eFestivals caught up with rock band HIM at Rock City on their U.K tour for a little chat. Frontman Ville Valo kindly took time out of his schedule to speak to us.
The first time I caught you live was at Download last year, you blew the audience away. Is there much difference between playing to a festival crowd and playing to a club crowd?
Ville:There's a lot of difference in the way that when a band play a club show, the people are there to just see that band, where as at a festival the audience are usually wasted and aren't just there to see one band. They are usually there to hang out with friends as well as checking out the new bands. The mood is pretty different, and even backstage it is a different atmosphere- there is more of the family reunion type of atmosphere?
Did you get to see any of the other bands at Download?
Ville:No, it was terrible hassle, because the previous night we were playing Madrid around midnight, and we had about an hours worth of sleep, then we had to be on the plane, straight to the gig, and then to London for some promotion stuff, we got to see a bit of Marilyn Manson on the T.V screens backstage.
How do you feel about downloading music of the internet?
Ville:I actually dont know, without statistics how can you tell? The problem is that it is causing record companies to plough money into artistes like Britney Spears and Madonna, because they know they will make their money back, and so it is making it more restrictive for new artistes.
Do you actually get to do a full sound check at festivals?
Ville:We usually just line check, it doesnt really matter because we have had the same crew for such a long time now, but there is always technical hassles, but when you have better slots you get to do a more thorough sound check in the morning, but I never do, I dont want to wake up that early.
How do you think your current album Love Metal is going down with the audiences?
Ville:On this tour, its going down really well because the album is our biggest so far in the U.K. But its different from place to place! Some countries like the older stuff more.
Are you still playing tracks spanning throughout your entire career?
Ville:Yes, we do stuff from most of our albums. We still do the cover version of Wicked Game and some of the older material like Poison Girl.
Are there any venues that you would still like to play at?
Ville:We havent properly toured America, Canada, Australia or Japan, so theres lots of places still to go to, we are in no hurry.
Kerrang have really took a shining to you, do you think they might be building you up to knock you down?
Ville:I think if we keep on doing good music and people like us and they buy the magazine because we are in the magazine then they cant basically hate us hopefully.
What music do you listen to when on the road?
Ville:I like to listen to mellow stuff on the road like Travis, as we are constantly surrounded by rock music on tour and so its nice listening to mellow stuff. Obviously back at home I listen to a lot more rock music.
If there was one song you could have written that has been written by another artist, which one would you have liked to have written?
Ville:Not really, its great that people have written beautiful songs that keep me going as a songwriter- it would be great to be able to write a song like Love me tender but there are lots of songs that are classics which I admire.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Ville:Its been pretty busy for us. We really havent had a proper vacation in the last three years. Usually we go to the pub during breaks whilst recording.
Have you recorded any material for your next album?
Ville:Well we just recorded two tracks for our compilation album thats coming out on march 15th. We recorded Neil Diamonds Solitary Man and one of our own tracks. It seems that we will be going into the studio again in October to record the next album, I have got ideas for about thirteen songs.
When you was younger did you have the illusion that if you are in a rock band, it would mean endless nights of sex, drugs and rock n roll?
Ville:We started playing music from an early age and so we wasnt really aware of that side of it, the weird thing is the more successful you get the more free booze and drugs you get, they should be given to the bands who dont have the money. We have never been a druggy band, we have always been dating, we have always had our girlfriends at home, and we have been 95% faithful, weve made mistakes, but have suffered for our sins.
It is quite expensive to go on tour at this level, so why do you do it?
Ville:Just for the fun of it, if you dont tour you are fucked, rock is all about touring and taking the music to the people rather than expecting the people to come to the band. Sometimes its horrible, and sometimes its beautiful, I can tolerate all the bad moments for all those little moments of sheer beauty.
Many thanks to Ville Valo for taking time out to speak to us, and a big thank you to Dave at BMG for authorising this interview.