HIM:s bass Mige Amour and keyboard Emerson Burton told Rumba-magazine what the Dark Light album has been eating.
1. Vampire Heart
Mige: Vampire Heart was one of the first songs we started to rehearse. It gave direction to this album, and to how you can lay down tracks. This has got something we haven't had before. I cannot specify it better than that, but the song has been made in a different way than what we would have done 3 years ago.
Burton: This one came out quite easily.
Mige: Fast and easy - and it became fucking good. This one's actually my favorite song.
How hard did you think about the order of the tracks?
Burton: Ville did that. It doesn't really matter to me.
Mige: I'm quite superstitious. I'd want there to be always something special in the seventh song. For some reason an awful lot of seventh songs of many albums are my favorites."
But in vinyl times the seventh song used to be the b-side's second track, where they used to hide the record's worst song.
Mige: Sure, exactly - but I've always liked ugly toys and ugly plants that other people don't care about. A faggot's a faggot. Maybe that's way I'm so keen on the b-side's number two...
2. Wings of a Butterfly.
Mige: Picking singles is like eating shit. It's a fucking good song, but if had the decision, this one would have been the seventh or eighth single.
Burton: It still has got something. A friend told me that when he first heard it on the radio, it sounded like shit, but with a couple more times it started to work.
Mige: A scary song, so simple.
Burton: And if the chorus starts with 'come on', you can't go wrong.
Mige: Exactly. And there's an interesting bridge in this one.
The guitar riff reminded me of Amorphis.
Mige: There's something Kalevala*-like in there. (*The finnish national epic.)
Burton (humming the melody): Yeah, the Castaway-song!
Mige: Oh, fuck. Gotta buy the boys a beer.
3. Under the Rose.
Mige: This one's the record's fastest song. Gas always points that out. He wouldn't want to play any other music than blast. In the beginning this song was very simple. The melody of the chorus and the chords, nothing else. Then we came up with this little thing that happens in the outro, which saves the whole song. It was more of a subliminal thing. It's funny how it depends on such small things if a song really works or not.
Burton: This record's got lots of outros. The one before had maybe one. This is an outro-album of sorts. Maybe it's the outro to our career?
Mige (laughing): Yeah, maybe those are subconscious screams for help. I hope we're exiting in style, if this one flops. What a sick thing to think about. On the other hand, there are intros too.
Burton: There's always intros in songs.
Mige: This time there's more outros than intros. What is this telling us? Quite harsh.
Maybe it's something like foreplay vs. afterplay?
Mige: Oh yeah, like we were getting prepared for the new act of love. Well, we aren't. I've got a nice and positive way of viewing things.
4. Killing Loneliness.
Burton: This one's working title was Kate Bush, cos' it had this faggot piano thingy.
Mige: Yes it had. The world's nastiest one. They've tried to add it in six songs at least. It's some kind of a psychosis for Ville. Or maybe it's Satan messing up with him.
Burton: On the other hand, the piano thingy has evolved into many good things.
Mige: It has been a catalyzer of sorts.
Burton: When you start from shit, the only way is up.
Mige: Yeah, and then you work your ass off not to let it stay that way.
Burton: Some of the piano stuff has been made on a grand piano, some on a synthesizer. It's a funny task to listen while trying to figure out which is what. I'm claiming that no one will know the difference.
5. Dark Light.
Helsinki Music Company's Pekka Nieminen told that this one could be the next single.
Mige: I think we should put this one out on Christmas. It's in a major key, but it's twisted.
Burton: And it's got an outro too.
The verses are pure Twin Peaks.
Burton: Yeah, it's a direct rip-off. Except for the outro, this one fits in the three and a half minute hit concept, but it includes some strange hooks.
Mige: If you're making a record on a big budget, it takes a lot of nerve to put in a bridge that goes 'doo-dididodii-dodidodii'. It's a good riff, but a fucking over-the-top one. I'm fucking happy it suits so well. Without it this could be a lame one.
Adding to the over-the-top:ness, there is a modulation at the end of the song.
Burton: Are there other modulations on this record?
Mige: There's one in Dark Light, but it ain't that obvious.
Burton: Youv'e got to hide well your modulations.
Mige: Or cover them up.
6. Behind the Crimson Door
Mige: It is not too often that a band steals the tempo out of another band's song, but here we did exactly that. On the last New Year's gig we played with Lee Dorrian a Cathedral song from their album Witchfinder, Hopkins. It was fucking cool to play in that certain tempo. So we just took the tempo.
Burton: What was it?
Mige: That's how we started building up this song. A pretty strange way, but it worked in this case.
So HIM has taken "ripping off" to a whole new level, when even the tempos are stolen from other songs.
Burton: It's hard to get caught for stealing a tempo.
Mige: Except if you tell about it, as we just did. Lee knows it, there's nothing to worry about.
Burton: There's this funny synth thing in this one, that needs an infinite amount of poker face.
Mige: Those kind of little things are easy to remember. Screwing around a bit has surprising effects.
7. The Face of God.
Burton: Seventh song. Should be your favorite.
Mige: Yeah, I dig Face of God quite a lot.
The guitar riff in the beginning reminds me of Paranoid.
Burton: Yeah, it's a little bit similar (laughs).
Mige: It's been around for two-three years. The actual song was made in the studio. We came up with a couple of new hooks for it. This one was the last song we did. There's not much more to it.
Burton: It's actually good that some songs were written in the studio. If you just keep on working on a certain song for ages, at some point it's going to turn out in a worse direction.
Mige: Ville made a demo two years ago, which included maybe four of these songs. Some of them changed a lot. We trained for about a month before getting in the studio, and put together seven or eight songs in that time. Quite a hectic pace.
8. Drunk on Shadows.
Mige: The first time this sounded just like the Smashing Pumpkins, which was fucking strange. But I was like, all right, it works.
Burton: This one's different stuff compared to the other songs.
Mige: What cheered me up about this album was that there's more actual... playing. The easiest way is of course to just play it all straight, but this one's got a similar vibe to the Foo Fighters. Playing for real. I like the Foo Fighters, and this song's got a shitload of them, and even more of the Smashing Pumpkins.
Burton: Could be a difficult one to play live.
9. Play Dead.
Mige: When I heard this song I instantly knew that I wanted to play it. Somehow it's easier for me to play ballads.
Burton: You've got a shitty technique?
Mige: No, no. Playing ballads is harder. I've got a slow mind. A child's mind. An idiot child's.
Burton: Slowed down brains?
Mige: It's like self-caressing. That's always fun.
Burton: In rehearsals it sounded awful.
Mige: It did. Gas' fault. Gas can't play ballads. He's been playing too much blast."
This one, as well as other songs of the album, has got some great singing harmonies.
Mige: Yeah, there's lots of layers. But we managed to keep it together somehow. Ballads are risky, as you tend to seek for the epic vibe, and you start filling them up with loads of stuff.
10. In the Night-Side of Eden .
Mige: In this song we all sing, except for Linde. It was the first time, cos' Ville has always sung all the backing vocals.
Burton: Because of a certain reason.
Mige: A certain reason that you can come and witness at the gigs (laughs). But I think it's a funny thing. There's this personal vibe to it, if you hear the voice of the people who have been recording the song.
Burton: This one's got a strange outro too.
Mige: The last song on our albums has always been a little weird on purpose. We'd rather have you go 'What?' after hearing the record, than 'Was this it?'
The final riff sounds like you could be jamming on it for an hour at concerts.
Mige: Yeah, we'll have to be careful with that. This one's again a different song compared to what we used to have. It's like Hawkwind meets Live. Funny psychedelia, but it's good we didn't do anymore of that.
Burton: Maybe the next record is all about Hawkwind.
Mige: That's just so damn nice to do. At times you've got to do something to cheer yourself up too. Only and utterly yourself.