HIM Frontman On New Album: 'We're Making What I'd Call Modern Retro'

Vocalist Ville Valo of Finnish "love" metallers HIM spoke to Revolver magazine this past Halloween night as he was putting the finishing touches on the lyrics for the band's ninth full-length album, entitled "Tears On Tape".

"I'm stressed out to the max," admitted Valo. "It's just how it goes when you're working on new songs. I'm running out of time — I've got about six days left — and I'm trying to be a poet. We've recorded the whole album, so now I'm doing my shtick and hoping it all goes well."

Recorded at Helsinki's Finnvox Studios with longtime producer Hiili Hiilesmaa (APOCALYPTICA, AMORPHIS, MOONSPELL), the long-awaited follow-up to 2010's "Screamworks: Love In Theory And Practice" is tentatively scheduled for a spring 2013 release via an as-yet-undetermined record label. The CD will be mixed in London, England by Tim Palmer, who previously helmed 2005's "Dark Light" and 2007's "Venus Doom".

"Basically, we're making what I'd call 'modern retro,'" Valo stated about the musical direction of the new album, which he says will sound like "ROY ORBISON meeting METALLICA." "We wanted it to be nasty, fucked-up, and messy, and have that punk-rock attitude. But then on the other hand, it would also have that Roy Orbison naive, sentimental, dream-like quality."

According to Valo, HIM was originally scheduled to begin work on "Tears On Tape" at the end of last year, but a repetitive-strain injury suffered by drummer Mika Kristian Karppinen (a.k.a. Gas Lipstick) — which left the skinsman unable to lift even a cup of coffee, much less pound a drum kit — forced the bandmembers to re-evaluate their desire to carry on.

"I think because he had the ailment, we had the opportunity to reassess what we had," Valo explained. "It was a miniscule existential crisis. We had to figure out what we really want to do and if we really like each other enough to continue through the hardest times-or do we want to call it a day?"

Asked about the meaning of the new HIM album title, Valo said, "For me, what it means is how songs —I'm not talking about our songs, but songs in general — can be milestones. You hear a song and it brings you to where you heard that song for the first time, or when it meant something really big to you. 'Tears On Tape' means that I appreciate the people who have really poured their souls and hearts out on tape, and showed that to the rest of the world for the better or for the worse. I wouldn't be here without those tears of Elvis Presley on tape."

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