There he was, working behind the counter of his father's sex shop. It was allright for the time being, but the boy with an angel's face and a devilish smile had a dream. Disillusioned with the music he heard around him, he wanted something more. The music was lacking in soul and imagination. He wanted something that could move you, bring you to the verge of tears, leave a mark on you. And he fulfilled his dream.
Ville Hermanni Valo formed HIM in the summer of 1995, gathering around him some old friends who shared his vision of a brand of rock Ville himself calls 'love metal'. Depeche Mode meets Dimmu Borgir in a David Lynch movie...
"You're so close! Love metal is music that includes elements of pop, metal, goth, glam... It's music inspired by the feelings you have before the first touch, before the first kiss. Love metal is like the movie poster of Gone with the Wind, you know, Clark Gable embracing Vivien Leigh in the sunset."
"I could relate to the mood in that song, it contains that same kind of melancholy feeling that you can find in our music. After all, we have much more in common with a guy like Chris Isaak than any testosterone-heavy metal band. I hate joyful music! For You is my 'headbanging anthem', if you know what I mean? When Love and Death Embrace on the other hand is my version of all those cheesy 80's pop ballads."
Ville Hermanni Valo - half sneering hard rock front man, half suffering poet. On stage with a bottle of red wine in one hand and a cigarette in the other, a Jim Morrisonesque figure (in Jimbo's slimmer days, that is...) with a deeply emotional voice, he instantly demands your attention. His mother's Hungarian ancestors are responsible for his dark looks and that drop of Dracula's blood that he has in his system. HIM stands for His Infernal Majesty.
"It stands entirely for my reputation of being a truly infernal ladies' man, totally hopeless. I get burned time after time again. His Infernal Majesty has nothing whatsoever to do with ANY kind religious beliefs or ideologies - just as in our context 666 has nothing to do with the number of the beast. When I read about those people that burned historical Finnish churches and who names us along with Black Sabbath and Dimmu Borgir as being their main source of inspiration, I was deeply offended!"
"666 is something you're possessed with, something you just have to get although you know it will destroy you in the end. It's something sweet but it has a bitter aftertaste, like Belgian beer or something, ha-ha..."
Greatest Lovesongs, Vol. 666 contains nine songs of which seven are originals written by Ville Valo. A second cover version is a stunning, slowed down reading of Blue Öyster Cult's mid-70's classic (Don't Fear) The Reaper.
"You could say that Romeo and Juliet are the hero and heroine in our music - that's why we chose to cover (Don't Fear) The Reaper. I heard the original for the first time on the soundtrack of Halloween and it has stayed with me ever since."
That androgynous figure on the cover of Greatest Lovesongs, Vol. 666, burning in the fires of hell and staring into nowhere, that is Ville Valo. A guy who started his musical career learning the bass entirely because of Gene Simmons' pyrotechnics and for whom performing is a kind of mental masturbation. The sex shop boy who with his band HIM has just delivered one of the most impressive debut albums of the 90's.
"What next? You just wait", Ville says with a sly smile. "It could be anything. I just may have a plan V, you know. I might go full time into the family business."