Dan Epstein of Revolver magazine recently conducted an interview with vocalist Ville Valo of Finnish love metallers HIM. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Revolver: Why record a cover of Ké‘s “Strange World” for “XX: Two Decades Of Love Metal”?
Ville Valo: Kevin Grivois, or Ké, his story is very interesting if you read his personal history. The song was played a lot back when we signed for the first time back in ’96. We played it a lot in Europe and it’s just one of those songs were you know just how to hum it or if push comes to shove, you’ll be able to sing it at karaoke. So that song has always been floating around. It was like, let’s do an extra track because we didn’t want to waste any of our original stuff — save that for the next album. The greatest thing was to be able to hear from the original performer, Ké, and he said he really enjoyed our version. I was blushing back at home when I got his email. It’s the best compliment you can get.
Revolver: How involved were you in putting together the “XX: Two Decades Of Love Metal”?
Ville Valo: At the end of the day, you have a CD, which is still a valid format. Obviously, if you’re doing a compilation, you want to do tracks that represent the band the best or are ones that people heard so the album itself would serve as a reminder of the existence of the band and hopefully bring a couple of new people along as well. So since our previous label said they were going to release a compilation, we said, “OK, if you want, but let’s make it a good one. So create some new artwork for it and get some different versions of songs that some people may not have heard. Some radio tracks were only released in Europe, some only in America.” So with that, we were able to have as many tracks on the album as possible. It’s just like an introduction to the world and realm we conquer.
Revolver: You had a lot of downtime while he was healing. What did you do with yourself? Did you hang out in the castle?
Ville Valo: Play the guitar a bit more. More or less my existence is tied to music and melody. It’s what I do. You can take a break but you’re still writing. The point is to keep on going. But I did vacuum the place so that took a while. Chores among the music. At the end of the day, sometimes you can get the best inspiration out of washing floors, whether a good floor or the right amount of blood on it. That’s life. So when the band was in a tough form, I realized that’s what I need to do, that’s what I want to do, and that’s what makes me happy.
Read the entire interview from Revolver magazine.