Interview with Ville Valo from HIM
BRM had the pleasure of speaking with Ville Valo, the lead singer of the band HIM, which stands for His Infernal Majesty. As one of Finland’s most popular and successful bands, the name HIM isn’t as dark and gloomy of a reflection on the band as it may seem.
With both a love for horror and romance, Ville and the band figured out how to take the dark and the light from romance and transform it into a haunting, yet addictive musical sound that stays with you long after you have heard it. This Finnish band has not only stolen the hearts of its fans in their native land but has burst through the scene in the United States with their melodic sounds and the unforgettable Heart-a-gram symbol.
We asked Ville about his interpretation and meaning of the Heart-A-Gram since it has had a huge impact on their fans all over the world.
“I grew up with bands like KISS, that had a lot of visual impact. They had they own vibe and I was hoping we would have the chance of having something similar. “ He explained that the actual symbol came about on accident. “I was doodling around with a pen and that’s what happened basically.” I was a fan of horror movies and at the same time I was a hopeless romantic so I think that’s basically what happened.”
It’s not just their memorable symbol that made us fans but the music of course – hooking us all in with past releases off the album Razorblade Romance, and cover song’s such as “Wicked Game.”
“It’s one of the greatest songs ever written. So I am always happy and blessed to be able to sing that popular one and one day hopefully I’ll get the opportunity of meeting, Chris Isaak and say, ‘You made us.’” Ville continued, “Its an important song for us because a lot of bands start out by playing cover tunes and songs from different people and all different artists and that popular tune was one of the first ones when we kind of realized the Ying and the yang vibe that you can have.”
“Wicked Game” may have put them on the map but it was with their album, Dark Light, that the band received a gold record here in the U.S. selling 500,000 albums.
For about twenty years, HIM has been creating music together. When asked about their longevity, Ville said, “I think the most important thing is that we grew up together, the bassist, Mige and the guitar player, Linde, we really did grow up together – and that’s a big deal and coming from such a small country we never had the idea that we would ever be given a chance to be successful internationally and having that helped a lot.”
To celebrate their twentieth anniversary of their dark yet romantic contribution to the music world, HIM is releasing a new compilation record coming out on October 26th titled, XX-Two decades of Love and Metal. The title of this album is so fitting being that since their start in the early 90’s, the band has put a name to their superb madness of musical talent, calling it “Love-Metal.” The compilation is of course the band’s career wrapped into a neat and most desired package with one new track called “Strange World.” This is the first new material by the band since 2010.
So what has the band been up to for the past two years and why come out with a compilation album? Ville said, “It’s kind of our way of saying ‘Hey we do still exist as a band and we are working on something new as well.’”
The band went into the studio early this past September to work on their new and eighth full length album, Tears on Tape. Although HIM is under new management it is rumored that the band’s sound is returning to its roots. “We are going to try to stretch things further apart – making the yin further from the yang. I’d like to sound as much as I can like Roy Orbinson and I’m hoping at the same time the band will sound like Black Sabbath.”
Ville’s personal favorite track from the new awaited album is a song called, “Lips go Blue.” He spoke about this being his favorite track which helped give a feel for the albums entirety.
“It’s energetic and in your face, but still has that melancholy, kinda croonery, kinda Sinatra kinda vibe to it.”