"HIMs front man is spilling the beans!"
We are taking with Ville Valo.
HIM is synonymous with the Heartagram. Where did you get the idea?
– I grew up with metal and hard rock and the visual has always been an important part of this music; Whitesnake with their worm, Led Zeppelin with their Zeppelin, Iron Maiden with their monster Eddie. I had been thinking about creating this cool symbol for a couple of years and among many other good things, it just came to me. It’s like I was struck by the lightning and I knew what to do immediately. It was my first and last Einstein-moment.
You've said that you’re the only band who is more known for their symbol than the music. Does this upset you or is it just a fact?
– It’s not a fact; no one has observed it yet. A lot of people like the symbol without knowing it belong to HIM. I believe that the Heartagram is not only a symbol of the band. In a few words, the symbol shows that you like a good life.
The American skater and Jackass-member Bam Margera has nearly adopted the symbol. How did you get to know him?
– He stole it! Bam is a thief and murderer.
– No no, he is just a good friend. He liked the band so much that he begun to use the symbol on his skateboards and other stuff. I guess that all publicity is good publicity so we let him do that. Bam is a pig but his way to promote the band forces us to worship him.
Your song Passions Killing Floor was in the movie Transformers and rumours says that you are going to make the next Bond theme song. Comments?
– I think that Amy Winehouse swiped that opportunity. If she hadn’t been to rehab I guess I would have the opportunity to make the theme song, but it seems like she’s concentrating on work again. If you promise to keep it a secret, can I tell you that I bombed her so she wasn’t capable to make the theme song. But obviously, I failed.
So if I get it right are you not going to do the Bond theme song?
– Right. It would’ve been wonderful but I guess there’ll be more chances. I assume that Quantum Of Solace isn’t going to be the last Bond movie. Movies are otherwise a perfect opportunity to promote ones music to a wider target group.
You talked about Amy Winehouses detoxification but the fact is that you’ve been to rehab yourself, last year. Have you been drinking anything since then?
– No, unfortunately not. I’ve had some candies that included alcohol but I had no idea about that, so I am not the one to blame. I have been sober for 10 months now.
So you’re not going to follow the Straight Edge culture?
– Never, if it is the oldest form of Straight Edge you’re talking about, because according to them you are not even allowed to fuck. You can barely do anything at all – no fucking, don’t eat meat and don’t smoke. I’m a vegetarian but I am smoking and I try to get laid, but the problem is that no one wants to fuck me.
What are you doing on tour when you don’t drink?
– I meditate, read and playing the guitar. Physically I am feeling better now when I am sober but mentally it’s not really some kind of difference at all. The life in general gives me the feeling of being hung over. But I got more time to rest and to read about important things like the occult roots in the third country.
Isn’t alcohol a good way to find inspiration for a musician?
– No, at least not for me. The alcohol made me get away from the inspiration. I have never needed drugs or alcohol to write a song.
You made a gig in Sweden in February and the audience was full of gothic girls dressed in black. How much affection do you get from the audience you attract?
– Luckily, we are a band that doesn’t necessarily affect one type of audience. It’s a great variation and everyone is not dressed in black and burn churches on their free time. And that’s a very un-constructive hobby.
How do you react when people, mostly girls of course, are starting to cry when they see you?
– Honestly I have started to think that they are crying out of other reasons than you can expect. It can be some kind of a moment of chock, the disappointment to see me in real life without being Photoshoped.
Another Finnish band, Lordi, won the Eurovision Song Contest two years ago. Does HIM have any plans to enter the competition?
– No, we are too old for that. We rather compete within the band. You can’t judge a good band or a good song in a TV-show. Obviously they are trying to, but we don’t want to be judged that way. But it was amusing that Lordi won because they changed the whole spectacle of the competition. Earlier it was a competition for granny and grandpa but now it’s more appreciably among the younger people.
Which band is the best Finnish band throughout all time?
– I have to say Hanoi Rocks. Andy McCoy and Michael Monroe are really good. I adore their music.
Do you think that HIM can keep on the career as long as Hanoi Rocks?
– I say like the old singer of Iron Maiden, Blaze Bayley: "heaven is the boundary and the heaven is falling down". Honestly, we have no plans. I guess we’ll keep it up as long as we have an audience and that we like what we are doing. It’s a boring answer but that’s the way it is.
Do you have a target or do you keep running?
– The targets are often showing up by themselves. It is small targets like ending the tour, write a new song, latch on to a good producer and stuff like that. We don’t have any major targets, like playing on the moon.
Lastly, can you dance Finnish tango?
– Not since I became sober.
translated: Credits to Anna Berglund at Rockfoto.