My Experiences as a HIM Fan
This will be the fan girly-est and sappiest of all my articles. You’ve been warned.
I came into the HIM fandom by pure accident. I was about 13 years old when I first heard “Wings of a Butterfly.” I would spend my days flipping through channels, clicking on music profiles, scoping new bands to listen to. Being the oldest child of two non-media obsessed parents, I had to find cool things on my own. Led Zeppelin never played throughout my house, my dad didn’t wear legitimate Beatles concert shirts, and my mom didn’t have stories about how-one-time-she-got-Nikki-Sixx-to-sign-her-boobs. I was an uncool kid who was desperate to be cool.
My heart at the time belonged to the pop punk sentimentalities of Green Day, specifically American Idiot; I bought it with some birthday money. A friend made copies of Fall Out Boy’s From Under the Cork Tree and Panic! at the Disco’s A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. My mom didn’t understand why I wanted a subscription to Blender magazine. My desire to be a legit member of the 2005 music scene was deep.
Days I spent home alone were perfect; I could keep the TV on Fuse without embarrassment or harassment from others. During a music video block, I saw a dark scene featuring a watchtower emitting a strange symbol. Then, some guy in a vest with this highly intricate tattoo sleeve appeared. There was also some blond octopus playing guitar.
Who the hell are these guys? What is this? And why can’t I stop watching?
Though it’s just a performance video, I didn’t understand it. Nothing about this video looked American. It was as if I had ESEP: extrasensory European perception. I thought the song was pretty good and the guy was okay looking until about one minute and 43 seconds into the song.
That was the moment I fell in love with HIM.
My jaw dropped. I had never heard a voice like that before. This band was different because this guy could sing, and I mean really sing. The soothing, symphonic timbre of his voice astounded me. I suddenly wanted to be the mirror he touched in the video. I wanted to talk about his arm sleeve. I wanted to know who this guy was and where did he come from.
As the next video began, I completely forgot about them.
Sure, I looked up the song and band’s name, but that was the extent of my research. I thought about them from time to time, but never felt compelled to give them a proper listening. I knew “Wings of a Butterfly” by heart and replayed the “Killing Loneliness” video a thousand times, but that was it. I didn’t spend hours scouring the internet for any piece of information I could find about these guys. Until three years later, I never cared about HIM or Ville Valo.
At the end of my junior year of high school, I had a sudden nostalgia for that butterfly song with the weird tower video. The melody was an earworm for a day until I decided to revisit it. A few plays of the song turned into a few thousand, my interest in the band increasing with each time. I was transformed, metamorphosed. I had to know everything about the band. I began by downloading their entire discography.
I spent the next few months getting “intimate” with HIM while in a deep state of depression. Without getting into too much detail, I never thought this bout would end. This was a time in my life when I felt nobody would or could ever love me; I craved external love because I had no internal, self-love. HIM’s lyrics made me feel like the band loved me. Sure, they are intended as general declarations, but the guitar solos, bass riffs, drum fills, and piano intros jolted me alive.
Through HIM, I learned about Finland and its culture. I learned about Charles Baudelaire, spurred by interest in Ville Valo’s portrait tattoo of the poet. I found a way to medicate the pain and harmful thoughts. HIM’s music helped me find a proverbial light through all the darkness. The greatest lesson I’ve learned is that nobody is really alone as long as we are open to love. So I took the chance and learned to love myself.
Who I am now near the end of my undergraduate career is vastly different than who I was in my later high school years. What has remained the same is my love for HIM. My thanks to this band are endless. I might be a face in the crowd, a number for the sales statistics, or just another person on the internet, but I started this project as a way to give back and spread the word about this band. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I never found HIM, and frankly, I don’t want to imagine a world where I didn’t.