By the mid-2000s, HIM frontman Ville Valo and Cradle Of Filth‘s Dani Filth were firmly established metal icons. Despite approaching their craft from decidedly different directions (Ville had a penchant for punchy romanticism, Dani for otherworldly explorations of the occult), the pair shared a love for gothic imagery which became a defining aspect of their art.
So when Cradle were looking to follow-up on the landmark success of their 2004 breakout Nymphetamine with 2006’s Thornography, Dani recruited Ville to provide an extra seductive touch to their new song Byronic Man. But as he tells Hammer, it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing…
“We actually ended up doing it twice, because the first time around I was so drunk that it turned out really bad!” Ville says with a dry chuckle. “Dani invited me to sing on that song and we got the files when we were out on tour. I remember we rented a studio on a day off and I kept on pounding Stella Artois, ‘til I sort of passed the Byronic level. I went too far with all that bohemian crap and it didn’t sound too good, so I ended up re-singing all of that stuff back in Helsinki.”
Cradle Of Filth’s chief architect wasn’t exactly impressed. “Dani’s very particular,” Ville admits. “But I’m a huge fan of Cradle of Filth. Dusk…& Her Embrace was such a big influence [on HIM]. It was a big deal. They’re great at building worlds; their own visuals, their own rules and laws of physics. It’s a great, great band. I was stupid enough to wear the classic ‘Jesus is a Cunt‘ shirt in business class on British Airways, flying from Las Vegas to London or something. I shouldn’t have done it. I’m sorry for the people I offended. But that was my Byronic moment. One of the many… “
Ville also adds that fans probably shouldn’t hold out hope of the pair collaborating again anytime soon. Asked if they kept in touch, he breaks into a cheeky grin. “We fell out [laughing]. No, but we both grew up a bit. I last saw Dani at a Hammer party somewhere, many many years ago. A lot of the time in bands, especially if you keep touring, there’s just no time.
“You’re always somewhere else when they come to your hometown, and so on. It’s quite a shame, but it’s also nice because there’s so much time in between that when you get the opportunity to meet your old friend, there’s a lot of war stories to tell. A lot of scars to compare; it’s part of what we do. I’m glad I was invited into the realm of his, both physically and metaphorically, because I’m a fan of what they do, and it was a special treat. I’m a fanboy and that’s the stuff that keeps me going.”
Ville Valo’s new album Neon Noir is due January 13. VV play Download in June.