HIM - ZURÜCK ZU GROSSEN GESTEN:

Die deutsche Kosmetik-Industrie jubelt - endlich ist es auch den Männern gestattet, tief in die Make-Up-Töpfchen ihrer Freundinnen zu langen. Auslöser für die männliche Emanzipation ist Ville Valo, Frontmann der finnischen
Rock-Formation HIM, die seit Ende letzten Jahres eine Renaissance des Androgynen
in Deutschland auslöst.
Plötzlich war er mit seinem Video zu "Join Me" auf der deutschen Mattscheibe, zart, jungfräulich, feminin und anscheinend geschlechtslos. Da war er, der Treffer mitten in die Herzen zahlreicher Mädchen. Das Styling und der Glamour
waren zwar nicht neu, regte doch schon in den 70ern Ziggy Stardust aka David Bowie die Phantasien der im Grunde doch unschlüssigen Damenwelt an, aber in Zeiten lebloser Fast Food-Produktionen wird Valos Botschaft gerne angenommen.
Auch musikalisch und textlich treffen HIM den Geist der Zielgruppe: romantische Goth-Rock-Melodien gepaart mit Liebesschwüren und ausgeschmückten Todesphantasien.

Bereits mit 8 Jahren sah Ville seine Lebenslaufbahn in klaren Lettern vor sich geschrieben - ein Leben als Rockstar. Den Ausschlag gab für ihn damals ein Video von KISS-Frontmann Gene Simmons, so wollte auch er werden. Ein Bass musste her und nach endlosem Gebettel bei den Eltern erhielt der kleine Ville einen gebrauchten Bass und einen kleinen Verstärker.
Seinen Lebensunterhalt verdiente er neben der Musik dann zunächst im Sexshop seines Vaters.

HIM (die Abkürzung des ursprünglichen Namens ''His Infernal Majesty'') wurde 1995 in Helsinki von Ville Hermanni Valo (Gesang), Mikko Paananen (Bass), Juhana Rantala (Schlagzeug), Mikko Lindström (Gitarre) und Antto Melasniemi (Keyboard) gegründet. Wie die meisten Rock'n'Roll-Musiker haben auch HIM den üblichen Werdegang einer Rock-Band durchlaufen: Proben, erste Live-Performances, ein Demo produzieren und an einschlägige Medien und Plattenfirmen schicken. Damit hatten HIM zunächst keinen Erfolg, erst das zweite Demo, das bereits eine 'Wicked Game'-Version enthielt, brachte den Deal mit der finnischen BMG. ''666 Ways To Love: Prologue'', die erste EP erschien 1996 und enthielt vier
Songs: ''Stigmata Diaboli'', ''Wicked Game'', ''Dark Secret Love'' und ''The Heartless''. Die Coverversion des Chris Isaak-Hits ''Wicked Game'' brachte die ersten Charterfolge für HIM in Finnland. Zu diesem Song wurde dann auch ein
Videoclip produziert, der auch für die Promotion in Deutschland verwendet wurde. 1997 folgte die EP ''When Love and Death Embrace'' und 1998 die EP ''Your Sweet Six Six Six'' (plus ''Beginning Of The End''), die beide Platzierungen in den
finnischen Top Ten erreichten. Das ebenfalls 1998 veröffentlichte Debütalbum ''Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666'' wurde schon im Herbst vergoldet, mehr als 20.000 Einheiten fanden in Finnland einen neuen Besitzer. Weitere nationale Auszeichnungen gab es kurz danach: Den ''Emma Award'' in der Kategorie ''newcomer of the year'', und Ende November den ''Jyrki Video Award'' für ''When Love And Death Embrace'', den zweiten HIM-Videoclip, der in Finnland produziert wurde.

Nachdem HIM in Finnland bereits zu Superstars avanciert waren, tastete man sich im 1998 auf den überregionalen, vor allem aber den deutschen Markt vor. Zwei wichtige Gigs in Deutschland (im Vorprogramm von Sisters Of Mercy und das
''Crossing All Over''-Festival in Bochum) machten deutsche Rock-Fans und einschlägige Medien auf die Band aufmerksam. Vor der Headliner-Tour wurde Keyboarder Antto durch Juska alias Zoltan alias ''The Dog'' und Drummer Juhana
Rantala durch Gas Lipstick ersetzt, der Rest der Besetzung änderte die Künstlernamen, und so ganz kann jetzt kaum jemand noch nachvollziehen, wer wirklich von Beginn an dabei war und wer nicht.

Der absolute Durchbruch gelang ihnen in Deutschland allerdings erst mit ihrer Single ''Join Me [In Death]'', ein Beitrag zu Roland Emmerichs Film ''The 13th Floor''. Anfang Januar 2000 war es dann soweit, der Song schoss auf Platz 1 der deutschen
Charts, und die Musik-Sender MTV und VIVA nahmen ihn in ihre Heavy Rotation auf. Ihre Konzerte sind ausverkauft, und Medien von der Teenager-Postille Bravo bis hin zum Fachblatt Rockhard stimmen Lobgesänge auf die Finnen an.

(C: Doc Rock 2000)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Interview mit Ville Valo vom 28.01.02 in Helsinki / Finnland ( => Transkription eines Video - Interviews):

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
V: What do I like to do in my spare time...mmh I like to sleep, unfortunately itís impossible because of all this promotion...this is torture...basically to bath and read good books and you know, ... high culture is my hobby....

Q: Is an acoustic guitar part of your luggage when you travel?
V: Well, nowadays it is...or usually I just purchased for the German tour I just bought myself a really cool  Gibson guitar, which is like the same sort of a model that Elvis Presley used to play. Yeah, I do! I have this sort of Johnny Cash fixation, so I do tend to carry around with me...and a laptop for internet porn.

Q: Between the five with you in your band. Will you all choose different holiday locations?
V: Basically, I had my last holiday in `91...we had like two weeks off basically in Rome on tour, but yeah we do ...Gas is going to watch some hockeymatches in the United States of America, Linde and Migé just went to Nepal (Kathmandu) and I donít know where Burton goes. He is a mystery man, so donít have a clue.

Q: Are you gonna have a holiday soon?
V: No! I have a mission to accomplish. To record a new album. So, I donít have any time to have any holidays. Unfortunately...this is my holiday.

Q: You are nominated for the German Echo-Award in 2002. What do you think about getting an award in general?
V: Well, if you get an award which is presented to you by Iggy Pop then it is really cool. But otherwise I donít really care...but it is nice when the viewers sort of like ...they give their calls and itís a viewerís choice thing. Thatís cool. But when there is like a some celebraties like just picking one band or artist out of a million thatĎs pretty sick to my opinion.

Q: What about the German Echo-Award, which one is it?
V:   which one is it...I donít have the clue about the Echos. It might be that we got one...but I have really really bad memory nowadays. I smoked to much hash when I was younger. You shouldnít be doing  that. Itís very, very bad for the shortterm memory. But ECHO, well thatís the sort of like very critically acclaimed thing. Well, thatís cool- you know-  we get free flights to Germany, free booze and get hang around with a bunch of models and the record company is offering us cocaine- thatĎs cool...

Q: Where do you plan to be in five years time?
V: Five years then Iím gonna be 30...so if I am to maintain a status being a legend I have to die when Iím 27 so letís see what happens, but....30, ähm...hopefully fishing in Marocco. A couple of my friends are doing that. It supposed to be really good.

Q: What motivates you?
V: Well, my motivation... itís just music. Itís an obsession anyway  just gotta do it...so...itís a drug. Itís a badthing- you know- basically Iím hooked.

Q: The Music motivates you?
V: Yeah, basically yeah. A lot of things motivates me: Cars, Mc Donaldís, ähm...what else...arts in general.
Mc Donaldís is art. Mc Donaldís is also murder. Meat is murder. Remember that.

10) Q: Is the break the only opportunity to keep HIM alive?
V: Well, to keep us alive...we would...youíll never know how long a band is going to be  together. You know we are five different personalities. Gas is like the overbloated fat fellow whoís trying to lose some weight now which is cool. But everybody is so different in the band so itís hard - you know- hard to keep the whole thing  going on. Yeah, we write new songs and we are feeling very, very good about the next album which we gonna hopefully record in next autumn and release early next year.You know, shortterm  plans. Itís better that way, you know.

11) Q: Are there any songideas for the next album already and if so in what direction are you heading with HIM?
V: It is hard to say before you go into the studio...and there is a producer and - you know-  different sort of equipment which we are using. Itís always pretty weird, because you just turn one knob and itís going to be totally different. So you never know in advance, but hopefully itís going to be a bit rougher. Thatís what we are going to do with the album anyway. Basically I consider the first three albums to be sort of like a trilogy and now we have to start from the beginning again. You know, to start to like a sort of like create something new totally and not just to continue  the boring chapters which are already written. So, hopefully itís going to be a bit more Stooges and you know...Or basically we check out the Billboard-Charts and you know what...whoever is top of the charts we usually try to rip off from them or copy them. It is much possible. So, hopefully itís not gonna be a Ricky Martin this year...

12.) Q: What qualities should be on the next HIM album if you compare it with the ĄDeep Shadows & Brilliant Highlightsď?
V: What qualities? What qualities...well,...

13.)Q: Will it remind? Will it be a continuous process developed from the...?
V: No. Thatís basically what I just told you- you know- ...in a sense that I consider that... We are doing albums... You know,  basically ĄDeep Shadows & Brilliant Highlightsď is a good album, but we canít continue in that sense, because in that way  because it is pretty mainstream. We...of course we want to be part of mainstream . We want to have loads of money  and loads of Echo-Awards , but we are no hookers, so -you know- just trying to do what feels best in the moment.

14.) Q: Did the album-tour-album-tour cycle harm your creativity personally?
V: Now, album, tour, album, tour...-cycle.Yeah, it does because we donít have any time, you know. Thatís basically what happened with ĄDeep Shadows & Brilliant Highlightsď and thatís one of the reasons Iím not 100 % satisfied with that. But itís a cool album anyway...but itís a different thing. Personally... artistically I like our first album the best, because we had loads of time to develop the music there, because that was the first thing we worked together for about five years before. So, you can...you know cycle things around in your mind and try to, you know, be better every day. This is the reason for the break that we wanna  really like to concentrate on the music. This is our fourth album and itís an important one.

15.) Q: How long is this break for?
V: IĎ m not sure actually. Our plan basically at the moment with this break is that...Migé and Linde they went to Nepal to have their holidays- you know- . Everybody is taking it easy, because everybody in the band was really frustrated after the tour, because we like continuously worked for about three years. Not having like a couple of days off every now and then, but really doing that tour-album-tour-album thing, so after ĄRazorblade Romanceď so...what was the question...?

15.) Q: Did the stress in the past harm the band atmosphere?
V: The stress in them...well, weíre  never stressed out as a band, you know ...completely. Thereís people in the band who are  continuosely feeling good. For example Gas. He is a happy personality. He is the one to keep us alive, you know, in many ways, because heís rather big . So if we would be stressed out because of starvation he would be a good sort of like a prey for us. He is a multitalented person in that sense...

16) Q: What changes have you made in your personal life that you are the most proud of?
V: mmmhhh....ähmmm...Well, I havenít changed so much in the past couple of years. I donít know I havenít made any conscious- you know- changes . Well,  maybe Iím trying to take it a bit more relaxed- you know- nowadays. Not working my ass of Ė you know- meeting my friends and playing pool and playing chess... I donít have to be write music all the time or stresssing me about that. So, thatís basically one of the changes....probably.

17.) Q: What have you learned from the last HIM record?
V: That you should...the big lesson we learned making ĄDeep Shadows & Brilliant Highlightsď was that we learned that we are not supposed to be hookers for the industry. And we are not supposed to be having a sort of family mentality with the record company people. There is a couple of personalities which we worked closely with ...who have been there from ...äh since the beginning ...then there was loads of like...too many cooks. Telling their own opinions. Opinions are like assholes. Everybodyís got one except Noman (?!??!). Thatís why they are so big .

18.)Q: What would be the result if you decide the songwriting process for the next album right now?
V: If I had...??? Iím constantly Ė you know- constantly at the moment Iím working on new stuff, so ...thereís a couple of songs I wrote last year, but most of it... IĎm working on most of it now. I donít know- you know- itís gotta be a bit different. Lyrically & musically, but itís still gonna be the same. Those same three chords Ė you know- trying to rip off ĄWicked Gameď over and over again. You know, thatĎs our mission.

19.) Q: How long is Ville Valo able to relax from songwriting?
V: I just lost a girlfriend and I bought myself a guitar which is like the substitute for the particular person. I basically sleep with the guitar ....and there is couple of holes in there...as well, so...whatever...so, basically itís impossible to take a break there. No, every... like a couple of hours everyday. So, basically- you know- I wake up start playing guitar, search for some funny sexsites from the internet and then I go and play some pool and drink a couple of beers and then I start all over again. Thatís what I do.

20.) Q: So is it that like for example breaking up with the girlfriend will that affect your music Ė the way you write songs?
V: Oh, itís hard to say. Everyday life affects the whole thing, you know. In everybodiesĎ lifes, whatever theyĎre doing of course it affects the mood and stuff like that. Now itís getting pretty dark here in Finland. Well, itís been dark for a while so probably itís going to be a very doomish and very gloomy and very gothic...the  record which IĎm going to do. I donít know, you know...letís see. But Migé and Linde they still donít want to wear any black clothes, so thatís a problem for a gothic imagery. And Linde and Gas are too fat to be Goths. Overfat Vampyres...thatís what I call them.

21.) Q: How would your best friend describe you?
V: All my best friends basically call me a cunt. Thatís probably the best way to describe it. Iím egocentrical...and alcoholic...and a very boring personality with no sense of humour at all.

22.) Q: And would you like to say something for all the fans?
V: Hello people...äh...ich liebe dich...tschüss!
 

(C: taken from http://www.him-music.de; Februar 2002)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------