Exclusive! HIM’s Ville Valo Takes Hammer Into His Home
Ville Valo, HIM’s iconic frontman invited us into his home for a never-before seen look at his house. Here is the first in a series of sneak previews of the whole article in this month’s issue of Metal Hammer…
Below is a small portion of Hammer’s very personal interview feature with HIM’s Ville Valo. The whole interview can be read in the latest issue of Metal Hammer, on sale now!
“Welcome to my office,” he says, taking a seat on a narrow, antique bench he calls a bed. “The actual bedroom upstairs has been converted into a home studio,” he explains. He’s looking tired. Just last night he headlined Helldone, a festival at Helsinki’s legendary Tavastia venue which he’s been curating for the last 10 years, for the fourth riotously sold-out night in a row. He played at midnight when the clock struck 12 and – in keeping with his Batman-like habits, swiftly eschewed his home city’s notoriously boozy New Year celebrations for the solitary confinement of his castle.
A whirring laptop sits across from him, and just beyond it a giant widescreen bedecked by an Xbox and countless DVD box sets like The Sopranos and True Blood. Momentarily forgetting that we’re sitting in a tower built by a Finnish eccentric in the 19th century, it would all appear to be a typical workaholic’s lounge were it not for a steeple-shaped Bavarian altar at one side, the mammoth 15-foot oil on canvas depicting a latter station of the cross above the TV, another near it depicting St. Erasmus having his intestines pulled out, or – and let’s get this out of the way, almost everything here is antique – the antique Finnish pump organ at the other side topped by a religious diorama. A small portable reed organ sits at the base with a porn VHS tape, artfully titled Cunts, on top. Everywhere you look there are animals, dead ones; a huge stag atop a piano, a furry rug, a small bear, a black sheep Ville confesses is of questionable authenticity, and everywhere, 10, 12, no… at least 30 stuffed owls of every colour and size.
“I just have a one-track mind. I got my first owl, a barn owl about eight years ago. You rarely see them here and they’re nocturnal; they’re rarely seen and there are a lot of myths. They’re quirky and thought-provoking – much more striking than, uh, mandrills for instance.”
Ville’s quick to point out these once- living artefacts are all pre-1947, so they’re classified as antiques and merely reflect his love of animals, an affair made impossible by his allergies. But seriously, is this some weird shrine?
“No,” says Ville, “it just all seems to go together. Oh fuck. Was that lightning?”
He glances out the window – not a cloud in the sky. Another flash goes off.
“OK, hold on for a second.”
He gets up to glance at dim black-and-white screen in the hallway through which a CCTV camera reveals a ghostly figure in the night snapping pictures of his home and attempting to peer into the high windows. Ville rolls his eyes and wonders aloud whether it’s the same person who was kicking his door at 5am this morning and prompted a police intervention.
“No, that isn’t her,” he says, sounding relieved and grabbing a Coke from the fridge which is utterly empty save for more soda and a broken bass guitar at the back.