes an uneducable amount of time.
Hard-Rock: Did the success of Greatest Love Songs, Vol.666 surprise you?
Valo: Yes, of course. And I still can't get used to the idea, even today. It would be lying to deny success is the primary motivation which makes you form a band. But there's a long way to imagining it would come so fast. It was a strange feeling. This being said, success hasn't changed me. I can simply pay my rent every month, and that's the most notable change. But no, our heads haven't swallowed. The "star attitude"? We are simply not interested. Our public loves us for what we're doing, our music, and our audience is not only composed of hysterical teens trying to get our autographs.
Hard-Rock: How would you describe your music?
Valo: I'd say it's "feminine-rock". A combination of heart and balls, of soft and heavy. The beauty and the beast in a way. The best of the two worlds. At least, that's what we're trying to aim at. I started playing music after I discovered Kiss. For the rest, we listen to a lot of bands from the 70s: Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin... But everyone of us has his own tastes. As far as I'm concerned, I listen to everything, from Depeche Mode to Madonna. It doesn't matter who it is as long as the music is good.
Hard-Rock: This is, by the way, illustrated by two very different covers which are on your first album: "Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak and "Don't Fear The Reaper" by Blue Öyster Cult...
Valo: Why not? On the first albums of great bands like the Stones or Led Zeppelin, there were covers as well. We follow the rock n'roll tradition. At the time, we didn't have a lot of original material and those two titles seemed to perfectly fit our logic. "Don't Fear The Reaper" is only a demo we had recorded even before we got in studio. That was a small perversion I allowed myself. I grew up listening to that song over and over again. The other members of the band don't like this title. That's the reason why we've never played it live. As for "Wicked Game", I chose it because it sounded to me like an hymn, a dark and desperate love song.
Hard-Rock: Why did you decide to put "Wicked Game" on your new album? Wasn't once enough?
Valo: That's because of those English bastards! The album you have is not the one which has been released in Finland and in Germany. Our English label demanded that this title from the first album (which hadn't been released at the time in England) was added to Razorblade Romance. Probably to touch more people thanks to the cover. Money questions I don't feel concerned about at all!
Hard-Rock: Razorblade Romance is available since January, why is it being distributed in France only now?
Valo: I don't have the faintest idea. Ask those assholes from the record companies who don't know how to work. BMG France refused to distribute our first album. Not interested. But when they heard "Join Me" was a huge hit, they woke up suddenly and asked to work on our new LP. Another question of money. With them, music always comes second.
Hard-Rock: Isn't it frustrating?
Valo: Yes, it can be sometimes. Because you have to discuss with them, to argue at length to try and convince them. There's only here, in Finland, where we get the chance to work with nice and competent people. We wouldn't be there without them. The guy that signed us at BMG Finland is a musician himself. He got pretty famous here with one of his former bands. He understands us. Money is not his first preoccupation. What matters to him is the intrinsic quality of the "combos" [= original text ? must be a musical slang term I'm not familiar with... whatever!...] he signs.
Hard-Rock: Your second album is produced by John Fryer (Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, White Zombie...) An important change?
Valo: Yes. John has become a friend for that matter. I was afraid he would inject us a touch of electronic, that he would make us test sequencers, etc., but on the contrary, he turned out to be a very rock n'roll producer and he gave the album a very organic sound, human not robotic. I hope he'll accept to work with us on the third CD which should be released beginning of 2001. We already have 8 titles, a mixture of Elvis, Jane's Addiction and Black Sabbath. More melancholic, sadder and more beautiful than what we've ever done so far. But it still remains rock.
Hard-Rock: You referred to Kiss and Blue Öyster Cult as influences. Would you say you're a "metal guy"?
Valo: I'd rather say I'm a "rock guy" or a "hard-rock guy"! I don't really recognise myself in the term "metal". Long hair, leather perfecto covered with patches, I leave that to others. I'm definitely not a headbanger.
ok! magazine - interview
OK! Interview with the band before a gig in salsburg:
let’s start with your childhood....
Ville:i was a completely normal child,now i’m just a bit more relaxed. i was a hellraiser then.
Who was your idol when you were a kid?
Ville: gene simmons from kiss
Ok,what did you want to become when you were a kid?
Ville: gene simmons from kiss
Great, my editor will be very pleased with these short and "creative" answers...you would like to be stuck in an elevator with?
Ville: gene simmons from kiss
Stop it with the guy from kiss already!
Ville: ok,ok (lol)
Mige,do you have a phobia? ville stop showing me your tongue, i can see you!
Mige: yeah,i’m afraid of ghosts. actually, constantly i see them around me..
Ville: i’m afraid of heights.
Lily: and i’m not afraid of anything tra la la la lalaaaaaaa....
Ville,describe your first kiss...
Ville: I’m supposed to remember it?!? i’ve been kissing all my life so i’ve completely forgot how my first one was like.
I can see that you’re not very romantic,do you often fall in love?
Ville:no. i’ve never been truly, madly in love. i think i’m too young for it.
What kind of a student were you in school?
Ville: i wasn’t very good,but not bad either. i hated gym class. i generally hate all sports.
How would you seduce a girl you like?
Ville: i’d write her a poem. as for the approach, i don’t have a scheme. i always improvise.
Lily: i’d buy her flowers.
Mige: whatta wuss! i bet you’d buy a cheap, half dryied up red rose. i, for instance, would wait for her to approach me.
And what if she doesn’t?
Ville: he’d wait for somebody else (lol). he’s a very passive type of guy. he’s wild only on stage.
How does a person have to be to attract your attention?
Mige: exeptionally funny and tolerant.
Lily: i like decent people, esp. girls.
Ville: i like when a person has a certain dose of madness and art spirit.
And how can you tell that at first sight,ville?
That person has to have a special shine in her eyes,and i can see that shine right away.
We already know that you were drunk when you got your tattoo,but how did you decide for such big pattern?
Ville: by that principle: when you do something, do it all the way!
Guys,how do you spend your free time?
Ville: actually, i bathe when i don’t sleep.
Mige: and i, besides sleeping, think.
Wow, how very "interesting". do you remember any embarrassing moments in your life?
Ville: oh, there have been many of them. once, i took off my pants and showed my ass to someone. as a matter of fact, i think it happened to all of us.
Ville, what does yous room look like?
Ville: like any other room, with a bunch of unnecessary stuff. i’ve got a million things i don’t need. in the middle of the room is a big bed, and in the corner a few old guitars from the sixties.
What do you sleep in?
Ville: Usually in my underwear.
What kind of boxer-shorts do you wear?
Ville: how do you know that they’re boxer-shorts?
It’s not a thong, is it?
Ville: naaah, i wear black boxer-shorts.
How do you deal with the fans?
Ville: i always use the back door (lol)
What is the worst thing for you in this business?
Ville: i don’t complain. i like it all. the travelling, meeting new people and cultures, the fans...everything.
Mige: i hate the business. when people talk about money instead of music.
What is the most embarrassing question someone has ever asked you?
Ville: one reporter asked me if i enjoy necrofilia. the only person he embarrassed is himself, and journalism.
STOP (Slovenia, April 2000)
Q: How would you describe the music you are playing?
Valo: In my opinion it's a mixture of contrasts: beautiful - ugly, soft - hard, heavy - easy. Our songs contain elements of gothic and ordinary rock, heavy metal, and pop too, therefor all kinds of music that are close to us.
Q: How do you remember your beginnings?
Valo: I have founded the band HIM along with bass player Migé Amour and guitarist Lily Lazer in the summer of 1995. We have just finished school at that time and we didn't want to get a job yet. We were interested if we could make a living through music.
Q: How do you see your success?
Valo: It's amazing. Everything has happened so fast I haven't yet entirely comprehended what we've managed to do. We've been the most in Finland where Razorblade Romance went platinum, and of course in Germany where we've already sold more than 250,000 copies therefore a than you need to sell for golden record. Single Join Me sold more than 450,000 copies. We haven't expected such success. I think it's a gift from the gods of rock'n'roll. When Migé and me sat in one of the bars in celebrating we ran out of money so we had to borrow some.
Q: How did you come up with the name HIM?
Valo: At first our name really did stand for His Infernal Majesty but that was just a joke among friends. People were constantly asking us if we're Satan worshipers so we decided we're just going to be HIM.
Q: Maybe YOU are His Infernal Majesty?
Valo: No. (Laughs.) I am not by far so infernal. It is just a word that you can easily remember because it's catchy. So that there won't be any misunderstanings: we are no Satan's helpers.
Q: But your symbol is heartagram combined from a heart and a pentagram?
Valo: That is our version of good and evil, black and white. The heart represents good and the pentagram stands for evil. This is a symbol of our group and it has nothing to do with satanism. It's just about signs everybody knows.
Q: Your biggest hit Join Me can also be heard in the movie 13th Floor. How did this collaboration happen?
Valo: We were just at the studio when the producers of the movie called us and asked us for a song. We decided for Join Me because we thought it was the most suitable for the movie. It was just a lucky coincidence!
Q: You are in the middle of a tour right now and you'll be on 60 concerts in 3 months all over Europe. How do you keep in shape?
Valo: Mostly by sleeping. Because I'm a singer I have to look after my voice so I try not to party all night every night. Of course we do have a wild party now and then like a rock group should.
Q: I heard that your main activity is drinking.
Valo: No, no. (Loud laugh.) That was just a joke. On one of our press conferences somebody asked us something about music industry. We replied that we don't have a clue about business because we're just some stupid rockers who write songs and drink.
Q: I also heard that you said you're a dictator?
Valo: That was also just a joke. Because I'm a singer and main songwriter I am often in the centre of attention. I think we are very democratic band in which everybody has its own tasks. I could say that we are one big family.
Q: Did you really work in a sex shop or was that a joke too?
Valo: That one is true. I helped my father for some time snd he is an owner of such a shop. It was very fun.
[Note: Riga Times is different from other magazines in Latvia -- a bit provocative. Not many read it, and it's twice as expensive as other magazines. They usually write about politicians, history, art, food, sex and traveling. It tends toward philosophy, which is a very rare phenomenon among our magazines . They have great interviews -- usually with writers and politicians. And they write everything as it is, so if the interviewee is an idiot, he's guaranteed to come across as an idiot, and vice versa. Also, keep in mind that the English text here has made a round trip to Latvian and back; hopefully, not too much meaning has been lost along the way. -- SL]
The press conference isn't with the whole band. By the dock sit Ville and Migé -- the vocalist and bass guitarist. "The rest are sleeping in the bus," explains Ville, and none of us has the right to blame them. The press conference is about 5 minutes long, and we find out that Ville isn't such an idiot as we used to think, hearing little girls being delighted with the pretty vocalist. But the questions from the representatives of the Latvian press are simply unbelievably stupid -- "What's the weather in Helsinki todayy?", "Where was your previous gig?", "Is underwear cheaper in Finland if you buy it in a supermarket [rather than a sex shop]?" and even more heaven-knows-what in the way of idiocy.
Ville is supposed to answer sincerely that he's just arrived from Helsinki and from the last gig as well and that he has worked in a sex shop with a wide assortment of underwear. But, as more highly-educated journalists interjected outrageous questions, those poor things got more and more bored. Suddenly someone shouts "When did you cry the last time, and why?" or something like that. Of course with this question, the moment has come when the answer is "This room isn't the place where I would like to discuss painful and personal questions!"
Are you discussing these questions onstage, while performing?
Ville: I don't think that I'm such a strong personality, but why not? ... I think it's fine...
Migé: It may sound funny, but, yes, I express these pains playing...
Does music influence your life? Or are these two different things?
V: Music has always been my life. I see... since the first time I saw Gene Simmons' picture ... (smiles)
Why does the world need HIM?
V: Does world generally need something at all? We need HIM.
M: Maybe people need HIM and music generally to escape from reality... telephone bills, dirty clothes and so on....
V: ...to escape...
Whom would you like to interview?
V: I don't know... you need to keep a distance between yourself and your idols. Otherwise you can ruin everything. If I had the chance to meet Gene Simmons or someone else I admire, I would surely wet my pants, stutter, and not know what to say.
As the press conference reaches its end, someone manages to ask a question about Helsinki and Finland. Both musicians go to "check the instruments". He's not like: " I-am-a-jerk-but-you-all- love-me!". And he's not wearing any make-up in a real-life setting. Ville is beautiful.
23:00. They've finished playing. They're lying on the floor as if shot. Tired to the max, flushed, sweaty and breathless. And in spite of the much-anticipated "Join me in death," the high point of the gig for the screaming crowd was Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell".
Now, while the crowd continues screaming, in backstage rooms they try to recover. Eva Tûna, panicky, wants to take photos with them, and the Forte Riga 2000 director doesn't let us in. Again thousands of cigarettes. A little conversation between us about that, if Ville is or isn't an idiot. Gradually HIM is overwhelmed by BMG's 20-man delegation, all sorts of Tûnas and Forte employees. Chaos sets in and we get pulled into the room. Ville stands with a bottle of beer and a cigarette and peacefully shakes his head over all the autograph/photo/contact maniacs.
Only with Ville
Do you think you're teen stars?
V: (Ha!)... Not really, we're sooner a boy band, every member of the band is a boy...I think, a band that plays for teens... I understand, I understand. (Ville stops and thoughtfully looks around.) Well, I've been a teenager myself, but I don't write just for teens or any other age group. You see, it depends on the place where you're playing, where your records are being bought. Some places there are a lot of young people, and some places there are more older people ...
Do you more write for yourself than for other people?
V: Yes, we're not Bon Jovi, we don't do it for money...
Your new image is often compared with Brian Molko...
V: We don't use make-up... I really don't know, I don't like them, a little bit too poppy. In that kind of music there's not much that attracts me...
But they've changed a lot...
V: They've changed. I saw them on MTV, but I don't like them so that I would buy their records....
Manic Street Preachers once compared rock with prostitution.... What do you think about that?
V: ...ahm...ahm...I don't know, I don't know anything about prostitution, I've never paid for a lady, I really don't know how it happens.... Probably Manic Street Preachers are great experts and they can make all these comparisons, but...I would say that it's a difficult thing, because you need to make a lot of compromises, while keeping to your principles, why you've begun and the like. No matter what you're doing, you must smile wider for your employer although he doesn't deserve it. It's always like that.
Have you experienced everything you sing about?
Would you like that your fans should experience the same?
V: I think -- they already have or will experience it ... Because they're general things, you know, basic, such as questions of how to become a better person. They're such things as the loss of a person close to you, your life, attempts to manage who you are.... It's what you need to get by. I write about it from my point of view, from the experience that I've gotten .... I use other words, other sentences, but it's the same idea....
A funny question... Do you have any babes here and there whom you would like to join in death?
V: No, not really. Death in my songs is rather symbolic, it's death of passion, death of relationships, death of loyalty -- with regard to your friends, they're more like petite deaths, little things, what you're losing in life....(He becomes immersed in deep thoughts again.)... not really small, but those words aren't about how you've got to put your head in a noose to be happy. Emotions, death of emotions. Death is a strong word and that's what we're using.
This word is in almost every song on Razorblade Romance ....
V: Yes, it's simply such an album. You don't know what is going to be in the next album, but in the first we had many variations on a number. Razorblade Suitcase... (general laughter)... not suitcase, romance....oh, all the same. We're not Bush. I'm not Gavin.
Why is it only you on the cover of the record, not the whole band? Are you feeling like his infernal majesty, Ville?
V: No, that's because I look the best... ( laughs) ... No, it simply came out that way. I was on the previous one too. We had a photo session because we needed photos for magazines and such things, we tried the pink picture for the cover, it looked good and... Actually it all is speculation. To speculate concerning the one who will be on the cover. IIIIII don't like it. I don't like to be on the cover, to be the frontman. I'm egocentric, but not that egocentric.
Do you agree that you're impersonating the Goth style?
V: What's Goth? Goth is created by journalists. Mostly by British journalists. Is it something in common with Bauhaus and Sisters of Mercy? Hats? Journalists simply didn't have a category in which to put this music. So they created this "new romanticism". All those so-called gothic bands have nothing in common. Candles? Position of the moon in the sky? This music is simply a little bit darker. It's hard to speak about... everything depends on the song... I don't know....
What influences you now?
V: In music generally there are a lot of "intellectual beggars" now... No, I don't know, I've discovered a few new Swedish bands. A few weeks ago I was in London and heard a good band. There's that gothic rock label. They have many good new bands and records. But I'm listening to good old bands like Kiss, Billy Idol, and actually I'm listening to a wide range of music....a little bit of pop, a little bit of.....all the same. There's a lot to mention, too much, really...
Ville is a wonderful companion. There's no sign of vanity, arrogance, or snobbery. He's cool. Oh, and he's got asthma. We all are smoking too much. He's smoking about 80 cigarettes a day. Today -- 5 onstage and one after another durinng the press conference. Doesn't matter. Someone wants to ruin our "Trio" idyll [2 journalists +Ville] Suddenly above all of us Eva Tûna's voice shrieks: "Finish! Finish!". Ville turns to her with "I'm OK..."
How are you feeling here, in this festival.....I don't know, here in Riga?
V: Everybody is saying that there's a good atmosphere here, a good stage....but we haven't seen much of the festival, of this place. We had a gig yesterday, we played in Bonn. We went to bed at 3 am, but we had to get up at 5, we had to drive for 2 hours from there to Frankfurt, then in the plane here. I slept for 20 minutes, and then we had some kind of TV interview with our bassist, then the press conference, where you were too...
Don't you get tired from the traveling, from the tour generally?
V: Yes, I'm tired, very tired... I'm not tired from it, simply tired. I need to get some sleep and everything will be all right.
Kaista chat with ville and migé
This is from Kaista (one Finnish website).
Ville and Migé were chatting with fans I don’t know exactly when this was…
These are just clips.
(AngelEyes) what does it feel to do that new cd is it better than the last one?
(Ville) it has more hurricanes in it
(HiMgirl) do you consider yourself as a goth band ??
(Ville) migé is too fat to be a goth
(ansku) did you wait for this success?
(Ville) we wished
(Heli) from where is the song join me made??
(Ville) from the night life of helsinki
(Erika) what do you think is the best song from the new album?
(Ville) gone with the sin
(Brainless) are you smoking at the moment?
(Ville) you can’t smoke in here
(Tyde) Why did you get popular at Germany? Wouldn’t Sweden be closer?
(Ville) the bomfunk’s were there already
(Elisa) was wales a good place to do that kind of movie?
(Ville) it was unbelievable marvellous
(erica) i have wondered this for a long time: where does the name Him come from
(Ville) helsinki ice-hockey maniacs, cause our drummer mika karppinen is from eskilstuna
(Cyborg) HEY a good question... Do you find it good to be there NOW – do you get a lot of money all the time?-)
(Ville) not a coin, everything goes to our manager, to Faust
(Iines) all time favourite album?
(Ville) black sabbath-black sabbath
(janzu) How do you react when you’re thought as a woman?
(Ville) I haven’t heard such thing before
(kissa) halonen or aho?
(Pete) With what vehicle you travel when you’re doing gigs? (bus/limousine/miniplane...?)
(Ville) with a tripod
(duud) is your tour life like that cliché, spirits, women and money?
(Ville) none of them
(Kata) This might be a stupid question, but what is tripod?
(Ville) three-leg robot with what you can move from place to place… : )
(Bulldog) How goes a rock stars day?
(Tiitu) The best red wine?
(Ville) michel fagot
(kukka) if you could change the past, what would you?
(Ville) I would take away all the wars?
(Kim) what is your attitude to drugs
(Brainless) what do you think of adolescents using alcohol?
(Ville) it is an alarm
(Ville) the change has to come!!!!
(creep) Ville: what do you hate?
(ansku) Do you think that you’re a example to young people?
(Ville) I hope not
(HiMgirl) ville, why did you cut your hair???
(Ville) it was a psychosis
(Jukka) Are you as though guy as P. Stanley?
(Brainless) lay your maxims to the young people....
(Ville) don’t kill
(Ville) don’t have the nerves to take them
(Crystal) hey answer me.... How would you like people to adopt an attitude to you?
(Ville) in a good way
(Sonya) Ville, seen you on MTV playing jenga, looked pretty funny! You don't play games like that quite often huh?
(Ville) that was my first time
(leena) do you believe in god?
(Ville) yes, for the sake of orphan kids.
(Tiia) Terrible hunger – what place would you recommend (Helsinki)?
(Ville) kabuki or stadi’s kebab (‘stadi’=Helsinki)
(Sandi) what kind of women you like?
(Ville) women like tarja from nightwish
(Snowfall) what kind of men you like?
(Ville) men like migé
(Ville) live long and gospel, wishes the guys from HIM
polish radio channel 3 - interview with ville valo
Huge success of HIM first album?
Ville Valo: - It was totally different from the first studio album because, for the first time we worked outside Finland. We did it in Wales, in Rockfield Studio. This is the place where Black Sabbath recorded their first album, where Oasis worked, and stuff like that. So it’s really pretty classic place. For the first time we had an English producer John Fryer, who worked with Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, stuff like that., so the situation was totally different.
It was strange at first, you know. We though that John Fryer will tell us exactly what we supposed to do , that he won’t be fair to us. But there wasn’t like that at all. Hopefully. We kind a like, we had a million ideas for every song. But John chose the best of our ideas and he was very helpful, so the atmosphere in a studio was really relaxing. So we could get the best performance out of our souls.
Q: How did it happen that HIM – a group from Finland, scored such a huge success in Europe? How did you manage to do it?
VV: - Well, it’s always, as you know, it’s a matter of a luck. The thing is that we’ve been with guitar player and bass player like ten years together and we’ve been working hard since than. We were lucky, because we have really good record company. They exactly understood what HIM music is all about. Some bands either don’t have a record company or the record company is promoting the band in a wrong ways, stuff like that.
Q: Where did you get the idea of recording "Wicked Game" (on "GLS Vol.666" album) from? I mean recording it in totally different version by a hard rock band?
VV: - It’s when we started, as a band, we had a lot of old cover songs. Everybody used to bring some tapes, we were listening to it and we chose songs we could play. It was my and guitar player idea to record "Wicked Game", and that was only because I adore David Lynch movies, and that song was on a soundtrack to "Wild at Heart".
Q: Another cover song on your first album "GLS Vol.666" was "(Don’t Fear) The Reaper" firstly recorded by BLUE OYSTER CULT. Why did you choose this song, because not many people knows that band?
VV: - * laughs* Hmm, yes, that’s true, that’s true! It’s like one of my favourite old songs. It was my idea. I’ve got the idea when I was watching "Halloween" movie. There was a scene when one of the characters was having a joint in his car and "Don’t Fear the Reaper" was on air at that moment. I thought that it is really great song. I managed to get the copy of this record. Of course I’ve heard that song thousands of times before, but I never had this record. We tried to record that song in our own version. A good friend of mine, June Hyde, sung this cover-version with me. But the funniest thing is, that it’s a demo version of this song on "GLS Vol.666" album.
Q: Were Sisters Of Mercy and Depeche Mode your main inspirations during recording "Razorblade Romance"?
VV: - Hmm, well, partly, you know. I can’t find that much of Sisters Of Mercy, but there’s quite couple of things like Depeche Mode, mostly keyboard sound. Martin Gore is one of my favourite song writers. I really love his songs. But all these comparisons are quite nice things for us. Some people compare us to rock bands from the 80s, some compare HIM music to Depeche Mode and some to Sisters Of Mercy.
Q: I would like to ask you about the situation in the band. Is there any democracy in HIM? You are standing in the front line most of the time. Is that true that you are a leader?
VV: - *laughs !!!!!!!!* I’m the guy who writes the songs. That is because the rest of the band don’t like to do it. They are more like musicians. There is a democracy, but it’s in a different way that in the other bands, because we all are really old and good friends, so we are more like a family.
--- after this question there was "Bury me deep inside your heart" on the air.
Q: And the last question, what could you say about this song?
VV: - It’s a big stadium ballad of the album. It has a little of a Depeche Mode on a keyboards and Black Sabbath on guitars. And it’s really in the same vein as "Gone With The Sin" It’s just a love song!
Your faithful servants having only a vague memory of what a bank holiday is, it's on Monday, May 1st [the 1st of May in France is Labour Day] that we met in Paris the man who gives Leonardo DiCaprio nightmares [uh ... assuming LDC ever heard of Ville, let's start calculating those odds...]. With a communicative good mood and an unconcealed pleasure, the too famous Valo had fun recognizing the titles selected for his infernal majesty. The confessions of the heartbreaker are sometimes surprising, see for yourself
BILLY IDOL: "Flesh For Fantasy"
Valo: Excellent! Billy Idol! I was too young to know the whole new wave period, but some artists that I discovered some years later particularly inspired me, coz this generation of bands produced ageless melodies. We often cover "Rebel Yell" by Billy Idol during gigs, coz just like "Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak, this song could have been one of ours.
CRADLE OF FILTH: "From The Cradle To Enslave"
Valo: I love it! Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir are at the moment my two favorite black bands coz their wild music remains very melodic. It helps letting the steam off and it reminds me of my musical origins...
FIELDS OF NEPHILISM A.D.: "Trees Come Down A.D."
Valo: ??? It sounds like Nefilim but I don't recognize this title... Oh! It must be the new Fields, thanx! Carl McCoy is someone I revere, his music and that of the Sisters are of course two major influences of HIM when we integrate gothic elements in our compositions, like with my voice, I sometimes modulate it to use this lugubrious tone which I love, like for the chorus in "I Love You".
THE SISTERS OF MERCY: "Poison Door"
Valo: Sisters of Mercy of course! On that one you know you can't catch me out, before forming HIM I played in a band which only did covers of the Sisters, we called ourselves Nine While Nine, in reference to the song I like best on First and Last and Always and it is thanks to that tribute band that I decided to make my own songs, coz even when you're a fan, it quickly becomes frustrating not to be able to express yourself with your own notes and your own words.
RAMMSTEIN: "Heirate Mich"
Valo: It's the song by Rammstein which you can hear in Lost Highway by David Lynch, that's the reason why I like this title, I'm one of Lynch's big fans, Rammstein on the other hand... (laughs) I think they deserve their success but their music is too easy and mostly repetitive. HIM is as popular as Rammstein in Germany, but we always refused to use our financial means for displays which make your show look like a circus act because the music becomes secondary. With HIM, we've got a superb light show but that's all, the live performance really comes from us, from our guts, and I think it's essential, when you become famous to keep that rock'n roll spirit...
TYPE O NEGATIVE: "My Girlfriend's Girlfriend"
Valo: Excellent! Here again, you couldn't have caught me out coz when we started HIM, we had a special show we could earn a little money with and that was called "HIM plays Type O Negative", so I know all of Peter Steele and his band's compos by heart. You can guess we're all very much fans of Type O, for me they're the ones who invented gothic metal.
WOLFSHEIM: "The Sparrows And The Nightingales"
Valo: ??? Woaw! It's splendid but I don't know coz I don't listen to electronic music that much. That singer really has an amazing voice, tell me what it is I gotta get that!
GM.: It's Wolfsheim, it's an electro-pop duo which is very successful in Germany.
Valo: Yeah, of course, I knew the band by name but I didn't know what it sounded like, anyway it's exactly the kind of things that reconciliate me with machines, I think if I had chosen to try something electro, HIM would have tried to do what Wolfsheim does, coz this voice and the melodies are terrific!