Posts Tagged ‘interview’


Philly Has Better Stoops.

27 June 2010

Just sayin’…

Talk Stoop (NYC): Backstreet Boys


Interview with Ville Valo, lead singer of H.I.M.

23 March 2010

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, and they gave us courage to pursue being a band and the hope that maybe a bunch of weird looking guys from the middle of nowhere could make it because Sabbath were a bunch of weird looking guys from the middle of nowhere. [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. Then afterwards we found out that a gay porn magazine from the 70s was called Him, so now we have the death aspect and the gay aspect going for us.

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, which was about 13 years ago, 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. So I just threw it down on November 22. 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:You guys are a pretty internationally known band and I know you hail from Helsinki. Do you think you have a greater following in the U.S. or elsewhere, like Europe?

VV: I think it keeps on changing with the albums. It’s kinda cool in the sense that something might work in the U.S. and then no one gives a [expletive] in Europe, and vice versa. And it’s also broken down through certain countries in Europe. Our first album years ago was appreciated in Scandanavia and the next in Germany and the next in Spain and the next in the U.K. and the next in the States. We’ve never had one album that is appreciated all over the world, which is a good thing because A) it keeps you grounded and B) makes you more like a growing success. It keeps us from being a global success which pisses me off, haha.

CP: Do you see a great difference in your fans from place to place?

VV: People all over the world have different ways of experiencing music. In Mexico City, people are so loud and in other places, like in Spain, they’re louder than the band. In Pomona outside L.A., you’ve got punks and skaters and mosh pits. It seems to differ from state to state and city to city, not necessarily country to country, and it all depends on what the band plays and where.

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. I kept on seeing it and I kept on thinking of factories and communes, so I wanted the word ‘works.’ And then with ‘scream,’ you think of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.” It’s cathartic, or it could be like an existentialist rebirth. All those things are important when it comes to the combo of the two words. 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: To me, you guys are one of the most consistent bands I’ve heard in terms of sound, but how would you say H.I.M. has grown and evolved since earlier albums, like Love Songs or Razorblade Romance?

VV: We’ve all worked so closely together for many of years. It’s very intricate, the way we work on the sound; we talk about little details. Then again, we are who we are, so we can’t change the essential sound. It’s what I’m really proud of because that means our band has an identity. We’ve worked with lots of producers, but it still sounds like us. It’s a fairly unique and very honest mix of our influences. How we present our music is everything.

CP: H.I.M., both live and recorded, has such a huge, encompassing sound, but I’ve heard you do a couple of songs acoustic for TV or radio shows and you sound so comfortable stripped down. Which style do you prefer?

VV: It’s tough to say. I like them both. Being in the band is great. It’s five guys who’ve grown up together. Then again, the birth of a song always comes to me back home or in a hotel with an acoustic guitar. You have a moment of creation where that little baby is born; you show the baby around to the guys and if they like what they see you, can jam around with it. For personal reasons, the acoustic stuff is more important because it’s at the core. Then again, it’s only scratching the surface; there are different inspirations and aspirations from everyone.

CP:You’re kicking off the U.S. portion of your current tour here in Philadelphia. I always feel like tours choose to either start or end in Philly. Is there any particular reason why you decided to start here?

VV: I’ve always loved Philly because I like rough towns. Our first gig ever in the States was at the Trocadero in 2001. We met Bam [Margera], who was living in West Chester at the time, in Europe and he wanted to help us out, so he started doing whatever he could. We’ve played the TLA and the Electric Factory after that. It’s all been very Bam influenced. We did a couple of videos and shot them in West Chester or close by. Philly’s the first place we’ve hung out in the States, it was kind of our intro to the American way of living. It’s a special area that we got to experience through a couple of people and very special memories.

CP: When you come to Philly, what is your favorite place to go or thing to do?

VV: We never have any time really. It’s always the same on tour—you fly in, hop in a bus, play a gig and go on to the next city. It’s a lot of traveling. I’m not complaining, but it means that there are a lot of cities and places that we haven’t seen. We get to see backstage and the friends we find there. But we used to hang out at Tattooed Mom. I love the dive bars; Philly has the best ones!

CP: I understand the show was moved from the TLA to the Electric Factory.

VV: [Because of touring schedules] There’s no way of us playing a second show and the Electric Factory is bigger. And I’m kinda pissed off ‘cause the TLA is way more intimate and the location is great. But in the end, I’m just glad that we’re gonna be playing.

CP: How did We Are The Fallen, Dommin and Drive A come to be on the tour?

VV: We we’re thinking of acts that would be different and Dommin are one of the first bands to rip of Type O Negative, which is great! I love the fact that they’ve carried out the influence. And then we saw them play a couple of times at festivals in Europe, so we just asked if they’d like to join us. All of the bands have similarities when it comes to the melancholy aspect, but they all have their own identities. It’s very important to like the bands were touring with. Most of the times the dressing rooms are close to the stage, so if you hear a band you don’t like 30 times, it’ll drive you insane.

CP: What are some of your favorite songs to play live?

VV: “Heartkiller,” “Katherine Wheel” even though it’s tough to sing ‘cause it’s constant singing for four minutes. It really depends on the night and where the song is in the set…and the country. The album Love Metal did well in the U.K., so “Buried Alive By Love” always works really, really well there. We’re playing Germany tonight, so “Join Me in Death” will work really well ‘cause it was huge here 10 years ago. We haven’t done any new covers [because] it got a bit boring after awhile. But we still play “Wicked Game” ‘cause that Chris Isaak song was hugely important in finding the sound of the band. Through it we found the balance between the wistful melancholy and the hard rocking.

CP:What can Philly fans expect from the show on Mar. 26?

VV: We are what we are. We don’t have any plastic, massive dragons or pyro or any of that crap. There are so many acts that do it so well that we don’t compare with them. We still like to keep it simple, very Doors-ish. We’re a band that plays with a couple of lights and the sound system working as well and loud as possible.

Click here for the version running at Campus Philly.

UPDATE: Buzznet loves me (?)

Damn, word gets around.


Another one bites the dust.

28 February 2010

Sayonara, boys :-(

The Fall of Troy is ending after their spring tour dates.

Man, I am totally bummed. I’ve always been a fan of TFOT (not a huge one, but still a lover) and I got the chance to interview Andrew before they played The Church back in September. The show was great. Now I MUST make a point to see them at the Cali Bamboozle later this month. You know what, I think I’m going to really try and go and see them when they make their final Philly appearance in April. Envy on the Coast is supporting so I was seriously considering it to begin with. Hmm.

So bummed.


MiND TV: Tattoo Culture

1 October 2009

“Tattoo Culture”, featuring my awesome buddy Stephanie in a spot by my equally awesome friend Jai.

This is how we roll.


Interview with Andrew Forsman, drummer of The Fall of Troy: September 12, 2009

24 September 2009

Cara Donaldson: In the Unlikely Event is your fourth full-length album. How have you guys evolved or what have you changed between your debut album back in 2003 and now?

Andrew Forsman: We’re six years older now, so what we thought was cool back then, like lots of shredding and tricks like that, isn’t on this album. I guess you can say we’ve refined our tastes. This time around, we tried to make sure only the essential was there. We didn’t throw in everything that we could think of.

CD: In the Unlikely Event was recorded in Seattle and I know you guys are actually from Washington state. How was it working in such a historically musical city? Were you guys influenced by any of the famous bands that came out of Seattle?

AF: We’re like 20 miles north of Seattle and Nirvana is probably [singer] Thomas’ [Erak] favorite band, so yeah,s definitely. Lesser known bands, like The Blood Brothers and Pretty Girls Make Graves, those were the local bands we went to see when we were actually of age, so you’ll hear some of them in our music, too.

CD: Even though the album doesn’t come out until Oct. 6 I got to hear “Panic Attack!,” “A Classic Case of Transference” and “Single.” I really love all of them, but especially “Panic Attack!” Are those three songs an accurate representation of what the rest of the album will be like?

AF: Yeah, definitely. Obviously, there are other styles, but those three are a pretty good representation of the range we have because each is very different. That’s a perfect three song block.

CD: Are there any specific songs on the record that you think your fans or live audiences will really connect with?

AF: I think a great live track will be “Nature vs. Nurture.” The end is, I don’t want to say dragged out, but it is longer than usual that’s perfect for a sing-a-long.

CD: What’s your favorite song from your new album?

AF: “Dirty Pillow Talk.” I guess the best way to put it is that it’s really abrasive. There’s this strange guitar part at the beginning. That or “Nature vs. Nurture.”

CD: You guys got a new bassist. What’s it been like working with Frank Ene? What new styles has he brought to the band? Have there been any extreme professional or artistic differences between Frank and your former bassist, Tim Ward?

AF: Frank plays with his fingers, which Tim didn’t do. I think it gives the bass a little warmer tone. Frank is definitely a rhythmic bassist, which I can appreciate and makes it easier us to lock into being the rhythm section.

CD: Since I am an avid Guitar Hero player, I want to ask how you guys felt about having F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X. on Guitar Hero III?

AF: That was one of the coolest things ever. I jokingly set that as my goal for the year, but I never thought it would actually happen.

CD: What makes you happier: the exposure from being on a nationally known game or the fact that the music editor for the game recognized the skills of the band?

AF: I think a lot of people who wouldn’t have normally heard us, now know us, so just getting our music out there is always great.

CD: I’ve attempted to play it. I’m not that great.

AF: Yeah, Thomas can’t play it either. I think he prefers real guitar.

CD: I heard some talk lately that these music games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band should be seen as great new ways to market music.

AF: Yeah, it’s definitely a great way to get exposed if you’re on the edge of getting people to know you. But I guess it doesn’t matter if you’re a band that everyone knows or not; if the song is good, it’s going to stand out in the game. Video games have become such a bigger avenue for music. We’ve even had our stuff in a baseball game.

CD: I know the Philadelphia show next week is the first stop on the Thursday tour. Is this your first time playing with the band?

AF: We played festivals in Australia with them, but we weren’t on the stage together or anything. We’re looking forward to playing with them, definitely.

CD: Were you guys fans before?

AF: We’re big fans. Once Full Collapse came out, that was it. I was in high school and I just remember that being a great year.

CD: I know you guys have played Philly before, but have you ever played at the First Unitarian Church?

AF: Yeah, lots of times. I’m looking forward to sweating and just rocking out and having a good time.

CD: What’s your favorite thing about Philly or what are you looking forward to doing this time around during your brief stay?

AF: Well, I’m definitely going get a cheesesteask. But one of my favorite things is the Wawas, because I love ordering sandwiches on the screen. It’s fun to play with the touch screen and their sandwiches are pretty good, too. It’s a treat because we don’t have those out here.

CD: Any parting words?

AF: It’s always cool when people support music, whether they download it illegally or whatever. But it’s the best when they come out to a show and sing along, maybe buy a shirt.


Interview with Geoff Rickly, singer of Thursday: September 17, 2009

24 September 2009

Cara Donaldson: Your fifth full-length album, Common Existence, came out earlier this year. Now, I own all your albums and you guys have consistently impressed me, but with Common Existence, this is the first time since “Jet Black New Year” that I listened to songs of yours and had my first reaction be wow, this is really dark. Is that just me? What were you going for with this album? I see a lot of finality, death imagery, despair in love.

Geoff Rickly: Yeah, I guess it is pretty dark, which is surprising because we thought A City by the Light Divided was kind of dark so we wanted to just bring lots of energy on this album I guess we made it an intense dark. We just wanted to have a few faster songs and I wanted to make sure it was something I could feel really passionate about. A lot of what we were thinking when writing the music came out in the lyrics. Each song had a theme; we wanted to tell a story with each song.

CD: It’s been a long time since your first album, Waiting. How has the band evolved and grown, either personally or musically?

GR: There have been marriages and kids and people have not liked each other and become friends again. It’s been like any group of friends would be after 12 years, except I think we’re closer than most groups of friends. And you can definitely see that relationship in the music. On City, I could say that you can hear a lonely, kind of sad thing that was going on between us, but now I think we have much more fun.

CD: You guys have had some major label drama in the past; all that mess with Victory to Island and now you’re on Epitaph. What effect has the business side of the industry had on you guys just simply making your music?

GR: We always really loved Epitaph. Island was really cordial and let us go and Epitaph was so cool and supportive about everything. It has been no mistake.

CD: You guys were kind of at the forefront of that explosion of bands and that emo-punk genre out of Jersey in the late 90s early 2000s. That was definitely a turning in popular music, but I don’t really see so much of that anymore. Why do you think that is? Is that era in time simply done, or do you think there will be a revival at some point?

GR: Oh, no. I don’t think they’ll be a revival. It just became such a commercialized thing, it really tarnished the whole genre image so badly. Maybe a couple bands will make it through, like us, hopefully, but I don’t think they’ll be a resurgence. Probably.

CD: You chose to kick off your new headlining tour in Philly tomorrow and we’re extremely flattered. Why us?

GR: We love Philly. I mean it’s the closest major city to where we’re from, New Brunswick, New Jersey, so it’s become a default hometown over the years.

CD: What’s your favorite thing about Philly? What must you do every time you’re here?

GR: Chinese food. There’s a whole bunch of vegetarian places that I love. I can’t remember the names of any, but I meet up with good friends who know where to take me so I don’t have to, haha.

CD: The last time you guys were in Philly you were on the Taste of Chaos tour. What can your fans who went to that show expect to see different at tomorrow’s show at the Church?

GR: It’s going to be a much better show. It just will. We hand picked every act on this tour and they’re awesome. Young Widows are awesome. The Fall of Troy are strange, sort of crazy. And it’s always a treat to play smaller places and get longer sets.

CD: What new songs from Common Existence do you think this live audience tomorrow will respond to the most?

GR: I know I have a favorite: Love has Led Us Astray. But I don’t know. I’m kind of excited. This is the first time we’ll be playing lots of them.

CD: I’m sure you know you guys have a huge following here in Philly and the majority of those fans have been with you since the beginning. That being said you know they’re going to want to hear the classics, maybe some stuff from Waiting, War All the Time, and definitely Full Collapse. Are you planning on giving the masses what they want?

GR: We’re going to do a little of both. Wel’l play songs that people love the most. I love playing old songs. We’ll play the song that will make people say, ‘Oh, I remember that,’ and then the new stuff that hopefully people will say, ‘Oh, that’s new, I like that.’

CD: Last week I was talking to Andrew from The Fall of Troy. He’s real excited to be on this tour and I’m really excited to see you all together. You mentioned them a little earlier, but what stood out about The Fall of Troy, Moving Mountains and Young Widows for you to bring them along as support?

GR: The Fall of Troy are really strange. They’re so cool and weird and they’re a three piece. I just could not believe that three dudes on stage could play what they were playing. They blew my mind. How [singer] Thomas [Erak] sings and how he writes songs is so crazy and weird; there’s nothing like that. They’re something that other people copy. They’re doing what they want to do. And Young Widows put out my favorite album of last year, Old Wounds. I love it. Moving Mountains is great. Their singing, and that violin—amazing.