HIM Frontman Responds To 'Sellout' Accusations

Edmonton Journal recently conducted an interview with vocalist Ville Valo of HIM.

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Alan Sculley of the Edmonton Journal recently conducted an interview with vocalist Ville Valo of Finnish "love" metallers HIM. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.

On the initial reaction to HIM's new CD, "Screamworks: Love In Theory And Practice", and the debate among fans about whether the CD more upbeat and poppy than the darkly hued, gothic-tinged earlier HIM releases represented a betrayal of the group's musical identity:

"Well, it's the age-old question of have they sold out, or are they poppy? When that question arises, I always say Iron Maiden are poppy. They've sold about 170 million records. That makes them a popular band, a popular rock band or heavy metal band, whatever they prefer."

"The best way for a band is just to follow their gut instincts, make the album they believe in, be inspired whomever they're inspired by at the moment and go with the flow.

"I was trying to find the missing link between Depeche Mode and Guns N' Roses, or a-ha and The Cult, bring the sort of European melancholy, a bit new-agey early '80s synth-pop edge to full-blown rock 'n' roll. I think that we succeeded really well in that."

On the fact that he understands that some fans will always identify HIM with one of its earlier albums:

"['Animalize'] was my introduction to Kiss, so in a way that's my favorite album. Usually the one you heard the first, that's your favorite album. So in our band's case, some people have heard an album called 'Razorblade Romance' (released in 1999 in Europe and 2002 in North America) first, and that makes it the special album for them. We're not trying to compete with that album. We're trying to compete with ourselves and trying to make our current emotions translate as well as possible through sonic means."

On whether being clean and sober was responsible for the more upbeat sound of "Screamworks":

"It doesn't go like that. It's just when you sit down with the guitar, it's not like the first thing that you write will be exactly the same as what you just did. And then your personal life and everything affects it. And usually you purge your ideas into music and it reflects where your head was at that moment. This time, there was kind of a sense of hope and good things happening. So I think that translated into the energy of the album.

"One thing's for sure is I didn't spend so much time in bars and pubs getting messed up," he said. "I did have the opportunity of working double or triple on this album. I really worked hard on the music. I think it paid off. It made me feel really good because I thought that since I'm getting sober, I like to go from one extreme to the other, I'll put all of my energy, everything I have, into the album and see if it pays off."

On the decision to drop a few older songs from HIM set in favor of "Screamworks" songs:

"It's way harder than I thought, to drop your old babies, and especially with the new album be a bit more in-your-face and uptempo. All of a sudden it makes the whole set more rock 'n' roll.

"We've had tons of albums that are pretty moody and pretty like mid-based, so with this new stuff it's going to be way more energetic. I'm kind of praying. It's a scary thought to make your most energetic record when you're over 30."

Read the entire interview from the Edmonton Journal.

23 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    M_G
    Anthony1991 wrote: Doesn't he have a reality tv show? Speaks for itself...
    LOL hahahahahaahhahahaha! Bam Margera is the lead singer in HIM apparently. Get your facts right mate.
    heartagram256
    HIM have been my favorite band for years, and I personally love Screamworks. It's not Dark Light or Razorblade Romance but it's still great. Hell, Disarm Me(With Your Lonliness) is probably in my top 5 favorite songs they've put out.
    RyoujokuNoAme
    suicideseason91 wrote: man i use to love H.I.M back in the day day, after darklight i lost hope fot them and thy started to get soft and a bunch of pussys, i'll still listen to anything from love metal and before
    Venus Doom is far from soft TBH. I hate how all the 'sell-out' comments come out whenever a band brings out an album that is even slightly different from what they used to release. All HIM have done is brought out an album that may appeal to more people, that's all.
    Andy2k64
    Everyone moans that noone listens to 'good music' like their favourite music but if people do start to like the bands people moan. You can't win. I've liked HIM for years and I will continue to like them. They have always had a slight pop edge to their style, similar to groups like Depeche Mode. I think with a lot of bands, people want to hear their first album over and over. Doesn't happen. People change and so does the music. Deal with it.
    steve.bond7
    SilverSpurs616 wrote: M_G wrote: Anthony1991 wrote: Doesn't he have a reality tv show? Speaks for itself... LOL hahahahahaahhahahaha! Bam Margera is the lead singer in HIM apparently. Get your facts right mate. I think his point here is that Ville is always on Bam's show. And yes, HIM are sellouts. I've been a huge fan for years and I can see it
    I've only ever seen Ville Valo on Viva La Bam about 3/4 times. Screamworks is a great album just like the ones that come before it. It sounds different but that doesn't mean they've sold out. Theres plenty of things in common with the previous albums in terms of lyrics.
    visiondivision
    I love their new album to be honest. If they made the same music as they did before, wouldn't it get a bit boring?
    CalebJThompson
    For the record, a good majority of the music written for the last 3 albums were written years ago, like pre-DSBH. Sooooo technically, they're just evolving. And fitting with the comment Valo made about it being a straight rock n roll show, they brought back the Rebel Yell cover. So its apparent that they're looking to keep the energy going the whole show. Love it.
    Shadow24968
    In my opinion the bands not doing too bad for themselves, I've been a fan for years, and just think they're trying something new. Just because their music isn't as melancholic as it used to be, it doesn't mean that the bands doing badly. I think these accusations are a load of crap basically.
    eizim007
    for the last time, they are not a sell out. call them what you want but i'll still love them no matter what. screamworks is amazing. you guys should hear it instead of bitching about it.
    HopeForTheWorst
    RyoujokuNoAme wrote: suicideseason91 wrote: man i use to love H.I.M back in the day day, after darklight i lost hope fot them and thy started to get soft and a bunch of pussys, i'll still listen to anything from love metal and before Venus Doom is far from soft TBH. I hate how all the 'sell-out' comments come out whenever a band brings out an album that is even slightly different from what they used to release. All HIM have done is brought out an album that may appeal to more people, that's all.
    Oh yes, I agree.And Really,the only people who say bands are "sell-outs" are the people who have only heard like, one album from that band.
    kenan6346
    I hated Screamworks when I first heard it - the guitars sounded overly-produced, and the songs were horrible off the cuff. However, when tried listening to it again (this isn't the first time this has happened with a HIM album), I heard Katherine Wheel and loved it. So I listened to that song heaps. Then when I listened properly to In The Arms Of Rain, it became my favourite song on the album and, honestly, it's probably one of my favourite HIM songs. I also reckon Scared to Death, Love the Hardest Way, Ode to Solitude, Acoustic Funeral and Like St. Valentine are great songs, and to a lesser extent so are Dying Song and The Foreboding Sense of Impending Happiness. The rest of the album is meh ('cept the first track which has a cool chorus).
    Niiko
    blindfatkid23 wrote: RyoujokuNoAme wrote: suicideseason91 wrote: man i use to love H.I.M back in the day day, after darklight i lost hope fot them and thy started to get soft and a bunch of pussys, i'll still listen to anything from love metal and before Venus Doom is far from soft TBH. I hate how all the 'sell-out' comments come out whenever a band brings out an album that is even slightly different from what they used to release. All HIM have done is brought out an album that may appeal to more people, that's all. Well isn't that kind of selling out? More people=more albums sold. But for the record I don't think they sold out.
    Well no it's not, that'd mean EVERY popular band in EVERY genre are sellouts. Though I get what you mean and I agree they're not sellouts, it's just people are hard to please nowadays (REAL fans would atleast try and acknowlegde a step in a new direction)
    suicideseason91
    man i use to love H.I.M back in the day day, after darklight i lost hope fot them and thy started to get soft and a bunch of pussys, i'll still listen to anything from love metal and before
    AdamMetal
    i love HIM. i do prefer the old songs though. they got me through some tough times.
    SilverSpurs616
    M_G wrote: Anthony1991 wrote: Doesn't he have a reality tv show? Speaks for itself... LOL hahahahahaahhahahaha! Bam Margera is the lead singer in HIM apparently. Get your facts right mate.
    I think his point here is that Ville is always on Bam's show. And yes, HIM are sellouts. I've been a huge fan for years and I can see it
    upbeat_x_tech
    How can you sell out if you're a commercial pop band already? I mean, is there a higher level of corporate whoring that they can do/
    blindfatkid23
    RyoujokuNoAme wrote: suicideseason91 wrote: man i use to love H.I.M back in the day day, after darklight i lost hope fot them and thy started to get soft and a bunch of pussys, i'll still listen to anything from love metal and before Venus Doom is far from soft TBH. I hate how all the 'sell-out' comments come out whenever a band brings out an album that is even slightly different from what they used to release. All HIM have done is brought out an album that may appeal to more people , that's all.
    Well isn't that kind of selling out? More people=more albums sold. But for the record I don't think they sold out.
    Hmorris15
    Kinda like Silverchair. Once the singer got sober and got married, they release some terrible stuff, compaired to their old stuff... But, I don't think they are selling out.