VILLE VALO: 'It Was The Right' Decision 'To Call It A Day With HIM'

November 20, 2022

HIM mastermind Ville Valo (VV) will release his debut solo album, "Neon Noir", on January 13 via Heartagram Records, distributed by UMG/Spinefarm. The LP will arrive four months after Ville released "Echolocate Your Love", the second single from "Neon Noir". Five months earlier, Valo issued "Loveletting", which 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.

Speaking about what it feels like to be releasing new music after all this time, Ville told Germany's Radio Bob! (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I think it feels fantastic, but it also feels a bit weird. It's always exciting, and then, at the same time, it's a bit daunting. The size of the butterflies in my stomach, the butterflies are getting bigger by the year. Maybe I'll grow wings one day.

"It was a long process [making the record], and it was a weird one," he explained. "The new album, more or less, was like a lifeline thing, because I, amongst the rest of the world, got really depressed during the COVID thing. I didn't know if we were gonna have a future and what's gonna happen. It wasn't the easiest of times, I'm sure, to anybody. So the album was very important in keeping me sort of semi-sane and giving me focus and putting my energy somewhere and trying to get something positive out from the negative. So it's like an artefact of that time to me. And it's also the first solo album I've ever done and the album I played all the instruments on. So it's a weird album. I'm a bit shocked. I think it's like post-traumatic stress, you know — PTSD."

HIM completed a farewell tour in 2017, closing the final chapter on the band's 26-year career. Ville told Radio Bob!: "I think it was the right call to call it a day with HIM. We'd done it for a long, long time and it started to sort of, like, wither away a bit. It was maybe our interest and maybe just sign of the times. We'd been together for such a long time that we were ourselves really surprised that it lasted for such a long time."

VV's headline tour dates will take place next year across Europe and North America. Naturally starting in Helsinki, Finland, the 2023 extensive run reaches the U.K. in March before heading to America come April.

Asked how he is preparing for the tour, Ville told Radio Bob!: "I'm super, super enthusiastic about the fact that there are still people interested in the whole — you know, me. The whole HIM and the VV thing, and I'm able to spread the word, which hopefully means that people will come over and see us play live and listen to the music as well, and know when it's out and all that good stuff. But, yeah, I'm singing and taking long walks on the beach and all sorts of normal things. We're rehearsing — there's a new band for the tour, so we're rehearsing back home in Helsinki and putting together the setlist, which will be 50-50 new stuff and HIM. So we're picking out the right songs and the right song orders and arranging them so they [flow well] together."

Regarding the lyrical inspiration for "Neon Noir", Ville told Kerrang! magazine: "I wouldn't call it 'suicidal', but most of the stuff was written during the pandemic, and there weren't many rays of sun hitting me. Everybody was in the mental gutter. Times were tough. This album was the kind of like the lifebuoy for me. It gave me a reason to wake up every morning and work on something else and try to shut the world outside. When I was working on the music, maybe it was selfish to a certain extent, but also it was a matter of survival."

He added: "It seems that mankind needs a bit of a breather from all this shit, myself included. So I tried to put all that frustration onto paper. And if it's love and darkness, and all sorts of things like that, that's probably because it's my vocabulary. Hopefully, the words have been rearranged in a fresh order this time around. But me trying to do something completely different, just because, that doesn't make any sense to me at all."

When HIM announced its farewell tour more than five years ago, 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).

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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