Tracy Heck of Examiner.com recently conducted an interview with vocalist Ville Valo of Finnish "love" metallers HIM. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Examiner.com: For the [new HIM album, "Tears On Tape"], it seems like you got a good mix of what you would consider your early stuff and what you've kind of been working on with the last couple of albums. What was the mindset when you went in to record?
Ville: Well, you know, I think the important thing, usually, with a band is not to overthink it; not to think about it too much. It's basically that we had a lot of trouble getting our sound together and we had troubles with our drummer, who developed this repetitive stress or strain injury and then the doctors found some nerve damage and blah, blah, blah! All of a sudden, we were in a situation, because we are all school friends, you know, we've known each other since we were, like, ten years old, and all of a sudden one of the family members was, like, seriously ill and the doctors weren't sure he was going to be able to play drums anymore. So it took about eight months for us to just wait it all out and now everything is fine and all that but it was really stressful. Existential crisis to the max! So, basically, we were just happy to be back at the rehearsal place together and just write down some riffs and pretend to be as heavy as BLACK SABBATH and as sentimental as Roy Orbison. You know, basically, the stuff that we've always done in the past.
Examiner.com: When you finished it, did you feel you captured the idea that you had when you went in?
Ville: Well, I think it shouldn't be. I think that's nice that there's some surprises. You know, these surprise moments waiting for you around the corner all the time. It's like if you premeditate or try to figure everything out too quick, you lose the magic. It's very close to the process of how it worked always. I start strumming the acoustic guitar and come up with the basic ideas and head over to the rehearsal place and we put the meat around the bones, the fat, and we add the distorted guitars and all of that stuff and once we're happy with it, we just go with the flow. We never know how it's gonna actually end up being. That keeps all the band members, especially me, on our toes. It keeps me on my toes, which is good as opposed to taking it easy. That would be a copout.
Examiner.com: You are releasing different singles for different parts of the world. Are you filming different videos for each track?
Ville: Well, yeah, it's a funny situation in that we have a different label in Europe and a different label in the States and a different label in the U.K.. The Finnish label over here are going with a song called "Into The Night" and the U.K. and the States are having "All Lips Go Blue", and at least in Germany, and I think the rest of Europe, they're using "Tears On Tape", the album's title track as the first single. You know, it's that the radio and the markets are so different. I'm just happy that there are still people who believe that we can still get some airplay and maybe grab a couple of new people who haven't heard about our band before into the ever growing cult of HIM.
Examiner.com: Is there a particular reason that stands out on why you guys have kept going as long as you have? What keeps you guys coming back?
Ville: Well, maybe the fact that when we started out playing we didn't have driver's licenses or we didn't have girlfriends and we started out so early that what was important for us was music. Back in the day in the Eighties, a lot of bands were talking about how they played music because they wanted the girls or they wanted to get rich or they wanted to do this or that and we thought that all that stuff might be a bonus. It wasn't the reason; the core for the existence of the band. The fact was that we were fans of a lot of bands and we loved music, so that's what we started doing.
Examiner.com: What's the one thing about being famous that is most disturbing?
Ville: Well, we're not that famous, so maybe the hunger for it. The more you eat, the hungrier you get. Let's say the fame has been quite gentle and easy on us. Coming from a country such as Finland, the yellow press/tabloids or whatever you want to call them are pretty easygoing. There hasn't been a lot of trouble, and most of the time people tend to respect the other's privacy and all that stuff. Obviously, there's a loony here and there, but at the end of the day, there's crazy people. It doesn't matter whether you're in a band or not, you can always get into trouble with people.
Read the entire interview from Examiner.com.
"Tears On Tape" (song) audio stream: