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Rumba article (2/2010)


HIM’s latest album Venus Doom didn’t sell nearly as much as Dark Light, which earned a gold record in the US. With the new album Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice, Ville Valo puts on a poppier gear. Will the change of style help the sales figures shoot up again?

Question: Musically Screamworks is the most cheerful HIM ever, but the lyrics are once again filled with despair. How did that happen?

Ville: I don’t think this is a cheerful album. It’s more of an 80’s, Nik Kershaw’s Riddle inspired album, melancholic melodies in a wrong format. There Is a Light That Never Goes Out by The Smiths is also a good reference point because it has lyrics that contradict strongly with the music. It’s about the right balance between the yin and the yang. I guess you could say that Screamworks is like Kiss with a broken heart.

Q: After all the doom of the last album, is HIM now trying to conquer the teen fans of 30 Seconds to Mars?

V: 30 Seconds to Mars? That wasn’t a very nice thing to say. On Screamworks, we simply wanted to do short songs and say a lot in little time. Venus Doom had for example a song called Sleepwalking Past Hope which was over ten minutes long. When we were playing it on tour, it made us want to experiment with other ideas.

Q: Were there other reasons for this change?

V: Matt Squire influenced it too because he’s grown up with bands like Van Halen, Duran Duran, and Poison. On the other hand, like us, he appreciates also Faith No More and Bad Brains. We let these influences come out more boldly this time.

Q: Are you playing it safe with the poppier style, so that Screamworks would sell more than Venus Doom?

V: We haven’t done a single record expecting it to sell a fucking lot. And I don’t know anything about radio hits today, for me the best album of the last few years is Antics by Interpol. Of course we want to be the biggest band in the world, but we want to do it using our own strengths. The demo versions of the fast rock songs of Screamworks have all been more pathetic than the album versions. All our music comes from the same gloominess.

Q: You have said that you have the habit of breaking up the band every other day. How do the other guys of HIM handle it when you get angry?

V: You have to remember that I’m not the only guy in the band that sometimes has a bad day. Shall we say that I get my period more often than the other guys. Music is important, and sometimes I lose my temper with it. I’m pretty demanding at rehearsals, and if something doesn’t work right away, I lose my temper—and this applies for my own parts as well.

Unfortunately, I belong to the group of people that can’t say ‘thank you’. I have tried to change this characteristic of mine though. And being pissed off doesn’t always have to do with the band but with the fact that things aren’t going well at home. This “breaking up the band” is of course symbolic. I can’t break up the band because it has other members as well. On the other hand, the band could hardly keep on going in the same way if I was to fuck off. Especially since I have the rights to the name HIM.

Q: You are a rare Finnish singer in the sense that you pronounce English like a native. Do people make jokes about Finns’ bad English abroad?

V: I think it’s the Finns who make a big deal out of it. It’s kind of like drinking, Finns don’t drink more than let’s say Italians. The Finnish accent just makes the music more exotic. People don’t think I’m American, and I wouldn’t even want to get rid of my accent. When I was still drinking, my accent always changed with the amount I had drunk. With every pint I moved 50 kilometers north from London. In the end, I was speaking Scottish fluently.

Q: You are possibly the most famous rocker in Finland. Does it annoy you that according to the tax records Lauri Ylönen from The Rasmus is the Finnish rock musician making most money?

V: I guess it sucks when I don’t have as much money as someone who has a lot of money. But I’ve never been broke either. But yes, I does annoy me. Lauri annoys me so much! (Laughs.)

You have to remember, though, that Lauri Ylönen is a pop singer and not a rocker. The Rasmus is a pop band with two or three huge pop hits, and we are a rock band with seven moderately successful rock albums.

Then there’s the classic question of why isn’t anybody checking what companies musicians have and how much money those are making. This is just a hint because the tax records you mentioned could look very different then. Does somebody really think that all my income is unearned income? No, it’s not. I have my own maneuvers that are completely legal—I’ve made sure of that many times. [I have to say that if I remember those tax records correctly, all his income was wages not unearned income, but that doesn’t change the point he’s making.]

Q: When does being a rock star show its most unpleasant side? Is it when a dream gig at Wembley turns into a booing fest?

V: There have been all kinds of things, I don’t even look back that far. I have to say though that the gig at Wembley wasn’t bad in any way. It was a risk that you always have to take opening for a band like Iron Maiden or Metallica. There were 80 000 people at that gig, and the thousand closest to the stage were booing. You can count how many new fans we had a chance to reach.

But maybe the worst thing is that people call me a rock star, but I only make a fourth of the money Lauri Ylönen makes.

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( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
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Feb. 5th, 2010 06:50 pm (UTC)
oh my god did this interviewer want to live? I wouldn't ask questions like that of Ville! What was the point he was making about unearned income? Is it that he only takes a wage out of HIM and the rest gets channeled into the bands account type of thing so the majority of it dosn't show up as his? Keep the tax down? Lol hilarious hes such a bitch but that interviewer was also one!
Feb. 5th, 2010 07:06 pm (UTC)
The point he was making was simply that the public tax records that the tabloids publish every year don't really reflect the truth of how much money people actually make. The tax records show both the earned income (wages) and the unearned income, so it doesn't really matter that he used (I believe) the wrong term here.

This isn't really a territory I know much about (and I'm very unfamiliar with the English terminology), but I believe that, since the companies own by Ville/HIM aren't public ones, he/they can for example take out dividends up to a certain amount without having to pay taxes, so that income wouldn't show up in the tax records. That would be completely legal and would make sense because I think his income tax percentage is about 50.

I don't know if that's what he's referring to though, but it's one possibility.
(no subject) - helville - Feb. 5th, 2010 07:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sineresi - Feb. 5th, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - helville - Feb. 5th, 2010 07:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 5th, 2010 07:03 pm (UTC)
Wow, sounded like a rude interviewer...

Thanks for translating.
Feb. 5th, 2010 07:11 pm (UTC)
for me the best album of the last few years is Antics by Interpol.

but, yeah, this interviewer sounds like kind of an asshole.

thank you for translating! :)
Feb. 5th, 2010 08:04 pm (UTC)
yes, that made me happy. i adore that album
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 5th, 2010 11:33 pm (UTC)
I'm sure Ville was joking about that, they're friends, or at least friendly towards each other, from what I've heard.
Feb. 5th, 2010 07:18 pm (UTC)
Another interesting interview, thanks for translating.
Feb. 5th, 2010 07:19 pm (UTC)
I've always wondered how his English is so good. I still wonder. lol
Ville's PMS was funny.
Feb. 5th, 2010 07:32 pm (UTC)
Well, thank you.
How rude was the interviewer!
Feb. 5th, 2010 08:26 pm (UTC)
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<With the new album Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice, Ville Valo puts on a poppier gear. Will the change of style help the sales figures shoot up again?</i> WHAT THE FUCK.... so far what I heard HIM didn't change there style...they still have THE HIM sound

I must say Ville was very polite to answer to this stupid rude question. I felt like the interview wasn't taking Ville seriously and trying to make HIM a bad name.

I hope that person never have any other chance to interview him... companies should make sure who's interviewing the singer. ASSHOLE
Feb. 5th, 2010 08:33 pm (UTC)
One very important question: if I should ever meet the interviewer, how do you say "You are an incredibly rude idiot" in Finnish?

Thank you for the translation ;)
Feb. 6th, 2010 02:07 am (UTC)
It's "Sinä olet aivan uskomattoman töykeä idiootti" in finnish =)
Feb. 5th, 2010 08:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the translation.
Feb. 5th, 2010 09:58 pm (UTC)
lol seriously we don't mind at all ;D

I think if Ville could ask one question to the journalist at the end of the interview...it would be sth like "Did I stab your mother or what?"
Weird questions I have to say -.- and for a person who gets pissed off easily his answers proved that he has loads of patience :) I wouldn't be that patient and polite^^

Thaaaaaaaaanks for the translation! <3
Feb. 5th, 2010 10:04 pm (UTC)
thanks for this!
i bet when lauri read this, he called up ville and they laffed their asses off. they've been friends forever.
Feb. 5th, 2010 10:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the translation so much!
Feb. 5th, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC)
"V: 30 Seconds to Mars? That wasn’t a very nice thing to say." LMAO!!! XD
I laughed a lot! :D Thank you for translating!
His mind never ceases to amuse me! : )
Feb. 5th, 2010 11:03 pm (UTC)
Gosh, the interviewer didn't pull any punches.
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( 30 comments — Leave a comment )