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“It’s sad but true. Few bands can dive headfirst into heartache and come out of it sounding evil. HIM wield that unsavory, ungodly and undeniable power. Yes, it’s the time honored tradition of being heavy enough for the boys in the crowd and heart-y enough for the girls, yet no one really possesses that dynamic anymore. HIM bubbles over with it—right down to their Heartagram logo.(…)”
HIM start their US tour with Philadelphia on March 26th. Campus Philly interviewd Ville Valo about their visit to the US and more:
Campus Philly: I’m sure you’ve been asked this a million times, but for our readers who might not know, can you give a little background on the name of the band and how it came about?
Ville Vallo: No ones been asking that in the past gazillion years, so it’s great. We first called our band Black Earth because Black Sabbath was first known as Earth. We’re huge fans… [With the name change], we wanted something similarly horrific for the band. I don’t know where exactly it came from, but someone came up with the name His Infernal Majesty, and at 15-years-old it sounded ridiculously cool.
CP: Why did you decide to go by the abbreviation?
VV: In the 90s when all the churches started to burn in Scandinavia, people started to think we had something to do with it, so we instituted H.I.M.
CP: Your heartagram symbol is everywhere now, from tattoos to shoes. What’s its origin and what does it mean?
VV: The day I turned 20…I was just doodling. I loved the four symbols Led Zeppelin had and White Zombie with Rob [Zombie] had a lot of visual aspects of rock and roll. It’s one of the more fun things for the band and I’m really super proud of it. My dad was an artist and I was brought up appreciating art. I was hoping some of that would rub off on me and I’d get to incorporate it into the band and I’m glad that it has.
CP: Last month, you released your seventh album, Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice, Chapters 1–13. The title is so intricate. What’s the story behind it?
VV: It’s one of those things like the heartagram, it just popped out of my head. I love the word ‘works,’ as in the collected works of an artist, like T.S. Eliot or whoever. And then with ‘scream,’ you think of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.” I also thought about Aleister Crowley who wrote kind of a mythology of rock and roll in Magick in Theory and Practice. For me, love and relationships are the magic. They are the unexplainable; at least I can’t explain them in theory or mathematical terms. So I replaced ‘magick’ with ‘love’ because I can’t see any logical explanation for it.
CP: You’re kicking off the U.S. portion of your current tour here in Philadelphia. Is there any particular reason why you decided to start here?