Judakris' Exclusive Interview with Ville Valo and Mige Paananen from HIM
/october 2007/

Since October 18, 2007, HIM have been on tour supporting their latest release of Venus Doom. It is now October 26 and the band is in St. Louis to perform at the Pageant. On this cold and rainy night, lead singer Ville Valo and bassist Mikko (Mige) Paananen offer Judakris a bit of shelter inside their tourbus for an exclusive interview.
As my friend A and I enter the bus, we are immediately impressed with the amount of Halloween decorations that take up every inch of the place. Ville and Mige stand up to greet us and offer us refreshments: coffee, water, or beer. As we get situated in the lounge area A makes an observation about the amount of yellow crime tape. As it turns out, the tape is real and not exactly a planned acquisition. According to Ville, after their recent performance in Washington D.C. someone got shot about 6 feet away causing their bus to become part of the crime scene. The band was not allowed to leave until the investigation was over. Once it was, they drove away with the tape and decided to put it to good use.
We were allotted ten minutes for the interview, and it seemed a shame to have to get serious. I don't even take my sweater jacket off because I am worried about running out of time. But, when it is all said and done, the interview stretches into just over an hour, 15-20 minutes before the band is scheduled to appear onstage. And, it honestly doesn't feel like an interview as much as it does a casual conversation. Ville is intense but both he and Mige are extremely warm and personable and very good listeners. There is not a hint of bravado during the entire conversation. They take pity on an interviewer who is not just a writer, but a fan as well. Looking back, it all could have gone so terribly wrong. It could have, but it didn't. I have the latest issue of Blender on me, in which a letter to the editor references Ville's comment on marketing HIM dildos (with realistic casting) and states that she would be most interested in Linde's because "he must be packin!" That's where we begin, but during the course of the interview we hit a number of topics including where Ville stands with writing the next James Bond theme song, the things they miss most about home, lessons learned, and of course, Venus Doom.

But, let's cut to the chase.

K: Will we be seeing HIM dildos?
V: No we're not doing that.
K: I'm actually really glad to hear that!
M: You're not curious?
K: Me? No!br> A: She's only saying she's not curious.
V: [Laughter]

K: I could be, though. But, moving right along. One of the latest rumors on the web was that you had been approached by the producers of the James Bond movies to co-write or to write the next theme song for the Casino Royale sequel. Can you confirm this?
V: It's a very flattering idea. Of course it would be great. We grew up with Bond, but I've never even met those people. It's just a rumor. It's good to do little projects like that rather than the same old same old.
K: Like Synkkien Laulujen Maa? [I murder this pronunciation and am quickly corrected by Ville] I have this cd and it is beautiful. Forgive me for not knowing a lot about Finnish folk music, but is this a good example of that?
V: All the time people are asking, well, wtf is Scandinavian melancholy. To Mige: When I sung that [begins to sing] "kun mina kotoani laksin"... that explains a lot about Finnish folk music. It's not necessarily pathetic, but it's really, really sad. That song is about you leaving your home and the world is treating you really cruelly and you're falling in love and you can't get the girl you want. It's a classic, folklore type of thing. That's the stuff we grew up with as well as Kiss and Black Sabbath. So that's probably where love metal itself came from.

K: On the latest album Venus Doom, the track Song or Suicide, is that in the same vein as what you're talking about with the folksy style? It's acoustic and it reads like a poem. It doesn't have the standard song structure.
V: That was the idea, yeah. It was more like an "intimate". That's because we had a long track (Sleepwalking Past Hope) that precedes it. Like in the 70s they had a lot of that shit happening.

K: Lots of prog.
V: Yeah, well like Led Zeppelin. Or if you listen to Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, the tracks will be straightforward Black Sabbath, and then all of a sudden the third track is an acoustic intimate that lasts for five minutes. And not a lot of bands do that nowadays. It was nice to play around and not limit ourselves too much.

K: I feel like as we go farther into the future that everything has to be fast and immediate. Easy and fast pop seems to sell a lot and it's a challenge when you put something with more of an album feel, more complex, longer, etc.
V: True, but there's people that like David Lynch and there are people who love reading romantic poetry and there are people who love Stephen King. [laughs] There's nothing wrong with Stephen King.
M: No, absolutely.
V: But actually if you think of the world of literature, I guess that fiction is going in a good direction with stuff like Kite Runner. Literature seems to be becoming more proggy. The romantic novel structure is fucking dead.
M: Yeah, perhaps music goes in phases as well. People get sick of hearing the same thing. They have iPods with one song from every artist. Maybe our album was a reaction to that.
V: But there is a cool thing about iTunes. Just a couple of months back I set up my own account for the first time. It's strange, you know, if I'm all of a sudden, "what was that great song from A-HaЕThe Sun Always Shines on T.V. I WISH I could hear it now." And then just you just 'click' and bring it down. I love that. It's great.

K: [Looking at A] We're obsessed with our iPods.
V: It's good.

K: Growing up in the 80s, I feel like it was all about the single. Same with the 50s or 60s.
V: Well, same with the 40s. The iTunes generation is nothing new. The medium is different, but albums started happening in the 60s. You didn't have long players before the 60s. So, this is nothing new. People want the best, which is their right, rather than spending 20 bucks on an album with only one great song. So, that's reasonable I guess. That's the thing that record labels figured out. Take Paul Anka, who got, like, 2 big hits, and they last four minutes altogether and you could put them on the A and B side of the single that costs 3 bucks. Why won't you sell an album that costs 13 bucks that has filler? Because you make more money out of it - obvious reason. Bands like the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, they changed the format. So, an album can be a conceptual piece. As musicians, we are fans as well and we keep downloading one-song wonders [correcting himself to say one-hit wonders], it's obvious that that's going to affect the way we start writing our songs. We get bored of that. So that's the reason probably Venus Doom as a whole is more like an album with more of an album flow. Some songs are longer and there is more mood in the songs, more than we've had before. That's our reaction to the iTunes 'thing,' which we still do embrace.

K: Do you have a problem with filesharing? Bootlegging?
V: Well, bootlegging is a different thing. That's always a sign of a great band: the more bootlegs you have the better, obviously.

K: Besides that you once said that when gay rumors start that that was a sign that you had made it.
V: [Taking a drag] Mmm-hmmm. When it comes to the fact that people are downloading albums for free...the making of Venus Doom took me about two years to write. I gotta live off of something. I can't tour and write at the same time. I can't have a normal day job. To Mige: What was the budget for VD? It cost like 250 K to finish the whole album, with mastering, the cover art work, everything. Where the fuck do we get the money to pay for that if we don't get people to buy the album? But then, let's say there's a reggae artist called -----, who I'm a big fan of, but that stuff was never released on cd. I found a site where I could download the album where someone recorded it from vinyl digitally. I was like "yes!" I'm definitely going to buy the album whenever it comes out on cd, definitely. That's my rule. I don't want to piss on my own leg, you know, not on purpose anyway.

K: Ha, although we've all been there. [Laughter]
V: Haha. I guess my point is that especially with young musicians who download a lot of shit for free - what they're doing there is taking money off from the record label that one day might be signing them. But the label is lacking the money so they sign the band who downloaded the stuff for free.

K: It's a vicious cycle.
V: It can be vicious and at the same time challenging. And it's great that there is through Myspace and whatever there's a possibility for bands from little tiny countries such as Finland to be heard internationally. Wherever. Whenever. That's great. I've been downloading documentaries [on this tour]. You know, watching documentaries on Alistair Crowley that were aired on BBC4 back in '92. It's never been released on dvd or anything like that. In that sense you can get a lot of material that was impossible before. Back in the day you had to write letters to people who had copied VHS to get some rare material not available anywhere else. Like bootlegs. To Mige: Like old Bad Brains gigs from fucking Munich from the year '83. Actually, Berlin, '84.
M: It's just another moral dilemma, I suppose. People actually probably don't realize that this is really a moral dilemma. It's just something that everybody does and everybody thinks is ok. [Joking] Later on you find that musicians have been dying of hunger.

K: You think about kids from working class families who don't have the money to spend on albums. They aren't thinking about that for sure.
V: But, I was the same, man. My dad was a taxi driver as a kid and my mother worked for the city of Helsinki. They didn't have shitloads of money. I had to save for a long time just to get my first, like, Kiss album. It was exactly the same thing. What we did back in the day was people would record a couple of tracks for you and if you liked Twisted Sister more than W.A.S.P. I would go into the shop and buy the TS album. They were like demos or promotional tools that allowed you to listen to some of the stuff when you didn't have the money to buy everything.

K: When I was in high school, I can remember listening to that very kind of thing. On one side it was Faster Pussycat and on the other it was Guns N Roses. GNR won. Mige, going back to your comment about musical phases or cycles, there are always bands out there who critics hail as having saved rock n roll. Is that overused?
V: I guess the whole thing means that somebody uses old parts in an innovative way.

K: Like a revival.

V: It's kind of like a reminder of why the whole thing started in the first place. At the end of the day, nowadays it seems like the savior of rock n roll is Iggy Pop and the Stooges. You see him live and you think "oh my god, that's what it's all about." Fucking sweat and blood, etc. It doesn't necessarily have to be a new band doing it. M: It is just something that brings attention to the start of rock n roll.
V: I don't know who's really big at this moment. Nobody's like, super big that may be new. Something that happened to me musically was to fall in love with a band called Interpol. I didn't know that they are not selling a lot of copies.

K: In middle America, no. But on the coast, especially the east, they are more popular.
V: It's all about media. A lot of media is based on the east and west coast, so that's what we get in Europe. Also, acts like Marilyn Manson, he is or actually he used to be hugely popular. Or an act like Eminem. He makes a big budget video and comes to Hamburg and plays to 2,500 people. It's kind of weird to have an illusion that the media creates. But you think that somebody is bigger than life and they aren't necessarily.
M: It's a hype thing, you know.

K: [My ten minutes have come and gone] Is it time?
V: No, no, we've got plenty of time.

K: [Continues] Recently I finished reading Clapton: The Autobiography and in it he says that fly-fishing is the hobby that takes him away from the chaos. What do you guys do to retreat.
V: For me, I have actually been thinking about things I would like to do. I guess, for example, now I'd like to be back home playing acoustic guitar and writing some new songs. That's always a new step for me. You kind of like find yourself with a character you don't know. All the information you've been collecting into your subconscious comes out. In my case it comes through music and I find new aspects and new ways of looking at things, looking at yourself, and your friends through music. So, I consider being on tour, I'm like a sponge in a way. You see so many cities, meet so many people, uh, watch a lot of movies maybe, read a lot of books and get that information and then when you go back home you kind of decompress. All the information starts flowing around, hopefully the good information through the acoustic guitar. That's kind of like what I'm looking for now so I guess my big hobby is writing music.
K: Mige, what about you?
M: I have been wondering actually.

K: Well, you have a family at home which I'm sure takes up all of your free time anyway!
M: Yeah, I guess hobby would not be a good word for that, though to some people I suppose it would be! I don't have a hobby and it's something that is worrying me.
V: He's a thinker, he thinks a lot. He's like a problem solver. [Likening to life] Like mathematical problems with varying results. There's a lot of things in life where A you don't wanna and don't have to and B you can't solve.
M: But you must underline that you try.
V: You also want to do a lot of things but you don't get the chance. [Like a mom talking about a son] He loves gardening.
M: Yeah, I like gardening.

K: I heard you were a gardener in a past life.
M: Yes. In a sense I'm half the man I used to be.

K: Oh now we're quoting Stone Temple Pilots.
M: Actually, it's not that I miss having a hobby. But I keep hearing that people need hobbies.
V: But everyone does have a hobby in one way.
M: Well, I have millions of ways to spend my time.

K: Hobbies develop naturally.
V: Watching T.V. is a hobby! On tour you never get the time to concentrate on a movie or whatever. You're on tour for months and months. So you go back home to do nothing. Um, fart, cook - for yourself, obviously! haha But, finally just getting to watch a movie. That's one way of decompressing. Mine is for now, I stopped drinking so I'm not hanging in bars so what I'm doing is put my house in order. I'm still unpacking my boxes and I moved there like, a year and a half ago. So, basically my hobby is setting my place up to be the perfect place for me to play my acoustic guitar!

K: Speaking of your house... in the VD cd liner notes...
V: Booklet.
K: ...booklet, there is a picture of an owl in a window.
V: That's my window sill.
K: A little menacing isn't it?
V: A little? haha We started recording VD and I had a really bad time, nearly a nervous breakdown, I woke up one morning hearing the voice of an owl. I had never seen a live owl before. Well, in the zoo, but never like this. I woke up hearing it and I said "what the fuck is that? Am I hearing voices now?" because I live in the city and we have, like, four owls. And ornithologists know EXACTLY where THEY are at, you know. That particular owl came back twice after that. I borrowed a digital camera from my producer Tim Palmer and left it on the window sill in case I had the chance to see it. We were still partying one morning at 7 AM and he came back and I shot the picture. And he has never been back. This was strange because he wasn't scared of anything, like people moving in the halls or knocking on the window or anything.

K: Ok, switching gears. What's the hardest thing about touring in America?
V: [Thinks] The carpeting. And, uh, all the pillows are filled with feathers.
K: [Laughs and looks knowingly at A.]
A: You know, I have this thing I travel a lot with my job, and it's like, every time you have to ask for the synthetic kind. Good to see someone else has the same issue!
V: That comes from living in a bus, there's not a lot of carpeting because a lot of us guys we smoke and then we have the air conditioning on all the time. That's basically the only thing that makes it hard for me as a singer. Otherwise it's fine. If I was in the rodeo or a drunkard I wouldn't have to worry about it, but I gotta sing every night so...
K: Gotta focus on the job.
V: Hoh, it's not a job- it's a hobby that became a...
K: A labor of love.
V: Yes, a labor of love!

K: What do you miss the most about home?
V: Solitude.
M: No 'me' time.
V: The road is really social, which is great as well. You get to meet a lot of people and play hopefully to a lot of people. It's just when they're a lot of people in a small container like a bus you never have 'me' time. That's the reason we stay in hotels a lot when we're on tour. Would rather stay in a shitty hotel room for a couple of hours in a day just to have your own room, you know, to center yourself, or whatever you call it. That's what I miss.

K: When you are home, do you have a lot of fans stalking you or hanging outside your window?
V: No. Finland is pretty easy. I don't have a doorbell that works so it's pretty hard to get into my fortress. You gotta have my cell phone number or be a friend to get in.
M: Finnish people are more reserved.
K: Not here so much. Stalking is a full on hobby for some!
V: [The Finns] have a respect for privacy. I've had some situations where fans have come up to the door, but normally I don't open up the door you know. It's my home. It's my own private place.
K: Where you're not on the clock.
V: Yep. So, I've been thinking about building a gate. Just imagine if you've got fans that start knocking on the door at 9:00 AM and I've just come off tour and I've got jetlag... even though their intentions might be the best, but you know, I can't be in the mood all the time. It's hard to put a smile on.
M: It is unacceptable.
V: That's the only place in the world I have my own peace. Surrounded by my books and just talk to my mom and my dad and play the acoustic guitar and read books and watch films and bake. That's what I do there.
K: That sounds almost lovely.
V: I may do that two months out of the year. The rest we're working on something so don't [you] think so. If you think about it, an average Joe works and is home five nights in the week. If the family is cool and the wife is a good cook, you know, it's fine to come home and stay in the same spot and then you have your weekends off and maybe have a holiday once a year where you go somewhere else. But we travel all the fucking time. We don't get to see any of our families. At all. And then there's the time difference. I only get maybe two months or a month and a half. Though, I keep on working when I'm home anyway, so... [being home] there's a lot of shit to sort out anyways.

K: How is it when you get home? Hard to decompress?
M: Well, it takes days. I'm not sure that you ever actually decompress. You can always get the most stuff out, but there's the knowledge that there are already future days booked. Because of that I'm not sure if you're able to totally decompress.
V: It's like a normal job when you take that vacation and you know that in a couple of months you have to go back to it.
K: Yes, we are account managers for a software company and we know the feeling when you take vacation.
V: It's not that different. We get things out of this job that you don't if you're staying in one place or whatever. Sometimes you feel that it would be nice to have a job like that rather than have to travel. For example, I'm single, I don't have a relationship, I don't 'need' to go back. You know, I've got my parents, who I care for, and my little bro- that's basically what I like when going back home. So I don't 'mind' touring and the travel. I travel a lot for promotional stuff, but it's been fine.
M: It's an attitude.
V: It's becoming easier now that I'm not hanging out in bars all the time. You really test the limits of your physicality by getting fucked up every night and touring and acting like a brat for months and months on end. Then it's harder to decompress. Even if you have just two weeks off, when you're actually sober you have a lot more time to yourself. The sleep is better. I've spent the last ten years in bars so it's almost like a new drug to be back home watching films I never had time to watch rather than puking in the toilet or waiting to get drunk again.

K: Did you find that changing your lifestyle made some 'friends' disappear?
V: Uh, nah. I can still hang in bars, I just drink coffee instead of beer. It's also been a luxury...the first time you're looking at yourself in the mirror and you're sober, your brain works and you have a lot more energy. I haven't taken that 'me' time for the past 15 years. I've been very social on and off the road. In that sense, the friends haven't gone anywhere, but I decided to not hang out with a lot of people. I've got a lot of friends who are fucking alcoholics. I don't have any problems with that. It's maybe more me making decisions than people running away from me.

K: Switching gears again. Helldone? Is it still on this year?
V: Yes, tickets go on sale next week. It's going to be three days. New Years is on a Monday, so it will be Saturday, Sunday and Monday. On the first day it's going to be, well, we're trying to sort out good A-class Finnish bands so that people can come and see a bit of what's going on in the hard rock music scene. It will be eight bands on the first night so people can get a good vibe of what we have. On the second day we have an international act there, and then a headliner and then we do New Year's Eve.

K: How long have you been doing this?
V: For about 10 or 11 years. We're trying to expand it a bit. Originally it was just a regular gig and then all of sudden we had a lot of people outside of Finland and then northern parts of Finland traveling to Helsinki just to hang with the band. We thought "let's just expand it" over a couple of nights to make it more worthwhile. A lot of people fly in and it's an interesting way to meet people who are outside of your ordinary realm. For example, South America, America, and Japan, even. It's rediculously interesting to see people hooking up with each other and making friends out of it. So, that was the idea of making it a three-day meeting point, kind of festival thing happening. We're still trying to expand it next year to make it bigger, but we're still looking for the right venues. This year it's going to happen in the same club it's always been in, Tavastia.

K: Will Hanoi Rocks be performing?
V: No. They're friends, but I had heard they will be playing a big gig with Motorhead in December and then they will do something right before Helldone in the same venue. You don't want a band who's played the same club the week before. I think that they've booked the gigs already. And, they may be a bit different from what an average HIM fan would like to see. But they are really good live.

K: Not to diminish their popularity, but Hanoi Rocks is most known for the loss of Razzle in the car crash with Vince Neil.
V: They were highly influential, but never sold a lot of records. They are a big cult band, like New York Dolls. They never sold a lot of records and still haven't, but everyone knows them, knows their story, and have fucking Johnny Thunders on their t-shirt.
K: I know all about the New York Dolls, but I could not name one song of theirs.
V: Sam Yaffa from Hanoi Rocks played bass for The New York Dolls.
M: Ah, there you go!
V: Like The Ramones. People know "Hey Ho, Let's Go" and they know the logo.
K: The seal.
V: Yeah. There are a lot of bands like that that changed the scene and were influential for other bands that actually became big.

K: [Since this is past our time, I say] I feel like I've taken up a lot of your time.
V: We can wrap it up or you can stay. We still have plenty of time.

K: Ok. Favorite venue?
M: There are so many. The one I really like is the amphitheater in Athens, Greece. It looks out over the mountains. The venue is nothing special, but the location is wonderful.
V: There are couple of festivals in Switzerland where the mountains are beautiful. When it comes to venues, in America it's great because you have a lot of old theaters.
K: Or old churches like The Tabernacle where you will be playing in November.
V: Yeah, that's a fun place as well.
K: I saw the Go-Gos there once. [Laughter from everyone]. You know, they had their time. We're kids of 80s. Also, when you have gay friends, it may be some unspoken rule that you have to see them at least once.
Tom, Tour Manager: Hey, they had the beat.
V: [Chuckles]
M: We have a lot of gay friends, too.
V: [Sarcastically] No, no. We don't have a clue about that.
V: But, you don't get cool venues like that in Europe. It's mostly old wherehouses or bars, so they're not visually that exciting. It's not like playing the Wilshire in LA or the State Theater in Detroit or yesterday we played the Congress Theatre in Chicago. Ornamentally and the paintings, it's like being in a movie. Sound-wise they are not always the best, but that's something we don't get in Europe.

K: With your music anyway, the ambience really completes the experience.
V: But we play anywhere.

K: I saw you guys twice on Projekt Revolution. And it was fantastic, butЕ
V: But it lacks the mood.
K: Yes. I prefer being at a HIM show, where it's you headlining. The music, the fans, the lighting, everything. It's great.
V: And obviously it's more rewarding for us as well.

K: How was PR for you?
V: It was a test of patience. When we started out, we always said to our booking agents that we'd rather play lead in a place that holds 25 rather than support someone somewhere bigger. So, we've never been doing the support thing at all. Which I'm really proud of. For example, in England where the record company didn't do shit for us in the beginning, but we still went there and it was great to see it grow in front of your eyes [over time]. So in that sense it was the first time we did tour and weren't the headliner. Also, playing in the sunlight, which I HATE. [Laughter]. Well, not that I hate the sun, but it lacks the mood, like what you were saying. And, we're not like an emo/punk band that can fit 10-15 songs in 40 minutes. We only had time to play 9 tracks. Obviously, we were able to play to lot of people who never heard us before and in that sense it was really good.

K: American fans will gladly take what they can get since you aren't always on tour over here. You performed a lot of the new material at PR. By now, do you have a favorite song(s) off VD to perform?
V: Sleepwalking Past Hope. It's challenging for us, but it's funny because there are so many instrumental parts that I can smoke fucking 3 cigarettes before the song is over. [Laughter] It's good playing Passion's Killing Floor, Dead Lover's Lane, Bleed Well.
K: I'm fond of Bleed Well.
V: That's going to be our next single. Hopefully the radio will start playing it. We'll see what happens. Now the set is taking shape. We'll start changing the set around later, but not now. Now we're fine tuning the new material live. Also, we're going to be shooting a dvd in LA during our gig. We'll see how it will turn out. It may be good, it may be a really fun night. Or it could really suck and we'll hide it somewhere in our archives. Or we'll just burn it [kidding]. But it's good, so now we're just focusing on fine-tuning the material. Trying to get a balance between the old songs and the new songs. We're trying to get the sense of drama when we're doing the set.

K: Do you ever play In Joy and Sorrow anymore?
M: Actually I was just thinking about that song.
V: Not for a long time.
M: It's a fine song. I really like that song.
V: We're trying to do 16 songs in an hour and a half. That's the max of what we can do. U2 are playing big stadiums where you can have fucking mirrorball lemons that you walk out of...
K: or that you can't walk out of!
V: So, really an hour and a half is good. There are a lot of songs like Gone with the Sin, In Joy and Sorrow, Heartache Every Moment- that's a nice track.
K: Fortress of Tears...
V: Fortress of Tears, Sweet Pandemonium- you know there are a lot of tracks that we can't fit in the set. Now we're trying to do a more 'in your face' set, more than ballady. I like it, we used to have so many slow songs in our set, and it was really moody, it was nice, but it is also nice for us to do something different. It's more challenging. Sleepwalking Past Hope is THE moody piece.

K: Join Me in Death has made a lot of my non-rock fan friends take notice. In 2000, this song made you famous in Europe. It's a wonderful song and timeless.
V: Yeah, I'm proud of the song. Hopefully we can write a song as good as that!
K: Oh come on.
V: No, we were lucky with it. It's funny, back in the day when that came out and all the radios loved it so they played it to death which meant that a lot of people who normally would never know us bought the record. Obviously that affected record sales. So, it's not even about it being a good song we just had a lot of luck. Somebody fell in love with the track and then just played it to death.

K: Your Sweet 666 is considered a seminal HIM song.
V: Oh! Playing the new material, you start to see the old stuff in a different light. We've been doing 3-4 tracks from each album, but we're not playing anything off of Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights.

K: Why is that?
V: It just doesn't blend that well. It was one of the albums that was so over-produced and a lot of people don't know the album that well. We used to play Lose You Tonight, Pretending, and Heartache Every Moment. I love Salt in Our Wounds and I love Please Don't Let it Go. Those were two songs I wrote on the acoustic guitar and they worked a lot better on the acoustic.

K: Last year I started playing the acoustic and chords from DSBH songs were what I used to practice. Definitely acoustic-friendly. What about You Are the One? Was that a b-side, or?
V: That was an extra track for Deep Shadows in the digi-pak edition.
K: Also a great song.
V: It's good, but it could be better. With that album we ended up in a situation where we started out recording demos and they started sounding very Queens of the Stone Age. And we LOVED it. But then things got over-worked. We ended up between tours working on the album and overproduced the whole thing. We should have stopped and rerecorded everything.
M: We had many producers coming in.
V: We had like five people mixing the album and it was just a big hassle. But it was a great learning experience, and it was something we don't want to do again. I love the songs. They just could have been better. It's also what happens, you know, we had a great successful tour supporting Razorblade Romance. A lot of bands, well, I think it happened to me, really, you know, we found out that we were successful and then when you pick up the guitar again you think it will be very easy thing to write a song. So, I could have worked harder on the songs. I love the melodies on the album, though. [Ville retires to the rest room]
M: They're not as refined as well because we ran out of time and we ran out of patience. We had been working on the same things for a long time. We were going all over trying to compete with producers and in the end we really didn't know where we were standing. But there's so much good stuff there.

K: That album stands out to me. To some degree, as a listener, perhaps as a female listener, I don't see the problems you point out, because it's full of haunting melodies and romance. But, I can understand that as the owning artist you have a totally different perspective. But there are so many people who love that album.
M: There are certainly a lot of good ideas on the album.
V: [Returns from the restroom] What?
K: We're still on DSBH.
V: Oh, it's fucked up. That was the time when we kicked out the keyboardist and we were touring and we got Burton and at the same time the expectations were really high obviously for the record company to have another "hit" album. We had to have a lot of bullshit meetings about what to do and what not to do and obviously we did what we wanted to do, but that's all the hassle you can come flying to your own work. If you've been working on one song for a fucking year you always get more and more ideas to rework and rework. To Mige: We should have just stopped, had a break, and then went into the studio and rerecorded everything. Anyway, it's a bit more wimpy to a certain extent, a bit more emotional. The vibe is more mellow.

K: Probably why I as a woman love that album! [Laughter]
V: It's a moody album and it doesn't demand too much concentration to get into the mood. You know, I'm really proud of it- just should have been more moody, more acoustic, and more melancholy. After that we did Love Metal, which was faster, then Dark Light was a bit mellow, and they all kind of reflect upon each other to have us do something different the next time around. Greatest Lovesongs, Love Metal, and Venus Doom are from one band, while Razorblade Romance, Deep Shadows and Dark Light are from another. There are two sides: one more feminine and the other more masculine.
K: The yin/yang thing.
V: Right.


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