Imhotep.fi
/10.2005/

HIM is probably the most successful and at the moment also the most well-known Finnish band all around the world. Dark Light was instantly number one in Finland and some other countries too. In UK and USA it was 18th. And that 18th place in USA Billboard is the highest for a Finnish band ever. So, it seems that there isnít end for HIMís success story. In todayís music business HIM is exceptionally peculiar. Maybe thatís why HIMís new album has been protected like national treasure but you shouldnít blame the record company for excessive carefulness. For example Kornís previous album was on the internet six months before it was published. For the same reason HIM was playing only one new song, Vampire Heart, on the summer gigs. HIMís charismatic leader Ville Valo tells:
- Of course people are recording those gigs, so for example I heard that Vampire Heart was on the net only couple of days after the gig. Thatís why we wanted to be careful with this thing.

I praised Ville for this summer Ruisrock gig but I also gave him some negative feedback on the last summerís Provinssirock gig. Ville had good explanation for these both.
- Ruisrock gig was great, the audience liked it and the band had excellent feeling about it. We had rested well before it. But the Provinssirock gig last summer didnít go so well because we had terrible stress from promo stuff and gigs etc. That stress was awful and it had an affect to our performance.

HIMís fifth album Dark Light is their first really properly published album in USA. Itís like new begging for the band. The pressure of success hasnít had an affect to composing.
- For the first time in ten years it was fun to make an album. It was very realising to go recording to LA because we got away from every day life and we had time to be together as band and party together etc.
- We always have had some kind of contrast in our albums and now we tried to make that contrast even bigger. Love Metal was our rock album. There was this 70s feeling and longer songs. Razorblade Romance on the other hand was our 80s album and our first album was like Type O Negative. Deep Shadows was our pop album what sort of we will probably never do again. In this new album we tried to get something from each earlier album.
- Of course I had little bit pressure that if I couldnít write good songs. I had write songs a year and a half but then about two months before going to studio, I threw away about 60 % of what I had written because those songs were way too peaceful. We wanted to make a rock album because that was the feeling in the band at the moment.
- Most of the pressure comes from the matter of how we are able to do everything. Usually we have a month period when we have concerts and after that we are a week at home and the again month on the road and so on. Mige and Linde got married about year ago and I just got engaged. Itís always easier to work when everything alright at home and you get energy to do better music. Gas is the only single but we are trying to organize blind dates for him.

The first single was Wings of a Butterfly which is, as Ville said, ďmix of old Cult and The MissionĒ. The second single will be Killing Loneliness which is more like ďdancing with tears in eyesĒ. It is melancholic but there is joy in the background.
- In Wings of a Butterfly crystallizes the mood of the whole album. We wanted that the album rocks, is rhythmical and feeling would be like in a movie. This was a song from which every outsider liked already in the mixing phase. Killing Loneliness is on the other hand the bands own favourite. I canít say anything of the singles in the future. We did record 14 songs. One of them is Poison Heart cover which will be b-side of some single. Couple of songs is bonus in different versions and then there is also this new version from And Love Said No-song. We thought that the original song was too soft. I personally think that 10 good songs and 45 minutes is a good quantity for an album because then you are able to listen it again.

Anyone who has been in the net has probably noticed that HIMís new album has expected to ďbigĒ all around the world. The bandís peculiar sound has been noticed.
- We are going on a road to USA and we are playing in bigger places than last time. This is the first time when someone is really working for us there. We have got interviews in alternative press and also we got the cover pic of Revolver because we are sort of new band there. In Finnish music the basic idea is that you donít copy others. And I donít want to be mad about that The Rasmus is selling more in Europe than us. They do their own music and believe in it and that is a wonderful thing.

Finnish bands have been difficulties to success in USA mainly because of bad promo politics. Thatís why HIMís earlier albums success there is sort of miracle.
-Maybe nowadays people travel more and at least hear in EU youngsters travel all around Europe. And of course internet affects to that people find new bands. For example My Space is excellent invention. I think that we have had more benefit from internet than disadvantage. There hasnít been anything new in USAís metal music in a very long time. Pantera doesnít exist anymore and Metallica has in some way wilted and Disturbed is little bit better but thatís it. Evanecence and Linkin Park have grown really big but they arenít credible in any way. One Canadian said to me that our album sounded good because he hadnít ever heard anything like it. They have in America their own things and sound but you donít know how to make Scandinavian melancholic music if you live under palms in LA. In Finland we have winter the most of the year and almost always is dark. Except in summer when the sun is shining the whole day.

When the most of the work is done on the other side of Atlantic also Europe wants more HIM. Ville has clear view of how things progress in music business.
- The thing that many record companies havenít understood is that usually bands success starts a snowball effect. What happens in USA has positive affect to Europe, especially to Finland. The whole world is equal to me. I just came from Japan which was a lovely place and it was nice to play there for the first time. Itís good that the interest for HIM is global at the moment. But things change so quickly. But what we do in some country isnít away from some other. We just are then less time at home. We will be on the road with this album to the begging of next year. First we have 35 gigs in America and then we go to Japan in February and come back to Finland and after that is the rest of the Europe. But you donít know if we get to some festival in USA that would change everything.

Even if Ville doesnít admit it, he probably means Ozzfest. But how do you keep your head cool in the middle of this kind of success? Success can easily mess up your head.
- Maybe good upbringing and sense of humour helps with that, Ville laughs.
- No, seriously we are old class mates. We have known each other since we were kids and grew up together. It affects a lot to atmosphere when you have seen others good and bad moments.

Popeda (old Finnish band) has had the same situation though they all have been in the same prison. Well maybe the sort of down-to-earth feeling and humility are part of HIMís success. There is no other band like HIM in the world.
- If you think the way we look and what kind of music we play, we are quite unusual band. Usually rock band members look all the same but we are all different. In the begging we thought it was only a bad thing that we arenít easy personalities or that everyone isnít a cover boy. We are against all old rock standards Ė and completely by accident! Ville laughs.
- When I was in 1987 for the first time in Iron Maiden concert I bought a fan T-shirt. I still have that shirt and I still am a really big fan. That kind of popularity canít any band bought. When I think of how many different countries there was people in our Tavastia gig last year, it brings tears in my eyes. We have gone forward in baby steps in our career. If we would have got immediately worldwide success, it would have mess up our heads. It has been great that we have had challenges with every new album. In music business you have to go forward slowly. The most important things are that you are honest with yourself and that making music comes from your heart.

Ville has wide taste of music which shouldnít be surprise to anyone because you have been able to find many different influences from HIMís music over the years. Maybe thatís the reason for their popularity.
- Gas likes listening metal music but he still loves for example Garth Brookís country music. Well, people should listen that kind of music which makes them happy. Personally I like folk music, rock and metal music. HIM is a weird cocktail of everything, that sort of from which you get terrible hangover, Ville laughs.
- I think that it would be oppressive to make only rock or pop music or much less metal music. Throughout the subconscious and intuition is nice to mix those elements which I love. Music is my ticket to away from everyday life.

Some American critic has said that Ville Valo is the Jim Morrison of the 21st century.
- Itís nice to have that kind of feedback because English isnít my mother tongue. I have for years listened music and read books in English and then tried to express my feelings in that language. And itís great if someone really understands my lyrics.
- Words are always part of music and thatís why I couldnít write anything else. For me itís easy to make music but writing lyrics takes more time.

Earlier Villeís lyrics were only about love. Nowadays there is little bit something else also.
- Isnít love so wonderfully difficult? I always think everything through heart like many other person does. In the new album the lyrics tell about love but also friendship and that sort of things. Love is very inspiring feeling.

Is love the most important thing in life for Mr. Valo?
- No, sleeping is. No, Iím just kidding. There are many important things in life. And there is many different kind of love out there. But I have to say that love is really important.

Ville has been lot of in the magazines in Finland over the years, lately because of the engagement and his bad drinking habits.
- You shouldnít take too seriously what the papers are writing because it will just ruin your day.

The band was recently in a charity concert for the victims of Tsunami in Asia.
- We thought that it was for a good cause, so thatís why we did it. But like Mige always says, itís hypocrisy to start brag about charity. If you do charity work, you should do it in private and not brag about it in papers.

HIMís earlier record company has lately represented only some Idols-stars. Ville has strong opinion of this matter also.
- We are in a war against that kind of consumption music. If we get more popular, that is a good way to stole couple of 12 years-old girl away from the shit of pop music. Manowarís boys were as if the Kings and true-men in metal music, so we are the same in rock music, Ville laughs.

The interview is almost in the end but I still have time to ask Ville his best memories over the years.
- Well, it was great feeling to get a record contract. I still remember when they called from the record company and asked if we wanted to make EP. After that I went to our training place and I thought that I wonít tell the guys yet and that we would play and drink some beer first and after that I would tell them. But the guys guessed that something had happened because I smiled so much. Of course the first gig abroad and first festival were big things also. And this USA record contract is fresh in my memory. But still there is lot of things to see and do.

The interview is now ended. I wish for Ville and HIM luck and success. And lets hope that all the negative persons wonít discourage this Finlandís most skilful band.
- We wonít get discouraged. We have so good sense of humour; Ville assures and ends the interview to his typical laugh.

Ville has wide taste of music which shouldnít be surprise to anyone because you have been able to find many different influences from HIMís music over the years. Maybe thatís the reason for their popularity.
- Gas likes listening metal music but he still loves for example Garth Brookís country music. Well, people should listen that kind of music which makes them happy. Personally I like folk music, rock and metal music. HIM is a weird cocktail of everything, that sort of from which you get terrible hangover, Ville laughs.
- I think that it would be oppressive to make only rock or pop music or much less metal music. Throughout the subconscious and intuition is nice to mix those elements which I love. Music is my ticket to away from everyday life.

Some American critic has said that Ville Valo is the Jim Morrison of the 21st century.
- Itís nice to have that kind of feedback because English isnít my mother tongue. I have for years listened music and read books in English and then tried to express my feelings in that language. And itís great if someone really understands my lyrics.

- Words are always part of music and thatís why I couldnít write anything else. For me itís easy to make music but writing lyrics takes more time.

Earlier Villeís lyrics were only about love. Nowadays there is little bit something else also.
- Isnít love so wonderfully difficult? I always think everything through heart like many other person does. In the new album the lyrics tell about love but also friendship and that sort of things. Love is very inspiring feeling.

Is love the most important thing in life for Mr. Valo?
- No, sleeping is. No, Iím just kidding. There are many important things in life. And there is many different kind of love out there. But I have to say that love is really important.

Ville has been lot of in the magazines in Finland over the years, lately because of the engagement and his bad drinking habits.
- You shouldnít take too seriously what the papers are writing because it will just ruin your day.

The band was recently in a charity concert for the victims of Tsunami in Asia.
- We thought that it was for a good cause, so thatís why we did it. But like Mige always says, itís hypocrisy to start brag about charity. If you do charity work, you should do it in private and not brag about it in papers.

HIMís earlier record company has lately represented only some Idols-stars. Ville has strong opinion of this matter also.
- We are in a war against that kind of consumption music. If we get more popular, that is a good way to stole couple of 12 years-old girl away from the shit of pop music. Manowarís boys were as if the Kings and true-men in metal music, so we are the same in rock music, Ville laughs.

The interview is almost in the end but I still have time to ask Ville his best memories over the years.
- Well, it was great feeling to get a record contract. I still remember when they called from the record company and asked if we wanted to make EP. After that I went to our training place and I thought that I wonít tell the guys yet and that we would play and drink some beer first and after that I would tell them. But the guys guessed that something had happened because I smiled so much. Of course the first gig abroad and first festival were big things also. And this USA record contract is fresh in my memory. But still there is lot of things to see and do.

The interview is now ended. I wish for Ville and HIM luck and success. And lets hope that all the negative persons wonít discourage this Finlandís most skilful band.
- We wonít get discouraged. We have so good sense of humour; Ville assures and ends the interview to his typical laugh.

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