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Him (III)
Interview mit Ville Valo [Him], 17.10.2012, phoner

Aktuell befinden sich Him im Studio und produzieren ihr neues Album, das 2013 erscheinen soll. Frontmann Ville Valo verriet mir am Telefon die ersten Details und warum es in den letzten zwei Jahren ein wenig still im Hause der Finnen war.

Ville, how are you doing?

Ville: I've just been to the studio for ten or twelve hours and I have a terrible headache…

Are you in Helsinki right now?

Ville: Yes, I'm at home. We're recording the new album here in Helsinki with the producer Hiili Hiilesmaa. He did our first album, "Love Metal" and "Venus Doom" as well. So we know him for years and feel very comfortable with him. And Tim Palmer will mix the new album in London.

It's been quite silent around Him during the last two years. What has been going on in the band's life?

Ville: Our drummer Gas got problems with his hands, went to the doctor immediately and it took eight months to heal. So basically we were waiting for him to get better and also wrote songs at the same time. It was really stressful for everybody, especially for Gas. He is 41 now, I think, and he's been playing drums since he was five years old. But he is in top form now and everything is good, so no one complains. It was a long wait, but that was basically the main reason, why we have been pretty quiet for the past two years.

Everybody is waiting for the new HIM album, but at first you will publish a compilation disc called "XX – Two Decades Of Love Metal". What's the background?

Ville: Basically when Gas got troubles with his hands and wasn't able to work on new songs, our previous record company suggested to publish a big music compilation. But the original idea was pretty boring – just a two disc compilation without any artwork. But we wanted to make something more special – to re-record something, record a new track or use different versions of our best songs. So "XX" is a good reminder that there's a band from Finland called Him, there's so much stuff the band has done and there's a way more to come. We hope to get the new album out in March 2013.

How do you personally celebrate the band's 20-year career?

Ville: We're doing a new album! That's a celebration itself…

With "Strange World" there is one new recorded song on the compilation and you released it as a single. Why did you decide to cover this track by Kevin "Ké" Grivois?

Ville: Kevin released his first solo album including the song "Strange World" exactly at the same time when we released our first EP… I've always loved the song. It's not a love song, but I think it fits to our band… We're known for doing covers of unexpected artists. I really, really love that track…

Is it like a foretaste of the upcoming studio album?

Ville: Mmm no… I think the new album is gonna be rougher and more organic. There's gonna be a bit more Turbonegro in there.

So it's heading into the direction of "Love Metal" and "Venus Doom"?

Ville: Well, we're pretty fast on the album, so there's more punk attitude on it… It's really organic and there's a lot happening, but it's not progressive. There is like poppy stuff, rock stuff, really odd psychedelic stuff – so hopefully something new. I wouldn't compare it to anything we've done in the past.

In which studio are you recording the new album with Hiili Hiilesmaa?

Ville: We're working in a place called Finnvox. It's a place where also Nightwish recorded their albums and we've done two albums there. It's not far from home. We feel comfortable there and Hiili's been working on really plenty of albums in that place… And as we all live in the neighbourhood, we can carry our equipment to the studio, so we have our own gear, all the guitars etc. there.

Was it a natural choice to work with Hiili and Tim again?

Ville: Oh, Hiili knows us really well. He's a Finnish guy who's been with us since the very beginning of the band; he heard the first demos and the first EP. But as we had break from each other for a while, we now thought it is a good time to get back to him and he was really excited about it… After the production we will give the CD to Tim Palmer… It's good to have like a fresh pair of ears, you know, somebody else to mix and put the CD together. We, the band, will also be in London. We're going to do the mix in late November. Tim has a great sense of humor. For the album "Love Metal" Hiili was the producer and Tim mixed it, so we realized that this combination works. They both appreciate each other's work and they get along with each other really well.

You said the mix will start in November. So are the songs already finished?

Ville: … We have a couple of songs, a couple of keyboards, guitars and acoustic guitars and all the vocals and that's about it. We have about 20 days left for the recordings.

Did the recordings proceed frictionless so far?

Ville: Yes, surprisingly. It has taken a bit more time than usual to get everything right, but it was more technical stuff. I wanted Linde for example to play the guitar quite wild, and same with the bass guitar… So the album sounds more wild and fresh… There are lots of feedbacks and the sound is a bit more distorted. I am really happy with the idea… Also, you know, we worked on getting the drum sound right and it took ages…

How does a usual studio day look like for you? When does it start in the morning, when does it end?

Ville: We could start at 8 o'clock in the morning, but we head into the studio around 11 am and work until the evening… It's not like we record all the guitars at once – we do a bit of guitars, a bit of keyboards and a bit of this and that. So the recording takes a bit more time, but it makes it more interesting for us… And on the weekends we work on some other stuff, the cover artwork for example...

When did you start writing the new material?

Ville: There are songs I've been working with for years. And then there is stuff I started working with in summer time. So some stuff is really fresh for my ears. But the basic ideas and some melodies are really old for me. For me it takes a lot of time. I am not lazy, but really slow. I started one of the songs maybe five years ago, but it just takes time. I start playing on the acoustic guitar and put a really pretty song together, bring it to the rehearsal place, have a few beers and turn all the amps to the maximum level.

But do you write new songs on the road or at home on your desk?

Ville: I do both. But you know, we just haven't been on tour for a long time. I do enjoy being back at home. It gives me piece and a bit more concentration than being writing new stuff in the back of a bus where everybody sleeps and all that…

What have been your inspiration sources this time?

Ville: Life in general – as always: relationships, friendships, etc. But it's not my diary, it's our diary and everybody can make his own interpretations… I do love music that has untouchable lyrics.

How many songs will be on the album?

Ville: I think it's gonna be 13, yeah, that's a good number.

Can you already reveal a few song titles?

Ville: Not really. The album title will be "Tears On Tape" and that's one of the songs as well – so that's the only title I can give you at the moment. We are still working on the rest of the stuff. The titles can still change…

Are the new songs quite melancholic and sad as the album is entitled "Tears On Tape"? Didn't you have a good time at last?

Ville: No, I'm having a good time. But being from Scandinavia we appreciate the melancholy and I don't like hyperactive heavy music. That is not my cup of tea…

Do you already have a final date when the album will be completely finished?

Ville: It will be before Christmas, so in late December before people will go on holidays; I mean the people who work in the industry… And then hopefully the new label is interested in releasing the stuff. We will see.

Will you also have some holidays then?

Ville: There will be the New Year's traditional Helldone Festival in Helsinki and we're playing from 27th to 30th December in the Tavastia Club – four days in a row. We hope to play some new material there… Hopefully we get a bit time off in January. But as Gas had the problems with his hands, we did have a lot of time, so I don't think that we need a proper vacation. We need to get back on tour!

Interview: Lea S.
Fotos: taken from sonymusic.de/Him/Bilder
Website Band: www.heartagram.com

(c) Zillo Musikmagazin / Ausgaben 12/12-01/13 & 02/13 / www.zillo.de

copyright: Aurora Borealis 2007-2015
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