Meghan Player of Push To Fire recently conducted an interview with vocalist Ville Valo of Finnish love metallers HIM. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
On how love and death have inspired HIM's eighth studio album, "Tears On Tape", which is being released at the end of the month:
Valo: "Love, in itself, makes the world go round — and it's the cause of many religious and political debates as well. There's very few topics to sing about anyway. You can sing about drugs, sex, cars, politics and religion — and I think that's about it. I'd rather pick the most interesting ones. Which is love, the death of love, the sense of longing and the losing and regaining — which can be interpreted as being part of death too. I like a bit of drama. I think that if music and lyrics are too close to everyday, it usually becomes boring. I like stuff to be larger than life."
On how much deeper and darker he can go for inspiration for his lyrics:
Valo: "What a question. Is there a limit to the darkness? No, I won't limit my darkness, and thankfully the abyss that I'm looking at isn't very shallow. It's more like a balancing act, more or less. I think it's still important for our band to make music that you can bang your head to or shake your hips to or just have fun — but still try to have a cinematic quality come from that too. It's trying to combine all of the elements from our idols and rock music in general that we've adored since we were kids — trying to put it all together and figure it out. It's important to take what you do seriously and shed a few tears, with sweat and blood while you're doing it — but it's very important not to take yourself too seriously. You can take the work seriously, but not yourself … At the end of the day, we're just five blokes who grew up listening to BLACK SABBATH and that's that. And, we've been tremendously lucky over the years to travel across the world and spread the joyous message of BLACK SABBATH."
On whether his lyrics have ever hit too close to home:
Valo: "Not yet. Lyrically, I very rarely try to be too blunt about anything. For me, [when music is] necessary for my life is actually when I'm lacking the words — like when I have a feeling inside or an existennial problem that I can't put into words. That's usually when I come up with melodies and riffs and ideas for music. For me, it's way more easier to express stuff through music then through lyrics or conversation — it's sonic therapy of sorts. I try not to be too direct or straightforward with the lyrics — I think that's too boring and two-dimensional. A one-trick pony. You have to leave space for the imagination, especially for the imagination of the band. That enables us to play old songs as well. They're not so much tied to a specific area of time when the song was conceived, but can be interpreted by ourselves too in different ways."
Read the entire interview from Push To Fire.
"Tears On Tape" (song) audio stream: