VILLE VALO: 'I Can Still Smell The Sweat Of The Guys From HIM'

December 18, 2022

In a new interview with Sonic Perspectives, former HIM frontman Ville Valo spoke about how he came up with the logo of his VV solo project, which is said to be a spinoff of HIM's "heartagram" logo (best described as a combination of a heart and an inverted pentacle). He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I can't consider myself being clever. But I thought that it was quite a clever thing to do. I was messing about with the heartagram. I was trying to find a way how to use it, because this is definitely not me trying to burn my bridges. And when we [go] on tour, half the set will be the HIM songs and half the set will be the new stuff. It's a like a stepping stone between the past and the future, I call it.

"I think the heartagram is one of the better things I've been involved in creating, and I thought that it was interesting — not only interesting, but important to carry it along," he explained. "Because a lot of people have still it tattooed on their bodies, and it means so much more than just the band. I thought just updating it a bit, everybody will understand that both are as valid — the original heartagram or the V-gram, as I call it, or VV-gram.

"I can still smell the sweat of the guys from HIM, even though it's been a few years [since the band split up]," Ville added. "It was a big deal for me. It was such an important band for myself. We grew up together with the lads, and I thought that we ended it in the most beautiful way a band can — without being at each other's throats. So in that sense, I wanted to continue, sort of, the legacy, or whatever you wanna call it.

"A lot of people who start their solo projects or whatever, they wanna denounce the past and do something absurdly different, and this wasn't definitely the case. But then again, working on the [VV] album, I didn't have to compromise, scheduling-wise and sound-wise and whatever-wise — production-wise. So I was able to put all my musical perversions on the album and this time around have maybe a bit more of this alternative rock vibe in there on an occasion, and more of this early '80s, new wavey, THE CHAMELEONS, the more rock stuff, and then SISTER OF MERCY and SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES — those jangly guitars and all that stuff — which I wasn't able to force my way into the HIM albums so much."

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

Ville has released three singles so far from "Neon Noir": "The Foreverlost", "Echolocate Your Love", and "Loveletting". The latter marked Ville's 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 "Echolocate Your Love" and "Loveletting", "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".

HIM completed a farewell tour in 2017, closing the final chapter on the band's 26-year career.

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).

Three 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.

Photo credit: Juha Mustonen

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