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Interview: HIM (HTF Exclusive)

We caught up with Mige and Burton before the intimate Dingwalls show to get their perspective on the release of ‘Tears on Tape’. Find out all the gory details here…

1062320_10200795468381827_151580058_nFinnish love-metal leviathans HIM are back in the game with a new album and tours across the world, but with ‘Tears on Tape’s troubled production process and constant questioning of whether they’ve still got anything left to give, it’s an interesting time for Finland’s biggest musical export.

We got the chance to talk to bassist Mige and keyboardist Burton for a slightly different look behind the scenes of ‘Tears on Tape’.

HTF: So first off, how are you guys? Ready for your triumphant return to the UK?

Burton: More or less[laughs].

Mige: We had a very exhausting trip to Germany. We came from there, and… where else? Germany can be exhausting if you’re a man of a weak nature… and I am.

HTF: Certainly in the UK and the US, the mainstream music media attention is focused on Ville. Is that particular to the UK and the US or is it like that in other countries as well?

M: Well I think it’s pretty universal, you know. I don’t know the reasoning behind it, it’s just how our world media functions I suppose[he laughs].

HTF: I’m not implying that there’s any bitter attention conflicts or anything!

M: Oh no, not at all! I mean it could be, it could cause problems in some bands with larger egos. Say if you had like two people with big egos, you got a problem, you have that kind of situation. We’re not really attention hungry. 

HTF: Magazines and websites certainly give the impression that Ville is the driving force behind the band.

M: Oh, he is [They both laugh].

HTF: So how do you guys fit into that creative process?

B: The method is pretty old school. We go to the studio and just play together.

M: We’re pretty intense, you know, the process of how we put the songs together and the way people play, of course it shapes the outcome, so to say. When it comes to creativity, that’s at least enough for me. It doesn’t leave me hungry!

HTF: So if you had to summarise the creative process behind making a record like ‘Tears on Tape’, how would you do that?

B: That’s a hard nut!

M: Yeah, it’s a long story, and it’s of course every situation, every song, you know, sometimes we’re stuck for a long time working on something that seems very…

B: It takes time.

M: Yeah. Sometimes you’ll be working on some piece of a song that’ll be so long before it’s done for some reason, I don’t know why.

HTF: Tears on Tape’ took a couple of years to make. That was slowed down by Gas’ arm injury and a multitude of other things. How did that impact you as a group?

B: It was pretty horrible!

M: I agree.

B: It was so sudden, just this completely accidental thing.

M: Yeah, it seemed like it was unpredictable, and it happened very fast.

B: There was just one day in the studio where Gas just stopped playing.

M: There wasn’t like, a week before, Gas said anything like “I have a pain in my hand”.

B: Maybe there was something up before, but he just didn’t tell us.

M: He probably just sucked it up.

HTF: Like we said earlier, you guys have been around for almost two decades now. So there was never really a question of bringing in a replacement for him, you were making the record with him or not at all.

M: I was very delighted to discover that it wasn’t necessary. I didn’t consider the option that it would be, but when there are health issues and people can’t play, of course you think about it, but…

B: He would have been really difficult to replace.

M: I think it’s pretty much, you know, the band is entwined because we’ve been together for so long. It’s difficult as it is to hold this thing together, you remove a person like Gas from the equation, I don’t see that happening. We said, wait until he gets better or  f**king quit.

HTF: ‘Screamworks’ was a really big departure from your usual sound. Was it refreshing to go back to something more familiar with the new album?

B: I think so, yeah.

M: Hiilesmaa’s always been the producer, he’s always been very… how should I put it, influential, he’s always been the figure that’s always there, you know, the figure that you hold bearing to, you work with the guy and he’s weird! He’s a character. He’s definitely psychologically important to the group so that was very refreshing.

HTF: Last of all, this might be a bit of a big question at the moment, but do you still think you have enough left in you for another record or is that something you can’t even think about yet?

B: We’ve talked about this one! “Let’s eat first.”

M: Yeah, you’ve gotta chew first, and then you swallow.

B: Well, if you’re a swallower!

M: Yeah! You have to swallow first before you reach for the next bite!

Interviewer: Laurence Stark

You can see HIM on tour in the UK this Autumn.

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