Interview with Nightwish 115

Source: Rockpages

While the memories from this year’s Rockwave festival are still fresh, one of the groups that delivered the goods and fully justified their reputation were Nightwish. Rockpages found the main composer and keyboard player of the Finnish band, Tuomas Holopainen, at the backstage area a few moments before their first ever performance in Greece. Having their new album “Once” as a main topic of our chat and Queensryche as a musical background, everything went smoothly, although Mr.Anasontzis had to prepare right away for K.K.Downing and Ian Hill. What a pressure…


Interview: George Anasontzis and Sakis Nikas Are you looking forward to playing today’s show?

Tuomas Holopainen: Very much. It is one of the most anticipated concerts. There is always an extra tension when you are playing in a country for the first time. We don’t really know what expect. So, it is a very special moment. Do you know that “Once” is on the top of the Greek charts?

Tuomas Holopainen: Yeah, I just heard it! It is incredible and I thank you. It is obvious that “Once” is much heavier, guitar-oriented and offers more duets of Marco and Tarja. How come?

Tuomas Holopainen: I never think ahead of these things. I just write the songs and I haven’t any intention of…let’s say doing a heavier album. The songs came up pretty naturally and they ended up as they were conceived. Maybe, it had to do with the fact that this time I used during the writing process my electric guitar, while in our previous records I was using keyboards. How did Creek Mary’s Blood, the Indian song, come up?

Tuomas Holopainen: I am really fascinated with the Indian culture. It is my obsession. One of my all time favorite movies is “Dancing with the wolves” and I have read many books about Indians. So it was time to do a song for them and it is actually my favorite piece on the album. What is the concept behind  “Once”? We noticed that the word “once” appears in the lyrics of 4 songs and the album opens with the phrase: “Once I had a dream…”

Tuomas Holopainen: There is not actually a concept behind “Once”. Every song is an individual story and the word “once” has a different meaning in those songs. But if I had to state something with “Once” is really the what the first sentence of the album says: “ Once I had a dream and this is it”. So, what is the dream?

Tuomas Holopainen: We learned from our previous records. The writing sessions of “Once” were great and it’s the first time that I feel so confident for an album. Was your dream fulfilled?

Tuomas Holopainen: I think it was fulfilled with “Once”, because I consider it to be our best record. But I have a lot of faith in our next album, which I think it will be much better. All right! When should we expect it?

Tuomas Holopainen: It’s really hard to say, but definitely not before 2007. Do you think that maybe it’s time for a side project? We were talking with Liv Kristine a couple of months ago and she mentioned how much you had in common, musically speaking…

Tuomas Holopainen: Right. But the truth is that we have booked concerts with Nightwish up to end of 2005. And then I take one year to write the next album and 6 months in the studio. If you add these, you’ll see that the album will be out in 2007. Do you think that those other bands with female vocals, like Lacuna Coil  or After Forever follow your steps?

Tuomas Holopainen: I don’t know. Don’t forget that The Gathering or Theatre of Tragedy were before us. Also, Within Temptation started at the same time with us. Yes, but none of these groups achieved the amount of your success. It is not an exaggeration if we say that Nightwish made the female vocals a fashion.

Tuomas Holopainen: All right! (laughs) I am just flattered to hear this. But to this day, I haven’t heard a band that sounds like Nightwish. All of these bands have a very unique style. I have to say also that there is an uprising of metal bands, due to the success of Evanescence. Are you looking forward to your first headline tour in U.S.A., with Lullacry as a support act.

Tuomas Holopainen: Very much. First time in U.S.A. and headliners! There is definitely something going on there. Anything is possible in that country. I never would have thought, a couple of years ago, that we had a chance there. But as I said there is a growing interest for metal acts, thanks to Evanescence. What is the secret behind your success? The novel thing of the soprano female vocals, the good compositions?

Tuomas Holopainen: I think it is the whole package. These days, people are looking for something new. All had been said and done in music. When you see or hear something unique, it always catches your interest. A charisma is also needed! Tarja is our charisma…so we have a good package. Also people appreciate our honesty. Nightwish were never a product. We started our own thing and we continue on this path. You applied for the Eurovision contest as participants for Finland…

Tuomas Holopainen: Correct. There were 270 candidates and we ended up in the third position. But the truth is that this contest represents everything that I hate about music! So, why did you apply?


Tuomas Holopainen: We wanted to make a statement to all those conservative music people. Queensryche are now playing on stage, as we are speaking. You are right after them…Any comments?

Tuomas Holopainen: This is incredible! Queensryche is a legendary band and we play above them like we did in Spain with Sepultura. Wow! (laughs) Final question: would you like to tell us which would be the three albums that you’d take with you if you were abandoned in a island?

Tuomas Holopainen: Vangelis’ Oceanic, probably the best record ever, Metallica’s Black album, it started the metal mania in me, and the soundtrack of Gladiator. By the way, “Once” sounds a little bit like, Metallica. Were you influenced at all?

Tuomas Holopainen: Maybe, subconsciously! (laughs) Tuomas, thank you.

Tuomas Holopainen: Thank you, guys. See you again.


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