On the 19th of March, I went up to Birmingham to see HIM live in concert. I arrived in Birmingham at 2pm and started lining up about half 3. There was already about 20-25 people there. It seemed that non-stop rain wasn’t going to ruin their excitement of seeing Finnish rockers HIM that Friday night.
The support band was pitched perfectly at the average HIM fan. Personally, I hadn’t heard of goth rockers Dommin before hearing them that night, but they were much better than I expected them to be. There was one woman who eagerly pushed past people to get to the front, who was the only one around me who was jumping and singing along with Dommin. A cover of 80’s song “I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight” was an immediate icebreaker. Their intention of setting a romantic atmosphere worked well along with throwing roses into the crowd.
As soon as the lights went down, the stage was suddenly the target for balloons, bras and all kind of random things throughout the night and sometimes it was really difficult to understand what vocalist Ville Valo was saying with all the screams and marriage proposals from the crowd. Luckily, Ville was in a playful mood with his tongue in his cheek, babbling nonsense in his own way which brings a smile to my face (and many others) At one point, he stopped to read an extract from Tim Burton’s The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories – which was a book thrown from someone in the crowd. To my own admission, even I went weak at his low baritone voice.
HIM done well with the set list for Friday night considering their large back catalogue of amazing songs. There were the classic crowd pleasers throughout the set for the die-hard fans such as Right Here In My Arms, Join Me, Wicked Game and The Funeral of Hearts. Soul On Fire was a last minute replacement for The Sacrament in the encore. Kiss of Dawn, the only song played from heavy album Venus Doom, was a slight mood killer and even Ville looked bored as he painfully plodded through to the final chorus. In my opinion, maybe Venus Doom, Bleed Well or another of my favourites Sleepwalking Past Hope would have been a better choice, Fortunately, material from the new album Screamworks picked up the pace. Like St. Valentine was a great opener. Heartkiller, Katherine Wheel (my personal favourite – can you guess one of the reasons why?) and Love The Hardest Way sent fans crazy, whereas Scared to Death and Disarm Me lulled everyone into a more calmer state when the pushing and jumping got too much. I would have loved it if they had played the whole album.
Unfortunately I got way too hot and sweaty for my liking, and the mosh pit got too heavy for me so I departed to the right side of the crowd where I could actually breathe and enjoy the gig a bit more. It did result in spending the rest of the gig listening to the side of Ville (I much preferred to be in front of him and I was pretty close to the stage as well! I wasn’t the only one though, as I saw (from standing at the side) that a few people were being pulled out of the crowd by security guards as they were getting too hot and crushed. However, I decided it was better for me to live to see the end of the gig. And anyway, I chose the correct side to stand because Ville always sings to “stage right”. There were small sound issues twice during the final encore (The Funeral of Hearts) Ville stopped singing to curse at the sound tech and insisted that the hi-hat audio problems were ironed out. It was nice to see that he cared so much about our enjoyment of the sound quality, especially since it was the last song of the night and the crowd were clearly oblivious to any technical hitches. It’s also heartening to realise that Ville was sober enough to notice the problem. It wasn’t that long ago that he could barely remember the song lyrics by the end of a set let alone pay attention to the sound levels. Although the vocalist may be winning the battle with alcohol, I couldn’t help but notice that he was a lot thinner than usual :-(
Overall, the gig was everything that I hoped it would be, I just wish that I was a lot stronger (to push everyone off me) and was wearing less (to combat heat) so I could have stayed in front of the stage! Or at least, be the only person there :P I wanted to get a picture with Ville but they made a very, very discreet exit out of the venue plus I was too busy getting crushed on the way out as well. I just hope that Screamworks isn’t their last album and I’ll have the opportunity to see them live again.
A short clip by me, of HIM performing Katherine Wheel.
A short clip by me, of HIM performing Kiss of Dawn.
A short clip by me,of HIM performing Right Here In My Arms.
This is our second live episode called “Youth” which went live on the 16th March 2010.
To be fair, I think this episode went pretty well considering we only thought of the idea, planned and filmed the short film all in one day. We had to do this because the episode which was due to go live on the 16th was about video games and the two boys who we needed for it, didn’t show up on the day which was unfortunate. But our awesome group came up with an idea for this episode all in one day. We were very unprepared and had no time to rehearse.
So this episode is all about the youth of today, and how they are perceived. Leighkesh is hosting a debate between Lia & Arron, about how young people are stereotyped for the clothes they wear. Charleigh was on sound control, Nikk was on the computer. . .
This is the first episode gone live, out of four. This is on the same topic as the pilot (which wasn’t live), however with a different guest this time. We have Sgt Ian McParland from the status dogs unit, with the Metropolitan Police. I was working behind the camera, which I enjoy doing the most. I was being told when to zoom in and out, through my headphones by the director. I liked using the camera more than using the computer which I did on the pilot. Next I need to try out using the vision mixing or sound controls. I felt pretty relaxed using the camera, and I thought today was great fun. I feel that this episode went pretty well, better than the pilot episode but still there is room to improve :-)
Ville Hermanni Valo, born 22nd November 1976, is the songwriter and lead vocalist for the Finnish rock band, H.I.M. Ville’s musical roots go way back into his childhood, from when he was a baby. When Ville cried, his father would play Paratiisi by Rauli Badding Somerjoki, and his mother would take him in her arms and dance. At this, baby Ville would calm down and stop crying.
Ville’s first musical memory is at a family party when Elvis’ classic “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” song , which is when little Ville crawled towards the bongo drums, and he began to tap away. Ville’s parents recognised his talent and throughout his life, they have nurtured his musical progression. However, Ville’s first encounter with rock/metal music came about when he was four, in his cousin’s bedroom, his cousin was a big fan of Iron Maiden. Ville then developed a taste for heavy metal. His biggest influences being bands such as, Kiss and Black Sabbath. The first album he ever bought was Animalize by Kiss. He had grown up around animals, including his pet dog Sami who was found in a gutter. Sami actually helped Ville to walk as a toddler, and it is said that when Sami eventually died, Ville then developed asthma and allergies. Growing up, Ville was wild, hyperactive and very often in trouble with other boys at school. One method that teachers used to keep him under control, was letting him draw pictures in class. This helped him stay calm.
Ville & his alcohol problems
In 1997, Ville developed a drinking habit, which was said to be greatly influenced by his best friend Bam Margera. “It´s hard for me to say no, and deep inside I´m quite a shy guy. In this job you have to constantly talk to people you don´t know that well. It´s easier when you have a little beer. Even business men know that important meetings take place in smart hotels in the midst of martinis. Drinking easily becomes a habit.” Ville states his own reasons behind his drinking. Then, in December 2005, Ville was a victim of a drug-assisted robbery in a Minnesota bar during a US tour. He says, “They put some drugs in my pint of beer. I blacked out and woke up in a hotel room I’d never seen before. Somebody had stolen my jacket, my asthma medicine, my fags, my credit cards and my cell phone. I had a couple of scratches, probably from falling down, but nothing worse. I’ve been sober ever since. ” By sober, he means he hasn’t drunk himself blind. At his best, he “only” had 2 beers a day. In August 2007, Ville admitted himself to rehab after being told by his doctors that if he didn’t stop drinking, he would end up in the emergency room with heart failure. “It was a test of patience for a couple of days, I was shivering and shaking like a leaf,” he explained, “and then coming together with my real emotions as I haven’t been sober in a real long time — the past 10 years. I have been sleeping like a f**king baby for the first time in 15 years!”
Ville Valo & Jonna Nygren
In October 2005, Ville was almost forced to cancel his band’s first major American tour after his ex-girlfriend beat him up. He was given a black eye by her, and sustained a burst ear drum. He says, “She was a tough girl and she wasn’t afraid to show it. She once punctured my ear-drum by screaming so loudly in my ear that it bled from the inside. Violence is always pretty bad but it doesn’t get any worse than being beaten up by a girl, does it?” Rumours were that Jonna was jealous of HIM fans, and beat Ville on a regular basis. She had very strong mood swings. They are no longer together.
Ville & HIM’s success
HIM first formed in 1991, by vocalist Ville Valo, guitarist Mikko Lindström (better known as “Linde” or “Lily Lazer”) and bassist Mikko Paananen (better known as “Mige”) along with drummers Juha Tarvonen & Juippi. Their current line-up is Valo, Lindström, Paananen, with Janne Puurtinen (better known as “Emerson Burton”) on keyboard and Mika Karppinen (better known as “Gas Lipstick”) on drums.
They have released 7 full length albums to date. On September the 5th, 2006 HIM’s fifth studio album “Dark Light” was certified gold by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) making HIM the first Finnish band to have a gold album in the US. In Finland, HIM had five of their albums certified platinum. One of which even reached double platinum. Ville’s theme when it comes to lyrics, is the joy, pain & suffering of love.
My reasons for choosing Ville Valo
I chose to write about Ville Valo as my arts hero, as I have been listening to HIM’s music since late April 2009 everyday to the present day. I’ve been addicted to them, and Ville’s lyrics have gotten me through really tough days and my rollercoaster emotions. He said once in an interview, that even though the songs each have a personal meaning to him, he knows that his fans will be able to relate to the songs in some way that’s personal to them. This is particularly true for me. Ville Valo is an inspiration to me for many reasons. Some I don’t wish to go into, as they are personal matters to me. But the main reason being is that he doesn’t give up, no matter how tough things get for him, he is very strong minded and always comes out better and stronger.
And I would just like to say that I do not own the above pictures.
The pictures below, are my own.
My first draft of notes.
My CD collection.
My posters (:
This is me on the camera, filming Arron & his dogs. I thought this part of the day went particularly well, as we got some really good clips of Arron playing with his dogs (all 5 out at some point!) and Arron as well as his mum gave really good points towards the argument about dogs being dangerous.
This is me on the computer, making things live (e.g. headers, lower thirds, video, and sound muting) whilst broadcasting our pilot.
This is our pilot TV show, which is about dangerous dogs and whether some dogs are born aggressive depending on what breed they are or whether it depends on how they are brought up and how they are trained to be. It includes an interview with an educational officer from The Dogs Trust and a short video starring Arron, his mum & his dogs. Charleigh and Lea were the presenters, we had Rose and Mak on the cameras, Leighkesh doing the vision mixing, Sheena & Rohan directing and I was on the computer. I was really nervous about doing this part, because you have to do the clicking at the right time, and I just knew I was going to panic and do something wrong. Which admittedly I did do – I put Charleigh’s header up twice! Rohan was telling me which ones to click but maybe I just don’t work great under a lot of pressure.
My music interview
This is a short video of me being interviewed by Arron, about my music interests. I chose to talk mainly about my favourite band H.I.M. I was a little bit nervous being in front of the camera as I am usually quite camera shy. But I thought I would give it a go because I thought “Why not?” I became quite relaxed during the interview and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, considering Arron had like 5 minutes to think of questions!
Me filming Arron’s interview about his dogs
This is a video of Arron being interviewed by Charleigh. Arron was being about his pets, mainly his dogs. I was working the camera on this video, and I found that I preferred to be behind the camera much more than in front as I felt more relaxed and I realised that being in front of the camera was me stepping outside of my comfort zone. What I learnt from being on the camera was how to turn it on, zoom in and out, and lock/unlock the camera so I can move it around or keep it stable.