Exclusive Interview: HIM’s Ville Valo on Being Voted the Hottest Dude in Hard Rock and Metal.
On October 21, Revolver posted a reader’s poll right here on our website, RevolverMag.com, asking you to vote for who is the single Hottest Dude in Hard Rock or Metal, inspired by fan requests for more coverage of “Hot Dudes” to complement our annual Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock issue. The response blew our minds: Over 100 musician names were written onto the ballot by the fans (on top of the 16 we had nominated to kick things off), and more than 400,000 votes have been cast. Perhaps most impressive, though, some 150,000 of those votes went to Ville Valo, the frontman of Finnish “love metal” outfit HIM. Valo and his band have been largely radio silent for the last year, except for news that HIM had parted with record label, Sire/Warner, in March, and then, in September, that they were working on the follow-up to their last record, 2010’s Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice. Considering his big win, however, we decided that we had to track Valo down and drag him, at least temporarily, out of his fortress of solitude for a comment. And fortunately for us, the always-charming musician didn’t put up too much resistance.
REVOLVER: So you’ve won our Hottest Dude in Hard Rock and Metal readers’ poll by an astounding margin…
VILLE VALO: Does this mean I could be the cause for the arctic melting away? [Laughs] Well, you know, we haven’t been touring. So I think in this day of oversaturation, through the internet and all that, we’re able to maintain a bit of the mythical old-school rock-and-roll aspect, because we’re so very far away.
But we’ve had some problems with Gas [Lipstick, HIM’s drummer]. Gas has had some medical problems. He’s got nerve damage, they found out. A condition similar to shin splints, but in his arms, both of his arms. It came to light about three months ago. We haven’t been able to do anything since that.
You never know, us, lonely fellows, you know, touring in the lonely tour buses… It might be that it’s not just music related. Our wrists are fucked. It’s been a tad confusing but it’s not negative all around. We’ve had good sit-downs. We sat down, like, in the wee hours of the morning [a few nights ago] just to discuss what we’re gonna do, and, because it seems that the first time he’s able to really give it a go is in December, we’ve just got to wait.
But basically what happened to Gas’ arm is, I was saying, “I need to be the hottest!” and he said “Sure, I’ll try my best.” And he gave me a call that “I’ve got some nerve damage because of your hotness.” So that’s what happened, I guess.
REVOLVER: It seems that to many people you are an exotic creature.
VILLE VALO: Yeah, as in dangerous species. People are hunting us down, even here. That’s the reason why I live in a tower. Shotguns go off in the middle of the night and silver pieces fly about. Gotta be careful here. [Laughs] But I’m still a big believer in all that stuff. There’s ways of doing it. Obviously you’ve gotta do what you love. You’ve gotta do it as well as you can. And that dictates how it’s gonna be, how it’s gonna look, that sort of thing. You know, if you’re talking about the temperature of a rocker—level of heat—you know, I think that it’s incredibly hot, this person, like, Robb Flynn—not sexually—but Robb Flynn from Machine Head, he’s like…he’s just going for it. And he’s just doing what he does and he’s on level with fans when he’s playing. He’s got a really, really cool vibe. And then, if you’re comparing penis sizes, you should always be looking somewhere else besides Scandinavia, you know. The cold winters don’t…you know, it’s one of those things. But then that’s when it comes really handy to mix up inches and centimeters. That’s how we won the war. [Laughs] I’m getting hysterical here.
REVOLVER: Any beauty regimens that have kept you on the hot list over the years?
VILLE VALO: [Laughs] Oh lord, you get desperate there. I’m sorry if I’m not really informative enough. Well, you know, reading about Jack the Ripper’s knife, maybe that could be a good one to do some shaving with later on. But I think a good beauty tip is to think of good thoughts every day. It starts from within. Not necessarily positivity, but a bit of, kind of, how would I put it? Acceptance and understanding, if possible at all. If not understanding, then discussing and bringing forth what it is you’re not understanding and trying to figure it out. Because if you let those continuous loops of thoughts revolve around your head, that will make you old, that will make you ugly as well, that will wear you out, from within. We know how it can be. Everybody has went through that stuff. But as opposed to saying some acne whatever gel is better than the other, I’m saying that it all starts from within.
REVOLVER: Is it embarrassing to be asked about this kind of stuff?
VILLE VALO: Embarrassing, well, you know…embarrassment factors very, very… You can’t take it out, you can’t take it out from man or the industry or what we are. I think it’s fun, and I think it’s really fun since I am this odd descendent of some random Berserker Vikings here in the middle of behind God’s back somewhere next to Russia, in the utter darkness, strumming an acoustic and singing about forlorn love and pretending to be Baudelaire or whatever. It’s just… I think all those things in context just makes it hilarious. So I’m really happy to be a part of the whole game or the whole rock-and-roll circus. I’m really honored that, you know, by all the goods and the bads, I’ve learnt a lot and, you know, met a lot of beautiful people around the world and learnt these tips of getting rid of the inner acne.
Interview by Dan Epstein