VILLE VALO: 'Right Before You Go On Stage, It's Very Important To Be Nervous'
April 21, 2023
In a recent interview with Grammy.com's "Herbal Tea & White Sofas", former HIM frontman Ville Valo was asked about some of his "tour essentials," especially when it comes to performing live. He said: "I think right before you go on stage, at least in my case, it's very important to be nervous and it's very important to have the butterflies going. And if they're not there, I think the gig won't be a success. 'Cause the best rock gigs are the ones that when you walk onstage you just forget all about everything. And the best gigs usually are the ones that you don't remember anything of. That's when you’ve been lost in the music and one with the crowd. That's a special feeling. But it's easier said and done."
Valo played his first solo concert in the U.S. under the VV banner on March 31 at TLA (Theatre For The Living Arts) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 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.
In April 2022, 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".
Regarding the musical direction of "Neon Noir", Ville told Metal Hammer: "The new stuff definitely does sound like HIM. But I did write most of the songs, so… I'm to blame for that. It's a continuous journey from HIM for me. A lot of people when they move on to solo projects want to distance themselves from the past, burn bridges and start their solo career. It's different for me. VV is me building a bridge between HIM and the future. That's what 'Neon Noir' is."
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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