Ville Valo Reveals HIM Songs He’ll Play on 2023 Solo Tour
Five years after the dissolution of HIM, Ville Valo is finally releasing his debut solo album, Neon Noir. We spoke with the goth rock icon about his life after HIM, his decision to stay sober after years of hard partying, the new album and more.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect when the band was done and dusted. I thought that it might feel like losing a limb, that all of a sudden I wouldn’t have inspiration when it comes to music,” Valo explains. “HIM was the only thing I knew, it had taken more than half of my life. I grew up with that band and made some of the best mistakes of my life with that band.”
Ville continued from inside his home studio, “I was quite surprised that after we played our last show in Helsinki, that the main emotion that came through was a sense of relief. It felt really good to be able to end on such a high note.”
Valo kept working after HIM took its final breath, hitting the road with traditional Finnish rock band Agents. He also recorded an album, Ville Valo & Agents, which hit No. 1 and was certified Gold in their home country.
Once Valo’s cycle with Agents came to an end, the singer finally returned to making goth rock. He recorded a three-song EP, Gothica Fennica Vol. 1, which was very well received by fans, but was unfortunately released right when the COVID lockdowns began in March 2020.
"It was so depressing that the only thing I could do was to continue to keep on making music.”
“The reason for the EP was to test the waters, to see if people are still interested in the kind of racket I make, and also to check and see if there’s labels who might be interested in putting this stuff out,” Valo says. “[The lockdowns were] quite depressing, quite dark … Everything was uncertain, regarding everything here. There were areas in Finland that were closed off, you weren’t able to drive outside of the city, it was like being in a dystopian sci-fi film. I thought it was so depressing that the only thing I could do was to continue to keep on making music.”
Inspired greatly by ‘80s goth rock, Ville Valo’s solo music brought shades of HIM’s brand of “love metal” into the EP, and eventually into Neon Noir, which will receive a Jan.13, 2023 release date via Heartagram Records and Universal Music. That same day, Valo will begin a lengthy solo tour, which will be a half-and-half celebration of HIM classics and Ville’s new solo songs.
“A lot of solo artists sort of burn their bridges — denounce your past,” Ville says about his upcoming tour. “We can not have a night without ‘The Funeral of Hearts,’ a night without ‘Join Me in Death,’ a night without ‘Buried Alive by Love,’ a night without ‘(Rip Out) the Wings of a Butterfly.’ We’re doing ‘When Love and Death Embrace,’ ‘The Kiss of Dawn,’ ‘Poison Girl,’ ‘Right Here in My Arms’ … the live favorites. All that stuff will be included in the set.”
“I had to make the decision whether to become a really really good drunk, or a reasonably okay musician, because I couldn’t do both."
Valo also spoke of his past deep within the trappings of rock stardom: “You think you should get wasted after every gig, you should behave like a rascal. It took me 20 years to realize that anybody can do drugs. You can be a plumber and do a bunch of cocaine — that’s not special. The special thing is to be a great plumber, because we all need one.”
“I had to make the decision whether to become a really really good drunk, or a reasonably okay musician, because I couldn’t do both. That’s when I called it a day, leaving my barfly days behind and concentrating solely on music. I think it was a good call, because bars are always there, the tap is ever-flowing. I saw the night side of rock and roll for quite a bit, for a good 10 years or so. I’m glad for the experience, but no thank you. Been there, done that.”