VILLE VALO Discusses His Tattoos In New 'Behind The Ink' Video Segment

February 26, 2023

Former HIM frontman Ville Valo talked about some of his tattoos for PitCam TV 's "Behind The Ink" segment. The 15-minute clip can be viewed below.

More than a decade ago, Valodiscussed his philosophy on tattoos, saying: "I think if you use different tattoo artists to do a sleeve, it just ends up looking crap. My idea came after I met this dude and we were drinking a lot. He told me he was a tattooist, as well as guitar player; he actually played in HIM for a while. We got completely wasted and I told him to do this little heart, here on my right wrist, that was my first one. I got it to see how it felt. We got drunk again a week later and we got the idea to do the sleeve, it just came to us. The ornaments were designed by the friend, and all of my tattoos are done by him, but he's moved to Amsterdam. What I wanted to do was one thing with the whole arm. Originally we planned to do both sleeves and the back but it took such a long time and we were doing our first tour around Europe."

Asked how old he was when he got his first tattoo, Ville said: "I must have been 18 or 19. I never wanted to just go to a tattoo parlor and pick something off the wall. I always wanted to get to know the guy so he knows who I am and I know who he is. Almost a family thing, I think it’s better like that, rather than giving the cash to someone you don't know. You never know what you're going to end up with and it's going to be there a very long time — however good that laser technology is.

Regarding what advice he would give to a tattoo virgin, Ville said: "Get to know the artist and then make sure you always use the same one. Well, I guess it depends what you want. If you want a Japanese sleeve on one arm and then something completely different on the other, then that's okay to use different ones. But if you want simple things in black, then use the same guy 'cause everyone does it differently and you can always tell.

"Your tattoos are supposed to be some connection to your personality," he explained. "That's a lot more important than going in and just picking one off a wall. I've never understood why people get butterflies tattooed on their bottoms or whatever. That's really weird."

Ville played his first solo concert under the VV banner on January 13 at Tavastia in Helsinki, Finland. Joining Ville on stage as part of his backing band are Mikko Virta on guitar, Risto Rikala on drums, Sampo Sundström on guitar and Juho Vehmanen on bass.

VV's debut album, "Neon Noir", was made available on January 13 via Heartagram Records, distributed by UMG/Spinefarm.

Last April, Valo released the first single from "Neon Noir", a song called "Loveletting", which marked his first new music in over two years, following the release of the three-track "Gothica Fennica Vol. 1" EP, also released under the VV banner, in March 2020.

Like "Neon Noir", "Gothica Fennica Vol. 1" bore a strong musical resemblance to HIM and featured the tracks "Salute The Sanguine", "Run Away From The Sun" and "Saturnine Saturnalia".

VV's headline tour dates will take place this year across Europe and North America. The 2023 extensive run reaches the U.K. in March before heading to America come April.

HIM completed a farewell tour in 2017, closing the final chapter on the band's 26-year career. At the time, Ville explained to Kerrang! magazine why the band decided to call it a day. "We were tired of the same shit," he said. "When you've done it for a long time, at some point it doesn't taste good anymore. We started working on some stuff, it didn't sound good enough, and we didn't get the teenage buzz you're supposed get."

Formed in 1991 by Valo, guitarist Mikko "Linde" Lindström and bassist Mikko "Migé" Paananen, HIM offered the world a new take on the metal genre, which became known as "love metal" (also the title of their fourth album).

HIM in 2015 parted ways with its longtime drummer, Mika Kristian Karppinen (a.k.a. Gas Lipstick),and replaced him with Jukka "Kosmo" Kröger (formerly of HERRA YLPPÖ & IHMISET).

Four years ago, Valo teamed up with guitar legend Esa Pulliainen to record an album based on songs by the late, legendary Finnish singer Rauli "Badding" Somerjoki. The self-titled album by VILLE VALO & AGENTS was released in February 2019 and was followed by a short tour.

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