"The End of Heartache"
Interview with Ville Valo
So life is good then?
- Everything is really good, yeah. We're working on a new album at the moment. We've finished five songs for our demo and the new album will probably be ten songs long. We're still working on the last songs before we start recording at the moment. It's not good to completely finish them as it's always nice to have room to move in the studio.
There was atime a little while ago when it lokked like you had enough ofHIM, that you might be packing it in.
- We always have that. We're always so straightforward that, is someone is depressed, we'll say so. It was probably because we'd been doing a lot of touring. There was a lot of bad thing happened - friends sied of got terminally ill, lots of stuff like that. Trying to work out all that's happening is really hard. Your haert gets jaded. Itwas a process we had to go through.
It sounds bleak.
- In 2005, when we were recording Drak Light, one of my very dear friands from LA hung himself. It was a big shock and still is. I wrote a song for him - no about what he did but about him - in order to work through some of the stuff that's been emotionally devastaing over the past couple of years. I think that particular person deserves a good song. Hopefully it's good enought for him. It's a celebration of his life, a tribute.
Do you see songwritting as a way to get things out, to clear your head?
- Yes, it's very cathartic. It's the same as writing. If you write a diary, then what you are doing is putting the stuff inside you infront of you. That makes it much easier to psycho-babble yourself out of it. It's very inexpensive therapy.
Do you find that you have to do that quite often?
- If you think of your brain as a hard drive, then every now and then it gets full and you have to defragment it.
What have you had to work through?
- I had a lot of problems with my personal life, problems with my girl. I was away all the time. Love is an emotional rollercoaster and , if you're trying to work through all that with a few thousand miles between you, then it gets very complicated. You're supposed to be doing interviews the whole time but you've got other things on your mind. It tested my sense of humour, let's say that.
Are you living on your own at the moment?
- Yes. I'm a lone wolf. I like my own space, especially now I'm working on new material. I have to be alone to do that. It's very necessary. I can't do the dishes when I've got a song in my head. My place is a fucking filthy pig hole at the moment. I'd rather write a song than do the hoovering.
Are you in a relationship?
- Yes, I'm still with the same girl. It was on the verge of falling apart for a while. There was a lot of stress because I was away so often. Shit hit the fan. But that's how relationships are - they do test you. There're a lot of thigs to go through. She respects what I do more than she used to and I respect her more too. We'll see.
Is it easier now that you don't live together?
- We had such a big falling out eight months ago that it wouldn't be wise to move in together agin so soon. It's easier if we have some personal space. A lot of people live apart.
You talked about panic attacks and depression in 2006. You got mugged, you got into a fight with your neighbour, you split up with your girlfriend...
- A lot of people get into fights, or get their drinks spiked. You only hear about it happening to me because I'm in a rock band.
Was it a run of bad luck, or, self-destruction, are you putting yourself in those situations?
- It was testin my sense of humour. I don't regret it at all. Thank God nothing worse happened. It could have been a lot worse.
Have the panic attacks stopped?
What was causing them?
- Stress. I was caring too much about t he band and travelling and thinking too much. The atacks just stopped.
Do you find yourself thinking too much, taking yourself too seriosly?
- Oh yes, all the time. Especially when I'm writting sentimental things about myself. Then I have a 'Beam me up Scotty' moment where I just need to get the fuck out of things. I have to remind myself to start listening to Black Sabbath or Motorhead again. It's a very essential thing to do. You can't take yourself to seriously.
Was that quite an important realisation?
- Probably. TurnIng 30 and realising that life gets more complicated as you get older has changed things. You realise there are even more pieces to the puzzle than you previously thought. Things begin to slow down too.
So what's it like being Ville Valo at 30?
- Excellent. It's good to turn 30. I didn't get hung up on it. As a musician you just want to mak it past 27, because that's when all the musicians go. After that you have to try to make it past 33. That's when Jesus died, right? If you really want to be a martyr, if you really wan to be a massive star, that's the age to go out on. Ha! I didn't care about turning 30 My intention is to see a lot of life and to end up in a rocking chair telling stories to my grandchildren about the crazy days.
Some people are guarded because they don't want people to know much about them, to use their deepest feelings against them.
- They're acting then.
It means there are a lot of people all over the world who know personal details of your life. That must be odd.
- But there's also a lot of stuff they don't know. Thank God they don't know everything about me. A lot of people think they know me because they listen to HIM. It's a big part of my life but it's not all of it. I do take dumps and wipe my own arse every now and then, I do buy my own toilet paper, I am a fan of other bands - all those things make me what I am and not everyone knows everything about that.
Do you like the attention?
- I don't mind it, but I dont crave it. Especially not when I'm in an artistic, introspective mood.
What were to happenif you were to get really famou, mobbed-on-the-street famous?
- Then I'll move to Dubai with Michael Jackson. Fame isn't something that's important to me personally. If sombody on the street asks for my picture, and that makes their day, then that's beautiful, it's fun. I don' think that you can get so famous that your life gets restricted. I think it's more about your attitude too - if you blow yourself up in your head, you'll make yourself paranoid.
You seen very sorted at the moment, as though you've worked a lot out recently.
- I'm happy. I'm happy because of music. I can't wait to get back out there. That's what happens with every album. You go back to all the bridges you've burned doWn and try to rebuild them. I think that, through all the emotional turmoil, good things come out.
I had you down as a pessimist. That's a very optimistic viewpoint.
- Let's put it this way: the glass is half-empty but, the fact is, I can always get another drink.