Interview with Nightwish 114

Source: Rockpages
2006

It’s Friday night and I’ve just read an article about Nightwish. About what “really happened” and what didn’t, about what’s gonna happen. A rather spontaneous smile “climbs up” my face. Whatever I don’t get I can simply write it down. Then, all I have to do, is wait a few minutes. In a few minutes, Tuomas Holopainen, the man behind the keyboards, the songs and the very existence of Nightwish, the famous Finnish band, is going to call me and explain to me what “really happened” and what didn’t as well as about what’s gonna happen… Costas Koulis

Rockpages.gr : I saw that “End of an era” dvd is ready. What does it mean to you, what does it represent?

Tuomas : It represents the end of an… era and also the beginning of another era but… I have a strange feeling of bitter sweetness. Αctually the idea came in 2004, we had to do the last show of this huge tour something special, so the idea was there, ages before anything started going wrong.

Rockpages.gr : I’m not going to ask anything about the conflict right now because I wanna know all the info about the new album. I read that you’re writing new material.

Tuomas : (laughs) Actually, I wrote all the songs for the next Nightwish album already.

Rockpages.gr : Fourteen, right?

Tuomas : Actually fifteen. It’s been a really creative time for me since October, the emotions have been upfront or something but I’ve been able to create songs so easily and so fast, so, practically, all the songs for the next album are already done, already made. Actually, I spent two weeks in the studio, we will all start rehearsing the material, the whole band, at the beginning of June, we’re entering the studio in mid September. So… everything’s looking really well… now all I need is a singer! (laughs)

Rockpages.gr : Writing all the material, as you said, means that you have titles, lyrics, themes, melodies and probably the vocal melodies in your head, as well as in your files. So, is it okay if I ask about the title or song titles or even the style of the album?

Tuomas : (laughs) Yeah… I’m not going to get into the titles, because, you know, I don’t know everything yet! (laughs)

Rockpages.gr : But you do!

Tuomas : It’s really too early because it’s gonna be a year from this day when the album is finished, so we’ll probably talk again. The way I feel about the material at the moment… the style is not gonna change that radically, if you think about the music, there are a lot of elements same as in the previous albums, the orchestra is there, the choir is there, the really heavy guitars are there, the ballads… the formula is pretty much the same but, of course, the biggest difference will be the vocals, because it will be a new singer. Also, musically, there are new aspects, that haven’t been there before. I love to experiment with different things that will shock the audience. Overall, the feeling in the whole band is positive, everybody seems to be quite happy with the material and everybody’s anxious to work with it.

Rockpages.gr : A little before you said “… to shock the audience…”. When I first listened to the “Once” album, for instance, I was shocked by “Creek Mary’s Blood”. It was a huge statement in music. You mixed everything in there. The choir, the orchestra, everything. Are you preparing such a surprise for us in the next album as well?

Tuomas : I believe so, yes, there would be some minor details here and there that will shock the people, not one song in particular, which will be discussed. (laughs)

Rockpages.gr : So, the entire album will shock us, right?

Tuomas : Yeah, it’s very important to keep the whole thing interesting. There’s no point doing the same album with the same songs over again. You always have to find something new. Challenge yourself.

Rockpages.gr : Regarding the vocals now… you practically invite people to send demos, info, biographies to the website, in order to do an audition maybe?

Tuomas : Right.

Rockpages.gr : Isn’t that a bit risky? Have you thought of choosing a well-known artist or it just popped into your mind “let’s do an audition and get the best from that”?

Tuomas : Well… I think that would be a bit like… (e.n. deep breath) not the decent way to approach it, you shouldn’t be too certain of yourself… this way it works really well for us, so far we have had 450 demos.

Rockpages.gr : That was my next question… about the response.

Tuomas : (laughs) We haven’t had a single audition yet, we haven’t met any of the candidates or anything like that, so we are still waiting because there’s like 20 demos each day, but I’m quite surprised by the activity of the people, because the boots that need to be filled are huge. So the people are more brave than I thought or just ignorant! (laughs) The new vocalist, no matter who she is, she’s gonna go through hell, when it comes to the fans or the media…

Rockpages.gr : You used the word “she”… does it really have to be a woman? Have you ever considered to move on with a male vocalist?

Tuomas : Well… never even crossed my mind, to be honest. I love doing music for a female voice, I don’t know why. It has been there for 5 albums, I just think it would be such a cheap trick to let Marco sing from now on. It’s always gonna be a female voice in the band, that I can give you my word for.

Rockpages.gr : When the whole story with Tarja broke out, after all these words exchanged back and forth, have you ever thought “let’s stop this, let’s terminate Nightwish and start something else”?

Tuomas : All the time. Yes. Exactly. And that’s why, you know, this is interview No 19 that I’m doing today…

Rockpages.gr : 19?

Tuomas : 19, yes.

Rockpages.gr : Am I the last one?

Tuomas : You are the last one, yeah.

Rockpages.gr : Good! Then you can go to bed early.

Tuomas : (laughs)… I think, out of these 19 you are only the 3rd one, who’s not like asking and digging and asking… you know… “tell us more about what really happened”… I said that before, I’m not talking about that matter anymore. I really wanna end the whole thing. From the bottom of my heart I wish Tarja all the best with her career and we are moving on, so let’s just forget and do the vest we can, but people want to dig and go on and the thing that bothers me the most is that Nightwish had to become something like a public soap opera… when you hear the word “Nightwish”, the first thing that comes into your mind is “oh, yeah, that bunch of those who fired their singer”, you don’t necessarily think about the band or the music anymore.

Rockpages.gr : But have you ever thought of stopping the band from going on?

Tuomas : Quitting the band…?

Rockpages.gr : Start a new band, a new project…

Tuomas : No. I want to keep this. You know, this is pretty much everything that I’ve had in my life for the past 10 years. It’s something I’m not willing to give up…

Rockpages.gr : I must say that Nightwish is the closest thing regarding metal meeting O.S.T.

Tuomas : This is a big compliment. Thank you.

Rockpages.gr : I think that it’s the ultimate “Soundtrack metal” band… have you ever thought about your next movement, after the “metal phase”? Is it to become a huge O.S.T. composer, like Vangelis, whom you admire so much, or John Williams or Jerry Goldsmith?

Tuomas : (laughs) It’s my ultimate in creating music, but, at the moment, I’m so happy with this band, I wanna fulfill my dream with Nightwish first. Someday, in the future, when I have the time and I’m too old to tour, I will start this “soundtrack thing”. It’s something I really like to try and I think it’s something I can be “into”…


Rockpages.gr : So, you have that in the back side of your mind…


Tuomas : Absolutely!


Rockpages.gr : I read about the book as well. Happy about it?


Tuomas : It’s really good, I think. The thing I want to emphasize here it that it’s not written by the band. There’s an author who’d written it. I’m just one of the interviewed persons in the book… but I love the honesty of the book, it doesn’t put anybody to the stand. It’s honest. Sometimes, when I read the book, I find some much shit (laughs), sometimes I laugh my ass off and sometimes I cry.


Rockpages.gr : Are these the “serious exposures” from the Nightwish world, to quote the book?


Tuomas : Yeah, anecdotes from the road. I think the result is pretty good.


Rockpages.gr : Let’s go back to the new album. It’ll be ready next year, so you’ll hit the road…


Tuomas : … in 2007.


Rockpages.gr : You haven’t planned anything yet, right? Because it’s so far away…


Tuomas : We have to make the album first. (laughs)


Rockpages.gr : Will you release a single also, like you did for “Once”, with “Nemo”?


Tuomas : I guess it’s necessary evil. I hate that. But, these days, you know, the normal policy is to do that, it would be stupid not to release a single. Personally, I don’t like that, because it puts one song on the spot.


Rockpages.gr : Thank you so much for your time. All the best.


Tuomas : Thank you. Talk to you again soon.


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