Interview with Delain 2

Source: Zwaremetalen
May 2009
By Koos Kamerling

Interview with Therion 4

Source: Zwaremetalen
August 2003
By Twan van Knippenberg

Interview with Ayreon 2

Source: Zwaremetalen
May 2004
By Ralph Plug

Interview with Liv Kristine 1

Source: Zwaremetalen
February 2005
By Rutger van der Holst

Interview with Dimmu Borgir 3

Source: Zwaremetalen
October 2005
By Arjan Hoogendoorn

Interview with After Forever 5

Source: Zwaremetalen
November 2005
By Arjan Hoogendoorn

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Interview with Lacuna Coil 2

Source: Zwaremetalen
Mars 2006
By Mike Voors


Interview with Tristania 2

Source: Zwaremetalen
February 2007
By Kimberley Verlangen

Interview with Within Temptation 1

Source:  Zwaremetalen
Mars 2007
By Jaco Dekker

Interview with After Forever 4

Source: Zwaremetalen
April 2007
By Justin Erkens

After Forever is natuurlijk een fenomeen in de Nederlandse metalscène. Sinds Remagine uit 2005 heeft de band niet stilgestaan. Anno 2007 heeft After Forever een nieuw label, een nieuwe producer en ook een nieuw album! Reden genoeg dus voor een gesprek met Floor en Joost van After Forever!

Sander


Floor
: Het is helaas zo dat het op dit moment niet zo goed gaat met Sander (Gommans) anders was hij wel hier, maar hij moet eventjes rustig aan doen. Het is nog niet helemaal bekend wat hij heeft, het is waarschijnlijk een soort oververmoeidheid, daar heeft het wel de verschijnselen van. Maar hij wordt nog onderzocht dus dat wordt nog even afwachten..


Tour


Floor
: De tour gaat in ieder geval gewoon door maar er komt geen vervanger, dat is te kort dag. We gaan het oplossen met andere middelen binnen de band. Geluid anders neer zetten maar we gaan geen vervangende gitarist meenemen. Maar het touren zelf zien we in ieder geval heel erg naar uit, dat is echt te gek. We hebben heel lang uitgekeken naar het moment waarop we met de nieuwe platenmaatschappij (Nuclear Blast) het nieuwe album kunnen uitbrengen en nu is het eindelijk zover. We houden wel van het live gebeuren, dus we kunnen niet wachten om te gaan touren!


Fulltime muzikanten


Floor
: We hebben nu ook alle tijd voor onze muziek. Ik en Joost waren al fulltime muzikanten en de rest is sinds afgelopen zomer eigenlijk ook daar naar overgestapt. Toen hebben we allemaal gezegd van nu is de kans die we moeten grijpen en daar gaan we helemaal voor. De band is nu echt onze prioriteit, niet meer een baan maar After Forever.


Joost:
Maar we hebben nu niet meer ineens meer tijd omdat we bijvoorbeeld geen (normale) baan meer hebben. Dat valt echt tegen. We zijn ineens serieuzer met muziek bezig en dat waren we eigenlijk al dusdanig veel, maar dan een baan en de band als 2 fulltime betrekkingen. En nu hebben we nog steeds één fulltime betrekking, onze muziek. Het is dus echt niet dat we nou ineens zeeën van tijd hebben, echt niet! Het blijft heel erg druk. We zitten natuurlijk nu ook bij Nuclear Blast en die vereisen toch wat meer. We zijn ook van plan om meer te gaan touren in het buitenland en het ziet ernaar uit dat het gaat werken dit jaar. Je maakt het zelf druk en dat is ook wat we willen.


Projecten


Floor
: Ik heb momenteel niet iets wat nog moet worden opgenomen. Wel ben ik wat aan het schrijven maar dat staat echt nog in de kinderschoenen. Het kan nog wel een hele tijd gaan duren voordat je daar iets van hoort, ook omdat ik daar lekker de tijd voor wil nemen. Wel heb ik met classics in rock meegezongen in de Ahoy. Dat is een project waar Joost ook nog veel mee bij betrokken was en nog steeds is. En ik geef (zang)les natuurlijk maar dat is niet echt een project.


Forever After


Floor
: Maar er is ook niet echt de behoefte om wat anders te doen. Ik ben heel gelukkig met After Forever, het is toch m'n kindje. We zijn van een kleine repetitieruimte uitgegroeid tot wat het nu is met mij erbij. Het zou weliswaar verleidelijk zijn om in een grotere band te zingen maar dan je bezig met de muziek van anderen en nu kan ik mijn eigen ding doen. Dus nee, geen Nightwish of wat dan ook voor mij, maar gewoon After Forever.


Nuclear Blast


Joost:
De deal met Nuclear Blast is voor ons echt een super kans. We krijgen een goede distributie en veel meer promotie dan dat we hadden. Het voordeel nu ook is dat we in principe alles uitlicentiëren. We werken in Nederland samen met The Entertainment Group, daarmee zijn wij een bv. We investeren in dat product, het wordt door ons gemaakt in eigen beheer, maar dan wel op heel grote schaal. En dat licentiëren we dan weer uit aan Nuclear Blast. Zij zijn natuurlijk een op en top metal label, waar wij ons heel goed bij voelen.


Maar wat ons precies te wachten staat weten we natuurlijk nog niet omdat alles eigenlijk pas sinds kort in gang in gezet. Maar zowel wij als Nuclear Blast hebben hoge verwachtingen van deze samenwerking. Zeker als je het af zet tegenover het vorige label. Dan is dit echt een bevrijding, een nieuwe kans.


Een extra voordeel van het uitlicentiëren is dat we zelf mastereigenaar blijven. Het label kan dus eigenlijk geen invloed uitoefenen op de muziek. Een ander ding is wel, op het moment dat zij een single willen uitbrengen kunnen zij er voor kiezen om een bepaald nummer uit te brengen. Maar het is niet zo dat wij een nummer voor hen moeten schrijven.


Het nieuwe album


Joost:
We hebben op het nieuwe album echt geprobeerd om dingen uit het verleden, het heden en de toekomst te combineren. Dat is eigenlijk gewoon vanzelf gegaan omdat wij niet met een idee gingen schrijven. Op een bepaalde manier is het zo divers geworden waarin je alle stijlen terugherkent van alle CD's. We hebben echt een stijlkenmerk neergezet wat echt aangeeft van dat is After Forever. Een voorbeeld van zo'n stijlkenmerk is natuurlijk Floor, ons 'boegbeeld'. Maar ook met een dikke metal ondergrond en daar nog eens een hoop elementen bij. Je hebt dus Floor en metal en daar nog een heleboel bij, veel variatie qua muziek en qua vocalen. Dat is toch wel het stijlkenmerk van After Forever en dat komt ook helemaal terug in de CD, dat is ook de reden dat we 'm After Forever hebben genoemd.


Stijl


Floor:
Dit is een soort nieuwe start voor ons een conclusie voor onze stijl. Maar het is geen afsluiting van het verleden, juist niet, het is echt een nieuwe start. Dat komt vooral ook door de nieuwe elementen die we hebben toegevoegd. Sowieso qua orchestratie is het een stuk heftiger geworden. We hebben nu ook met het symfonisch orkest uit Praag gewerkt, waar Joost een enorm arrangement voor geschreven heeft. En de elektronische geluiden waar we wat meer mee gewerkt hebben, meer industrial invloeden.


Productie


Joost:
Maar natuurlijk ook de productie. We hebben ditmaal met producer Gorden Groothedde gewerkt. Het was ook de eerste keer dat we echt met een producer van begin tot eind hebben opgetrokken en hij heeft ons echt een enorm nieuwe sound gegeven. Daar zijn we ook heel erg tevreden over. Vroeger hadden we meer zoiets van 'ja, de mix is wel oke' maar het was toch altijd een compromis. Wat we wilden laten horen, de stijl, dat kwam dan niet helemaal goed tot uiting. Maar met deze productie zijn we echt heel blij dat het zo uitgepakt heeft en het is ook absoluut een nieuwe standaard voor After Forever geworden.


Teksten


Floor
: Een deel van de teksten, dus niet allemaal, zijn verbonden door het thema energie. Dat is niet het concept van het album maar het wordt elke keer op verschillende manier uitgelegd. De energie die er tussen mensen is en ook die in alles om ons heen.


Energie tussen mensen kan heel positief zijn, daar gaat Energize me over, maar ook negatief, het onderwerp van De-energized. De energie in de natuur speelt ook een belangrijke rol. Je kunt je soms helemaal opladen voelen als je er even uit bent geweest, dat komt terug in Evoke. De energie in tijd komt ook voor op het album (Withering time). En natuurlijk de energie in dromen. Dat vindt je terug in Dreamflight. Dat nummer gaat over de dromen die je binnen wandelt.


De andere teksten zijn eigenlijk losse onderwerpen. Zaken die ik interessant vind of die indruk op mij hebben gemaakt, die me dus emotioneel wat meer doen. Energie was iets dat me heel erg was gaan opvallen, dat vond ik interessant en daar wilde ik me in verdiepen. Cry with a Smile is bijvoorbeeld dan weer een wat meer persoonlijk nummer. Die heb ik namelijk geschreven nadat ons hondje dood ging. Hij was oud geworden en had een mooi leven gehad en toch ben je er verdrietig over. Maar het was een ander verdriet dat als hij veel jonger of op een vervelende manier was gestorven en over dat verschil tussen verdriet, daar gaat Cry with a Smile eigenlijk over.


Muziek


Joost:
De muziek wordt geschreven door Sander en mij, Floor doet de zanglijnen en dat is eigenlijk de basis. We maken met z'n drieën de pre-productie en dat gaat naar de rest van de band. Dat repeteren we, werken we uit en dan gaan we de studio in. Dit keer verging het wel iets anders natuurlijk omdat we met een orkest werkten.


Dat was echt wel mijn hoogtepunt van de studio periode. Je hebt dan echt weken zitten arrangeren met je computertje, helemaal gek word je van al die nootjes. Het is dan erg gaaf om op een gegeven moment naar Praag te gaan en iedereen dat te horen spelen. Ik ben daarnaast ook heel tevreden hoe het in de mix overeind is gebleven. Dat is dan weer aan onze producer te danken want dat is heel moeilijk. Het arrangement was er zo op gericht dat er meer power in zou komen, maar we hadden al zo'n bak van geluid, alles wat het orkest in de weg kon zitten. Gelukkig heeft alles perfect z'n plaats gevonden en ik ben heel blij hoe dat er uit is gekomen.


Power


Joost:
Maar niet alleen het orkest zorgt ervoor dat dit album krachtiger klinkt, het is natuurlijk slechts een onderdeel. We hebben bijvoorbeeld ook heel erg gelet op de drumsound, dat het zo natuurlijk mogelijk maar toch hard zou klinken. Daarnaast hebben we heel veel tijd besteed aan het gitaargeluid om daar echt een keer een lekkere dikke moderne sound van te maken. En iedereen is vooruit gegaan ten opzichte van vorige albums. Technisch gezien, qua klankkleur, qua sounds, dat is allemaal een stap vooruit gegaan. Plus natuurlijk dat er op dit album ook gastmuzikanten te horen zijn, Doro Pesch en Jeff Waters.


Gastmuzikanten


Floor: Het idee om Doro te vragen kwam eigenlijk omdat we een gave vrouwenstem erbij wilden maar niet eentje uit het genre van de lyrische stemmen die er nu vooral zijn, maar wel eentje die betrekking had op metal. Doro is eigenlijk een pionier in de female fronted rock/metal weliswaar in een andere tijd en in een ander genre maar evengoed female fronted. En om haar manier van muziek te integreren in die van After Forever, leek ons gewoon te gek.


Jeff Waters
is een van Sander's grote helden en die had per toeval een concert van ons meegepikt in Berlijn. Later zijn we toen in contact gekomen met elkaar en hij vond het concert helemaal te gek, dus dat was al voor Sander helemaal te gek om te horen. Dus dat klikte wel. Toen kwam Sander met het idee om Jeff te vragen. Ook om nog maar eens te benadrukken dat we een metalband zijn. Zijn inbreng heeft de muziek ook af en toe een stuk agressiever gemaakt. Daardoor is er nu een duidelijk contrast tussen de verschillende stijlen.


Joost:
Het kan zijn dat we dit wel vaker gaan doen, maar dat weten we nog niet. Dat komt eigenlijk met de vorming van een album, het is niet zo dat je van te voren al bepaald nou ga ik een nummer schrijven waar die in moet spelen. Het is precies andersom, je schrijft iets dan krijg je misschien een idee en dan ligt het er ook net aan wie je tegenkomt.


Toekomst


Floor
: Voorlopig is het zo dat the sky the limit is. En we hopen natuurlijk dik rijk en beroemd te worden! Nee, maar het belangrijkste is dat we gewoon onze eigen muziek kunnen blijven maken en zoveel mogelijk mensen bereiken. Maar dat moet niet ten koste gaan van andere dingen, zoals de muziek. Niet dat we super commerciële nummers gaan schrijven om maar zo rijk en beroemd mogelijk te worden.


Maar we zijn ook nog sterk aan het groeien. Vorig jaar zijn we in Amerika op tour geweest, dat was een heel groot succes. Binnenkort gaan we een recorddeal tekenen met Nuclear Blast daar. We willen ook graag nog een keer daar touren, we gaan er in ieder geval al heen voor een festival. Dankzij onze deal met Nuclear Blast zijn de mogelijkheden ook wat groter geworden.


We willen ook nog heel graag een dvd opnemen in de toekomst, daar wordt veel over gesproken. Dat zou eigenlijk wel eens tijd worden. Er is in ieder geval veel interesse van verschillende partijen en we hopen zelfs dat we dat dit jaar nog kunnen waarmaken..


Links:



Interview with Sonata Arctica 3

Source: Zwaremetalen
May 2007
By Justin Erkens

Op 25 mei komt in Europa het nieuwe Sonata Arctica album Unia uit. Een album waar ver voor de release al veel over gezegd en geschreven is. Maar wat heeft de band zelf over het nieuwe album te zeggen? Tijd voor een interview dus met Mr. Sonata, Toni Kakko!

Allereerst, Toni hoe gaat het ermee?

Moe, vooral moe [Lacht]. Maar dat hoort erbij hè, vroeg opstaan en lange dagen maken. Veel interviews, hoewel vandaag nog wel meeviel.. We hebben vandaag voornamelijk geoefend voor de show van morgen. Dat wordt de eerste show sinds een aardig tijdje, te lang eigenlijk.


Dus jullie hebben er zin in?

Jazeker! We zijn echt heel erg nerveus, maar het gaat zeker een hele gave show worden met meer dan 2000 aanwezigen. En het is gelukkig ook niet zover weg, slecht een kleine 100 kilometer. Je zou kunnen zeggen dat het is alsof we thuis spelen.


En dit wordt ook de eerste keer dat jullie de nieuwe nummers live zullen spelen?

Ja dat klopt, maar we spelen er maar drie omdat het album nog niet uit is. Mensen kennen de nummers nog niet en hoewel ik wel snap dat ze Unia al willen horen lijkt het me toch beter om het album eerst uit te hebben.


Na de show van morgen volgen nog veel meer data, ik mag aannemen dat je daar ook naar uitkijkt?

Maar natuurlijk, het is altijd erg leuk. Het maken van een album kan je het beste zien als het uitstrooien van de zaden en de tour is dan de oogst. Plus dat we met deze tour naar plaatsen gaan waar we nog niet eerder geweest zijn, iets wat altijd weer een speciale ervaring is. We gaan bijvoorbeeld voor de eerste keer naar Mexico. Maar niet alleen de shows zelf zijn leuk, het is ook prettig om de directe feedback te krijgen over wat je hebt gedaan.


Het touren is voor jou dus het beste gedeelte van alles omtrent het uitbrengen van een nieuw album?

Nou, ik houd ook heel erg veel van de tijd in de studio en het schrijven van een album. Je hebt beiden nodig. Want als je zoveel in de studio zit dan wil je op een gegeven moment echt op tour, maar een tour kan echt lang duren. Die van Reckoning Night bijvoorbeeld, dat waren 160 shows verdeeld over ongeveer 2 jaar. Tegen de tijd dat we daar mee klaar waren, had ik echt wel zin om weer de studio in te gaan! Het is dus een soort cirkel, je komt steeds lang beide punten.


Klinkt als een drukke boel, op tour, de studio in, op tour etc. Heb je naast Sonata nog wel tijd om iets anders te doen op muzikaal gebied?

Er blijft niet veel tijd over, maar de tijd die ik heb wordt besteed aan kleine projecten zoals een het schrijven van soundtrack en een nummer voor de winnaar van de Finse Idols. Ik heb meegeschreven aan één nummer, dus dat nam allemaal niet veel tijd in, binnen 2 dagen was het meeste werk eigenlijk al gedaan. Het kwam ook goed uit, want we waren nog thuis, niet aan het touren. En het was daarbij ook een leuke afleiding. Ik hoefde me even geen zorgen te maken over Sonata Arctica en de productie enzovoorts kon ik overlaten aan andere mensen, het nummer schrijven was mijn enige verantwoordelijkheid.


Over dan naar het nieuwe album.. Hoe is er tot nu toe gereageerd op Unia?

De reacties lopen sterk uiteen. Meestal zijn het tot nu toe hele positieve reacties geweest van wat ik gezien en gehoord heb. Uit de negatieve reacties maak ik vooral op dat mensen het album niet goed begrepen hebben. Men verwacht schijnbaar nog steeds een powermetal album á la Ecliptica en dan kan het inderdaad nog wel eens op een teleurstelling uitlopen. Het is alsof ik je een banaan geef als je denkt dat je een appel eet, dan smaakt het voor jou als een slechte appel. Dit lijkt erop. Unia is geen power metal zoals Ecliptica en mensen moeten dat begrijpen en het niet reviewen als een power metal album.


Ik denk dat de enige die teleurgesteld zullen zijn alleen van de snelle power metal kant van Sonata hielden en niet van het geheel. Maar aan de andere kant mensen die niet van de power metal kant hielden zullen Unia misschien wel meer waarderen. Het is een andere 'doelgroep', hoewel we daar niet bewust voor gekozen hebben. Maar je kunt ook niet iedereen tevreden stellen, je doet altijd wel bij iemand iets fout. Als we op het oude power metal pad waren gebleven hadden mensen ook weer gezeurd van 'wees eens vernieuwend' . Dat hebben we dus dit keer gedaan.


Ook de wolven op de cover zijn slachtoffer geworden van de vernieuwing?

Ja, op een manier wel. Maar ik wist al ten tijde van Reckoning Night dat de volgende cover eenvoudiger zou worden, hoewel ik nog geen idee had wat voor album Unia zou worden. Dus echt het heeft niet een directe verbinding met elkaar. Ik wilde in ieder geval laten zien dat we niet meer dezelfde power metal band van vroeger waren. Mensen associeerden de wolven op Reckoning night met power metal en dat wou ik deze keer voorkomen. Ik vond de covers altijd heel erg mooi maar het was nu wel tijd voor iets nieuws. Er staat overigens wel één wolf in het boekje. Ieder bandlid heeft namelijk een eigen pagina en op mij pagina staat er wel een wolf bij!


Beschouw je het album als een nieuw begin voor Sonata Arctica?

Nou.. Daar ben ik nog niet zeker van, dat gaan we achteraf nog zien! Het is zeker een verandering, maar live zullen we nog steeds ook de oude nummers spelen, dus we blijven verbonden met ons verleden.


En waarom was het nu tijd voor een verandering?

Het idee voor deze verandering speelde eigenlijk al sinds Silence. Er verschenen steeds meer nummers, zoals op Unia, op de andere albums en dit was eigenlijk het moment dat de emmer overliep. Iedereen in de band was voor een verandering, niet meer van de hersenloze, recht vooruit, simpele power metal nummers. Zo vertelde Tommy (drummer) me eens dat hij het best zat was om steeds maar het zelfde soort nummers te spelen, hij had echt behoefte aan een uitdaging. En aan dit album heeft hij ook echt een uitdaging, er zitten veel moeilijke stukken in.


Je bent heel kritisch tegenover de oude albums, hoe terug op oude platen als je ze vergelijkt met Unia?

Wisselend. Als je kijk naar de setlists moet je toegeven dat een album als Ecliptica toch wel een goed album was omdat we nog steeds veel nummers van album live spelen zoals 8th commander, Fullmoon en My land. Het was ons eerste album en die schrijf je eigenlijk heel je leven. Het duurde ongeveer 10 jaar voordat ik dat album geschreven had, voordat elk idee op zijn plaats viel. Het is en blijft een goed album maar ik kan er niet meer naar luisteren eerlijk gezegd. De productie is namelijk echt matig en mijn zang is daar ook niet geweldig en.. [lacht] er is eigenlijk heel veel mis met dat album. Maar ik kan de muziek nog altijd waarderen. Je moet toch ergens beginnen!


Zal er ooit nog een Ecliptica komen, of zijn jullie daar echt klaar mee?

Ik ben er redelijk zeker van dat er geen Ecliptica-achtig album meer zal komen. Dat is echt eenmalig geweest en sindsdien zijn we een andere richting op gegaan. Dus men hoeft geen Ecliptica meer te verwachten. Het is niet zo dat er geen snelle nummers meer zullen komen, dat is zeker mogelijk, maar we zijn nu op een punt aangekomen waarop ik niet denk dat we zulke nummers nog kunnen en willen schrijven. We hebben behoefte aan complexere muziek dan de simpele Ecliptica power metal nummers.


Dus jullie beschouwen jezelf ook niet meer als een power metal band?

Nee, met Ecliptica waren we misschien wel een typische power metal band, maar ten tijde van Silence vond ik al dat we daarvan afweken in vergelijking met traditionele power metal bands. We hebben altijd een beetje overal tussen gezeten. Het is moeilijk geweest voor ons en voor de labels om het een naam te geven. Zelfs fans hadden moeite ons echt een naam te geven, sommige mensen bleven ons gewoon power metal noemen, andere melodisch.


Hoe dan ook dit is een nieuw begin want het is zeker geen power metal meer. Het is een stuk volwassener, een stuk complexer. Nuclear Blast heeft ons ook gevraagd hoe we het zouden willen noemen en na een tijdje kwamen met de benaming rock/heavy metal omdat dat heel erg algemeen is.


Waarom hebben jullie dit nieuwe rock/heavy metal album de naam Unia gegeven?

We wilden graag dat het iets te maken had met dromen en wat je zou willen met je leven. Unia is eigenlijk Fins voor dromen in de slaap, de originele titel was anders maar we hebben deze veranderd om die misschien wel door sommige mensen verkeerd geïnterpreteerd zou worden. De titel had dan misschien wel een dubbele betekenis gekregen en dat wouden we voorkomen.


Het is vergelijkbaar met het woord gai (gay) wat in het Fins vrolijk betekend maar je kan wel bedenken dat mensen anders gaan opvatten. Dat was weliswaar niet de titel, maar het is wel een vergelijkbaar misverstand dus heb ik de titel veranderd. Maar alle graphics waren al gedaan, het boekje was al klaar dus het enige wat ik kon doen was iets verzinnen wat er nog ingepast kon worden. En het leek ons leuker om het Finse woord Unia te gebruiken dan het Engelse Dreams, het klinkt beter.


En de originele titel ga je me zeker niet vertellen?

Nee, nee, nee zeker niet. Dan gaan mensen dat overnemen en dan had ik netzo goed die titel alsnog kunnen nemen.. Nee, niemand zal de titel te weten komen!


Goed, over naar de teksten dan. Betekende de nieuwe muziekstijl ook een verandering in de teksten?

Nee, dat niet, ik schrijf voornamelijk weer over de onderwerpen waarover ik ook op vorige albums al schreef. Een onderwerp dat bijvoorbeeld op dit album ook weer voorkomt is relaties, meestal mislukte relaties. Maar er staat ook een wat meer absurde tekst als Fly With a Black Swan op, die gaat over het Finse folk verhaal van de zwarte zwaan die de doden naar de volgende wereld brengt. De persoon in het nummer krijgt een kans om de zwaan het helpen en tegen het einde raakt hij er zo in verstrikt dat hij zelfs de zielen van zijn vrienden steelt. Een kwaadaardige tekst dus!


Is Caleb ook een voorbeeld van zo'n kwaadaardige tekst?


Niet echt. Caleb is eigenlijk het begin van een verhaal waarmee ik ben begonnen op Silence, in The end of this chapter. En daar heeft een vervolg gekregen op Reckoning Night in Don't say a word, welke ongeveer hetzelfde verhaal verteld. Caleb is eigenlijk het begin van dat verhaal, het wordt dus als 't ware achterstevoren verteld.


Waar haal je de ideeën voor de teksten vandaan?

Ik kijk veel films en probeer zoveel te lezen als mogelijk. De andere bandleden zouden je waarschijnlijk vertellen dat ik in 2 werelden leef, een echte en een in mijn eigen gedachten. Een fantasiewereld waar ik eigenlijk alle ideeën vandaan haal. Heel erg handig, want echte inspiratie heb je dan niet nodig!


Misschien zijn de teksten trouwens wel ietsje anders omdat ik alles thuis in kon zingen, iets wat ik normaal in de studio moest doen. Dat hielp wel met de sfeer die ik liever heb voor het schrijven van teksten, ik was vrij om te doen wat ik wilde doen en dat is de teksten en de zang ook ten goede gekomen. Ik kon mezelf beter uitdrukken.


Zijn de teksten dan ook persoonlijker geworden?

Nee, dat eigenlijk niet. Ik schrijf namelijk niet over mezelf, niet over mijn eigen emoties. Het dichtste wat daar op Unia bij in de buurt komt is het nummer Under your Tree. Die heb ik geschreven naar aanleiding van het overlijden van mijn hond en daar gaat de tekst dus ook over, het verliezen van iemand die je liefhad. De rest van de teksten zijn eigenlijk allemaal fantasie.


Je zei al dat het opnemen van de vocalen beter ging dan voorheen, gold dat ook voor de rest van de opnames?

De opnames waren over het algemeen erg leuk om te doen. Naar mijn idee de leukste sinds die van Silence, wat echt een geweldig leuke ervaring was. Er was weinig stress dit keer omdat veel werk van te voren al was gedaan. We hebben ook veel verschillende studio's gebruikt. Tomi en Marko hebben bijvoorbeeld vooral in de studio gewerkt waar we normaal het hele album opnamen, ik heb de vocalen en keyboards thuis opgenomen, Jari(gitarist) speelde weer in de Sonic Pump Studio's en voor de strings hebben we een aparte studio gebruikt. Plus nog een aparte locatie voor het koor. Dat is dus een behoorlijk aantal studio's.


Was de productie op Unia, evenals op vorige albums, weer in handen van de band?

Ja, dat klopt. Het zijn echt mijn nummers en ik weet toch het beste hoe ze moeten klinken. We hebben geprobeerd het album meer organisch te laten klinken. We hebben er veel tijd aan besteed om de muziek wat natuurlijker te laten klinken in plaats van computerachtig. Je kunt bijvoorbeeld op dit album ook de basgitaar horen, dat was op vorige albums nog niet zo. Toen componeerde ik zijn stukken ongeveer gelijk aan die van Jari (gitarist).


Wat zijn doelen die jullie nog zouden willen bereiken in de toekomst?

Dat zijn er een heleboel.. We zouden graag miljoenen cd's verkopen en heel rijk worden. [Lacht] Wie zou dat niet willen? Maar we zijn heel tevreden met waar we nu staan en dat we dit kunnen doen en onszelf ermee kunnen onderhouden. Rijk zijn we in ieder geval niet hoor, maar we kunnen wel onze droom naleven, dus dat is alvast gelukt.


We zien in ieder geval heel erg uit naar de tour, nieuwe plaatsen, nieuwe mensen. Hopelijk gaat alles goed, wij kunnen in ieder geval niet wachten!


Ook niet op de Europese tour?

Ook daar hebben we veel zin in. Het is altijd alsof we thuis spelen in Europa. Als je in Japan of Amerika speelt blijft toch altijd in je achterhoofd meespelen dat je ver van huis bent maar als je in Europa bent weet je dat je binnen 2 uur thuis kan zijn. Het is niet per se beter maar het heeft toch een beetje de kleine voorkeur. We zijn ook al zo vaak in Europa geweest dat we de plaatsen nu ook wel kennen.


Kun je misschien al wat vertellen over de supportact?

Het eigenlijke plan was dat Amorphis onze support act zou worden, maar dat ging helaas niet samen met hun schema. We zijn op het moment in bespreking met twee andere bands, zodra daarover iets bekend is komt het op onze site! Ik helaas geen namen noemen anders wordt ik straks bestookt met verzoeken om de een te kiezen.


Is het toeval dat de laatste show van de tour in Nederland is of hebben jullie daar bewust voor gekozen?

[Lacht] Sorry daar heb ik geen zeggenschap over, de band plant de tour namelijk niet. Maar het zal in ieder geval een geweldige show worden, met enkele verassingen kan ik al verklappen. Het wordt in ieder geval een groot feest, dus bij deze wil ik alle fans oproepen om naar de show te komen! Tot dan!


Links:


Interview with Ayreon 1

Source: Zwaremetalen
February 2008
By Ralph Plug

Een gesprek met Arjen Anthony Lucassen

Met 01011001 heeft de Nederlandse multi-instrumentalist Arjen Lucassen wederom een verbazingwekkend sterke plaat opgenomen, waarbij hij opnieuw gebruik heeft gemaakt van de diensten van een keur aan internationaal vermaarde muzikanten. Dat het erg goed gaat met 's mans project blijkt onder meer uit de fenomenale binnenkomst in de album top 100, waarbij direct de tweede plaats bezet werd, en de nodige aandacht die de zogenaamd serieuzere media aan Ayreon besteedt. Tijd voor een gesprekje met de sympathieke muzikant.


Ik heb het je de vorige keer, bij de release van The Human Equation ook gevraagd, dus daar begin ik hier nu ook maar mee: wat vind je er zelf van?


Misschien heb ik je de vorige keer hetzelfde antwoord wel gegeven, maar ik heb mijn eigen studio en ben eigen baas, en ik geef een album als dit pas uit handen als ik er voor de volle honderd procent tevreden over ben. Ik ben over 01011001 dan ook absoluut zeer goed te spreken.


Waarom heb je in hemelsnaam een binaire code uitgekozen als albumtitel?


De oorspronkelijke titel was The Sixth Extinction, wat natuurlijk een eersteklas tongbreker is. Dat moest en zou dus korter. Het alternatief was vervolgens Y, maar dat was weer honderdtachtig graden de andere kant op en eigenlijk veel te simpel. Op een gegeven moment op de plaat heb ik een nummer staan waarin ik Anneke van Giersbergen binaire taal laat zingen en dat werkte als een speer. Die sample hebben we toen online gezet en iedereen was daar erg over te spreken. Veel mensen zijn zelfs aan het uitzoeken geweest wat die code dan wel allemaal betekenen zou, dus ik bedacht me toen dat het misschien wel geslaagd zou zijn de albumtitel wat cryptischer en universeler te houden, waardoor ik uiteindelijk heb gekozen voor de binaire code voor Y.


Tekstueel heb je altijd elementen gehad die voluit spraken tegen - en waarschuwden voor - de technologische revolutie. 01011001 lijkt daarin een overtreffende trap. Ben je huiverig voor de huidige technologische ontwikkelingen?


Laat ik het zo zeggen: ik stel vragen. Ik vraag me af of iets wel of niet goed is, en ik zie om me heen een hele hoop dingen die niet goed zijn. Natuurlijk zie ik ook wel veel zaken die sneller en makkelijker worden, maar is dat ook daadwerkelijk beter? Of ik er huiverig voor ben durf ik echter niet te zeggen, want ook ik ben slaaf van de technologie. Zodra ik 's ochtends wakker ben ren ik naar beneden en kijk ik naar mijn e-mail, vervolgens ren ik naar mijn studio waar natuurlijk alles ook digitaal is, maar ja, dan denk ik terug aan de zeventiger jaren, mijn jeugd, waar helemaal nog niet zoveel technologie was, maar waar wel de mooiste platen zijn gemaakt. Het was in die tijd allemaal wel minder makkelijk dan tegenwoordig, maar dat maakte het leven natuurlijk ook wel een stuk interessanter.


De nieuwe plaat is lastiger te doorgronden bij de eerste luisterbeurten dan menig album hiervoor en veel duisterder dan je andere werk; is dat een reflectie van de persoonlijke problemen van de afgelopen jaren (zo scheidde Arjan van zijn vrouw en werd hij gediagnosticeerd met anosmie, een aandoening waardoor een groot gedeelte van het reuk- en smaakvermogen verloren gaat)?


Ik denk het wel. Sowieso denk ik dat het meeste van mijn werk pas na een paar luisterbeurten een beetje blijft hangen, maar het is dit keer misschien allemaal wel erg donker. Die donkere periode die ik achter de rug heb heeft dan ook zeker zijn sporen op dit album achtergelaten. In het begin heb ik het heel erg zwaar gehad, maar zoals altijd is muziek gelukkig de reddende factor, en zodra ik uiteindelijk weer in de studio lekker aan het werk was wordt het vanzelf allemaal weer wat positiever. Die balans is mijns inziens nodig op een Ayreon-plaat en is ook dit keer wel weer enigszins aanwezig.


Heb je niet op het punt gestaan maar helemaal met de muziek te stoppen?

Oh, ik heb zelfs het punt bereikt waarop ik overal mee wilde kappen. Gewoon kappen, punt. Van alleen al de gedachte aan muziek en het moeten maken van nog een cd werd ik toen al misselijk, en dat is raar, want je wilt namelijk zo graag weer aan de slag en je weet dat diezelfde muziek je redding is. Als het dan eindelijk weer gaat en je krijgt weer wat zinnige noten op papier ben je ook dolgelukkig, en ik twijfel er niet aan of muziek heeft op dat moment mijn leven gered.


We kunnen dan wel stellen dat het maken van muziek voor jou bijna dwangmatig is, of niet?


Ja, absoluut. Dat is vanaf het begin al zo geweest. Ik heb ook nooit een keuze gehad. Mensen komen wel eens op me af met zo'n vraag: "Hee Arjen, ik ben boekhouder, maar ik houd erg van muziek dus zal ik anders de muziek ingaan? Wat denk jij? Wat valt daar eigenlijk in te verdienen?" Dan zeg ik altijd dat als ze überhaupt al moeten nadenken over of ze de muziek ingaan of niet dat ze het niet moeten doen. Voor mijzelf heeft het altijd als een paal boven water gestaan dat ik dit moest doen. Er was geen andere optie. In het begin is dat nog wel wat moeilijk en leef je dan wel in bizarre omstandigheden, maar dat maakt niet uit, want je bent wel met die muziek bezig.


Je hebt voor dit album weer een resem aan gastmuzikanten op laten draven; zijn dat in alle gevallen van tevoren bewuste keuzes geweest?


Er zitten een aantal mensen tussen waar ik al langere tijd mee samen wil werken, zoals Jorn Lande, Bob Catley en Tom Englund. Zij waren dan ook al geruime tijd in de picture, zelfs voor de vorige cd al. Maar er zijn natuurlijk ook zangers die ik nieuw heb ontdekt of die me door fans zijn aangeraden, dus dat is heel wisselend.


Luister je veel naar nieuwe muziek? Sta je bijvoorbeeld op zaterdag bij de lokale platenboer in de rekken te snuffelen?


Het is vreselijk dat ik toegeef, maar ik download als een speer. Vroeger ging je naar de platenzaak en dan ging je een klein stapeltje luisteren, tegenwoordig doe ik dat anders. Ik lees natuurlijk nog steeds de bladen. Als daar iets instaat wat me aanspreekt ga ik naar de MySpace van zo'n band, luister ik wat, en als het me dan aanspreekt download ik het.


En toen kwam je 01011001 tegen tussen alle torrents.


Inderdaad ja!


Baalde je daarvan?


In het begin wel even, natuurlijk. Maar ik denk maar zo: als je een slechte plaat uitbrengt ben je de lul en lig je binnen de kortste keren weer van de harde schijf af terwijl je album niet verkocht wordt. Ik heb gelukkig een hele trouwe fanschare die, mits ze het materiaal goed vinden, de platen toch wel kopen. Dat is misschien ietwat naïef, maar ik denk dat echt. Daarnaast bieden we ook gewoon een mooi pakket aan met twee cd's en een dvd, een mooi doosje en prachtig artwork, en dat spreekt toch voor de meeste mensen ook meer tot de verbeelding als zeventien losse digitale bestanden. Dat heb ik zelf ook, hoor. Als ik iets echt goed vind dan wil ik het product ook gewoon in de kast hebben staan.


Zijn er ook nog artiesten die je niet hebt kunnen krijgen voor dit album?


Ja, die zijn er helaas altijd. Het mooiste is natuurlijk het werken met jeugdidolen zoals mensen van Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin of Pink Floyd, maar ik vrees dat dat er gewoon niet inzit. Ik probeer het wel iedere keer, maar je komt er gewoon moeilijk door. Het contact loopt al via allerlei managers, de muzikanten zelf krijg je nooit te spreken.


Probeer je zelf dat contact open te houden, als mensen jou vragen voor een gastbijdrage?


Ik krijg heel veel verzoeken om een gastbijdrage te leveren op diverse platen en tot een paar jaar geleden deed ik dat ook allemaal omdat ik het moeilijk vond om nee te zeggen. Het is namelijk toch een eer als iemand je werk dermate goed vindt dat ze je op hun eigen plaat willen hebben. Tegenwoordig ben ik met dat soort dingen wat selectiever. Het kost namelijk veel tijd, en lang niet alles waar ik in het verleden aan heb gewerkt vind ik even goed.


Er is een videoclip gemaakt bij Beneath the Waves; waarom juist voor dat nummer, daar het absoluut geen toegankelijke song is?


Het is geen typische clip geworden en we gaan hem ook niet uitbrengen voor muziekzenders of zo. Het is meer een sfeerbeeld geworden. Een jaar geleden zijn ze ermee begonnen, waardoor ik toen al een song moest uitkiezen. Toen was het nog lang niet af, maar had wel het beste gevoel bij de muziek. Als je de beelden bekijkt snap je ook waarom ik juist die song heb uitgekozen.


Ben je lang bezig geweest met het bedenken van het verhaal?


Valt wel mee. Als ik eenmaal de muziek af heb krijg ik al snel ideeën voor het verhaal. Ik bedacht me dat het misschien interessant zou zijn me verder te verdiepen in de alien Forever van The Electric Castle, die allerlei experimenten uitvoerde op de mensheid. De wezens op zijn planeet zijn namelijk hun gevoelens kwijtgeraakt. Daar duik ik dan dieper in en voor je het weet is het weer een heel groot en bombastisch ding wat je creëert.


Maar niet erg hoopvol, of wel?


Ik denk dat dat wel meevalt. Op de eerste Ayreon-plaat, The Final Experiment uit 1995, heb ik al vastgesteld dat ik 2084 de aarde vergaat, dus dat is in dit universum eigenlijk een vaststaand feit waar ik niet meer onderuit kan. Daar kom ik in alle verhalen dan ook weer op terug.


Je refereert op iedere plaat dan ook een aantal keren naar andere platen in dat Ayreon-universum.


Dat is heel erg bewust. Dit is een soort vervolg geworden op The Electric Castle. Toen ik echter eenmaal bezig was kwamen de referenties naar de andere platen, en voor ik er erg in had zat ik daar alle voorgaande platen een beetje uit te leggen en met elkaar in verband te brengen. Dat is natuurlijk grappig, omdat het in eerste instantie allemaal losse platen waren met afzonderlijke verhalen. Daar is dus nu niets meer van over, haha!


Het klinkt alsof je een soort masterplan in gedachten hebt voor Ayreon.


Ik nu eigenlijk een beetje het gevoel dat Ayreon verhaaltechnisch compleet is, van de tijd voor de big bang tot de vernietiging van de mensheid. De cirkel is wat dat betreft rond en het verhaal is verteld. Wat niet wil zeggen dat ik niet nog meer platen maak, maar dat ik qua verhaal met iets anders zal moeten komen; een soort uitstapje zoals ik dat met The Human Equation gedaan heb.


Waarom keer je iedere keer terug naar Ayreon, dat hoofdproject, nadat je dingen als Star One en Stream of Passion hebt gedaan?


Het ís natuurlijk mijn hoofdproject. Waar Star One meer gericht is op metal, Ambeon meer electronisch is met een zangeresje en Stream of Passion meer symfonisch is met ook maar één zangeres, heb ik bij Ayreon geen muzikale beperkingen. Daar is muzikaal gezien alles mogelijk en dat is heerlijk.


Denk je niet dat je bij Ayreon ook hele duidelijke grenzen hebt van wat je binnen dat bepaalde stramien kunt doen?


In principe is er eigenlijk geen stramien, maar ik ga natuurlijk niet ineens hip hop maken of soul; het blijft muziek zoals ik die graag hoor. Ik ben het echter wel met je eens dat het moeilijker wordt om origineel te blijven, maar ik blijf dat wel proberen.


Heb je nog plannen voor een single voor dit album?


Ik geloof wel dat er plannen zijn, maar dat hangt een beetje van de platenmaatschappij af. Het hangt ook af van wat ik nog aan leuke extra's bij zo'n single kan voegen, zoals bijvoorbeeld leuke opnames van de releaseparty in het Utrechtse Stairway to Heaven, anders vind ik het de moeite ook weer niet echt waard.


Zijn er nog opvallende dingen gebeurd tijdens het opnameproces, zoals een James LaBrie bij het vorige album die tijdens het joggen verdwaald is geraakt?


Haha! Niets iets van die aard, maar we hebben natuurlijk wel flink gelachen op bepaalde momenten. Heel veel daarvan staat gelukkig op de bijgevoegde dvd, zoals de interviews die ik met de verschillende muzikanten heb gedaan, dat is zeer komisch geworden. Dan moet je denken aan zaken als een gesprek met Bob Catley, die vertelt dat hij Koning Arthur is geweest op een cd en weet ik veel wat voor grote rollen allemaal, en dat hij vervolgens helemaal beduusd is dat hij op deze plaat een soort vis speelt. Erg leuk allemaal, en voor iedere fan absoluut de moeite van het kijken waard.


Links:


Interview with Paradise Lost 2

Source: Zwaremetalen
May 2008
By Justin Erkens

Twintig jaar melancholiek
Het legendarische gothic/doom gezelschap Paradise Lost is anno 2008 alweer toe aan zijn twintigste levensjaar. De band was eind jaren tachtig/begin negentig een van de eerste bands die zich op het grijze gothic metalgebied bevond en de term vervolgens tot een begrip verworven heeft. Enfin, een hele geschiedenis volgt. Gitarist en medeoprichter van Paradise Lost, Greg Mackintosh, vertelt album voor album de geschiedenis een van de meest invloedrijke Britse bands.

De oerknal van het paradijs
"Zelf was ik meer into de punkachtige muziek (Discharge, Engelish Dogs), maar de vroege Celtic Frost trok ik ook prima. Pas toen we (Holmes en ik) elkaar leerden kennen begon ik meer naar zijn muziek te luisteren en hij meer naar de mijne. Zodoende zijn we eigenlijk in het underground doom/death wereldje gerold, waar we later de basis van onze muziek vandaan zouden halen. Van alle illustere demo's die we destijds kregen, hebben we het geluid samengesmolten, opgenomen en het de naam Lost Paradise gegeven."

Lost Paradise; Een serieuze zaak?
Paradise Lost "Nee, de opnames waren geen grap, zeker niet. We waren gewoon kids en anderen vertelden ons wat te doen, wij rommelden maar wat aan, blij dat we in een studio zaten. Hami van Peaceville heeft ons een heel eind op weg geholpen toendertijd. Wij waren nog te naïf om veel te kunnen doen. Na de opnames waren we niet helemaal tevreden met de sound, het was naar mijns inziens te clean, zeker in vergelijking van de demo's die we ervoor gedaan hadden.


Lost Paradise
was ook geen geweldige klapper, maar gewoon een plek om te beginnen. Dat is deze dagen wel anders; een debuutalbum is van groot belang geworden. Logisch, want vroeger had je maar enkele bands per genre, tegenwoordig zijn ze niet meer te tellen. Wij hebben geluk gehad dat we door zijn gebroken, maar het is niet onze bedoeling geweest beroemd te worden en massa's platen te verkopen. Het is en blijft een hobby. Als je geld wil verdienen moet je manager worden."


De geboorte van een genre: Gothic
Gothic "Met Gothic hebben we eigenlijk de lijn van het eerste album doorgezet, alleen dit maal met meer invloeden uit de underground doom/gothic scene. Andere invloeden dan op het eerste album, ook wat meer death metal. Het resultaat is een album dat door veel mensen als origineel wordt gezien, maar wij waren daar niet meer bezig. We deden wat ons wel aardig leek om er in te stoppen, niet wat vernieuwend zou zijn.


Op succes hadden we zeker niet gerekend. Sterker nog, toen de release besproken werd met Rough Trade wezen zij het in eerste instantie af, ze vonden het niets. Uiteindelijk hebben ze het toch op de markt gebracht. Pas toen ons later in een interview gevraagd werd wat het voor stijl was hebben Nick en ik uiteindelijk maar gezegd dat het goth metal is. Dat was de eerste keer dat die titel op papier verscheen. Veel later groeide het uit tot het begrip van stijl en sound wat het nu is, met een scheiding tussen de romantische gothic metal a la Nightwish en de 'originele'."


Het icoon Icon

Icon "Icon is een heel belangrijk album geweest. Het heeft meer dan de voorgaande platen een stempel gedrukt op de songstructuren, akkoordopbouw en de 'feel' van de nummers. Vergeleken met een album als Shades of God was Icon veel meer op de melodie georiënteerd dan op de riffs. Alles wat daaropvolgende tot In Requiem toe, is eigenlijk melodiegeoriënteerd geweest, maar op het laatste album zijn we dus meer richting de riffs gegaan. Je kan dus spreken van een belangrijke gebeurtenis in de geschiedenis van Paradise Lost toen Icon uitkwam.


Naast veranderde opbouw begonnen ook de gruntvocalen rond die tijd steeds minder ruw te klinken. Tijdens Gothic al waren er nummers waarin Nick niet gruntte, bij Shades of God zat het ertussenin en op Icon was het weer een stuk minder. Het is een geleidelijk proces geweest, een waar we niet echt bij stil hebben gestaan. Zolang mensen de nummers goed bleven vinden, was er niets aan de hand."


Draconian Times, hét hoogtepunt?

Draco "Zelf geef ik de voorkeur aan Icon boven Draconian Times, omdat Icon eigenlijk de blueprint was voor het volgende album. Dat het grote publiek zich meer in Draconian Times kan vinden, is wel te begrijpen. Het albums heeft een net wat prettiger geluid vergeleken met Icon, het geheel is net iets smoother. Toch heeft de laatste voor mij de voorkeur omdat ie eerder kwam, het is origineler.


Draconian Time
is in mijn ogen het verlengstuk van z'n voorganger. We hebben het album op de tour van Icon geschreven en zijn daarna direct doorgegaan naar de studio en vervolgens weer de road op om te touren voor Draconian Times. Het was drie jaar achtereen dezelfde nummers en dezelfde stijl spelen en na de tour waren we dat wel zat. We moesten iets anders gaan doen.."


De verandering: One Second

second "Het is en blijft een release waar ik ondanks alle kritiek vierkant achter sta. We waren verveeld geraakt met de oude stijl en echt dringend toe aan een nieuwe impuls voor de band. En dus hebben we de boel enigszins omgegooid. Zelf gaf destijds de voorkeur aan het ontwikkelingen van de piano/strings kant van de muziek, maar uiteindelijk zijn we in overleg met de producer Ulf Sandqvist meer richting industrial op gegaan. Hij heeft ons enorm geholpen onze muziek te hervormen.


Aanvankelijk had ik verwacht dat metalheads meer open minded zouden zijn en zich zouden realiseren dat de essentie nog altijd hetzelfde was. Niet dus. We hebben ongetwijfeld toen een hoop fans verloren, anderzijds kregen we er natuurlijk ook een hoop nieuwe bij. Zo gaan die zaken nou eenmaal, je kan niet iedereen tevreden stellen. Wij deden wat in onze visie het beste was en het is jammer als mensen als ze er niet achter staan, so be it.


Overigens stond het wisselen van label volledig los van de verandering in de muziek, in tegenstelling tot wat sommigen denken. Pas na de opnames van One Second namen ze bij Music For Nations contact met ons op, we hebben dus niet onze muziek verandert omdat het label dat wilde. Het was slechts een kwestie van timing, van toeval. "


Seconde twee: Host

Host "Gedurende Host gingen we nog een stap verder, zowel qua muziek als qua uiterlijk. Al gelijk na de Draconian Times tour ging het lange haar eraf. Mijn persoonlijke reden was dat ik op een gegeven moment een tijdschrift zag met Nick en mij op de cover, waarin men ons hair metal noemde. Het was de druppel. Het belachelijk reden, want het is slechts de mening van een persoon, maar het was zich een tijd aan het opbouwen tot het punt van hier en niet verder.


Met Host hebben we ongetwijfeld opnieuw een aantal fans van de band vervreemd, maar wederom waren er ook een hoop nieuwe mensen die zich toen voor Paradise Lost gingen interesseren. We hebben gewoon doorgezet waar we mee bezig waren, omdat het voor ons goed voelde. Het was iets dat we moesten doen, ongeacht wat de gevolgen waren. Het is aan One Second en Host te danken dat we nu nog steeds muziek maken, het was belangrijk voor ons om niet altijd hetzelfde te doen. It drives you mad."


Het slechte compromis: Believe in Nothing

Believe in nothing "Er staan twee of drie nummers op die met de juiste opname en mix zeker wel goede nummers zouden zijn geweest. Een nummer als Well Pretending bijvoorbeeld, had naar mijn idee een van de beste doom songs kunnen zijn die we ooit geschreven hebben. Eigenlijk waren alle omstandigheden omtrent dit album ongunstig. We hebben constant onderling en met het labelcompromissen moeten sluiten, waar eigenlijk niemand tevreden mee was. De band was nog zoekende naar het juiste geluid, toen het label zich er ineens mee ging bemoeien, wat niet had moeten gebeuren. Het album is uiteindelijk nog drie, vier keer gemixt door EMI, zonder dat wij er een hand in hadden.


Maar ook van Believe in Nothing heb ik geen spijt, van niets dat we ooit met Paradise Lost gedaan hebben overigens. Alles wat is gebeurd heeft een reden gehad en juist dankzij een Host en een Believe in Nothing zijn we er vandaag de dag nog altijd. Misschien dat we ooit de plaat heropnemen, maar daar is het voorlopig nog te vroeg voor. Well Pretending zou ik in ieder geval graag terug willen horen met het geluid dat het verdient, dus wie weet.."


Symbol of Life; het geloof keert terug

Symbol "Na Believe in Nothing kwam een verschrikkelijke tour, gezien niemand echt tevreden was met de nummers van dat album. Er ontstonden meer dan ooit spanningen binnen de band.. Nee, een echte prettige tijd was het niet. Desondanks zijn we in dezelfde stroom doorgegaan om Symbol of Life op te nemen, waar we gelukkig wel tevreden over waren. We hadden de productie en dat soort zaken weer gewoon in eigen hand.


Toch waren ook de opnames van Symbol of Life niet echt een plezier. Zowel Nick als mijzelf zaten destijds met een aantal persoonlijke issues, die ons afleidde van het opname- en mixproces. Het schrijven van de nummers verliep normaal en naar wens, alleen de uiteindelijk opgenomen nummers waren toch een stuk matter dan we zouden willen. Maar goed, we hebben eruit gehaald wat er destijds in zat met Symbol of Life."


Einde van het experiment: Paradise Lost

PL "Het was niet echt een terugkeer naar de oude sound, maar meer een voortzetting van wat we deden op Symbol of Life, alleen dan zonder industrial invloeden. We zijn gewoon door gegaan met songschrijven zonder er daadwerkelijk bij stil te staan dat het geluid zou veranderen. Pas toen we in de studio zaten en de live ervaring van de Symbol of Life-tour mixten met de songs van Paradise Lost kwam er een album dat lang niet zo industrial was als z'n voorganger.


Veel fans zien in Paradise Lost een soort hergeboorte van de oude muziek, maar voor ons is het juist de afsluiter van een tijdperk dat we met One Second hebben ingezet. Van een hergeboorte is nooit echt sprake geweest, gezien de essentie van de muziek, het melancholieke altijd is gebleven."


In Requiem; de keiharde herleving

in requiem "Ons laatste album In Requiem is het eerste album in jaren geweest dat we van te voren wisten op wat voor een feel we ons zouden richten. We hadden van te voren reeds alles op een rijtje gezet hoe het album moest gaan klinken. In Requiem moest ook in één haal worden opgenomen, juist om er een soort organisch live gevoel aan te geven. Het is ook een album die meer op riffs is geschreven dan op melodielijnen, daar waren we na een break van een aantal jaar weer aan toe.


Het album lijkt wel goed in de smaak te vallen en daar zijn we heel tevreden over. Waar vorige albums vaak positieve en negatieve reacties kregen, lijkt In Requiem zowel door fans als pers redelijk breed geaccepteerd te worden. Natuurlijk zijn er ook nog mensen uit de One Second periode die nu weer heel ontevreden reageren. Ye can't please everyone. Persoonlijk ben ik nooit zo bezig met de reacties en meningen van anderen. Mijn visie op het album doet er voor mij toe, niet die van iemand anders.


Het is ook oneerlijk om In Requiem met bijvoorbeeld een album als Paradise Lost te vergelijken. Ze zijn gewoon heel verschillend. Tussen Symbol of Life en Paradise Lost zijn de nodige raakvlakken te vinden, maar met het nieuwe album hebben we er echt een andere draai aan gegeven met nieuwe invloeden. En dan niet per se invloeden van bands, maar meer die van onze persoonlijkheden op het album. De platen hiervoor waren redelijk subtiel en daar hadden we genoeg van. Het laatste album is daarom ook stukken agressiever, rauwer en een evil edge dan voorgaande. We wisten heel goed wat we ervoor deden en wisten heel goed wat er nu moest gebeuren. En dat hebben we gedaan. "


Het toekomstige paradijs..
"Over de toekomst proberen we niet te veel na te denken. Als je een album te veel gaat plannen gaat er een hoop spontaniteit verloren. Volgende keer doen we misschien wel weer heel iets anders in vergelijking met wat we ervoor hebben gedaan. Niets is onmogelijk. Black metal, punk, alles kan. Maar dan zonder het rare gedoe eromheen, haha. Ach, we zien wel. Voorlopig is Paradise Lost in ieder geval nog niet klaar met muziek maken. Fans zullen ongetwijfeld nog genoeg van ons horen.


Binnenkort komt onze eerste live dvd uit, The Anatomy of Melancholy waarin nummers uit de hele geschiedenis van Paradise Lost gespeeld worden. Het is een soort verjaardagscadeau voor ons twintigjarig bestaan. We zijn in ieder geval benieuwd naar de reacties als 'ie 23 mei in de winkels ligt..


Interview with Pain 1

Source: Zwaremetalen
October 2008
By Bart Alfvoet

In dutch, please feel free to translate!

Het zag er zo goed uit. Een interview met mijn semi-jeugdidool Peter Tägtgren, joyfull joyfull. Helaas, na twee complicaties en evenveel weken vertraging geloofde ik er bijna niet meer in. Tot 's avonds laat de gsm trilde met een "onbekend nummer"-melding op het scherm. Een blije en opgewekte Peter aan de andere kant en deze jongen orgasmisch blij. Het gesprek ging al snel alle kanten uit: de nieuwe plaat, de oude platen, relaties, emoties, seks, de toekomst, ... dit was niet enkel een promopraatje.


Hallo met Bart.


Dag Bart, Peter hier. Peter van Pain.


Peter! Allemachtig, super dat je nog belt!


Ja, ik dacht, hij wil met mij praten, dus ik bel hem eens op.


Dat heb je goed voor ja, ik had het niet meer verwacht. Gelukkig heb ik de laatste twee weken overal mijn vragen bij me. Bel je vanuit Zweden?


Ja, ik ben ik Zweden, thuis momenteel.


Ok, dan beginnen we er direct aan want dat zal wel niet zo goedkoop zijn. Cynic Paradise komt eind deze maand uit. Normaal was dat begin deze maand. Waarom een maand vertraging?


Ja, dat klopt. Nuclear Blast wou de plaat nog wat pushen voor ze hem uitbrengen. Deze keer ligt het echt niet aan mij!


Ik heb de nummers al gehoord, en er zijn enkele zaken die ik had willen vragen. Waarom moeten we er ene drinken op jou? (verwijzend naar het nummer Have a Drink on Me)


Wel, op relationeel vlak zat het weer eens ferm tegen. Niet alleen op relationeel vlak trouwens. En ja, wat moet je gaan doen? Er één op drinken. Drink er dus maar ene op mijn naam. Het is wat ironisch, maar hey, je moet kunnen relativeren in het leven.

Je hebt het inderdaad niet bijster goed gehad op relationeel vlak. Twee huwelijken...


...en twee scheidingen.


Sommigen onder ons zijn even gepassioneerd bezig met metal. Heb je een tip voor ons fulltime metalheads die te kampen hebben met de tweestrijd relatie/metal? Compromissen noodzakelijk of niet ingeven?


Eerlijk? Ik heb geen enkele fucking tip, geen enkele clou, geen antwoord. Ik weet het simpelweg niet. Ik doe wat ik doe en dat is het. Op vlak van relaties lukte het gewoon nog niet.


Heb je momenteel een vriendin?


Ja.


En lukt dat wat? Om een evenwicht te vinden, kan ze er mee omgaan?


Ja, voorlopig lukt het nog. Kijken hoe lang ze het met mij volhoudt.


Ze is waarschijnlijk niet in de buurt dus.


Hahaha, nee ze is hier niet, dat klopt. Het lachen zou me snel vergaan anders. (lacht)

Wat is Generation X? Deze of de volgende?


Generation X
gaat over de muziekindustrie, de majors. In plaats van mee te gaan met het huidige downloadtijdperk blijven ze platen voor hoge prijzen verkopen, dikwijls zonder veel aantrekkelijk bonusmateriaal. Uiteindelijk zullen ze hun cds mee in hun kist kunnen nemen omdat ze ze niet meer kwijtgeraken op de markt.


De muziekindustrie zal zichzelf dus vernietigen.


Precies! Er is zoveel technologische vooruitgang gemaakt en de muziekindustrie zit stil. Ofwel ga je mee, ofwel verlaag je heel erg je prijzen.


Je bedoelt toch niet dat we muziek gratis moeten kunnen krijgen? Das nogal communistisch vind ik.


Nee dat klopt. Je moet er nog steeds van kunnen leven als label en als muzikant. Trouwens, als je muziek zo goed als gratis maakt, dan zal de kwaliteit daar enorm onder gaan lijden. Dan komt er zoveel crap bij, en het is al zo erg gesteld.


Alsof jij nooit iets "crappy" hebt uitgebracht...


(lacht)


Grapje hoor.


Wist ik wel...


De volgende songtitel die me is bijgebleven is Live Fast - Die Young). Geldt dat voor jou ook? Je bent al niet meer van de jongste.


Touché. Ja, ik ben oud, dus ik kan niet meer sterven. Nee, dat nummer gaat over al die organisaties die leven op de naïviteit van mensen die de wereld willen redden. Het zijn even grote zakkenvullers als de organisaties die de wereld effectief kapot maken. En dan nog, de wereld is toch fucked. Profiteer er van en maak er het beste van in dit hellegat.


Dat is genoteerd. Je klinkt wel zeer energiek als het over het nieuwe album gaat alleszins. Waar ben je het meest trots op deze keer, wat is het verschil met het vorige album.


Less production, more music! We klinken nog catchiër, meer AC/DC. De sequencer zit er nog in, maar voor de rest pure party muziek. Wacht maar af!


Wachten is moeilijk, maar gelukkig is Follow Me net op single uitgekomen. Komen er nog singles uit, of is dat exclusief voor de Zweedse markt zoals vroeger?


Singles in Zweden? Ja, een paar jaar terug met Stockholm Recordings was dat zo, maar nu niet meer. We zullen er nog wel enkele opnemen, maar alleen voor promotie en radiostations. Ik ben trouwens net terug van Istanbul en Helsinki waar we de clip van Follow Me hebben opgenomen. Dat wordt weer de moeite!


Helsinki, dat wou ik je vragen ja. Je lijkt het wel te kunnen vinden met de Finse medemensen. Op vakantie deze zomer in Rhodos lustten de Finnen de Zweden rauw! Nog erger dan Belgen en Hollanders! Is dat altijd zo?


Echt waar? Dat is jammer. Ik weet dat er bij ijshockey extreem veel rivaliteit is ja, en historisch is er ook het één en het ander gebeurd. Finnen moeten trouwens op school nog altijd Zweeds leren, wat ik compleet belachelijk vind. Voor de rest niets dan positiefs over Finnen. Ik ben zelf ook 1/4 Fins.


Het waren dus geen Finnen die jullie aangevallen hebben in Duitsland tijdens de tour met Nightwish?


Nee, geen idee. Niets meer van gehoord.


Niets meer?


Nee, het was klote, maar dat is voorbij.

Gelukkig was de rest van de tour een succes, zo heb ik gehoord. Daar hebben jullie Anette gevraagd om mee te doen op het nieuwe album?


Klopt, en ik ben zeer blij met haar bijdrage. De tour was inderdaad een groot succes.


Veel vrouwen in het publiek deze keer?


Ja, al moet ik zeggen dat het publiek bij Pain merkelijk veel gemengder is dan bij Hypocrisy ook hoor!


Daar moet ik toch eens iets over zeggen. Tijdens de DVD Life is Overrated zag ik daar twee mooie dames de gitaren bespelen, en toen ik jullie live zag met Zonaria stonden daar opeens twee lelijke mannen op dat podium!


Hahaha, ja dat moet nogal ontgoochelend geweest zijn. Alla is aan de slag bij Eyes of Eden vermoed ik, en Andrea bij Jesus on XTC (zie foto). Het zijn twee zeer professionele en prima muzikanten, en een mooi plaatje.


Ja, een gans verschil met de homepage waar je bijna naakt op stond! Wat was dat? Een tip van Devin Townsend?


Nee hoor, niets mee te maken. Dat was gewoon een weirde fotograaf die zo iets had van "leg je maar neer, ik maak er wel iets moois van". Ach ja, er is altijd nog de computerizer, dacht ik, waarom niet weet je wel.


Artwork en teksten zijn erg belangrijk voor Pain, dat is ook op het nieuwe album duidelijk te zien en horen. Waarom stonden er in het booklet van Rebirth eigenlijk geen teksten? Klopt het dat je er niet echt tevreden over was?


Ja, dat heb ik nog gehoord. Niet waar hoor, dat was gewoon policy van Universal. Vreemde beslissing maar ja.


Voor zover ik weet gaan teksten van Pain niet vaak over drugs, buiten The Game misschien. Is dat bewust zo?


The Game
gaat over seks hoor, verslavende seks weliswaar, maar over seks. Hoe je elkaar kunt "gebruiken" en er in vast komen te zitten. Ja, drugs, ... (stilte)


Misschien niet een geschikt gespreksonderwerp ook. Dit jaar hebben we ook de heruitgave van Hypocrisy's Catch 22 gekregen. Veel mensen hadden bij de originele release de commentaar dat Hypocrisy als Pain begon te klinken. Is dat de reden waarom hij is heruitgebracht? Ik vond hem eigenlijk niet slecht, de originele versie.


Dat klopt wat je zegt. Hypocrisy is pure death metal, en voor de death metalfans hebben we het ook heropgenomen. Met Horgh in de gelederen klinkt het trouwens brutaler dan ooit! Maar ja, vond je de originele goed, dan hoef je deze niet persé te kopen, en omgekeerd ook niet. Ik heb alleszins nooit de bedoeling gehad om Hypocrisy en Pain... te vermengen.


Nog nieuws in verband met een nieuw album voor Hypocrisy?


Niet direct nee, Pain vertrekt volgend jaar op tour, en ik ga mee met Horgh naar Noorwegen voor de opnames van het nieuwe Immortal-album, dus het zal nog even duren.


Aha, een nieuw Immortal-album!


Ja, rond februari beginnen we er stilletjesaan mee. Meer kan ik niet zeggen.


En dan de tour? Weet je al wat je live zult brengen?

Wel, we denken er aan om de fans te laten kiezen, een soort top 15 maken op de site, en dan bekijken of het haalbaar is.


Klinkt goed.


Ja, dat idee bestond al hoor, ik wil hier geen credits voor.


None given! Zeg es, hoe is het met je broer Tommy tegenwoordig? Nog in de studio bezig?


Nee, hij heeft er de brui aan gegeven. Zijn laatste studiowerk was het recentste Sabaton album, maar het stak hem tegen. Werken in de muziekindustrie, als producer, met druk van alle kanten en de bedrieglijke aspecten van sommige partijen, het stak hem echt zwaar tegen. Nu is hij weer chef.


Chef? In een restaurant?


Ja, in een restaurant. Valt goed mee hoor, zijn "producties". Van alle culinaire markten thuis, onze Tommy.


Zo, ik ga afsluiten, etenstijd. Ik ben heel erg tevreden dat je me zo lang te woord hebt gestaan. En een ganse opluchting om niet de standaard macho-bullshit te moeten aanhoren.


Wat kan ik zeggen, ik ben ook maar menselijk, met een emotionele en een rationele kant. Als mensen daar een probleem mee hebben, dan is dat hun issue. Ik vond het trouwens ook erg fijn om niet op standaardvragen te moeten antwoorden.


Zware Metalen style baby!


Doe ze de groeten in de Benelux
See you guys on the tour!


Interview with Nightwish 97

Source: BW&BK
May 2009
Photographer and author: Mark Gromen

When Pigs Fly, Swine Flu

Finland's two largest exports were fittingly together in New York City, NIGHTWISH at the Nokia. Despite NYC being Swine Flu central in the US, our intrepid musicians had no fears dealing with a throng of well-wishers pressing the flesh, hugging and the occasional cheek-to-cheek buss. "We're used to it," says singer Anette Olzon of annual flu bugs. "Every year there's a flu from Asia and we get a large influx (in Sweden). I get a shot every year." Thus she's prepared, cautious, but not really worried about the latest outbreak. The second night of the "North American Vodka-Cranberry Massacre" tour (check out the laminates, if you have the chance), also the midway point of dates with Troy Donockley (Hartford, NYC, Allentown and Baltimore only), the uillean piper who has appeared on Nightwish studio works.

3pm: The band comes wandering down Broadway, through Times Square, in the opposite direction of the roped off, early arrivals (ie, to their backs). Nearly everyone misses their heroes, until feet from the safety of the doorway. First it’s Anette and her manservant, followed a few minutes later by the guys and Donockley, carrying his own case of pipes, led by the blond Viking of a manager, Ewo.

3:30pm: The scheduled sound check time has come and gone, things running a bit slow on just the second day of the tour. Nightwish only arrived in NYC a few hours earlier, whereas they typically leave for the next town right after a show, sleeping on the bus and getting to bed in a hotel of the next city by morning. Such was not the case between Hartford, CT and Manhattan.

4:15pm: All hands on deck for sound check. The European stage props, Tuomas Holopainen’s keyboards in the bow of a boat and a giant anchor, were too cumbersome/expensive to fly Stateside. Holopainen is pretty much already in stage clothes, complete with Crocodile Dundee hat. Emppu Vuorinen is seated in a folding chair, guitar in lap, as they run through ‘Sahara’. Anette is in sweats with her stylish eyeglasses and pink stiletto heels. The rhythm section of Marco Hietala (bass) and Jukka Nevalainen (drums) is low key as they proceed through ‘Higher Than Hope’ and ‘Romanticide’. Donockley appears as the singer departs, so they can run through the lively, Celtic influenced instrumental jig, ‘Last Of The Wilds’. As the drummer leaves, a pair of acoustic guitars show up and with Hietala singing, the remaining crew tries out ‘The Islander’, Donockley reprising the tin whistle/recorder parts he played on Dark Passion Play. In rehearsal, I get a similar ethereal, almost haunting feeling as the show with John Two-Hawks in Texas, a rare evening is on tap!

Afterwards, it’s back to the dressing room, where the piper turned amateur magician entertains the boys with a card trick. Tuomas runs back to the hotel prior to the 6pm meet n' greet, where fans who paid a premium get a few moments with their idols, maybe to secure an autograph or picture and hold an impromptu chat. Conversation turns to the luminaries who have espoused a liking for Nightwish. Apparently Tony Iommi (BLACK SABBATH) went to the Birmingham, England show with his daughter and quickly became a convert. IRON MAIDEN’s Steve Harris is a fan and recently Lemmy, the incarnation of MOTÖRHEAD, has voiced his admiration for the Finns. Lofty praise from your peers, indeed!

When the line goes around the block in NYC, you’ve got quite a crowd and the Nokia was sold out (2,100 capacity). So when the house light dimmed, a roar went up, as Tuomas and Troy, the latter seated at the front of the stage, were the solitary figures, as they launched into the intro, one by one the other band members strolled onstage, lastly was Anette as the began ‘7 Days Of The Wolves’. Her hair back to middle-of-the-back length blond, Olzon’s potato sack of a dress didn’t flatter her. The upbeat ‘Dead To The World’ was followed by an apology for having to cancel the previous New York date (due to her illness, thus these sporadic US-only make-up shows) and ‘The Siren’. In the lobby of the venue, the entire concert could be seen from a multi-camera shoot, on giant video screens, so those at the bar never really had to leave. ‘Amaranth’, then ‘Higher Than Hope’, which was dedicated to the memory of Mark Brueland a fan who died six years ago, his mother and sister were the band’s guests for the evening. The stage was flooded with strobes during ‘Poet And The Pendulum’. Anette provides a plug for the keyboardist, calling him “maestro,” the introduction gives the females in the crowd (quite a few, as manger Toni remarked to me as we shared a drink as the audience filtered in. “The first tour, it was all black t-shirts,” he said, referring to the metalhead crowd, “but now it’s more a mix, like it is in Europe. Moms/Dads bringing younger kids, along with the diehards”) a chance to scream.

Marco asked for “lighters, cell phones, cameras, any light source” for the atmospheric ‘The Islander’. Half way through, wearing the now requisite tiara, Olzon takes her place on the vacant bar stool. With Donockley already onstage, they charge right into ‘Last Of The Wilds’, a headbanging anthem, even without words. ‘The Escapist’ and a quick ‘Dark Chest Of Wonder’ before the encore, ‘Wish I Had An Angel’. Backstage, there was a crowd of record execs and their guests, as well as Jens Johansson (STRATOVARIUS), who seems to show up whenever Nightwish are involved (He and I listened to Dark Passion Play in the management offices in Helsinki together), but the band are a tricky bunch. Emppu is a master of sneaking out, hoodie usually pulled up, with backpack and camera bag in tow, he’s typically out the door almost as soon as he sets foot off stage. Marco, Tuomas and Troy entertained the gathering, before the keyboardist headed out the front door, right past fans that were waiting alongside the alleged band bus.

If you get the chance, go see Nightwish, as it’s likely to be a long time until they return to these shores, given that September 19th marks the end of the Dark Passion Play world tour and impending layoff until the next record is recorded.

Finland's NIGHTWISH caught live at the Nokia Theater in New York City, NY on Saturday night May 2nd.

Interview with Tarja 3

Source: BW&BK
May 2009
By Carl Begai.

“For The Wish I Once Had…”

Tarja Turnen doesn’t miss being the voice and face of Nightwish. If she does she’s hiding it from everybody with an Oscar winning performance, but giving her the benefit of the doubt it’s clear the split was good for both parties and not just Turunen’s former bandmates, who have gone on to bigger and better things with Anette Olzon in her place. Instead of slinking off into the shadows after her high profile firing from Nightwish in 2005, Turunen returned with a solo album entitled My Winter Storm in 2007 which was well received in spite of not being geared in a direction her fans are used to. Whether it warranted a bonus-laden re-release earlier this year is debatable, but it was Turunen’s call, and judging by the amount of touring she’s still able to do almost two years later it was a good one. Things are slowly but surely winding to a close, however, giving her time to reflect on My Winter Storm’s success and how it has affected her future.


“It’s very nice, and it’s actually been quite amazing,” Turunen says of the buzz surrounding My Winter Storm. “I did a warm-up tour of eight shows in Europe just to see how it would go and how people received my music, and it was before My Winter Storm was even released. It was fantastic for me to see that there was a whole new audience as well as the old Nightwish fans at my concerts. That was very emotional for me and it gave me the confidence that everything was going to be fine. There must have been some lucky stars above me because the musicians that are working with me are really kind people and very professional. There’s nothing that lies between any of us. Even though they’re session musicians we truly feel like we’re a band. Everybody tries their best to make sure they can perform with me even though they have other bands and artists to work with. They’re all very keen to work with me and that’s a very nice feeling.”.

“I have a great band with me,” she adds. “My Winter Storm actually lacks the power that we have in our live shows. The shows we do are very emotional for the audience because the atmosphere changes from song to song with heavier tracks in between. Those live shows complete me and my character and artistic views as they are today. I have a great musicians supporting me and we have a lot of fun together.”

My Winter Storm was a victory for Turunen on several levels. As well as giving her the option of performing on her own terms, it enabled her to write her own material. Within Nightwish her performance on CD was at the mercy of keyboardist / founder Tuomas Holopainen’s vision. As a solo artist she had a lot more room to move and used it.

“It was my first time ever writing songs on my own, and it was such a good experience that I’m really keen on doing more of it for the second album,” says Turunen. “I have over 20 new songs written already. It’s wonderful to step into something undiscovered in life, and composing has been that for me. I’m learning new things every day, and to be brave enough to tell people the stories that are going on in my life is absolutely amazing as an artist.”

It’s fair to say My Winter Storm surprised a large portion of the Nightwish faithful. They should have known better given Holopainen wasn’t part of the equation, but the mix of metal and classical based songs – two well documented sides of Turunen’s musical personality – left some people scratching their heads.

“There were all kinds of reactions to the album, as in everything,” she agrees. “Some people had expected me to do a complete heavy metal album, others had expected me to do a classical album, and there were others that had expected exactly what I did. That’s the reality of being an artist; you can’t ever make music for everybody’s tastes. My Winter Storm was a wonderful success for me, because I’m not well known and I don’t have that background as an artist as Tarja compared to a band like Nightwish, which has an established name and is very successful. Okay, I was a big part of Nightwish for nine years and it was a great experience, but in many ways I needed to start over. It’s been a great learning experience, and the responsibilities that I’ve had to learn to take have been really good for me.”

And then there’s Turunen’s cover of the Alice Cooper ‘80s hit ‘Poison’, the only song on My Winter Storm she was concerned about with regards to the fans’ reactions…

“They actually really enjoyed that,” Turunen laughs. “I see people at the shows singing along with a smile, so it goes over really well. It’s a funny coincidence, but I was in the UK a year ago at the Golden Gods Awards and Alice Cooper’s manager was there and he told me that they’d heard my version of ‘Poison’. I think I blushed about 10 different colours (laughs), but I asked him what Alice thought of it anyway… and then someone came along and took him away so I never got the answer. That really sucked (laughs).”

Once touring for My Winter Storm is complete, Turunen returns to the studio to cut her new solo album. She has a definite idea of where she wants to take the new material, using My Winter Storm as a guide for what works and what not to do.

“Like in everything I think there are different things that you want to change or try out,” Turunen admits. “The biggest struggle on My Winter Storm was making people understand what I’m trying to do, like the people at the record company and others behind the project. It was recorded in different studios all over the world and I don’t want to go through that hassle ever again. There are going to be international musicians involved on the next album; musicians I already have and others that I would love to work with. The thing is, at home here in Finland I have a studio of my own so I have a place to sing my vocals. I don’t have to run around to a million different studios anymore, and now the band has the chance to record in one of two studios.”

“The other thing is, even though I’m very happy with My Winter Storm artistically – it was done as I wished – I wasn’t so happy with the sound of the guitars. The songs I’m composing now, when the guitars come in they have to blow your mind. That’s what I want for the next album.”

Turunen has no plans to revisit the realms of Nightwish on the next record, but she hasn’t ruled out the possibility. Particularly since the band still plays a large part in her career as an artist.

“Nightwish songs are part of my setlist. They bring the importance of my past out. I’m selecting songs that I either never played with the band or wasn’t able to sing well live at that time. The material sounds and feels very fresh and free, and I feel good singing those songs. I never had any problems with the music we did. I've spoken to some of my fans and they’ve said they kind of deserve to hear those Nightwish songs, and they’re right. I’ll keep on doing them because it’s fun for me.”

Interview with Nightwish 96

Source: Hard Rock Magazine #23
Download scans: 1, 2.
France
English translations from Nightwish Official Forum.



Alors que les Finnois avaient prévu de ne pas publier d’album live pour la tournée de Dark Passion Play, un maxi CD live accompagné d’un court DVD documentaire consacré à celle-ci voit le jour. En pleine pause avant de repartir pour leur tournée européenne, Marco Hietala nous présente Made In Hong Kong (And In Various Other Places) et revient sur les mois qui ont suivi la sortie du premier album d’une nouvelle ère.

Vous aviez déclaré que vous ne publieriez pas de CD ou DVD live après cette tournée. Pourquoi être finalement revenus sur votre décision ?


Marco Hietala : A vrai dire, c’est une publication relativement modeste que nous ne considérons vraiment pas comme CD/DVD live à proprement parler : elle comprend simplement un CD live, le DVD live ne comprend pas de parties en live. De plus, l’album lui-même est plutôt court et ne restitue pas un spectacle en entier mais des morceaux enregistrés pendant différents concerts. Ce sont simplement quelques chansons de Dark Passion Play réunies sur une sorte de EP. L’idée venait à la base de notre label car il y a une assez longue pause entre Dark Passion Play et notre prochain album donc il voulait que nous sortions quelque chose de nouveau, notamment pour promouvoir notre tournée européenne. C’est pourquoi nous avons décidé de faire ce EP dont le but était de montrer comment le groupe sonne aujourd’hui. C’est aussi un cadeau pour les fans, pour les faire patienter ! Nous y avons ajouté les clips vidéo officiels de Dark Passion Play ainsi qu’une sorte de film documentaire qui retrace l’année et demi passée sur la route.

Pourquoi n’avoir pas du coup opté pour un véritable album live ?

M.H. : Nous pensons que cela serait plus intéressant d’avoir plus de matériel de cette nouvelle période pour sortir un vrai DVD. Nous attendrons d’avoir sorti au moins deux ou trois albums avant de commencer à penser à publier à nouveau un live. Je pense que pour End Of An Era, cela fonctionnait très bien de sortir un tel objet, avec un concert complet, à ce moment-là. C’est pourquoi nous savons que nous ne recommencerons pas immédiatement cela après juste un album.

Why not to chose real live album?

M.H. We thought it would be more interesting to have more material from new period before releasing real DVD. We will wait with this release at least 2 or 3 albums before starting to think to publish new live again. I think for End of an Era, it worked well to release it this way, the full concert, at that moment. That’s why we know that we don’t start immediately this just after one album.


On remarque que vous n’avez pas essayé de masquer les coupures entre les morceaux, dues au fait qu’ils ont été enregistrés dans des lieux et à des moments différents. Un soucis d’authenticité ?

M.H. : Oui, c’est vrai que c’est quelque chose qu’il est possible de faire désormais avec toutes les techniques d’enregistrement, pour que l’ensemble sonne comme un seul concert, mais ce ne serait pas honnête. Nous n’aimons pas jouer trop sur l’illusion et préférons restituer les choses de façon authentique.

Vous avez choisi une set list exclusivement composé de morceaux de Dark Passion Play. Pourquoi cette décision de n’inclure aucune ancienne chanson ?


M.H. : Nous voulions simplement éviter que les gens commencent immédiatement à comparer. Nous avons publié End Of An Era pour notre dernière tournée avec Tarja et cette fois, c’est la première avec Anette. Si nous avions sorti d’anciennes chansons interprétées par Anette, cela aurait forcément déclenché des comparaisons : « Tarja chantait mieux celle-ci », « Je préfère avec Anette » et d’innombrables discussions de ce genre. C’est ce que nous voulions empêcher, car nous souhaitions que cet enregistrement soit tourné vers le futur, pas vers le passé.
You have chosen setlist composed only from pieces from DPP. Why this decision not to include any older song?

M.H. We wanted simply to avoid people to start immediately to compare. We released End of an Era for our last tour with Tarja and now, this is the first with Anette. If we would release older songs sang (interpreted) by Anette it would necessarily start comparing: “Tarja sung better this one” “I prefer with Anette” and uncountable discussions of that type. This is what we wanted to prevent, because we want this recording to be turned towards future, not to the past.

L’artwork que vous avez choisi est assez surprenant, très éloigné des visuels habituels de Nightwish. Etait-ce dû aussi à une volonté de montrer un nouveau visage, plus moderne ?

M.H. : L’objet choisi, une caisse pour le matériel de concert, était approprié au contenu, et puis le cadrage décalé, comme une photographie prise à la va-vite exprime bien l’atmosphère dans laquelle on est plongé au cours d’une tournée. Le temps passé sur la route, toujours dans les trajets quotidiens d’une ville à l’autre, les déchargements de matériel…

Vous avez passé un an et demi sur la route avec des concerts dans des pays où vous n’aviez jamais joué auparavant. Quels souvenirs gardes-tu de cette première partie de tournée ?

M.H. : Ce fut notre plus longue tournée, avec de superbes moments et aussi quelques bas. Nous faisons en ce moment une pause de trois mois bien méritée, avant de reprendre bientôt la route, pour notre tournée européenne, jusqu’en septembre. Nous avons effectivement pu nous produire dans des pays où nous n’avions encore jamais donné de concerts, en particulier en Chine et en Israël. Lorsque l’on se rend dans un pays comme celui-ci, on s’attend à ce que l’ambiance soit un peu particulière à cause de la situation politique mais en fait, ce fut comme dans n’importe quel autre pays. C’est vraiment quelque chose qui me fait plaisir, de voir que finalement, quel que soit le pays ou le contexte, on retrouve toujours simplement des fans de musique qui viennent voir un groupe sur scène.

Parmi les bas, il y a eu cet incident pendant votre concert à Belo Horizonte, au Brésil, où Anette a quitté la scène en plein milieu d’une chanson pour ne plus revenir, ce qui vous a contraints à écourter le spectacle…

M.H. : Je pense qu’il lui est arrivé ce qui peut arriver à n’importe lequel d’entre nous… Cet incident a été le résultat d’une addition de circonstances, ce n’était pas dû à un seul problème en particulier. Nous étions en tournée depuis plus d’un an, quasiment en continu, ce fut une tournée exténuante. La pression pendant toute cette tournée était encore pire pour elle que pour le reste du groupe, elle se demandait toujours comment les spectateurs allaient réagir à sa présence. Elle n’était pas non plus habituée au comportement des fans en Amérique du Sud, qui vous sollicitent à tout moment et vous suivent partout. Ce soir-là, toute la pression et le stress s’étaient accumulés et à cela s’est ajoutée une machine à fumée qui était mal placée sur la scène et qui a brouillé sa voix… elle a craqué. Nous avons discuté ensuite tous ensemble et dès le lendemain, nous avons joué à Brasilia, la capitale, et tout s’est très bien passé !

Tu as dit qu’il y aurait une assez longue pause entre Dark Passion Play et son successeur : avez-vous commencé à travailler sur le prochain album ?

M.H. : Je sais que Tuomas a entamé sa composition, il y travaille tout le temps en fait. Il a déjà de nombreuses idées et surtout, il a fixé son concept, mais nous n’avons pas débuté le travail de groupe autour. Pour le moment, nous sommes occupés par la tournée puis nous ferons certainement une petite pause et nous ne nous consacrerons à l’album qu’ensuite, d’autant plus que ce que Tuomas a en tête risque de prendre du temps pour se concrétiser car son idée est assez colossale ! Nous entrerons peut-être en studio en 2010.
You have told it will we quit long pause between Dark Passion Play and its successor: have you started to work on next album?

M.H.: I know that Tuomas began his composing; he is actually working all the time. He has already many ideas and especially he set the concept, but we didn’t start to work as the whole group around. For the moment being, we are occupied with touring then we will take for sure small break so we will consecrate to album only after that; in addition what Tuomas has in his head risks take time for getting concrete shape because his ideas are quit colossal. We will enter into studio probably in 2010.

Vous avez joué l’an dernier à Paris, au Zénith, et vous revenez cette année dans la même salle mais cette fois, deux soirs de suite. Le succès est toujours grandissant pour Nightwish ?

M.H. : Pour les concerts, ce n’est pas nous qui choisissons mais cela nous fait plaisir de jouer deux soirs à Paris, surtout que le public y est souvent particulièrement enthousiaste. Sinon, c’est vrai qu’en France, nos ventes augmentent, mais cela dépend des pays…

Interview with Tarja 2

Source: Sonic Cathedral
28 April 2009, New York City

Written by Jason Levine

Jason Levine sits downs with Tarja

Jason: This is your first time touring solo [without Nightwish] in the United States. What made you decide to come out here finally?

Tarja: You know this is my third try I think already (*laughs*) to come here so I’m actually really, really happy it finally came true. My wishes were fulfilled. You know I have lots of followers here in the United States and they have been supporting me a lot in my solo career as well as in my previous career with Nightwish. So it has been really marvelous to get their support and now it’s very important for me to give my best for them. Back to them somehow. This gratitude that I have.

Jason:  
Speaking of Nightwish. You were let go in a very bad public way. It’s been a few years since the letter and you seem much happier now. How have things been for you after going through that experience?

Tarja: 
Well many things have changed. Actually the whole career as a solo artist is radically different than being a member of a band. I mean everything is different. The whole organization around me. I have to be deciding more things on my own. I mean there is so many things. Also the responsibility that I’m carrying on my own is of course very different than before. But the thing is that I have learned so many things. Every day is such a different day and I’m also writing songs on my own today so I’m really happy to be able to do that. To have that sort of freedom to explore what is inside of my soul and my heart. Then let people hear that. What’s really there. That has been a really beautiful thing.

Jason:  
So you’re doing a lot more writing. What is it like to be more involved in that process rather than just being the singer?

Tarja: 
Of course it gets more personal. That’s what it all is. I mean it gets really personal and you know it’s just very rewarding. I have to be so honest with the music today that’s because I believe in that. I don’t know if this is a very naive thought in a way but I believe if you are honest with the music then people can reach the message easier and the music touches them. I mean music is the emotion for me and that’s all about it. I want to deliver emotions for the audience. For the listeners. That is it. That’s the beauty in it. It’s so lovely to be a musician. It’s a privilege today to be an artist.
Jason:  You have a second album you have been working on called What Lies Beneath.
 
Tarja:  Yes.

Jason: 
How has that been coming along and when can we expect it?

Tarja: 
Well I have quite many songs already (*laughs*). Actually I wrote around 20 songs already which are not all going to be the album of course (*laughs*). Otherwise I need to make a double album again (*laughs*). But I mean that there are lots of good songs. Kind of a same continuance process from My Winter Storm to the next one but the radical difference is the variety of songs that will be offered but more or less radical with the heavier guitars and with overall heavier songs. Then also some moody sounds...So I still want to keep on the same line but make a radical difference to the songs even more than My Winter Storm.

Jason: So you’re going to stay in the heavy metal genre for this one?

Tarja:
Yeah of course. Of course. Come on (*laughs*). It’s part of me. But you know part of me (*laughs*).

Jason:
Yeah. Because you also did a Christmas album.

Tarja:
Yes.

Jason:
Which is a completely different style.

Tarja:
It’s a side project. Yeah.

Jason:
Have you thought about doing anything more in that style?

Tarja: Classical music. I think that I will still continue making classical music of course. Hopefully able to do a classical album or something like that as a side project again. But nothing concrete has been planned yet. I have been planning some tours with one tenor and doing classical music concerts is definitely again some Christmas concerts in the end of this year in Finland. It’s a tradition there. But you know classical music definitely is very important for me.

Jason: With touring you’re doing these shows in the United States right now. Where do you go from there?

Tarja: United States. Canada. Montreal. Toronto. Then to South America. Mexico and Venezuela. Four concerts in my hometown Buenos Aires, Argentina. That’s about it.

Jason: And then.

Tarja: Then back to Finland (*laughs*). Some summer festivals during the summer in Europe. I’m have planned to do quite many festivals. On the other hand also some club shows of my own. Then again the storm hits through Europe for the last time before my next album recordings in the end of this year. So there will be still one more European tour.

Jason:
You’re one of the largest names in the female metal scene. Last year you headlined the Metal Female Voices Festival. How was that experience?

Tarja:
Very nice. I mean I’m so honored to be there among all the other girls and ladies in metal. It has been amazing to follow how many female fronted bands exist today. There are lots of them. When I started my career with Nightwish there were not many of us (*laughs*). It was very exciting to be able to do what I did and then to explore what is there to come. Now when I see all these bands around me I am like “wow, where are all these coming from” “what has happened” and it’s wonderful. It’s a really cool thing.

Jason:
I understand you’re going to come back again this year?

Tarja:
Come back as what? (*laughs*)

Jason:
To headline the Metal Female Voices Festival in Belgium...

Tarja:
Yeah. Sure.

Jason:
How did that come about?

Tarja:
Well the promoters are very, very friendly people. They are actually friends and they wanted me to be part of the festival again. I’m really honored. It will be a big pleasure to do that festival again... Luckily we had our tour planned around the festival so it was easier because it’s not easy for me to organize the tours and have all the band present. As session musicians they have their own business going on. They have many artists they’re playing with so it’s not easy to match everybody’s schedule together to be all available. This time we were lucky.

Jason: You’ll get to play with a lot more female bands again.

Tarja: Yeah.

Jason: Since you were one of the first female vocalists to do metal, people always said “she has the voice, she’s the voice”. Now there are many bands that emulate your work and look up to you. How does it feel to have many people use your work as their inspiration?

Tarja: I’ve been lucky to be able to talk to many girls that as well they see me as kind of their idol. Which is for me really something I’m really honored to be able to be in that position. It is really real (*laughs*) because for me it’s like “how’d that happen” (*laughs*). I mean where and when. I have just worked so hard for the voice I have... I have been working so hard. I’m still doing it every day. Rehearsing a lot. Working a lot. It’s like two steps ahead. Three backwards. Two steps ahead, three backwards (*laughs*). It’s really a stony road. You have to keep those stones away from your road and be patient with the voice because it’s an instrument that you’re carrying in yourself. You have to take care of it. So I’m very honored to be able to see that these girls really look up for me and see me as that. As their role model. Well thank you (*laughs*). What can I say.

Jason: Your fans as well. You have a really good connection with your fans.

Tarja: That’s very important.

Jason: You’ve done contests where your fans can win phone calls from you and other such things. What has it been like to bond with them?

Tarja: Well the truth is. The reality where I’m living is that without them there wouldn’t be me as an artist. That’s the basic thing that keeps my feet on the ground. I mean I love my fans. This thing is such a bond between me and them. I call them my winter storm as my first album. So they are definitely a whole lot to me.

Jason: Recently you have taken up playing instruments and doing other things.

Tarja: Trying to at least (*laughs*).

Jason: Trying to.

Tarja: Yeah. Trying to (*laughs*).

Jason: You are playing keyboards in concert now. How long have you been interested in playing music as well as singing?

Tarja: Well I started playing... I started with piano when I was five years old. So my parents wished me to take private piano lessons and that was it. I started playing early so I’ve been studying piano 15 years at least. Classical piano. Until the university. I’m still doing some exams in university. As well as church organ & Flute. Those are the main instruments sort of. I play a bit of a guitar but very badly... But in a way that I survive. I mean if I need to try some riffing in my songwriting process I can hardly ever hit the correct notes (*laughs*) but at least I hear what it should go like this in a guitar for example. Piano is definitely the strongest instrument of mine.

Jason: Can we expect to continue seeing you play keyboards in concert?

Tarja: Yeah. For sure. Definitely.

Jason: When it comes to Nightwish I know it was rough the way you were let go. Now that a couple of years have passed how would you feel if they approached you about a reunion?

Tarja: I think at the moment the feeling is I see it very hard. I see that it’s not really possible to happen. I mean things were really bad how it ended. It was so bad. I think that no matter what so many things should really change. I’m so happy on my own today as a singer so I just want to see what is there for me in my future as a singer and as a songwriter if I can call myself that. So I don’t see it coming but I am not closing doors either.

Jason: On your own you seem much happier as a person.

Tarja: Yeah. I’m really happy. So happy. Because you know how is it. I can choose the people to work with. I have this amazing freedom around me and inside me that I have really understood what it is to be happy. What it is to be healthy. What it is to enjoy all the days you have. Because you never know when all is going to be taken away. You see some sad stories time to time. All the time here those things. You have to live when you have a chance to live and you have to love when you have a chance to love. That’s what I have understood that no matter how bad the things are out there, there is always a door where there is a light coming towards you.

Jason: So no matter what we will hear much more of you in the future?

Tarja: I hope so (*laughs*). I hope.

Jason: What would you like to see in that future?

Tarja: Wow. Next couple of years. I would like to go to Tahiti to dive (*laughs*) instead of music. Forget the music now (*laughs*). I would like to go scuba dive to Tahiti. That’s my dream. It’s far away. Anyway and then I would love to maybe. Tick tock, tick tock. Think about a family. Maybe in a few years time. If we have a sort of balance already in our life at that time (*laughs*) because there isn’t anything like that at the moment (*laughs*). But you know some sort of calming down even though the new album and the touring and all that will still be happening in two years time. In a way looking for the future always.

Jason: What about teaching?

Tarja: Teaching. Yeah, definitely. That is something that I wish to do and that is something that I’m also wishing to have more time for it. I mean I’m teaching in Buenos Aires in my home in Argentina. There are many people requesting to have lessons from me and I’m really wishing that I can take the time to give all those people to make it happen.

Jason: What do you have to say to your U.S. fans that you will see starting tomorrow night?

Tarja: Gee. I’m nervous (*laughs*). It’s New York, New York. New York (*singing*). I mean come on. It’s my first time here. I’m so excited about it. I really want to thank you all for making this happen. I’m so grateful and I love you. See you tomorrow. See you soon.

Jason: I think they feel the same way.

Tarja: Thank you for the interview opportunity with Sonic Cathedral (*laughs*).


Interview with Nightwish 95

Source: Iltalehti
12 Aug.

Here is a transl. of a nice small interview with Tarja, from the Finnish evening paper Iltalehti, 12 Aug. From there we can read that even some sporadic NW gigs next year to be expected

"Moving to Germany brought my life back to me"

The front figure of NW, Tarja Turunen, has always been the odd bird of the opera world even to the extent that her own courageous choices have made even simple things complicated. However, after the first study year in Germany, things are going better than ever. The Karlsruhe music academy has got its own rockstar.

- It feels like home for me already, even though the first half year was filled with shock situations. I thought "What have I done", at times I felt like crying and I missed my mother. I think, though, that it is quite the normal thing. Few people move to live in another country just like that, with no problems, Tarja contemplates.

In practice, Tarja has two years to finish her diploma work, but the studying pace just gets more hectic and the upcoming year's break from NW is a necessity.

- It doesn't mean that the band is having two years off. People will be hearing about NW even during this time, and we will make individual gigs here and there, Tarja clarifies.

- The break is really needed. I was really sick the whole of last autumn and when they examined me, they saw that excessive work and and stress have driven me to the point that my body cannot take it anymore. I just had to let go of the rhythm and also now I am more aware of what I eat. One has to take care of oneself, Tarja says with the voice of someone who knows what she's talking about.

Taking care of practical things in Germany has proven to be surprisingly difficult, but otherwise she's more than happy with her decision to finish her studies in Karlsruhe.

- For example just opening a bank account is difficult, and getting a cash card with which to pay at shops is almost impossible if one doesn't have about one million euros in the bank account. A "student" is quite a curseword here, and family values are respected. Even highly educated women are at home. When I have told them that both parents go to work in Finland, the Germans have been shocked about the fathers not earning enough to support the family, Tarja smiles.

- Even if I left for Germany with a positive mind, I still was surprised at how well I was received. In Finland it was hard to find people in the same field, with whom to talk about things. At the school I have got really a lot of support, and my own Japanese singing teacher is of the opinion that of course I have to continue to be active in NW as well, Tarja rejoices, but says that she is at the same line with all the other students as far as classical singing is concerned.

- Moving here has brought the positiveness and light of life back to me. It has also freed me again to music and interpretation. I am smiling again after the burn-out. It was a good idea to take some distance to things.

Tarja has felt at home in Germany to the extent that she is even planning moving there permanently - it is good to travel around Europe from there.

- I don't regard it at all impossible to stay in Germany or thereabouts. It is no longer a frightening thought, it seems I survive here too.

- It is so much cheaper to live in Germany, it is worth it. The companies have lower taxation levels, very different from Finland. Even the price of a cup of coffee in Helsinki always shocks me, Tarja recalls.

Tarja's arrival in Karlsruhe music academy has caused a lot of stirring in the small town. There are heaps of fan mail arriving to the otherwise peaceful town, and long-haired dudes are hanging around the academy.

- I am a kind of rockstar here and I am regarded as a person belonging to that field. Yes, all the secretaries at the school have been baffled at the arriving fan-mail. First they were asking who I am, but now they have joined in the feeling.

In the beginning of the summer Tarja made a small classical tour in Argentina and Chile which have already been "conquered" by NW. The very positive feedback from the press and the full concert halls proved Tarja to be hot there --whatever she sings.

- The classical music reviewers were very impressed and interested. It was admittedly a bit strange, when the audience is yelling, screaming and crying in a lied concert just like in a rock concert, Turunen smiles satisfied.

Interview with Nightwish 94

Source: Rock Hard
Germany

This in an interview with the german Rock Hard magazine
about the "Wishmaster" record.

Tuomas, you can´t deny that there was an unpleasant pressure lasting on your shoulders?
Tuomas: Yes, but this pressure doesn´t come from outside. We weren´t sure if the songs are good enough for NW. Otherwise it wasn´t so hard to write the new record. If you´re true to yourself and only write that kind of music that you like, nothing can go wrong.
You should never think about what other people would think about the songs. In this case, you´d put too much pressure on yourself.

The whole band was surprised about the wave of sympathy they received during the last year.

Tarja: The tour with Rage were our first gigs outside Finland.
We didn´t know what to expect. We were astonished by the great feedback that gave us more self-confidence.

You could have copied that winning recipe of "Oceanborn" and composed a very similar record.

Tuomas: No, we hadn´t enough time to waste time about this. We wanted to release "Wishmaster" in may. We got into a sweat when the deadline came closer.

"Wanderlust" sounds a little bit like several "Oceanborn" songs.

Tuomas: It was my fault. "Wanderlust" was the last song I composed for "Wishmaster". I thought we needed some more keyboards on the record and the people would like it.

Tuomas, isn´t it strange to write lyrics that are sung by a woman?

Tuomas: Well, it´s no problem. I had to change some lyrics of "She is my sin" because some parts would have sounded silly if a woman would sing it.

Tarja, have you ever refused some of his lyrics?

Tarja: Not yet. I have to put myself in his position when I´m singing the lyrics. To be honest, I don´t know what he wanted to say in "She is my sin."

Have you ever thought about writing lyrics for NW?

Tarja: No, I´m not quite talented in poetry. Tuomas is the soul of NW. He´s the man who knows how to turn emotions into words.

The tour with Rage was a load test for your voice.

Tarja: My voice got over the tour better than expected. But we had to cancel a show in Barcelona because of illness.

You had to go into a hospital where noone spoke english.

Tarja: Right, it was horrible. We had to communicate with our hands and our feet. Then the doctor found out that I´m an opera singer.
So she forbid me to sing for two weeks. I told her that it´s impossible. Then I got some medicine which made me feel like I´m drunk, but it helped to resume our tour. It´s tough for me to sing five consecutive shows in a row.

How would you sum-up your tour with RAGE?

Tuomas: We had a great time with RAGE. There weren´t any tensions between us.

You also entered the race to the European Song Contest.

Tuomas: That was great fun! The audience voted us on the first place while the jury voted us on the last place. We finished third.
The newspapers made big stories about this. Actually, we didn´t take this contest that serious. We wanted to mess up the whole conservative music scene and were happy about this cheap publicity.

NW became very popular in Finland. The media concentrate themselves mostly on Tarja.

Tarja: It´s all so strange. I enjoy it to be in the public. Every day I receive lots of e-mails and I´m trying to reply most of them.
I´m only fed up with those people who want to communicate with me, just because I´m a female singer in a heavy metal band. On the last tour, I once was surrounded by lots of fans. I felt a little bit scarred so I´m trying to have one of the boys around me.

Has your success with NW influenced your carrer as an operatic singer for good?

Tarja: Not at all. The classic music scene here in Finland is really conservative and they don´t like to see that someone´s breaking taboos. On the other hand, a lot of bands and projects, e.g. Edguy and The Kovenant asked me if I may help them.

It would be great to hear classic instruments on NW records.

Tuomas: Indeed. Some choirs, a little orchestra ... but it´s impossile now because of financial reasons. And I have to learn how to arrange all of this.

But even without classic instruments we can be happy about the upcoming festival shows. The highlight will be definatly the Wacken Open Air, where 20.000 people will be cheering to the band.

Tarja: What? How many people will be there? 20.000?

I think you don´t feel comfortable?

Tarja: Well, we played some festivals in Finland. But they weren´t that big. I think I will be very nervous and I´ll run permanently to the toilet (laughs).
 

Interview with Nightwish 93

Source: Nightwish Official Website

Jarmo Lautamäki interviews Toumas about the Century Child. From the spring 2002.

Interview with Nightwish 92

Source: Rock Hard
September 2002

Nightwish translated interview from the french magazine "Rock Hard" of September 2002.

Rock Hard : Last week you played in the bang your head festival. Wasn't it adventurous to play a new album in front of so much people?

Tarja : No, it's not like that that we see things. It's always a real pleasure to play during festivals, even if the feeling is obviously comletly different compared tothe intimacy that you can have in a little club. Moreover we have been confronted to some technical problems during this date. But sincerly, considering how reacted the public, the infatuation for the come back of the band, we can only keep great memories of this concert. We played new songs that fans knew pretty well since Century Child was on the 5th place in the German charts, that's our record! We never even imagined we could realise one day such a performance!

RA : Precisely, when u began to play with Nightwish, did you feel that you had a real potential, and that in the space of some years, you would become one of the main bands in the actual European metal scene ?

Tarja : No, no one in NW imagined that it could happen! Even the label Spinefarm didn't believe in it. They only accepted to release our first album because they found it had an exotic touch, cute, and that I was a woman who sang in a metal band...It was a very naive approach and Spinefarm gave us a lot of liberty and never intervene. Well with time, we began to understand that NW was growing more than what we ever imagined.

RA : Seems like you felt that as a difficulty, didn't you ?

Tarja : Yes, that's true, mainly in Finland where we became very famous and where it's very difficult for me nowadays to have a normal life. That's why i live now in Germany : it allows me to study there without having to do journeys all the time. I'm very happy of this situation because i can also have a well adjusted private life, it's relaxing! (laugh)

RA : Though, you just told us that you were on hte 5th position in the German charts, I guess even there you are a star!

Tarja : It's true that every day, people come and ask me "Oh aren't you Nightwish singer??" Even in the school where I study, I had problems : some fans send mails there and teh secretary is bored! at the beginning shhe didn't know i was from a band and wondered why i received so much letters! No one in this school knew it, but as they saw that their was a lot of animations around me, i had to explain to everyone that I was from a famous heavy metal band! It was very funny, because at the beginning no one trusted me as in "real" life i'm incredibly good and unassuming. When they knew all, everything was ok with the other students, now they consider me as a normal srudent.

RA : And what happened with your professors ?

Tarja : They are very satisfied now, but i don't think it was the same at the beginning (laugh)! In fact classical musicians have a terrible reputation : we imagine them always in a bad mood, taking themselves seriously, and ill at ease. I guess my teachers are aware that's i'm very lucky to be able to study singing and to play in a metal band at the same time. Moreover, things are much easier here in Germany because musique is takes a very big place in people's life and rock is not considered as a minor lind of music. My professors are very open minded.

RA : What are the differences between Tarja singing in NW and Tarja singing Classical music ?

Tarja : Of course on stage it's the same person, but i allow myself to be more extrovert : i sing in a classical way everyday, i invest a lot, and i work a lot on my voice...I fact it could be close to a kind of sportive training, which unfortunatly doesn't give me the occasion to let of steam. When i'm on stage, i'm happy, smiling, i clap my hands, i jump, in brief, all what i can't do in class (laugh)! Otherwise in private life, i'm a happy and nice person. At least it's what i hope! Anyway, the main difference between those 2 Tarjas, is that i'm much quieter in my everyday life.

RA : Lately, people talked a lot about the break of one year that hte band is going to take, to allow you to put yourself completly in your studies. Don't you think the other members of NW will be bored without you ?

Tarja : I don't think so because they also have a lot of projects! i know that Jukka will also return to his university studies, Marco will go back to play with his previous band. Well not Sinergy, but the one in which he was before...and that i can't remember the name (laugh)! oh yes, Tarot, a very VERY old band! Emppu also has a side project...I've to admit that i'm very happy to know they are busy : i'm pleased to know that during my absence they won't stay slumped watching tv (laugh)!

RA : It's a this period when NW is pretty famous that you take this break, sincerely, don't you think this break could be dangerous for the band ?

Tarja : Dangerous? no, i don't tthink so. For five years we released 4 albums, 1 EP, made a DVD...Honestly i think the danger could be due to too much work, and too much exhibitions...besides, the reaction of fans is very positive : they respect our need to take a break of 1 year

RA : But ine 1 year will you all really want to come back? Don't you think you will all be tempted to continu your personnal projects?

Tarja : No, but what i know is that during this year, i'll miss a lot of things from NW. Moreover, we won't disapear completly since we will give some unexpected concerts

RA : Do you know that there are many RUMOURS about your future in NW? how do you see your future and teh balance between metal and classical music ?

Tarja : Nowadays, to be a singer isn't an easy thing, for both kind of singing. In rock the competition is hard, vocalists are more and more younger, and it's constant fight to try to stay at the top. my main aim was to succes in classical because it i began with that, then NW arrived...But to be honnest, i've to admit that i don't imagine myself to be a heavy metal singer at 35 yers old...In fact i don't know at all what i will do when i'll be this age. I'm sorry but i've no idea of what will be my future...

RA : But you know where you'll be in one year, don't you ?

Tarja : Yes! i'll be in Nightwish!

RA : A new member arrived in the band, Marco Hietala, a bass player/singer, ex Sinergy...

Tarja : This guy is a adorable and a very good musician, talented and professional. He'solder than us, he has children, he's like our godfather in heavy metal. We have a lot to learn from him. His relaxation is incredible : we are all nervous berore a concert while he comes peacefully to shake our hands and runs on the stage! His contribution in NW is considerable.

RA : And this male vocal singing with yours, what do you feel about it ?

Tarja : it's like a real collaboration. We encourage each other. His integration was easier, when Tuomas began to write the titles of Century Child, he often wanted to add a male voice in the songs : Marco was here as a bass player and it was with pleasure that we invited him to sing. For us he was the perfect choice.

RA : A lot of persons are tempted to think that in the future, Marco would be the perfect person to take your place in the band and that you take his...

Tarja : (Laugh) Indeed, a lot of person ask this question, Tuomas and I are all the time answering it! Some even asked me if one day i could be singing the choirs in the band and dancing in the back of the stage! Yes it could happen, but they'll have to kill me for that! (laugh)! Don't worry about me, i am, and i'll still be the singer of Nightwish

RA : A special edition of Century Child is available with as bonuses, acoustic demos, from 1996. What do you think about them when you listen to them now ?

Tarja : I never listened to them since this time, i keep such a pur memory that i don't want to regret by listening to them now, i remember the recordings were very naives, fresh and innocents. I've teh same opinion about Angels Fall First which was at the beginning our 2nd demo, but sometimesi listen to AFF, but the 1996 songs are too much for me, they represent the birth of NW, and i've to admit that i'm scared to listen to them...

RA : NW has a very close relationship with south-america, how would you describe it ?

Tarja : People there are simply adorable, i went there very often for my holidays, specially in argentina. Recently, the situation in this countey worsten, but when NW went to play for the 1st time, 2 years ago, we were amazed buy how we were very well received, i can say without lying that the concerts we gave in south america are the greatest of all NW career, Well technically it's never easy to play there, there is always something mising, and the organisation is very mess, but all those little details are quickly fixed by the enthusiasm of teh public, there is there an intensity between the public and the band that we found that nowhere else.

RA : Seems like concerts are essentials for you...

Tarja : Oh my god, yes! it's terribly annoying to be in studio. Even if i've to admit that Century Child sessios were excellent, even if they were longer than the others. We had a lot of fun during the recording, but it was also very tiresome : we all wanted to play concerts! But i was really pleased to spend so much time in studio, i could use my voice as i never did it before.

RA : What do you mean ?

Tarja : Century Child is an album which is very heavy, its production is enormous and my way to sing is less in a classical style. I think the ones who'll discover NW with this album will never know that my backgroud is classical, they'll think i'm from pop or metal (laugh)!

RA : Last year you released the EP Over the hils and far away, with the eponym cover of GaryMooe, why did you do that ?

Tarja : This song was a real success in Finland while the musical sensibility of this song has nothing to do with scandinavia, as it's a typical celtic rock. It's maybe cause of this exotism that this song became so famous. Tuomas really wanted to do a cover with NW sound : Gary Moore is a rock artist from the 80's while Nightwish is a heavy metal band from the end of the 90's

RA : though, this cover is not really different from the original...

Tarja : Did you already listen to the singing (laugh)?? I think Gary Moore and I don't have a lot of similarities about our voices! I think our version is much more metal, moreover, we realised it was the ultimate song to play during our festivals : we play it at the end of the concert, and the reaction of the public is always incredible, it's a great summer song (laugh)!

RA : What do you think about the Heavy metal world ?

Tarja : I really love it, i learnt a lot, before entering it, i wasn't really scared, but i was suspicious : to be a woman in a men world disturbed me because i really thought i would not be accepted and more cause i came from the classical music...I had the very good surprise to never be bothered and quickly integrated : i really thank press and fans who never bothered me(laugh)! I learnt many things which are out of the cliché "sex drug & rock n roll" this conception of rock has nothing to do with what i lived

RA : Did you ever feel a kind of machism?

Tarja : He He...Of course! there are not so much girls in metal...

Translated by Christ_goth1 Thanks a million :)

Interview with Nightwish 91

Source: Rock Hard issue 8/02

"Here´s the next NW interview I translate especially for you. It´s from the german Rock Hard mag (issue 8/02) and the editor talks with Tarja and Tuomas about Century Child. "  -- Moshpit

Tarja just returned from a small South America trip. Now she´s busy with the preperations for the upcoming tour. She starts with a small recap of the trip:

Me and some colleagues from my university made some concerts where we performed some scandinavian songs. It was a nice experience. The people welcomed us very friendly. And finally I was completely satisfied with my performance.

You´re living in Karlsruhe, Germany, for about one and a half year. Have you settled yourself? Did you get used to the different climate?

Yes, I feel comfortable here, though I moved here just for my studies. There´s a backlog demand because of our success with NW. I haven´t been able to learn properly in Helsinki so was afraid that I couldn´t catch up with the other students.

Could you imagine to stay in Karlsruhe after you´re finished with your studies?

Hmm, I don´t know. I found some great friends here. But during the last winter, I felt sad and homesick because of the bad weather. It was raining the whole time and I was yearning for coldness, tons of snow, my friends and my family.

OK, so you´re supposed to get rid of some deficits. What does that mean for the future of NW?

That´s simple. I have to get my diploma in two years time. Until then, the band will take a break. If everything works fine - and I´m confident about that - the NW saga will continue.

So you´re calculating with a happy end?

Of course I do! But it´s only possible if the boys won´t fire me (laughs).

I guess that Tuomas won´t do that. Besides, the boys need the break as well.

We all need some time for ourselves. Tuomas will make his solo album and the boys will be busy as well. So I´m happy to see that everyone take his profits out of the break.

You´ll also have some time to reflect the past five years. Have you ever asked yourself how your big success was possible or if your success came too quick?

Yes! Constantly! (laughs) No, I really wonder about that. Especially when I look at our fotos from our early days. When I look at them, I recall some great moments of my life. It was a conscious decision for me when I decided to sing on the first demo. Then I experienced things I never dreamt of. I thought there will be only one album, but then our career gets started.

Has the success changed yourself as a person? Or maybe your character?

Hm, I think I gained lots of self-esteem. Furthermore, I discovered unknown characteristics of my person. Every day, I learn more and more. And this is good, because I´m on my own at my studies.

How would you characterize your relationship to the other band members? Are they just colleagues, good friends or maybe brothers? Do you develop some mother-like feelings on tour?

Oh no, definately not the last thing (laughs). The boys are nice but everyone is different. We´re not talking about our private lives or problems. We´re just good friends who get together because of music.

What will you miss during the break?

The gigs! I´m so happy each time I enter the stage. I really like the energy that originates from the band and returns from the audience. But I will miss the Rock´n´Roll-lifestyle a little bit less. I mean those after show parties and badly smelling, unwashed musicians (laughs). That´s no life for me...


What surprised you about the metal scene and the fans?

Well, I never had any reservations against this kind of music. I got in touch with bands like AC/DC and Iron Maiden before the whole NW story started. The fans accepted me from the very beginning. This amazed me. I was afraid that the people would see just a "rockbitch" in my person (laughs). The fans made it easy for me to enter this new world and that gives me the power to carry on.

But I also guess that you made some bad experiences with annoying or obtrusive people as well.

Yes, there are some people who insult me badly. On the other hand, I receive hundereds of nice mails. So these insults are just minor exceptions.

Have you been recognized in Karlsruhe while you were shopping?

No, not yet!

Do you wear a wig?

Nooooo! But I was close to buying one when I lived in Helsinki. In order to walk the streets of Helsinki unrecognized, I need to dye my hair, wear strange clothes and make up.

What´s the opinion of the other students about NW?

Well, some became enthusiastic about our music and bought some of our records. I recently had a signing session in Buenos Aires and even some old people came to me and they told me that they like our music. That touched me very much.

What do you think about your female colleagues in the metal scene. Have you had contact with Sabine Edelsbacher (Edenbridge) or Candice Night (Blackmore´s Night) during the recording of the INFINITY album?

Unfortunatly not. We recorded our vocals in different locations.

I guess you receive lots of offers like this one?

Yes! It´s hard for me to tell them that I don´t have any time. It hurts.

Are there any days where you feel like going crazy?

Yes, each day I run around like a chicken (laughs). I´m shocked when I look into the mirror and see how old I became (laughs).

What do you think are the biggest differences between CC and the elder albums?

Well, CC is a more personal and dark album. I was shocked when I read the lyrics for the first time though I expected something like this. His lyrics became more dark with the time.

Tuomas said that he had a bad year behind him. I can understand why he won´t talk about it. Has he discussed the lyrics with you?

Yes and no. He needed to write down all these feelings to get rid of them. I envy him in this case because I´m not brave enough to do what he did. Some parts are too depressive for me so I asked myself how I should interpretate his lyrics.

You made some experiments with your vocals on the new record.

Exactly. I was sceptic in the first place. But now I´m happy with Tuomas´ decision to varify my vocals. It took some time for me to discover that I made hugh steps ahead as a classical singer and that NW would take benefits from this.

Are you a good critic towards yourself? Do you watch some videos of your gigs to check if you made some mistakes?

Oh no, I hate it! I watched our live DVD just once and only because a friend of mine visited me and forced me to watch it (laughs). My finger was on the forward button all the time. Sorry, but I can´t watch that.

It seems like you´re a hopeless kind of a perfectionist.

Yes!

Can you imagine your position in two or three years?

Yes and no. I´m still young but the clock keeps on ticking. There´s a big competition and everyone is waiting to overtake you. It´s hard to be the best.

Have you thought about founding a family?

Well, maybe in about five years when I´m too old to sing for NW. But I´m not sure if it´s a good idea to give birth to a child. Life´s getting so strange and weird these days. It´s a risk and you have to take a great responsibility.
I´m not sure if I´m ready to take it right now.


Keyboard player Tuomas Holopainen represents the artistic side of NW. So it´s certain that we take some words from him.

First of all congratulations to your new record.

CC entered the finnish album charts at the top spot and received platinum already. The feedback from the critics and fans couldn´t be better.

Did you expected such a success?

I am really surprised. Wishmaster was very successful. But I knew that nothing´s for eternity. But I´m happy.

Particularly since the future of the band is safe.

That´s right. I already told that to about 200 other persons: Tarja needs this break for her studies and we all need a break.

I guess you need some time to recharge your batteries. You released four records in about five years. There might be a danger called "attrition".

Right! Furthermore I had a bad year behind me. Some things went wrong and I won´t ever experience it again.

In what way?

We had problems with our management and our booking company. Some tours were too long. And then Sami left the band...

And some personal setbacks as well.

Yes, but I don´t want to talk about it. The main topic of CC is the loss of innocence. I really had a bad year. I was forced to question myself and my behaviour. It was a good therapy for me. I realized my faults and learnt a lot about myself.

You´re the head of the band. So the pressure is lying on your shoulders.
Which kind of pressure is the toughest one? The expectations from the fans? From your record label? Or your own pressure to be better than on the previous albums?

The last one you mentioned. Definately! I was afraid that I won´t have any good ideas. And there´s always a wish that your new record is better than the older ones.

Are you still satisfied with your old records?

Well, I have to laugh when I´m listening to our first album AFF. That record is cure, nothing more, nothing less.

Do you reflect your old songs when you´re writing new material?

No, I´m trying to let the past rest. I don´t want to write a record twice.

Where are your musical inspirations come from? Did those influences changed during the past years?

Absolutely! During the past years I listened mostly to sountracks or composers like Danny Elfman, Trevor Jones, James Newton Howard or Howard Shore. My alltime favourite is Hans Zimmer! He´s a god. Listen to "Bless the child" and think about if there won´t be any drums of guitars. You´ll recognize the influence of the "Gladiator" score.

So you can imagine to work in this profession one day?

Sure! It´s my biggest musical dream to compose a complete soundtrack for a fantasy or horror movie one day.

Are there concrete plans? I´ve heard about a side project...

Yes, after the tour I´ll record some keyboard parts for the new band For My Pain. It´s a new band formed by Eternal Tears Of Sorrow members. And I also have lots of material for a solo record. This one would go into the direction of Enigma or Vangelis. I could play some loops there, but unfortunately I got two left hands concerning technology (laughs).

When you´re composing, do you orientate on guitars or keyboards?

My biggest influence is Hans Zimmer, but I also like bands like Metallica, Pantera or some black metal bands. I pay attention to the keyboard when I`m listening to certain bands like Children Of Bodom. Actually I know nothing about music theory. I don´t like long solos - I prefer catchy melodies.

Couldn´t you have sing the male vocals on CC?

No, absolutely not! I made this mistake on AFF. At least I tried it (laughs).

Will you perform the new material without any cuts during the upcoming tour?

Well, we will need some samples for choirs and stuff. We will perform songs from each album, but not too many from AFF. There will be a great light show and our new bass player is a great showman.

Does it bother you that you´re in the background though you´re the head of the band?

No, I don´t have any problems with my ego. I´m the composer and I´ll get lots of acknowledgements for that. So I don´t have to be in the center of attention.
Our bands is formed by four beasts and one beauty. Everyone wants to see the beauty. And I don´t have to talk or present my waredrobe to woman´s magazines.

Interview with Nightwish 90

Source: Orkus

This one is taken from the german goth mag "Orkus". Tarja and Tuomas tell their view on the ten songs of the Century Child album.

Bless the child

Tuomas: It´s one of the best songs I ever wrote for NW. Easy to understand, very dynamic. This song is going into the footsteps of Hans Zimmer.

Tarja: It´s the best song of CC in my opinion. It´s loaded with emotions. I really felt sad and lonely when I did the vocals in the studio. The band coverted this song very good so that the listener can understand the mood. If you´re alone and in despair, you should never give up hope. If you do, you´re without a soul and lost.

End of all hope

Tuomas: This song refers to the "Wishmaster" title track. There´s no rest - just absolute power from the beginning to the end.

Tarja: EOAH is the same kind of song like "Wishmaster". The lyrics are very sad and full of frustration. On the other hand, the music and my voice give a hopeful mood to the song. I´m singing in a way that it´s not quite clear what the plot of the song really is. I guess the song is mysterious even if it´s very heavy and bombastic.

Dead to the world

Tuomas: This is a duet, maybe a duel between Tarja and Marco. The chorus drills into your brain until you either love or hate it.

Tarja: With this song I reached something that I never dreamt of. I sing a duet with Marco. It was interesting to see how the song changed during the recordings. The arrangements were difficult. Two singer can make more out of a song than one singer if both do a good job ;-)

Ever dream

Tuomas: It´s the most traditional NW composition on CC. It was also our first single in Finland. I get a cold shower on my back when I´m listening to the orchestra part.

Tarja: Our finnish single and our so called radio hit. It´s a quite simple song with a smooth melody line. It expresses hope for better times.

Slaying the dreamer

Tuomas: I wrote this song instead of demolish something with a baseball bat. Music is the best vent to get rid of agressions, that´s for sure! When we´re on stage, I have the most fun when we play STD.

Tarja: I was highly inspired by this song. Since I sang this one quite often on tour, I noticed that I could have sang this song harder than I did in the studio. Perkele!!! I guess that Tuomas was totally fed up when he wrote this song and I´m sure that everyone can notice the difference between STD and the other CC songs. And I can say that I like our heavier sound because of STD.

Forever yours

Tuomas: Well ok, i understand the comparsions with the Titanic songs. But this ballad has a honest and innocent keynote.

Tarja: I think it´s difficult to write a ballad about the most beautiful thing on earth. It´s easier for me to sing more sad songs. Unfortunately it´s not one of our best ballads but it´s a good change on the record. I don´t like to listen to FY because I´m absolutely not satisfied with my singing performance.

Ocean soul

Tuomas: I love the way Tarja sings on this song. OS is a very personal song - easy and touching. It´s my favourite song on CC.

Tarja: Tuomas once told me that this one is the most important song of the album. Unfortunately I was sick and had no voice in the studio. Surely I wanted to give my best. It was difficult for me because I sang in another way then on the old records. I think that Tuomas wrote his best chorus in his life. We´ll never play this song live.

Feel for you

Tuomas: The structure of FFY has changed during the recordings for more than 70 times. What can I add?

Tarja: I enjoyed to sing FFY because the song kept on changing during the recordings. After all, the result was as i imagined it for myself. It´s a pity that the song is quite short, but it has a big message.

The phantom of the opera

Tuomas: I love the complete musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber. When I finally saw it in London, I was totally amazed. Then I decided that this one will be the next NW cover version. And I´m satisfied with the result.

Tarja: I took my first singing lessons because of this composition when I was just 15 years old. I really wanted to learn to sing as high as Sarah Brightman in this song. I used another interpretation because Tuomas explained me that he hates the high vocals of Sarah Brightman in the end. So we changed the final part. Now it sounds like World War III has just started. I don´t really like our version. But the more I listen to it, the more pleased I am - that doesn´t mean that I´m listening to our albums every day. Erm, damn! I´m not happy with what I did here. Period!

Beauty of the beast

Tuomas: When we recorded and mixed the song I almost lost hope to finish it properly. BOTB represents everything what the music of NW stands for. I hope that we´re ambitioned enough to play it live. I can´t wait for that :-)

Tarja: I like the feelings of this composition. It´s one of my favourite songs, it gives me very much. I was happy that I could sing with my real voice. During the recordings I sang with a more soft voice because the songs asked for it.
Maybe I´ll show another facet of my voice on the nexxt album. BOTB is possibly the most honest songs we´ve ever made. The lyrics tell the rest.

Interview with Nightwish 89

Source: Mystic Art
Poland, October-November 2000



It's amazing, how fast finnish Nightwish achieved such a success. The number of sold copies ("Oceanborn" only) is astonishing 100000. Is this good or bad? Ha, you don't even good that was for metal, because such eccentric success is healthy and needed and makes the genre stronger in the market. The main thing is, that Nightwish didn't sit on one's laurels after two earlier CD's, and after very hard work made the marvellous masterpiece called "Wishmaster", which cultivated and underlined everything they achieved. Without changing the style Nightwish have entered new musical territory. And believe me, it isn't easy to do it.

Tarja, without a doubt your voice is the most important thing in Nightwish music, but you are very rarely in press columns. Don't you like to be interviewed?

Oh, no I very like it, but Tuomas has a privilege because he's the composer. I'm trying to take an opportunity to speak with journalists because I'm such a chatterbox, and I want people to know me because I'm a important part of NIghtwish.

So, in whose hands is the responsibility to make an interesting interview, a journalist or musician?

Of course, the journalist ha, ha, ha... No, it wouldn't be fair, I think they both have responsibility. If one of them don't want to talk the second one automatically has no inclination to speak. But we are lucky, because most of journalists who want to interview us are impressed with our music, so they´re getting involved in conversation. Now we had a press tour in Germany, had a lot of interviews, but the journalists were very engaged in this whole thing, so most of the interviews were very creative... You know such a chat can be a very nice experience.

Maybe not everybody knows that, but Nightwish took part in Finnish Eurovision. There were Nightwish and another band whose name I cannot remember now. You had 50000 votes, the other band 7000, but the jury said that Nightwish is out of the competition- have you been pissed?

You can believe me or not, but for us the story with Eurovision was nothing more than a good joke- we made one commercial song, but still in Nightwish convention ("Sleepwalker"- Track Of The Week in Polish Radio 3) which many people liked very much. You know, it's an amazing thing for a heavemetal band, when you can play in front of so many people and to be one of two Eurovision finalists at the same time. The fact, that we didn't won doesn't have an excessive meaning, because we know that our performance was liked much, we had ten times more votes, so we value the promotive aspect of this undertaking.

Did your family see you in TV?

Not only my family, but all my friends too- this show had a very large rating, so many people noticed that Nightwish exists. My mother was very happy to see me on stage in such a prestige performance.

Good, let's get back to "Oceanborn"- after the emission of this album many things started to happend, you achieved unexpectedly large success and from a tiny band you became a world wide star.

Really, we didn't expect it, "Oceanborn" became perfectly received in the whole world, collected excellent reviews among critics, and what's most important for our label it was sold in terrific quantities. At last we had a chance to make a professional performance with Rage which turned into great success. We played 25 concerts, unfortunately at the end of the tour everybody was seriously ill and we had to cancel the last gig in Barcelona.

I've heard that in that tour you had a better reception than Rage, which was the star there?

Yes, it's true and I don't have to say it probably, for it was an amazing surprise, because Rage seemed to be much more popular than us. We are very happy from such turn of matter.

Did Rage musicians think similarly?

Ha, ha I don't think so, they were sulky all the time and they had claims to us about all. They called to their label in Germany and said they had hopeless support, and they were very, very disappointed. I felt pity because of situations when after our performance over half of people have left the hall and on Rage show were only the most faithful fans. This had to be very depressing. To me it seems not needed that Rage musicians unloaded anger on us- for example they didn't give us time to make a rehearsal.

After this success you didn't wait too long and in around a year after emission of your second album you're back with the wonderful new CD "Wishmaster". Composing and recording of it didn't took you much time.

Maybe for an outside person it looks like everything happend so fast but Tuomas worked with this material for five months and we were in the studio for two months, so it was quite long. I must admit, that we had a good situation because we used local and very nice studio. So, if we weren´t in the mood to sit in the studio we just took ourselves a brake. Of course a lot of material had been changed in the middle of session, but it happends on every recording session and it reflects favorably in the end.

As that Tuomas is the main composer I'm curious does your vocal parties are made by him too?

Orginally everything is arranged by Tuomas, but fortunately he is very indulgent, so he's letting me interpret everything in my way, he dosen't interfere. That's why Nightwish sounds like that, not differently.

Do you still study classical singing at university?

I want to say yes, but at the moment when I became part of Nightwish I had to give up from something- the band is more important to me. I'm not worried about it, because I'm still young and I have lot of time to return on university. Of course I'm taking care of my voice and I treat it like the biggest treasure- once in a week I have singing lesson and every day I'm training alone in my home for couple of hours. Opera and singing are my biggest love and I'm hoping that I can have them for my whole life.

When do you started to sing?

It wasn't a long time ago because you can't sing real opera voice too early because you can destroy it. I've started to sing when I was nineteen, so it was five years ago...O my god, now you know everything about me!!! I don't know why, but I hate talking about my age, it's embarrassing for a woman in some kind of way.

Okay, I forgot about it already, tell me please what induced you to sing opera?

I loved opera long time ago, but I've never thought that I can sing like this. Of course I always tried to sing, but I never thought that might be good. My mother had a different opinion, and she arranged a meeting with a singing teacher. That teacher said that I'm a very talented young girl and I must go to music school. When I heard so flattering opinions under my address I felt that I'm the happiest person on Earth. That was my first step to become Nightwish vocalist.

I don't understand one thing here, you love opera, were on very esteem university Sybillius Academy and you started to sing in a metal band. Where is the hook?

Ah, there is no secret here. It's quite funny. At the end of 1996 I've met Tuomas which asked me to make a demo tape with him- and watch out, for me it was really scary then- in a real studio. So we entered the studio, the rest of the band knew only that I can sing, they didn't know anything about my voice, scale etc. Before Nightwish I didn't have any contact with metal, so I must admit, that I'm very lucky to know it know. You need to know that many of classical singers don't see the world behind an opera, and I'm very lucky because I've discovered a new, fascinating world.

What are your favourite bands?

From heavy metal I like the young Finnish band Sonata Arctica which is in a very promising position now, I can´t forget about Stratovarius which is very often compared to Nightwish. I like melodic metal, technique is important to me and of course vocal skills of vocalists. Unfortunately I can't understand bands which their vocalists roaring into the microphone.

And in opera?

Hmm, I have so called dramatic soprano, so I prefer dramatic composers like Wagner or Verdi. Of course it's classic, but I was raised with it and this is what I value most.

Let's talk about the "Wishmaster" album which is more difficult and ambitious than "Oceanborn". On the other side this music grows for the listener, everytime you can discover new elements, hidden sounds- was it a case or intentional effect?

Hmm, this is difficult question, particularly for a musician which co-operates in the making of this album, but it's nice to hear such an analysis. For me personally "Wishmaster" is easier than "Oceanborn". The most important things in this album are vocal parties which gives it an unique climate. The recording of this album didn't bring any problems to us, my vocals were recorded in a week, what I think is a big success in comparsion to "Oceanborn". I was crying there, I couldn't understand how Tuomas wants so difficult singing from me. Fortunately we reached some compromises and during the last session Tuomas knew much better the possibilities of my voice, so he didn't want anything impossible of me.

The album got wonderful reviews and the biggest success is first place in german Rockhard, it´s a big distinction.

It's true, we've got very high notes there - a review which can be a dream for every band. It was nice, because this magazine has 100000 expenditure so it was very good promotion for us. Beside of that my photo was on the cover and the interview with Nightwish was an integral part of the magazine. It was a very good start.

Spinefarm Records believes in you, they are making huge advertising campaign at the moment, for example they bought 5000 spaces in the bus stops all over Finland. Your faces gonna be famous...

It's scary, because these posters will be in every city, of course in mine where live around 80000 people too. I think I'll stop going out on the streets ha,ha. Seriously, our label makes huge promotion, it's hard to believe that it pays for them, because they pay us well too... but they see something in it and this is a very comfortable situation for us. You know, "Wishmaster" is on the top selling albums in Finland, it's been sold in 20000 copys so the promotion bear interest.

When you started to sing in Nightwish, you supposed that this band achieves such a success?

Oh, that time I was curious what it´s like to be in a band, to record tracks in a real studio. I didn't think that stuff we created is gonna be published anywhere. It turned out, that I love working in the studio, all this confusion, feelings when you sing. These are unique moments. Of course, in the beginning I was very scared, a little ashamed, but when I closed my eyes everything was great. Similarly was before our first gigs- Me, an opera singer, needed to sing in front of metal fans. The rest of the band had the same fears as me, but it turned out that the stage and the fans belong to me!

So how did you cope with your first gig?

Ha,ha it was quite funny. We played in our hometown and everybody was uneasy that I cope on the stage, move properly or just stand like a pole. It turned out that I'm crazier than most of the guys. So after this gig everybody knew that they don't need to worry about me. I've never failed so far.

I want to talk about the covers of your albums, which at least to this on "Wishmaster" weren't your strongest side. The picture on your debut album "Angels Fall First" was rather average...

Yes, it's true. I didn't like it very much, but the cover of "Oceanborn" is quite interesting and many people like it.

Your newest cover made by your graphic artist Markus Mayer is very good and what is the most important thing it's very adequate to the title- "Wishmaster". Please, don't laugh now and forgive me this question but why has the child kneeling above the lake his left leg disproportionately longer than the right?

Ha,ha,ha, how can't I laugh, I've just seen it today too. I've called Spinefarm, and they saw it too, but we haven't had the time to make any correction, besides let's not transplant, this leg isn't so huge ha,ha. I don't think that many people see the difference.

Okay, maybe you're right, but couple of them surely see that, on his right palm he has only four fingers.

Whaaaat? I don't believe you, four fingers?????? Maybe you have some problems with your eyes? Ha,ha I need to think of some story quick....hmm....maybe i'll just say that the boy on the cover, or maybe just read the text of "Dead Boy's Poem" which tells about the boy from our cover.

Okay, let's leave the subject of the "crippled child" and talk about your plans for the couple next months.

Okay, so tomorrow I have a very important exam in classical singing, so I'm little nervous about it, next two weeks we make interviews with the press from around the world, later we're going to have a two weeks tour in Finland with gothic revelation To/Die/For.

Do you seriously think that To/Die/For is a revelation? I thought that this band will be defeat.

In Finland they are treated as the successors of HIM, hopefully they are heavier than HIM, so not that commercial. They had a good vocalist and their debut pleaseht that this band will be defeat.

In Finland they are treated as the successors of HIM, hopefully they are heavier than HIM, so not that commercial. They had a good vocalist and their debut pleases interest. Soon Nuclear Blast want to publish their album in Europe, and I think this band is gonna be great someday.

Well, maybe Spinefarm Records restrained after they didn't sign the contract with HIM, because they said that the band is too boring. But back to your plans, what will you do after the Finnish tour?

First, we are going on a three week tour in South America, later in early autumn we are going on a much longer tour in Europe, and I´m hoping that we visit Poland at least for one gig. Unfortunately, we don't know what bands gonna play with us, but there is a big chance that it will be Sinergy. I think, that it´s an intresting set. As you see we have this year planned till end and surely we're not gonna be boring.

English translation by Wojtek

Interview with Nightwish 88

Source: Break Out #5
Germany, June-August 2001



Reflections from a melancholic country

With their second longplayer "Oceanborn" of 1999 Nightwish already have been very successful, but with their masterpiece "Wishmaster", released in 2000, they crowned it all. In their home country they even got a platin record for it which now decorates the living room at home. To make their Finnish die-hard-fans happy and to thank them for the honouring the band published a live DVD of a gig performed last December - exclusively in the land of thousand lakes.

To satisfy the demand of the European neighbouring countries Nightwish decided to release six live songs outside of Finland. In a addition to that Tarja Turunen and her guys recorded a nice cover song and two completely new songs (10th Man Down, Away) and added a new version of "Astral Romance" from their debut "Angels Fall First". For the cover song they chose Gary Moores classic "Over The Hills And Far Away". Tarja, happy and cheerful as always, explains why. But first she informs me about her physical condition.

"I´ve caught a really bad cold, but fortunately it´s getting a little bit better every day now. Nevertheless I´ll go jogging after the interview, because I always feel better after it. At the moment we only have 5 °C here in Finland and this is not nearly as warm as in Germany right now."

Well, I´m also freezing even though we have 25 °C. But let´s talk about something more important. The new Nightwish album has become a topseller. Why did you do a cover from "Over The Hills And Far Away"?

"The most important reason was the fact that all band members really like this song and they wanted to play it themselves. The instrumental arrangements and the choirs fit perfectly to our music. "Over The Hills And Far Away" was a very modern song in the 80ies. But it´s sad that here there´re not many radio stations that have ever played that song in one of their shows and that´s why only very few people know it here in Finland. It was really fun to record the song in the studio because there also was a little bit of "country-feeling" in the air. The greatest fun, however, had Tuomas and the other guys while I was trying to strike the right notes since I had to sing on an unusual low level. Tuomas was sitting on a chair and was convulsed with laughter. I like "OTHAFA" very much because there´s a lot of emotion behind it. This makes the song so special and I think nobody can blame us of having mutilated it somehow (laughs). It´s just sad that only very few people of my age know the song. I was 14 years old when I heard it the last time."

So maybe there will be another "county song" on the next Nightwish album ?

"Yes, sure (laughs). No, concerning the new album, you better ask Tuomas, of course. At the moment he´s already writing new songs for it and he again has a lot of good ideas - that´s what I can reveal so far. But I doubt that there will be a county song on it. Since I began to sing with Nightwish, the most important thing for me has been learning something new every day concerning music and singing techniques. This is what I like in this band. Every year I have learned a new lesson and every day is a new experience for me as a singer in a great metal band."

How successful was the "Wishmaster" tour for you ?

"With "Oceanborn" we already got gold in Finland, which was the bee´s knee for us. Now we could even increase this success with "Wishmaster" for which we really got platin. And this means 40 000 sold records in Finland after all. I still can´t believe that really, because it´s so crazy what´s happening in the metal genre in this country right now. There´s a very good atmosphere among the bands. There so many different bands here in Finland and lots of them become very successful right now. For Nightwish it was happening way too fast during the last years. Recently we released this special live CD "From Wishes To Eternity" that only is available in Finland. With it we want to thank our fans here very much for their loyalty and the success we had because of it. We´ll never forget the days of our beginning, because one year ago Tuomas and I regarded it as totally impossible to release a live CD one day and now it became reality. This is so incredible and fantastic for us! We never really believed that we will be so successful one day and to be honest I don´t trust in the whole situation and the success. This has nothing to do with pessimism. I just know from many other bands how fast everything can be over and nobody cares two hoots about you any more.

The live CD was a strange experiment for me, because I think it´s very confusing if I hear myself sing on a live record. Somehow I don´t like that at all, because I have to think of the situation on stage then, and I really hated it. You do on stage knowing that everywhere are microphones that record every breath you take. Everyone is listening especially to your voice tonight and thus the strain is very big. Basically I really like being on stage and actually I even enjoy it. I take to it like a duck to the water, you know , because I´m able to interpret the music and the lyrics there. The difficulty in a live show, however, is to get a perfect combibation of singing and music. It has to fit perfectly and there´s the danger of making mistakes.

For me the last three years with Nightwish have been a great step forward. In the beginning I just started to sing straight in hoping that I somehow come to grips with the music and my voice. Today I finally have found the right way to do it. It was very hard and difficult, but in the end it was worth it. At first it is really very exhausting being on stage and thinking about how you have to breathe all the time. Singing really is hard worl."

Did you ever have a loss of voice?

"No, I´ve been untroubled by this so far. Fortunately we always had a day off when I was feeling bad. But it gets dangerous if I´m really sick, because then I´m not a person to be trifled with. I can really be a pain in the neck of the people around me then. Strange things are going on in my body and in my head which you actually cannot really explain then. I ´m getting incredibly nervous and this is just panic that I might loose my voice during the gig or that I wake up the next morning being mute."

Because of the fact that Nightwish already released the live part of "Over The Hills" in Finland, the rest of the material only will be released as a maxi CD there. On the cover of the CD you can see a very cool concert stage with a background of mountains corresponding to the title. Can you tell us where the oics for the covers were taken?

"As far as I know it was a stage somewhere in Brazil, but I´m not so sure about it. Our label cose the cover, by the way, after we discussed it. I saw the cover first only two days ago. I like it very much because it fits perfectly to the title of the album, doesn´t it."

Absolutely ! The covers of all your CDs and booklets implicate a connection to the sea. Is this intentional ?

"Of course, it is. The sea plays a very important role in our lives, you know. It is something special for all band members. The sea has so many different and also contrasting meanings. It can be a grave as well as a bed or a cradle for your thoughts. It is so infinite and vast, it is comforting, but during a storm it is menacing. Tuomas is a real ocean freak and I´m fascinated by this vastness anyway."

(Note: The Finnish Lakeland area has about 55 000 lakes and there´re about 30 000 islands off shore. So it´s no wonder that the Finns are so besotted with water: about one tenth of the country is covered with water.)

But just one live record itself does not make a summer in Finland and that´s why the same concert will also be available as DVD. Will this be the next medium for Nightwish par excellence ?

"I don´t think that DVDs will replace CDs in the near future. We´re the first band in Finland to release a live DVD of a whole concert. This gig was a great experience for us and we´ve never been as nervous as before this concert. And it caught me especially. I was running through the backstage area shaking like a leaf. And I had typical women´s problems: Is the outfit ok ? Does the make-up look good and does it fit ? Such things you actually don´t pay so much attention before a normal gig. But here I had a strange feeling in the stomach region because I knew that there will be some cameras and microphones in front of the stage. So we all were quite nervous before the show, and after finishing it we agreed that really many things went wrong. But finally it wasn´t so bad. Even though there some obvious mistakes immortalized on the CD and DVD all that actually matters is that we did a live CD/DVD. We know very well that we could do a better job, and this is very important for us. But it was an interesting experience and as is generally know you live and learn. In addition to the show the DVD also includes some live recordings of other concerts of the "Wishmaster" tour. And then there´re also our video clips on it and some really terrible pictures from the beginnings of Nightwish (laughs). At that time I still had very long hair and when I cutthem short everybody was angry with me. And there´re also some interview with Tuomas and me on the DVD. So as you can see there´s everything on it what a Nightwish fan needs."

Tarja, what is your most personal and biggest "Nightwish"?

"Oh, I have so many wishes in my life ! The most important wish is to find a place in this world where I can be happy. I´m not very happy where I am now, that´s just how it is. Constantly I´m searching for specific things and as it seems right now a lot of things in my life will change during the next months. I´m studying classical singing and till I can finish my study it will still take some time."

Were is this place in the world that only can make you happy ?

"Well, this place exists, but I need a special surrounding. I really wish that something specific will happen within the next weeks, so I just have to wait for it."

How would you dedcribe the direction Nightwish is going in the future musically spoken ?

"This is hard to say, because at our concerts there´re so many different people - from the Gothic fan to people who love classical music. And that´s why the sound of our music varies. Nightwish has been created out of a wish. It was a dream of Tuomas and to realize it he chose me as the singer. Back then I was exactly the right singer for Nightwish in his opinion and I was and I still am very happy to have the opportunity to sing in this band. While my voice is covering the classical part, the music definitely is metal. Tuomas loves soundtracks, and I think that our music also could be used as a soundtrack. He´s very interested in that and he really would like to do something like that. He only needs a good film for it (laughts). I know him very well and I also know that he wouldn´t refuse if getting a good offer."

I´ve read that you especially love the spring time. Is this due to the spring fever ?

""No, not really. It´s just so beautiful when you can experience that everything is turning to green and the birds are singing again after a cold and dark winter. It´s always a light bulb moment for me. Especially in such a melancholic land as Finland you need such experiences, otherwise you would fall into a deep depression."

Apropos depressions: What is the relationship between Nightwish and the Death and Black Metal bands of the north ?

"Last week I visited a Dimmu Borgir concert and it was downright funny. As soon as I appeared there I was besieged by countless Death and Black metal fans and they asked me what I´m doing at a Dimmu Borgir concert. They thought that this was great. I don´t have a problem with these dark bands - quite the contrary, we´re all colleagues and we also have a lot in common."

Yes, they also use make-up, right ?

"Yes, right (laughs) ! No, these people oftentimes are much nicer than other combos who appear to be more harmless. "

I´ve read that the show in Sao Paulo last year was the greatest live show for Nightwish. Why just this gig ?

"The metal fans there are just incredible and totally crazy. One hour before our gig they already were singing loudly and they sang the whole concert along with us. This was incredible. The whole South America tour was the greatest and the most impressive thing we´ve experienced so far."

Will we hear you sing a Finnish folk song on the next album ?

"No, I don´t think so. Tuomas didn´t have a good song idea for this so far. But you never know ! It is very difficult to sing in Finnish, by the way, even though I´m from Finland. To sing in English is much more easier."

Did you never have the idea to use an orchestra to interpret your songs?

"Actually there´re a lot of requests from internationally renowned orchestras, but we´re not sure yet, how exactly we should do that. At the moment we´re still looking for sponsors for some concerts with an orchestra."

The next question was especially funny for Tarja, because she never had talked about it before (No, not what you´re thinking...)

How often have you sent your personal sound technician to hell so far?

"That´s a good question that I didn´t have to answer before (laughs). We´re very happy with the people we´re working with at the moment. Of course, we had to grow closer together first. At the beginning there was many a thunderstorm between me and my technician, but this is normal. Everybody wants to work as perfectly as possible. Our technicians are working very professionally and we can totally rely on them. That´s why nobody has to be afraid of us (laughs)."

But how do you handle the smoking within the band ? Are the others considerate of you and your voice ?

"Yes, that´s not a problem at all, because within the band only one person is smoking and he´s very considerate. So it´s not a problem for me. But it really sucks that we perform late at night as headliners and at that time the clubs are already filled with smoke and the air generally is too hot. This of course it not good for my voice, but you have to grit your teeth and go on with it. You cannot put a "smoking prohibited" sign there, right ?"

You could, but nobody would bother, I guess. When did you personally have your last nightmare ?

"Oh, there were a lot of bad situations during the last tour that brought me to the brink of a nightmare. There´s one thing that can go wrong every day: the technical problems. Unfortunately you never know what will happen. During the sound check everything is ok, and a few hours later during the concert something unexpected is happening. The worst thing, however, was that somebody from the audience attacked me during the South America tour. I was really shocked by that. We even had to cancel a concert because I was still in shock."

A more delicate question is on the mind of the male Nightwish fans: How many love letters to you get during such a long tour and do you read them all ?

"Well, there´re quite many of them, but I won´t read them to you (laughs). But I read every letter that I get because sometimes this can also be very funny."

Ok gentlemen, point your pencil and throw your love letters on stage in Wacken. But please do not throw messages in a bottle because this hurts! But back to Tarja: Did the success change your life ?

"To be honest, everything has changed, the circle of friends, the relationship to the music business, everything. But this also is our biggest problem ´, that most of the people are not able to relate to how much has changed in our lives during the last three years."

What can we expect from the the next album besides the already mentioned country song?

"It will be kind of a concept album. I already heard something like that from Tuomas. Two new songs already are on the "OTHAFA". It there will be a clear separation of harder songs and ballads."
[...]

English translation by Melanie

Interview with Nightwish 87

Source: Metal Hammer
July 2002

Interview with Tarja about the Nightwish album "Century Child" and her studies

The Primadonna of Heavy Metal

The new songs are more epic and more aggressive. Have you expected this change?

Tarja: Unfortunately not. I left Finland when Tuomas wrote the new songs. So I had to wait until the postman brought me the demo tape to Karlsruhe. My first impression was: "Whoops, that´s damn tough!" The songs differ from the songs we did on our elder albums.

Do you have an explanation for that?

Tarja: Tuomas must have had a bad time behind him when he composed the new material. He travelled alone to Chile and Australia. I guess he took most of his ideas from this journeys. Luckily, there are some romantic songs like "Ever dream" and "Forever yours". It´s easier for me to sing more depressive songs.

Are you a depressive person?

Tarja: Actually I would describe myself as a happy woman. It´s easier for me to put myself in the right mood when I´m singing sad songs. Maybe because of my finnish heritage. My colleagues from my university keep telling me that "I´m singing as if I moan alone in the forest". (laughs)

Isn´t it strange for you that you don´t have any influence on the new songs?

Tarja: I never participated in the songwriting except some vocal lines and choirs. And I´ve never been and I´ll never be a band member in the common sense. They´re the band and I´ll join them when my voice is needed. So we´re doing our rehersals a few days before a tour starts, so it´s no big change for me. I don´t want to interfere with Tuomas´ style of songwriting. He is the soul of NW. His lyrics were very personal on this record. I was shocked when I read the lyrics for the first time because he´s opening his soul to the outside world. I wouldn´t be able to do the same. That makes it harder for me to sing the new songs.

May you tell us something about the recording session?

Tarja: Well, I joined the band in the studio for just two weeks. Tuomas simulated my voice on the demo with a keyboard. Afterwards he sent me the lyrics by mail. So I praticed a little bit in Karlsruhe. The vocal lines are very deep for my standards. It was hard for me to keep my voice deep. [...] But after the recordings I´ve been surprised how easy it was for me to sing in that way. I´ve invested more time into my voice during my studies and now I take the benefit.

When did you hear that your old bass player Sami left the band and that he has been replaced my Marco Hietala?

Tarja: That was another surprised for me (laughs). It seems that it was Sami´s will to leave the band. I know Marco for a long time and I knew that he´s a good bass player and a good singer as well. So there´s no need for an objection on my part. I guess that it was his idea to participate in the songwriting and as a singer.

Would CC sound different if you´ve still been in Finland during the songwriting process?

Tarja: No, I don´t think so. Tuomas wanted to try something new. There are certain parts on CC where a male voice is necessary. My voice is powerful, but not so metal-like like Marco´s. It´s a nice variation even for the concerts.

Tuomas explained his decision to you?

Tarja: No, I didn`t even ask him about that.

Isn´t it strange to have another singer in the band?

Tarja: Of course! There have been male vocals on our records. Tuomas e.g. sang on our debut AFF but he didn´t feel very comfortable. When I came into the studio and listened to Marco I tought: "Wow! He´s very good!" There´s no rivalry between us. It was the first time that I had a really good time in the studio. Maybe because we hadn`t seen us in four months.

Will we hear more duets like "Dead to the world" or "Feel for you" in the future?

Tarja: Possibly - but one thing is for sure: I´ll never be only the second vocalist in NW. In this case I won´t be a part of NW anymore. I know my importance and I´m not afraid that one day a male singer will be put in front of me.

When did you hear the final mix of CC?

Tarja: You´ll laught: The postman again! It was strange because I didn´t know if there had been any changes. I still can´t believe how my voice sounds in certain parts. It´s more whispering than singing.

You used a complete orchestra on CC. Is that necessary regarding today´s technical possibilities?

Tarja: I insisted on using a real orchestra. The sound is much better. I can hear the difference between a real orchestra and a "synthetic" orchestra. The toughest part was to find the right mixture during the mixing.

Who had the idea to do a cover version of Andrew Lloyd Webber´s "Phantom of the opera"?

Tarja: Tuomas has been thinking that this song would fit NW for a long time. I´ve heard this song first when I was 12 or 13. Then I decided to become a singer. Today this musical is to smooth in my opinion. I prefer e.g. "Hair". I really loved "Phantom...", but unfortunately my performance isn´t that brilliant.

In which way?

Tarja: I wasn´t able to get into a suitable mood. This siren-like singing doesn´t fit me very good. There are lots of versions of this song but I couldn´t find an own access to the song. That´s a pity, but we can´t change it now.

Many people see parallels between metal and opera. Do you understand that?

Tarja: Hmmm, I guess so. The scenes are similar. Many people would never go into an opera. It´s the same with metal. But the true fans are incredibly loyal. And both styles are bombastic and tell about strong feelings.

Why did you move to Germany for your studies?

Tarja: I couldn´t concentrate on my studies in Finland when NW became so famous. We sell more records than many pop bands, we received platinum with each of our releases. I had no private life any more. Everyone noticed me in the streets, I took part in many TV shows, I even participated in cooking shows. Then I knew: "I have to go!" And in addition to that, I didn´t receive any respect at my school in Helsinki. I was fed up with my situation and had this classic burn-out syndrome. And I´m just 24! I had to hit the emergency breaks. After I went to Karlsruhe, my life has changed to the better. I´m happy with myself, my private life, my studies and with NW.

Why especially Karlsruhe?

Tarja: This school has a good reputation in Finland. That´s why there are many finnish people at this school, too many to be honest (laughs). They recognized me and I don´t feel homesick. Maybe I´ll stay here after I`ll have gotten my diploma in 2004...who knows? It´s easier to get a job as a classical singer in Germany. That´s why I´ve been learning a lot of german during the past months. Therefore my english get´s worse.

How did Tuomas react when you told him that you´re going to move abroad?

Tarja: He was surprised but he could understand my reasons. The problem is that my move to Germany has a big effect on NW. There´s not much time for recordings and tours. We´re only able to tour during my holidays, so I won`t be able go on vacation this summer. I need to know any dates concerning NW at least half a year in advance. The regulations on my school are very strict. If I miss some courses, I would have to repeat a whole semester. But my status here is better than in Finland. My singing teacher knows about NW. She understands it and respects that it´s my job.

Are there big differences between the finnish and german mentality?

Tarja: Oh yes, you germans are so pünktlich (german for "be in time"). German people do everything in time, while finnish people push some tasks a few days back. In the beginning, I had some problems to deal with that. But now I see the advantages. I´ve never worked so hard as I did here. Actually I´m a pretty lazy person whose ass needs to be kicked from time to time. And I got one here.

Are you a person who doesn`t have any problems in getting contact to other people when you´re in a foreign country?

Tarja: Absolutely! I´m not a person who spends the whole day in front of the TV. I really love to go out and learn about new areas and new people. I lived in eight different cities in Finland. The biggest step for me was to leave my mother in Helsinki behind. My phone bills are sky high. (laughs)

To be honest: I thought opera singers are egocentric people.

Tarja: That´s true, especially when I´m on tour with NW. Each day lots of people are around you and you should be nice to everyone. You can´t be nice to everyone everytime. I´m happy to have some time for myself. When I feel bad, I´m in a bad mood when I´m talking to the press or the fans. I don´t act happy. Either the people accept me as I am, or they should leave me alone. When I´m on stagappy. Either the people accept me as I am, or they should leave me alone. When I´m on stage, I feel totally different. I never felt bad while being on stage. And yes, the reason why I´m still in the band are the concerts, the live experience and the fans.

You´re a student, you´re a singer of a very succesful band, you´re travelling around the world - do you have any time for hobbies or a boyfriend?

Tarja: For both, but let´s talk about hobbies only (laughs). I´m jogging through the beautiful parks in Karlsruhe very often. Singing is a competitive sport. There´s no much time for other things than music. But I don´t care about that. Music is my hobby, my job and my life.

Interview with Nightwish 86

Source: Aardschok
Netherlands, September-October 2002



The future of Nightwish

Keyboarder Tuomas Holopainen is the musical genius behind Nightwish. He decides in which direction the music of the five Finnish members goes and writes all lyrics. Yet the eye catcher and the most attention demanding is singer Tarja Turunen who lets Nightwish stand out above the other gothic metal bands for four studio albums long with her characteristic 'elf-voice' and beautiful appearance. Every since the Oceanborn album got released in 1998 everything is going upwards with the band. The latest album Century Child is rising in the charts. But still the others aren't at ease. Will Tarja remain the front woman in the future of Nightwish?

Tarja Turunen

Before me is laying a copy of Century Child from the French XIII Bis Records licensed by Spinefarm. This one was available about three weeks before the release by Universal Records, your record company for France. Is this a bootleg?

I'm not allowed to tell too much about that. There have been some mistakes at the taking over by Universal of Spinefarm. XIII Bis had to wait with the release but obviously they didn't. The XIII Bis edition isn't the official Nightwish release. This 'problem' will be fixed pretty quickly.

Congratulations. Century Child got form zero to five in the German album charts and got platinum within two weeks in Finland with Ever Dream at the top position in the single charts.

Yes, I was very surprised. It's going very fast at the moment with the band's success.

At the moment you're studying in Karlsruhe. How did the recording went for you? You probably haven't spend two months in the studio with the rest of the band?

No, I haven't. Tuomas sent the demo's to Germany with the singing notes as piano notes. This way I at least had a rough version of the songs. A few weeks later I got the lyrics. This wasn't a new way of working, we've done it the same in the past. I had a break between two semesters in March, and in those two weeks I recorded my parts in the Finnvox studio's in Helsinki.

Last week we played at the Bang Your Head Festival, Balingen. One weekend day, so that was easy to combine with my studies though I sometimes have to follow classes in the weekends. For me it isn't always fun to go to school and be in Nightwish at the same time. We can only tour when I have holidays in school, so I actually never have a day off. Maybe with Christmas, I could use that.

Your singing parts on this album are a bit lower. Were you surprised when you heard Tuomas material?

No, not at all. Tuomas had heard my lower singing voice and he liked the softer side of my voice. I had tried all that earlier before but I couldn't manage it like I do now. Back then I said "I'm not a popsinger, I'm a classical singer." But now that I'm in Germany and that I've been following singing lessons for half a year, I can focus better on my voice. My technique has progressed and I don't feel so insecure anymore when I use my lower voice.

I don't know if it's this mix, but your lower voice sounds a lot softer, less bombastic.

I know what you're trying to say, but it isn't meant that way. In the beginning it wasn't really my choice to use my lower voice but Tuomas absolutely loved it. I still have that bombastic voice though.

Absolutely, you can still hear that on songs like End of All Hope and Slaying the Dreamer. But with a song like f.e. Dead to the World the main parts are sung by the new bassist Marco Hietala (ex-Sinergy) and you're as good as degraded to only backing vocals while you're the front woman of the band.

I've been getting a lot of questions about that but to me there's absolutely no problem that Marco is doing the main vocals on that song - and some others. But let me say that Tarja will never become a singer for only backing vocals within Nightwish. Over my dead body, that will never happen. When Tuomas started writing the songs for this album, he wanted them form the beginning to be sung by a male voice and because Marco was a singer as well in his previous band, it worked out good for us. It are only rumours that Marco has been asked to join the band to take over the vocals when I would leave the band. On questions about that I don't even want to answer because it's all bullshit!

But you have to understand the fans. They are worried: Tarja is singing more on the background on some songs, a bassist is taking over some lead vocals, the band has to follow a recording and touring schedule that can be combined with your school schedule, you're studying in Germany while the other members are living in Finland, you're going to marry an Argentinean guy. All of this combined makes you conclude that the beginning of Tarja's end with Nightwish is near.

Of course it's easy to conclude that en I can't guarantee that things will be the same for the next ten years but why don't they just let us do our thing? Music is an universal language. Nightwish is making music they like and Tuomas isn't writing music with the thought "What will the fans think of this?" He is just writing what he feels, thinks and goes through at that moment. And while writing he of course thinks of my abilities with my voice. Of course he won't suddenly write a jazz-song, because that would be a disaster to all Nightwish-fans. On the new album there have been some changes but not changes that will be too much for the fans. The band has made progress with each album. To me it isn't a problem to sing about the personal troubles of Tuomas, because I know him so well. There are some mysterious things going on in his head and to me it's every time a surprise again what he has come up with now. I admire that in him, I never would be able to expose my feelings that way. I'm just the messenger if his emotions.

What is your final goal? Do you want to go in the direction of Sarah Brightman or even Celine Dion? Forever Yours could have been on the soundtrack of Titanic.

To be honest, I don't like Sarah's voice. I do on her pop songs but not the classical ones, then I even hate it. I do think she does a very good job in arranging and producing songs. My favourites are some Swedish opera singers. Forever Yours is seen by many people to be a Titanic song. Tuomas had to laugh pretty loud when he heard the outcome of the song in the studio - but that's mostly because of the pipes that are in the song. I myself just think of it as a good ballad.

Another surprise on the album is The Phantom of the Opera.

The original I really don't think of as good, but Tuomas really wanted to work with it because he thought the song was perfect to get a Nightwish treatment. Maybe the song isn't as bombastic as we would have wanted but it's definitely better than the original.

If everything turns out the way it should, how long do you still have to study?

The study takes two years, but what follows after, nobody knows.

You also have worked with BVI. Will you continue that?

No, they already asked somebody else to do that. The Infinity thing was the first and absolute last metal project I have worked on. I'm simply too busy. I sang the Until Dawn song on Infinity. It had to be recorded in one day and I only got the lyrics the day before. It was very hard for me to fit in the lyrics in such a short time. I recorded my part in Helsinki, I never saw the other singers of the project.

As already has been said, the album is doing great everywhere. More and more people will want to see you. On a certain point you probably have to choose between your study and Nightwish.

I have been making that kind of decisions more times a day already. The past five years I have put most of my energy in Nightwish and now I finally want to take more time for my classical singing everybody is disagreeing. When we started Nightwish, nobody expected the success we have now. At a certain point I will have to choose yes, but I can't answer you right now.

And it should be clear that Marco won't replace you in the future?

No because then it wouldn't be Nightwish anymore.

Tuomas Holopainen

Before I go talk about Century Child, we're first catching up a bit by talking about the DVD From Wishes to Eternity, released after the studio album Wishmaster.

Back then our label Spinefarm came with the idea of recording a live DVD. Nightwish would be the first band in Finnish history to be recording a full live DVD. So a cool idea. Though it put us under pressure during that gig, because it would be the only gig we would be able to use for the DVD. Normally artists pick material from several gigs but we couldn't. That only show had to be perfect. We were all very nervous so a few things went wrong, but in the end I'm quite satisfied with the DVD. Later on also a CD from the DVD recordings got made. This was easy seeing we already had everything on tape. To still make it something special, we released only fifteen thousand copies, only for Finland.

Before you started on the new CD also an EP Over the Hills and Far Away got released.

There would be two years between the release of Wishmaster album and Century Child. We thought that was way to long; you can't keep your fans waiting that long. I had been thinking about covering Over the Hills and Far Away for about a year and the EP would be a good chance to record this song. This MCD was a great success to our big surprise. I think the single has been in the Finnish single top 10 for 47 weeks. Unbelievable! Our biggest hit for so far. Century Child has been standing on the top position for six weeks now too, but the biggest surprise came from Germany; Century Child is in the 5th place now. We've always wanted to sell good outside the Finnish borders, but the huge interest from Germany is being our expectations. We had never expected this.

[...] Why has bassist Sami Vänskä left the band?

That decision wasn't made in just a day. His motivation hadn't been the way it should be for a while already. And next to that the music of Nightwish has never cared him that much. It didn't touch him, while the other members gave their whole being to the band. After a lot of touring there has been a huge conflict. That's when we decided it was better for all that Sami would leave.

The one who will be replacing Sami is Marco Hietala (ex-Sinergy). I assume you already knew each other.

Yes, we do. We met him at the Nightwish/Sinergy tour two years ago. We knew who we were going to work with and on top of that, Marco is a great singer. For Century Child I was going to need a male singer and this way we could kill two birds with one stone.

When did you get the idea of using a male voice next to Tarja's?

I'm trying to keep Nightwish' music interesting, for the fans but mostly for myself. We are always looking for new angles. Fans don't have to be afraid we will change the Nightwish style completely to a pop or hip-hop band; we'll always be a metal band. But to keep it interesting we have to search for new elements. This time it was a male voice. And besides that we chose to use a real orchestra and choir this time.

Could you tell us more about the recordings of Century Child? Did you like working with an orchestra or was it a one time thing for you?

The recordings of Century Child were the hardest ever for me. The album never seemed to get finished. Before we started recording we made a demo. I have played the parts of the orchestra and choir on my keyboards on it. We hired somebody to work out the arrangements for that, so fortunately I didn't had to do that anymore. The biggest job was for the [can't be seen on the scan] and he did a great job. This all happened December last year. Halfway January we went into the studio and we've been there for four months. First all guitar and drums parts, then Tarja's vocals, Marco's vocals, the orchestra, the choir, some guy for special percussion, somebody for special effects,... After that we were mixing for two weeks. It really didn't seem to come to an end. It was a very huge job to do but if everything goes well, it should pay all the hard working back.

Did you have more troubles with writing and composing this album?

I worked the same way as I had written Wishmaster and it took me about as much time. Still it was a bit harder to write the music and maybe you can hear that on Century Child too. It has everything to do with the crisis the band was in at that time. We had to search for a new bassist, we were searching for a new manager as well because everything got too big, we needed to change our booking office etc. That kind of stuff automatically has influence on the band. Also my private life was a mess back then. I was feeling confused and depressed. I don't think I have ever felt so down before. That of course is the main reason why Century Child sounds so hard and aggressive. An album always reflects the way the writer was feeling at that moment. It conveys a certain period from the artist. During the writings of Oceanborn I was going through a worriless period which makes the album sound happier.

Century Child isn't a concept album, but I think there is a red line.

Century Child was never meant to be a concept album. But afterwards, after writing every song, I found out there was a connection between all the songs. They were all more or less about, innocence, losing it and growing up. But that was coincidence. No doubt it's because of my private life. Last year was, like I said before, a very hard and tough period for me. I've been thinking a lot about where I stand in life but also where the band is going and the people involved with the band. Music industry is evil, but I had changed myself as well. I've felt very bad about that. Century Child can be seen as a journey through my being, my soul. Making this kind of album is a big like some sort of personal relieve. And when I hear the songs now it really feels like a big relieve. I think it made me a better person, haha!

How did Tarja react when she got to hear the Century Child material for the first time?

She was perplexed. "What the hell is this?" was the only thing she could say. After a while she got used to the songs though and now she's standing behind the songs completely and she can appreciate the new direction we went in.

Isn't it hard for Nightwish to work with a singer like Tarja? She's living in Germany and all the Nightwish activities need to be compatible with her schedule. And is that maybe the reason why Marco has taking some vocals?
 

Before the recordings it didn't really matter she was in Germany for her studies. When she still was living in Helsinki we actually worked the same way. Tarja is very positive about Marco. He's a good singer and their voices fit with each other. And during live performances she isn't fully in the picture anymore, Marco can ease her job a bit. About planning the concerts, it is hard that Tarja has such a tight schedule. Our next tour for example needs to fit in the two moths of Tarja's summer holidays. The first concert will be the day after her last school day and our last gig will be in Germany because she has her first school day the day after again. We tried our best to get everything scheduled as good as possible but unfortunately we can't go the countries like Canada, the USA, Mexico, Japan and Portugal. But we have to do everything with what we have. She has already decided next year she will take a year off for her studies, which means Nightwish will be non-active for a year. It's good for everybody and that way Tarja has all the time to figure out what she wants. For five years long all her spare time has been going to Nightwish so it's a miracle she's still with us.

Can you understand the fans are getting worried about the future of Nightwish? Maybe Century Child will be the last album with Tarja.

They don't have to worry about that. Really. We are just having a year of peace. I don't think the fans have anything to complain about seeing we are such a productive band; Four studio-albums in five years, plus a live DVD and an EP. It's time to reload the battery again.

But first there's the two month tour with our own After Forever.

It was my own idea to bring them along. Both bands just fit with each other. Our concept is equal at some points yet we are two totally different bands. I love their music and I like their new album a lot. En the most important maybe is that we get along perfectly well. I'm looking forward to this tour and I hope to give our fans a beautiful night which they won't forget. We will do our best.

English translation by Lin
www.beautyofthebeast.tk
www.tarjasoile.tk

Interview with Nightwish 85

Source: Blue Wings Finnair
Finland, December 2002-January 2003


Interview with Nightwish 84

Source: Metal Heart
November 2003

The very personal side of NIGHTWISH - Singer Tarja Turunen

There is always a bit of sadness, when she thinks back to her school time. It could have been such a beautiful time, if the girls in her class had been different. Young women can be very cruel. She never did anything to one of them. Or is it her fault that she always liked to sing and always did this very well? Not until years later, NIGHTWISH - Singer Tarja Turunen breaks her silence. She gives an interview, about her experiences as a teenager to a Finnish newspaper that plans a story about mobbing at school. For years she had been teased, mocked and treated badly by her (female) classmates, just because they were jealous of her; jealous of her voice and her success as a singer back in these days. Tarja feels it as a great relief finally to speak about that time and simultaneously wants to give strength to other students who are in situations similar to the one she was in. Her statement releases a real avalanche of reactions... We talked to Tarja Turunen and took an even deeper glimpse behind the scenes of one of the most beautiful contemporary singers than does the long expected DVD "The End of Innocence".

Even nowadays Tarja would describe herself as a bit shy. Whenever someone gives her a compliment, she doesn't take this as obvious, but recons it with her sensitive "antennas" and enjoys them deeply. If she sings well? She doesn't want to judge that herself. First of all she likes to do it. Always since she can remember. Like other children start to speak, little Tarja sometime, far before she could run, started to sing. The first time showed up at the tender age of three years. At a family party, under the adults, she suddenly raises her voice to sing a song. It's her mother who first recognises the girl's strong and clear voice. " I can't remember that myself, but my mother often tells me this story" , smiles Tarja. In a hotel in Helsinki she prepares for the first American -Tour in the history of NIGHTWISH. She is very excited, but takes all the time in the world to talk to us. "I'm supposed to suddenly start to sing. My mother than sat me on the table for no one would have seen me otherwise. That must have been the first time I sang to an audience." A few years later, her mother takes her to the parish. There is a choir which practices regularly. Because Tarja likes it very much and always had a wish to become better, she additionally gets singing lessons in a children's group. "The choir appeared at all possible causes in the region and I was always hardworking with them" , she tells further. "That was always a great pleasure to me. My greatest idol was Whitney Houston. I always wished to be exactly like her, and often tried to imitate her. My vocal teacher liked that. He always told me that I would be the next Whitney Houston one day. But one day I started to make an education in classical singing. He never spoke a word to me again. I think he was very disappointed about my decision and would have wanted me to go on singing soul."

At 15 years old, Tarja did her first appearance with an audience of more then 1000 people. It was a Christmas concert in a church where for more than an hour she impressed as a soloist and it was talked about even months later in that area. Her contemporaries can not be happy for Tarja, though. They envy her because she is so talented and always draws so much attention to herself. They would like to be the focus themselves and are jealous of Tarja. One day their envy changes even into hate. "My throat would tie up every morning when I entered the school building" Tarja remembers very precisely. "Every day the girls have thought up new nastiness to maltreat me with. They have been teasing me, playing tricks and have been exhausting me. I never understood this for real because I did no harm to them at all. But I could feel quite exactly how much they hate me. This has hurt me deeply." Tarja suffers from her class-mates. She attends lessons only reluctantly and always in fear of becoming a victim of new attacks. In every lesson. Spiritual wounds caused by the girls of her class always sink more deeply. "Sometime I could hardly sleep any more and became even more quiet and shy than I already was. To defend myself would not have occurred to me even in a dream. I would not have even known how to do it at all."

Tarja pulled back herself in a kind of snail shell and suffered the nastiness of her classmates. For the first time she had to learn that success and loneliness are very close together. The only real friends she had, meanwhile, are boys. They are not jealous of Tarja but they admire and respect her. A little later she finds her first boyfriend and with him quite a lot of other friends. All older and more mature than the teenagers in her class. They can accept Tarja as she is and can see in her the person and not the singer. Contact with them helps her to overcome her bad experiences and come out more open. "Altogether it lasted a very long time until I had overcome everything" she understands today. Then she started doing exactly the right things - she speaks about her experiences and lets everybody know about it. Even today she is ready for it and emphasizes the importance of not being silent. A while ago, some east Finnish daily had published an article about teasing in Finnish schools. She is ready to give answers to the editor. She did not tell the name of her school. "Somehow the journalist has nevertheless found out and has mentioned the name in his report. I received a few days later, a letter from the director of that school. He has informed me how sour he was that I have told such things. The school is of course afraid that pupils will stay away because they do not want to go there after this story. Just because I'm so famous in Finland it was embarrassing for this school." Tarja kicks in a wave of confessions. Suddenly many other former pupils dare to talk about their experiences in mobbing. "It is important to give air to yourself and talk open about it" Tarja knows today. "Only by doing so you can find a way out of this teasing. It requires lot of courage because you become more shy with time and pull back onto yourself just because of fear to provoke new cruelties by class-mates, with every step you do. But by this you are offering more of a target to them and get even more vulnerable."

If Tarja thinks about her former class-mates today, she still feels something like hate for them. She still can not understand that they could have done all of this to her. She is finished with them as best she can. She is happy not to see those people any more and not to have any contact with them. "If you would offer today to see them again, I would be saying no" she says determined. "I do not want to be forced to look at those faces again. I haven't forgiven them completely and I will probably never be able to do so. Today I can talk about my experiences at that time and feel relieved. But when I think about those girls that have done all this, I'm still kinda sad. I'm glad that they do not belong to my life anymore." Invitations to class meetings go right into the garbage for Tarja. She is not interested in what these people are doing today; she does not feel the need to participate in such events. The Nightwish voice feels comfortable with her life in the meantime and is very grateful to have found exactly those people that do good to her.

Until she could say this of herself, several years had to pass in the land. She becomes the singer for Nightwish and experiences together with the band a success story second to none. But the higher the albums of the band climb in the charts, the more so-called friends turn out to be a beneficiary that just wants to be in the vicinity of famous Tarja. "In the past I had many so-called friends which showed more and more interest in me the more famous Nightwish became. They have not seen me as a person, though, but only as the Nightwish vocalist and only associating with me therefore, " she tells. "When I realised this, I was deeply hurt. In a case of friendship, I want to be seen as a person and not as star or someone who brings advantages to those people." The people left over after the process of constantly becoming more famous are the real friends of Tarja. She can trust in them - the aspect of friendship that counts most to her. Even if she can contact them only a few times a month by mail, because she is away constantly, they stick by her and love their Tarja independent from Nightwish. "They are always happy when they hear from me and I feel that they stick by me" the Nightwish voice describes. "I'm missing them when I'm on tour and I often think of them. Whenever possible I want to see them." Since Nightwish enjoys such big success world-wide there is only one real chance: Christmas. Tarja loves everything about this season and devotes herself exclusively to her friends and family. "I look forward to it like a child," she smiles. "Since I'm away so often, I'm looking forward even more than in my childhood. For me it is the only chance to really switch off and feel myself really safe." Part of her family are primarily her two brothers and her mother in whom she shares a very strong and friendly relation. Mama Turunen is proud of her daughter and supports her wherever she can. "She is about the most important person in my life" Tarja says. "She gives me so much strength when I talk to her, regardless where I am on this earth. She is always there for me and listens to me." Her mother was, in the end, the decisive reason why the Finn with the powerful voice has interrupted her song education in Karlsruhe and went back to her native country. "I simply have missed home too much and couldn't bear it in Karlsruhe any more," she admits. "The fact of living so far away from my family and not being able to see them when I wanted was simply bad for me. I do not want to say that I have not liked Karlsruhe, please don't get me wrong ! I had a fantastic time there and I have always felt pretty comfortable during my studies. But I simply wasn't right at home there and now that I am again - it feels fantastic."

Tarja isn't really with her family now either. Even if she lives in Finland again, she is separated from her mother by 500 kilometres. But it is 500 kilometres in her own land and those are much easier to handle than from a foreign country to home. "To make a visit at home, you simply can jump in the train and do not need to book a flight and coordinate with the university" Tarja explains. Nevertheless, she will finish her classical song education in Karlsruhe. She gets private lessons from the university and goes by flight to Germany in between. Tarja will do this until her education is completed officially. By this, she has found a way to realise all her wishes. She can study, be with her mother and, most important for the fans, remain the foremost vocalist from Nightwish.

Since her return to Finland she is really happy with the band again. By being able to be together with Tuomas Holopainen and the others and rehearse with them, the very tense internal situation has improved. In brief, Nightwish will remain Nightwish without changes in the line-up. The whole formation really enjoys this. Everybody seems to be happy that it has turned out good for Tarja. "The boys are completely different to me" the dainty Finn laughs. "On our first tours, things had lead to some displeasure on both sides, but we have learned to compromise in the meantime and to accept each other as we are." "Completely differnt" does mean in the case of Tuomas Holopainen & Co.: party after shows, alcohol, laughing loud and watching porn in the tour bus. "On the tours for our first two albums, this had got on my nerves in a frightening way," she tells. "I just wanted to be left alone and take a nap, but I would hear the others and their partying constantly. Now we can communicate way better. For the boys it's OK that I do not want to party with them and they take care not to disturb me when I sleep. And I am happy for them when they can drink." Even if Tarja prefers to be alone in a hotel room of her own instead sharing the tour bus with the band and crew, she can have fun along with her musicians. "In principle they are sweet when they drink and party" she smiles. "They are like little children then, to whom you can bring a great delight by a bottle of beer. I have understood how much they enjoy it and I'm glad for them to have it."

Excessive parties will never belong to Tarja's life. Because of her experiences as teenager, she is a sensible, profound and earnest person that appreciates true friendship and a glass of red wine but she is not attracted by fast pleasures. Just as little as she has partied, she never had a one nightstand in her life. "That's absolutely nothing for me" she says determining. "It is just not the type of feeling that I have for men." Tarja is a person that appreciates long-term relationships and needs them too, as she admits very frankly. "I need much support" , she describes. "I need someone on my side who gives strength to me and pushes me forward. If left alone, I feel often feeble and do not have the courage to do something. In such moments I need somebody who sticks with me and who understands me and tells me that we can do it." Inner beauty and the option to remain herself are the most important things in a man. "Lots of people think they must bend for the partner," she has watched. "They do too many compromises because they think a relationship will not work otherwise. To me however a relationship only works if you respect each other as individual and mutually supporting what you are doing. Men who are jealous about my job or the people who are with me day by day do not help me along." Blind trust and understanding is judged as perfect by Tarja. "The most beautiful moments are the ones where you just sit next to each other without speaking and nevertheless know very well that you understand the other," Tarja thinks. "That is a wonderful feeling."

Blind trust often needs to reach out over this many kilometres in the case of the Finnish exceptional voice. She is away with Nightwish every weekend all through the summer 2003 with the crowning finale to be a North America tour where she will perform within one week in Atlanta, New York, Montreal and Mexico City. Although Tarja never was in the US before, she already knows some of her fans there - from concerts in Europe. "Sometimes it is really unbelievable how far people are travelling, just to see us live." she tells. ""t is difficult for me to understand what is so extraordinary about us and what fascinates spectators so much. Of course I feel that we do something good for the people, when we get so much excitement for them. This makes me happy and a little bit proud as well."

Interview with Nightwish 83

Source: Rock On #13 
Greece, March 2004


Interview with Nightwish 82

Source: Rock Hard #33
France, 05-06/04


Interview with Nightwish 81

Source: Zillo
Germany, June 2004


Interview with Nightwish 80

Source: Rock Brigade #215
Brazil, June 2004 


Interview with Nightwish 79

Source: Close-Up Magazine #67
June/July 2004


Interview with Nightwish 78

Source: Kerrang #1016
31 July 2004, England


Interview with Nightwish 77

Source: Rock Brigade #220
November 2004, Brazil


Interview with Nightwish 76

Source: Metal Hammer
November 2004

My Life Story

With the phenomenous success of "Once" Nightwish vocalist Tarja Turunen has proven that women are deservedly back in the front line of heavy metal. Daniel Lane discovers that the classically trained singer is more than just a simple country girl.

When and where were you born ?

"I was born in a little village in the east of Finland. It´s got a population of only 500, so I´m really just a simple country girl at heart.

What´s your earliest childhood memory ?

"My first childhood memory, and I remember it all quite vividly, was when I was around three or four years old and my father was building a new home for us. I was running around the building site and going into dangerous areas where I wasn´t supposed to go, as children do, and I remember my older brother - who´s seven years older than I am - looking out for me."

Do you have any other siblings ?

"Yes, I have another brother who is five years younger than me. I´m the middle child. We´re a really close family, and I love my brothers dearly. The annoying thing about being in a band is that when you´re off tour, you only get to see your family about two or three times a year and I really miss them. But they´re musicians too and they understand you have to tour and promote your band. Needless to say I´m getting pretty big phone bills right now - for keeping in touch with everyone back home."

How did you get along with your siblings when you were growing up ?

"I always remember fighting with my younger brother. Which was fine until I realized he was already stronger than I was. I think he was five and I was 10 and we were fighting and he was beating me really badly.
But it was a different story with my older brother. He´s seven years older than me so he was more responsible. He looked out for me and I looked out for my younger brother."

Did they vet your boyfriends ?

"Yes. It was very much like that. My younger brother would be like, "Why are you seeing that guy ?" And, "What do you see in him ?" My older brother brother was much more laid back though."

What was your upbringing like ?

"When I think of my childhood I instantly think of the landscape. We lived right next to a forest surrounded by lakes. I pretty much spent most of my childhood playing and going for walks in the forest, and swimming in the lakes. It was a pretty safe environment to bring up children. And I went to the little village school. There were only 70 people in the whole school and I was the only girl. For the first six years of primary school I was the only girl. I have two brothers that I´d fight with at home, and then I´d go to school and be surrounded by even more guys !"

How did you get on with your parents as a kid ?

"I had a really good relationship with my parents growing up. I was your typical "good girl" - I always got good grades and school and I was dedicated to my musical studies as well. My parents have always been supportive of my music, they started me off playing classical piano when I was five, and when I was about 10 it seemed like I´d be taking some kind of music class every night after school. My parents also thought they got off lightly in the teenage angst stakes too. I remember talking to my mother recently ad she said I didn´t really have any awkward teenage moments. But I know I did I just didn´t show it much."

Have your parents influenced who you are today either positively or negatively ?

"Yes, definitely. My personality is very much like my mother´s. She´s a very strong woman and I draw my strength from her. And the more sensible side of me comes from my father. But the real influence on who I am right now comes from my husband. Everyone talks about the British´s "stiff upper lip", but Finnish people are even more reserved than the British ! So my husband has been teaching me ways of how to connect with my emotions and how to show my emotions, which is really important for being a performer."

Who was your role model when you where growing up ?

"Looking back now, I´d say my mother. I really admire her a lot. But as far as famous people go I never really had a role model in that respect. I used to really like Whitney Houston. I really adored her songs and just really loved her voice. I would be singing her songs all the time, but I never considered her as a role model."

Did religion play a part in your upbringing ?

" A lot of people in Finland are Lutherians, and I am Lutherian too. I´d considered myself as a Christian, but we didn´t go to church every week. We used to go at Easter and at Christmas time, which are the main two Christian events. I used to go to church camps with other children from the congregation as well, and later I joined the church quire. I became a soloist, and I still go back at Christmas and give performances at the church in my home town."

What was school like for you ?

"As I said before I was the only girl at primary school, and that was just hell. I was teased and bullied, but I think that was down to my musical abilities. The head teacher of the school was also head of the music department and being the only girl in a school full of boys he was always putting me forward for things and I guess my classmates resented that. It was just the whole small town mindset, and if things hadn´t have picked up later on at school, I really don´t think I´d be here today."

What did you do after high school ?

"I left home at 15 actually, and went to college in Savonlinna, a nearby city, and I studied music. After three years I went to music university and then to the Sibelius Academy in Germany and I´ve just completed my degree in classical singing."

How did that impact on the band ?

"It was just really problematic scheduling it all, but it was really good to spend some time in Germany studying music. I got to spend some quality time with myself and, at that time, I wasn´t well known in Germany..."

Not like now with your face plastered across busses and billboards ?

"Yes, not like now. It was pretty intensive, spending seven days singing and I didn´t have much time to myself , but now I´m a qualified singer. I´m really pleased how everything turned out, because if I hadn´t have gone to Sibelius I wouldn´t be at this stage in my singing career."

Finally, do you think there is a difference between the way you are and the person you are perceived as being ?

" When I´m on stage I´m very happy but when I´m on tour it can begin to grate a little bit. Y´know, every day you´re surrounded by people who want to talk to you and it can be a bit intimidating for me being the only girl in the band. Although I´m happy to talk with the press and spend time with the fans, I need a little time for me. So if you meet me and I´m in a bad mood you´ll just have to accept me who I am or should just leave me alone."

Interview with Nightwish 75

Source: Terrorizer
December 2004

FINNS DE SIÈCLE

Not only captivating the hearts of metal fans across Europe, NIGHTWISH have also crossed into mainstream consciousness. Crashing into the No 1 lsot across the continent with their symphonic metal opus 'Once'. There's no other word capable of describing their sensational rise to fame than 'phenomenon' and now they have Britain in their sights. Gunnar Sauermann of German Metal Hammer met the band and examined their success story, from small town roots to the current sold out arena tour.

ACCESS ALL ARIAS

Nightwish are going to get you - there is no escape. They are selling out every venue on their current tour in Europe, which means 7600 tickets in Hamburg alone, and it takes combined force of Metallica and Slipknot to top the Finns' audience pull. At their concerts you will find all manner of fans in the crowd: Old supprters from the metal scene, gothic girlies in black velvet dresses plus surprisingly large number of people wearing shirts by Darkthrone, Emperor, Dimmu borgir and Cradle Of Filth. Add to this throng young fans, who saw the latest Nightwish video, as well as their parents infected by their children's enthusiasm and you get a massive audience going wild.

The lights go out and to the sound of a taped intro and the roaring cheer of thousands, four Finns take their stations. A defeating burst of pyros and soaring flames hit the stomach, sear the face even at the back of the stage when Nightwish open up their 'Dark Chest Of Wonders'. Then a collective scream of joy announces Tarja's coming to the front. The voice, clear as a Nordic winter and sweet as honeycomb rises an army of arms causing all body-hair to stand up to the marvel of ths sight and sound. How the hell did this happen? What makes Nightwish so special?

ONCE UPON A TIME

It was a Nuclear Blast promo sampler that first brought Nightwish to attention of many Germans around 1997. A song called 'Elvenpath' stood out from all the usual suspects that found their way onto the CD. Hymn-like keyboards battled heavy guitars and catchy melodies wormed their way into memory. At that time anything featuring woman was likely to be from Netherlands, or maybe Norway, and she left lasting impreassion. The band turned out to be Finns, but who were they? The musical mastermind and founder of Nightwish was keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen, whose first appearence in the metal scene was rather black as he joined Nattvindens Gråt and was also a session member of Darkwoods My Betrothed after a short episode under the name Dismal Silence.

"Yeah, I always wanted my own band to be pure black metal, but then I sold my soul to Satan and started playing commercial shit" , remarks Tuomas with his characteristically sardonic smile and mocking eyes. In fact, Nightwish started their career by accident.

"We just wanted to make acoustic music with some female vocals, but when Tarja entered the studio, we were blown away by her voice. We had no idea what to expect from her, so the combination of metal and opera singing happened by lucky coincidence," remembers the keyboardist sitting on a couch backstage in Bremen.

"I was very surprised when my schoolmate Tuomas politely asked me to sing on his demo," Tarja adds, sitting next to him, "because we never really talked before. He was a very shy guy who played clarinet and would wave at me when we met in our school band. His mother was also my piano teacher and he had also seen me singing at events in our hometown, Kitee. As I had never listened to metal before, Tuomas' songs were weird to me, but I somehow liked them and decided to sing for him."

It wasn't all roses from the start, however: "It was really bad. Today I die laughing when I hear what I did back then," she whispers with a grin.

"I got the idea of female vocals from The Gatherin, Theatre Of Tragedy and especially The Third And The Mortal," offers Tuomas. "Without them there would be no Nightwish."

The first member to join Tuomas in his musical quest was guitar wizard Erno 'Emppu' Vuorinen, who introduced drummer Jukka Nevalainen to the growing band. They recorded seven songs for a demo in April 1997 and sent them to a number of labels. Their only response was their first demo review, labelling them "a shitty band with no commecial potential." Throught Tuomas' old friend Tapio Wilska, who he knew from his days in Nattvindens Gråt, and Babylon Whores' guitarist Ewo Rytkönen, who later become their manager, Nightwish secured a contract with Finnish label Spinefarm. In November 1997 the label released the demo, christened 'Angels Fall First', and one month later the band performed their first gig at the New Year's Disco in Kitee. Their debut made it to No 32 in the Finnish charts and the single 'The Carpenter' hit No 15. Not bad for newcomers.

A LEARNING PROCESS

It soon became evident that a regular bass player was needed instead of Emppu who was occasionally filling in. The position went to Sami Vänskä, who had also been involved with Nattvindens Gråt. Everything was ready to start recording the second album. Once again, they chose Tero Kinnunen's local Caverock Studio for this task, and today Tero still takes responsibility for Nightwish's monitor sound on tour. Their choice of studio meant that the drums were being recorded in the locker room of Kitee's local gymnasium and the facilities didn't always meet their needs. "I wasn't used to this kind of music," admits Tarja. "It took me about three years before I really learned how to intrigate my classically trained voice into metal. I wasn't ready when we recorded 'Oceanborn'. I remember sitting on the floor, crying my eyes out, while the guys stood around me shouting, 'Sing, bitch, sing!'"

Tarja developed her talent at school, with solo performances in church choir and extra singing lessons. The attention created envy among her fellow students leading to constant ribbing, something she complained about in a national interview in Finland years later. After she left school, the diva-in-waiting studied classical singing and musical theatre in Savonlinna and church music at the renowned Sibelius Academy, later moving to Karlsruhe, Germany for additional classical voice lessons. A rather unusual career for someone involved with the hard music scene. "Through Nightwish I got contact with a completely alien music style, but this was a lucky moment for me." says the dark haird Finn with a smile. "There aren't many educated voices in this genre and more important, no classical singers mad enough to try it out. This way I learned much about my voice and myself as a person."

Mixed by Mikko Karmila's capable hands (Moonspell, Sentenced, HIM) with Mika Jussila engineering at the renowned Finnvox Studios, 'Oceanborn' was released late 1998 and took Finland by surprise. The single 'Sacrament Of Wilderness' topped the charts for several weeks and the album reached No 5, while 'The Carpenter' re-entered the charts and reached No 3. In 1999 German label Drakkar secured the recordings for the Europe's largest metal market: Austria, Germany and Switzerland and some months later 'Oceanborn went gold there as well. They managed to sell over 20,000 copies of 'Sleeping Sun' a ballad written for the solar eclipse on August 11 the same year, which prepared the ground for the first international appearence, opening for Rage. Deep in their 'musical phase' someone obviously thought an opera singer would fit well on the opening, indeed. Nightwish gained many new friends on the tour.

THE ROAD TO THE TOP

After a short break, Nightwish began working on their third album, 'Wishmaster'. The entire band had gained valuable experience as musicians and returning to the home studios and engineers helped the process because everyone knew what to expect this time. The newfound confidence was reflected in the song material that progressed from where 'Oceanborn' left it and was best described as evolution rather than revolution.

"To me 'Wishmaster' got rid of all the small mistakes that occurred on 'Oceanborn', although it was already a long step from the debut. It took a while to develop the style," says Tuomas.

When 'Wishmaster' hit the streets in May 2000 it went straight to the top of the Finnish charts achieving gold status in one month, then quickly achieving platinum and attaining high chart positions all over Europe. Near a year of extensive touring followed and Nightwish travelled the world finishing with the 2001 summer festivals. Even the prestigious Wacken festival seemingly acknowledged the band, allowing them into the roster for diehard 'true' metal fans. Nightwish had officially become 'rock stars' with screaming fans running after their tour bus, endless signing sessions and crazy life on the road. The pace took it's toll. "The 'Wishmaster' tour and the making of of that album was killing us mentally," confides Tarja. And the band headed full steam into their biggest crisis.

WHAT GOES UP MUST COME DOWN

By the end of 2001 there were strong rumours about an imminent split, denied by the management and record company. Tuomas was no longer getting on with Sami, while Tarja was studying in Karlsruhe with little band contact.

"At the time, I was in Germany and didn't know what the hell was going on, when somebody called me from Finland and told me that Tuomas wanted to end Nightwish," recalls the singer. "We all had a bad phase and I honestly don't know what went wrong. Maybe we were just tired from all the touring."

On the 'End Of Innocence' DVD, Tuomas reveals that he actually quit the band for two weeks during that period, but quickly decided to make an alternative line-up change. Sami was acrimoniously fired (Tuomas publicly apologises on the DVD the way it happened) and replaced by Marco Hietala (Tarot, ex-Sinergy).

TURNING THE TIDE

The Finnish bass legend proved to be a valuable addition because he also brought strong voice and tons of metal credibility into Nightwish. With his calm and relaxed manner, Marco injected fresh spirit into the band. "Marco was part of the band's healing process," recalls the singer, shooting a pleased look towards the fork-bearded bass man. "He is able to give thanks or apologies and was the first person in five years of hell, who could come up and hug me in front of everybody, when I had a bad day or felt more than usually nervous before a show. That kind of behaviour was new to me."

In January 2002 the band began working on their next album 'Century Child'. Traces of the events over the previous months were audible as this was the most sinister and harsh recording Nightwish have done, with Marco adding his strong male voice to Tarja's new singing style. "For all of us, 'Century Child' functioned as a healing process." says Tarja. It took only two hours for the new album to achieve gold in their homeland, and then double platinum. Another world tour put the newfound balance within Nightwish ranks to the test and it proved to be more than stable, their final celebrated show in Leipzig in September 2002 turned into a heavy emotional outpouring and ended in tears of relief, because it had become evident that they were now able to continue as a band.

"I really enjoy being in Nightwish now," confides Tarja calmly. "It started in Leipzig and Oberhausen. We solved everything that had to be out of the way and since then it feels good to go on the road with the guys. I'm much more self-confident now and the whole athmosphere has improved."

BREAK ON THROUGH TO THE OTHER SIDE

The concert in Oberhausen in January 2003 brought more than a breakthrough. Not only did the band get back on track - 8,000 fans enthusiastically cheering their idols proved Nightwish had again moved up another level - they could appeal to any kind of fan. Their secret seems to to rest in the Finnish melodies pouring out of Tuomas' mind and flying fingers on his keyboards, which are unusually situated at the front of the stage, and also in their exceptional singer with her powerful voice full of beauty, sometimes raising to love and happiness and then again drowning in the depths of sorrow and melancholy. No other female singer in this genre can come close to Tarja, elegantly gliding over the stage with graceful movement or simply headbanging like any metalhead in the crowd. Just a wave of her hand or a wink and Tarja whips her fans into frenzy.

This has to be seen to be believed and the fever grips everyone no matter where you set out from: Iron Maiden, Marduk, Slayer or Top Of The Pops. When 16,000 arms were raised into the air for the final 'Wishmaster' concert, feelings ran strong with everyone. Tarja left the stage with tears streamng from her eyes and the whole band barricaded itself backstage for 30 minutes, before retrning. Nightwish live for their music - it is true and heartfelt and this is what the fans instinctively realise, why black, death and 'true' metal people alike get sucked into the growing maelstrom.

"Honesty is our biggest strength," agrees Tuomas. "No matter how complicated or weird our music sounds, it is always based on real emotions. You can have a nice pop song, but it is just a well-produced piece without true feelings. They are just putting the word 'love' into the right places."

After a second sold-out gig in Munich in front of 5,000 Bavarians partying like at the Oktoberfest, it was time for a break. Tarja got married, Jukka learned about the joys of fatherhood and the rest of the band recharged their batteries with their families and friends.

When a new record deal was signed with Nuclear Blast Tuomas began working with 'Once' and the recording sessions began in November 2003. The band's mastermind happily exploited his newly acquired status to hire the London Philharmonic Orchestra, famous for its work on the soundtrack 'Lord Of The Rings'. In many ways 'Once' sounds like a film score and baffled critics at first listening sessions mumbled it was "too complex, this is never going to work," and so on. Tuomas' amused reaction speaks volumes: "Damn well it's not easy listening! I like to give people and myself a good challenge."

Even before 'Once' was played to the assembled press the bandleader seemed unusually confident and admitted, "This is the first time I am almost 100 per cent happy with album. I was sure about this material and the result from day one until I had it finished."

This came as a big surprise as Tarja had neatly summed up their general frame of mind one year before: "We don't trust in ourselves and are so alike in this. I just hate that. Of course I get very emotional nowdays seeing the people screaming and yelling in front of me that I am almost crying after every gig, but I need a kick in the ass all the time. And although Tuomas is so very talented, he still needs someone to tell him that and a lot of pushing."

Another change had occurred in Nightwish and the critics were proved wrong again (remember - 'no commecial potential'). 'Once' went platinum in record breaking time and this time not only at home in Finland, where a triple is expected, but also in Germany and gold all over the continent. Nightwish have moved into the metal champion league. Now a venue like the Palladium in Cologne with capacity of 4,000 is no longer the largest but the smallest Nightwish play in Germany and all of this has happened in just two years. Night after night the band deliver brilliant concerts in front of thousands, clearly showing the band at a new peak. And while some things remain the same, like Emppu and Marco enjoying a little bit of teasing and fun on stage, Tuomas forming his own centre of gravity at the right wing and Tarja weaving her magic at will with Jukka pushing from the back, there is a new level of band confidence.

This is true, her days of silent endurance and suffering are finally gone, and it reflects in her even more powerful singing. Now she stands her ground. This new self-assuredness of all members reveals itself during their live shows, as an '80s metal relic watching the concert in cologne puts it with open ashtonishment, "Hey man, I don't believe this, I hate opera and all this crap, but this is just great! I see a band that is having fun on stage and plays a damn good metal show. And that singer is really something else. Damn, I like this!" Yet another victim of Nightwish. With Europe firmly conquered those Finns are setting their course towards Britain once more.

N-DAY IS COMING

"Unfortunately we've been to England only three times before," sighs Tuomas. "It's propably the hardest market in the world for a gothic metal Finnish band singing in English. Our concerts at Bloodstock and the Mean Fiddler in London were great, though, and the fans there are just amazing."

Their last, sell out show at the Astoria, however, took on an even more powerful resonance.

"I have felt many times that I have an angel on my shoulder," Tarja confides. "Before that show I did not even have a voice to speak, but when I went on stage it worked very well. Many people told me that I have some kind of wierd power in me, that people really get something. Maybe there is something, that I get the power from the audience and give it back through me"

While she helps herself a beer, pretending to ask her husband Marcelo for permission, the conversation turns to British steel: "I am a huge fan of Carcass and Iron Maiden has inspired us all, of course," offers Tuomas. "But most of all, My Dying Bride ranks among my top five bands and I own every single of their records."

Nightwish are coming and wheron Maiden has inspired us all, of course," offers Tuomas. "But most of all, My Dying Bride ranks among my top five bands and I own every single of their records."

Nightwish are coming and when they reappear on british soil come February, there's going to be no stopping them.

Interview with Nightwish 74

Source: MetalReviews
12 May 2009

I was very happy about this interview. Since Dark Passion Play is two years old, I decided to push promoting that album to the side a bit. I think the interview with Marco a couple of years ago covers that. Whenever possible I like to interview the members that write the songs in the band. I have noticed that there is something unique about all these people. People such as Tobias Sammet, David Defeis, Tony Kakko, Derek Bonner, and Tuomas Holopainen. I like to delve into these folks a bit to try and find out how such great music is created.

Once again my encounter with Nightwish was pure class. I feel I have to mention this at every opportunity because for a band of this caliber, they are completely courteous professionals. From their tower of power manager Ewo, who is to Nightwish what Rod Smallwood is to Iron Maiden, to the crew, and the other band members themselves, everyone was total class. Nightwish are the de facto standard on how to be a professional touring and recording band. 

This first question I gotta ask because I am very curious. On your bio on the Nightwish site you have The Dark Tower series listed with your favorite books. What did you think of the ending after all these years?´

I really liked the ending but I felt so completely empty because I knew that this was it. I had been reading it for years, waiting for the story to go on. When it ended, I was sitting in a hotel room and when I read the last page I got the shivers. This was it. I felt really sad it was over although I liked the ending, I thought it was really good. I heard some rumors that they are making a movie out of it or like a mini series? 

Yeah it is on for sure but they haven't decided on a movie or an HBO series thing. Have you heard about the comic books they're doing? One's called The Long Road Home and it's an original story about Roland and Cuthbert going back after Wizard And Glass?

I've seen some of the comics. Just seen them though, I haven't read any. I think that The Dark Tower series is Stephen King's best work, one of the best stories ever written. That, The Talisman, and The Lord Of The Rings are all three on the same level for me. 

I have a question for you about The Sound Of Nightwish Reborn. This was a digital only release and I'm curious as to why you guys decided to do a digital only release. Was it because the material was b-sides and demos or was it supposed to be your first foray into a digital only outlet?

You know, this was completely the record label's idea. I haven't sacrificed a single thought on this release and I haven't seen it, never heard it, I don't even know what songs are included. I've just heard that this kind of release exists, that's all I know about it. Really! Honestly, I don't know. It seems that record labels these days are putting out all kinds of stuff and when they asked us, it was "Ok, go ahead." 

What are your thoughts on digital only releases? Do you see yourself going that way in the future or do prefer to have the actual hard copy as long as its possible?

I detest digital stuff to the bone. Maybe it's the thing for the future and that is a scary thought. I don't even own an Ipod and I have never downloaded a single thing from the internet, I don't even know how it's done. I want my cd in my hand so I can seei the cover and read the lyrics, everything. Just my opnion.

You seem to be a person that is very in touch with nature. I remember on the End Of Innocence DVD you spoke of your family's cabin with fond reverence. When you were down and out in 2001 between Over The Hills and Century Child you went to the woods with Tony [Kakko] and that was a very rejuvenating experience. How do you think that being in touch with nature and having an appreciation for nature affected your songwriting in the early days, and then how do you think touring the world and seeing all sorts of difference cultures affected your songwriting if at all?

I think that everything you see and experience in life affects your songwriting on a subconscious level. But the fact that I've been living in the middle of nowhere in the woods all of the thirty two years of my life, that has certainly affected what I am as a person and that way to my songwriting. I'd like to think that the songs I do are quite organic. I take alot of inspiration from the beauty of the world, the beauty and the purity of nature which I have witnessed my whole life. If I was a city slicker I think I would be doing something like industrial metal. I think that there is a strong connection with nature in everything we do. 

This question is one my friend Damien brought up which is, have you written all your songs while home in Finland? Or have you composed songs in various places like the beaches in Japan or down south in Australia? Not just riffs or ideas but whole concrete songs.

I have never completed a song anywhere else other than my own room in my house. I'm gathering ideas all the time wherever I am. Right now I have a notebook, actually, two notebooks because one is full already, and they are full of ideas, lyrics, riffs, melodies, little lines. Touring the world I get inspired all the time by people I meet, different cultures and experiences. I feel the world so strongly and it feels good. But it is impossible for me to find the mood to complete a song in an environment like this. [touring] I need my peace and solitude at home for a few months to be able to put it all together. 

Since Wishmaster, Nightwish's popularity has been on an increasing upward slope and with that comes more and more obligations. Do you still find time to practice as a musician, not just your songwriting but your technique such as scales, patterns, and stuff like that?

I don't have the time, but that's no excuse, I don't do it anymore. I used to do it alot earlier on but I don't do it anymore. To be honest I have seen my technique going down. Seriously! There are certain songs from Oceanborn like Pharaoh Sails To Orion or Stargazers that I still think I can do... but not so easily like I used to. I'm getting older and lazier. Just doing the technique, it's so boring. I would rather spend all that time and energy on the songwriting. But you do have a point. I've been thinking because I've seen when I play live that the technique is not like it used to be like it was ten years ago. I should get a hold of myself. 

Oh, well hey man it's not a critique on my part...


Oh I know, it's just I've been thinking that myself and I've noticed it so it was a good point. 

This is kind of a personal question but when you were growing up, did you feel like you were a bit of an outsider from most of the other people you knew such as your peers or the people you went to school with?
 

Very, very much. I had a nickname, "The Lone Wolf" when I was in high school. The thing is though I was never bullied or teased, I was just different. I had some friends but I really enjoyed being by myself. I spent alot of time at home with just me, my mom, and my dad. I would read alot and I watched alot of movies, or I'd just go out into the woods. I really like to be by myself. It wasn't like I was an outcast though in that sense. I did really well in school, I had friends, and I had my hobbies.

What was the first song that when you got done writing that felt accomplished with because it tested your limits as a writer and performer and what has been the most recent song that made you feel this way?

It must have been one of the songs from the first album, Angels Fall First. When I finished with the song The Carpenter, even though it feels a bit corny to say these days, but I felt really proud of it because of the theme of the song and how it goes. That was also the first single that Nightwish released in 1997. Now when I listen to it I hear all the flaws but there is still something in there that I am really proud of. Of the recent doings, about a month ago, three weeks ago before we came on this tour, I got a song finished at home. Well, it's more like an interlude, three and a half minutes long, and it is going to be on the next album. I am just really, really happy with it. It's something really simple but I got the story that I wanted to tell into that song. This was song number three that I have got down for the upcoming album. 


That's kind of a segue way into this next question. I know that alot of your songs are based on personal experience but I also know that you are a fan of Disney, a fan of the fantastical, with songs like Fantasmic, and The Pharoah Sails To Orion. What are some of your favorite fairy tales that you have written? The fictitious stories for Nightwish as opposed to the personal stuff on Century Child like End Of All Hope, Dead To The World, and Slaying The Dreamer.


I like the whole concept of The Poet And The Pendulum. It's related to Edgar Allen Poe's Pit And The Pendulum and I put myself onto the altar with the swaying pendulum on top of me. I really got the shivers when I thought that yes, this idea can work. The Poet And The Pendulum, there's that word play but also it had alot of symbolism because of what happened a few years ago. I felt like I was beneath this swinging blade and that it was going to come down any minute now and split me in half. I was really excited with the whole metaphor and symbolism of that. That is still my greatest achievement in music so far I think. I actually got the idea to put myself into that song, there's actually the word Tuomas in the song, from The Dark Tower series. Stephen King wrote himself into Song Of Susannah and when I read that I thought, "This is so cool, I have to do this with Nightwish." It's such a wonderful idea and it's so crazy that it really worked. It was a bit of a rip off but that's where I got the idea. 

Since you are the main composer and lyricist, what do you find easier to express yourself emotionally within the music? For example if you are angry and write an aggressive song like Slaying The Dreamer, does the aggression come out in the music first and then the lyrics afterward, or was it easier to get the aggression into the lyrics and then compose the music behind them?


I think that when you talk about aggression and negative feelings, it is much easier to start with the lyrics. I still have my notebook from the Century Child era when I was writing Slaying The Dreamer. There a dozen pages of this written down [motions angry, hard, handwriting in the air]. alot of "f" words, I was so pissed about something that I wrote down all the stuff, pages and pages. After that I started to clean it up and it became the lyrics for Slaying The Dreamer. It's the same thing with The Poet And The Pendulum. When it comes to aggression the lyrics are far easier.

Earlier back in the day I remember reading interviews from the Wishmaster and Century Child eras and I remember you commenting about how it would be a dream of yours to work with a full orchestra and choir. Well now that that has happened with Once and Dark Passion Play, what is next on your wish list of life goals to accomplish, not just in Nightwish but life in general?

First of all when it comes to music and Nightwish I have a huge dream and we are doing everything we can to fulfill it on the next album. I am going to be a bit mystical here because I can't reveal to you anymore but there is going to be a big twist so to say, on the next album. I just hope we can realize that because it is going to be the all time dream come true if we can pull it off. It is going to take alot of time, effort, work, and money. We will see what happens, I am really looking forward to it. Overall in life I feel really happy because I am living in my own house in the woods by the lake. It is a perfect scenario. When I go back home in about a week we are going to plant some potatoes, some vegetables, and all that and I am going to go fishing. My all time dream is to be able to live from nature so I will never have to go the grocery store again. 

At what point did you realize that Nightwish and your dream of writing music that this was it, this was going to be your life. Alot of people will get together and jam and maybe say, "Hey let's write some stuff," but how old were you when you realized this vision was your life and nothing was going to stop you?


It was during the songwriting of Oceanborn in 1998, early on. I was studying in a university back then and when I was studying I was writing the songs for Oceanborn. I felt so ambitious and so good about it that I couldn't care less about the studies. I think at that point I realized that I really wanted to give this a shot to see how far we could get with the band. Angels Fall First had already hit the charts so there was some interest from people and we had done a few shows. It just felt so good and the studying thing felt so wrong. I quit everything and just did Nightwish as a full time job. I would say the first three months of 1998 was the crucial time. 

What is your favorite aspect of the music industry and what is your least favorite part? This could be anything from the songwriting process, to touring and seeing cultures, record label politics. Basically, what is your favorite part of being a professional musician and what is your least favorite?


By far my most favorite aspect is the songwriting process. The part where I get to be by myself at home and do the songs and then introduce them to the band and rehearse them. All of this, bringing the ideas together and creating music out of nothing. That is by far my most favorite part. Of course I like touring, I like meeting new people, being in different countries and seeing the sights, but that's secondary. The business part is by far the worst. I have taken a really naive approach to all of that. I don't talk about that and I don't want to hear about it because it takes all of my energy away. I am such a child when it comes to all this business stuff. People around me and even in the band, they criticize me a little bit that I should know where I'm going with the money and I just say that I can't deal with it, that's why we have the managers. We have two of them and our drummer Jukka takes care of all the business. I trust him completely. I have no idea how much we get for these shows, I don't know what the ticket sales are, I don't know how much money we are making and I don't want to know. It really gives me the creeps.

Does not knowing all that stuff and not stressing about it, does it feel like it allows you to be more pure?

Yeah exactly. Because I know myself. And I know my limits. Not dealing with that stuff in a way helps me to make better music. It sounds corny but that's the way it is. I even quit my email so I don't even have that anymore. Whenever I would wake up and check my emails there would be twenty new messages and it would all be record label crap, money business and all that. I just can't do this, sorry. So we made a deal and I stay out of it. Let other people who have the understanding and the interest to do that do it.

Do you have a specific time of the day that you enjoy to write during? Or a specific place like a writing room in your cabin? Something like maybe dusk at sunset is a great time or do you just write more or less when inspiration strikes?

Whenever inspiration strikes and it can happen at any time. But I have also noticed that mornings are the best time by far. The moment when you wake up, drink your morning coffee, and after that you sit in front of your keyboard. The next five hours from that moment are the best. For some reason this really works for me. I have talked about it with my colleauges and almost everybody in this business they say that night is the best time but it is the worst time for me. I don't know why, I get tired and woozied out. It's just not a good time for me, mornings are the best.

Your lyrics are very open to interpretation and complex. Do you think that your approach to English and writing lyrics is because English isn't your first language and that Finnish is your first? Cos the way that like you , Tony Kakko, and Timo Tolkki, the way you guys write lyrics are pretty profound and are a bit more in depth than "typical dumb American metal lyrics."


I know there are alot of grammar mistakes but I think that that is part of the appeal. I don't want it to be perfect because I am not a native English speaker. I guess it makes it a bit more charming even in a way. It is easier to write in English for some reason but I really don't know why. I try to avoid cliches to the maximum because I am writing about stuff that all the musicians in the world write about and that's love, dreams, hopes, fears, all that stuff. But you don't have to be so obvious. You don't have to go Bon Jovi, "baby I'll love you always, I'm just a man." That's crap. I mean it's a good cause because it's about love and relations but it's total crap. You just can't put it so direct there has to be some interpretation. That's what poetry is about, interpretation. It's giving you the images and not telling you everything straight.

Were there any particular writers or poets that influenced your writing style in terms of usage of metaphors or phrasing?


One of my biggest inspirations, especially in the early days is the guy from My Dying Bride, Aaron Stainthorpe. I still adore his lyrics. As a metal music lyricist he is still my biggest idol. I read alot of poetry and lately I have found these old American poets like Edgar Allen Poe is one of my favorites and especially Walt Whitman. His book Song Of Myself has kind of become my personal bible. It holds a life philosophy that I can truly relate to. It is the greatest piece of poetry ever written and I think that this will show on the next album very strongly.

Well I definitely have to look this up when I get home.


Please do.

I know you've done a million interviews but what is a question or topic that you would love to talk about but it hasn't been brought up yet in an interview?


I just counted that I've done something like eight hundred and fifty interviews during this past tour so almost everything has been answered. I love to talk about personal interests like Walt Whitman, Disney, movies, literature, and about music and how songs are made. I don't want to talk about the past of the band. I still get this every now and then. "Ok so here's Tuomas of Nightwish. Could you please explain to me the history of the band from the first album up to this day?" (laughs) And then it's just like," Oh fuck!" I couldn't name just one topic. Things that matter, that is what I like to talk about. This interview is a perfect example of that in every aspect. It's been a good talk about really interesting stuff. Stuff that matters, that fans want to hear, and stuff I like to talk about.

Because you write such very profound lyrics and because Nightwish's popularity is growing more and more do you ever feel that someone might have misinterpreted a deeply personal song that you have written in a horrible way and also in a sense do you feel that you have a bit of responsibility for these people who do take these songs in and think the world of them?


It's a really scary thought. I have thought about this alot in the past few months about the responsibility. It's an immensely scary thought. Some people have taken the songs that we do and the lyrics so deep into them and they are almost reading it as a bible. Sometimes you meet the fanatic fans and you see what it means to them and it's like... it is important, it is music and it's poetry but it isn't the whole world. That's something that I have a hard time coping with because I feel the responsibility on my shoulders and I'm not so sure if I can take it always. I've seen the effect that I or another band member can have on a fan. It takes one minute of your life to go and see somebody and take a picture with him or her, sign an autograph and chat a few words. And they live five years longer because of that you can see it in their eyes, it means the world to them. Sometimes you simply can't though, you don't have the time or the energy and you just can't do it. Later on you feel like "I could have done it." I have that power to influence people and make them feel really good or really bad by not meeting them or doing something wrong unintentionally and that I have a hard time coping with.

What are your opinions on the modern Disney movies as compared to old school ones? Like do you like the Pixar ones or do you find yourself more drawn still to the classics like Sleeping Beauty and Fantasia?


In a way I hate to say this because when you are a big fan of something you always say the older stuff was better. We get that all the time, "Yeah the new one is ok but the old stuff is really good." With Disney its the same way for me. I am not really into Pixar at all. I've seen some of the computer animated movies and they are good for a laugh, to see once but they just don't have the magic that I am after. I am still very deeply into the old stuff, Sleeping Beauty, Fantasia, even Beauty And The Beast. They did make some really good stuff in the nineties but after that they just didn't do the trick for me.

Ben


Birmalänkar

S*Ziblora's Heliga Birmakatter

S*Romberger's




Inskriven: 2009-05-14 20:51
Namn: Anneli  Ahlström
Telefon: 0171-477732
E-post: zemlans@gmail.com
Ort: Enköping
Hemsida: http://www.zemlans.se/
Två lila birmabebisar föddes den 14/4, en kille och en tjej. Mamma är Trevino's Zemla (c) och pappa är CH S*Stoneridge Afternoon In Utopia (b).
Bebisarna är flyttfärdiga tidigast den 7/7. Titta på hemsidan för bilder och ring eller maila gärna med frågor.



 Blåmaskade kattungar
Inskriven: 2009-05-12 20:58
Namn: Elisabet Bengts-Ljungberg
Telefon: 018-403204, 0293-53085
E-post: tebasiles@bredband.net
Ort: Uppsala
Hemsida: http://hem.bredband.net/b364444/
Fyra charmiga och jättesöta kattungar, en tjej och tre killar. De är födda 8 april och är leveransklara i början av juli. Båda föräldrarna är HCM-scannade utan anmärkning, testade negativt för FIV/FeLV och klamydia. Ring eller maila för mer info.




 * * * En dröm i blått * * *
Inskriven: 2009-05-09 22:06
Namn: Annika Larsson
Telefon: 070 771 60 36
E-post: annika@lantz.it
Ort: Stockholm/Skogås
Hemsida: http://www.lantz.it/tutviken
Mysa är en blå tjej och hon föddes den 29 mars. Den som kan erbjuda denna underbara lilla tjej ett bra hem får gärna höra av sig till mig. Stolta föräldrar till denna sötnos är S*Tutviken Skilla och CH S*Commanchero's Fandango. Mysa är leveransklar v.26-27
Välkommen in på min hemsida för mer information och fina bilder.

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S*Querencia's har smått
Inskriven: 2009-05-04 13:18
Namn: Margareta Berglund
Telefon: 0224-30890
E-post: margareta_heby@hotmail.com
Ort: Heby
Hemsida: http://www.margaretaheby.com/
Eline och Evita, blåmaskade kattungar söker nya hem.
Evita endast till sällskap.
Far: S*Coquet Dale's Jack Sparrow Mor: S*Birmablue Madicken
Välkomna att kika på hemsidan för foton
Mvh Margareta

Namn

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 S*Querencia´s Evita

Hona 

96g

Blå

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Till Salu
 S*Querencia´s ElineHona 101g

Blå

Sällskap 
avel ?

Till Salu ?




*** Kattungar  hos  S*Ziblora's  i  Lidköping ***
Inskriven: 2009-04-19 22:12
Namn: Inger Landén
Telefon: 0734-337734 / 0510-546365
E-post: zibloras@msn.com
Ort: Lidköping
Hemsida: http://www.zibloras.cybersite.se//
Vi har 1 tjej blåmaskad född 29/3-09, lev.klar i v.26 = ca 22/6
Far: CH S*Lilla p's Beyond Blues SBI b (Boriz)
Mor: CH S*Droppstenen's Ezzie SBI n    (Ezzie)

Vi har 2 killar lilamaskade födda 13/4-09, lev.klara i v.28 = ca 7/7
Far: CH S*Lilla p's Beyond Blues SBI b (Boriz)
Mor: CH S*Ziblora's Narzizzie SBI a    (Zizzie)

Aktuell info på hemsidan
Vid intresse mejla mej gärna

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S*Ziblora´s Rara Rozalita



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Världar av ljus ... - Titelregister

Alice's adventures in Wonderland
Allan Quatermain
Alliance of light
Alone with the horrors
Alvin journeyman
Alvin - lärlingen
The amber witch
Ambrosio se The monk
American psycho
Ancient light
Andra djungelboken
Atlan
Att riskera allt
Att spela människa
Aurian
Aurians flykt
Avalons dimmor
Avgrunden

Beauty's punishment
Beauty's release
Bel-Ami
Belgarath besvärjaren
Belgarions son
Belinda
Berättelser från Orsinien
Besvärjarnas kamp
Bilbo
Black Trillium
The black unicorn
Blixtsken
Den blodbestänkta väven
The book of Atrix Wolfe
The book of Merlyn
Book of the three dragons
The books of blood
Bram Stoker's Dracula
Den brinnande stenen

Cabal
Caldé of the Long Sun
Camber av Culdi
The candle in the wind
Capitol
The carpet people
Carrie
Carrion comfort
Caspian, prins av Narnia
The castle of Otranto
The castle of the otter
The castles of Athlin and Dunbayne
Castleview
The champion of virtue
The changeling sea
The chawoman's shadow
The children of Llyr
Children of the mind
Christine
The citadel of the Autarch
The city (J. Herbert)
The city (J. Gaskell)
City of sorcery
The claiming of Sleeping Beauty
Clive Barker's books of blood se The books of blod
Conjure wife
The count of eleven
Creed
Creepshow
A crown of swords
Cry to heaven
Cujo
The curse of the mistwraith
The cygnet and the firebird

Dancing at the edge of the world
The dark
The dark side of the sun
The dark tower 3: The waste lands
A darkness at Sethanon
Dataterror
Daughter of regals
Days of air and darkness
Days of blood and fire
Dead in the water
The deed of Paksenarrion
Demonen i Karanda
Demons by daylight
Desperation
Det
The devil in a forest
The Devil rides out
The Devil's dictionary
Dhiammara
Diamanttronen
Djungelboken
Djävulens frestelser
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
The doll who ate his mother
Dolores Claiborne
Domain
Domes of fire
Domnei
The door through space
The door to december
Dorian Grays porträtt
Dotter till hav och eld
Dracula
Dragons, elves and heroes
Drakens dag
Drakens flykt
Drakens ögon
Draktronen
Draktårar
Dubbla lojaliteter
Där världen kallas skog/Där världen heter skog
Död zon
Det döda kungariket
De dödligas förförare
Dödsbädden
Dödsdansen
Dödsgudinnans sång

Eldfödd
Elidor, det gyllene landet
Die Elixiere des Teufels
Det enda trädet
Enders spel
Endymion
Epic fantasy in the modern world
Eric
Everville
Exilplaneten
Exit to Eden
Exodus from the Long Sun
Exorcisten

Facklan
Faerie tale
The fall of Hyperion
Fantasmagoriana
Det fantastiska ljuset
Farornas väg
The fate of the princess of Dyfed
The feast of All Saints
Feet of clay
Fem barn hittar ett sandtroll
Figures of Earth
A fine and private place
Fires of Eden
The fires of heaven
First king of Shannara
A fish dinner in Memison
Fluke
Den flyenda mannen
Den flygande holländaren
The fog
Fool's run
The forbidden tower
The forest house
The foresters
The forgotten beasts of Eld
Frankenstein
Free live free
Freeze frames
Fruarna i Stepford
Främlingar
Furst Dids förbannelse
Fåraherdens dotter
Följeslagarna
Förbannelse
Det förbjudna
De fördömdas drottning
De fördömdas spel
Den förskräckliga apan

The gap into conflict
The gap into madness
The gap into power
The gap into ruin
The gap into vision
Gaston de Blondeville
Generation warriors
Gengångare
Geralds lek
The ghost book
Ghost stories and tales of mystery
Ghost stories of an antiquary
Ghostlight
The ghosts of Sleath
Glenraven
The glittering plain
Goblin market
The gods of Pegana
Good omens
Gormenghast-trilogin
Gravkamrarna i Atuan
The green mile
Grunts!
Gråkungen
De gyllene häxornas folk
Gåtmästaren
Gästspel av vampyr
Gömstället
Gösta Berlings saga

Harpospel i vinden
Hart's hope
The haunting of Hill House
Hawkmistress
The heirs of Hammerfell
The hellfire club
The heritage of Hastur
Herrskap och häxor
The hidden city
High hunt
Hjärtats mörka flod
The hobbit se Bilbo
The hollow man
Hompen se Bilbo
Hon
Hook
Hot sleep
Hôtel Transylvania
The house on Parchment Street
Houses without doors
Hunting party
Huset med de sju gavlarna
Hyperion
Härskarringen (trilogin om)
Hästen och hans pojke
Häxan i Fenstanton och andra spökhistorier
Häxan och lejonet
Häxkonster
Häxor i faggorna
Häxvargen

I lagens namn
I Zandramas spår
Idylls of the King
If you could see me now
The ill-made knight
Illusionernas stad
Imajica
Imperiets dotter
In a glass darkly
The influence
The inhabitant of the lake
Intensity
Interesting times
Invasion of the body snatchers
Isfällan
Ishmael
The island of the mighty
The Italian
Ivanhoe

Johnny and the bomb
Johnny and the dead
The Jonah
Jordens stav
Julia
Jurgen
Jurtjyrkogården

Kall eld
Keeper of the keys
Kinder- und Hausmärchen
The king in yellow
The king's buccaneer
Knackarna
The knight and knave of swords
Koko
Koyot-kvinnan och andra djurväsen
Kraften som bevarar
Kryptan
Kung Caspian och skeppet Gryningen
Kung Salomos skatt
En kyss före döden
Köplust

Là-bas
The lady of the lake
Lady of the Trillium
Lake of the Long Sun
The language of the night
Lasher
The lay of the last minstrel
Leeson Park & Belsize Square
Liar's oath
Lida
Liktorns svärd
The lions of Al-Rassan
Little, big
Llyrs slott
The long lost
Lord Arthur Saviles brott
Lord of chaos
The lord of the rings se Härskarringen (trilogin om)
The losers
Lost souls
Lovedeath
Lunar activity
Lysande utsikter
Den långa flykten
Lövhäxan

Mabinogion
Magic kingdom for sale/Sold!
Magician
Magikerns lärling
Magins färg
Det magiska huset
Malafrena
En man på sin vakt
A man rides through
Maratonmarschen
Mardrömmar
Maria Schweidler, die Bernsteinhexe
Marriages
Maskerade
The master of Whitestorm
Medlarens klo
The Mezentian gate
Midnatt
Midnight sun
Min morbror trollkarlen
The mirror of her dreams
Mr. Murder
Mistress of mistresses
Mistress of the empire
The monk
Moon
The moon and the face
Moon-flash
Mort
Morte d'Arthur
Mumien
Murgoernas konung
My pretty pony
Myst: The book of Atrus
Mystery
Mythago wood
The mysteries of Udolpho
Månens dragningskraft
Månhunger
Månstenen
Mörkret faller
Mörkrets vänstra hand

Nattens barn
Nattens furste
Nattens ögon
Nattfrossa
Nattsommar
Necronomicon
The night gift
Nightmares & dreamscapes
Nightmares in the sky
Night's daughter
Nightside the Long Sun
Nine princes in Amber
Northanger Abbey
När lammen tystnar
Nötknäpparen

Oddkins
Offerträdet
The old English baron se The champion of virtue
Omringad
Det omänskliga
The once and future king
En ond plats
Den onda kraften
Ondskans blommor
Ondskans hus
Ondskans sten
The one safe place
Only you can save mankind
Open air
Opreation ARES
Orion i ögat
Our lady of darkness
Ovan hav, under sten

Palace
Pandora by Holly Hollander
The parasite
Paris mysterier
Pastwatch: The redemption of Christopher Columbus
Peace
Perelandra
Pestens tid
Phantastes
Phantoms
The planet savers; The sword of Aldones
Polar City blues
Pompejis sista dagar
Portent
Prayers to broken stones
The prince of Annwn
Prince of the blood
Prins av de gudafödda
Prifeten
Profetians tid
Psycho
Pyramids
På andra sidan drömmen

Queen Mab

Rasande Rose
Raseri
Rats and gargoyles
Reaper man
Rebecca
The regulators
Remnant population
Resurrection
Revolvermannen
Riktiga katter bär inte rosett
En ring av järn
Ringtrilogin se Härskarringen
Rise of a merchant prince
Rivas drottning
Rocannons planet
Roman de la Rose
The romance of the forest
Rosemary's baby
Rubinriddaren
Rum nr 13
Råttboet
Råttorna
Die Räuber
Röd måne och svarta berg
Rörliga bilder
Röster i vinden

Sacrament
Safirringen
Safirrosen
Sagan om de två tornen
Sagan om Drakens återkomst
Sagan om enhörningen
Sagan om konungens återkomst
Sagan om ringen
Samtal med vampyren se En vampyrs bekännelse
Det sargade landet
Sassinak
Sawney Bean
Sacred stiff
Sekten
The serpent
Servant of the bones
Shadow of a dark queen
The shadow rising
Shadowfane
Shadowrun
Shannaras alvdrottning
Shannaras alvstenar
Shannaras druid
Shannaras svärd
Shannaras talismaner
Shannaras ättlingar
Shardik
Sharra's exile
The shattered chain
Shevek
The shining ones
The ship of Ishtar
The ships of Merior
Shrine
The sicilian romance
Sidonia von Brok / Sidonia the sorceress

CONTENTS: Världar av ljus ...

Några ord i portgången

Rötter
Den gotiska berättelsen

Skräcken genom tiderna

Fantasyns vägar

Här står vi nu

Författarporträtt

Clive Barker
Marion Zimmer Bradley
Terry Brooks
Ramsey Campbell
Orson Scott Card
Stephen R. Donaldson
David Eddings
Raymond E. Feist
Maggie Furey
Geraldine Harris
James Herbert
Robert Jordan
Guy Gavriel Kay
Katharine Kerr
Stephen King
Dean R. Koontz
Ursula K. LeGuin
Patricia A. McKillip
Elizabeth Moon
Terry Pratchett
Anne Rice
Dan Simmons
Peter Straub
Gene Wolfe
Janny Wurts

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Nightwish » Once Release Party, Kitee

Source: Beyond Ear Candy
May 22

(AMBR'S journal of her trip to Helsinki and Kitee)


Backstage prior to show.

The air in the Ice Palace vibrates with tension as over 3500 fans milling on the floor and shifting restlessly in the stands await the arrival of Nightwish. Spots of light begin to trace eerie patterns on the dimly lit stage as an orchestral intro begins to play, intensifying the building excitement. In the burgeoning glow, dark silhouettes can be seen taking their positions and the crowd responds with an appreciative roar. A whispered voice breathes back, “Once…I had a dream….and this is it!” 

Instantly, growling, guitars stalk through the arena, possessing every corner of the hall. In a burst of intense flame “Dark Chest Of Wonders” breaks over the crowd as Tarja Turunen, dressed in black pants and a long red coat, spears the air with the first heart-rending vocal notes. The flashes of frenetic lighting and erupting fire hypnotically ensnare every eye while the overwhelming majesty of the music envelopes the audience in an passionate embrace. The first song to be played live off the new album, Once brings every sense in tune, and the outside world evaporates into a meaningless void.

The show has begun.

As the song ends in a crashing crescendo, the audience is given no release from the tension as the words “Master! Apprentice!” herald the start of the popular title track from the Wishmaster album. The crowd sings along, reveling in the wizardry of keyboards that conjure fantasy images of sorcery in song. The energy of the band rises during the instrumental break as the rippling keyboards of Tuomas Holopainen, pounding drums of Jukka Nevalainen and Emppu Vuorinen’s snappy guitar solos inspire the crowd into a flurry of head banging. Followed quickly by “She is My Sin” from the same album, the excitement has no chance to abate.

A streaming curtain of rain blurs the band into a surreal and distant image from which the heart-breaking chords of “Nemo” pool and eddy. The single release from Once takes on a mystical quality played behind water effect. Ethereal lighting flickering through the droplets seeming to shroud the entire stage with mist. The pure beauty of Tarja’s voice, rising in a sorrowful cry one moment and slipping into a mournful lament the next, wrenches the heart-strings to the point of tears.

Just when the heartache becomes nearly unbearable, the band blasts into “Dead to the World”, from Century Child. The lighting swirls in a myriad of colors as Tuomas’ lightening-fast keyboard scales send excitement flying back around the hall. The harsh vocals of Marco Hietala duel back and forth with Tarja’s sweet singing until a final combined shout ends the contest in a draw.

Horror and harmony meld into a hypnotic spell as “Planet Hell” from the new album engulfs the crowd. The evil commands of Marco contrast dramatically with the dire warnings crooned by Tarja. Tuomas’ keyboards sparkle across a river of heat and flame produced by the chanting chorus and phantom orchestra. The blazing pyrotechnics erupt continuously with scorching heat that flushes the faces of even those standing in the back row. Truly an overwhelming display of music and imagery that snatches the breath from the lungs leaving the listeners panting in fear and ecstasy.

Terror and turmoil give way to lust and longing as the band concocts a potent spell in the ravishing “Come Cover Me” off Wishmaster. Tarja’s voice evokes bittersweet desire as her vocals soar with unbelievable power to the heights of passion. Another crowd favorite, the entire audience seems to sway in time with the music, as Tarja, now wearing a knee-length, red jacket, enchants every eye and ear.

“Higher Than Hope” was an unusual selection for the release party. This tribute to Nightwish fan, Marc Brueland, who passed away last year from a chronic illness, is one of the most unique and unsettling songs on Once. Co-written by Marco and Tuomas, the song alternates between sweet sorrow and frustrated anger at the unfairness of a young life taken too soon. The slow cadence and strident chorus pound through the arena creating a disturbing feeling of fear and despair.

Tarja is given a respite as Marco takes control with a demanding rendition of Megadeth’s “Symphony of Destruction”. His trademark rasping vocals and commanding guitar, combined with Emppu’s crackling lead breathes fresh energy into this old favorite from the metal archives.

After donning a form-fitting, shorter red jacket, Tarja regains the matching red microphone and takes control with “Bless the Child” from Century Child as the curtain of rain returns like a purple waterfall. Her powerful pleas sinks deep into the psyche as the staccato bursts from keys and guitars set every nerve tingling.

“Elvenpath” from Angels Fall First follows, launching the crowd on a fantasy journey into the world of elves and mythical creatures. The mood is maintained as the band blankets the crowd with the mystical shroud of “Stargazers” from the album Oceanborn. Rarely played live, the song brings a hush of breathless wonder from the audience relishing this unusual treat. Once again Tarja’s voice rises to unbelievable heights taking possession of hearts and souls.

A brief pause allows the audience to refocus, setting the stage for the next surprise. Unbelievably, the opening strains of the “Phantom of the Opera” radiate from the stage over the shocked assembly. This cover of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s title track from the famous play appeared on the Century Child album and is a rare addition to a live set. Marco and Tarja spar vocally in a dramatic duet with no quarter given. Tarja clips the usually prolonged soaring notes at the end but delivers with more power and energy as a result.

Showing no sign of tiring, Tarja launches immediately into the haunting single, “Sleeping Sun.” Once again, the power and beauty of her voice fills the hall with grace and passion ensnaring every shred of consciousness in a dulcet dream of melody and emotion. The lyrics, “I wish for this night-time to last for a lifetime.” draws the entire audience into a single entity of shared desire. No one wants this show to end.

A return to normality is briefly granted as the popular cover of Gary Moore’s “Over the Hills and Far Away” sweeps the assembly into an enthusiastic sing-a-long. With the crowd’s pleasure now at a fevered pitch, the band disappears from the stage, leaving the anxious fans frantic for more.

The heart-breaking melody of Dead Boy’s Poem ushers the band back on the stage. This sorrowful lament to lost innocence off the Wishmaster album sucks the crowd back into a whirlpool of melancholy ecstasy. Just as the little boy’s voice ends his bitter soliloquy, Century Child’s, “Slaying the Dreamer” devours the poetry like a roaring lion erupting from a wounded lamb. The mood shifts from angst to anger as the pitiful pleas from the previous song are overtaken by the furious rant of the next.

The real world surfaces momentarily as Marco takes the time to introduce the band, eliciting laughter as he debates whether it should be “Miss” or “Mrs.” Tarja Turunen. The stunning singer has once again changed outfits gracing the stage in a satiny, red, halter-style top and loose, flowing black pants.

A pounding dance beats takes control of the hall as “I wish I had an Angel” claims it’s territory. Marco’s predatory vocals evoke a sense of fear and loss as he howls his unfulfilled desire for love and beauty. The song, and the show, end in a last shout of frustration and despair, echoed in the hearts of the fans who realize, as a shower of glittering confetti burst over them, that this incredible journey is truly over. The band remains on stage awhile for final bows and the presentation of awards for the single, “Nemo” sales success. Slowly, the cloud of confetti settles to the floor and the crowd’s euphoria with it. Mixed emotions will prey in the minds of many as joy mingles with the sadness that usually accompanies the end of such a long-awaited and intensely enjoyable experience.

The Once Release Party was a monstrous performance swirling with sights and sounds. Obviously the orchestra and some other sound effects were recorded and there were some minor glitches in timing and production, but the overall hypnotic effect shielded most of these little disappointments from all but the most observant in the audience. Rarely do metal music shows even twice this size indulge in such a massive display of light, fire, water and color. Truly, Nightwish has given a special gift to their hometown and the privileged outsiders who had the good fortune to join them. It was an incredible display of vision and talent leaving many listeners breathless and somewhat troubled by the necessity of returning to reality.

The Show.

Interview with Tarja 1

Source: Excalibur (York University's Community Newspaper)

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Written by By Naomi Freeman, Arts Editor

Finnish singer develops new genre
Tarja brought her North American tour for her first solo album to Toronto.

You’ve probably never heard of popera or Tarja Turnunen (stage name Tarja) if you’re Canadian, but that should quickly change. “Popera” is defined by the Times as “a fusion of classically trained singers with popular music.” This is a term usually used for groups like Il Divo. Tarja, a professionally trained lyrical and operatic-style singer from Finland, takes this crossover act one step further by adding elements of death metal. The Sibelius Academy and University of Music Karlsruhe-trained singer is surprisingly humble considering her long list of accomplishments. Former lead singer of power metal band Nightwish, she is heralded as the voice of Finland, has been voted best-dressed and most beautiful at a variety of events and is a breakthrough female act in a musical scene dominated by some of the most testosterone-laden men in the world.


“I think it’s really important to be humble for the music because there is always someone better than you, there is always something new for you to learn for music and you can’t be the best in the world. It makes you work very hard,” Tarja told me in an interview before her Toronto appearance. “Music really makes you keep your feet on the ground. People can really see if you’re honest. That is the truth, they really can see through you,” she said. After playing with Nightwish for nine years, Tarja parted ways with the band in October 2005 before releasing her solo album, My Winter Storm, in October 2007.


“With my classical training and coming from a metal band, producers didn’t know what to expect. I like to shock people, though. It makes it fun,” she said about her solo debut. This past year she also recorded a duet with Schiller, a band that has collaborated with everyone from Celtic music groups and pop bands to death metal bands and Sarah  Brightman. The piece, “Tired of Being Alone,” has been pre-nominated for the 2009 Grammys. Tarja found that her biggest challenge in going solo was making it clear what she wanted her music to sound like. She was adamant that it would be an album that could not be categorized.


“It is a lot of responsibility [but] the freedom [of going solo] is making me really happy,” she said. My Winter Storm has a sound similar to her work with Nightwish, but is more moody and less heavy. Her first single off the album, “I Walk Alone,” a creeping, orchestral rock piece, rocketed up the charts in her home country Finland and across northern Europe when it was released in October 2007. She also covered Alice Cooper’s ’80s mega-hit “Poison” in a dark and fresh way. Now that she has one album under her belt, she feels she will not need to explain which direction she wants to go with the next one.

 

I think it’s really important to be humble for the music, because there is always someone better than you
- Tarja, Musician

 
“I really hope with the next album I will make my sound very clear and my message very clear to my listeners, to say ‘This is it. This is me,’” she said. For her second album she wants to keep the variety but also “want[s] to make it even bigger in a way that the heavier songs will sound a bit more heavy but the moodier songs will be in the same vein as the first album.” She added that one of her goals is to record a duet for the next album. The concert itself was spectacular, but because of the music, not because of spectacle and overdone stage design. Tarja did not hold herself back from the fans: there was no assigned seating and no fences near the stage to give high-paying VIPs an exclusive close-up. She talked to her fans, let them touch her and purposely posed for pictures when she saw a particular camera on her. Her band was just as nice, dipping their guitars into the audience and letting fans touch the fret board and play a couple of notes.


It may have been disappointing for this queen of metal to come to Toronto’s Opera House (capacity 1,500) and not even have the floor sold out, but she didn’t let on if she was disappointed. She really seems to take to heart that music and stardom are both constant journeys that must always be worked at and are not natural rights once a certain plateau is reached.


- More info at www.tarjaturunen.com
or YouTube her videos: they’re
artistic and her powerful vocals
will blow you away




Interview with Nightwish 73

Source: Beyond Ear Candy

Nightwish 2004 Tour Feature
by Ann Marie Reilly

Introduction  ~  The Once Album  ~  The US Tour  ~  Tour Wrap-Up

NIGHTWISH: An Introduction


The Scandinavian countries have long been known as a source of some of the darkest metal music. Grinding guitar riffs and gut-wrenching growls have roared out of the north with a regularity that leads to the question; what is it about these globe-crowning countries that sparks such deep angst and bittersweet creativity? Credit is frequently given to the prolonged darkness and frigid weather of the Finnish winter, but perhaps there is a connectivity with the soul of this beautiful, uncluttered land that speaks in melancholy murmurs to its people, indiscernible to heat-baked populations.

From beneath this frozen mantle of moroseness, erupts a blazing mixture of melody and emotion in the form of the symphonic metal band, Nightwish. Bitter tears of longing for lost love and innocence stream through the lyrics, yet the soaring voice of the band's diva, Tarja Turunen hints at a remnant of hope that lingers in the melodies and leaves it's listeners inspired not despondent.

Nightwish is the creation of the band's keyboardist, Tuomas Holopainen, who originally conceived a more acoustic style. But the contrast of Tarja's operatic vocals with this softer application was too severe and the addition of metal elements seemed a natural progression. Their debut album, Angels Fall First released in 1997, combined both the acoustic and heavier styles demonstrating the band's state of transition. The next two releases, Oceanborn, 1998 and Wishmaster 2000, displayed a swirling panorama of intoxicating melodies driven by lightening-quick keyboards sweeping through poetic lyrics delivered with stunning, operatic force. Dramatic percussion statements underlined by the heart-palpitating double-bass of drummer, Jukka Nevalainen, and a smattering of intriguing riffs by lead guitarist Emppu Vuorinen ensnared listeners creating a solid base of worshipping fans.

The release of their fourth album, Century Child, in 2002 heralded a new direction. Bass guitar player Sami Vänskä left the band and was replaced by Marco Hietala, long-time lead vocalist and bassist for the Finnish band, Tarot. The addition of Marco added a powerful male vocal element, frequently harsh, always commanding, that offset the siren sound of Tarja. Coupled with a stronger guitar presence and darker, angry melody lines, some of the loyal legions were sent reeling. Yet, Century Child proved a market success and the band's fan base continued to increase.


The latest album, Once, released in May of this year, is an even bigger leap into uncharted areas of musical exploration. An admitted fan of movie composers such as Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman, Tuomas has indulged his passion for musical scores by employing Pip Williams, who has worked with Uriah Heep and Status Quo, to direct orchestra and choral arrangements. The parts were performed by the London Session Orchestra, known for its work on the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter soundtracks. The results are enormous orchestral movements injected into songs stinging with gritty guitar themes creating an unmistakably cinematic mood to many of the songs especially the 10 minute epic, Ghost Love Score. Deeper, darker and heavier than anything Nightwish had done before, songs like Romanticide, Dead Gardens and Planet Hell employ heavy metal guitar riffs writhing throughout the majestic orchestral passages taking startling twists and turns that leaves the first-time listener breathless. More than one spin is needed to sort through the intricacy and inventiveness of this project. 

ONCE, The Breakthrough Album for Nightwish in the U.S.?

In the September, 2003, Nightwish made their first ever appearances in the United States at the ProgPower IV festival in Atlanta, Georgia and the rock club, L'Amour in Brooklyn, New York. Though Century Child would not be released in the states until after these gigs, the band discovered a remarkably well-educated and undeniably enthusiastic hoard of American fans singing along with every verse. Internet sales had clearly pre-empted the sluggish release date.   Inspired by this success, the band booked a 14-date tour of North American promoting their newly released album, Once. The tour was planned to kick off in August with shows in Toronto and Montreal followed by 12 more dates scheduled throughout the U.S. starting in Philadelphia August 19 and ending in Seattle September 5th.

Nightwish chose to begin the world-wide tour for their most daring and inventive project by hosting an equally stunning and unprecedented performance in their tiny hometown of Kitee, Finland, population 10,000. The concert, held in the local ice arena, packed in 3500 fans from all over the world and featured and explosion of pyrotechnics and stunning lights usually reserved for shows five times that size. A shimmering curtain of rain flowing between the audience and the stage during several numbers like Nemo added an ethereal quality to the performance which alternated between roaring heavy metal and the magesty of the taped orchestra.

At a press conference prior to the show in Kitee, Marco explained why they thought now might be the right time for Nightwish to entice the U.S. metal market.

"It's hard to get a little band from the backwoods of Finland noticed," he said. "It was good to see the fan base in Atlanta and New York and we thought we might find more under the bushes. That's what we're doing right now."

Is the American metal audience ready for a work this complex? When this question was put to him during an interview in Kitee, Tuomas debated the issue.

"I think there's a lot of differences (from previous albums) but I wouldn't know about the American market," he commented. "It's different at least in that it's the heaviest album, the hardest one, the most guitar riff oriented, so if Americans are up to some hard riffing maybe this is the right album for them. And then there's the orchestra as well. I mean, the diversity of the elements in that album is huge, so massive, so there's a little bit of something for everybody. There's the slow ballads, there's the real heavy metal stuff, there's an American Indian from Arkansas. So, I just hope people will discover the whole thing."

The North American Indian element appears in the song Creek Mary's Blood, a lament to the Native Americans' lost land and lifestyle. Lakota Indian, John Two-Hawks contributes haunting flute and chanting vocals expressing the sorrows of his people in this eerily, tribal song. Tuomas discovered Two-Hawks while searching the internet and after listening to samples of the soulful cry of the Indian musician's cedar flute, it seemed he'd found the right element to express the emotions of this historical tribute.

Two-Hawks was at first surprised when he was contacted by a metal band from Finland. Then upon reviewing a copy of Century Child sent to him by the band's management at King Foo Entertainment, he was ready to commit. "After we looked into that and discovered their music a little bit and read their lyrics, then I was pumped," said Two-Hawks.

The idea of mixing his native American music to the symphonic metal of Nightwish did not seem to be a clash of cultures for the Indian. "I've been a performer in lots of musical genres in the past," he explained. "I try to endeavor to include other types of musical influences in the traditional American Indian music that I create. So when Nightwish called and said that they wanted to do this and we heard the music and read the lyrics, I was excited because I thought this is fresh and a great opportunity to express the joining of very different musical genres and kind of wrap them together in a braid. I think the end result is absolutely power house, incredible."

King Foo flew Two-Hawks and his wife, Peggy to Finland to work on the project. Though neither had visited the country before, they quickly fell in love with the land and its people, especially band manager Ewo Rytkonen and his fiancé Olga.
"We love Ewo and Olga. I thought (Finland) was amazing," said Two-Hawks. "Ewo and Olga took us on a little walking trip of the islands right down the southern tip of Finland there off of Helsinki. We walked at night and the snow was on the ground and the moon was out and it was like the land of enchantment. If there would have been a warm room with windows looking out on those islands I could have composed the most incredible music that night because it was absolutely inspirational, enchanting, magical."

"The other thing about Finland that I thought was really beautiful was the people," continued Two-Hawks. "They're kind of like American Indian people in a way. They think before they speak. They're a little bit reserved like we are. They're quiet and they're thoughtful and they think about things and they're intellectual. They're beautiful people."

The magic and mutual understanding continued in the studio when the multi-talented American Indian melded inspiration with the Finnish composer and keyboardist. The resulting song Creek Mary's Blood deeply satisfied both musicians. Two-Hawks commented on the final studio mix, "I thought it was incredibly tasteful and very well thought out. Their ideas were like mine. I have a hunch Tuomas had a hand in it," he remarked. "He and I are musical soul mates. We think along the same lines."

In an interview prior to the Seattle show on the U.S. tour, Tuomas was asked about this relationship and he readily agreed.

"Yea, we kind of were," said Tuomas. "In the studio it was close to magic because everything he did, you know, he agreed, I agreed and some things that wasn't so good he immediately told me, "This wasn't good," and I told him "That's right, it wasn't," so it was really like a mutual thing going on between the two of us. "

The song ends with a mournful poem chanted in Two-Hawk's native Lakota language.

"I think what he summed up really in that poem was a spiritual truth," explained Two-Hawks. "What it is, is our understanding of the whole circle, the whole perspective. We, in this society now a days, we look at things really close and when we do, we lose our perspective. But American Indian people, having been on the continent as long as we have, we have a tendency to look at things much further back, to see the whole picture. Tuomas with his poem kind of zeroed in on this and he captured with words the thoughts and the sense of feeling that American Indian people have about North America, about what happened to us here, but not only that, but about what is to come and what we see in the future, how we see this circle will come back around. Those that are of the earth, shall return to the earth and Tuomas kind of called that out in that poem. It's like he transformed himself into an American Indian just for a moment in time. Maybe in someway he sort of stepped into our moccasins and really was seeing our world through our eyes when he wrote that."

Though flattered by this analogy, Tuomas agrees with this assessment.

"Yea I did, but actually I still take that as a compliment," he said. "I think that I have kind of like grown creatively into their culture because I've been reading a lot of books about their history and their culture and I watched Dances With Wolves like a hundred times and all this so I have like a little bit of understanding what they're going through, what their mind set is about."

Another emotionally charged song on the album, Higher Than Hope takes listeners on a different, yet no less poignant, emotional journey. This song is a tribute to American metal fan, Marc Brueland who died of cancer several months following the September 2003 ProgPower IV event. Marc, a long-time Nightwish fan, was honored by the band during their set. Prior to one of his favorite songs, Walking in the Air, he left his wheelchair and walked on stage to be embraced by the band members. The following emotional performance left few eyes dry amongst those aware of Marc's story especially when he rose from his chair once more to shakily headbang in the stage wings.

Following this incredible performance and Marc's passing, Tuomas teamed up with the band's bass player, Marco to write a tribute to their fallen fan.  "I followed his story for like three years altogether before he finally died, so it was just something really touching and I just felt like I need to make a song about this," said Tuomas. The collaboration was a first for the band as the keyboardist has predominantly written all the music for the previous songs.

"He (Marco) did almost all the music. I did the lyrics and some of the music but it was the last song that we did for this album and Marco came up with this song," explains Tuomas. "By the demo song, I had these melodies, and "Ok," I said. "It perfectly leads for the ideas of these lyrics I have that I want to write about Marc Brueland." So we just did it together and the result is what you get."

A tape of Marc's voice discussing his feelings on his impending death add an intensely heartbreaking element to a song already charged with emotion. When asked who's idea it was to include the message that Marc had taped for his family, Tuomas replied, "That was my idea actually, I just thought that this would be the perfect immortalization of him to put his words on this part of the song. I really didn't want to make a heavy song part of his story and I also didn't want to make a cheesy ballad and this song that Marco had was perfect like in between. It's kind of like half ballad but has a really, really hard punch in it and so I think it fit perfectly."

When asked to explain the repeated phrase Red sun rising in the refrain, Tuomas had this to say, "That phrase, to be honest, came from Lord of the Rings Part 2. Legolas is saying, Red sun rising, (blood has been spilt this night). That's a perfect metaphor."
It is the second line in the refrain, however, that has special meaning for the composer.
"I prefer Drown without inhaling because I was on the 'phone talking to Marc like ten minutes before he died. All I could hear in the 'phone was this gasping sound. I could barely make out the words. That was horrible. That really was so bad."

Sorrow, passion and hope are just some of the emotions that swirl throughout the intricate and delicately balanced masterpiece mingling a wide variety of musical influence. With so many different elements spun together under a heavy metal blanket, it's unclear which market, or how many different markets Nightwish can appeal to in an American music scene fanatically labeled and compartmentalized. Into just what category will Nightwish fall?

"I have heard the weirdest descriptions," remarked Tuomas in the Kitee interview. "Neoclassical, atmospherical, progressive gothic, speed thrash metal or whatever, I don't know. I would like to think that we are like a symphonic metal band. We definitely are a metal band, even though I think this new album is more diverse. To make it short, it's symphonic metal for me."


The U.S. Tour

Months of anticipation and frantically made travel plans stoked the American audience into a frenzy of excitement before the start of the North American tour. So it was in shock and confusion that thousands of fans received the news only days before the start of the tour that Nightwish was being forced to cancel both sold-out dates in Canada and the first U.S. date in Philadelphia. It seems the U.S. bureaucratic machine had once again orchestrated a monumental S.N.A.F.U. (Situation Normal; All Fucked Up), by failing to issue the required visas, ordered nearly five months in advance. The earliest the band members could pick up these vital passes to work in the states was August 18. In person. In Helsinki. There was no way to make those first dates, important to the band and desperately anticipated by the fans.

A lucky few of the many empty ticket holders were able to re-scramble travel plans and buy tickets to other shows within some sort of reasonable travel distance. Most were left with dashed hopes and un-refunded travel fees. No doubt, the cost to the band had to be even greater.

Still, anticipation was enormous when the tour finally opened August 20th at the Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts. A throng of black-clad metallers lined the sidewalk outside the venue hours before the show, hoping to be the lucky few to grab a spot close to the stage and perhaps even catch the band outside making their way in. When the doors opened, the multi-tiered Palladium filled quickly, though the upper balcony was unfortunately off-limits. Young Goth fans in heavy make-up and edgy outfits mingled with their hard-core metal brethren in prerequisite black, band t-shirts. A surprisingly strong contingent of middle-aged rockers could be found dispersed through the crowd, hovering a discreet distance from their adolescent prodigy.

Bob and Debbie Morrison from Westerley, Rhode Island were easily converted into Nightwish fans by their 20-year-old son attending the concert with them. "It wasn't hard," said Bob. "He popped the cd in and we were hooked. We bought our tickets in January." The couple were seated at one of the few tables in the venue with Steve and Daril Dolce from Ashaway, Rhode Island. Though the foursome were from the same state, they had only met that night. The Dolce's, who attended the show with their sons, ages 19 and 16, eagerly waited the performance in hopes of hearing their favorite song, Dead Boy's Poem played live.

The show began with the Finnish band, Lullacry who did their job warming up the Nightwish fans. They got the crowd moving with their gothic influenced metal and hard rock style. While not breaking any major ground musically, they are a good band with catchy hooks and a driving rhythm section. Tanja's singing was entertaining with her aggressive style fitting well with the songs. Overall the music does have a very 80's metal influence and the cover of W.A.S.P.'s 'Love Machine' was an appropriate addition to their live set. Other song highlights included 'Damn You' and 'Alright Tonight'.

As time stretched between the sets, the crowd chanted Nightwish repeatedly, finally erupting into a roar as the band takes the stage. Once I had a dream, and this is it whispered teasingly through the hall echoing the sentiment in the hearts of the gathered fans. With power and tension, Dark Chest of Wonders broke over the throng in a wave pulling the gathered masses together in a heady undertow of raw-edged guitars and frighteningly, massive orchestral passages, undiminished in their taped delivery. When Tarja floated to the forefront, belting out the opening lyrics, the fans were clearly mesmerized.

As the last notes of the opener vibrated through the hall, the crowd had no chance to catch their breath as "Planet Hell" sprang into life with rising choral shouts heralding pounding drums and strident guitars. Marco's roaring vocals raged through a cacophony of terror and turmoil as the keyboards and orchestra ran a desperate race from guilt and death. By the time the first two tension-packed entries from Once have ended, the hall was flooded with excitement and anxiety. A flurry of crowd-surfing broke out, but was handled easily by bouncers who were surprisingly gentle as they caught every surfer floating over the rail and patiently escorted them back into the crowd.

The frenetic pace eased momentarily as the band slipped back in time to the sweetly, beautiful, yet no less emotional Come Cover Me. Disbelief and joy ripple through the hall as the unmistakable opening measures of Phantom of the Opera burst forth from the stage. Marco and Tarja sparred dramatically back and forth throughout this fan favorite from the play by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The crowd clearly enjoyed this rare treat though no doubt the question lurked in many minds; will she hit those soaring notes in the finale that seem to reach unbelievable heights, for an impossible length of time? Her treatment of the song on the recording of Century Child, though captivating, did not quite meet the expectations of fans who had become familiar with the soundtrack versions from the Broadway play. There has been much speculation over whether it is possible to match such performances during a taxing, live metal show. Doubt was replaced by shocked rapture as she nailed those notes with incredible force and beauty, sending shivers through the delighted crowd.

End of All Hope followed before a trickle of piano notes cascaded into the addictive melody line of Nemo. Simple yet soulful, this single is easily the catchiest selection on the Once album and many in the crowd were inspired to sing along with Tarja's plaintive crooning.
 

Tarja managed to keep up the energy, lapsing immediately into another vocal work-out, with Sleeping Sun. One exquisite vocal measure followed the last dispelling any ideas that Turunen has abandoned her previously, powerful operatic style.

It came as no surprise when Marco asked the singer at the song's conclusion, "Do you want a break?" and she left the stage with a smile. Of course this was all planned and the gregarious bass player announced to the fans, "We're going to give Mrs. Tarja Turunen a rest. We're going to do you a song with just us guys on the stage." He and lead guitarist, Emppu launched into a boisterous rendition of Megadeth's Symphony of Destruction that grabbed the best of this 80's hit and twisted it into a Nightwish cover of new and exciting dimensions.

As soon as the song crashed to a halt, Tarja returned to the stage and the band treated the fans to the stirring yet melancholy Bless the Child then moved into beautiful rendition of Ever Dream.

Once again, the band returned to the new album with the disturbing dirge Higher than Hope written for the late Marc Brueland. The audience is clearly moved by this lament to a life lost too soon. All eyes appeared riveted to the stage as the subdued crowd swayed in time to the music.

Next Nightwish launched into two perennial favorites Wishmaster followed by Over the Hills and Far Away. Somehow they breathed life and energy into these live hits they must have performed hundreds of times. As the Celtic-style refrain died away, the band left the stage for a much needed break. The crowd was not fooled though, and the chanting for their return was controlled and expectant.

The Dolce's and many other fans got their wish when the band retook the stage to the mournful notes and somber voice of the lost child in the pensive ballad Dead Boy's Poem. Towards the end of the song, the gift was suddenly snatched away as the jarring guitar riffs of Slaying The Dreamer devoured the ending of the lost boy's lament turning angst into anger. Infectious headbanging spread from the band on stage to the gathered fans inspiring another rash of crowd-surfing that was easily managed by the eternally patient bouncers.

"Don't you all wish you had an angel?" asked Marco, goading the crowd to an even higher level of energy. The band then slammed through the hypnotic beat and lustful lyrics of Wish I Had an Angel, the final song played from Once and the final song of the night.

The show at the Palladium was a supercharged night that set the tone for this first Nightwish tour of the U.S. The crowd responded enthusiastically at nearly ever twist and turn of the performance, yet still managed to behave admirably, thanks in part to the ever vigilant and always patient bouncers, Mike Pesos, Mike Barbosa, and Marc (Squirrel). When asked about the venue's policy on the treatment of crowd surfers and barrier crashers, Pesos explained that it was the bouncers' own code of ethics that prompted their respectful treatment of their fellow music enthusiasts. Special kudos to those guys for a job accomplished well beyond the call of duty.

Backstage, the Nightwish men kick back with a few drinks while Tarja is spirited away early. As the photographer and I are escorted into the backstage room, we have to carefully step over the prone body of Jukka crashed out on the floor. When he realizes the pesky press have arrived, he valiantly rises while Tuomas and Emppu beat a hasty retreat to the bus. It is now about 7:00 in the morning back in Finland.

Asked how they're feeling, Marco is the first to volunteer. "I'm really drunk," he laughs. Both admit that despite the exhaustion they are pleased with the night's performance.

"Well it went great for the first show of the tour," remarks Jukka. "We think of it as a warm-up, but it went really well, especially since we're jet-lagged."

With 10 more dates to go and the entire country to cross, it seems there will be little opportunity to catch up on their rest.

"Yea, but we'll be sleeping while someone else is driving," laughs Marco again.
"We're traveling in two buses. One is the smoking bus. I'm on that one. Jukka is too, though he doesn't smoke. But he'll be drinking with me."

Tarja, of course rides in the second bus to protect her valuable vocal chords. "But if I had to quit smoking on the bus for her, I would do it." reflects Marco seriously.

When asked what sights in the U.S. they are most interested in seeing, Jukka is quick to respond, "The great metal club's from the 80's in L.A." Like the Whiskey-A-Go-Go? "Yea, definitely, that's it," he admits. For now, they plan on staying in Massachusetts the next day and catching Dream Theater's performance at the Palladium the following night.

When the subject of the cancelled shows is brought up, the jovial mood sobers momentarily. "It really sucked," admitted Marco. "But we had to pick up the visas and sign for them in person on the 18th. We just couldn't make it to the shows."

Both feel certain the dates will be reschedule. "We just don't know when," admits Jukka.

Putting the depressing issues aside, we settle for a little banter and leave the two exhausted travelers to join their band mates on the bus, for a little more libations and, hopefully, a lot more sleep.

Two night's later the tour has landed in Times Square. The New York City streets were teaming with tourists who gazed curiously at the lines of metal fans, once again, lined up early in front of the venue. This show was sold out and anxious fans searched furtively for spare tickets. The doors opened at 7:00 and the crowd made a frantic dash toward the stairs leading to the lower hall. The exodus was halted instantly by the need to check-in bags; EVERY bag. New York City clubs take no chances and have little sympathy for pleas and excuses. Studded bracelets and belts and anything deemed 'a weapon' must be removed. Bouncers routinely pat down patrons for weapons or any other contraband. Welcome, to New York City, post 9/11.

Downstairs, the floor filled in quickly, while thirstier fans lined up at the 40-foot bar. Once again, it is evident that Nightwish had drawn a crowd spanning generations as well as genres. Nick Franco brought his mom, Phyllis to the show as a special treat. "This was the best gift he could have given me," said Phyllis. "This was the best night of my life except for the birth of him and his brother."

Lullacry entered on schedule and the venue was already packed. Once again, they put in a solid performance though the sound did suffer a bit and there appeared to be some vocal microphone issues. Those are the breaks when you're in the warm-up slot.

As the time drew near for the headliner, the club's population swelled to even greater numbers and the flimsy-looking, metal barriers in front of the stage began swaying with the press of the crowd.

When Nightwish took the stage, the roar from the crowd made it impossible to hear the opening words of Dark Chest of Wonders and as the band launched into the stimulating guitar riffs and drum rhythms, the movement of the barriers increased ominously. Tarja glided gracefully onto the stage and the masses surged forward. Casting wary eyes backwards, press photographers frantically snapped off as many shots as they could. The imposing, muscular bouncers sat on the barriers and braced their feet on the stage, but to no avail. Midway through Planet Hell, the barriers gave way. In the crush, legs were caught in the metal bars and fans found themselves pinned mercilessly to the stage with people literally standing on the backs of their legs.


Nightwish carried on like all was well though occasionally worried glances could be seen passing from one to another. Miraculously, no one appeared to be hurt and most of the metal stanchions were pulled out. Periodically, fans had to be pulled onto the stage as well and all graciously exited quickly from the narrow space.

When asked later about the collapsed barriers and the intrusion of the fans, Tuomas embraced the situation with stoicism and some delight. "It was a little bit scary but, you know, there was like this big security man standing in front of us," he explained. "Actually we were more worried that they would stop the show or something, but I'm just glad they let it go and I don't think anyone got hurt or anything. To be honest I felt kind of like a (perverse) satisfaction of the whole thing because it just showed that people were so passionate. It was kind of cool to have this going on with this audience."

And the fans being pulled on stage? Was it a problem?
"I don't care about that kind of stuff at all," He explained. "It doesn't matter. Do what you have to do."
 
The set list mirrored that of the Massachusetts show and once again, Tarja hit the final soaring notes in Phantom of the Opera with power and conviction that grabbed and held the audience in an awe-inspiring grip. A special highlight of the evening was when Jens Johansson of Stratovarious joined the guys on stage for the cover of Megadeth's "Symphony Of Destruction".

The New York crowd contained a large international presence and smatterings of French, German, Russian and other foreign languages could be heard before the start of the show. This larger, predominantly, metal-oriented audience created an atmosphere of energy that consumed the entire venue and clearly effected the performers. As the band members reached out to touch the crowd's outstretched hands following the final song there was an intense bonding that smashed any barriers of restraint normally attributed to the New York City psyche. The little band from Finland just made inroads in international fellowship that years of U.S. politicians had systematically demolished.

Before the last gig of the tour in Seattle, Tuomas reflected on the experience in New York City. "That was probably the second to the best show on the tour. It was really awesome and I was kind of proud that the Road Runner (U.S. record label) people just happened to be there," he said, laughing. "I really liked the show and having Jens Johannsen play one song, that was also like an honor for us so I really remember that show and the Anaheim show, they were the best ones so far."

As each show of the tour was played out across the U. S., excited fans responded with enthusiasm and adoration. After the show at the House of Blues in Cleveland, Ohio, Matthew Bankes from Pennsylvania expressed what it was like having a dream come true. "Seeing them live, in front of you, for the first time was a dream I had played out in my head a million times," said Bankes. "I was hoping that the real thing would somehow measure up to the dream. The real thing surpassed it. Even though they are unknowns here and could have gave half-hearted performances, they were complete professionals and performed with a passion that was so real you could taste it. Nightwish went on stage and gave their hearts and souls to the fans in attendance at the Cleveland show and I am sure everyone was glad to take that home with them. I know I was."

Arizona resident, Katara Fox described a similar experience at the show in Phoenix.

"I had been to the Cajun House numerous times before, but it had never been like this."said Fox. "The Once backdrop was hanging behind the stage and the crowd was cheering "Ole, ole, ole, Night-wish! Night-wish!" My dreams had finally come true. Nightwish had come to America and graced my town with their prescence. And, regardless if the show didn't sell out, those who were their were true fans who had been waiting for this show with bated breath. And they were not let down. With phenomenal stage prescence, personality, and energy, as well as a set list that included old favorites such as 'Come Cover Me' and 'Over the Hills and Far Away', and brand new tracks like 'Nemo' and 'Wish I Had An Angel', everyone in the audience was singing along with all of their Oceansouls."

Tour Wrap-up with Tuomas

So as the tour wrapped up in Seattle, it was time to see if Nightwish had indeed made their mark in the U.S. Tuomas was asked about the success of the tour and the reaction of the U.S. audiences.

"I'm kind of confused personally, (laughs) but in a very positive way because we never expected anything like this from the fans," he said. "I mean the reaction from the fans is close to what it would be in South America. They"re really passionate, really wild over the music and we really never expected anything like this. I knew the sales were going pretty well. They even know the songs from the new album even though it's not released yet. I guess that they have some imports or something. I mean that's the biggest surprise; the fans, they're so nice, so passionate. The tour altogether has been so much fun because there are new places we've never been in so everything's new and since we are pretty much nobody here there's not like a similar pressure that would be when we would perform for example in Finland or Germany. So it's been quite a relaxing tour actually and a lot of fun."

Traveling all the way across the country by the bus could be construed by some as a grueling experience, but Tuomas sees it differently.

"Yea, I forgot to mention why this tour was so much fun. That's because of the bus," he said. "I truly hate airports and all the hassle with bureaucracy and all those things. You know you can go to the bus after the show have a few drinks go to sleep and wake up the next morning at the next venue. I love this kind of vagabond life. I love buses; traveling in buses."

Perhaps this 'vagabond life' lends itself to a more introspective view of a country then the short expedient travel by air. Tuomas clearly found much to see.

"I love the barren beauty of the desert in Arizona, Death Valley kind of things and the Rocky Mountains in Colorado," he explained. "So just sitting on the bus and looking out the window and all that there's a certain amount of romance in that stuff."

A Disney fan and collector, Tuomas once again got a chance to visit Disneyland during the band's stay in California.

"I walked around for 13 hours," he said. "It was open from 9 a.m. 'til 10 p.m. so I just walked around the whole time and had the time of my life and spent too much money on all kinds of shit. I bought just some stupid stuff like statues, characters, things that I love to collect."

It seems none of the other members of Nightwish share Tuomas' passion for Disney.
"I was the only one to stay there," he said. "The rest of the guys went to little clubs in L.A. (laughing). Yea, you know the whole rock and roll thing, but I chose to hang with Donald and Goofy. (more laughter) I just love the overall atmosphere in there. I know that it's really commercial and all that, but I still love it being so neat, so free and everybody seems so polite. I love the atmosphere and, of course, I am a Disney fan. Hell, I'm a Disney freak, You can call me that if you want. I've been since I was three-years-old so that's a really special thing for me there. I never get tired of that place."

With a tour that spans many months and many countries, it has to be difficult to keep up the energy and keep the music fresh. Tuomas explains how the band deals with this issue.

"This will sound corny, but everybody in this band including the crew really loves doing this, what we are doing, and of course we have bad days, and we have good days, but it's still a thing we love to do and a feeling really comes from the crowd. It's an interaction between the crowd, so if they're into it, you immediately get into it even though how tired and sick you are.

But how does the band manage to have so much energy during those first critical shows when they must be seriously jet-lagged?

"Yea it's work then," Tuomas admits. "Because you can feel really, really tired like 10 minutes before the show, you know that throwing up and being sick and then you get on the stage you see the audience, you start playing, everything works, you have the time of your life for and hour and a half and that after the show, you are cured. It really happens. (After the show) I usually always feel better. It's a healing power the whole of the music and the crowd interaction."

With so many gigs planned for the tour right up until the end of the year will any new songs be added to the set list?
"Yea we are, you know, just to keep the whole thing interesting for yourselves you will add some new songs to the set," said Tuomas. "So when we get back home we are going to take like a weeks break and after that go to rehearsal before the Finnish tour and maybe train like two or three more songs to the set list. We're definitely going to do Ghost Love Score."

REALLY?

"Yea, we're going to try, even though I don't know how we'll do it. Everybody's asking us, you have to do it," he explained. "It really has become the fans' favorite of the album, so at least we're going to give it a try."

A burning question in many fans" minds is if Nightwish will ever play this monumental epic with a real live orchestra.
"I think it's going to be more than a possibility," he remarked. "There's no concrete plans just yet, but we're hoping to finish this tour off with maybe like three or four shows with an orchestra and choir and of course John Two-Hawks and playing the whole album, Once from beginning to the end and then maybe like 5 or 6 old songs and film the whole thing and come out with the live DVD. I'm sure that at some point this will definitely happen."

Any idea at all when this might take place?
"Well, at the moment we're talking about the end of next year," Tuomas said. "Maybe like October or November of 2005. Definitely not before that. I can't tell you anything else because I don't know yet. I'm pretty sure it's going to happen before the end of 2005. Definitely in Europe and in the same place (all of the shows) we're not going to do a tour with them. That would cost too much money and be too much hassle. So it would be once with the same orchestra like three nights in a row, something like this. Maybe like Germany, England, you know, London, Berlin something like this. I really don't know yet."

As far as the cancelled dates on this tour, it seems there are plans to reschedule the Canadian dates, but what about Philadelphia?
"Definitely, but it will not happen this year," he admitted. "There are some plans to do the whole thing again maybe in like May, um.. I'm sorry, March or April, to do a tour. And there's actually a pretty good chance that we will do it since the record has been out a few months so we'll come here again. And the Canadian shows also will be done I think before Christmas. We hope to play Ghost Love Score there."

No doubt the possibility of seeing Ghost Love Score live will ignite another blaze of burning anticipation in the already spreading American fan base. It is quite possible the next North American tour will surpass the success of this first endeavor. Clearly Nightwish has made their mark.




PHOTOS

NW in Massachusetts  ~  NW in New York  ~  Fans in NYC  ~  Lullacry  ~  NW in Toronto


August 20, 2004 - (Mass Palladium - Worcester, MA)


Reviews & Interviews

Once Review  ~  Release Party Review  ~  John Two-Hawks + Interview  ~  Tuomas Seattle Interview

Once Review
Read

Release Party Review
Read

John Two-Hawks

The head-banging world of metal got an unexpected infusion of spiritual medicine when the Finnish symphonic metal band, Nightwish teamed up with Lakota Indian, John Two-Hawks on the band's latest release, Once.


Nightwish's composer and keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen discovered the musician while searching the internet for a native American flute player to accompany the song, "Creek Mary's Blood", a ballad lamenting the tragedy of the American Indians' lost way of life. With his hypnotic chanting in the Lakota language, John Two-Hawks exposed the raw nerve of pain felt by his people while simultaneously soothing the ache through the hauntingly beautiful cry of his cedar flute.

A semi-professional performer for fifteen years, Two-Hawks periodically leaves the seclusion of his home in the Ozark mountains of Arkansas to perform concerts and speak on the history and culture of his people.


"Most of what I do is concerts, but I do get occasions to do education programs at universities and conferences for corporations," said Two-Hawks. "The purpose I have when I do get a chance to do education on the culture is to share with people the true culture and history of American Indians. So often it's misunderstood, misinterpreted, misrepresented, and even stereotyped. My purpose is to dispel the stereotypes, to erase the misconceptions and to impart correct and accurate, truthful and honest history and culture so people really have and authentic understanding of who, what and why we are as American Indian people. I think that's really important because without American Indian people, without the indigenous first nation people there is no United States. There is no American people.

An accomplished musician on more than 20 instruments, it is Two-Hawks' mastery of the native American cedar flute that has earned him acclaim world-wide. "There are instruments in other parts of the world that are similar in nature and similar in design," said Two-Hawks. "But the American Indian cedar flute really is in a class by itself when it comes to that sound that it has. It's different from the rest."


The flute clearly is the dominate element in Two-Hawks work, though he is also skilled keyboardist, percussionist and master of many stringed instruments. He constantly searches for new instruments and sounds to incorporate into his music.


"Every time I'm on tour in different countries I always endeavor to pick up the traditional instrument of that particular people," said Two-Hawks "While I was in Finland, I asked (Nightwish's manager) Ewo (Rytkonen), "What is the traditional instrument of the people of Finland?" and he explained to me that it was called the kantele. So I said "Well, Ewo take me to a store. I must buy one." "


So Ewo obliged the eclectic musician and took him to a music store where Two-Hawks was introduced to the traditional stringed instrument that has been played by the Finnish people as far back as prehistoric time. "It was really neat,"
remembered Two-Hawks. "Because on the way out of the store Ewo said, "I have taken many people to look at the kantele. You are the first to buy one." I was really really honored by that."

The song from Nightwish's latest album, Once, opens with Two-Hawks singing a powerful testimony to his ancestors in his native language. "No one has ever asked me what I'm saying in the beginning. It is "All of my relations are all still here" I did that on purpose."


In contrast, the band's female vocalist, Tarja Turunen enters the song with the mournful declaration, "Soon I will be here no more."


"I wanted to lend a balance to that," said Two-Hawks. "For American Indian people, we understand that all of our ancestors are still with us. What Tuomas is saying when he wrote that, was that all of the evils that have happened to American Indian people (are) very true. But I will be here and so that is very real, very powerful. So both expressions are right and are important to understand and so it is beautiful that in English it is saying one thing but in Lakota it's saying another. So underneath, sort of the undercurrent is even though I am not here for you to see, I am still here."


The powerful resonance of Two-Hawks voice is capable of stirring emotion without the need to understand the words. "My voice was really my first instrument," said Two-Hawks. "I've been a singer for a very long time. That's one of the things I love to do as much as play the flute. I try to incorporate all of that musical instrumentation in with the American Indian influence but I do it in a way that I use it as background. The flute is to me where it's at. The power of my music comes from the flute."


The Nightwish ballad ends with a poem honoring the heritage of the American Indian which Two-Hawks chants in the Lakota language. The native American was impressed with the accuracy in which Tuomas expressed his peoples heritage in this final testimony.


"I think what he summed up really, in that poem was a spiritual truth. It is our understanding of the whole circle, the whole perspective. We, in this society now a days, we look at things really close and when we do, we lose our perspective," said Two Hawks. "But American Indian people, having been on the continent as long as we have, we have a tendency to look at things much further back, to see the whole picture. Tuomas with his poem kind of zeroed in on this and he captured with words the thoughts and the sense of feeling that American Indian people have about North America, about what happened to us here, but not only that, but about what is to come and what we see in the future, how we see this circle will come back around. Those that are of the earth, shall return to the earth and Tuomas kind of called that out in that poem. It's like he transformed himself into an American Indian just for a moment in time. Maybe in someway he sort of stepped into our moccasins and really was seeing our world through our eyes when he wrote that. That's what I think. I think he wept, I think he probably cried in a quiet, private way. Maybe he clenched his teeth and his fist and felt emotion.


During the taping of  "Creek Mary?s Blood", Two-Hawks developed a special bond with the Finnish keyboardist. "He and I are musical soul mates," the Indian declared. This sense of connection the two musicians felt was so strong, Two-Hawks felt compelled to bestow on Tuomas an Indian name. Though he did not come up with the name, Two Hawks felt the honor was appropriate. "I can't take credit for the name coming, because the name really came from my wife (Peggy)," he admitted. "My wife had dreams when she was in Finland and they were all about Tuomas and they all had to do with certain things. So a name came to her."


"I've gotta be honest with you, this is something that happened this one time only," he continued. "We've never done an naming ceremony ever. So we did a small private ceremony with Tuomas and that's how he received the name. As he's probably said or implied, it is sort of personal and private."


Indeed, Tuomas is reluctant to discuss what the name means to him, but he did reveal his feelings about the ceremony and the name itself. "I truly felt something when they did that ritual and I was so honored," he said. "I've always been so that I'd never will get a tattoo but this is something that I would think about. Maybe on the arm or something. And there are already so many fans that are calling me "Shadow Wolf" instead of Tuomas," he added with a laugh.


"What I really loved about Nightwish's music is that they were passionate," said Two-Hawks. "When I read the lyrics, which I understand Tuomas writes, (I thought), "Here's a guy writing with passion!" The music is also incredibly ingenious and passionate. You can tell just by listening to the music that it says something; it means something. I like when the listener has to think and Tuomas make you think with his writing. He writes in a way that makes you have to dig a little bit. The lyrics in the song "Creek Mary's Blood"; oh, they mean something. What he wrote really comes from his heart."


John Two-Hawks has released seven cd's including a collaboration with Celtic musician, Manach on "Traditions" and a collection of Christmas music in Native American style entitled "Peace on Earth". His cd's "Heal" and "Good Medicine" have been described as "music that heals. It finds its way into those secret places and leaves its affirming balm on the soul."

Recently he contributed a song "Wild Eagle" on a DVD with the same name in which he plays the kantele.


To experience the magic and healing power of the music of John Two-Hawks, visit his website at: http://www.johntwohawks.com/


John Two-Hawks interview

August 25, BeyondEarCandy.com reporter Ann Marie Reilly had the opportunity to interview John Two-Hawks, the Lakota Indian featured on the Nightwish song, "Creek Mary's Blood". 


BEC: When I spoke to Tuomas in Kitee for the release party he said he found you over the internet, so this is how you came to meet him?


JTH: Yea, he did actually, I guess he was over in Finland and he was looking for a top-level Indian flute player. Through him, and King Foo Entertainment, one or the other or both, they contacted me.


Well, I'll tell you what, I think NW has some of the best music I've hear in a long long time. It's just incredible. This is not because my music is part of the Once cd. Just from an honest standpoint, really. I just can't get enough of it, I play it all the time.(laughs)


BEC: How many of their cd's do you have?


JTH: I have two, Century Child and Once. The Once cd came as part of the arrangement they made with me to perform with them that's how I got those, the Century Child cd came because they wanted to show me what they were doing before the contract with me to join them on this new one so in a way they were both gifts.


BEC: What was your reaction when you were first heard they were interested in working with you?


JTH: Well the first thing is, let's check these guys out and see what they're about. What their music is, what their writing is, all of that. So after we kind of looked into that and discovered their music a little bit and looked through it and read their lyrics then I was pumped. Yea, I was excited. First of all I'm very musically eclectic. I've been a performer in lots of musical genres in the past but the other thing that really excited me was that I have interest in joining the music that I create which is kind of enchanting, very healing, very meditational if you will, really kind of music for the spirit.
 

The instrument that I'm known for through out the world is the cedar flute.


BEC: Is that specifically a North American Indian instrument?


JTH: Yes it is, there are instruments in other parts of the world that are similar in nature and similar in design, but the American Indian cedar flute really is in a class by itself when it comes to that sound that it has; it's different from the rest. I'm kind of a, I guess you'd say, a musical pioneer of some sort in that I try to endeavor to include other types of musical influences in the traditional American Indian music in the music that I create. So when Nightwish called and said that they wanted to do this and we heard the music and read the lyrics, I was excited because I thought this is great and fresh and a great opportunity to express the joining of very different musical genres and kind of wrap them together in a braid. I think the end result is absolutely, Phew!, power house, incredible and I've gotten a lot of responses from people and fans all over Europe; my fans and Nightwish's fans all over Europe sent e-mail and posts on the message boards just raving about the song "Creek Mary's Blood" so heh heh, people are liking it.


BEC: I have to say it's my favorite song on the album.


JTH: Really? That's great!


BEC: Were you surprised that someone in Finland was interested in doing a tribute to North American Indians?


JTH: Yea quite honestly I was surprised by that. If someone would have said make a prediction of where this kind of contact would come from, I gotta be honest, I probably wouldn't have thought of Finland, no offense to the Finnish people that I've become friends with. Really I know that American Indian music, there's a huge interest in it over in Germany, Japan and several other places over there in Europe, but Finland probably wouldn't have crossed my mind.

The other thing about it that was really cool was that I had a really good friend when I was in school who was a Finnish exchange student. She was a real good friend of mine so I had learned about Finland many many years ago and even considered going over there as an exchange student so it was really kind of interesting the contact came from them.


BEC: Had you ever been to Finland before?


JTH: Not until this, no I hadn't been there. I'd been in various parts of Europe performing in concerts but Finland had not been on the list until then.


BEC: What was your impressions?


JTH: I gotta tell ya, I thought it was amazing. I tell you one thing, you gotta put this name in; Ewo. We love Ewo (Rytkonen) and we love Olga too, Olga's Ewo's finance. Ewo and Olga took us on a little walking trip of the islands right down the southern tip of Finland there off of Helsinki. We walked at night and the snow was on the ground and the moon was out and it was like the land of enchantment. It was incredible. If there would have been a warm room with windows looking out on those islands I could have composed the most incredible music that night because it was absolutely inspirational, enchanting, magical.

The other thing about Finland that I thought was really beautiful was the people. I really enjoyed the people. Well, they're kind of like American Indian people in a way. They think before they speak. They're a little bit reserved like we are. They're quiet and they're thoughtful and they think about things and they're intellectual. They're beautiful people. I just had a wonderful time and everybody that we met and chatted with and got to eat with we found them to be very friendly, friendly people.


BEC: What was your impression of the final version of CMB when you heard it?


JTH: Oh geez, I thought it was absolutely incredible. When I was in the studio I asked him if he could run a quick studio cut for me so I could take it home to show the people here. What they came up with for the final product, there's only a sliver difference in a couple of spots. And what they did as far as the finished product I liked. I thought it was incredibly tasteful and very well thought out. Their ideas were like mine. I have a hunch Tuomas had a hand in it. He and I are musical soul mates. We think along the same lines.


BEC: When I talked to him in Kitee I asked him if he was going to have a chance to see you and he said he really hoped so. Were you able to work out something where you could meet up?


JTH: Well, we're going to see here, I know that they're suppose to be performing in Denver sometime this weekend. I am right now on tour in Sante Fe. I'll be heading through Denver and on my way to a concert in Wyoming. From what I know, I believe I will be performing a concert in Wyoming the same night that Nightwish will be performing a concert in Denver. So we are probably going to drive right past each other. We're going to try they have our contact info and maybe we'll make a connection here and maybe we'll be able to do a lunch or something. You know it's funny we were there in Finland only a week or so and we made what I consider to be life long friends. So it would be great to see them.


BEC: He told me that you gave him an Indian name. I'm not going to ask specifically about that, because he felt it was kind of personal, but I'm curious, how does the inspiration for anyone's name come to you?


JTH: Well, I tell you what , I can't take credit for the name coming, because the name really came from my wife (Peggy). And I was just there to, we don't do this, I've gotta be honest with you, this is something that happened this one time only. We've never done an naming ceremony ever. My wife had dreams when she was in Finland and they were all about Tuomas and they all had to do with certain things. So a name came to her. So we did the ceremony, a small private ceremony with Tuomas and that's how he received the name. As he's probably said or implied it is sort of personal and private. It was beautiful, it really was.


BEC:Your website says you are an, (and I'll probably pronounce this wrong), Oglala Lakota man, what does that mean exactly?


JTH: By the way, you said that perfectly. Oglala Lakota that's the name of my American Indian nation and the tribe or band or clan, I like to use the word clan. Within the Lakota there's seven clans and one of them is the Oglala. You probably have heard us called Sioux but that's kind of a misnomer, it was given to us by our enemies. We traditionally call ourselves Lakota or Dakota or Nakota depending on the group of people you come from. Prairie Dwelling people, that's where the word Teton comes from. (Tetonwan) means to live on a prairie. So the Lakota people are prairie people.

BEC : When you speak on North American Indian culture, what is your inspiration? Are you trying to educate people?


JTH: Most of what I do, I'll be quite honest with you Ann Marie, is concerts but I do get occasions to do education programs if you will, at universities and I do conferences for corporations, the list is endless, including the Food and Drug Administration. A lot of stuff. The journey is wonderful. The purpose I have for doing what I do when I do get a chance to do education on the culture really I thinks its to share with people the TRUE culture and history of American Indians. So often its misunderstood, misinterpreted, misrepresented, and even stereotyped. My purpose when I go into a theater or where ever it is I may do an educational program is to dispel the stereotypes; to erase the misconceptions and to impart correct and accurate, truthful and honest history and culture so people REALLY have and authentic understanding of who what and why we are as American Indian people. You know I think that's really important because without American Indian people, without the indigenous first nation people there is no United States. There is no American people. Everything that we've given, it just expands. The language, the art, that's in the land itself. You can take it from the field all the way to the President of the United States. That's why I share the message of what we've given as far as contributions.

BEC: I understand you play over 20 instruments. What are some of the other instruments do you play?

JTH: The cedar flute is obviously the one I'm known for. Oh geez, let me throw some at you. I play all the different versions of guitar you can think of. I play the classical and folk guitar I play the 4, 6 and 12 string version of those. I play all kinds of stringed instruments including mandolin. I got an instrument while I was in Finland. Every time I'm on tour in different countries I always endeavor to pick up the traditional instrument of that particular people. And while I was in Finland, I asked Ewo, "What is the traditional instrument of the people of Finland?" and he explained to me that it was called the kantele. It's a stringed instrument and so I said "Well, Ewo take me to a store. I must buy one." So, he took me and I bought a kantele. It was really neat because on the way out of the store Ewo said, "I have taken many people to look at the kantele. You are the first to buy one." I was really really honored by that. The kantele I have just used actually on a song that I composed for the new dvd that I had out it's called "Wild Eagle." The dvd just came out. It's the newest product and the makers of the dvd series, it's called Cedar Lake Nature series, they asked me to compose a song specifically for this dvd so I did. I composed a song called "Wild Eagle" and I used the kantele.

Also I play piano, synthesizers and I know how to play several different kinds of horn but I don't use those in my music. I also play lots of percussion instruments. I am a percussionist. All the percussion I use is the traditional American Indian percussion, though I've also recently incorporated some African percussion. And I'm also a singer. My voice was really my first instrument. I've been a singer for a very long time. That's one of the things I love to do as much as play the flute. I try to incorporate all of that musical instrumentation in with the American Indian influence but I do it in a way that I use it as background. The flute is to me where it's at. The power of my music comes from the flute. And I'm giving the accents just fills it in and just making it that much more powerful.

BEC: What other countries have you played in?

JTH: Well, let's see here, one particular place that sticks out in my mind is England. That was a real special, special concert tour. I had some really wonderful experiences there. And it's interesting too, in America when you do a concert and the concert starts at 8:00, it usually doesn't start until a quarter after, because you always have stragglers, in England if the concert starts at 8:00, people are there at 10 minutes to 8:00 and nobody else shows up. Everybody's there at 8:00 sitting in their seat waiting for the show to start. That was my experience over there. It was interesting.

BEC: How long have you been performing?

JTH: I've been performing professionally, or semi-professionally for 15 years. I've been performing on the cedar flute for about 10 years.

BEC: What other types of music are you interested in?

JTH: As I said before, I'm kind of musically eclectic. I describe myself as a musical extremists and a bit of a musical perfectionist. I guess I'm sort of a mad scientist. When I'm composing I like things to be a certain way and when I'm listening I like things to be a certain way. I like music that means something, so when a song or piece of music is passionate that what's means something to me. I enjoy listening to songs by Simon and Garfunkle that were written in the 60's. Bob Dylan, the song that he wrote about war, how many years must one man have before he learns to cry, those things mean something. He's saying that with passion. And that song, because he sang with passion, means something to me. Songs that are kind of like "bubble gummy" I can't get into too much. I need something to have a point. Because he sings with passion that's why it means something to me.

As much as I like Simon and Garfunkle and Bob Dylan and Jim Croce and those kinds of songs, I also like Metallica and Ozzy Osbourne. I'm a huge Ozzy fanatic. I love his music and I just love the depth of his writing. He's incredible. I appreciate the stuff by Eminem. Whether you agree with him or not, he means what he's saying and he's passionate. And besides being passionate, he's a lyrical genius. He can put together lyrics like nobody I've ever seen. I really enjoy everything from metal to thrash metal to hip hop, some rap, to folk music and even classical music. And that was what I really loved about Nightwish's music is that they were passionate. When I read the lyrics, which I understand Tuomas writes, when I read those lyrics, Phew! here's a guy writing from the heart. Here's a guy writing with passion! The music is also incredibly ingenious and passionate. You can tell just by listening to the music that it says something; it means something. I like when the listener has to think. And Tuomas make you think with his writing. He writes in a way that makes you have to dig a little bit. The lyrics in the song Creek Mary's Blood, oh they mean something. What he wrote really comes from his heart.

BEC: What did you think of the poem at the end of the song that you sing in your native language?

JTH: I think what he summed up really, in that poem was a spiritual truth. What it is, is our understanding of the whole circle, the whole perspective. We, in this society now a days, we look at things really close and when we do, we lose our perspective. But American Indian people, having been on the continent as long as we have, we have a tendency to look at things much further back, to see the whole picture. Tuomas with his poem kind of zeroed in on this and he captured with words the thoughts and the sense of feeling that American Indian people have about North America, about what happened to us here, but not only that, but about what is to come and what we see in the future, how we see this circle will come back around. Those that are of the earth, shall return to the earth and Tuomas kind of called that out in that poem. It's like he transformed himself into an American Indian just for a moment in time. Maybe in someway he sort of stepped into our moccasin and really was seeing our world through our eyes when he wrote that. That's what I think I think he wept, I think he probably cried in a quiet, private way. Maybe he clenched his teeth and his fist and felt emotion.

You know, no one has ever asked me what I'm saying in the beginning of the song, (CMB). It is "All of my relations are all still here" I did that on purpose. Then Tarja sings the words, "Soon I will be here no more." I wanted to lend a balance to that. For American Indian people, we understand that all of our ancestors are still with us. What Tuomas is saying when he wrote that, was that all of the evils that have happned to American Indian people (are) very true. But I will be here and so that is very real, very powerful. So both expressions are right and are important to understand and so it is beautiful that in English it is saying one thing but in Lakota it's saying another. So underneath, sort of the undercurrent is even though I am not here for you to see, I am still here."

We gifted Tuomas an American Indian cedar flute.  I think he paid for it (laughing) But he really wanted one. He was very, very explicit about that when they were arranging for me to come over there. He wanted an Indian flute, so we had our maker make him one. I think he's (the maker) on one of the websites. NativeCircle.com, his flutes are on there. So he made him a beautiful, beautiful flute and we have some private pictures in the private collection of Tuomas receiving the flute from me and me doing kind of a blessing. He can play it to, that guy! He's pretty good at it. I wrote him and said, "So are you going to challenge me pretty soon?" and he wrote me back and said, "I've been playing it but I know I'm no where good enough" (and these are his words), "to challenge the great champion," he said, (laughs). It's a perfect fit for him too because he such a deeply introspective kind of a guy as I am. We get along in that way."


Interview with Nightwish 72

Source: DPRP

Article & hotosby Charlie Farrell , 6,7-2004

Finland's Symphonic Metal heroes spare no expense in adding real choral and orchestral elements to their latest album - ONCE - to meld film soundtrack music and metal.

Introduction


The journey from being one a student acoustic project into becoming one of Finlands biggest musical exports has happened remarkably quickly taking the band and their record label (Spinefarm Records) by surprise. In an industry where one good idea is quickly 'cloned' by competitors, Nightwish continue to outrun those who seek to follow on their coat-tails. Not only do they have a sound which mixes power metal, progressive metal and symphonic music but they have the operatic voice of Tarja Turunen giving them a sound that is immediately recognizeable as their own. For their new album, they have pushed on further in their quest to add a huge symphonic element to their core sound, having at last, the budget to use a real choir and orchestra rather than mere keyboard samples.

But first, for those who are relatively new to the band, a little bit of history.

A Bit of History


Back in 1996, in Kitee, Finland a young Tuomas Holopainen and his friend Emppu Vuorinen began what was originally intended to be a purely acoustic project. Tuomas wrote the songs and lyrics as well as playing keyboards, while Emppu played guitar. Neither saw themselves as vocalists, so Emppu suggested that they add Tarja Turunen and then they decided to add drums, which brought Jukka Nevalainen into the fold. The following year the first seven songs that they recorded formed the basis of their first album Angels Fall First and won them a contract with Spinefarm records for two albums.


Following the addition of Sami Vänskä on bass, the band recorded and released their second album Oceanborn in late 1998 to a surprising amount of success, both in their own country and elsewhere in Europe. The band's symphonic metal sound and the striking ‘operatic-style' soprano vocals of Tarja gave the band a truly unique sound and their fame spread rapidly, enabling them to play gigs outside of Finland for the first time.


The follow-up album Wishmaster took that success up a further level, with the band scoring a Number 1 album. Gold and then Platinum disks followed and the success enabled them to tour outside of Europe for the first time, taking in South America, Canada, South Korea and Japan. However the hard work and constant touring took its toll and created tensions in the band that were only resolved with the departure of Sami during the summer of 2001 and his subsequent replacement by Marco Heitala, then bassist with Tarot and Sinergy.


After a few months off, the band re-convened in January 2002 to begin the writing and recording of Century Child. It was difficult process, but the resulting album was swiftly accepted by the fanbase, propelling it to Platinum sales in Finland in a short space of time and high chart positions in larger markets, such as that of Germany. Despite the success, rumours about the band's long-term future continued to circulate after it was announced that Tarja would take a long break from the band to continue her singing studies in Germany, so after an hectic series of summer festival appearances, the band went on hold while Tarja studied and other members worked on side projects, such as Altaria. They met up once more during the summer of 2003 to make further festival appearances and to visit countries such as the UK and USA, where they had never toured before.


The band's sound has certainly changed and developed since the early days of Angels Fall First. Whilst the success of Wishmaster and Century Child has brought the band a much larger audience, many of the early fans yearn for a return to the days of Oceanborn, when Tarja's use of her 'operatic' voice was more prominent. Nowadays this is used less frequently and since Century Child, bassist Marco Heitala has also been contributing contrasting male vocals. Meanwhile the band's overall sound has become bigger and more symphonic, reflecting the fact that main composer Tuomas Holopainen is himself heavily influenced by today's major film music composers.

For a good introduction to the history of the band and their music, check out the End of Innocence DVD.


The Recording of 'Once'


Work began on the recording of Once during Autumn 2003, back in their native Finland. Though Century Child had included many orchestral effects, Tuomas Holopainen expressed the desire to add a real choir and orchestra for this new disk. As a result, the band paid a visit to London in November 2003 and then again in February 2004. It was on this second occasion that a number of UK-based press were invited to attend a listening party at the studio and to sit in on part of the recording process.


A small party, comprising Tuomas Holopainen of Nightwish, the band's manager Ewo Rytkonen and recording engineer Mikko Karmila had flown in from Finland on to complete a day's recording before returning to Finland the following day. Their objective on this particular trip was to complete the recording of the orchestral and choral parts for 5 of the eleven songs on the album, having already completed 4 of the nine songs that feature the orchestra during the earlier visit.


The recording sessions took place throughout the day, with the London Session Orchestra (perhaps best known for their performance on the soundtrack to "The Lord of the Rings") recording their parts during the morning and afternoon. Then during the evening session, the choral parts were completed. The songs for which parts were recorded included "Nemo" (the band's first single from the album), "Wish I Had An Angel", "The Siren", "Higher Than Hope" and "Dark Chest Of Wonders".


The Interview: 1 - At The Studio

Upon arrival at just after 6pm, I was escorted to a room with comfy chairs and a great Hi-Fi system, which was already playing a CD-R of the rough mixes. It proved too difficult a task to take in the whole album on the first listen, though it provided some useful material for the interview that followed.


Once the disk had finished playing, the band's manager Ewo then led us down into the main studio control room where we watched producer and arranger Pip Williams and his team record the choral parts for various songs. Mikko and Tuomas were also present with Tuomas indicating to Pip his satisfaction or otherwise with the singing, while Pip communicated with the conductor and the leader of the choir as their performances were fine-tuned to Tuomas's satisfaction.


After an hour or so, the choir were granted a ‘tea break', which gave me a brief opportunity to speak to Tuomas at a table in the cafeteria. Once we had got the introductions out of the way, I asked Tuomas why he had chosen this particular studio (Phoenix Sound Studios in Wembley, England) for the recording.


TH: Well the simple reason is that we really wanted to have the best, you know. It sounds kinda corny, but we wanted to have the best no matter the costs, and our record engineer Mikko Karmila, he had some connections with Pip Williams who is doing the arrangements and he recommended him to us. We contacted him and he was very interested in us and then he booked the orchestra for us. To be honest, the whole thing, the orchestra, it costs like twice as much as the whole previous album altogether. But it doesn't matter because the result is so awesome. So I'm very proud to be working with them.


CF: The rough mixes we heard before, how much is going to be reworked?

TH: There's gonna be 11 songs on the album and the orchestra is playing on 9 of them, so you just heard pretty much nothing.


I was a liitle surprised by this response as some of the songs already sounded very elaborate and tunes such as Creek Mary's Blood and Ghost Love Score were already quite heavily orchestrated.


CF: I wondered if there were any particular inspirations behind the album? Anything that motivated a number of the songs?


TH: I wanted to take this album even more to the Film Music direction. I want this to be not a metal album. I wanted this to be a film music album which is covered under the mask of Heavy Metal.


This certainly struck a chord, as my own reaction upon hearing certain tunes was that the music might well have been composed as a film score. Tuomas continued ...


TH: Exactly, and you haven't heard the rest of them yet you only heard like less than half of the orchestra on the demos so, its gonna be. Like I said, when I listen to the album I just see movies in front of me. That was the whole idea.


Having noticed in the studio that the arranger Pip Williams and the choir were all working from what appeared to be a detail led score I then continued by asking Tuomas what part he played in preparing the music for the orchestra.

TH: I had a lot of ideas and we made a demo recording where I played the keyboards, the choirs and everything. I wanted it to be like this, but I talked to Pip and said that you can have a free hand to do whatever you want and he has done an AMAZING job with the arrangements, you know. A lot of new ideas, I don't understand anything about notes, so he has written all the notes and everything. He has a very strong part in this album. He's a great guy.


CF:
I know that most metal musicians can't write music, so I wonder how much he was involved and it sounds like he was a big part of it.


TH:
Yeah he is, he really is.


I then asked Tuomas about one of the other songs which had struck me on the first listen, in particular The Siren, which oriental or middle-eastern feel to it. I wondered what Tuomas's reasons were for including that sort of sound.


TH:
That song in particular? I just wanted to do something Eastern like Egyptian or Arabian. Then I saw the Disney movie ‘Sinbad' Have you see this movie?


I had to admit that I hadn't.


TH:
There's this scene of about 5 minutes where the sirens come and tempt Sinbad and it has AWESEOME music behind it and I said ‘I wanna make a song about this ... about Sirens tempting the listener that's the whole idea of the song.


CF:
And also the guitars seem to be more prominent or heavy on quite a few of the songs.


TH:
Yeah, I think so too because they are much more to the front in this album. This album is more riff orientated guitar riff orientated but still there is more orchestra and the choir so its really funny.


To close, I asked Tuomas if the writing of the album had been a difficult process. I referred back to the band's most recent DVD The End of Innocence in which Tuomas had explained that the band's previous studio album Century Child had been a really difficult album to write.


TH:
It was very difficult and this one was equally difficult, but its been more fun than ever though. I mean its been in a very positive spirit, both for me and for the whole band. The whole process has been really smooth even though it has been really difficult and really long but we're all having the time of our lives here. I think that there is a bit of a positive touch to this album, more than before. Just fun, having fun doing what we're doing.


At this point the singers began to make their way back into the studio and it was time for us to conclude the interview. I thanked Tuomas for his time and we made our way back into the studio control room. Unfortunately I was unable to stay for much longer as I had a ticket for a concert that particular evening I thanked Tuomas and Ewo for their hospitality and left.


The Interview: 2 - Press Tour

A month or so later, I had a further opportunity to meet with Tuomas, who in company with drummer Jukka Nevalainen gave me a more detailed insight into each of songs on Once.

My first interview with Tuomas took place at the end of February, but given the meagre showing by the UK press that evening, I was rather surprised to receive a further invitation to meet with keyboard player Tuomas Holopainen and drummer Jukka Nevalainen as part of their European press tour for Once. Unfortunately, postage delays meant that the promo disk itself did not reach me until the day after the interview, so I had to rely largely on my notes and memories of the listening session six weeks earlier, but fortunately Tuomas was extremly talkative.


Once - Track by Track

Having invited Tuomas to talk about the new songs he was very forthcoming in describing the contents of the album and the inspirations behind each of the tunes, as follows:


Dark Chest Of Wonders

"The first song, Dark Chest Of Wonders is one of our favourites on the album. It's really weird because the mood changes, like every 20 seconds in the song but it goes pretty much close to all the styles in metal. It starts with the hardest riff that we've ever done, then the orchestra comes in with a really funny melody, almost like a 'folkish' melody, then comes the choir and the chorus is real traditional Power Metal. Then comes the 'sea' part with a real Pantera patch in it. So it's a weird combination of everything, but it still holds together amazingly good and it works really well, as an introduction for the whole album.


Yeah this song turned out really well. Its one of those songs where you can hear the real fun of playing in a band. It doesn't make any sense as a song, but it still sounds good as an artist ... the joy of playing."


Wish I Had An Angel

"Then Wish I Had An Angel is going to be our next single. It's something that we haven't really done before, with all the machines and a real 'industrial' touch. It's a song that's there for a purpose, it was also an experiment because we haven't done anything like that before. It was just and experiment, because the name of the song, the danceable beat kind of fits into the song really well and its definitely going to divide opinions among the fans." 


Nemo

"So the third one is Nemo, which is the first single track and a very obvious choice to be one, with a very simple structure, catchy chorus, its short enough for radio play ... and so its the easiest choice we ever made. Its not among the very best tracks on the album in my opinion, but it still makes a perfect single track. 'Nemo' is the Latin word for 'nobody', so the song has nothing to do with a fish."


This was Tuomas's way of once again denying any connection with the Disney Film 'Finding Nemo' - a subject which has produced some animated exchanges on the band's internet message board.


Planet Hell

"Then the fourth one will be Planet Hell. It's one of those real straight rockers on the album.


My personal opinion is that it's a little bit boring to my taste, but it has a real great intro and an outro and it's just like real rocking, hard punching, in between. Yeah, definite live hit, One of the best lyrics actually that is on this album. I'm really satisfied with the lyrics and all that but the song is a good one."


Since the song appeared to be about the state of the world today, I asked if the song was to do with the state of the environment. Tuomas said "Oh, its about everything that's going on in the world today" "9/11?", I suggested. "Not just that, pretty much everything", he replied.


Creek Mary's Blood

"The fifth one is Creek Mary's Blood. It's like this epic half ballad about this American Indian, their culture and especially the genocide of the Indians in the 19th century. Highly inspired by a book called "Creek Mary's Blood". So the title is a total rip-off of this Book. The author is Dee Brown. The same guy who wrote Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee". Also there is this Native American Indian (Mr John Two-Hawks) performing some cedar flutes, Native American chanting, oration in the Lakota language. Exotic song and my personal favourite on the album."


"Its got a lot of the orchestra on it", I pointed out.


"Yeah, its throughout the whole song. If you take the drums and guitar and the keyboards out of that song, it fits to the soundtrack of "Dances With Wolves". That was what I wanted it to sound like and I'm very, very satisfied with the result."


The Siren

"Sixth one is called The Siren. Introduces an electric violin solo that we haven't heard before. The whole orchestra and especially the choir parts in this song is really, really good. You really hear the Sirens calling for you and tempting you when the choir does their part. I mean, its really awesome, it's one of the artistic songs on the album. Its not the 'straight rocker' as you call it so you really have to get into it. It really paints some nice sceneries before your eyes when you listen to this song."


Dead Gardens

"The next one is Dead Gardens. This is one of the two songs on the album that doesn't include the orchestra or the choir. This was the first song that I wrote for the whole album actually and the song is about the pain of creation, like artists block, which I sometimes have. Your wanna create something, create music but nothing comes up and you feel extremely pissed and frustrated. I think that we really got that feeling into that song, especially the last minute of that song its exactly what goes through in your head. Very hard riffing and a 'straight rocker'."


Romanticide

"Number eight is Romanticide, which is the other song of the album which doesn't involve any orchestra or choirs. So these are the two songs. This introduces something like Thrash metal riffs of the late 80s or something, so its one of the hardest song on the album as well. "


Ghost Love Score

"Ninth one is Ghost Love Score and as you can tell from the title of the song it's very much like a soundtrack to a movie. Its 10 minutes long and the most ambitious piece of work that we have ever done. The orchestra plays throughout the whole song, there is a lot of choirs and er, yeah its just something that I don't think that we will ever be able to play live without the orchestra."


Tuomas's answer appeared to be hinting that playing live with an orchestra might be something he would like to do, so I had to enquire if this indeed was the case. "Yeah, maybe" was his reply, so I guess that is something to possibly look forward to, in the future.


Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan

"Number ten is Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan, the Finish song and the 'ballad' of the album with just the orchestra and choir and vocals. It gives a nice little, exotic touch to the album to have one song in Finnish. Its one of the most... one of the best ballads, actually we ever did."

Up to this point Tuomas had been speaking most of the time, while drummer Jukka had remained silent. However he interrupted at this point to back up Tuomas's point "Yeah, Definitely", he concurred.

"We had lots of doubts about it in the beginning when it was just a demo made about that. It was almost going to be included as the B-side of a single at one point but when we heard the vocal performance we thought, "yeah", it's really cool."

Higher Than Hope

"The last one is called Higher Than Hope which is a song, mainly done by Marco, the bass player. Definite ending for the album, so it was the only place to put this on the album. Like a half-ballad, witha real hard and light touch to it ... and a lot of meaning behind the lyrics to it."


The Recording of Once

There were a number of questions about the recording of the album which I wanted to ask Tuomas. I knew that the songs which featured the orchestra and choir were recorded over two visits to Phoenix Sound Studios in Wembley, so I began by asking Tuomas how the recording of these was broken down.


TH: "The first time were made Creek Mary's Blood, Ghost Love Score, the Finnish song Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan and Planet Hell. Those four."


CF:
"Right. Did they split up logically? Was it a matter of time?. You could only squeeze so much in?"


TH: "It was a decision of Pip Williams. He wanted to do it like that. Before, the first time, they were to him, the hardest ones. He wanted to get them out of the way and to leave the easier ones for the next time. It was the way he works I guess."


CF: "Did he do all the scores in advance? or did you work with him on the scores first?"


TH: "Well the first time I came to London was at the end of November, with like a demo tape, where I had played all the orchestral parts with the keyboards - what I had in mind - We worked through the songs, the two of us and I explained that I wanna have a choir here and an orchestra there - and gave him a free hand to do what he wants according to those directions. Then he worked on them for a couple of months. He did all the score writing and all that. None of us can do that."


CF: "So all the recording of the other musicians was done back in Finland?"


TH: "All the rest, yeah. In the same studios as before."


I was a little intregued by the fact that some of the lyrical subject matter related to the sea and when I had heard the orchestral parts on songs like Ghost Love Score, that too had evoked images in my mind, of the sea. I wondered if this was just an associated that I had made or whether it was something Tuomas had in mind himself when he composed the music.


TH: "I have this ocean thing all the time in my mind. It's some sort of fixation that I have. That's a very big complement because what we are trying to do it to create images, not only of earth but also of the sea and if you see the oceans when listening to the album, that's just the biggest complement. So thank you."


I was also interested in the way in which the band had chosen to use the voice of Marco Hietala. His voice as well as his bass playing had made a real impact on Century Child but I suggested that they had used his voice even more aggressively on Once.


TH: "Yeah, that's right."


JN [Jukka Nevalainen]: "In a way, yeah. You know we kind of wanted to create this contrast between Tarja's enchanting kind of vocals and Marco's like very raw, very, like aggressive vocals and its like a duet, very nice contrast."


TH: "Yes, yes. Wish I had an Angel is a very good example. Tarja is singing the way she sings and back comes Marco in the chorus - warggghhhh."


JN: "It has something to do with the lyrics as well I guess."


TH: "Yeah it does. The lyrics require it. Same thing with Planet Hell. With that kind of lyrics you cannot sing quietly."

End of Innocence

I then asked the guys about their touring plans as one or two dates had been posted on the web. Tuomas admitted that he was a bit in the dark about the plans but stressed that fans should not beleive anything that wasn't posted on the official website.


TH: "Definitely, we will be back here (i.e. The UK) again for sure, because the last shows were sold out. It was great."


CF: "Do you think that you will be playing more than 1 gig?"


TH: "Hopefully yeah, but we really don't know."


The success of Nightwish in the charts in Finland had meant that they have also produced one or two videos for each of their albums. It has been no different for Once, with the band having already produced a very lavish video to accompany the first single release from the new album, namely Nemo. I then asked the two band members if they thought that the band would be producing more expensive videos in future and whether they saw them as the tools that would enable the band to reach a wider audience.


JN: "Definitely. We have always done a proper video, but as a metal band it is hard to get your video shown in the mainstream market, but definately it will do the trick to build it bigger."


TH: "Yes, but they have the weirdest policies in the music channels."


The guys then went on to explain that certain MTV stations refused to broadcast the Nemo video, since it featured the band playing against a snowy landscape. Apparently such a video is only appropriate for broadcast during the Winter time. Having clearly put a lot of money and effort into the video, the band were clearly frustrated with the difficulties they were encountering in getting it shown on music TV. 


I then moved on to ask the guys about their experience in producing the DVD End of Innocence, as Tuomas and Jukka were the two characters who featured the most frequently.


TH:
"The DVD was never supposed to be that way. It was supposed to be the two of us talking to the guy who was doing the book about us. And then he brought this guy with him who filmed the whole thing and when we saw the video, we thought 'oh this would make a cool documentary' to show all the history, all of the skeletons in the closet."


CF:
"It was very honest."


TH:
"It was actually, yeah."


JN:
"That's the magic behind it, I guess."


TH:
"Yes it is, I mean I would think that someone who is not into the band or who doesn't know the band would find it extremely boring, but for the fans, it's something very special. If I was a future fan of some band and saw this kind of documentary it would be a totally cool."


CF:
"I found that it explained a lot of things and made a lot of sense but as you say, if you are not a fan of the band I think it would be boring."


TH:
"It's also good for the band. Its a souvenir for us to watch after 30 years."


JN:
"Yeah, to go through the times and all the problems and everything like that."

Rather than bring up the band's earlier problems again, I decided to move on by reminding Tuomas that in the earlier interview he had told me that for the recording of Once, the band had become much more united once again.


TH:
"Yeah. It hasn't been like that since we made the first album, I think. So it was really good. I mean the confidence was there all the time, in the studio. Nobody lost their nerve and all that, so for the first time in a long time, it was a lot of fun to make... and you can definitely hear that in the album."


JN:
"The suicidal aspect of Century Child is not there anymore."


CF:
(laughs) "Century Child seemed to be an album that really splits the fans. "


TH:
"Yeah I know."


Then to close I suggested to Tuomas that, from the samples that I had heard, the music of Once appeared to follow on naturally from that of Century Child and that the initial reaction of the fans seemed to have been generally very positive.


TH:
"In a way it's like a sequel to that one, but I think that we also bring some of the other elements back into the music with this one and also a lot of totally new things. You have to evolve all the time."


Well Once certainly has been another step forward for the band in terms of the complexity of their compositions, while already the sales figures suggest that it may be the band's most successful release to date. It would appear that, for the moment at least, the musical evolution for this band is going hand in hand with the evolution of their fanbase.



 


Interview with After Forever 3

Source: DPRP

2007, Download Festival at Donnington, final day.

Interview & Live Photos for DPRP by ANDY BRAILSFORD


After Forever are a relatively new band to me, but after hearing what they do, and becoming quite an appreciater of the modern day female fronted rock band, they were added to my list of bands to check out. So I was delighted when I saw their name come up on the cast list of Download Festival at Donnington and made it my mission to arrange a chat with someone from the band. I was even happier when that someone turned out to be the stunning Floor Jansen, who is the vocalist for the band. I felt quite diminutive in her presence as she is a very tall lady, but I put all my insecurities to one side and the following is the conversation we had a couple of hours after finishing their set on the Dimebag Darrel Stage on the final day of the event.


To be honest you are a new band to me and I have not heard anything before this album here, and now I've heard it, I love it. It's the big sound that I like.


Thank you.


So you are with a new record label. I assume that this is better for you.


Yeah. Definitely. Because our former record label in Holland was a small independent label that got us to a certain level but we noticed that we couldn't grow any more, especially internationally. Like here in England we barely stepped foot because there wasn't any decent distribution or promotional work done. But with the big, international, well-oiled machine like Nuclear Blast, where we're signed up now, these things are possible. That's the reason we are playing here at the Download festival. It's a cool thing to start growing on and reach more people and we've noticed already that sales have gone up and all the reviews are amazingly positive.


Like I said, I love the big music and there is lots of orchestration on there. When you're writing material, do you write it with that in mind or do you write then think "This will sound good"?


Of course we write things thinking and hoping they will sound good but we didn't write it thinking that we would have an orchestra. But to be able to work with a full symphonic orchestra was not something we knew when we started writing. So for us it works like this:- Sander (Gommans) our guitar player, he's our main song writer now with (Joost Van Den Broek), our keyboard player, he's also the one that makes the arrangements and together they start making the instrumental parts for the song. So they determine the main basic structure and the melodies for the instruments. Then I start making my vocal lines on it and then write lyrics and rerecord that. And then we start working them out with the band and this time with our producer Gordan (Groothedde). Then we had the ability to work with the symphonic orchestra of Prague and that's when our keyboard player started writing all these arrangements and made it extra orchestral. Once you know what you are going to have, what you can use, you can adapt your parts to it and make it as orchestral as you want.


I love to hear orchestras in rock music like you play because it expands it and makes it so much bigger.


 Yeah. On this album, it's actually the first time we've managed to make everything more extreme. We've always made the combination but this time, we've worked with the real orchestra, which makes a difference of course, because before we had real strings but not an entire real orchestra so this time we could do more like that, and the sound on the album became much better because of the producer we worked with. We wanted to keep a heavy sound, a real heavy guitar and metal sound and compare it with a real orchestral sound. We wanted al all and that's kind of hard to achieve cause often real symphonic and orchestral albums sound orchestral but not heavy and real heavy albums with orchestral things have maybe a flute in the back and now we finally managed to get both out, real clear and heavy.


You're right because rock musicians, I'm thinking guitarists cause I'm a guitarist, like Yngwie Malmsteen and various others have done things with orchestras and you're right, it doesn't sound heavy. But the way you marry it up and of course, it compliments your voice because that's the area you're in. Are you operatically trained?


Yeah. I started studying in '99 on the school rock academy, so that was like a conservatory for pop and rock music. But while I was doing that I was also working on my lyrical voice and operatic voice and then during that study I started studying more on that direction and when I finished at that academy, I did one more year of music theatre and then one more year of opera. So I kind of did everything.


When you first started the operatic training, did you think that you wanted to do rock music?


It was the other way round. I was already in rock music. This is my tenth anniversary in the band. We started playing this kind of music with high female voices but I didn't want it to become all "wah wah wah". I wanted to have some balls too. So I wanted to make a difference between a rock voice and a more lyrical voice so that was my self-study through the years to get both sounds, more divided and more clear;- now it's going to be a heavy rock voice, now it's going to be light, now it's going to be low, now it's going to be high, now it's going to be opera, now it's going to be belting like a more musical style to make a diversity that we haven't heard yet in other bands with female voices. So I wanted to make a difference.


I don't know if you have them in your country, but we have impersonators here who do lots of different voices. Do you have to think carefully about which voice you use?


Yeah, definitely. When I start writing my vocal lines it's like "which voice shall I use?"


How difficult is it when you play live? Do you sometimes start with the wrong voice?


No it's automatic. I was gifted with this voice that has never got me into any limits. I could always do whatever I wanted with it. I just technically adjust it and there are no limits there really. I'm so happy with that. I can very easily switch.


That's the beauty with having the sort of scale and range with the voice you've got. Has anybody yet suggested that you go out on tour with an orchestra?


Well yes but it's more based on financial reasons that we can't. There are even orchestras that really want to play with us but it is a huge thing to do.


That's answered my next question; has an orchestra approached you yet? At some point I can imagine it will happen because these things do, especially when orchestras are interested in doing it.


Yeah. That would be great but we'll see whatever's possible.


I must admit, I'm not a big fan of Grunters. When I put the album on and there were a few tracks on there, I thought "It's not going to be one of those albums is it?" But it's fine because you don't do that much of that sort of song.


It's part of the music and just to make an extreme view the other way, the combination of grunts and clear voices is a nice refreshment in that way and it has to be a functional element in the music to add a certain thing. But it's not like we have to have grunts in it because people want it or we're not going to have grunts because people don't like it. It's what we want to do and where we want to do it. On this album it's not too much but it's still there. It emphasises the happiness of some of the songs and emphasises the metal element in our music. And that's important to us.


As a progressive rock fan, would you say you have some progressive elements in your music, because when I listen to it, I listen to the chord structures and the way the songs are constructed?


Definitely, especially if you listen to our third album, it's like a complete progressive album and has much more progressive elements and in the literal meaning of progressive I think we are a progressive band. If you listen to the first and last album, we have progressed in our own style. We started over ten years ago when female fronted bands in general were not as popular as they are today. The entire scene was not there. We are a part of making that and part of creating this type of music. So we have been growing in that ourselves as well and it's funny to notice. So in that way, yeah, I would definitely call it progressive.


It's right what you said about female fronted bands. Actually that's when things started to come out. I always used to think that female vocalists used to try to sound like the male vocalists sang, like they sounded like Robert Plant or something and it never worked for me. But now they have evolved so it's based around their own voice rather than trying to be somebody else.


I know what you mean but still it sounds different.


You could be compared to Nightwish. They have just evolved with a new singer. Do you think that you are vying for the same sort of area?


Of course, yeah. But on the other hand if bands like Nightwish and also Within Temptation grow, the genre and the potential of it grows and that's interesting for us because it expands our possibilities as well. And of course we all want to be the number one band. We are sticking to ourselves. Everybody's doing our own thing. We are still all very different bands. Even though we are all in the same genre, we are attracting a lot of the same people. We also attract some people that won't listen to those bands and the other way around. The sky's the limit as far as I'm concerned. But we'll see where it leads to.


How many times have you played England before?


This is the third. We have played the Bloodstock Festival and we did a club show in London. Both were very successful. Just as surprising as today, the places were packed, very enthusiastic. The merchandise was huge. Everybody wanted to have our shirt or CD. That's also something that shows how enthusiastic people are. So Jeez, I really hope that we are going to see much more of England.


It makes it better because we could tell you were enjoying what you were doing today.


Very much so.


So when are you likely to come back again?


Well we are planning on it but it depends on what happens after this. Since we signed up with Nuclear Blast, we have become a little bigger. So there are a lot of places we are going to such as Germany, Belgium, Spain, France are countries we have been before and are places we are definitely going back for club shows, probably in September. In October, we will fly to North America so we are going to have our first North American tour and very likely a South American tour right after that one. And maybe at the end of the year, we'll see if it's going to be Scandinavia or/and England. Our booking agency has a lot of things coming in so it's cool because we can choose depending on which place we want to go first. Exciting.


I suppose America is a big one to go for.


It's a very new challenge. We've been talking with the guys from Within Temptation who have just come back from a very successful tour there, Epica and Lacuna Coil are doing great there. So European female fronted bands in general are doing good there. So I think we definitely fit in and if you see how much reaction we get on our website and how much North American interest in general there is, I'm looking forward to it.

Floor JansenLuuk van Gerven & Bas MaasBas MaasAndre BorgmanFloor Jansen


Interview with Nightwish 71

Source: Metal Eye

NIGHTWISH were interviewed by the "Metal Eye" show on Z1 TV when the band performed in Zagreb, Croatia on April 2, 2009.




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Source: Noicecreep

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  • Delain - April Rain

    Source: DPRP

    Tracklist: April Rain (4:37), Stay Forever (4:27), Invidia (3:49), Control The Storm (4:14), On The Other Side (4:11), Virtue And Vice (3:56), Go Away (3:38), Start Swimming (5:21), Lost (3:24), I'll Reach You (3:30), Nothing Left (4:39)


    Delain
    , a Dutch female fronted progressive metal outfit with a ‘Gothic' touch, have their second album out. The band is led by ex-Within Temptation keyboardist Martijn Westerholt (yes, the brother of Robert). Because of his illness a few years ago (Pfeiffer's disease) he had to be replaced in Within Temptation but after a full recovery he formed his own band, originally started as a project. Singer Charlotte Wessel's evidently learned a lot and is really making her way to the top of the genre. Their debut album Lucidity was well received (Edwin Roosjen scored it an 8-) and this album is a worthy successor.


    All songs are pop-orientated rock with the emphasis on being catchy and ready to get a lot of airplay. Not so much progressive nor original I must add, and all eleven songs are within the 5:21 minutes limit. Listening to the album, my first impression was: this is the album Nightwish should have made instead of Dark Passion Play but the originality, refinement and ground breaking albums of that Finnish outfit places Nightwish in a higher league. The overall feel of April Rain is comparable to Nightwish's Oceanborn album, but recorded anew and sung by Anette instead of Tarja. The participation of Marko Hietala in tracks 4 and 11 makes the Nightwish influences even more obvious. Guest on the album is cellist Maria Ahn; she is featured in the track On The Other Side (not a cover of the song by Kansas!). The production duties were performed by Oliver Phillips (Everon) and he surely knows how to produce a bombastic album like this. Tracks like April Rain, Go Away and Lost definitely have the Nightwish touch, the other songs are more in the vein of Within Temptation and perhaps a bit similar to the more mellow songs by After Forever.


    My personal favourites are the songs with Marko and the highlight for me is Start Swimming, an absolutely fabulous chorus and the most progressive track of all. Though it's not genuine ‘progressive rock' as such, this band should be checked out live and although Delain are playing safe again, April Rain is a real solid album and providing three quarters of an hour of high quality melodic female fronted metal. The special edition (RR 78795) features an exclusive bonus track. Maybe some of the riffs and choruses are predictable, but there is lot on this record you should be able to enjoy as much I did and will do for quite some time!


    Conclusion: 8 out of 10


    MENNO VON BRUCKEN FOCK


    Delain - Lucidity

    Source: DPRP

    Tracklist: Sever (4:53), Frozen (4:43), Silhouette Of A Dancer (5:24), No Compliance (5:09), See Me In Shadows (4:40), Shattered (4:19), The Gathering (3:34), Daylight Lucidity (4:35), Sleepwalkers Dream (4:27), A Day For Ghosts (3:37), Pristine (4:31), Deep Frozen [bonus track](4:44)


    Back in 2001 things were looking good for the Dutch symphonic metal band Within Temptation. The release of the second single Ice Queen, from the album Mother Earth, was their big breakthrough and the world lay at their feet. At that moment in time keyboard player Martijn Westerholt was diagnosed with Pfeiffer's disease and was not able to handle the busy schedule of the band. However immediately after his illness he started writing songs as a way to pass the time and the desire to make music on a professional level got stronger everyday and he finally decided to personally contact some talented musicians from well known bands to create his project Delain. The name Delain is inspired by Stephen King's book The Eyes of the Dragon.


    Famous names helped recording this album among whom Marco Hietala (Nightwish), Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation), Ad Sluijter (Epica) and Liv Kristine (Leaves Eyes). But the real star of the album is 19-year old Charlotte Wessels. Martijn met her as she lived down the street from the house of Martijn's parents. She contributed to the lyrics and has a pleasant natural way of singing in contrary to the operatic style common to the symphonic metal genre. Starting out as a project Delain is currently a busy live band. Besides Martijn and Charlotte, Delain is completed by bass player Rob van der Loo (Sun Caged), guitar player and vocalist Ronald Landa and drummer Sander Zoer. Guitar player Ray van Lente recently left the band for personal reasons but will not be replaced.


    Delain's sound is a mixture of Within Temptation (of course) and Epica. Especially the dark atmospheric keyboards from main song-writer Martijn define the sound of this album. Despite the high quality of this recording it's all very on the safe side. Absolutely no risks were taken and a few songs can easily be categorised as commercial material, with most of the songs around four and a half minutes and the song-structures are very predictable.


    The opening song Sever immediately shows what to expect on this album. Heavy guitar parts drenched in keyboard are varied by slow parts with Charlotte singing beautifully. Frozen is the first single (released 21 May 2007) and is a very accessible song. Silhouette Of A Dancer is a slower and more atmospheric song with the chorus spiced up by grunts form George Oosthoek (Orphanage). No Compliance is the only song sung by Sharon den Adel and it's also the low point of the album in my opinion. The song lacks direction, it's not a ballad and it never starts rocking. The vocal parts of Sharon and Marc never really appeal to me.


    The second single See Me In Shadows (release 23 July 2007) is a ballad of sheer beauty and marks the first highlight of the album. It's a duet between Charlotte and Liv Kristine and on this song Martijn rules the show with beautiful piano parts and atmospheric keyboards. Shattered is a straight forward song that holds nothing really interesting besides the fact that it's the bridge to the absolute highlight of the album. The Gathering is a rock song that blew me away the first time I heard it and after several spins it still does. It starts with a sing-a-long chorus followed by a powerful riff. After a vocal part and a bridge to the sing-a-long chorus we start all over again. After doing this twice the song steps up a tone and ends with the powerful riff drenched in keyboard. This is the most predictable song on this album but the bottom line: IT ROCKS.


    Daylight Lucidity
    and Sleepwalkers Dream are straightforward songs that never reach the level of The Gathering. On A Day For Ghosts it's clear that Ad plays the guitar and this song could easily be on a Epica record whilst Pristine is a heavy ending to the album with lot's of grunts from George Oosthoek. The bonus track Deep Frozen is simply the song Frozen with a different chorus.


    Delain has produced a very good debut-album that provides high quality music, however if you are looking for ground breaking music then this album is not the place to find it. The songs follow a predictable pattern and all is very much on the safe side. For fans of symphonic metal, especially Within Temptation and Epica, this album must be present in your collection.
     

    Conclusion: 8- out of 10

    EDWIN ROOSJEN


    Delain Live » Melkweg, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

    Source: DPRP (Dutch Progressive Rock Page)

    Thursday, 19th March 2009
    Article and photos By Edwin Roosjen

    This Thursday evening Dutch gothic metal band Delain was throwing a party in honour of the release of their second album April Rain. Mastermind of Delain is Martijn Westerholt who needed to start a new band to take a shot at the glory he missed out on. In 2001 he was diagnosed with Pfeiffer's disease just before his band Within Temptation was at the point of a break through. He had to leave the band and in 2006 he returned with his project Delain. The debut album Lucidity featured many well known names like Marco Hietala (Nightwish), Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation), Ad Sluijter (Epica) and Liv Kristine (Leaves Eyes). The biggest star on that album was Charlotte Wessels, an unknown 19-year old singer that lived down the street from Martijn. Delain was intended as a one time project but Martijn searched and found band members that were given the difficult task to compete with the famous names on the album. The first time I saw them was just after the release of their debut album and they already impressed me. Though not as technically skilled or experienced they showed potential and above all a very positive attitude towards their music and audience.


    Delain is a band that is trying to become more than a support act. The concert was in the small hall at the Melkweg but the place was packed, my estimation of the number of people who attended the concert would be about six hundred. When the curtains opened two big screens on each side of the stage showed that Delain was being professional about their music career. The guitar and the microphone had a small camera that displayed live action on the screens.
    I was surprised they did not start with the title track and Invidia was not a song that really pleased me. Control The Storm and Stay Forever, both also from the new album, satisfied me a lot more. This could also be because at that time I had inserted my earplugs so that the volume level would be decreased to an acceptable level. The new songs feature more vocals by Charlotte and less male vocals and grunts, later it became clear that this is the case for the majority of the new songs. The keyboard intro to Sleepwalkers Dream was welcomed with a big roar. The audience showed that they knew the lyrics to this song from Lucidity. Next was title track and next single April Rain. The screens showed the video clip that was shot in Serbia. Great performance and a confirmation that Delain has grown as a band. I'll Reach You and On The Other Side also impressed me and I was amazed by the amount of new songs Delain was playing. Instead playing well known songs from their debut album they almost completely played their whole new album. The guitar solos are not a hot issue in the sound of Delain, just like for Epica for which they supported in the past. I shivered while watching a guitar solo that looked more like an easy practice tune and a solo a bit more difficult was certainly not flawless. Guitar player Ronald Landa is more convincing during the metal riffs.


    Sever started with a slow drum intro but this opening song from Lucidity created some headbanging action. Lost was followed by Delain's very first single Frozen. Delain asked the audience to go crazy on their mark during Go Away. And at their mark the audience replied with headbanging and all hands up in the air. For me, and probably a lot more, the best Delain song is The Gathering. This song is easily accessible and always causes jumping and singing among the fans. The first time I saw them they had to play this song twice due to lack of material but two years later this was not necessary. The first part of the show ended with April Rain's closing song Nothing Left. Of course Delain returned after shouting "We Want More". New song Virtue and Price was followed by the closing song of Lucidity, Pristine.


    Delain has become more professional and the new songs impressed me. Delain still has that positive attitude and a very pleasant vibe. Their solid fanbase and fame resulted in a nice Spinal Tap moment. Guitar player Ronald Land could not find his way to the backstage area and seemed a bit scared when a Melkweg employee told him he had to walk through the area between the wardrobe and the CD stand. Their fame has not risen to that level, ha can walk amongst Delain fans without his clothes being ripped off, but Delain sure made the next step. I do not think Martijn will achieve the same level as his former band Within Temptation but the new album April Rain is certainly one to be proud of. Hoping to hear from this band a lot more.

    Setlist:
    Invidia
    Control The Storm
    Stay Forever
    Sleepwalkers Dream
    April Rain
    I'll reach You
    On The Other Side
    Sever
    Lost
    Frozen
    Go Away
    The Gathering
    Nothing Left

    Virtue And Vice
    Pristine

    Interview with Delain 1

    Source: DPRP

    by Menno von Brucken Fock

    DPRP's Menno von Brucken Fock speaks with Martijn Westerholt from Delain on 26th March 2009 in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands

    Delain started as a project from former Within Temptation keyboardist Martijn Westerholt, brother of Robert Westerholt (Within Temptation). Because of his illness (Pfeiffer) he had to leave Within Temptation and after his recovery, he started to find a way to record the music he had been writing. Finally it came to a demo called Amenity in 2002, but then it seemed a dead end. Martijn didn't give up and after a extensive search for a good singer he eventually found Charlotte Wessels, living in the same street where his parents are still having their home. She used to sing in a band called To Elyseum. Through his acquaintances via his former band and a little help from brother Robert, Martijn knew a lot of musicians who were willing to help and soon he found first class musicians like Marco Hietala from Nightwish on bass & vocals, guitarist Ad Sluijter (ex-Epica), drummer Ariën van Weesenbeek (God Dethroned) and vocalists Liv Kristine (Leaves'Eyes), George Oosthoek (ex-Orphanage) and Sharon den Adel (Within Tempation). Roadrunner Records turned out to be the record label of choice and the production of the debut album Lucidity was in the capable hands of Oliver Phillipps of Everon fame and engineered by Christian Moos (also from Everon). The album was well received and there was a demand for taking the project on the road. Martijn succeeded in forming a real band with the addition of Rob van der Loo (ex-Sun Caged) a fabulous bass-player, Ronald Landa as guitarist and Sander Zoer as drummer. Extensive touring by the band in 2006, 2007 and 2008 followed and in between writing and recording for the new album. Recently the successor of Lucidity has been released: April Rain. The album is DPRP recommended and again produced by Oliver Phillipps, mixed by Jacob Hansen and mastered by no one less than EROC. Although Charlotte was present but very busy preparing her hair for the show and Rob en Ronald hopped in, Martijn did most of the talking.....


    MENNO: Martijn, to start off - why did you choose the band-name to be "DELAIN"?

    MARTIJN: It comes out of a novel by Stephen King called "Eyes of the Dragon" (1987). I'm not much of a reader you know, but this book really grabbed me by the throat. Somewhere in the book I saw the name "Delain", and I grew very fond of that name. No particular meaning or hidden messages, I just liked the name so much that I decided it should be the name of my band.


    MENNO: Can you tell us something about your musical background and education and how your ‘heroes' were when you were a kid?


    MARTIJN: I really grew up with music so to speak. But since my two elder brothers started to play guitar, I decided it had to be another instrument. I chose piano and altogether I've had lessons on piano and keyboards for about 12 years. My influences come from a wide variety of rockstars: Jimi Hendrix and Genesis, in the eighties mainly acts like the Police (but don't tell anyone). Marillion and of course Dream Theater. My biggest all time hero is Tuomas Holopainen of Nightwish and in spite of what people might say, I can live with both incarnations of Nightwish, also because I'm not that big a fan of operatic voices but with Tarja, things were different: I am a huge admirer of Nightwish but as said, I like the current line up with Anette too. What touches me is foremost the song-structures Holopainen comes up with, really amazing!


    MENNO: You were still around when Within Temptation had a major breakthrough with "Mother Earth"? I noticed that René Merkelbach was credited for keyboards as well. Weren't there discussions to hire a temporary replacement until you would have been recovered from your illness (Pfeiffer's disease?).


    MARTIJN: I had my part in accomplishing Within Temptation's success, no one will dispute that. I co-wrote songs on "Enter" and "The Dance" but during the process of writing and recording "Mother Earth" I was already very ill and to be honest, at that point I was through with the whole lot: I was feeling so miserable and week, nothing band or music related seemed to be appealing at the time. So, no, there was no question about finding a temporary replacement: the band knew I wasn't to come back. I didn't expect the disease to keep me in its grasp that long however: I still am not recovered fully and I have to be very careful with what I eat, drink and with the amounts of energy I'm using up. The upcoming tour through Europe in a nightliner will be a testcase or me and I hope I'll pull through.


    MENNO: Did you actually have plans for what became to be Delain during your illness? Did you write any songs in that period?


    MARTIJN: I was absolutely sure I wanted to write music and to record if possible, but at the time the things I had in mind were meant to be a project. And yes, I did write a number of tunes even when I was feeling lousy most of the time: it really isn't fun to feel tired all day! At some point in time I almost gave up but then I found Charlotte. The demo's I made with her had a great response and we had offers from several record companies. Because of their distribution network and huge experience in promoting bands we chose Roadrunner Records. Due to the success of "Lucidity" my original plans had to be adjusted; there was such a demand to take "Lucidity" on the road, that I became convinced there had to be a real band.


    MENNO: How did you manage to get all those guests involved on "Lucidity"? From the people you worked with on the first album, only singer Charlotte Wessels is left...


    MARTIJN: Well, because of my years in Within Temptation I had a lot of connections, so asking Sharon to participate wasn't too hard (laughs). During the tours I met Ewo, Nightwish's manager and through him I got the opportunity to ask Marko Hietala to play bass on the album. Finding the right band members was not that easy because I am very picky ...(smiles).They had to be good players, they had to be committed to Delain and they had to accept, I would be the one in charge. I don't believe in democracy when it comes to defining your own music. Not that I'm a dictator of some sort and certainly I have an open mind for good ideas. I am more than willing to use them but in the end there must be only one making the final decisions, it doesn't work for me any other way. The easiest one to find was Rob (van der Loo, bass). He volunteered for the job by contacting me on his own initiative. I was a bit surprised, because I knew of his background in progressive rock band "Sun Caged", but he convinced me that his only aim was to be involved in a live band again, be around nice people and not necessarily to be playing the top notch far more difficult prog-metal.


    MENNO: Talking about Marko Hietala: it must have struck him that Delain's music is in the same genre as his own band Nighwish. Didn't he make any argument about that?


    MARTIJN: No, not at all. He liked the songs so much, that he offered me to throw in his amazing vocals as a sort of a bonus: awesome, don't you think? Yeah, that worked out just fine and when I asked him to be a guest on "April Rain" again, he agreed to participate immediately.


    MENNO: Your debut "Lucidity" has been received very well by the press. It also scored a "DPRP recommended" on our site, as did "April Rain" by the way. Did the overall sales meet your expectations and where has the album been selling well so far?


    MARTIJN: I didn't know Lucidity AND "April Rain" were DPRP recommended: thank you! "Lucidity" did very well indeed, it sold somewhere around 35.000 - 40.000 copies, not bad at all for a debut! (grinning intensely). The album sold well in several countries throughout Europe, also a bit in Japan. You would have expected that potentially South America could have been a good market but the situation there is extremely difficult: many illegal copies and downloads and most people don't have much to spend while cd's are quite expensive in those countries. Musically, Delain (just as WT or Nightwish) writes and plays pop-songs: only we perform them in a heavy (metal) way with some classical arrangements and orchestrations, but basically it's the old principle of verse, chorus and again verse ...


    MENNO: Lucidity was engineered by Christian Moos and produced by Oliver Phillipps, both of Everon. Did you know Everon's music and how did you decide to choose them for the production?


    MARTIJN: I never knew who they were until someone recommended them strongly. I didn't know of the band Everon either because I'm not so much into progressive rock music the last decade (sorry!!). Oliver is a very determined guy and a perfectionist. Both Christian and he are great guys to work with but I didn't always agree with them about the sound so that's why I used Moos as engineer. Oliver and I were in contact on a regular basis, sending files to each other. He proved to be a great vocal coach for Charlotte and he's a superb arranger. I owe him a lot for helping me with the orchestrations. Due to our mutual understanding and respect, Oliver worked with us on the "April Rain" album as well. However, I've had a bigger share in the production and the mixing, that's why I'm credited as co-producer.


    MENNO: Would you say the music industry has changed in the last 10 years? What do you think of the future, will there be only downloads?


    MARTIJN: It cannot be denied there has been a huge change in the whole music industry. Personally I'm not tempted to be downloading music all day but I guess the youngsters of today are doing it all the time. This means we have a different assignment: we have to have a good promoting team behind us and we have to offer a good show and a good package. That's why a good record company like Roadrunner is of such an importance to bands like us. In my opinion there are a lot of fans who not only like the music but at the same time they want to have something valuable in their hands: these are the people we must be aiming at. They are not merely music lovers but also collectors. That is one of the reasons we are selling the digipak/limited edition tonight with a t-shirt at the price of the regular CD! We are trying hard to work on our live performance and we keep arranging and changing little details every day!


    MENNO: As you mentioned several times to the press already, "April Rain" is no longer a project but much more a ‘band album' ?


    MARTIJN: That is correct. From the early start of songwriting Charlotte and I have been working together closely and other members of the band have been given the opportunity to contribute both in writing as well as arranging the songs. The song On The Other Side is based on an idea from Charlotte and Start Swimming has been co-written by Rob.


    (Charlotte is in the same room preparing her hair for the show and is listening during the whole interview).


    MENNO: Where did the inspiration for that song "On The Other Side" come from?


    CHARLOTTE: My mother has been very, very ill and at some point we had reason to believe she might not overcome her disease. In that period I wrote this song with the help of our good friend Guus Eijskens. This song is of great emotional value to me and I really consider it to be ‘my baby'. Fortunately my mother recovered miraculously and so it feels even better now!


    MENNO: Now you mention the name of Guus Eijskens: he gets credits for co-writing several songs and he also wrote for Orphanage and Within Temptation?


    (Martijn takes over again).


    MARTIJN: Yes, we go a long way back together. He is a good friend and I consider him to be the sixth member of the band. He is a truly good songwriter and a very pleasant guy to work with (Charlotte confirms this statement by nodding her head with a lovely smile). He doesn't dig gigs and touring anymore but in this way he is of great importance to us. He feels appreciated and gets a chance to allow his creativity to flow whenever he chooses so we are both benefiting from this situation.


    MENNO: How long did it actually take to write and record "April Rain"? Did the whole band go to Germany?


    MARTIJN: We started writing last summer and finished mixing around the beginning of February so I'd say just about eight months. Most of the recordings were done here but the arrangements and vocal harmonies were done with Oliver. So mainly Charlotte and me were in the studio with Oliver. I've told you what kind of a perfectionist Oliver is: well he's met his equal in Charlotte! She insisted on doing all harmonies and background vocals herself, every single note!


    MENNO: In my opinion Charlotte sings with more self-confidence compared to her vocal performance on "Lucidity".


    MARTIJN: Yes I agree. There are two or rather three reasons for this. In the first place Charlotte had to sing the songs that were already written and most of the time arranged too. Secondly, she was ill during the recordings for "Lucidity". The strange coincidence was, she turned out to have Pfeiffer's disease! You can imagine how I felt when I heard about this: as if history was to repeat itself and some strange fate was prone to ‘get me'. Luckily for me Charlotte did an outstanding job in spite of her illness and lucky for her she managed to get rid of the disease within half a year. The second reason is on "April Rain" she was involved during the whole process, she had her say in how she would sing the songs and as you know, she even got to songwriting herself.


    MENNO: As you probably know, After Forever has disbanded: what was your reaction when this news broke?


    MARTIJN: As a ‘competitive artist' I should say: good, one competitor less. However this is absolutely not the way I felt. Not only because After Forever played a different kind of music, a lot heavier in my opinion, but I respected and loved that band. I'm sure all band members will find their own way in the music business. I believe Sander Gommans has released an album recently, but I haven't heard it yet. Supposed to be very, very heavy! Maybe he has put all his frustrations and anger in that record?


    MENNO: How is the tour with Kamelot moving along and what are the plans for the future? Maybe live recordings for a DVD?


    MARTIJN: Touring with Kamelot is fun, great musicians and nice guys especially Roy (Khan). It'll soon be over and then it's Delain on their own. We're really looking forward to promote our new album in countries like Germany, Switzerland and Austria. After that probably a number ofshows in Holland again and then obviously working on the third album! Surely no DVD at this point. We have yet a long way to go to be able to do a DVD that will sell! Recording a good DVD takes a lot of preparation and it costs a great deal of money too, maybe in the future bu not this tour.


    MENNO: Martijn, thank you very much for this chat, best of luck in Europe and lots of success with "April Rain"!


    MARTIJN: Thank you Menno, it was nice talking to you and we're really excited about "April Rain": so far the sales are far beyond our expectations: rumour goes the album entered some alternative chart straight on number one!


    NOTE FROM MENNO: My apologies to Delain, but this interview should have been recorded but due to my lack of technical know how I've missed a button, so this interview has been written on the basis of my memory alone... Martijn gave me more details than I could remember.



    Live photos by Menno von Brucken Fock, taken on 26th March 2009 at Gigant, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands


    Tristania - Ashes

    Source: Battlehelm

    Tristania
    Ashes
    (SPV)


    Norway's Tristania have no less than THREE vocalists - a baritone male and death growl male + the quite exquisite operatic wailings of Vibeke. Ok, we've had Flowing Tears and The Gathering (and yes, sexy female vocals do rule) but in the case of Tristania, the vocals are so prominent and play off each other they successfully turn each of the 7 songs on ‘Ashes' into mini concertos that mesmerise the listener. Added to this are the uber cool guitar licks of Anders Hidle and you've got one helluva suave classical goth rock band. ‘Ashes' is Tristania's 4th album and I see nothing but success for this talented band. I certainly hope there's a stage big enough to hold all 7 of the band - cos they're worth it (and they're Norwegian!).

    by Shan Siva

    Tristania - Illumination

    Source: Battlehelm

    Tristania
    "Illumination"
    (SPV)

    Produced by Waldemar Sorychta, the good news for fans of this Norwegian female co-fronted gothic 7 piece is that Tristania's fifth album captures all the successful elements of its predecessor ‘Ashes'. Putting aside the novelty value that the band have an attractive female co-vocalist is that despite what other reviewers say, Tristania are not black metal but actually play very melodic rock with tinges of metal. As such this should make them more appealing to a pure gothic market (rather than a metal one) as the style is more eloquent and atmospheric, with each track blending seamlessly into the next one courtesy of Vibeke Stene's highly soulful voice which is somewhat different to the sorta operatic or vampiric vocals that one might expect. The interplay between the two vocalists (Osten Bergoy being her male counterpart) works successfully as he adds the right counterbalance without it becoming a vocal battle of the sexes! Tristania would be more at home In an art gallery than in their local cemetery if ya get my meaning and thats reflective in their music such that "Illumination" is one to play for those sensitive moments when soothing, yet suave music is needed to calm those nerves after a feeding frenzy.

    by Shan Siva

    My Dying Bride - Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light

    Source: Battlehelm

    by Anders Ekdahl
    MY DYING BRIDE
    "Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light"
    (Peaceville)


    There are two groups whose new albums I always welcomed with great anticipation. Since I wasn't too impressed by Morbid Angel's new album "Heretic" it was all up to My Dying Bride to blow my mind with their new album "Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light". At first the album seemed like a weaker album than its predecessor "The Dreadful Hours", a step away from the return to the "good old times" that the previous two been. But as with any other My Dying Bride album you have to give it time to grow on you. "Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light" is like an anthology of everything My Dying Bride has done so far. You got the soft voiced songs, the really gloomy doom songs and that ever present mid English melancholia that is synonymous with My Dying Bride. Once embraced by the universe that is My Dying Bride there's only one way to go; total surrender.


    Interview with Lacuna Coil 1

    Source: Battlehelm

    by Shan Siva

    Formed only 4 years ago, this Italian goth rock band possessing both a male and female lead vocalist have managed to release 3 albums and 2 EPs in their short career and create quite a stir in the metal world. With a new album - COMALIES - out soon I managed to hook up with the band's male vocalist Andrea Ferro to get an update. 


    Hi Andrea, can you pls gimme a quick history of the band?
    ANDREA: Ok, for your readers who don't know, we're an Italian band from Milan (northern Italy) and we've been together since 1996. We initially created a 2-track demo that we sent out to various European labels and I have to say got a very good reaction. We chose Century Media cos at the time they had similar bands to us who played in the gothic metal style. In ‘97 we released an EP which initially was supposed to be a full blown album but we realised that much of the new material we were writing was quite different to our previous work so we decided to separate the two by doing an EP. Also, there haven't been that many Italian metal bands so we wanted to see if there was indeed a market for our music.  

    Absolutely, for such a large metal market, Italy has produced only a few bands - I can only remember those classic guys Bulldozer, where are they now?! 
    ANDREA: Ah, you remember Bulldozer? Actually, I know them personally ha ha! The singer / bass player - Alberto - is now a techno producer, the guitarist has a normal job and the drummer owns a studio but also sings in a hardcore band with his girlfriend on drums - its quite a strange ha ha! In fact, there is a small label re-releasing their stuff because you're right, in their time they actually sold quite well. Actually, at one stage Tom Araya (Slayer) was gonna produce their album cos they were also on Roadrunner but they split before it could happen. I think that they were too young and inexperienced at the time and the business side of dealing with contracts pissed them off. 


    Actually, didn't you guys also split at one stage?

    ANDREA: Yes, in 1998 we did a European promo tour but during that the band split in half with me, Cristina and Marco the bass player remaining in the band and the others - who wanted to become a rock band - going their own way. We preferred to keep the heavy stuff, which I really like to play and also we had just signed with Century Media and considering they were a metal label it didn't seem smart to suddenly change and become a rock band! 


    What does the band name mean?

    ANDREA: At the time of the demo we were actually called Ethereal but there was also a Greek band with the same name so we had to change it. We chose an Italian word - Lacuna - which means emptiness and combined it with something metallic namely ‘coil' as in the English word for a metal spring. We sing in English and think its a cool mixture. It's like an abstract concept of steel and ethereal describing something in the air and is atmospheric. Do you understand - ha ha?!


    Uh yeah, so tell me about the Italian metal scene.

    ANDREA: After the early 80s when metal was huge the scene after that was very underground. But today there are bands coming out all the time like Labyrintho, Rhapsody and Linea 77 and these guys are selling and are on European labels. We're also getting a positive reaction from the Italian media and MTV and I think the scene is coming up again, not just for modern bands but also classical metal bands.


    You also have the Gods of Metal festival right?

    ANDREA: Yes, its a big open air festival like the ones you go to in Germany like Wacken. The billing is mixed so when we played there was also Biohazard and Mercyful Fate playing to around 25,000 people mainly from Italy but also from other parts of Europe. 


    How does the band feel about playing with other groups holding quite extreme anti-religious and political views?

    ANDREA: I'm not religious myself but I don't have a problem with people who are into it. Our songs are not about condemning it or whatever. I also believe there is a higher force but I don't know what it is. I'm sure there are negative and positive energies around because you can feel it and sometimes it makes you very happy and other times depressed. I think its important to respect people and their beliefs so its not been a problem to tour with bands that have extreme views, just as long as they don't try to force us to think that way.


    Do you get many comparisons to Dutch band and fellow label mates The Gathering?

    ANDREA: Yes and its to be expected because we both have female vocalists, are on the same label and play a similar style of atmospheric music. But we're still different and I don't think we're trying to clone each other - certainly their last release (If Then Else) is taking them more into progressive rock and that's the opposite of where we're going. The trouble is that they call every band gothic and that creates confusion. With Lacuna we have influences from Bauhaus but also equally Metallica.


    Does your female vocalist Cristina have a classical trained background?
    ANDREA: No, she's naturally gifted and been singing since she was 3 years old. She's been singing for 25 years and mostly she's been self-trained. Its difficult to change her style and therefore taking formal lessons at this late stage isn't really worth it. On the other hand I'm taking lessons because I want to use my voice more and sing in different styles and also develop as a musician.


    How do you see the band progressing?

    ANDREA: Things will change as we will want to experiment more but the heart of the band will remain. I don't think we will become a black metal band for the next album ha ha! We want to be open but its not going to be like one song is atmospheric, one metal, one death metal - I'm sorry, this is just not possible ha ha!


    OK Andrea, thanks for your time.

    ANDREA: Thank you for the interview. I hope I will see you and the other fans on our tour - ciao!


    Interview with Dimmu Borgir 2

    Source: Battlehelm

    by Shan Siva

    Formed in 1993 by founding members Shagrath, Silenoz and Tjodalv (who left to form Susperia), Dimmu Borgir are probably the best known of the 3rd generation of black metal bands from Norway. Following the release of ‘Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia' and with arguably their strongest line-up ever (featuring Nick Barker from Cradle of Filth) I got an update from the band's founders as to the band's future direction.

    Firstly let me ask if the band is named after that infamous place in Iceland. My girlfriend really tripped out on those lava formations ha ha!


    Shagrath:
    Yes, it means place of darkness in Norse and as you've stated, its a place in Iceland where volcanic lava has created weird hills and shapes but also a spiritual element. So your girlfriend freaked out there? That's really funny ha ha!


    The ‘new' Dimmu sounds like Cradle of Filth though I guess that can't be helped having Nick Barker (ex Cradle drummer) in the band.


    Silenoz:
    True, our sound has evolved and become more modern but we still have a lot of true black metal and Scandinavian roots in the music. Its difficult because on the one hand we don't want to stagnate and keep doing the same things over and over again but we still want to keep our identity because its central to the band


    Shagrath:
    we want to become more accessible but the reason for using Nick (Barker) was because we wanted an excellent sound and to do this you need quality musicians. But if you want to get to fine details well, to me Cradle have more gothic roots whereas ours are more black metal and thats a huge difference. As for our image...well, while the promo fotos may make us look like Cradle, onstage we look just the way you remember us from the early days....ok, so its not quite the ‘panda' look ha ha!


    Silenoz:
    I guess we just want to be more sophisticated and mature in the way that we play and look. 


    Well yeah, I see you've moved from keyboards to an orchestra - that's quite a jump!


    Shagrath:
    Well apart from improving from the last album, we wanted to use a proper orchestra and we had this in our minds when we wrote this album. We've always had a symphonic style and so its a logical step to go from keyboards to a full blown orchestra. 

    Silenoz: The orchestra is just a more fuller and live sound than the keyboards, to capture the real spirit of proper strings...


    But its not a Metallica thing right?


    Shagrath:
    Oh, definitely not! When you listen to the Metallica thing - and thats the right word ha ha - it sounds like 2 different songs played at the same time and totally shit. They could have done it right but they totally fucked it up.


    In terms of black metal history where do you feature?


    Shagrath:
    First of all, what most people may not know is that in the early 90's there was about 8 people in the so called black metal ‘scene' in Norway and no ‘movement' as such. Then it grew and this was before all the church burnings started. Of course after all the press sensationalism everyone then jumped onto the bandwagon. But don't expect to go to Norway and see black metal people everywhere - its not like Mecca or something ha ha!


    Silenoz:
    Before Dimmu Borgir we all played in different bands. I was already in a death metal band from the time I was 14. I guess I felt I had a talent as a musician that went beyond a hobby band and for me metal is a religion so it made sense to become a professional musician.


    Dimmu's had quite a few members in the band so is it a problem to find professional musicians?

    Silenoz: W
    ell, it just seems to be our curse to have continuously changing personnel. People come in and at the start they seem really eager but then they change for whatever reason and that creates a bad atmosphere which isn't good for a band


    Shagrath:
    We need people who are 110% committed cos sometimes things have to be done at short notice so its more than just a job but a lifestyle so if you don't enjoy it then you shouldn't be in it - thats the rule.


    Silenoz:
    Its ok to have fame but your music shouldn't succeed because of it but because of the music itself.


    Shagrath:
    Actually, last year we didn't tour so we had to take part time jobs to pay the bills and thats not easy because Norway is such an expensive country as you know so its hard to keep a professional band going.


    Silenoz:
    You can still have a band but sacrifices have to made. There's a lot of people who think we are rich cos we might sell a lot of records but we're not on a major label so we don't have a same contracts as the Spice Girls - not that I'd want to be the Spice Girls ha ha!


    Interview with Nightwish 70

    Source: Battlehelm

    by Anders Ekdahl

    What you say! You have not heard Nightwish. You should be ashamed for having missed out on this absolutely fabulous and quite frankly superb Finnish metal band. If I was forced to take back all the bands I've raved about I would still keep telling people how incredible Nightwish are. Nightwish have just released a DVD of concert footage and a M-CD featuring a cover of Gary Moore's "Over The Hills And Far Away". Their latest studio album "Wishmaster", which was released last year, is one of these rare albums that you just want to come back to time after time. It's so good that I can't get enough of it. Nightwish is not your average German sounding power metal band. They are way beyond that. Between Tarja Turunen's incredible vocals, Tuomas Holopainen masterful song writing & keyboard playing and Jukka Nevalainen's (drums), Emppu Vuorinen's (guitars) and Sami Vänskä's (bass) performance there's nothing missing. Due to Tuomas busy schedule it took some time to get in touch with him but once I did he had this to say.

    You had quite a success with the Oceanborn album. What reactions have Wishmaster been receiving?

    "Mostly very positive worldwide! In Finland it was praised in many magazines with almost top scores and also the fans seem to be very satisfied with it. Wishmaster sold platinum in December, too! But naturally the "shock value" had disappeared since the people already knew what to expect after Oceanborn album."


    What did you set out to do when you started to write the new album?

    "I never think much ahead of what the concept/sound/songs should be like when I start working on a new album. But mainly we wanted to keep the touch that was found on "Oceanborn" and just develop everything from the arrangements to production. And I think we managed to do that very well."


    Do you feel that you've taken the Nightwish sound one step further with Wishmaster?

    "Well, not really. I mean we just took a natural step forward from Oceanborn the way that Nightwish sound is even more clinic and "big". Whatta dumb word..."


    When you started Nightwish did you have a distinct vision of what you wanted the band to be?

    "Haha, definitely not. If you read our biography you'll find out that Nightwish was supposed to be a project band playing acoustic mood music in the vein of Ulver`s "Kveldssanger". After the 1st demo we took a huge step into metal and after that it all got out of hand. This is a total learning process, finding out what we want to do and be."


    Do you feel that you've accomplished that by now?

    "We've accomplished a lot but the hunger grows all the time. So there still are millions wishes to be fulfilled."


    What is it that influences you to write the music you do?
    "Nightwish's music & ideology is like the movie Sleepy Hollow. I mean, we have no deeper meaning or hidden allegories in the lyrics and the music is just a journey into emotion. Each song is like a small soundtrack to a story or a vision that arise from my personal experiences, dreams and feelings. Since I'm a big fan of movies and a HUGE fan of soundtracks, I draw most of my influences there. Nightwish is the best (often only) way to ease up my own being and showing what I feel."


    How do you go about writing lyrics for somebody else to sing?
    "It's no problem for me since we get along great with Tarja and she manages to interpret my lyrics always the way I like! I just have to be careful that I don't write stupid sentences for her to sing, like "be my wife" or something like that."


    You have the operatic vocal but is that the only influence from classical music that has sneaked into your music?
    "Actually yes. I don't listen to classical music at all so I draw very little influence from there. But Tarja is a huge fan so she brings the classical elements into music. Of course it's the matter of where to draw the line. Since we use lots of orchestral sounds (strings, flutes...) and some classical scales, I guess it would be fair to say we have some major classical elements."


    When you write the material do you feel that you have to come up with more challenging vocal arrangements than you would with a different vocalist?
    "I don't think about it much. I just have to keep in mind her range of voice. But sometimes it's fun to write something more complicated since she's able to sing almost anything... Passion & The Opera, Wanderlust, FantasMic."


    You never feel that you have to be constantly pushing the limits of the vocal arrangements not to bore Tarja?
    "I don't thing she's ever bored! On the contrary she sometimes complains about the difficulty of the songs. I've NEVER heard her say that a song is too easy for her."


    Is there more to get out of Tarja's vocals than what we've already been presented with?
    "Her voice is developing all the time so I'm sure of it. Lately I've become fond of her use of voice in the low range (Come Cover Me, Sleepwalker - heavy version etc.) and she's begun to sing more and more with emotion rather than technique."


    Is it possible to for her vocals to be more operatic without loosing the Nightwish sound?
    "Sure, we're trying everything. In the classical circles she has a totally different way of using her voice."


    What did you feel when you realised that your Oceanborn album was a hit in Finland?

    "It was an incredible feeling. A very big wish come true! The recording sessions of Oceanborn were a total hell and way too long so the success was a huge relief for us."


    Was it the album or just singles that charted?
    "Sacrament of Wilderness, the single was # 1 for 4 weeks in the charts and the album itself stayed for 31 weeks on the charts, at #5 at its best. Both went gold."


    Does this mean that you're being recognised on the streets?
    "Not that it bothers in any way. Sometimes people recognise, come and chat & ask for an autograph but that's just fine with me."


    Did you feel any pressure to follow up such a successful album as Oceanborn was?
    "Very much! Everyone seemed to expect big things from the album, the fans, record labels and ourselves the most. But all the time I was quite confident about it working out perfect, as I am with the next album, as well."


    Is there a formula to top a success like that?
    "Hard work and trust in what you're doing. Taking the music as a way of life."


    Do you even think in terms like that?
    "All I think is that I'm satisfied myself and that I can remain honest to myself. That way all the rest follows naturally."


    Does it ever feel like Finland is this far away exotic Nordic country when you deal with the rest of Europe?
    "Not really, at least I haven't noticed much of that. Finland and the whole of Scandinavia seem to have a respectful position in the music scene all over Europe."


    Has it in any way worked in advantage for you to be from Finland?
    "Well maybe the fact that Finland is known as a good metal country. It's easier to "follow in the footsteps" of Stratovarius, Amorphis, Sentenced etc."


    With the Finnish market being even smaller than the Swedish going abroad must be vital to the survival of a band. How do you go about conquering the rest of Europe?
    "We are on a good start! We have good licence deals all over Europe and we make as many shows there as possible. Our 1st headliner tour last October was a great success for us already."


    What has it meant for Nightwish that magazines like UK's Terrrorizer and Germany's Rock Hard have taken a likening to the band?
    "Of course it means a great deal! It's always good to be in a positive light with the media and this way the fans get interested as well."


    How important is touring as a marketing tool for Nightwish?
    "Very important, even more than for some others I would say. Our concept is very peculiar to someone who doesn't know who we are so touring and making a good stage show is crucial to the credibility!"


    Do you feel it is worth giving up day jobs just to go on a tour together with smaller bands?

    "Definitely! This is our "day job" and the whole life for us at the moment."


    Have you noticed that Nightwish has influenced any new bands?

    "In some advertisements I read that this band has influences from us and they have the same album cover artist etc. This makes me feel very proud even though I don't think that there's any band that's copying us at the moment. And even if there would be one, it would be an honour."


    What can you tell us about the Wishmastour record?
    "It was the idea of our French licence company to promote the Headliner European tour last fall. It's limited with some quite rare material on it (B-sides, demo recordings)".


    What is this I hear about a new MCD and a DVD? What will be on these releases? Any goodies?

    "For detailed info about this please visit our web site at Many goodies, indeed! ha ha!"


    Interview with Nightwish 69

    Source: Metal-Observer

    The name NIGHTWISH should have reached even the remotest Metal-fan's ears by now, being one of the most successful bands of the genres at the moment, the current album "Wishmaster" reaching platinum-status in Finland, a great achievement for a Metal-band. I've been able to get a hold of mastermind Tuomas Holopainen schnappen, to turn him upside down and some pretty unexpected things tumbled from his mind...

    Compared to "Oceanborn", the music is less, well, "wild", a bit more mature. Was this a conscious step or was it a natural progression for you?
    I think that it pretty much came naturally, we just wanted to do a natural sequel to "Oceanborn", because I think that with this record we had found the style that we want to do. We wanted to improve everything, for I think that "Oceanborn" is a great record, but it lacks the good arrangements and at some points Tarja sings too high and things like that. So we only wanted to make things a little better and in my opinion that is just what happened.


    You could have easily dwelled in the success of "Oceanborn" by simply doing "Oceanborn 2". Did you get any negative feedback about the refinement of your style on "Wishmaster"?

    No, actually not like that. I have been very surprise and the biggest complaint we received was that we had not changed our style enough. They more or less said that we HAVE done another "Oceanborn", but I still think that it is pretty much different.


    You've had quite a bit of criticism for "Wanderlust" that it sounded too close to "Oceanborn"...

    Yeah, like "Gethsemane" actually...


    ...but in the same breath they praised "Crownless"...

    Yes, some people just want to find something they could criticise. I guess that's OK.


    Tuomas, you do almost all the music, how do you compose a song? Is there any kind of "formula" for it?

    Well, it differs. You know, I always have the idea of what a song should be about. I just cannot start playing without having any ideas yet. That's the basic thing, I need a vision, like with "Kinslayer" about the Colorado-massacre, then I try to think, how I could transfer that into the music. It sounds a bit corny, but that's how it usually goes. The first thing I create in my mind are the vocal-lines. I hear Tarja's voice in my head, then I make the chords and the basic structure of the song. Then I take the song to the rehearsal-room and the whole band does the arrangement, which takes a long time, because we want to make it, well, perfect. Only after that I start to write the lyrics.


    Do you have any problems writing the vocal-lines for Tarja?

    It's no problem at all, I consider her just like a normal, very good Heavy Metal-singer that just happens to be a woman. I don't see any difference in that. But what was funny was that "Wishmaster" has been the first record, where during the making of the songs I thought about her range of voice. At the "Oceanborn"-album I didn't think about that at all and just went to tell her to sing like this and she just went "Oh, I can't sing that, make it an octave lower." It was stupid of me, but now I know her range, so I can make the songs according to that (laughs).


    NIGHTWISH had started out as an acoustic Folk-project and quite a few melodies still are influenced by it. Does this come naturally or do you try to include these kinds of melodies?

    That again is something I do never think about, because I don't listen to Folk-music. And neither do I listen to classical music, people tend to think that I'm some kind of classical freak or something. That all just comes absolutely naturally and I do it to make the song sound good.


    So what do you usually listen to?

    I listen to film-music, movie-soundtracks a lot, I love these bombastic compositions of writers like Hans Zimmer, James Warner, Danny Elfman... But apart from that I listen to all kinds of Metal, Black, Gothic, Power, anything.


    So you do not limit yourself in your taste...

    No, I don't think so.


    Where do you draw your inspiration from, musically and lyrically? Are there any bands, artists or events that influence you?

    Well... (thinks) My own personal life and my own experiences and feelings are the source of most of the songs. I am a very selfish guy, I write all the songs basically to ease up my own feelings, to realise my own ideas and visions. I do not want our music to be considered as the saviour of the world or something like that. To tell people to stop pollution or to stop killing each other, that's nothing for us.


    And how DOES it come that you write almost all the music? Do the others have no ideas of their own?

    No, they can give me as much input as they want to, but apparently they are satisfied with what I come with, with what I do. But NIGHTWISH had been my idea, I had founded it, so I'd like to keep it in my hands, too, the songs, the concept, the music.


    You had not been satisfied with the cover of the European version of "Oceanborn", so are you satisfied with the cover of "Wishmaster"?

    Yes, I am very satisfied. We had been very satisfied with the original cover of "Oceanborn", but the German record-company wasn't and decided to have it repainted. I do not like that one at all, it's stupid, it's more like "Swampborn" or "Corpse In The Swamp" or something like that. For "Wishmaster" both the cover and the inlay are very good.


    Is there again any connection to the title?

    Yes, actually it is a weird thing, because it more reflects the song "Dead Boy's Poem", even though the album is called "Wishmaster".


    Had you been surprised by the success that "Oceanborn" enjoyed?

    Veeeery surprised. The whole thing just went uphill from the start and it is so amazing, I still cannot believe it. Because I had thought that this kind of music was very marginal, even in the Metal-market, but "Wishmaster" even went platinum in Finland, so I cannot really cope with it yet. What the hell... But I don't mind (laughs). People seem to be more open-minded than I thought, I should stop to underestimate people (laughs).


    And how had been the reactions from outside of Finland?

    Very good as well. Germany is very good for us, all of Europe went well, France was amazing, we had been there for the first time on the "Wishmaster"-tour and the reaction was, pf, almost South America-like! So, looks very good. The only mystery is Japan, because almost all Finnish Metal-bands do extremely well over there, but despite the huge promotion we haven't heard anything yet...


    Did you get any response from North America, too?

    It's a very hard market and we only got a license-deal for all three albums not soo long ago, but our shows in Canada were all sold out, so it seems that people like us over there as well (laughs).


    Speaking of license-deals, has "Angels Fall First" ever been officially released outside of Finland?

    Yes, since Spinefarm has some distribution-deals outside of Finland, too, so it has, but the success only came afterwards, so...


    What has changed for you since the success of "Oceanborn"? In private as well as a musician?

    Oh, I had to quit my studies and now am a full-time musician and that's just fine with me. It was a very good excuse to quit studies (laughs). I had not time for anything else anymore. That's the way it has changed my private life. As a musician I hope to keep evolving all the time, especially as a song-writer. That's what I hope most for myself. I don't think that I'm so much of a musician or a performer, I'm rather a song-maker, that's the thing that I love and that I want to be.


    On tour, how do you manage to keep Tarja's voice in perfect condition? I could imagine that the smoke and that all in the clubs is not the best for her... What do you do to preserve her voice?

    It's always something very subtle. Of course we don't smoke at all in the bus or backstage, so it's only on stage, where the smoke is. We just have to make compromises, like more days off, so she can recover, three gigs, then one day off and that's the absolute maximum. Even that is almost too much for her voice. It's no problem for us, but there is a very delicate line for her voice... Her voice is very sensitive and she says herself that the style that she sings in the clubs is more or less destroying her voice, much more straining than singing in the classical way.


    So should Tarja one day get an engagement as an opera-singer and would decide to leave NIGHTWISH, would it be the end for the band or would you look for a replacement?

    I personally think that should Tarja leave the band, it would be the end of a whole story, but I don't think that it would be that big of a problem. She studies in her fifth year at Sibelius Academy, so one day she WILL be an opera-singer, but she's told us that she loves what she does with us and that she will keep on doing it as long as possible, too. We only think about half a year ahead and that's it.


    Before NIGHTWISH you had also been very active, NATTVINDENS GRÅT, FURTHEST SHORE and DARKWOODS MY BETROTHED...

    Those were it, but I also played in a Jazz-band and made two records with them...


    Are you still active in any of these bands or are they completely in the past for you?

    I still play as a session-musician in DARKWOODS MY BETROTHED, that's all, NATTVINDENS GRÅT does not exist anymore and FURTHEST SHORE only had been a project of a friend of mine.


    Something that caught my attention with all of those bands and also NIGHTWISH, everywhere there are only the first names stated. Is there any particular reason for this?

    I never thought about that... "Wishmaster" is the first one that has the family names in it, but that's really something I haven't realised before, hm, strange thing...


    What is your personal opinion about the internet? Do you see it as a chance for promotion or as a threat to the scene as we know it?

    It's a very hard question, because we have thought about that a lot, because we had a big pirate-problem with "Wishmaster". I think that the internet is very good in some parts, like promotion, the homepage we have is very good and you can make samples of new songs, but there is always the big negative side, like the whole "Wishmaster"-album had been available on eleven different addresses in Finland before its release. That really sucks!


    So to end this interview, just as always, what is your favourite question about NIGHTWISH you haven't been asked yet, but would finally like to answer?

    Never been asked... Phew...


    Or are there any questions you've never been asked before?

    S**t, there are so many of them...(laughs). Oh boy... No one ever seems to ask be about Disney, even though we have a song completely about Disney on the "Wishmaster"-album. I wonder why reporters never ask anything about Disney... It's one of my favourite things in the whole world!


    Is it some kind of tribute to Disney?

    Yes, "FantasMic" is, it doesn't make any sense, it's just parts of the movies and comics and stuff like this, I just wanted to make it a tribute to Disney. That's a big part of my life.


    So could it just be that nobody realises that it is about Disney?

    Might be so, but I've always been very open about it in all my interviews, normally you should just read the lyrics and you should see...


    But that often is a problem with promotion-CDs...

    Yes, they often have no lyrics, I hate that! I also do not like that people do their reviews just because of the promos, only with the music, with no chance to read the lyrics as well.


    Interview with Nightwish 68

    Source: Metalelite

    Here we have a band that will surely irritate most "grim & frostbitten warriors of brutal evilness", so if you think you are too satanik & diabolikal, skip to the next interview or go sacrifice your neighbour's parrot... Nightwish is a band that nobody in Finland knew of two years ago, but already with their debut album "Angels Fall First" they hit the national TOP 40 charts in the end of 1997. After the successful single release "Sacrament of wilderness" band's new album "Oceanborn" has exceeded all expectations, not least the band's main man Tuomas Holopainen's, who kindly & quickly answered to our interview in the cold days of January. The new album has stayed in the chart list for several weeks now, and the band has also faced the rewardingly stressing side of music industry: popularity. Many interviews, TV-show visits and crowded gigs have marked the elven path of Nightwish. Tuomas told about the new album among other things and we hereby publish his words of wisdom. (questions by Lahtonen, with a couple of additions by The Ed)


    Greetings! At first I'll have to ask how your second album Oceanborn came out so quickly? According to my sources the album wasn't due to be published until the spring '99, and it has only been about a year of your debut album.

    I don`t know where you have had this information, for Oceanborn wes supposed to be released in December-January from the beginning. In our opinion a release/year is perfect for Nightwish. At least so it seems at the moment.


    How would you describe the differences between this new album and its predecessor? In my opinion Oceanborn sounds much faster and more integral than the debut album.

    The band has developed a great deal from the times of "Angels Fall First". Songs became faster, heavier and more technical but this was only natural developement for us; we didn`t "plan" to do anything particular. The sound quality is also much better, mostly because of more ambition in everything and the fact that we got Mikko Karmila to mix the album.


    And what about the vocalist changes? All the male vocals were sung by Wilska of Nattvindens Gråt instead of you. Why and when did you decide to leave the vocal stand and ask for Wilska?

    I never did like my singing, so I decided to leave everything to Tarja. Still, due to the character of two songs we needed a male voice as an effect of "Devil" and "Pharaoh". You must realize that Wilska is not even trying to sing, his voice is nothing but an effect which fits well to those songs.


    The vocals of Tarja were even better than in your first album. Combining the operatic singing and heavy metal is a rare musical cross-over, and it'd be interesting to know if you've received any negative feedback. Have some sort of elitistic classical music snobs (or die-hard metalheads) "attacked" against your music?

    I`m quite surprised how little negative response there has been altogether. We are considered as an honest METAL band, which is, at least for me, a compliment. On a couple of gigs we have had negative feedback but not because of Tarja but because of the rest of the band. We don`t seem to have an image "metallic enough". You know, short hair, no earrings or black leather etc. A part of me understands this critic but still I find that we must not try to be anything that we aren`t.


    Whose idea it was to record the theme of Snowman movie? I've watched Snowman almost every Christmas Eve, and it's sort of holiday tradition to me. Do you also have same tendencies or what?

    It was my idea and the rest of the band agreed on it immediately. "Walking in the Air" is the most beautiful song ever composed and I thought its lyrics and feeling fitted us and Tarja`s voice perfectly. Also, "The Snowman" has been the highlight of every Christmas eve for me so there is this innocence and childhood memories attached to it.


    You're writing all the lyrics. Is it hard to create lyrics that are sung by a woman, or does it matter at all? And what about the subjects of your lyrics: where do you get the best inspiration? About fantasy subjects? The samples taken from the beginning of the classic animation picture Lord Of The Rings in the track 'Elvenpath' would point into that direction (all hail Tolkien!).

    It`s not any harder to write lyrics for a female to sing. One just has to remember who`s telling any particular story so I can`t write for example "Come to me, girl and become my wife...". You need to make some compromises. The song "Gethsemane" is written for a certain girl from me, but it works just fine Tarja doing the singing instead of me. All my lyrics are very personal and inspiration comes from own experiences, dreams and fantasy. I love fantasy in all of its forms. Tolkien is my god!!


    Your musical inspirations are of a very wide scale. Which musical genres have given you most inspirations, and what's your "favorite" style of music at this particular moment?

    My musical passions are film music and metal. I suppose most of the influences come from film music - new age genre. My favourites are Vangelis, Kitaro, Enya, Hans Zimmer, James Horner etc.


    Are there room for any kind religions whatsoever in Nightwish? Thinking in a black'n'white way, would you choose Heaven or Hell, if they would exist?

    Religions are fascinating! I'm very interested in philosophies and beliefs in different cultures and I'm also influenced by them. I think that everything is possible and all that exists in our imagination, also exists in reality. I'd rather spend my eternity in heaven. (In dog we thrust, eh... ??? :P -ed.)


    During the following decade Finland has turned out to be a high class metal country, and the better and better new bands seem to pop out almost constantly. What has happened in Finland - is it some sort of "metal boom" or what the hell has happened? What's your opinion?

    This is interesting and I agree with you. Every period of time has its own trends and nowadays it seems to be metal. Maybe its the Finnish character or nature, I don`t know.


    What were your first feelings when you heard that 'Oceanborn' rose to Top Ten in the Finnish charts? In the chart-program in TV, you were also interviewed and you played live there too, how was that like?

    This was something so amazing that I'm out of words to describe that feeling! It certainly means a lot to us. Playing live in TV was, without doubt, the most horrifying situation I've ever been to! I was close to passing out before the program started but it went so well that I have no regrets. Now I find it a great experience with huge promotional value.


    Oceanborn should be marketed immediately to the whole world! Is there any foreign demand to Nightwish? Is anybody (eg. Spinefarm) marketing you in the middle Europe or other parts of the world right now? Any important contacts made when/after you played in SFP metal magazine's Awards?

    Oceanborn will be distributed all around the Europe and also Japan. We all have big expectations of it. In SFP metal awards there were reporters from Germany and England, so some important contacts have been made.


    In the album there was a mention about an upcoming tour. You haven't toured very much so far - but what about in the near future? Are you planning to tour Finland (and if so, are you by change performing in Turku)? Would it be possible to see Nightwish in a shared tour with other Spinefarm bands (like Eternal Tears Of Sorrow, Cryhavoc, Children Of Bodom ie.)? That kind of tours are quite common in the middle Europe, but a rarity in Finland... Opinion on this?

    Right now we are doing as many gigs as possible in Finland (Turku February 13th) (and soon after that, on April 2nd. -ed.) and in Summer we hope to get a chance to go touring in Germany.


    "Oceanborn" got released in Germany recently, not more than half a year after the release in Finland... You've also been a member of some other bands like Nattvindens Gråt and Darkwoods My Betrothed. Are you still planning to play in these bands or is Nightwish now at the top of your priority list? By the way, were you touring Europe with Nattvindens Gråt last year? How did that go?

    I play in DMB as a session musician and NG exists no more. (Too bad, NG was one of my domestic favourites... :( -ed.) Nightwish definitely is my first priority now. I was on tour with NG in the spring of 97 and it was fun but hard. It was there that Nightwish got the deal for Spinefarm, by the way.


    What kind of things do the band's name 'Nightwish' and the album title 'Oceanborn' represent to you personally? Did you one night wish to be born in an ocean, or... ? (Eh, not too funny, right?)

    Yes, well Nightwish just sounds cool and it fits the music well. All living things are born in ocean and eventually will die there so... (Goddammit! I'm a fish! :P -ed.)


    And the final question: who were the people behind the design and the artwork of Oceanborn? I didn't see any mention about the artists on the album's inner sleeve.

    Artwork was done by a young artist Maria Sandell. She was able to capture the feeling we longed for so we may use her in the future as well.


    Interview with Nightwish 67

    Source: Mindcage


    by Audrius Ozalas


    Already the debut album ["Angels Fall First" 1997] of this young Finnish band was a promise that one day we would be able to hear another powerful melodic metal group. Nightwish's new album "Oceanborn" surprised even the most enthusiastic optimists, marking a clear progress compared to its predecessor. Nightwish are already a cult band in Finland, and it's only a question of time when the world scene will be opened for them. Actually, it is already happening now, and Nightwish are one of the hottest bands in the scene. Tuomas Holopainen answered my questions.


    The first songs of Nightwish were recorded in 1996, these were three acoustic tracks. Have you re-recorded some of them later, and what they sounded like?

    The idea behind Nightwish was to make acoustic mood music, in the beginning. The first demo we made sounded just like that, very calm, moody, and atmospheric. We were pretty satisfied with them, and the making of those songs was a great experience, but we`ll never re-record or publish them, that's for sure.


    How have you come along with Tarja? Listening to her voice, it seems like she has a professional background, is it truth? By the way, I've heard that she sung at opera festival, can you tell something more about this event? And maybe Tarja had offers from other famous groups during these years?

    Tarja is studying her third year in Sibelius Academy, which is a university-level music academy in Finland. At the moment, she studies classical singing and church music but her real passion is opera, and she will specialize in it from the beginning of next semester. The opera festival she sang in is an annual event which is well-known all over the world. Tarja has also been asked to join the Norwegian band Covenant, but she didn't think it's the kind of music she would like to do, even though she was taken by the offer.


    Your first album "Angels Fall First" had two editions. As I understood, one of them was self-released, another was released by Spinefarm. Do both these editions differ a lot, were the songs re-mastered for your label-debut? And is the first edition still available for collectors?

    The first edition is sold out (500 copies). It contains two songs that are not on the official AFF-album and lacks four songs. The cover is a little different, too.


    Was the offer from Spinefarm the only one? For how many albums you've got this deal? Does the label makes any pressure on you, asking to play in one way or another, or do they leave 100% artistic freedom? Most labels do have certain wishes when investing big amounts of their money.

    We received a couple of offers but Spinefarm's one was definitely the best one. We have a three-record deal with them, and so far we've been satisfied with their work. They have a very nice habit of letting us do our music without any pressure. They never tell us how and what to do. Spinefarm has licensed us to some bigger companies, for example, Drakkar in Germany and Toy's Factory in Japan.


    Already now it is clear that your new album "Oceanborn" is going to be one of the best albums released by Finnish band this year. Your success in Finland is stunning also, "Sacrament of Wilderness" entered #1 on the official Finnish Top 40 single charts, "Oceanborn" was #5 on Finnish Album Charts. Is it natural thing in Finland for metal groups to reach such high positions, is metal music considered as essential part of national musical show business?

    During the past couple of years, there has been a huge revival of metal music here in Finland. It must have something to do with the success of Stratovarius, Amorphis, and Sentenced abroad. It's not very common to reach the charts with this kind of music, but it seems to happen every now and then.


    In our country, the group which enters #1 in charts is considered as "stars." Could you say that you managed to get this status in your country? For example, you played live in a Finnish-charts show this year, which means something. And what does it mean to you? Are you able to live only from your music now?

    No. It still is relatively rare that somebody identifies us on the streets (it happens sometimes). None of us considers himself or herself as a "star." And NO, we are not rich and cannot live with only music now. Maybe sometime in the far future but not yet.


    Your music on "Oceanborn" is more catchy, melodic, and can reach a really wide audience. Have you been thinking about that when creating music, is a possible reaction of audience one of the main factors in which direction the music must develop?

    No and never! We never had any expectations about the response to the album, and we definitely didn't think if it was the kind of music that would sell, etc. I don't think it ever works that way, at least, it shouldn't. All the development in our music has been and will be natural and honest.


    Some groups like The Gathering changed their direction a lot after the coming of their singer. Now it seems that The Gathering, for example, orientate their music only to express all the possibilities of their talented singer. The music seems to stand in the second place. You also have a perfect singer; don't you think that all the musicians must create right possibilities for her or you think about it differentlt? By the way, what do you think about The Gathering?

    Of course, Tarja is the key element in our music, and we must think during the songwriting and arrangement process if the melodies and the riffs fit her voice. Still, there's much more to Nightwish than just that. Our songs are a musical journey that requires a full effort from each instrument and so everything must be in balance. I think The Gathering is a good band, even though I don't really enjoy their latest release. Still, I think every band has a right to develop their music into any direction they want and there is nothing wrong with that! (Metallica, Paradise Lost, Ulver...)


    The last track on "Oceanborn" was your cover of a soundtrack. Why namely this film, were there other candidates?

    The Snowman is a 30-minute cartoon which is shown every Christmas eve here in Finland for the last 15 years. It's a beautiful tale about a little boy and a snowman, who comes alive after midnight. This cartoon has always been the highlight of Christmas eve for me, so it is full of childhood memories. And the theme song ("Walking in the Air") is probably the most beautiful song I've ever heard. H. Blake is an English composer who wrote the music just for that cartoon.


    It seems like you are getting major success now. Maybe you could tell where is the biggest following of Nightwish? Maybe you know some sales figures of your first and second album? I think that many people heard about you after the release of your second disc, but was the first disc also commercially successful for you?

    Our first album had a surprisingly fine success in Finland (it entered the charts at #31 at its best and sold 8000 copies in Finland). "Oceanborn" has now sold 18000 in Finland but we don't know the sales from abroad yet.


    You all are quite young as professional musicians, so sometimes it is strange how you manage to create this music. Is Nightwish the first band for all of you, have you learned to play by yourselves or you have had lessons? To me, it always seems like you must have had classical music background, as your music has strong strong classical influence.

    We have played in many smaller bands before, all of us. Me and Sami played in Nattvindens Gråt, I played in Darkwoods My Betrothed, and all the rest have had their own bands, too. My main instrument is the clarinet, but I also studied the piano in a music school. Besides me and Tarja, we are mostly self-educated musicians.


    It also seems that you have many different influences. Could you name the biggest of them? I know, it's always difficult, but maybe you could also find the nearest companion to your band?

    I like to listen to film music (Vangelis, Kitaro, J. Horner, Mike Oldfield, etc. ) and metal (bands like My Dying Bride, In The Woods, Amorphis, Arcturus, Rhapsody, The 3rd And The Mortal...). Other members are more into traditional heavy metal like Stratovarius, Yngwie Malmsteen, Dio, Rainbow, Helloween... So as a songwriter, I could name film music as my biggest influence! The nearest companion... I could live with comparisons to Therion, Rhapsody, and Stratovarius.


    I know, it is only my personal opinion, but the places where male and female vocals are combined on "Oceanborn" are a bit disturbing to me. Don't you think that sometimes this can destroy the harmony, and do you plan to explore both vocals in the future also?

    The male vocals on the album are merely an effect due to the plot and dialog on the two songs.


    All your lyrics are in English. Don't you have plans to record something in your native language? Amorphis did it quite successfully.

    That's an idea that has been spinning in our heads for quite some time, and I'm pretty sure we will use Finnish sometimes in the future.


    Finnish metal scene seems to be rich enough these days. Do you agree with that? Do you take an active role in metal-scene's life? And a related questions is, have you been involved in underground movement and found it necessary to become known, e.g., spreading the flyers, contacting with zines, etc. Most groups do it at their beginning but later forget about underground when success comes to them. Are you still interested in underground nowadays?

    I think the Finnish metal scene is one of the best in the world. (Great bands like Stratovarius, Amorphis, Decoryah, Embraze, Sentenced...) Naturally, we started on an underground basis, but we are a little out of that nowadays. I hope people will understand this because our time is limited due to our success. The underground is interesting, however, and I'm glad to follow it the best I can.


    Could you tell something about your future activities, when do you plan to begin recordings of your next album?

    At the moment, we are concentrating on doing concerts in Finland and abroad, as well. The third album won't take place until the spring/summer of 2000. Hoping to see you on our European tour!


    Interview with Nightwish 66

    Source: Mireth

    During the Thanksgiving break, I hopped on a bus and took a trip to Montreal to see one of the brightest stars of modern music, Nightwish from Finland. At the venue, I was able to talk the organizer of the show, Sebastian, to let me have a brief chat with Nightwish. And, as one of the opening bands was playing, he walked me into the dressing room, where the band was sitting, getting ready for the show. He walked me straight up to Tarja Turunen. She was wearing a very interesting maroon stage dress and heavy makeup. She speaks very decent English and, to me, it seemed like her English was better than my own, mostly because I was so astounded by actually speaking to this diva. The following is the close recollection of our conversation:


    Good evening, Tarja! I am a reviewer for a website and a huge admirer of yours! I'm so happy to see you!

    Tarja: Hello, how're you doing?


    I'm doing great! You know, I came from New York to see your show!

    Tarja (surprised): Really? Wow, that's kind of far, isn't it?


    Oh, 9 hours, nothing impossible.

    Tarja (smiling): Still...


    The first question that's on everybody's mind: why oh why aren't you coming to the States?

    Tarja: Well, you know... the scene here is better for this kind of music, I guess. America is tough to break into. But we hope to come down some day.


    As for now, you got many Americans coming here for this concert. I think half of the venue is American... Still, it's a darn shame... Your CDs are so hard to get in USA... thank god for the Internet.

    Tarja: Yes, I've heard of such problems... We got a lot of emails from USA, asking us to visit. Hopefully, some day.


    What do you expect from North American crowd that's different from European?

    Tarja: I don't know what to expect. But we'll just come out and deliver our best, as always.


    I know that you are a student at Sibelius Academy in Finland. How much longer do you need to study before you get your degree?

    Tarja (with a sigh): Oh, too long, too long. Right now, I'm practically on break, because of Nightwish. Sometimes I take lessons on the road as we tour, but I expect to return to the opera full time soon.


    How did the opera singer like yourself ended up in metal, of all genres?

    Tarja: Well, Tuomas and me were schoolmates. Once he took me to a recording session and asked to sing three acoustic songs with his band. I agreed, but when I started singing, they all were like: "What is that??" and decided to go with electric guitars. This is how Nightwish was born.


    Do you ever feel weird about the whole situation? I mean, your classical background and all...

    Tarja (laughing): Oh, it feels extremely weird sometimes. I have never heard metal before Nightwish. It's strange... very different from my opera school. After Tuomas started playing, I liked what I've heard and got into the whole idea, but it's still... weird.


    What about the audience? It's gotta feel very different for you.

    Tarja: Definitely! I used to be very shy and afraid of playing in from of these people, but that changed. I now move around on stage quite a bit.


    Have you ever considered contributing to songwriting yourself?

    Tarja: No. I'm a singer. Tuomas writes everything. His lyrics and music is Nightwish. And my voice is Nightwish. Without his songs, it would not be the same.


    I love Nightwish's lyrics, I think they're a lot deeper than average songs... I am a lyricist-wannabe and I always feel great inspiration from your work, so thank you very much for that.

    Tarja: Oh, thank you.


    And the whole concept of opera in metal is remarkable! I remember my friend from Toronto sent me your CD and I took it on a plane to New York. I've heard "Stargazers" and was like "Oh my god, this stuff is great!"

    Tarja: Thank you.


    I know you guys are big friends with Children Of Bodom..

    Tarja: Yes, especially the boys.


    What do you think about them?

    Tarja: I like them. Except....


    The vocals?

    Tarja (laughing): Yes. Their music is great, but the voice...


    Well, I'm looking forward to a great show. I gotta warn you though: those opening bands are pretty good, they might give you a run for your money.

    Tarja: I know, we played with them before. They're good bands.


    Thank you again!

    Tarja: I hope you won't be sorry that you came all the way from New York.


    Tarja signs my Nightwish t-shirt. I turn around and Tuomas Holopainen is standing there.


    Oh, hi, Tuomas.

    Tuomas: Hello.


    I came from New York to see you guys! Is there a chance you will grace United States with your presence?

    Tuomas: Some day, hopefully. Unfortunately, not many people know about us. The distribution isn't that great there.


    I dunno. I'm pretty sure you could sell out one show in New York. That place is huge: i'm sure there will be couple hundred Nightwish fanatics out there!

    Tuomas: I know. We'd love to play there, really.


    By the way, it seems like half of New York City is out there in the audience!

    Tuomas (sighs): Oh, great... more pressure


    How come you're the only songwriter in the band?

    Tuomas: Yes, so far it's just me. I mean, I wouldn't mind if other guys contribute, but so far they're satisfied with my writing.


    Actually, I'm a huge fan of your lyrics. In our day and age, such thought-provoking material is a rarity! "Kinslayer," oh my god!

    Tuomas: Thank you! Actually, I wanted to ask some native English speaker...


    ...What does that gotta do with me?

    Tuomas: ...How do my lyrics look and sound in English?


    Well, you can tell they were written by a non-Native English speakers, but there are actually few grammar mistakes... It's mostly got to do with phrase structures in singing, and when Tarja sings them, you can sort of tell.
    But they're definitely above most of the songs out there written by native English speakers.

    Tuomas: Cool.


    What is the setlist for tonight, if you want to tell me?

    Tuomas: We'll play something from every album, but, of course, the emphasis will be on "Wishmaster."


    Will you grace us with "Stargazers"?

    Tuomas: Uhm... no.


    What?? It's my favorite Nightwish song!! That and "Passion And The Opera"

    Tuomas: Well, it sucks, dude, cuz neither of the songs are on the list.


    What? How come?

    Tuomas: We took them off the list. They just don't sound right anymore, for some reason.


    Damn, I was really looking forward to those. Which "Oceanborn" songs are there?

    Tuomas: "Sacrament Of Wilderness," "Walking In The Air," "Swansong," "Gethsemane"... oh yeah, and "Pharaoh Sails To Orion."


    Sounds great. Still, I'm upset about "Stargazers."


    Suddenly a crew guy runs in and yells that the opening band is covering Stratovarius.


    Tuomas:
    This I gotta see!


    Tuomas signs my t-shirt and runs out the door. The rest of the band follows. Emppu (guitarist) signs my t-shirt.


    Interview with Nightwish 65

    Source: Mireth

    At first tell me something about the bandhistory, please.
    Nightwish started out as a solo project by me in the fall of ` 96. I was already playing in two other metal bands (Nattvindens Grat & Darkwoods My Betrothed) at that time but I felt I could not get enough space in them, so I began with Nightwish. At first we were an acoustic band; only acoustic guitar, synths, vocals and some flutes. But after our first demo we realised that it would be even better with drums and distorted guitars. So we recorded 7 new songs and in the May of 97 we got a record deal from Finland' s Spinefarm. "Angels Fall First" came to shops in November in Finland and in April in Germany. People here liked it very much, and even though we' ve done only 8 gigs to far, "Angels Fall First" entered the Finnish top 40-charts and our single hanged in there for 8 weeks. This was a huge surprise to all of us and it gave us a lot of confidence.


    What was your main intention to start Nightwish?

    I just wanted to express my feelings in the best way possible - in the form of music.


    Please introduce the band´s members to our readers. How did you get in contact with them?

    We all are old schoolmates from the tame school here in Kitee. Tarja is 20 years old lady, who at the moment studying music and singing in Sibelius Academy. She is very talented, niee and pretty girl whose passion is classical and opera music but she is also very motivated as far as Nightwish is concerned. Emppu and Jukka have known each other from the time they were born. They both are more or less self-educated musicians with a great sense of humour and motivation for practicing. They are 19 years old. I am 21 and I am working as a stand-in teacher in the High school of Kitee at the moment. Music is the major part of my life, too. Sciences have also been very close to my heart and one of my dreams is to become a biologist some day.


    Which meaning is hidden behind the name Nightwish? Why did you choose this name?

    This is a cliche, but I love the night and its magic and I love to wander around at nighttime and let my thoughts fly. Often I dream and send wishes to the stars, talk with the nature etc. Another point is, that in my opinion the purpose of life is to have dreams and wishes, and to try to do anything to make them come true. If you make a "decent nightwish" and try to follow it the best you con, your life is going the right path.


    How would you describe your musical style? By what is your music influenced?

    I would say we are symphonic heavy metal with gothic and klassical influences. (What a short term...) I ‘ve also heard descriptions like "Fantasy metal" or "Art metal". Whatever they mean... it is always hard to say what has influenced our music. We listen to lots of different kinds of music.


    What about your female vocalist, did she had a special education (she is great!)?

    She has studied singing professional only for one year now.


    Tell me something about your debut album "Angels fall first". How had been the reactions from media, fans etc? Are you satisfied with the album?

    We are quite satisfied with the album ourselves, and that' s the most important thing. But also the media and fans have liked it quite a bit. We have a homepage in the internet, and 95 percent of the comment there have been positive.


    What about your lyrics? Do you prefer certain topics? When did you write the lyrics - any special ritual?

    Lyrics are very important in our music and I work with them a lot. I don' t have a special ritual in writing the lyrics, I just have this idea in my head and after that I usually compose the basis of the song and then finish with the lyrics. I am not into those "two-dimensional" or allegorical lyrics, I prefer "tale-like" lyrics with simplicity and a certain amount of deepness.


    Some words about the lyrics of each song of "Angels fall first", please.

    I love fantasy literature & movies, fairy-tales and staff so in "Elvenpath" I just wanted to give honour to the imaginative worlds already created or yet to be found. "Beauty and the Beast" is a sad true story, need I say more... "The Carpenter' is a very dismal and bitter song as far as the lyrics are concerned. It deals with my aspects over religious issues and the hypocracy, which is a spreading disease in today's world. "Astral Romance" was the first heavy song ever written for Nightwish, and the lyrics reflect from the band' s name. Again a sad true story in "Angels Fall First". "Tutankhamen" is an Egyptian dream of mine. "Nymphomaniac Fantasies" should be thrown to the deepest pit found on this earth. Infidelity and disloyalty are the worst sins that mankind has created and I wanted to express my feelings in the form of music. The result turned out to be rather corny, however... "Know why..." is a song about freedom, dreams and my sister's hobby. That' s it. I love Finnish landscapes and nature, especially in lapland. "loppi" was born after I was hiking there one summer. It was a great experience.


    Tell me something about the way you compose the songs.

    At first I usually have the idea for the lyrics and then I compose the buis of the song mostly with my synthesiser. I love that process, and I always get very excited when I get good ideas and melodies. Proper arrangements are also very important for our music and we work with them a lot as a band.


    Do you have a favourite song at "Angels fall first"?

    My favourite song is "The Beauty and the Beast" even though I don' t like my own voice that much.


    To what kind of music or to which bands do you like to listen to?

    Tarja loves classical music but she' s also into soul, spiritual music and metal (Stratovarius, Helloween, Type 0 Negative) Emppu & Jukka listen to mostly heavy metal tike Stratovarius, Dream Theater (older), Rainbow, Dio, Y. Malmsteen etc. I listen to the same bands but also bands like The 3rd & the Mortal, My Dying Bride, Therion, Arcturus... My very passion is, however, film music and new age (Kitaro, Mike Oldfield, Enigma, Era...).


    Are you sill working at new material? If yes tell me something about it (In what way does it differ from your current album? Do you have a lyrical or musical concept? When will you enter the studio?...)!

    I have the songs composed for the second album and we have already started to rehearse them. The material is a bit faster, heavier and more technical, but still very bombastic and atmospheric. We will enter the studio in August.


    Are you satisfied with your label? Will the next album also released by Spinefarm Rec.?

    Yes, we are satisfied and the next album will be released by Spinafarm.


    Three wishes concerning the future of Nightwish?

    Be able to do more gigs, make better music and make these two wishes come true.


    Describe the area where you live.

    We live in a small town of Kitee in the eastern part of Finland. It is a very nice and natural place for us to live in. There are lots of woods and lakes around, which is a great thing, at course.


    What do you think about the Finish underground metal scene?

    I think it is top class. We have some great bands tike Children of Bodom, Sentenced, Pecoryah and Embrare.


    What do you like to do at our sparetime? Any interesting hobby?

    Music is our life and most of our hobbies, but I like hiking, reading and of course, drinking now and then. I think the same goes for all of us.


    Two of you are into the finish army now, am I right? Is everyone forced to go to the army in Finland or is it possible to choose social work? And what do you think about this?

    Yes, we are forced to either go to army or to social work, but it is over 5 months longer, so they decided to suffer more but a shorter period of time. I went to military band ( I played the clarinet, which is my main instrument) so it was not that bad for me, but the army sucks bad, no matter what...


    Are you also involved with other bands?

    Not that much yet but in the future we will. We' ve done a couple of gigs with Children of Bodom and Antidote.


    Did you make bad experiences with rip-offs so far?

    No we haven't.


    Last words.

    Thank you for the interest and support. We hope to see you on the gigs in the future.


    Interview with Nightwish 64

    Source: Nightwish Official Website

    First of all, now that you have joined Nightwish, are you still playing in Sinergy?
    Yep. I'm also playing in Sinergy. We finished a new album just a while ago, and it should come out in January.


    I have never heard of Tarot, Metal Gods and Conquest before. Do they still exist and if yes, are you still active in those bands?

    Yes, they exist. Tarot had some moderate success in Japan and a few thousand albums were shipped to Germany also. I'm the lead singer of the band besides playing bass also. These days we've done just a few gigs now and then. Metal Gods is actually a cover group as the name implies. We do it just for fun (and some xtra cash). Conquest is a group that I helped to record an album couple of years back. They had a session bassist then and I promised that if things start happening I'll come along. New stuff is still in demo status. We'll see what happens; after all I've had some other work offers since that, as you know...


    What made you join Nightwish? Did they approach you or did you hear that they were searching for a new bassist and called them?

    Tuomas asked me, if I was interested. I said yeah.


    What are your feelings about joining such a successful band?

    I'm excited of course. Let's just hope everything works out fine.


    Will you be a permanent "Nightwisher" from now on?

    We'll have to see how the whole chemistry thing comes together first. If we get along both musically and personally then there should be no problems. Tuomas told me that they are definitely looking for permanent replacement, so I'll be working for it.


    Do you have any plans for your work in Nightwish? What influences will you bring to the band? Will you be singing and songwriting as well?

    I've been a songwriter (lyrics & music) all my life, so I sure hope to have some space for that too. My influences are from a really wide genre, so I'll let the other guys decide what fits their style at first I think. We've already talked about some songs having split vocals between me and Tarja.


    For those who have never heard any of your other bands, can you describe similarities and differences to Nightwish's music?

    The obvious similarity is of course that I've always played in metal bands. With the other groups there's also been important to have a melodic approach to songwriting. In Sinergy there's also a female vocalist though the style IS different and the band plays really rough and angry stuff these days. With Tarot we've had one guitar+keyboard line-up similar to NW, but the music is more low key, heavier and slower. With Conquest the music is very much 70's and early 80's traditional metal.


    Which is your favorite Nightwish song and why?

    Probably "Come cover me" because I remember it well from the tour we did together when I was playing with Sinergy only. We had played a really good gig, had a few beers, and were in a general "We love everybody" mood and went to dig NW gig with a cold brew in hand as they started that one. Yeah, it felt really good.


    Interview with Nightwish 63

    Source: Mindspring

    In LotFP #2 I ran a short feature on NIGHTWISH. Usually that would be enough. Well, one year after first hearing their sophomore effort Oceanborn (on Spinefarm Records) and having it still be a frequent resident in my CD player, I have decided that the one piddly feature was not enough. NIGHTWISH just isn't catching on, and that's WRONG. Heavy metal the Finnish way, with lead keyboards, a GODDESS on vocals, and songs so strong they don't leave you. I had to present the definitive NIGHTWISH feature, so I sent keyboard player/mastermind Tuomas Holopainen an 80 question interview. He wasn't exactly as in depth as I would have liked all the time, but nobody has put together as complete an article with as much NIGHTWISH information as what you're about to read. If bands such as AMORPHIS, STRATOVARIUS, THE GATHERING, or ANYTHING heavy, melodic, and uplifting causes you any excitement at all, you need to hear NIGHTWISH. Period, end of story. This is one of the better bands out there now, so read why that is...


    'allo again! All I can think of to say to begin with is congratulations and thank you for the Oceanborn album. A lot of albums that are great at first fades. Very few actually stick with the listener over the course of a year and get played a lot the whole time! What have been your favorite albums this year, metal or otherwise?

    Of my favorite albums this year I could mention LUCA TURILLI's King of the Nordic Twilight, FREEDOM CALL's Stairway to Fairyland, AMORPHIS' Tuonela and the soundtrack of Mulan.


    The first order of business has to be your situation within the US. Have you gained a licensing deal for the US yet? If not, is any in the works?

    No we haven't, yet. Ther has been lots of interested labels, though, and Oceanborn will be officially released in the States in the beginning of 2000.


    How much of a response have you gotten from the US? Lots of fan mail?

    Very little, actually. I've received a couple of letters and there have been some comments on our internet homepage but that's about it.


    Do you find that in dealing with the press that different countries have different lines of questioning? If so, how?

    Well, Americans tend to make long interviews... Seriously, not that much, it depends more of the one who is questioning rather than which country is he or she from.


    What is the single most frequent and/or annoying question you get asked?

    I guess it's our biography, which is a natural question, of course, but has such a long answer it's annoying to go it over and over again. I did something like 150 interviews this spring and almost all of them wanted our biography... Also, I'm sick and tired of answering whether or not the song The Carpenter is about Jesus Christ!


    And what is the answer to that question?

    Yes. Everyone happy now?


    I notice a trend in magazines, and even fanzines, to feature bands from the same country as the magazine more frequently, more in depth, and more favorably. You've certainly had your space in Suomi Finland Perkele (even the English edition!). Would you think this is a more conscious decision to try to strengthen the 'home town' bands, or a more unconscious 'we're better than everyone else' type of thing?

    It also depends, naturally, but I think most of this has to do with the fact that magazines want to give their best support for the bands of their home country. I think it's their right, even duty. And there's nothing wrong with that.


    Do you personally tend to get more excited over Finnish bands than others? (Hell, *I* get more excited over Finnish bands than others...)

    Pretty much so! I honestly think that the Finnish metal scene is top class and we have some awesome bands like AMORPHIS, STRATOVARIUS, CHILDREN OF BODOM and SONATA ARCTICA, just to mention a few. All this might have just a tad of patriotic sense in it but still, we have a scene to definitely get excited about!


    Your music and especially the lyrics are definitely not the norm for the scene, so I'm going to assume there's something a lot more personal in the material. So here are some personal questions! Let's go back to the beginning. No, I mean the VERY beginning! When and where were you born?

    I was born on Christmas day in 1976 in a small town, where I still live.


    Did you grow up in a more urban or rural area?

    I grew up in the rural area, on an old farm actually, even though we didn't have any cattle. I felt like living in the middle of nowhere in the woods, but this fit me just fine. I'm still living in the country and I love it. I never could imagine myself living in a big city.


    I know musical education opportunities are more plentiful in most Europian countries than in the US. Is that the case in Finland as well?

    I suppose we have good chances of musical education. Every city has its own music schools and there are many conservatories all aroun Finland. Only one university level, though, Sibelius Academy.


    How early did you become involved in music? What was your first instrument?

    My first instrument was the piano, which I started playing at the age of seven. A year after that I joined the music school and the clarinet became my main instrument. I also attended theory classes, went to a classical orchestra, a jazz band and kept piano as my 2nd instrument.


    What was the first album you bought? First metal album? What was the first band you REALLY became a fan of and why?

    The first album I bought was an lp of a Finnish rock band. First metal album, I think was KISS Asylum. However, it was METALLICA in 1992 who changed my life to metal. I was a big fan of them. I went to their concert in Kansas City while I was there as an exchange student and after that I was completely hooked.


    When did you decide you really wanted to start making music?

    After have been playing two years in a metal band I decided I wanted to do something on my own. I realized that songwriting was the thing for me.


    A lot of musicians in the US have really interesting stories about how their families reacted to their musical ambitions. They're mostly interesting HORROR stories, but... how was your family as far as being supportive about music? What do they think of NIGHTWISH now that it has become 'famous'?

    Our parents have been very supportive all this time. No horror stories here, sorry.


    By your lyrics you're definitely something of a romantic and just a big ol' softie at heart. (How un-metal of you, Tuomas! I bet you even crack a smile now and again during rehearsals, ha ha!) So let's see if I can get away with asking these questions... how old were you when you had your first crush?

    What the hell...? Ok, but you can`t be serious... not old enough.


    What was it about the person that attracted you?

    Beauty.


    How old you were you when you had your first date?

    16.


    How did it go?

    Pretty good.


    What one word would you use to describe your first kiss?

    Wet.


    Was your first romp in the sack the utter disaster it was for me and just about everyone I know?

    Can't remember...


    Who would you say your keyboard inspirations are? Hell, the only notable names that stand out on their own that I can think of in this music are Jens Johansson and Vitalij Kuprij (sorry Adina, ha ha!).

    Jens Johansson is a great one, Vangelis (because of his original sounds, he`s a genius!), and Kitaro (because of the feeling).


    What do you think of solo keyboard players like Mortiis and Varg (cough cough moron cough cough) Vikernes who rely more on ‘emotion' and 'atmosphere' rather than real playing ability?

    I think all music should be based on emotions and atmosphere, that`s what music`s about. I'm not really into these solo key players but I have respect for them.


    Any thoughts of dressing up in bat wings and fake ears and nose and releasing solo albums?

    If it's something that feels right to do, just do it. I don't mind.


    Tell us what was going on in your life around the time you started up NIGHTWISH.

    I had just quit in the obligatory military and I was still playing in two other metal bands. Nothing worth mentioning was going on.


    I understand NIGHTWISH was originally an acoustic project? How does a synth fit in such a concept?

    Just great. What we did was ‘mood music' and synth fit into those moods perfectly. Why not?


    I understand you have no intention of releasing anything from the acoustic period of the band. Obviously you must not think they're any good, but don't you think that would be an irresponsible decision when you have a growing fanbase that is interested in all aspects of the band?

    Well, all that's left of that period are three (nostalgic, I must admit) songs. And I have no idea where the original tapes are so let the songs RIP.


    When did Tarja become involved? Early on in this acoustic stage or was it later on after you'd become a metal band? How did the idea come about for the more operatic vocal style? It doesn't sound at all like you just put an ad in the music paper and it just so happens this kind of singer answered it... let's face it, this kind of actual quality singing is VERY rare and somewhat over-the-top in this music.

    Tarja joined the band for she wanted to try something different to what she had done before (pop, soul, spiritual music...) She was a member already in the acoustic period. She will be an opera singer one day, for at the moment she's studying classical singing in Sibelius Academy, which is a university-level music school in Finland. She will specialize in opera from the beginning of the next semester. She's very professional as far as her use of voice is concerned. Before a live concert she takes two hours to ‘open the voice.' It's always fun to listen to her singing these funny chords and lalalalaaas in a hotel room! The same goes for studiowork.


    Before I ask about you becoming a melodic metal band, I'd like some perspective of the scene at the time. Popular myth is that when HAMMERFALL's first album was released, more traditional metal was stone cold dead, and they awakened everything. When you first decided to go with the electric guitars and everything, when was that in relation to the release of HAMMERFALL? How alive or dead was melodic metal in Finland at that time?

    We had never even heard of HAMMERFALL when we turned to metal. It wasn't such a concious decision that ‘let's do melodic metal!' We merely started writing new songs and this is what was born. As simple as that.


    When did you first release Angels Fall First? Is it true there were songs on there that are not on the Spinefarm version of the album? Why were those left off? Will we ever get to hear them?

    It was released in November `97. The demo version of it contains two songs that are not on the actual Angels Fall First album. (500 copies limited edition) Again, RIP...


    When you first recorded AFF, was it intended to be a demo to attract label interest, or as a self release to be sold in its own right?

    It was supposed to be a (long) demo that we did just for the fun of it and maybe attract some labels. However, it turned out to be something we had never expected.


    How did you get such a strong production recording those songs yourself?

    Our friend recorded it in his studio and this guy is a wizard and a pefectionist so that`s why.


    When did Spinefarm get in touch with you about a record deal? Was there any other label interest?

    It was right after the recording, during the tour of my other band, NATTVINDENS GRÅT. We didn`t even send that demo to anyone else, Spinefarm giving us such a nice deal.


    So why is Ewo known as 'The Man'?

    Because he is.


    How did you find out that your first album had hit the charts? What were you doing? What was your reaction?

    I was in my room when this guy from the radio called me and said if he could do an interview because our album had hit the charts. I was shocked, and veeeeery excited about this. It felt great!


    In my opinion the songs recorded after your signing are noticeably better, as a group, than the ones recorded before. Were you really advancing as a composer so quickly that 4 months made that much difference, or was it a matter of hearing the first batch recorded and learning quickly what needs to be concentrated on in your music?

    I guess I`m a fast learner... I hated the mistakes we had done and I didn't want to repeat them. Also, our ambition had grown a great deal so we a kind of wanted to ‘show off.'


    The cover on Angels Fall First... How does it relate to the title or the material?

    A beautiful photograph, calm but strong as the music on AFF.


    As is usual for your genre, your opening track Elvenpath is a speedy one, and delivers everything the band is really about in four and a half minutes. However, it is the lyrics that evoke the greatest response out of me perhaps of everything you've ever done, so I have a bunch of questions inspired by this one alone. First, the theme mirrors that of BLIND GUARDIAN's song Imaginations From The Other Side, yet really innocent in scope. How long have you been into fantasy?

    All my life, and even longer, I think. Fantasy in all of its forms is such a huge part of my everyday life.


    You make a LOT of references throughout both albums to people and places in the lyrics. From mentioning Carter in Tutankhamen to Shangri-La in the title song, and plenty more. I find it odd just because it's something nobody else seems to do that at all. What's the thinking behind that?

    Weird thing, because I never thought it that way. No special thinking behind that, it`s just a natural thing for me. Using references have the ability to make the lyrics more interesting and bring up questions rather than answers.


    I first read Lord of the Rings when I was 8 years old, and it changed my life. Middle-Earth sometimes seems so much more real, more interesting, then the world going on around me. Are there any fictional worlds which make you feel this way?

    Oh yes. Middle-Earth is my home, too. I relate strongly into all the fantasy I read but Tolkien is my all-time big favourite!


    Do you think the appeal of these fictional fantasy worlds is not so much the exotic and, well, fantastic occurrences, but the fact that in the end everything is resolved with a more or less 'happily ever after' ending?

    For me the appeal is in the possibilities. I can do and create whatever I desire and nobody can take this away from me. I don't want to think this issue through thoroughly, fantasy does not need analyzing.


    What do you think of darker fantasy authors such as Michael Moorcock (Elric, Corum, Hawkmoon, Von Bek) or Terry Goodkind (Sword of Truth series)?

    Well, I truly enjoy more the more ‘fairytale-like' fantasy, where the prince and the girl live happily ever after. The moment there is supposed to be some kind of message behind fantasy, I'm through with it.


    Willow gets a mention... what fantasy based movies do you think are well made? I personally think there are very few good ones. Conan the Barbarian, Beastmaster I, Willow, The Princess Bride, and that's it I think.

    Willow is my very favourite! A kind of Tolkien rip-off, but who cares. I also liked Princess Bride, the Conan movies and the Star Wars movies, even though they are more into the sci-fi scene.


    What in the world is a Home Gnome? I have no clue and to be honest the idea is a tad goofy... if you had the song to write all over again, would our little gnomish pal still get a mention?

    You bet it would! I don't mind people laughing at my lyrics. I laugh at them often myself. Still, they are written honestly, about things I want to write about and never do I think whether this fits into the listeners big metal heads or not. I write what I feel like writing. A home gnome is a home gnome, what's so hard in that?! This gnomish pal of mine is a mythological little creature, a miniature Santa Claus, I would say. A very charming little thing. My dear friend. I'm sure you two would get along just fine!!


    And a few other ones I don't recognize... who are Tapio, Mielikki, and Sparhawk?

    Tapio and Mielikki are the King and Queen of forests in Finnish mythology. Sparhawk is a character from the book series of one of my favourite fantasy authors, David Eddings.


    Where did you take the voice sample from?

    From the Lord of the Rings cartoon.


    The title track is a slow song. What was the thought behind making this also the name of the album?

    Nothing special, it sounded cool. Actually we had trouble coming up withe the name for the album so we had to take a name of one the songs.


    On both albums you have a preoccupation with Egyptians. What about the sand and pyramids interests you?

    The greatest mystery of mankind and the fascinating culture and mythology. That's it.


    What was the inspiration behind Nymphomaniac Fantasia? Because let me tell you, castration is definitely the LAST thing I want to think about when listening to Tarja sing...

    Spare me... I hate this song. You dig and I'll bury the song, ok?


    There's only one thing I can think of that would make a man write a song like ...Nightingale... So who was she, and does she know she inspired a song? Or do I have it all wrong and you just have a happier imagination than I?

    This song would make a great competition or something, I think, because no one has by this day understood what this song is about!


    The Lappi epic... is the first part indicative of what the acoustic NIGHTWISH period sounded like? What do Eramaajarvi and Etianen mean?

    Erämaajärvi means ‘The Wilderness Lake' and yes, it is an indicative from the acoustic period of NIGHTWISH. Etiäinen is a wandering ghost in Lapland (Finnish mythology)


    OK, now on to the Oceanborn album. First, the cover. It was pointed out to me that if you put your thumb on the woman's face then the rest of her looks like a crocodile. Any other almost funny or mildly interesting comments you've heard about it? What's the message that the owl's carrying?

    Not really, the comments have been very positive about the cover, which is based on the Devil and the Deep Dark Ocean song. Read the lyrics and be much wiser...


    Second, what is that outfit Tarja's got on? Not that I'm complaining (and not that I'm meaning to sound like a total horndog, hehe), but she's the only one that has had her presentation fancied up since the first CD.

    I'm not sure. Some kind of dress, I've heard comments that she looks like she`s on her way to go milk a cow! Haha!


    Actually playing the music shows a strong development. Stargazers hits me as sounding kind of GAMMA RAY, but with the Finnish feeling somehow, and with the sense of high drama that seems to be running rampant throughout the Italian scene at the moment. What do you think of your development from album to album?

    Oceanborn is heavier, faster and more technical than its predecessor but still very atmospheric and bombastic. I think we have grown more mature on that album in every way. The songs, the musicianship and sound quality are all better and now I think we`ve found our true style. Angels Fall First is a good album as a debut album and it has a strong feeling of honesty in it but there are some things on it that I really don`t like such as the male vocals, some lyrics, etc.


    With this album you've also taken the step to being a true, out in front, lead keyboardist. I think you've got tons more leads than the guitars... obviously you don't think too much of the 'keyboards don't belong in metal' factions out there eh?

    Categorizing stuff is like politics, a necessary evil. Some people categorize keys outside metal but I think they fit the music just great. And while I compose all the stuff with my keyboards, our music tends to have a lot of them but we still have a perfect balance between the instruments.


    Even with much 'busier' music, Oceanborn has been a much bigger commercial success than Angels Fall First. What is your secret to success? Why Sacrament of Wilderness as the first single?

    This might sound corny but I believe our success has a lot to do with honesty. We really do just what we want ourselves, musically, lyrically and imagewise. Sacrament of Wilderness became the first single because it needed to be a rather short one and it is a song that shows both atmospherical and heavier sides of NIGHTWISH.


    With the title Stargazers, I have to ask, are you by any chance a fan of RAINBOW?

    I had never heard that RAINBOW has a song called Stargazer before the CD was out! Honestly! I'm not a big fan of them, just a nice coincidence.


    You've got a song called Gethsemane, in the thankyous you've got 'The Haunting Beauty of Gethsemane garden, this one's for you.' Once again, please, spill the beans, what's up?

    A very personal song, personal subject. Need I say more?


    Do you sometimes have difficulty with the lyrics seeing as how you're a male writing at times romantic lyrics when a woman's going to be the one singing them?

    Never really. Tarja relates beautifully to my lyrics and it has never been a problem. Of course I need to be careful that she will not be singing ‘please be my wife' etc.


    Devil and the Deep Dark Ocean is the most controversial song you've done, mainly because of some uneducated goofballs. The complaints I've heard about this one have been people who wouldn't know Deicide from a running lawnmower saying that there are 'death vocals' here. Obviously that's not the case but I was wondering why the choice was made to use that deep vocal style in there? I personally think it works as it creates a little extra spice in the two songs it's in. Then again, I don't mind death vocals so this is certainly nothing to get bent out of shape about...

    Shit, this really annoys me. I`ve heard a lot of complaints that we use ‘death vocals' and due to that we are satanic and blablablah. If they just bother to read the lyrics they would realize that it's the devil and the pharaoh that are speaking there as an EFFECT. The plots required a deep male voice so we used one to create atmosphere in two songs. That's it. End of story.


    Moondance... WOW! But again, some people have to ruin the fun, I've seen this called 'great bar mitzvah music' in at least two different negative reviews... (don't worry, the zines were real low-grade, CANNIBAL CORPSE worshipping stuff anyway, nothing to worry about, hehe) It sounded somewhat Russian to me, but I'll have to admit I'm pretty much an all-metal guy so 'traditional' music is nothing more than a guess to me. Could you explain the influences that went into this piece?

    ‘Great Bar Mitzvah music...!!!' hahaha! When I read this description I fell from my chair. A very good one! I don't think I was inspired by anything special as far as Moondance is concerned. It was fun to make and fun to record.


    When you write the music to the songs, are you putting lyrics to it as you write? And with Moondance, for example, at what point was it decided it would be an instrumental?

    I always have the idea for the song and what it's about before composing it. It`s not until final arrangements that I finish with the lyrics. Moondance never required lyrics, it's supposed to be a ‘dance.'


    What's the story behind Walking on Air?

    The Snowman is a 30-minute cartoon which is shown every Christmas Eve here in Finland for the last 15 years. It's a beautiful tale about a little boy and a snowman, who comes alive after midnight. This cartoon has always been the highlight of Christmas Eve for me so it is full of childhood memories. And the theme song, Walking in the Air, is probably the most beautiful song I've ever heard. H. Blake is an English composer who wrote the music just for that cartoon.


    And a few more band-related questions... you're credited with the vast majority of the music and lyrics, but the band is credited as arranging. How often is it that something you've come up with is vetoed by the rest of the band? How different would you say the songs are from when you first come up with them to where they end up?

    We have our fair share of disagreements but usually we work them out. We all respect each others ‘privacy in his instrument,' if you know what I mean. The songs may differ a lot after arranging process but the soul in them always remains. We had a fight whether or not Moondance should be a part of the album or not...


    OK, now about Tarja. Every interview I've seen, you've handled it, but every review (including mine) seem to focus more on her as a focal point in the band. Obviously having somebody so talented and distinctive in the band is a big plus for getting attention and pushing NIGHTWISH towards the top of the heap, but do you ever worry that she'll lose interest or at some time have other commitments to where it is impossible for her to continue in the band?

    Yes, we have that fear. But NIGHTWISH is very important to her and the situation is very solid at the moment.


    I don't know opera from a cat in heat. It's obvious Tarja is a quite gifted vocalist, but that's coming from a metal/rock perspective. Her thing is opera and I have no idea how she compares with people in that genre. Could you clue us in as to how she's judged in that arena? With continued practice and study, how much improvement can we expect out of her and how will you take advantage of that in NIGHTWISH?

    She's very young, 22 years old, and still in the early stage of her vocal developement so we haven't heard it all yet. She is recognized as a talent in the professional opera genre, as well.


    I understand you were recently in the States... was it your first time visiting this cultureless hellhole? What were you doing here? What places did you visit?

    How in the world do you know this?! Well, it doesn't matter. I visited the family I lived with during my exchange year in 1992-1993. This was near Wichita, Kansas. I also went to Walt Disney World in Florida. I'm a Disney fan and a collector so despite the commercialism, I loved it there!


    What would you say are the most striking differences between the US and Finland?

    US: Warm, big, diverse cultures, pollution, warm-hearted people, junk food, junk metal. Finland: Cold, small, one culture, rather clean nature, close-minded people, good metal.


    I don't know if I have this viewpoint because of my interests or what, but it seems that the European peoples have a more profound sense of history and their own cultural roots. America seems to not have any sense of anything beyond the latest pop culture sensation. How do you see it?

    That's very true! During my stay in the States people asked me questions about Finland. ‘Isn't it somewhere near India? Is the polar bear your national food?' I mean, no offence, but you guys don't know much about the world beyond the ocean...


    What does it mean to chart in Finland? Are you on the radio? Are you often recognized on the street? What is it like to be hanging out with friends and one of YOUR SONGS is suddenly played on the radio? Has your music been used in any car commercials yet?

    Chart entry means publicity, which is a good thing. We are not that famous, actually. Very few people recognize us on the streets and the radio playing sucks. No metal whatsoever on the radio, even if we hold the top position in the charts. It's really weird. I heard Sacrament of Wilderness was played something like 5 times in the national radio during all this time.


    Are you living off of the music? If not, what do you do for a living? Any problems getting time off for shows or to tour?

    I'm barely living by music. But I hope we will get to the point that we wouldn't have to do anything besides music. Taking the time off is never a problem for anyone except Tarja due to her intense studies at the Academy.


    How many copies of each of your albums have you sold? Charted anywhere other than Finland?

    Don`t know about Angels Fall First but Oceanborn has sold over 60000 copies and is still selling very good. It was also charted in Germany, somewhere around 70 at its best I think.


    I saw some pictures in Terrorizer of one of your shows. Are the lights and effects a standard part of the NIGHTWISH live experience?

    Depends of the place we're playing in. We think the visual aid to our shows is very important so we always try to make the lights as good as possible.


    Has the band been to Japan yet? Any word of how they've received you?

    Nope, maybe next year.


    You'll be on tour in Europe with Rage about the time this interview hits in the US. Will this be your first extended series of shows?

    In a way, yes. We did scattered touring in Finland all year, about 60 gigs, though.


    I don't know the extent of Tarja's activities within the opera (or your gigging for that matter!). Has she ever been in the position where she had to perform night after night to this extent? Any ideas how she'll cope with the smoky clubs for a month?

    Tarja's voice is a huge concern to us. Our biggest fear on the tour is how her voice stands up. We did 5 gigs in three days at the Midsummer's Festival in June and she was practically dying after that. I Hope everything goes all right.


    When can we expect another NIGHTWISH album? Any new material in the works? How is the music progressing?

    We're rehearsing our 3rd album all the time. We have 7 new songs so far and we enter the studio in January. The release should be in May 2000.


    To follow-up on a question I asked last time... I suppose Tarja is still unable to marry me, eh?

    I asked her about it and she almost agreed but then her boyfriend made a firm statement. Sorry, pal.


    Well, we've (finally!!) come to the end of the line. With any luck I didn't bore you/tire you/piss you off too much with the length. Anything else you'd like to say to the US fans?

    These kind of interviews make any man an alcoholic. Still, thanks for the interest and support! Keep in touch and please send me the issue where this inteview is! Thanks a lot.


    Interview with Nightwish 62

    Source: Hard Force Magazine

    For several months we have been informing you of the spreading of melodic doom from Scandinavia. After Trail Of Tears, Theatre Of Tragedy or The Sins Of Thy Beloved come Nightwish with a magistral second album. Powerful riffs, astonishing lyric vocals, slave folklore touches and an enormous production are the strehgths of an amazing "Oceanborn".


    Your album "Oceanborn" is a magnificent surprise. Personally I've only discovered Nightwish lately. Where do you come from?

    From Finland! In fact the story began about three years ago while I was playing in two metal bands. I wanted to set up my own project so I left everything to create Nightwish. At the start the project was supposed to be acoustic and we only had acoustic guitars, keybards and female vocals... After our first demo we introduced a more metal style by adding drums, bass and electric guitars. We recorded a second demo which drew the attention of Spinefarm and we got signed. This demo was re-released as a true CD and first album towards the end of 1997. Our new album was recorded in November 1998 and will be out as you read these lines.


    It's a incredible story for a young band...

    Yes! The band is only two-and-a-half-year-old and we've already had a contract. We are totally conscious we are lucky, but I think our hard work helped us to succeed. We all had solid experience in groups before founding Nightwish.


    You seem to be very young...

    We are! I'm the oldest member of the band and I'm 22.


    Did school, your family or others put a brake on your musical career?

    No, not at all, but I want to say that we don't see this career as musicians but more as composers. I really don't like the folklore surrounding rock musicians. But who can tell what we'll be doing in ten years? Personnaly I hope I'll focus on something else.


    Can you talk about your first album which remains rather unnoticed in France.

    As I previously said, it was basically a demo. Though professionally recorded, the disk didn't receive all the attention a first album would normally deserve. The production, but also the songs weren't maybe up to it. It was more acoustic than "Oceanborn". We've had a taste of success in Finland while the rest of Europe hadn't reacted at all for unknown reasons. I hope "Oceanborn" will make up lost time.


    It seems that Scandinavia undergoes a major boom of melodic doom. Do you think we're assisting to the rise of a new scene?

    Indees there is the emergence of such bands in Scandinavia. In Finland I know about ten very good bands that are following our path. This kind of music will appeal to a new generation. We don't want to have something to do with death or black metal anymore.


    We are immediately struck by the production quality of the album.

    It may sound hard to believe, but we did record our album in the studio of a small town. We worked there during two months and we wanted to pull out all the stops. The quality of the sound comes mainly from the superb mixing work done in a studio of Helsinki, reputed as the best for this kind of music. We realised the rest of the production with a friend. We are truly happy to have done such an album in those conditions.


    What are you doing in your life parallel to your music?

    Tarja is a Conservatory student. At the moment she's studying sacred music and next year she'll be specialising in opera. Emppu works in a carpet fabric. Jukka and Sami don't work; they spend their time playing music and drinking beers, mostly Sami. Personally I'm a teacher.


    I'd like to know more about the beautiful Tarja, astonishing by her class on "Oceanborn".

    She was a friend from school and we all were in the same school for several years. She never took part in a metal band before Nightwish and was singing pop or jazz. When we offered her to join Nightwish, she was suspicious, but she decided to make a try which turned out successful. From then on she had been very interested in metal music. She takes lots of singing lessons and regularly gives classical concerts as well.


    There are some slave sonorities in your album.

    Yes but we don't intend to mime anything existing. We are as much influenced by metal music as by folkloric or original movie soundtracks such as "Braveheart". It's a natural mixing. These are our roots and it comes a bit from our conscience.


    Interview with Nightwish 61

    Source: Euphony Online

    Somewhere beyond the consciousness of most Americans lies a sophisticated westernized country, joined at the hip with our old nemesis, Russia. Four hundred kilometers north of its best known city, Helsinki, lies the small town (Kitee) of 10,000 people where all the members of Nightwish grew up.


    "I live only 20 kilometers from the Russian border,"
    Tuomas Holopainen says with casual unconcern, "But we are very westernized here, totally different from over there. People ask if we are worried being so close, but we are not."


    Nightwish is composed of Tuomas, who founded the band as a hobby; Tarja Turunen, the opera aspiring and professionally trained vocalist; Emppu Vuorinen on guitars, Sami Vanska on bass and Jukka Nevalainen on drums. The members of the band grew up together, went to high school together and crossed paths playing in various bands, together or separately. Nightwish was born when Tuomas put together a 3 song tape with keys, acoustic guitars and Tarja's voice.


    "She knew nothing about metal,"
    Tuomas chuckles. "She is in school studying classical singing. We told her it was just an acoustic thing... When we went back into the studio with a full band, drums, electric guitar, bass, it was easy for the rest of us, who all had metal backgrounds. Tarja always wanted to be an opera singer but now she likes metal, too. It has opened up a whole new world for her. And," adds Tuomas devilishly, "She's developing a great rock and roll attitude!"


    "There is actually a good metal scene here in Finland,"
    Tuomas informs me. " It isn't easy to come from a small, remote country and say, make a career in the US, but the scene here has been opening up a lot in the last two years. In my home town, people stare when I walk around the streets, and come up and ask questions. It has gotten kind of obnoxious, to be honest. Fortunately in the rest of Finland I am not recognized like that! We signed with Spinefarm (a small Finnish label) and it has been good. They don't have the huge connections or budget but they don't tell us how to dress or write music either. They support us as artists."


    "Everyone in the band is ambitious, and a perfectionist, especially me. We want to make everything the best possible way. We insisted on scheduling plenty of time in the studio and it was important to have a good budget from the label." "Perhaps that, along with your close acquaintanceship, accounts for the seamless music you create, "
    I tell him. Music that flows like a river and never seems to be made of individual components, only one powerful surge of emotion.


    "All the music that is made in the world should be based on emotions."
    Tuomas is the band's main songwriter and he and I see eye to eye on what good music should communicate. "It's just emotions made in the form of sound and lyrics. All the songs I do I use lots of emotion." Curious I ask which emotions predominate with him, anger, sadness, lovelorn, happy? "All of them!" Tuomas laughs. "The most important thing is that you have a great feeling. It doesn't matter if it is negative or positive as long as it's a strong feeling."


    Tuomas is still a bit surprised that his hobby took off like a rocket. "I am the most surprised," he confesses. "I had a place in the university and I just wanted to make the one demo, just for fun. Then we sent the demo out to Spinefarm... and the whole thing got out of hand! I had a "day job" but had to quit that because this hobby of mine became too professional. Now the band is a full-time job for me. Tarja and Jukka go to music school but the rest of us, the band is our job. Two years and we are touring the world, selling platinum. It's all gotten out of hand. But I don't care. It's fun!" I'm bewildered. As an aspiring musician, isn't this what Tuomas wanted to see happen? "It wasn't planned!" he says, still bemused. "I was supposed to have a big career as a biologist! This was just a hobby!" We both laugh.


    Indeed the band has been playing 100 or more gigs in the past year, and has already completed several tours. The tours were arranged by the German label they signed to, which is supported by BMG. The first tour was in November 1999 through Europe. "It was fantastic," Tuomas smiles. They also spent 3 weeks seeing 5 countries in South America, but the closest they've come to us was two successful shows in Canada. And most recently, they headlined a 6 week European tour which also went very well. In fact, their shows go well everywhere. "I think we have the least stereotypical fans in the world," Tuomas comments. "I see everyone from 8 and 9 yr olds to black clad metal fan types to people in their 50's moshing their heads!" One has to feel for Tarja, though, who, as Tuomas points out, "is the only girl on a bus with 10 sweaty guys for six weeks in a row on a tour".


    I fell in love with Nightwish when I heard their single, "Sleeping Sun" on Nuclear Blasts' Metal Dreams compilation. The song haunted me. It turns out the song was not pulled from an earlier album but written separately. "We were asked to write a theme song about the total solar eclipse in Europe two years ago by our German label," Tuomas relates. "So we wrote Sleeping Sun. It has turned out to be our biggest hit. We finally included it on the last printings of "Oceanborn" but it was not on the first 20,000 printings."


    "Hmm. I guess other people will have to wait til you are doing a "best of" to get the song,"
    I laugh and tell Tuomas. "Yeah, after about 10 records, we will do one," he promises.


    I confess to Tuomas that one thing I minded on the review copy I got was the lack of lyrics. As I may have mentioned before, Century Media (the distributor in the US for Nightwish) does not provide CD booklets with the review copies they send out. Tuomas was shocked and a bit upset. "NO lyrics? But the lyrics are very meaningful and important for me!" "I know," I sigh. "And added to that, Tarja's gorgeous voice is not always understandable... she has an accent naturally enough." Tuomas understands. Fortunately, there is a solution.

    "On our official website, we post all our lyrics," Tuomas explains. "Along with photos, and tour information and all kinds of other things!" (I checked it out and it's a great looking website. Find it at http://www.nightwish.com).


    The band's current CD, "Wishmaster" is just now being released in the US, although it has been out in Europe for quite some time (as usual!). Not resting on their laurels, Tuomas tells me the band has just recorded a live DVD (and VHS as well).. a concert with backstage material and all their promo videos will be included too.. it is being released world wide in April. "We are also in the studio recording a mini CD with 3 new songs, one remake and two live tracks from Argentina." That's good news for their current fans and the legion of new ones they are sure to be making here in the US. Their hypnotic music is quite addictive... one keeps wanting more.


    Though surprised at garnering a success he never even envisioned, Tuomas is finding his life much to his liking. "No point in getting my own apt, when I am either touring or in the studio all the time, so I still live with my parents," the 24 yr old mentions. "Travelling is my other passion, so I think it is just great I am getting to do so much! I enjoy seeing other places and people, other cultures. I really love it."


    As a budding rock star, Tuomas has also encountered the other hazard of the profession: groupies. "Already this one girl from Germany just called me and told me she was coming HERE the day after tomorrow!" He says, sounding amazed. "I was like WHAT! That's the first time this ever happened to me. I was really rude," he says embarrassedly. "I told her not to come." "Well, your town is so small, you'd have nowhere to hide," I tease him. Tuomas is not impressed. Time for Tuomas to hide his phone number and such stuff. Up until now, these things have just not occurred to him!


    If all goes well, Nightwish will get a chance to tour the US with their mesmerizing music next year, maybe in conjunction with a festival or two. By then Wishmaster's release should have created some hard core fans for the band. As far as I'm concerned the sooner the better, so after reading the interview would you please go get their CD? I'm already jonesing for more...


    Interview with Nightwish 60

    Source: Highwire Daze

    Nightwish is a very well known band in their native Finland and all over Europe. With their recordings now being released domestically through Century Media, music fans in the States may witness the band's visionary mix of progressive metal and operatic female vocals. Interviewed here is keyboard player and main songwriter Tuomas Holopainen.


    Highwire Daze: Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Nightwish, and tell me how long the band has been together.

    Tuomas Holopainen: The band's been together since the beginning of 1997 and I'm the keyboard player and songwriter also. I make all of the songs and the lyrics.


    HD: Nightwish has had some great success on the Finnish charts. Were you surprised at first and did you even expect it at all?

    Tuomas: I can honestly say that we never expected anything and we are so surprised about all this. The whole thing started as a project and we had no ambition at all. The idea was to make music for fun - not to have a record company and never do any shows live. But in less than two years, it all got out of hand. We started selling gold records, even platinum records and going on world tours. I'm just going with the flow and being happy about it.


    HD: Prior to forming Nightwish, what kind of bands were you in?

    Tuomas: At first I played the clarinet in a classical orchestra and then I played the saxophone in a jazz band. Then I entered my first metal band at the age of 16 called Dark Woods My Bethrowed and I also played in another band called Furthest Shore. But now I only play in Nightwish.


    HD: What made you decide to form this type of band?

    Tuomas: Because I was playing in those two other bands and they were real heavy. Dark Woods was more into the Black Metal scene. I wasn't allowed to do songs in those bands and that was the thing that I wanted - to make songs. And that's why I started the whole thing.


    HD: How much are you inspired by classical music and what made you decide to start playing the keyboards?

    Tuomas: People often thing that I'm a classical music fan and listen to all this classical music - but I'm not. I don't listen to classical music at all. The only classical influence that we have comes from Tarja, the vocalist, because she has a classical education for her voice. I've played the clarinet and piano when I was a kid, so that's why I chose the keyboard for the metal band as well.


    HD: Where did you meet Tarja and what made you decide to use mainly female vocals for Nightwish?

    Tuomas: We are all old school mates. We all went to the same high school and I have known her since ten years before the band. The same goes for the other guys in the band. The idea of Nightwish in the beginning was to make acoustic mood music and we thought that a soft female voice would fit this kind of material perfect. She had such a dramatic, strong voice, that was the reason we changed the style into metal from the acoustic mood music that we started to make.


    HD: What kind of vocal training does Tarja have?

    Tuomas: She has studied in a music university here in Finland for the past four years. She started as a church musician playing the organ and taking piano and vocal lessons. But she really didn't like it, so now she's specializing in opera singing, which is her passion. Someday she would like to be a professional opera singer.


    HD: On your website in the bios, all the Nightwish members list metal bands as their favorites. Yet Tarja lists Celine Dion as a personal favorite. Do you find that disturbing in a way?

    Tuomas: (laughs) Actually, no. I think it's just exotic to have this kind of singer who really doesn't listen to metal music. Before Nightwish, she had never heard a single heavy metal band. She had a lot of prejudice against them. I still think she really doesn't like to listen to heavy metal music, except for some bands with a good singer. But she really enjoys singing with Nightwish, so it's kind of a weird thing. But I don't care...


    HD: What are some of your favorite metal bands or any kind of music?

    Tuomas: My real passion is film music and movie soundtracks. That's where I draw most of my influence. Like Hans Zimmer is a god to me, Danny Elfman and James Horner - all these great movie composers. I like to listen to soundtracks. But from the metal scene, I listen to all kinds of metal - from Rhapsody to all the Finnish metal bands like Amorphis, Children Of Bodom and Stratovarius. Also the blackish style like Dimmu Borgir and Cradle Of Filth. And I love Pantera.


    HD: Where do you get the ideas for the lyrics, especially on Wishmaster?

    Tuomas: I'm very selfish with the lyrics. I do all the lyrics just for myself just to ease up my own being. There's no deeper meaning, there's no purpose in changing or saving the world. I don't want to take part in any political or environmental things. I just want to write about my own feelings and my own visions and wishes. There's a few exceptions, like for example the song "The Kinslayer" - it's based on the Colorado massacre which happened two years ago.


    HD: I wanted to ask about the song "Dead Boy's Poem." What is that inspired by and is that what the Wishmaster cover is based of off?

    Tuomas: Yeah, the cover picture is based off of that one. The "Dead Boy's Poem" is the most personal song I've ever done. For me, it's also the best song that I've ever managed to do. It's just like my own personal testimony to the whole world - I wanted to apologize about things for some people and I figured out that this would be the best way to do it - with a song. On the other hand, it also deals with the fact of what this band Nightwish means to me at the moment.


    HD: There's some samples in there too. And some spoken word.

    Tuomas: It worked out really well. We just had a poll on our website and the fans voted it to be the best song on the album, which really surprised me. I think the structure on that song is not that catchy - it's kind of a hard song - very artistic. I was really surprised that the fans liked it so much.


    HD: What is a live Nightwish show like for those of us who have yet to see you play?

    Tuomas: It's very energetic. Live, we have an even more rougher sound. We like to move a lot and we look like an energetic metal band. We just don't stand there and play. We like to move a lot and deal with the audience a lot. We usually play a one-hour set, taking songs from all the three albums.


    HD: I understand you've already had your North American debut. How did that go?

    Tuomas: We went to Montreal to have two shows. We've never been in the U.S. yet. It was fantastic. Again, I had no expectations about it. I didn't even know that the record had been released in Canada. The first show was sold out and the audience was just fantastic. I hope that it will happen in the States as well. The thing is, we haven't had a license deal in the U.S. - it has been a real big problem for two-three years now. Now it finally happened, so I've got very high hopes for it.


    HD: Have you heard anything about Nightwish playing here in the States?

    Tuomas: I've heard some rumors, but nothing concrete. I think it will happen sometime next year, not this year.


    HD: What do you think of the state of the current metal scene, first in Finland and then the rest of the world?

    Tuomas: If we're talking about the metal scene here in Finland, I think we can talk about a phenomenon. Finland is the only country in the world where bands like Nightwish, or even Children Of Bodom, Sentenced, Stratovarius - they all go number one in the charts. We were there for two weeks. Children Of Bodom were in the charts for four weeks in the single charts - they were selling platinum with their "Hate Me" single. Stratovarius went number one. The metal scene is just incredible here. I think in the rest of the world, it's going there as well - slowly. Of course it depends on the country. I have imagined that, for example, in the States, the metal scene is very poor at the moment - but growing up little by little all of the time.


    HD: It's definitely getting there. Right now they consider Korn, Godsmack and Limp Biscuit our metal. What do you think about bands like that?

    Tuomas: I don't personally like them. They have their good moments. For example, Pantera I like very much. I don't know why, but I really love that band. But I don't like this rap style metal, not at all.


    HD: With Wishmaster being released in Finland in May of 2000, how close is the band to releasing new material?

    Tuomas: We just finished our DVD project and it took a lot of time for us. And now we are recording a mini-CD, with three new songs, one cover song and two live tracks. But our full-length album is not going to be released until next year, maybe April or May. We have been far too busy touring all over the world, so we haven't had time to make songs or to go into the studio. And that's why we're making this mini-CD, to give a little bit of something for the fans before the full-length album.


    HD: Can you divulge what the cover song is going to be?

    Tuomas: Gary Moore's "Over The Hills And Far Away."


    HD: What made you choose that song?

    Tuomas: It's one of my all time favorite songs. I've listened to it since I was a kid and I've always loved that song. We just figured out that it would fit our style pretty good, being a melodic heavy metal song.


    HD: If there was one thing you'd like to leave the listener with after hearing the music of Nightwish, what would it be?

    Tuomas: I think it would be like a feel of surprise and desire at the same time. It's hard to explain.


    HD: Do you have any messages for Nightwish fans or for people who might be interested in checking out your music?

    Tuomas: Just keep an open mind, because this music takes a few times to listen before it opens up. Give it a chance!


    Interview with Nightwish 59

    Source: Tuonela Magazine

    Nightwish has become known as an individual Finnish band which combines both opera and melodic heavy metal and which is very hard to define to a certain subcategory of heavy music. After two masterpieces band's third album Wishmaster succeeded in reaching the position #1 in official Finnish album chart - this may be just a start, though, 'cos band's performances have only become better along its development and there seems to be very much creativity within.
    We contacted Nightwish's keyboardist, lyricist and main composer Tuomas Holopainen to ask him some questions. Because the lyrics are a big part of the whole Nightwish business and Tuomas has commented that lyrics aren't treated enough in reviews and interviews we wanted to fix this for our part and to concentrate in Tuomas's role as a lyric writer.


    Let's take some warm-up. How was your summer? Gigging around...?

    -During the summer we toured in Finland quite intensively but also other countries got their part. We had a couple festival gigs in Germany and Belgium and a three-week tour in South America. Between those, there was time enough to sojourn at summer cottage and to wander in Lapland.


    How has Wishmaster been received abroad? I spent three weeks in France and there, in local metal magazines, were very good reviews to be seen...

    -Yes, the album has been received very well also outside Finnish borders. I guess could be said that after Oceanborn Wishmaster had no that kind of a "shock-value" 'cos people knew what to expect. Most of the critic we've got has remarked that Wishmaster is too much like its predecessor, although eg. better produced and arranged. Also a cover story in Rock Hard magazine was of course really great...


    In a way, Nightwish sprang straight from the campfire to the charts, which perhaps was quite a blow on a personal level - have you now, after three albums, got used to the fame?

    -This is a lerning process really. Of course fame is welcomed but most important, though, is to be able to develop yourself and the band by having your feet on the appropriate height from the ground.


    You have mentioned that the lyrics of Nightwish there isn't concentration enough in lyrics in reviews and interviews - how big is the part of the lyrics when it comes to the entirety of the record?

    -Of course it depends on the band itself. For us the lyrics are an essential part of musical entirety. Eg. I wonder why most of the record review are done with a ground of a promotion record which has no lyrics included. In heavy music it's often quite hard to understand the words just by listening. (Also in our case)


    You take care of the lyrics of Nightwish - have you perhaps studied literature or are you just interested without particular reason? Do you write anything "outside" Nightwish?

    -I haven't studied anything since Senior High :) Writing, especially song-making, is the best way to discharge your feeling - that's the start for lyrics. Literature and even poetry I read much. And of course I read also different bands' lyrics, some of the favourites are My Dying Bride, Tiamat, Pantera, Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus...


    From where have you got your impressing English vocabulary, some words I can't find even from a dictionary... Do the extraordinary words give an extra spice for the lyrics?

    -Actually, I try to write as much as possible without any dictionary, but sometimes I have to use it, though. Those more "extraordinary" words are usually based on the phantasy and mytology subjects.


    Wishmaster's lyrics feel a bit more easy-to-understand than previous records' - was this conscious?

    -No, it wasn't. Maybe it's because of Wishmaster deals more with subjects that are taken from life itself and own experiences. Only Wishmaster and FantasMic songs keep up the actual phantasy theme.


    Whatkind is the typical process of writing lyrics; where do the subjects and influences come from, do you write straight in English, how long it takes...? What would be three most typical subjects? (My guess: romanticism, religion and life itself)

    -I always write straight in English. Usually the subjects come from my own life experiences and feelings, except "The Kinslayer". If I had to choose three, they would be life of my own, love and nature.


    Do you perhaps need a certain atmosphere when writing or do you believe in intuition/do you use it?

    -Always there has to be a certain emotional charge but it definetly doesn't need to be full moon or two per mille alcohol in blood. Usually I have a notebook with me so I can write down ideas and moods 'cos too often I tend to forget some great ideas as I haven't written them down.


    You also compose a majority of Nightwish's music - are the words or the music born first or perhaps do they develop simultaneously. How difficult is to attach the lyrics to music or vice versa.

    -First there is always an idea/a subject for the song and thereafter comes the music. After the arranging process I write the final lyrics. Sometimes in rapture the lyrics and music go very easily together but usually they must be treated for days. That's work really.


    Before the greater edition of Angels Fall First Nightwish released a 500-copy edition on which are the tracks Return To The Sea and Once Upon A Troubadour. On the official debut these tracks have been replaced with a couple of...well...better songs. According to your homepages, the lyrics of Return... and Once Upon... are not published because of your request - why's that? However, could you tell what these song tell about?

    -Well... They could be published if I was bothered to write them to the homepages sometimes. It's only because of that. I find Return... completely poor presentation but the lyrics of Once Upon... are quite amusing actually. A long time ago I got the idea from a bar scene of David Edding's book. :)


    Your worst nightmare is reportedly linked to spiders - are you really afraid of spiders? On Return To The Sea I heard a line about 'giant spiders who learn how to swim' - is this a freudian occurence?

    -Rather something like darwinian... And yes, I have somekind of a complex with spiders. A trauma from childhood, I don't know. Yak.


    The Kinslayer tells about the school massacre in Colorado and the stanza "Need to understand/ No need to forgive/ No truth no sense left to be followed" describes perfectly the feelings aroused by this kind of incidents. The event in question was tried to understand as if it was inspired by The Matrix-film and music of Marilyn Manson - how big do you find the claimed effect of films and music in the cases of murders and suicides?

    -It can always be speculated but I think it's totally futile to blame music or films for someone's deeds. Nevertheless, I could imagine e.g. a violent film as a launching factor but then the problems must be much deeper in the head of one's own.


    Referring to the previous question, do you ever feel yourself limited because of this kind of events? I mean, is there something you can't write because it would be seen e.g. immoral by your family or fans?

    -No limitations with moral.


    Is there something you wouldn't write otherwise? Politics maybe?

    -Well yea, that's not my or Nightwish's issue. Generally I wouldn't write that kind of lyrics by which society or politics would be tried to influeced or world tried to make better. That just isn't our cup of tea.


    By the time of Oceanborn's release I read the guestbook of your homepages and there was a comment "Fucking Jesus-metalists!". The next message was like "Hope you ain't some satan worshippers 'cos Devil And The Deep Dark Ocean refers to somethin' like that..." Do you ever get pissed off because of these kind of comments and prejudices which propably have been drawn just by superficially browsing through the lyrics of a certain song? I've understood you have also worked as a teacher of religion in the school - has it caused somekind of reactions among fans and have your lyrics caused somekind of reactions in the teachers' room?

    -Superficially deciphered lyrics piss me off very often. The Devil...-song caused one hell of a hullabaloo. I've got messages telling that a fan's mother has confiscated Oceanborn because of that very song. In Kitee (Nightwish's domicile -ed.) they even contacted a clergyman because of it. And on the cover of the record some see an inverted cross. In one city the spreading of Wishmaster-poster was banned because its still life is satan worshipping (a little boy is reaching towards the band) (Oh dear mother of god that people can be stupid! -ed.) Also Kinslayer tells you to slaughter your family and claims that God doesn't exist... There are many examples. But I think that majority of heavy metal bands have suffered from the same (e.g. HIM), so these kind of things just must be dealt indifferently.


    Is the world already ready to hear the official piece of information about does The Carpenter tell about Jesus?

    -Hahahaa!!! Yes it does. Would this be clear now?!


    By the way, thanks to its story and dialogue Devil And The Deep Dark Ocean is pretty much like somekind of a play - what's the basic meaning of the song?

    -Once I had to decipher this song, word by word, and I will never do that again. It's stupid if I'm interpreting my lyrics because it takes the listener's change for own imagination. I try to tell as little as possible about the lyrics.


    In Dead Boy's Poem appears a concept of 'ocean soul' as well as in your thank-you list - what's the definition for 'ocean soul'?

    -Check the previous answer.


    Also 'mirrors of a wolf' appear in two different songs - has this concept an important meaning?

    -Check the previous answer. :)


    There is very much symbolism in your lyrics but can there be found also some hidden meanings? If yes, could you reveal an important one?

    -Well, ocean is an important symbol for me and it recurs often in the lyrics. Ocean is stormy like the feelings, it is beauty, calmness, cradle, grave, great, unknown...


    Generally, I heard a writer stating that the standard of Finnish rocklyricism is very high if compared with common 'I love you zubbi dubbi duu'-stuff - do you agree?

    -Mainly yes. I believe that basically Finns are very profoundly thinking people. Northern melancholy prevails in lyrics and music.


    Do you perhaps have a favourite lyricist/poet or lyrics/poem? Which Nightwish lyrics you concider very successful? Is there some which rather shouldn't have been written?

    -Aaron of My Dying Bride has been a great inspirer for a long time. I concider Dead Boy's Poem and Gethsemane as the best and someone could bury Nymphomaniac Fantasia behind the outhouse.


    So, I guess it's time to conclude this interview. Yet we'd be very delighted to hear something about Nightwish's future plans.

    -On the day after tomorrow (4.10) begins a European tour with Sinergy and ETOS (Eternal Tears Of Sorrow -ed.). In the end of November one week in Canada. January-February a couple of gigs in Finland and in March to a studio to record an MCD, containing 1 cover, a couple of new ones and some live tracks. New full-lenght will be out either in the beginning or in the end of 2002.


    Interview with Nightwish 58

    Source: Carpe Noctem radio.de

    CARPE NOCTEM: Tuomas, what is the theme of the song Kinslayer, which we just heard?
    TUOMAS: The Kinslayer has a very weird subject. It`s about the shooting in a school last year in Colorado. Where these two kids went to the school with guns and killed thirteen of their school-mates, and finally killed themselves. It`s a very horrible event and i wanted to make a song about it, because it`s full of symbolic.


    Are the lyrics more or less about the same thing on your new album?
    TUOMAS: I think they differ a lot. I think we have a fantasy side in our lyrics, but there`s also a lot of real life experiences and my own personal visions in it.


    You were asked to write a song about the Lord of the rings. What came out of this?
    TUOMAS: Lord of the rings is my favourite book of all times. I´m a very big fanatsy fan and the Lord of the rings is the biggest thing that ever happened to me in that era. But i still haven`t done a full song or a concept album, we will see what the future brings.


    So, there no concrete plans about that?
    TUOMAS: Not yet.


    To talk about Wishmaster, how long did it take you to write the songs?
    TUOMAS: It was a much shorter period than for example Oceanborn. It took half a year to write the songs, and we used about a month and a half in the studio.


    How did you compose the songs?
    TUOMAS: I am the main song writer. I do all the songs and the lyrics, the basic structure of the songs, vocal lines and i create the soul and the concept behind the songs. But we arrange the songs with the whole band. Everyone has his or her privacy in his own instrument.


    So other Nightwish members are allowed to put their ideas into the songs?
    TUOMAS: Definitey, they have a lot to say. I work with my own songs so much, that i become blind with them, so new ideas are always very welcome.


    Did you ever study music?
    TUOMAS: I think Tarja is the only of us who has studied music professionaly, she is studying singing at the moment. I have been going to a music school for eight years. When i was a smaller kid my main instrument was the clarinette and piano was only my second instrument. But when i joined my first band i left everything else but the keyboard.


    What kind of keyboard are you playing?
    TUOMAS: I am playing older models of Korg. I have a Korg Trinity Pro and a Korg 354.


    What would you say about your musical roots?
    TUOMAS: I have been listening to Metal since i`ve been a littel kid, but nowadays i also like to listening a lot of classical music and film-music. I think these movie-soundtracks is my biggest passion in the era of music right now.


    Any special favourites?
    TUOMAS: Vangelis, Braveheart, Titanic, Hans Zimmer ( ?? )


    What do you think of the term goth-music for your band? You will play in Leipzig at the Goth-Festival, but i think your music is very positive.
    TUOMAS: I would agree with that. But to be very honest, i am not really sure what the term "goth music" means. I always have the idea that it is something dark and not so positive thinking. And i think we have a part of that, too. Some of our themes and songs are very dark and serious, but we have also positive sides. We have wishes and hope in our music as well.


    Tuomas, what does the music of nightwish create in the listener?
    TUOMAS: It is very hard to say. The most important thing i would say that it just has to create a feeling. Nowadays there is too much music which is based on technic or samples. For the music buisness i think that most of the music nowadays they lack the feeling, which i think all music should be based on. I would just like that people get a feeling that they can drown in our music and get big emotions and feelings.


    Would agree that it tries in most cases to crate a positive feeling?
    TUOMAS: Erm, ja, in some songs. For example "Dead boys poem" is definitely not a positive song. It is very sad. But "Crownless" or "Wanderlust" try to create a very positive feeling, because the lyrics are about positive things.


    How did you learn to produce?
    TUOMAS: I don´t know. It is a natural thing. And along concrete thing to mention is, that our sound-engineers are wizards of making sounds and the technical stuff work. So, that`s it, I guess.


    Are you satisfied with the result?
    TUOMAS: Yeah, i am very satisfied with the result. We had a very good budget on this album, and a lot of time in the studio. Evertyhing sounds like we wanted it to.


    Is there any special thing you would have done better in the end?
    TUOMAS: Well, maybe some song structures or some parts in an arrangement, but very little. I am very staisfied with the whole album.


    What is your opinion about comparisons to "Therion"?
    TUOMAS: Ja, that is like a necessary evil, because everyone wants to compare everything. I think our music is pretty hard to compare with other bands, but if you have to, i am very satisfied with comparisons to "Therion", because they are also a very big influence to me. I really like their music.


    How important is the band for all of you? Can you live with the money, or do you have jobs in the meantime?
    TUOMAS: Only one of us has other jobs and Tarja is studying. But the rest of us is trying to cope with the music, which is pretty hard to be honest, almost impossible.


    You made a single to the eclipse. What was the idea behind it?
    TUOMAS: It was the idea of our record company Drakkar, in germany. They told us that there would be a total eclipse of the sunand they asked us to compose a song about it. We said, why not and composed a ballad.


    As your music is based on keyboard harmonies, would you like playing wuth a whole orchestra?
    TUOMAS: Yeah, i dream about it every day, about using real orchestras and real choirs when playing live, but also for the studio. But this always comes to the matter of money, time and organizing things. It is always so hard to produce it live, so far we have gone the easy way and used keyboards. But i am very sure that in the future we will doing something like that.


    As you consider a tour through soth-america, would you consider Nigthwish to be a live-band?
    TUOMAS: We are both, definitely. At first we were supposed to be a project, only a studio band. But when we started giving gigs it turned up to be okay and i think we have grown a lot in that area, too. So i think we are both.


    As you use many tracks in the studio i could imagine that it is hard to do live performances. Are you able to cope with it?
    TUOMAS: After "Oceanborn" we did a very long tour without any tapes. We just led it with one voice and with our own instruments. It worked out really fine. We were surprised about it ourselves, but on Wishmaster we have used male-choirs, a lot of speeches and many backing vocals, so it will be necessary to use some tapes now. In five or six songs we are using tapes when playing live.


    Are there any differences in the crowd when it comes to Finland or germany?
    TUOMAS: I think people in germany are very polite, i like them very much. They come to concerts even on sundays or monday evenings. They are not so drunk like everybody in Finland, they are jsut having a good time. Playing a gig in Finland on sunday evenings is out of the question, you can never do that. And also the more south you go the more hot the people are. For example in spain the audience is very wild. So it differs a lot within the countries.


    And that`s why you want to go to south-america?
    TUOMAS: Yeah, they told us the people are very fanatic there, too. We are really looking forward to.


    When will you play in germany and wil you come to Göttingen?
    TUOMAS: I have no idea if it is included in our headliner european tour, which will start on october the fifth. It is not up to us wether we play in Göttingen or not, but we hope we will play there.(laughs) We are also playing in Leipzig at the Wave-gothic meeting on ninth of june and also in Wacken open air on fifth of august.


    By the way, i looked just on your cover. Has it anything to do with Nils Holgerson?
    TUOMAS: (Stille... anm.d.R.) Actually the cover is based on the "Dead boys poem" song. So it´s like a controversial, but that`s it.


    In your booklet you speak of "ocean souls"! What is an "ocean soul"?
    TUOMAS: This is something i really don`t want to explain. I just find myself, my character as a human being as an "ocean soul".


    Tuomas, thank you very much for your time at this hour.


    Interview with Nightwish 57

    Source: Renegade 2k

    Nightwish is one of the bands that has grown more in the last few years on the metal scenery. After releasing some amusing albums they now have released Over the Hills and Far Away, its not exactly a new album but it has been pleasing many fans around the world. Some brand new songs, a few live traks taken from the live album From Wishes to Eternity and remake of a new song makes of this EP na album that all nighwish fans must have. In this interview we talk about the new album, the live album, solo careers and other projects ans also why Sami has left the band.


    Over the Hills and Far Away" isn´t exactly a new album, it has some new songs but also some covers, new version for old songs, live songs, why did you decide to release something like that?

    Tuomas: It was going to be 2 years between to full-length albums so we decided to do a little something in between the albums. In Finland this was released as a single, but the versions abroad inclede also some live tracks.


    And about the CD From Wishes to Eternity, it is a live album that was just released on Finland... Why?

    Tuomas: The idea in the beginning was just to make the live-DVD. The live album is merely a little token of appreciation for the Finnish fans, since we`ve had the greatest success and support in here. We didn`t really want to release the album at all, so this was the compromise we agreed on.


    The live tracks in the album Over The Hills And Far Away are from the live album. How did you choose the tracks that would participate of this album?

    Tuomas: Those were the first ones that popped into my mind, haha!


    Astral Romance has got a new version. Why did you decide to do that?Do you think the song is better at this time?

    Tuomas: I once listened to the first album and thought that this is a very nice song but poorly produced. We thought it would make a good addition to the Over The Hills-ep. And yes, I think it`s much better this time, Toni does a great job with the vocals, too.


    Who had the idea of a special participation of Tony Kakko (from Sonata Artica)? He also participated on live tracks.

    Tuomas: I thought of him, since I love his voice and he`s also a good friend of mine. He sings the male parts in "Beauty & The Beast".


    Does Nightwish has any new things for a new studio album already?

    Tuomas: We`re rehearsing all the time, entering the studio in January. I have 9 songs finishes, out of 12 which will be on the album. The release is in June 2002.


    Besides nightwish Tarja is also involved with Infinity from Argentina. It is a full time band and they will probably have a tour after the realesing of the CD. Does she pretends to paticipate of some shows?

    Tuomas: I have the impression that it`s pretty much a project band which will tour according to Nightwish`s schedule. I wouldn`t know much about that


    Anyone of the band has any projects of recording a solo album?

    Tuomas: Nothing concrete, at least not yet. I would love to make a solo album in the vein of Enigma-Vangelis-Hans Zimmer but at this time it`s worthwhile to just concentrate on Nightwish.


    Does Nightwish has any plans of coming back to South America for some shows?

    Tuomas: Absolutely!!! We had a phantastic tour there last year, great shows with the greatest crowds. I hope we`ll manage a tour after the next album is released there.


    Why did Sami Vänskä left the band?

    Tuomas: This was a decision that we all agreed on. Personal reasons, no big fights or anything.


    Who will replace him? The band has already chosen someone or there will be some tests?

    Tuomas: Our new bassist is Marco Hietala, also known from Tarot and Sinergy.


    What is the main difference between the south american public and the european?

    Tuomas: You guys are wilder and crazier, all just positive things J . The more south you travel, the more enthuastic the crowd gets. My best Nightwish show still remains the one in Sao paulo June 2000!


    What kind of band is Nightwish on studio, the one which prepares everything before, just to leave the studio as sooner as possible, or the one which stays there for a long time, trying new things?

    Tuomas: The latter one. We rehearse a lot before the studio but also leave room for new ideas in the studio process.


    What's your opinion about MP3?

    Tuomas: Uh, I`m very much the wrong person to answer this one, I`m as "untechnical" as a person can get, it took me ages just to get this interview downloaded from my e-mail, HAHA!


    Which bands has influenced Nigthwish?

    Tuomas: Most of all, movie soundtracks. I love Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, James Horner, Trevor Jones, Vangelis, etc. And from the metal scene everything from Stratovarius & Dream Theater to Pantera & Dimmu Borgir.


    What are the plans for the future?

    Tuomas: Just concentrate on making a great new album. After that as much touring as possible!


    Thanks for your time, please, leave a message for your fans!

    Tuomas: I speak from the heart when I say that the South American tour is the one I`m expecting the most next year. Hope to see all of you there! Thankxxx!


    Interview with Nightwish 56

    Source: Sweet-Suffering.de

    Since the release of their second album 'Oceanborn' in 1999, Nightwish are one of the most up-and-coming European Metal bands. With their latest effort 'Wishmaster', they made one more big step towards the big names of Melodic Speed Metal, like Stratovarius and Rhapsody; another thing furthering their appreciation and success was certainly their appearance on the Main Stage of 2000's Wacken Open Air, though that day turned out to be a bit chaotic for them - there was fog in Finland, so Nightwish missed their connection flight and arrived at Hamburg a lot later than planned, so that they had to go on stage almost immediately when they finally arrived at Wacken. That delay killed the first scheduled interview appointment (which would have been before their show), but thanks to the efforts of their promoter Iris, I finally got the opportunity to do this long interview with keyboard player and mainman Tuomas Holopainen (TH) and beautiful singer Tarja Turunen (TT), who turned out to be absolutely nice and pleasant to talk to.


    First, congratulations for the great show today...

    TH: Thanks!


    I think that was your first really big festival appearance....

    TH: Actually, it was like the second outside Finland; we have done some big festivals in Finland, and I think this is the biggest so far outside Finland. And the show, it was okay until they came and told us that we have to quit; we would have played like three songs more. We ran out of time because the band before us played too long; that really sucked.


    You had some trouble getting here today; you were late....

    TH: Yeah, the weather in Finland was so bad that the plane couldn't land, so we missed the connecting flight; but nothing more serious.


    You got a new album out, 'Wishmaster', highly acclaimed; what do you expect that to do for Nightwish?

    TH: We wanted to make a natural sequel to 'Oceanborn'; we didn't want to change the style too much, just do everything a little better, and we expect just like good reactions from the critics and the audience, and that's it.


    ....and I think the reactions were really great.

    TH: Yeah, they have been so far really good.


    'Oceanborn' was a very successful album, especially in Finland; how is 'Wishmaster' doing so far?

    TH: It's doing even better than 'Oceanborn', actually. We've sold like over 30.000 in Finland only, so we're doing very good, which is like a surprise to me.


    How many sold records does it take to go gold in Finland?

    TH: 20.000


    So it's already gone gold there....

    TH: Yeah, both of them have.


    And how many does it take to go platinum?

    TH: 40.000


    So it's possible for 'Wishmaster'....

    TH: Well, I guess it's possible, but I don't think so.


    Maybe in a couple of years, when more people discover Nightwish and buy the records....

    TH: Yeah, that might happen.


    Are there any singles out from 'Wishmaster'?

    TH: Yeah, we made one for Finland, 'Deep Silent Complete'.


    How did that do?

    TH: Actually, not so well, because there's only like two songs on it.


    It didn't go as high in the charts as expected?

    TH: No, it went only number three.


    Well, that's still....

    TH: That's very good, but you know, all the other singles have gone, like one.


    That would still be impossible for a Metal band here.

    TH: Yeah, I know, Finland is a crazy country. Children Of Bodom went number one, an extreme Metal band.


    Your favorite track on the new album is 'Dead Boy's Poem'; it's pretty sad - is that a true story?

    TH: Yeah, it is; most of the lyrics on 'Wishmaster' are based on true stories, that's the difference to 'Oceanborn'. 'Dead Boys Poem' is like.... I wanted to make a song, like my own testimony for the world.


    But it's not like a boy really wrote that letter and committed suicide....?

    TH: No, no, nothing like that; it's a symbolic thing.


    It seems to me that on each Nightwish album, there is one song that really stands out; 'Elvenpath' on the first one, 'Stargazers' on the second one and 'Wishmaster' on the new one.... Because they're different from the rest of the stuff, in my opinion. You don't really think so, I suppose, because you know the whole process of writing, so you'll probably feel different about that; they're probably more equal for you.

    TH: Yeah, they are. 'Dead Boy's Poem' is one song that really stands out for me, but all the rest.... And there are some songs that I really don't like.


    On the new one as well?

    TH: Not on the new one, but on 'Oceanborn', I don't like 'The Riddler', and on the first album there are many songs that I don't like.


    I was really happy that you played 'Elvenpath'.

    TH: Yeah, I think it's the best song on the first album.


    I didn't really expect it; I think hardly anyone really expected you to play that, because the first album is a little different from the other two. Nightwish have undergone a rapid development from 'Angels Fall First' to the current album; what would you say, how many percent of the original 'Angels Fall First' Nightwish concept still remains today?

    TH: It's hard to say numbers, but I think the basic idea is still the same; I mean, we make songs about the same things, and I think that the melodies and the song structures remain, but we have gone more into the symphonic and Power Metal style.


    So the intention is still the same but you chose other means to express it.

    TH: That's right, exactly.


    You're doing the biggest part of the song writing; how much is coming from the others?

    TH: I do all the lyrics and 95% of the music; our guitar player has done some parts, but that's it.


    Who develops the vocal lines?

    TH: I do. Most of the time that's the thing I start with.


    That's a pretty peculiar thing, I think, to start with the vocal lines; because I know many bands write the songs, then write the lyrics and then think of vocal lines.

    TH: Well, I think it's very important for us because we have such a singer, so it's very important to concentrate on the vocals.


    I think the vocals are the most significant trade mark of Nightwish.

    TH: That's right, that's what makes us kinda different.


    In a couple of songs, there's hints at Tolkien - you're a big Tolkien fan - like 'Elvenpath' or 'Wishmaster'; why don't you make a real complete Tolkien song?

    TH: That's just the way I like to.... like tease people, use just those little things, because Tolkien is so used already by so many bands, so I don't think it would be meaningful to make it anymore.


    To someone who has not heard Nightwish, how would you describe your music?

    TH: Melodic Heavy Metal band with operatic female vocals. I leave the categorizing to other people; I have found some so funny descriptions of our music, like Neoclassical Progressive Speed, Melodic Heavy Atmospheric Alternative Metal....


    I personally would say Nightwish is something like the 'Northern Angra', because some of the riffing, especially on the last two albums, reminds me of Angra's 'Holy Land', and you're doing similar things; Angra is using the Tribal elements of Brazil, their native music, and some classical elements, and Nightwish is using a lot of classical elements and some northern folklore elements, and both bands have classically trained singers....

    TH: I can live with that.


    There's really a lot of different ideas and elements in Nightwish's tracks, and the arrangements are pretty complex; how do you think other people who are not as creative as you are and just listen to the music, how do you think they perceive it, what do you think happens within their minds when they listen to Nightwish?

    TH: Well, actually I never think about that. It's a corny thing to say, but I make all the songs for myself, just the way that I like them; I never think about other people. In this kind of music it's just natural that many people think 'this is too complicated, this is too weird'.


    What I meant was that when I listen to music, I often think "how could they get that idea? I would never have come to that, and I would never have done it that way." Do you think that Nightwish is attracting a lot of people that aren't really into Metal?

    TH: I think so, I really do. Because we have had some response from especially older people, adults, who seemed to appreciate our music because of the ballads and because of the vocals.


    How is Nightwish's music received in other parts of the world? You're doing very well in Europe, especially in Finland and Germany.

    TH: That's right; all of Europe is very good for us, also Southern America is very good.


    How are you doing in Japan?

    TH: So far it has been a little disappointment; we expected a lot from 'Oceanborn', and it didn't sell, almost nothing. We're selling very well in South Corea - really! 'Oceanborn' has almost sold 10.000 copies in South Corea, that's amazing. And 'Wishmaster' has just been released in Japan, so we're expecting something.


    Are Nightwish records available in America?

    TH: Actually, no. They have not been licensed there, not released officially.


    Have you got any responses from there?

    TH: Yeah, we have got some, but according to our label they're so bad that it's no use releasing the records there.


    You got a pretty decent Internet website in even three languages - Finnish, English and German - with a lot of information, a lot of pictures and some sound files; how important do you think it is to have a good Internet appearance nowadays?

    TH: Actually, I think it's pretty important. When we started the whole thing, I was really suspicious if this is a good idea to make an Internet page, but we went for it, and I think it's a very important thing; fans can talk with each other and talk with us....


    Do you have someone doing it?

    TH: Yeah, he's a friend of ours, he's like a computer and Internet professional, and he maintains the page. I don't understand anything about computers.


    You're going to do your first headlining tour this fall; what can we expect in respect of the show you'll put on?

    TH: The support acts will be Sinergy and Eternal Tears Of Sorrow, and I think we're gonna have something special, like maybe an hour and a half show with some effects....


    ....and a special stage setting....

    TH: Maybe something, nothing really massive; we can't simply afford that.


    (At that point, everyone bursts into laughter at the sight of Tarja's face after inspecting the portable toilets - see the picture)


    I read that right after the tour, you want to enter the studio again and do the next album, is that right?

    TH: No.


    Oh? I read that.

    TH: Really? Where?


    I don't know, some interview.

    TH: No, we're gonna go into the studio like maybe March or something, to record an EP.


    What actually is it that you're gonna do after the tour?

    TH: After the tour, we're gonna go to Canada, actually, for three shows, and maybe Japan after that, but after that, we have nothing planned, it's all open; maybe I'll start doing some songs.


    Have you thought of doing a Metal opera? Many bands are doing Rock operas, concept albums, but for Nightwish it would be possible to do a real Metal opera with a story throughout, and really mixing opera and Metal?

    TH: Yes, I've actually been thinking about it a lot; a concept album is a very realistic thing for the next album, some kind of concept and story, so we'll see.


    That would be a good opportunity to even work with an orchestra.

    TH: With an orchestra, with a choir.... I think it would fit our concept really well.


    What are the Nightwish members doing for a living? Tarja is studying at the Sibelius Academy, and what are the others doing?

    TH: We are doing nothing; Jukka is gonna start computer school, but the rest of the guys, we're doing nothing except the music.


    You've been in various bands before Nightwish, like Darkwoods My Betrothed and Nattvindens Gråt; in which way is the way you're doing things in Nightwish different?

    TH: This is much harder, because I have to maintain the band and do all the songs; in the other bands I'm just playing what the other guys tell me to play.


    Are you still in any of those bands?

    TH: I play as a session musician in Darkwoods My Betrothed, but Nattvindens Gråt doesn't even exist anymore.


    (Tarja finally joins us on the grass)


    What do you think is the main difference between singing opera and singing in a Metal band?

    TT: There are a lot of differences. Of course my voice differs from the real opera; when I'm singing with Nightwish, my voice is much bigger and more bombastic than when I'm singing opera, and the dramatic sound and the color of my voice, you can only hear that on the opera stage. That's not my real voice while I'm singing with Nightwish. There are a lot of technical differences, like I don't use the whole body of mine while I'm singing with Nightwish, but I have to use it in opera music. There's a lot of differences, breathing and everything.


    Are you singing higher in Nightwish than you're normally singing in opera?

    TT: No. It's quite the same thing, but my voice differs so much. I'm a soprano in opera music too.


    I think it's also different because you don't have to move a lot when you're singing opera.

    TT: No, of course; I couldn't do that on the opera stage, because you have to concentrate your whole body all the time.


    What did you think of the show today?

    TT: It was really.... short. Our plane was late; the whole day has been really fast. I was like "What the hell I'm doing here?" on the stage, looking at the people in the audience - "Ooooohh.... what song, what song, what's next ?" The audience was great, I didn't expect it like this.


    Yeah, the response was great. What did you think of your own performance, the band's performance? Was it good for Nightwish's standards?

    TT: It was a quite bad show; we had technical problems. It was such a mess that we didn't hear the drums at all, and my voice isn't so perfect because I'm so tired.


    You just returned from Mexico.

    TT: Yes, and the time difference still makes me very tired; I haven't slept in three days.


    So the tour you're gonna do is probably gonna be even better?

    TT: Yaa, I think so, yes. Because everything will be more organized; that's the usual way it goes on the big festivals.


    You're in Nightwish and singing opera as well and studying....

    TT: Just studying, not yet in operas on opera stages.


    But you will sing opera later on; if you were forced to concentrate on one career, which one would that be?

    TT: Of course I have only one career, and that's the opera career.


    So if you were forced to decide to do only one thing, it would be opera?

    TT: There is one thing I have to mention, that you never know about tomorrow, because - it's a very corny thing to say, but it's like that - I have lived with Nightwish for four years now, and everything has happened very quickly for us, and the development has been very natural, of course; we haven't thought what to do and anything like that, and we didn't expect this kind of success and anything at all, but for me.... I haven't been studying since two years, I haven't done anything, except I have taken some classical singing lessons, but that's all. But I need to get into my studies again, and some of the guys are going to the university, and we have to do other projects of course. But Nightwish is still alive, and if I'm going to move here to Germany next year, I'm going to stay here and we are going to make concerts with Nightwish, new albums with Nightwish, go on naturally like this; it's not any problem.


    I'm asking because someone mentioned to me that while opera singers are honored and revered, all that honor can hardly ever match the passion and the reverence brought forth by Metal fans.

    TT: It's very different, it's very different. I think the Metal people - in the beginning I was really prejudiced about all this, how the audience will take me and how the reaction may be; but the reaction was really nice and the audience accepted me, they really appreciate what I'm doing in classical music, and that's great. In opera it's very unique at the time, but it really makes me happy that the people will understand me.


    It's some sort of a one way thing - many Metal fans appreciate classical music and even listen to classical music....

    TT: ....but classical musicians don't respect Heavy musicians, and that's the deal; I don't understand it.


    That's all about the old difference between serious music and entertainment music.

    TT: Yeah, that's true.


    But then again, classical music has always been an influence to Metal. As we can just see, your outfit on stage and on the promotion pictures has changed a lot since 'Angels Fall First'; is it like the stage Tarja or the Nightwish Tarja is like a character you play?

    TT: It's like a role, of course it is. I don't wear clothes like this naturally when I'm at home. Of course, I'm a really lucky girl to have this kind of thing in my life, I'm really lucky, but that's so different to be on the stage; I love to be on the stage, and I love to get the audience and sing for them, but when I'm going home, I really enjoy to be in silence, a really different kind of life. But of course this kind of life is really frustrating; when you are going to have a tour and be the only female all the time, it's a very rough time for me, and it has been. But anyway, when I'm going back home, it's different, and I want to have it like that. I go jogging and everything, I really enjoy to be with the nature and all that.


    So it's actually two different sides of the same person.

    TT: Yes.... But the personality is real Tarja on he stage.


    You're the only woman in the band, and you are Nightwish for many people because you're the singer, and you're always in the foreground, everything concentrates around you because you're the eyecatcher; do you think there's people coming not because of the music but just to see you?

    TT: It's really strange that there are so many people that don't believe what is our band when we are playing live; they don't believe that we are working well, that it sounds good, that we really sound like we do. They're very impressed, they're very ambitious to hear us.


    So they think that Nightwish is only that successful because they have that beautiful singer?

    TT: Maybe they think that I'm an opera singer who wants to move on the stage instead of standing in one place all the time, but there are very nice surprises.


    Have you ever met something like Nightwish groupies, people who follow you around and have a passion for someone in the band, just because they're playing in the band?

    TT: Yeah, of course, sometimes there has been something like that, but in general our audience is really various kinds of people; we - how can I say that? (she turns to Tuomas and talks to him in Finnish; the only thing I can understand is "perkele"....) - don't have any stereotype kind of fans.


    You're turning 23 in two weeks....

    TT: Oh God!!!


    ....and you're married....

    TT: No - engaged.


    Do you have any plans for children?

    TT: Of course I have, but I don't have any time right now.


    If you'll ever have any, are they gonna grow up as Metal kids, or will they rather be taught to love classical music?

    TT: They have freedom to choose.


    A question for both of you: Are there any questions you've learned to hate, you're always being asked?

    TH: Always been asked is if the song 'The Carpenter' is about Jesus Christ; I never wanted it to be about that.


    A question you probably haven't heard too often before and thus can't hate yet - if Nightwish was an animal, what would that be?

    TH: A wolf.

    What aspects of a wolf does Nightwish have?
    TH: Everything that a wolf is. It's mysterious, a symbol of loneliness; a very majestic animal.... A night animal - Nightwish.


    "The howling of Nightwolf...." (a line from 'Elvenpath')

    TH: Yeah, that's right. TT: Ooohhh.... (she turns to Tuomas again and talks to him in Finnish) An eagle. Because our career has been so free as an eagle.


    A slow start, and then always soaring higher, and maybe with the upcoming tour heading in for the kill....

    TT: I don't know; you never know.


    Well then, thanks a lot for your patience with me, a great show and great music, and we'll meet again on the tour!


    Interview with After Forever 2

    Source: DPRP

    interview for DPRP by Martien Koolen
    talking to After Forever's Sander Gommans



    This interview had originally been scheduled for just after the release of their fantastic new album Invisible Circles, but as the band became really busy playing festivals and arranging their CD-presentation launch we had to delay matters. So as a precursor to this interview I have included overviews from their launch concert at 013, Tilburg on 17 April 2004 and their live gig in The Bosuil, Weert on 14 May 2004.


    013, TILBURG, SATURDAY 17 APRIL 2004


    After Forever chose 013 in Tilburg as their venue for the CD presentation of Invisible Circles. The album, which is definitely more metal orientated, has received great reviews all over Europe and it seems as if the band is now really climbing the ladder of success. Before the band presented their new album, singer Floor Jansen had to “go through” her practical exam of the rock academy; which she had dubbed “Get Floored”. She sang a couple of songs from the Exordium album, assisted by the guys from After Forever on acoustic guitars. Furthermore Floor performed a song from a musical together with Spanish vocalist Alfredo Romero and an aria out of an opera from Puccini: Mio Babbino Caro. Arjen Lucassen also made a guest appearance by the way; together with Floor and her sister Irene they performed Valley of the Queens from the Star One album. She showed that her voice is not only the ideal instrument for metal music, and in my opinion she should have passed this exam with flying colours! After a short break After Forever hit the stage with the complete set of the new album. Highlights of this set were the piano ballad Eccentric and heavier tracks like Digital Deceiver and Life’s Vortex, where Floor’s superb voice really set the atmosphere. Then it was time to play a couple of “old” songs from albums like Prison of Desire and Decipher, songs which are definitely more gothic than the new material. After Forever ended this splendid set with the Iron Maiden cover The Evil That Men Do, heavier played than its original, but Floor’s voice is not really a substitute for Bruce Dickinson.


    THE BOSUIL, WEERT, FRIDAY 14 MAY 2004


    Almost 4 weeks later I visited the Bosuil in Weert to see, and hear of course, if the set list for tonight was different. And luckily for me that was the case; After Forever did not play the entire new CD, but they only played a couple of new songs - Life’s Vortex, Victim Of Choices, Beautiful Emptiness, Reflectionsand the super heavy Blind Pain. Furthermore the band played three tracks from the Exordium album, Beneath, Glorifying Means and the beautiful power ballad My Choice. Compared to the gig in Tilburg the band here made it clear that this was a so-called “home match” and so they all displayed a top notch performance - especially guitar player Bas Maas who let it all out! Maybe they played with so much power because it was the last After Forever gig of keyboard player Lando van Gils, who will be replaced by Joost van de Broek (Sun Caged).

    My personal favourites of the night were Moonlith of Doubt and My Pledge of Megiance, both from Decipher, Life’s Vortex and the magnificent piano ballad Eccentric; both from the new album Invisible Circles. I really preferred this show to the one in Tilburg because of the pure energy of this gig. All five members played their asses off and Floor was as magical as ever. I truly believe that this band is going to be very big in Europe and maybe even in the USA. I am already looking forward seeing them play on the “famous” Pinkpopfestival.


    THE BREAKTHROUGH OF AFTER FOREVER

    Sander GommansSo after a lengthy postponment I finally got my chance to talk to guitar player and sometimes grunter Sander Gommans. After Forever’s debut album "Prison Of Desire" and the follow-up "Decipher" really put The Netherlands on the map as gothic metal country. A few months ago After Forever surprised us with the mini-CD called “Exordium” and later on, the new album was finally released (for a review of that album you can check our Reviews Section). So, Sander was my “partner in crime”, let’s hear what he has got to say ...


    MARTIEN: At the end of February After Forever played in Mexico, can you tell our readers something about that experience?


    SANDER:
    “Well, that’s a long time ago already… Mexico has very enthusiastic fans, there is always lots of adventure in Mexico and lots of sunshine, which is why we were really looking forward to this trip. It did not fit in with our plans, because we were trying to promote our new material in Germany very strongly. We think that there are a lot of German fans that like our music and we would really like to expand our market over there. Mexico, on the other hand, is a country where we are already very popular since the release of our first album. And we sure noticed that during the live gigs, the atmosphere was really great and it is always a pleasure to play for such a fantastic audience. The disadvantage of the CD market in Mexico however is that everything is illegal and that all the CDs that are sold over there are not the original ones. Sadly, this means for us that we really do not earn any money in Mexico with selling our CDs. However, if you notice and witness the bad economical state of the country, then you can understand this and forgive the Mexican fans right away. There are a few very rich people and the rest is poor, there is almost no middle class. Well, to make a long story short, it was a great tour, where we learned a lot and we hope that we can go back some time.”


    MARTIEN: The reactions and reviews of Invisible Circles were all great. Does it not scare you that you have to top this fantastic album in the future with an even better one? The pressure to improve the quality of your music gets higher and higher, or does it not?


    SANDER:
    “I do not think so, because I am convinced that we are still in our developing state, we get better and better with each album, but there is still more in us and there is more to come for sure. Of course it is a real challenge to make a new and better CD, but as a band you can never tell how the audience or the press will react. Our goal is to make the music that we actually like and that we consider to be good, and if that is the case, then our mission is already accomplished. Of course I am dependent on the reviews and opinions of fans, but they will never become the incentive of our band.”



    MARTIEN: Could you tell something more about the title of the album?


    SANDER:
    “Invisible Circles describes the paths of life that someone can follow. Life consists of several circles that you can follow; many times you will come back at the beginning of a circle, although you have tried to get out of that particular circle. This also happens with the main character on the album.”


    MARTIEN: Is it difficult to make a concept album and why did you choose to make this new album a conceptual one?


    SANDER:
    “If you think of planning, then making a concept album is very difficult, because during the writing process you have to consider a lot of things. However this did not turn out to become a limitation, but it rather worked as inspiration. The music literally becomes a story and that story offers you a lot of new and other musical starting points. After we decided on the concept, the writing process was rather uncomplicated, but I have learned a lot form this way of working and I am sure that I will use some of those working approaches for our coming album as well.”


    MARTIEN: Personally I truly miss some real guitar solos and I am not very fond of the grunting parts. Is there anyone in the band who maybe agrees with me on that point and is there a slight possibility that this will change in the near future?


    SANDER:
    “The grunts fit in well with the concept and the atmosphere. We, as a band, decide eventually how many grunts we use in a song. You cannot decide this beforehand, a song writes itself and if it is finished then the vocals bring the song to completion. The sphere of a song decides if we use normal vocals or grunts. This can be very different on the new album, you will never know… It would also be cool if we could use the vocals of Bas a bit more in the future. Guitar solos have almost never been used by After Forever, however at this moment I am thinking of trying to build in some sort of guitar solos, although we will never really build in real long guitar solos. In my opinion you can only use guitar solos if they are really GOOD and effective. Most of the time you can better replace them by a musical middle part. But, hey, you never know ...”


    MARTIEN: You played at a couple of big festivals this year already (Dynamo, Graspop, and Pinkpop), do you like playing at festivals, or do you rather prefer the smaller clubs?


    SANDER:
    “I do not think that you can compare those two things. A festival and a clubshow both have advantages and disadvantages. The variety makes it worthwhile and interesting to do.”


    MARTIEN: When will After Forever finally break through and when will you decide to become a full time professional musician?


    SANDER:
    “At this moment I am a full time teacher and I do not want to throw that away right now. I do not understand why so many people just give up their job, because that job “eats up” all their time. I am also responsible for the management of the band and I write a lot of material for the band and I can still go on a tour once in a while. So, it is possible to have a job besides your musical career, however you need a little bit of luck with the kind of job that you have. A full time musical career is my dream, but it has got to be a realistic dream, and at the moment that is not the case, so …”



    MARTIEN: How do you combine your work as a teacher with your work as a musician?


    SANDER:
    “You know, it sometimes gets quite busy, but I can combine it. Sometimes it works refreshing and I get a lot of inspiration by doing these two rather different jobs and sometimes it is really tough and then you have to rest whenever possible. Unfortunately I am rather bad at knowing when to take a break to give myself the necessary rest, but Floor watches me very carefully and keeps an eye on that.”


    MARTIEN: I know that you suffer from migraine attacks. How is it possible playing in a metal band with migraine?


    SANDER:
    “Ha ha, that really is not easy. Lately I must say that the attacks are not that frequent anymore and most of the times I notice when I will get a migraine so I can adjust to that. During a gig this is ofcourse very troublesome, but the adrenaline I get from performing helps me to deal with the migraine on stage. However after a gig with a migraine I have to lie down immediately after the show. But you know, I know a lot of people who are far worse of then me, so I cannot complain really!”


    MARTIEN: How is your HE-Man collection coming along?


    SANDER:
    “Hahaha, it is nice of you to ask me that. Well, I can truly say that it is getting out of hand big time!! The collection gets bigger and bigger, I have an entire room reserved for my HE-Man stuff, so go figure ...”


    MARTIEN: Sander, thanks for your time and your answers and good luck with the band.


    SANDER:
    “Thanks for the interesting questions."



    Nightwish History

    Live to Tell the Tale
    The story of Nightwish: in their own words!




    From acoustic mood music to movie score metal, Nightwish has experienced a career as epic and emotional as their music. From the small town of Kitee, Finland to international superstars, the members of Nightwish each recall their humble roots and their first exposure to music...

    Tuomas Holopainen:
    "I've been living in an imaginary world since I was a little kid. That pretty much answers the whole question. I'm a huge fan of fantasy: literature, movies. I'm a collector of Walt Disney items, and I love Disney cartoons and movies and stuff like that. I just find myself living in a constant fantasy land, so that reflects to my lyrics as well."
    (ProgPower interview, 2003)

    "My mother---who also teaches piano playing, had put me to clarinet and piano classes to the Middle-Carelia music institute. Besides of playing skills I of course learned music history and theory there. But it didn't feel as the thing for me...Going through those etudes alone with your clarinet felt very mind-numbing. I got school-leaving certificate [from music studies] in 1992, when I was 15  years old and that's all the musical education I've ever had. Although I did do several gigs with the musical institute at that time.
         "Then I went to Wichita in the state of Kansas as an exchange student. During my "Yankee year", the music really hit me hard...In U.S.A. I joined the local school big band, which performed in football matches and other occasions, but starting my own band or joining some other did not occur to me at that time. A funny thing happened when a friend of mine, who had this band called Carnification had made a demo called Satanic Rebirth. I was very proud of my friend and was showing this tape with its handsome cover art to my music teacher. He got mad and gave me a long scolding and even sent a letter about it to the host family in U.S.A. Well, maybe the picture of Jesus hanging upside down on the cross in the tape cover had something to do with it."
    (Soundi interview, September 2004)

    Tarja Turunen:
    "...My mother often tells me this story. I'm supposed to suddenly start to sing. My mother then sat me on the table, for no one would have seen me otherwise. That must have been the first time I sang to an audience.
         "The choir appeared at all possible causes in the region and I was always hardworking with them. That was always a great pleasure to me. My greatest idol was Whitney Houston. I always wished to be exactly like her, and often tried to imitate her. My vocal teacher liked that. He always told me that I would be the next Whitney Houston one day. But one day I started to make an education in classical singing. He never spoke a word to me again. I think he was very disappointed about my decision and would have wanted me to go on singing soul."
    (Metal Heart Magazine, November 2003)

    Emppu Vuorinen:
    "I guess I picked up my first acoustic guitar when I was 11 and I played at home very many hours every day. I really didn't have any formal education."
    (Metal Underground, August 25th, 2004)

    Jukka Nevalainen:
    "In drums I got by accident because I was going to this music-class and my teacher told me I should start playing some instrument. He told me there is going to start a percussion teaching in music-school and he told me to try to get in. I did and rest is history. I've listened to rock/heavy metal music more or less forever but final blast came in 1996 (I guess...) when I saw Stratovarius in summer festival. That was great."
    (Cursed With Oblivion, October 10th, 2002)

    Sami Vanska:
    "I started playing bass...as a private study. At that time I've played in a few bands which have been mostly from the metal genre."
    (Nightwish member profiles)


    So then with all this diversity in their musical backgrounds, it is no surprise that the beginnings of Nightwish were just as unique as the personalities that made up the members of the group.

    Tarja Turunen:
    "I was very surprised when my schoolmate Tuomas politely asked me to sing on his demo, because we never really talked before. He was a very shy guy who played clarinet and would wave at me when we met in our school band. His mother was also my piano teacher and he had also seen me singing at events in our hometown, Kitee. As I had never listened to metal before, Tuomas' songs were weird to me, but somehow I liked them and decided to sing for him."
    (Terrorizer Magazine, December 2004)

    Tuomas Holopainen:
    "I've played in a couple of metal bands, and I wanted to do something on my own. I was always a fan of new-age acoustic mood type of music, and I just wanted to try something like this, so I formed this band called Nightwish. The main reason we went from here to there is that it was too damn boring, just have acoustic guitars and keyboards. That's the main reason. All the guys in the band had a metal background!"
    (ProgPower interview, 2003)



    The result of this experimental project became the band's first album, Angels Fall First. The making of the album was just their first attempt at bringing together the eclectic blend of musical styles that would make Nightwish special.

    Tarja Turunen:
    "I would have to say that it was overall a completely new experience for me to sing on a heavy metal record. I hadn't ever done anything with that type of music before. I was just started taking lessons for a classical singing and it felt kind of strange that I got this somewhat extraordinary opportunity to be a part of something like this, y'know. I wasn't even quite sure what I was doing back then when I was singing my vocal parts in the studio for Nightwish's first album. I was really skeptical about myself whether I can even sing my vocal parts for all those songs on that album. I was honestly kind of lost, heh! But luckily everything still went well for me now if I'm looking back to those times. Somehow this once so little classical music student managed to sing her vocal parts for that particular album quite successful way indeed. And I think it was a very unique thing back then to have a female vocalist for a heavy metal album who even sang classical music."
    (Metal-Rules.com, June 2004)

    "We started in 1997 as a project-band, the same year we recorded our first demo. I went to the studio and sang, and they were happy with my work. At that time without a record deal wasn't a band, so in 1998 we signed it. Then everything went so fast, we recorded our second demo, which ended up as an LP that fans know as Angels Fall First. We never thought about this big success. It can be labeled as the Cinderella's Tale."
    (Cursed With Oblivion, July 8th, 2002)


    But unlike your typical fairy-tale, Nightwish did not have a "happily ever after" at first. The differences in the personalities of the bandmembers and differences in their approach to making music would clash during the making of their second album, Oceanborn.

    Tarja Turunen:
    "Now when I'm thinking of those times concerning Oceanborn, in my opinion Tuomas wasn't that capable of writing song compositions that were especially meant for my type of vocals. That's what made it a very hard and difficult album to sing. He wasn't even aware of a wide range of my vocal skills back then. I think if you are a singer, it's very important that a composer of songs has also ability to pay attention to certain vocalists' needs to be able to sing his creations 'coz vocals are one of those instruments there just like guitar or drums are.
         "[...]I remember when I was singing my vocal parts for Oceanborn, I was sitting and crying on the floor and the other guys were yelling to me: 'Sing, dammit!' [laughs]
         "It was quite a tough experience for me after all to get my vocals recorded for that album, but on the other hand the songs on Oceanborn are also quite complex and difficult structure-wise all in all, even for us.[...]"
    (Metal-Rules.com, June 2004)

    Tuomas Holopainen:
    "The recording sessions of Oceanborn were a total hell and way too long so the success was a huge relief for us."
    (Battlehelm interview, 2001)



    Amidst the turmoil of the Oceanborn recording sessions, a diamond would emerge from the rough and become a Nightwish classic...

    Tuomas Holopainen:
    "We had a song called "Sleeping Sun" that was our nominee for the Finnish qualification for the Eurovision Song Contest and which we recorded in London, this unnamed 'mega-producer' taking care of the production for it and so on. Unfortunately the production for it was kind of 'so-so' and in my opinion it's the worst-sounding Nightwish song we have ever done!"
    (Metal-Rules.com, March 2002)

    Tarja Turunen:
    "Our song "Sleeping Sun" was one of the nominees for Finland and just like you mentioned, it was chosen as No. 1 song out of all nominees by majority of votes given by the Finns. It still was a good experience for Nightwish in this kind of 'questionable' song contest, but eventually I think I should be glad that we weren't chosen to represent Finland to that particular song contest because those type of competitions have not been meant for a band like us. The positive thing was that we got a great bunch of new fans for Nightwish by the help of that song, so in that sense it was worth it."
    (Metal-Rules.com, June 2004)


    It was only the beginning of the Nightwish juggernaut, which would start the band going on full speed with the release of their 3rd album, Wishmaster (and considered by many to be their "breakthrough" album), the success of which would culminate into a live DVD entitled From Wishes to Eternity...

    Tarja Turunen:
    "Heh, if Oceanborn gave this type of 'Wow!' feelings to people, then Wishmaster's whole era was ended to a certain burst of different problems inside the band. We had been touring like hell for that album, got very exhausted for touring and even got tired of seeing each other's faces at that time. Eventually every one of us thought that things just didn't seem to turn out as smoothly and effortlessly for any one of us as we were hoping for and all this was culminated pretty heavily into the recording of Wishmaster, the mother of all our troubles that we channeled right into the stressful studio sessions of this particular album. We kind of managed to get rid of our shitty feelings right after we had finished the recordings for Wishmaster and because of that it was much easier and more comfortable for us to start doing gigs again. Because of our somewhat shitty feelings during the recording sessions of Wishmaster, it turned out to be a damn dark and even scary album both musically and lyrically in my opinion."
    (Metal-Rules.com, June 2004)

    Tuomas Holopainen:
    "I think that it pretty much came naturally, we just wanted to do a natural sequel to Oceanborn because I think that with this record we had found the style that we want to do. We wanted to improve everything, for I think that Oceanborn is a great record, but it lacks the good arrangements and at some point Tarja sings too high and things like that. So we only wanted to make things a little better and in my opinion that is just what happened."
    (Battlehelm interview, 2001)

    "I guess the most memorable thing for me with Nightwish has been our gig in Tampere, Finland...which was filmed and came out as a DVD titled From Wishes to Eternity. Particularly that very moment when we all knew that it went just great and our label manager Ewo from Spinefarm Records brought us platinum albums (for the Wishmaster album!) to the stage. I think that's one of those very memorable and special moments for all of us in the band that we have acheived with Nightwish thus far. I have to admit some of us had tiny tears in our eyes because it was indeed kind of a 'touching moment', ya know? It was overall just an indescribable feeling."
    (Metal-Rules.com, March 2002)



    Wishmaster would be the biggest test of the band's career. For despite all the happy times that came with their success, many unresolved conflicts were coming to a head. The 2001 release of their mini-EP Over the Hills and Far Away brought even more success and touring, but less time to focus on these issues. The result was the departure of bassist Sami Vanska, and the future of Nightwish was uncertain.

    Tarja Turunen:
    "We had many music disagreements, and discussions started to appear. We tried to avoid them and talk to make things go better but Sami was who decided to leave the band. But he left it in a pacific way without problems."
    (Cursed With Oblivion, July 8th, 2002)

    "At the time, I was in Germany and didn't know what the hell was going on, when somebody called me from Finland and told me that Tuomas wanted to end Nightwish. We all had a bad phase and I honestly don't know what went wrong. Maybe we were just tired from all the touring."
    (Terrorizer Magazine, December 2004)


    However, a breakup wasn't necessary. It seemed that all Nightwish really needed was some new blood, which would be provided by Tarot bassist/vocalist Marco Hietala...

    Marco Hietala:
    "Well I guess I started beating up my father's old acoustics when I was like 11 or 12. After I played for a couple of years, I got a personal tutor for a couple of years then went into musical college where I studied some musical theory and classical guitar. So there's the basic education I had, though I had some lessons after that, but it was some pop jazz concert stuff, which wasn't my thing anymore. I had an hour lesson a week, or a couple, and I kinda figured out that I figured out things faster than they could teach me. Then I just started playing with the bass and that sort."
    (Metal Underground, August 25th, 2004)

    Tuomas Holopainen:
    "For me personally he was basically the only thinkable alternative to replace Sami because I expressly wanted to include some male voice for our next album in order to get some contrasts to Tarja's voice. I thought myself that the best alternative for us could be a guy who's an experienced musician in a band already; also for doing gigs with us. And to hire some guy for this slot only helping us out with gigs was out of question since at the earliest stage of my thoughts. And as I have always considered Marco as the best heavy metal vocalist as well as bassist in Finland, I wishfully asked if he would be interested in taking that vacancy in Nightwish permanently. He gave me his answer the way I was hoping for, and now he's our permanent vocalist/bassist in the band."
    (Metal-Rules.com, March 2002)

    Now the band would take the new lineup into the studio to see if the magic was still there...

    Tuomas Holopainen:
    "Definitely some sort of a pressure was haunting there behind my back all the time after the success of our previous album Wishmaster. That was haunting somewhere in the depths of my mind all the time, however I knew somehow that I could beat Wishmaster content-wise and make even a better album. I just had to think that I need to do better, catchier and greater songs than we had on Wishmaster. That was the only way to think for me really. You always try to push yourself towards even better and better things constantly and that's exactly what I did with the songs for our new album, I guess...When you write and compose new material, of course the main priority is to do it for yourself first and get pleased by it. You cannot think too much what your fans might think of your new stuff, 'cause in my opinion that's always a secondary thing. If they like it, then that's fine. But if they don't, well, it's not my headache a bit then, let it be then."
    (Metal-Rules.com, March2002)



    All was well again in Nightwish camp, but the dark and gloomy sound of the album that would become Century Child
    almost seemed to belie the positive chemistry that was within the new line-up.

    Tuomas Holopainen:
    "Every album I make is like a diary from my own life. I write about my feelings and things that happen to me or things that interest me at that point in my life. The first three albums were happier, there were a lot of fantasy things, historical and Biblical things. When I was writing Century Child, I had just had the worst year of my life personally so I just put all that shit into that album, and that's why it ended up being...I don't know if I should use the word dark, but a real dark album."
    (ProgPower interview, 2003)

    "Ya know, we are all very ambitious musicians by our nature and a bunch of real perfectionists. We wanted to have a very 'big-sounding' album right from the very start, with pompous and epic-like atmospheres, ya know. I wanted Century Child to be like the biggest sounding, very variable heavy metal soundtrack album. That was my personal goal since the very beginning---no less than that. If you listen to our song "Wishmaster" off the previous Nightwish album Wishmaster, that song worked out kind of like as a good stepping stone for me for Century Child. I wanted to get the same type of epic-sounding thing for this new album as that particular song had. That was part of the reason why we took both the whole orchestra and the choir in for the recordings of Century Child. I wanted it to sound like 'a very ultimate thing', so we just kept pushing ourselves constantly towards that goal and I believe we acheived it as well. It was the main idea for all of us in the very beginning---I can confess it now."
    (Metal-Rules.com, March 2002)

    Tarja Turunen:
    "Unfortunately I was sick and had no voice in the studio. Surely I wanted to give it my best. It was difficult for me because I sang in another way than on the old records."
    (Orkus Magazine, February 7th, 2003)


    Century Child was a smash, achieving gold and platinum success in many countries. The band would even perform for the very first time in the United States, at the ProgPower festival. To strike the iron while it was hot, and to give the band enough space to have time for themselves before working on a new album, the band released another DVD, this time more personal and more detailed. The DVD's title was homage to the overall theme of the album: End of Innocence.

    Tuomas Holopainen:
    "The whole thing was coincidence, to be honest. I mean what you see on the documentary is me and Jukka, talking to a guy who's writing a book about us. That's why we are so open. We never thought that this would end up being on the DVD, in a visual way. The author, he brought a cameraman with him, who filmed the whole thing. When I saw the footage and when the record label saw the footage, we thought that this would make a cool documentary, actually. It's all like a souvenir for the bandmembers. I could also imagine that it is boring as hell for people who don't know the band. Or who don't like the band. But for the fans, it's something really unique."
    (Cursed With Oblivion, May 12th, 2004)


    Nightwish has not been a band known for resting on its laurels, so it was no surprise to anyone that shortly after the release of End of Innocence, word got out that they were going back into the studio at the end of the year to work on their fifth full-length album. They would be incorporating many new sounds into their already-varied style that had not been heard before. Each song delved into a new frontier musically for all members of the band. This exploration in experimentation would result in Once, their most ambitious album yet.

    Marco Hietala:
    "...Because of all the variety and all the musical elements, different atmospheric things that we have on there due to the orchestration and choir stuff and all that. To some people it might even be scary...I was a bit scared myself! When we were still in rehearsal and demo stage I was thinking will this be too much?"
    (Pretties for You online magazine, April 2004)

    Tarja Turunen:
    "With this album, I'm especially very excited about at the moment because of all Nightwish albums I'm personally most satisfied and happiest with Once so far. I would be lying if I said the band wouldn't think the same way. So yeah, I must say that I actually feel pretty confident about this album and hopefully our fans would like the album specifically. Now I feel like my voice on Once is as natural and relaxed as it can be in the first place and I don't sound 'forced' or 'artificial' as I partly tend to sound on previous albums. And this is actually what I tried to acheive for Nightwish albums for so many years already...I feel very comfortable with my vocals on Once for the very first time in Nightwish and that's the thing what really makes me happy."
    (Metal-Rules.com, June 2004)

    Tuomas Holopainen:
    "At the moment, I'm very happy. The biggest dream for me to ever come true was when I had the final master copy of Once in my hands. When I heard it, I thought it really was the best effort that I could have done at that time. It was a big highlight for me last year to have the album finished, and to be that proud of it. From the fans' perspective, I think they had very high expectations from us on a musical level, so I really wanted to do my best, without any compromises. That's why we hired the best possible orchestra (who were the London Academy of St. Martin's in the Fields Orchestra) and choir that we could get. That was also the reason why I had (Native American) John Two-Hawks perform on "Creek Mary's Blood". We didn't want to make any compromises on Once. I also wanted to meet my own expectations. That to me is always the most important. It's always the quality of the music that matters to me. Of course we wanted to be able to top the previous album in sales too, and be able to tour some new places, which we had never been able to do before with that success. Fortunately, all that happened, so we couldn't be happier."
    (Metal Forge, February 24th, 2005)



    Once ran the musical gamut, crossing over one musical barrier after the other with every song. It seemed there was something for everyone on this album. Techno-inspired rock songs such as "Wish I Had an Angel". A touch of what seemed the rap-rock element in "Romanticide". The marriage of Nightwish's bombastic sound to the powerful orchestra on songs like "Ghost Love Score" and "Planet Hell". A nod to their Finnish roots with lyrics in their mother tongue on "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan". Middle-Eastern influences on "The Siren". Undoubtedly, one of the most experimental songs on Once, however, was "Creek Mary's Blood", inspired by Native American culture and music. The song featured Native American musician John Two-Hawks, who not only played flute but also had a spoken part by translating a poem Tuomas wrote in English, to his native Lakota language.

    Tuomas Holopainen:
    "I've always had this strange fascination for Indian culture and spirituality. He speaks a poem that was written by me in honor of his ancestors. I don't understand a word of what he's saying but I trust his translation skills." [laughs]
    (Metal Hammer magazine, May 2004)

    John Two-Hawks:
    "...When Nightwish called and said that they wanted to do this and we heard the music and read the lyrics, I was excited because I thought this is fresh and a great opportunity to express the joining of two very different musical genres and kind of wrap them together in a braid. I think the end result is absolutely powerhouse, incredible."
    (Beyond Ear Candy, August 2004)


    Even though the band had been taken on a musical journey like one they had never been on before, there was one element on Once that stayed close to their hearts, yet in many ways was another endeavor into musical horizons unknown. The final track, "Higher Than Hope", was written as a tribute to a dying Nightwish fan, Marc Brueland, who would fulfill his final wish to see the band perform live, but would not live to hear the song that his struggles had inspired, though his voice would live on as a spoken part within the song. This was without question one of their most emotional and personal songs ever. It combined beautifully the melodic melancholy and heroic bombast that encompasses Nightwish's music: a fitting tribute to a life lived and fought bravely, but gone all too soon.

    Tuomas Holopainen:
    "Well, I'm very close with the whole family...We've grown to be really close and I followed his story for like 3 years altogether before he finally died so it was just something really touching and I just felt like I needed to make a song about this. He [Marco] did almost all the music. I did the lyrics and some of the music but it was the last song we did for this album and Marco came up with this song. By the demo I had these melodies and 'OK,' I said, 'it perfectly leads for the idea of these lyrics I have that I want to write about Marc Brueland.' So we just did it together and the result is what you get...I just thought that this would be the perfect immortalization of him to put his words on this part of the song. I really didn't want to make a heavy song part of his story and I didn't want to make a, like, cheesy ballad and this song that Marco had was perfect like in-between it's kind of like half-ballad, but has a really, really hard punch in it, so I think it fit perfectly."
    (Beyond Ear Candy, September 2004)


    With an album as diverse as Once, it seemed only natural that the new sounds would take the band to new places. They would embark on their first tour in the United States in the summer of 2004, but not without its difficulties. But in typical Nightwish fashion, the rewards would be far sweeter than the toils once they finally did get acquainted with their American audience.

    Marco Hietala:
    "...When we came to Atlanta and New York to play, our guys at management had an agency that helped us. We had to pay a certain amount of money per person and would help getting the people there faster. This time we got the papers forward between March and May. The agency said that it would be ready in about four or five months, they said it would be OK and they would come in time, but they didn't."
    (Metal Underground, August 25th, 2004)

    Tuomas Holopainen:
    "I mean the reaction from the fans is close to what it would be in South America. They're really passionate, really wild over the music and we never really expected anything like this. I knew the sales were going pretty well. They even know the songs from the new album even though it's not released yet. I guess that they have some imports or something. I mean that's the biggest surprise; the fans, they're so nice, so passionate."
    (Beyond Ear Candy, September 2004)

    Tarja Turunen:
    "There is no certain stereotype Nightwish fan. They vary from babies to grandpas. Actually it has been wonderful to find out, and then meet these people along the road."
    (Radio YLE-2, Finland)



    Just when it seemed the Nightwish train could not possibly be stopped, Tuomas slammed on the brakes in the most unexpected way: moments after the final concert of the Once tour, a letter was delivered to Tarja from Tuomas and the other bandmembers, dismissing her from Nightwish and forever splitting the Nightwish community into two separate entities. Although it was Tarja getting the walking papers, it was clear that it was someone not even in the band that caused the rift...

    Tuomas Holopainen:
    "It's not really Tarja that's the main problem, it's Marcelo, her husband. I think it's tragic that one of my best friends from elementary school has been brainwashed by an Argentinean mafia-dude. Marcelo is scary! He can talk you around his finger, and is a manipulator of another world[...]she's too good for this serpent!"
    (Scream, November 2005)

    "This letter includes it all. I have to put it to the internet in a moment. My biggest wish is to continue Nightwish with a new singer. At the moment I'm not sure who this is going to be. I'm still shocked and the situation has to calm down first. Then we can go on planning the future. This decision is the biggest tragedy of my life."
    "Actually I thought about disappearing from the scene and going on holiday but that would be the easy way out. I want to defend the band and I want to tell the true story. That's what I owe us and the fans. When you are on a stage you take responsibility. We never disappointed the fans, not even when we were ill or tired or just in a bad mood. Unfortunately Tarja had a different attitude towards this matter."

    "I already suffered the whole year. It can't get any worse. Actually I'm really happy that I finally talked about all of this. At the moment I have a real chaos of feelings inside of me---it's a mixture of sadness, of hope and of relief. I'm sure that Tarja suffered from this situation as well. It's not easy for both of us and it won't be easy for a long time. But in spite of everything that happened I do not hate Tarja. I'm just completely disappointed. Nightwish will go on with a new singer and she will cause a stir with her solo-projects."
    (Rock Hard, December 2005)

    Tarja Turunen:
    "I was naturally enough both shocked and surprised. I was shocked that I was left out there without a chance to defend myself. That's what stuck as the strongest and most bitter reaction. I could have understood the content of it a lot better if I'd been confronted with it face-to-face, and thereby had a chance to defend myself, and straightened out misunderstanding that lies behind it. I never got that opportunity, and that really hurts me. I didn't think I deserved such treatment after all of these years."
    (Scream, November 2005)

    "There were many things that were very private, talks about my personality and me. In that letter, they try to put words in my mouth, thoughts in my head, and feelings in my heart without giving me a chance to talk or respond in any way. I need to face this situation now, as the Tarja I have been, and that Tarja I am and that is that person that is not accusing or attacking with anger. I cannot do that."
    (NightwishSpain.com press conference, November 14th, 2005)

     


    Upon the break between Tarja and the members of Nightwish, they each went their separate ways: Tarja, to release a Christmas album to tide fans over as she made her much-anticipated solo album; and Nightwish, to find a new singer. To the fans, for whom obviously the recent events were a huge shock, they would at last see for themselves the bittersweet final moments of Nightwish when the DVD End of an Era was released, and learn every detail of their tumultuous relationship with Tarja when the long-awaited book Once Upon a Nightwish made its way to bookstore shelves.

    Tuomas Holopainen:
    "When I saw the film for the first time, I had to forget all the negative aspects of what happened these last months. You can really see in the documentary that the band suffered, all suffered, so did she. We all say to ourselves, though we don't say anything, that it isn't happening. It's like a bad dream. We look depressed, tired, angry...you make out well on every member of the band's face the trial we are going through. But the band's identity in its whole still exists. We do form a band. If we search another positive aspect about what happened: the trial has brought us together. We four are united. We have a good basis for a new beginning and I never doubt for a single moment that this band have the future ahead of it."

    "I've read it [the book] once and I insist on saying it's not an autobiography. It took the author four years for writing it and I have the feeling to be an interviewed person among dozens of others. We don't feel really concerned about this book but however, when I read it, I sometimes cried and even laughed...This book brought me back the whole lot of human feelings."
    (CryptoGoths, May 2006)


    Once the world got over the initial shock of Tarja's departure, the next obvious questions were: who would the new singer be? Who could possibly replace Tarja? The band held an "open audition", inviting women from around the world to send in demo tapes and show if she had what it took to gain the most enviable, yet most difficult position: stepping up to the microphone and becoming the new frontwoman of Nightwish. The band would give the fans a tease by releasing the song "While Your Lips Are Still Red" as part of a Finnish movie soundtrack, with only Marco on vocals, but as far as who would take over as the new feminine voice of Nightwish, it remained one of the biggest mysteries on the current metal scene.

    Tuomas Holopainen:
    "I know that there are a lot of people outside there who will never accept the new singer---no matter how talented and charismatic she will be. Our new frontwoman has to have the biggest self-confidence in the world because she will have the hardest job in the world. Everybody will talk at length about her and she will have to take a lot of criticism. Honestly said, I do not care if the next record will sell 50,000 or 1,000,000 times. The most important thing is that we get along with our new singer and that we can lead a normal band's life again as it used to be."

    "The first demo I got one day after I published the letter on our homepage. Until now I received about 400 applications. Most of them are from Finland, Scandinavia, and Germany. I am still surprised about the amount of letters. I never thought so many women dare to follow in Tarja's footsteps."
    (Rock Hard, June 2006)



    After over a year of endless speculation, countless auditions and many months of secretive silence, the band finally made their decision and in May 2007 the new singer would at last be revealed to the world: 36-year-old Swedish vocalist Anette Olzon, mother of one and former frontwoman of the band Alyson Avenue. Although Anette's demo tape was one of the first to reach the ears of Nightwish, the band would not instantly name her their new member. But Anette refused to take 'no' for an answer, because it appeared that from the start, music was her destiny...

    Anette Olzon:
    "I've been singing my whole life and was born into a family of musicians where everyone from my mother's side has worked as a musician. My childhood was full of instruments, playing and singing. My mother is also a singer so I've toured with my parents in the tour bus ever since my early childhood. I started singing with a band when I was 13. [...] Then my mother got married for the second time for ten years. Her new husband had a son named Niklas and I went to sing some backing vocals to the demo of his band. I was seventeen at that time. That band was called Alyson Avenue. The boys of the band were so impressed with my voice that they asked me to join the band. At first the band also had a male vocalist who was later kicked out of the band so I had full control of the mic. I think it was the year '89. From that moment on Alyson Avenue kept rocking until things cooled down about two years ago."
    (Imperiumi.net interview, May 30th, 2007)

    "I liked this music right from the beginning. But I never envisaged the fact that an e-mail with a positive reaction would arrive only a few days after I sent my application!"
    (Metal Hammer, July 2007)

    "At first I felt like I should send them a demo even though I can't sing operatically. But then I thought, 'Nah, I'll pass.' The sound technician of Arrival ranted at me: 'But you must send them that demo, you have to send it right now!' After he had persuaded me for a while, I finally asked Niklas and the guitar player of Cloudscape if they could help me to record "Ever Dream". We recorded that one song in one day and sent it forward. I received e-mail from Tuomas almost instantly. He had liked my singing very much and asked me to send three songs more. I even sung "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan" as a bonus! I thought the band would make the decision quickly so I recorded this second demo in a hurry. I think it was January when Tuomas already had all the songs I'd recorded."
    (Imperiumi.net interview, May 30th, 2007)

    "It wasn't really helpful that the whole band was watching me during the demo-recordings. But they were all really nice to me. Finally not only Nightwish have chosen me---I have chosen the band as well."
    (Metal Hammer, July 2007)

    "Of course I can't please everyone and I'm not even going to try. But I think the band will now gain some new fans who haven't liked them before. Some just didn't like the opera-style vocals. If the band had chosen a new operatic singer, it could have been their doom because Tarja is so extremely good at what she does. Her sound can't be copied and it wouldn't make any sense to try. The change can be welcome as well."
    (Imperiumi.net interview, May 30th, 2007)

    Tuomas Holopainen:
    "The uppermost feeling I have at the moment, is relief because we don't have to hide her anymore. And it must be a huge relief to her as well because like keeping her in a cave all the time, wasn't that much fun. But it was something that needed to be done. And now, we finished mixing the album last Friday so we have the album ready. She's out, so in that sense I feel really, really good. Also, the people, the band and the media have welcomed her in a really nice way. I personally expected 'the barbecue' to be much worse!"
    (Metal-Rules.com, May 31st, 2007)

    "Anette convinced us right from the beginning both with her voice and her personality, but we absolutely wanted to play safe and took up a lot of time with the search and the decision. But all the others always had to compete with Anette who sent us one of the first applications. She was and is a real lucky choice."
    (Sonic Seducer, July 2007)



    Now that the long wait was over and the era of Tarja firmly behind them, Nightwish turned the page and entered the next chapter of their career with Anette. The album Dark Passion Play was another peek into Tuomas' diary: the lyrics ranging from sadness and regret towards the split with Tarja on songs like "Bye Bye Beautiful"; anger towards the outside parties that caused the split on "Master Passion Greed", anticipation and hope for the future in songs like "Cadence of Her Last Breath". Again, the band brought back the orchestral sounds, and as usual, tried to bring new elements to the table, as if a brand-new voice wasn't enough for fans to digest. In unorthodox fashion, the album kicked off with the 14-minute opus "The Poet and the Pendulum", one of the most epic Nightwish songs ever written and lyrically, an emotional rollercoaster that laid it all out on the table and left no doubts to any listener as to what the past few years had been for Tuomas.

    Tuomas Holopainen:
    "We recorded 15 songs altogether. Out of them 13 will end up on this new album. As far as differences go, I think the biggest difference is sitting here next to me, so it's the vocals. I mean, musically I don't think the album differs that much from Once. There's some new elements on this album---like there's Celtic instruments, there's a voice of sopranos, there's a gospel choir and all little details here and there. But the overall feeling that the songs have, is a natural sequel from what Once was. We didn't wanna do anything too radical because she is already a radical change to our sound."

    "I try to think our songs like a soundtrack play. But the amount of material "The Poet and the Pendulum" has absorbed, with the orchestra and the choir, and there's the Celtic-fill, there's the voice of soprano, there's her singing and Marco's singing---and there's even Marco growling plus all the sound effects created by Mr. Jussi Tegelman in Hollywood. It's a really big song, I can tell."
    (Metal-Rules.com, May 31st, 2007)

    Anette Olzon:
    "The soundscapes Tuomas makes make some of the songs really difficult. They are all difficult but some of them are so hard that you need to be an experienced singer to be able to sing them. I don't think I'd be able to sing them when I was 20. [...] The new album is not Once 2, it's something completely new. We've tried all kinds of stuff on the album, for example in this one horror movie song that Emppu made. It's a guitar song where everything, the melody, the rhythm of the lyrics and everything has been composed with a guitar. It's a really difficult way to make songs, I've tried it myself. For me it's much easier to compose melodies with keyboards."
    (Imperiumi.net interview, May 30th, 2007)

    "I don't think that there's a generic storyline. All lyrics treat different subjects, although there might be certain similarities in some songs. It's a lot about emotions in 2005 when the band was going through a hard time and there was a lot of bitterness. Some songs are about certain Celtic things and cultures. [...] This is indeed very hard for me to answer, so I'll just give you my opinion as a listener. I think Dark Passion Play is a continuation of Once, which at that time was Nightwish's best album to date. Dark Passion Play is more bombastic with bigger orchestration and a lot of special instruments and even a gospel choir. Furthermore I also think that Tuomas has even more matured as a songwriter."
    (Lords of Metal, September 2007)


    So now that the hype and excitement had lulled and the album officially released, it was time for Nightwish to take their new lineup on the road and introduce Anette to the sometimes-overzealous fans, many of whom were still loyal to Tarja. Sometimes it would not be easy. To show that the Nightwish past was not fading away, at the same time as Dark Passion Play hit store shelves, Tarja released her highly anticipated solo album, My Winter Storm, only garnering comparisons between the two vocalists all the more. Anette would be met with both praise and criticism everywhere she went. While Anette's cheery, bubbly personality was a stark contrast to the aloof Tarja, even the most upbeat people have their rough moments and it would come out at a gig in Brazil, when Anette walked offstage (later stating that she was affected by the onstage smoke machines) and sparked rumors that are still being debated to this day...

    Anette Olzon:
    "I'm certainly not going to try and imitate here, because she [Tarja] was so damn good. Furthermore, our voices are very different and I'm my own person so it's really no use to try that. I'm practicing the songs at home already and a lot of the old material also suits my voice quite well, it will only sound a bit different because of my distinct style. I've got more of a rock voice than Tarja."

    "We talked about this and I'm sure that things like this will happen during the tour. Actually there's no good solution for coping with this. I'm just gonna keep my head up high and hope that those people will adjust. Other bands have succeeded in replacing their lead vocalist too so why shouldn't Nightwish be capable of doing that?"
    (Lords of Metal, September 2007)

    Tuomas Holopainen:
    "We scheduled 160 gigs for the first year and it might be overmuch. We made this decision because we just couldn't hold it back, we wanted to get out there and perform. We had a new vocalist and a new album, and we wanted to see if we could make it. We couldn't hold ourselves back from touring. We wanted to see the reactions, to understand if we won the bet or lost it. The truth is that the very first months of the tour were amazing..."

    "But, for sure, this was just the visible reason during a period which was very difficult for us. And it's totally reasonable. People break down, it happens. But the smoke-machine is not the only reason. We were all tired, we were jaded. We were nervous and fed up. Especially Anette, it was unfamiliar for her all that. We dropped her into the ocean and she made it really well. Lots of times we said to each other, 'I would never expect she could hold on for so long!' But she did. She disproved all the predictions. She made it very well with such a long tour, and she had a lot of times the crowd against her. Her breakdown at the end was normal. And let me tell you, during that gig, there were guys with middle fingers in front of her who were shouting many things...If you keep in mind all that, you can't be surprised with the incident."
    (Metal Hammer (Greek version), March 2009)



    As the Dark Passion Play tour rolls on for what will be over 2 years by the time it makes its final curtain call later this year, all the ups and downs of the tour will be chronicled in the DVD Made in Hong Kong (And Various Other Places). But once the tour is over and the band returns to their everyday lives, what then? What does the future of Nightwish hold?

    Tuomas Holopainen:
    "I have plenty of material for the new album. I think the stuff is typical Nightwish, but there are new elements as well. We have booked the training local for two months in the spring 2010 and then we will begin work with the album. I imagine that it will be released in the end of 2010 or early 2011."
    (Stara interview, March 5th, 2009)

    "I have already started preparing some things. We have much time to work on the new album though. When this all comes to an end, we have to meet each other and discuss, to see who wants to stay in the band and who don't. I hope everybody in the band understood that too."
    (Metal Hammer (Greek version), March 2009)


    ...But no matter what may happen in the future, no matter what turmoils the band has endured, no matter whether it is Tarja or Anette out in front, it is clear that through the ups and downs of Nightwish's career, they have made their mark on the music world, and they have won the respect of many all over the world, fans and fellow colleagues alike.

    Peter Buck (of R.E.M.):
    "Too bad that the schedule is so tight, that I hardly have any time to visit a record store. When we came yesterday from the airport to the city I heard a really interesting song on the radio. It was the Finnish band Nightwish. The thought of mixing heavy metal and opera doesn't seem very exciting, but the band sounded really great. If I have time, I'll go to the record store and buy their album."
    (Rocket 95.3 FM, Stockholm, Sweden, November 2003)

    Tony Kakko (of Sonata Arctica):
    "I'm not as deep as Tuomas when it comes to songwriting. I'm trying to live my personal life along with my musical one; I try to mix them equally. With Tuomas, in my opinion, it's more like...music with you is an on/off thing. You're totally into it or completely not into it, and with me it's a constant thing but not nearly as deep as it is with you [Tuomas]."
    (Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles Magazine)

    Simone Simons (of Epica):
    "I am in Epica because of Nightwish, when I discovered Nightwish I knew that that was what I wanted to do."
    (Heavy Law metal webzine, 2004)

    John Two-Hawks:
    "What I really loved about Nightwish's music was that they were passionate. When I read the lyrics, which I understand Tuomas writes, I thought, 'Here's a guy writing with passion!' The music is also incredibly ingenious and passionate. You can tell just by listening to the music that it says something, it means something. I like when the listener has to think and Tuomas makes you think with his writing. He writes in a way that makes you have to dig a little bit. The lyrics in the song "Creek Mary's Blood"; oh, they mean something. What he wrote really comes from his heart."
    (Beyond Ear Candy, August 2004)


    Did the members of Nightwish "ever dream" themselves how far this mere "acoustic mood music project" would take them? Perhaps the answer can be found within their own Finnish modesty...

    Tuomas Holopainen:
    "We've accomplished a lot but the hunger grows all the time. So there still are millions wishes to be fulfilled."
    (Battlehelm interview, 2001)


    Pictures provided courtesy of Nightwish France with permission.

    The History

    Taken completely from Oceansouls of America


    From acoustic mood music to movie score metal, Nightwish has experienced a career as epic and emotional as their music. From the small town of Kitee, Finland to international superstars, the members of Nightwish each recall their humble roots and their first exposure to music...  

    Tuomas Holopainen:

    "I've been living in an imaginary world since I was a little kid. That pretty much answers the whole question. I'm a huge fan of fantasy: literature, movies. I'm a collector of Walt Disney items, and I love Disney cartoons and movies and stuff like that. I just find myself living in a constant fantasy land, so that reflects to my lyrics as well."
    (ProgPower interview, 2003)

    "My mother---who also teaches piano playing, had put me to clarinet and piano classes to the Middle-Carelia music institute. Besides of playing skills I of course learned music history and theory there. But it didn't feel as the thing for me...Going through those etudes alone with your clarinet felt very mind-numbing. I got school-leaving certificate [from music studies] in 1992, when I was 15  years old and that's all the musical education I've ever had. Although I did do several gigs with the musical institute at that time.
          "Then I went to Wichita in the state of Kansas as an exchange student. During my "Yankee year", the music really hit me hard...In U.S.A. I joined the local school big band, which performed in football matches and other occasions, but starting my own band or joining some other did not occur to me at that time. A funny thing happened when a friend of mine, who had this band called Carnification had made a demo called Satanic Rebirth. I was very proud of my friend and was showing this tape with its handsome cover art to my music teacher. He got mad and gave me a long scolding and even sent a letter about it to the host family in U.S.A. Well, maybe the picture of Jesus hanging upside down on the cross in the tape cover had something to do with it."
    (Soundi interview, September 2004)

    Tarja Turunen:
    "...My mother often tells me this story. I'm supposed to suddenly start to sing. My mother then sat me on the table, for no one would have seen me otherwise. That must have been the first time I sang to an audience.
          "The choir appeared at all possible causes in the region and I was always hardworking with them. That was always a great pleasure to me. My greatest idol was Whitney Houston. I always wished to be exactly like her, and often tried to imitate her. My vocal teacher liked that. He always told me that I would be the next Whitney Houston one day. But one day I started to make an education in classical singing. He never spoke a word to me again. I think he was very disappointed about my decision and would have wanted me to go on singing soul."
    (Metal Heart Magazine, November 2003)

    Emppu Vuorinen:
    "I guess I picked up my first acoustic guitar when I was 11 and I played at home very many hours every day. I really didn't have any formal education."
    (Metal Underground, August 25th, 2004)  

    Jukka Nevalainen:

    "In drums I got by accident because I was going to this music-class and my teacher told me I should start playing some instrument. He told me there is going to start a percussion teaching in music-school and he told me to try to get in. I did and rest is history. I've listened to rock/heavy metal music more or less forever but final blast came in 1996 (I guess...) when I saw Stratovarius in summer festival. That was great."
     (Cursed With Oblivion, October 10th, 2002)  

    Sami Vanska:

    "I started playing bass...as a private study. At that time I've played in a few bands which have been mostly from the metal genre."
    (Nightwish member profiles)    

    So then with all this diversity in their musical backgrounds, it is no surprise that the beginnings of Nightwish were just as unique as the personalities that made up the members of the group.
      

    Tarja Turunen:

    "I was very surprised when my schoolmate Tuomas politely asked me to sing on his demo, because we never really talked before. He was a very shy guy who played clarinet and would wave at me when we met in our school band. His mother was also my piano teacher and he had also seen me singing at events in our hometown, Kitee. As I had never listened to metal before, Tuomas' songs were weird to me, but somehow I liked them and decided to sing for him."
    (Terrorizer Magazine, December 2004)

    Tarja Turunen:
    "I was very surprised when my schoolmate Tuomas politely asked me to sing on his demo, because we never really talked before. He was a very shy guy who played clarinet and would wave at me when we met in our school band. His mother was also my piano teacher and he had also seen me singing at events in our hometown, Kitee. As I had never listened to metal before, Tuomas' songs were weird to me, but somehow I liked them and decided to sing for him."
    (Terrorizer Magazine, December 2004)  

    Tuomas Holopainen:

    "I've played in a couple of metal bands, and I wanted to do something on my own. I was always a fan of new-age acoustic mood type of music, and I just wanted to try something like this, so I formed this band called Nightwish. The main reason we went from here to there is that it was too damn boring, just have acoustic guitars and keyboards. That's the main reason. All the guys in the band had a metal background!"
    (ProgPower interview, 2003)     The result of this experimental project became the band's first album, Angels Fall First. The making of the album was just their first attempt at bringing together the eclectic blend of musical styles that would make Nightwish special.   Tarja Turunen: "I would have to say that it was overall a completely new experience for me to sing on a heavy metal record. I hadn't ever done anything with that type of music before. I was just started taking lessons for a classical singing and it felt kind of strange that I got this somewhat extraordinary opportunity to be a part of something like this, y'know. I wasn't even quite sure what I was doing back then when I was singing my vocal parts in the studio for Nightwish's first album. I was really skeptical about myself whether I can even sing my vocal parts for all those songs on that album. I was honestly kind of lost, heh! But luckily everything still went well for me now if I'm looking back to those times. Somehow this once so little classical music student managed to sing her vocal parts for that particular album quite successful way indeed. And I think it was a very unique thing back then to have a female vocalist for a heavy metal album who even sang classical music." (Metal-Rules.com, June 2004)   "We started in 1997 as a project-band, the same year we recorded our first demo. I went to the studio and sang, and they were happy with my work. At that time without a record deal wasn't a band, so in 1998 we signed it. Then everything went so fast, we recorded our second demo, which ended up as an LP that fans know as Angels Fall First. We never thought about this big success. It can be labeled as the Cinderella's Tale." (Cursed With Oblivion, July 8th, 2002)     But unlike your typical fairy-tale, Nightwish did not have a "happily ever after" at first. The differences in the personalities of the bandmembers and differences in their approach to making music would clash during the making of their second album, Oceanborn.   Tarja Turunen: "Now when I'm thinking of those times concerning Oceanborn, in my opinion Tuomas wasn't that capable of writing song compositions that were especially meant for my type of vocals. That's what made it a very hard and difficult album to sing. He wasn't even aware of a wide range of my vocal skills back then. I think if you are a singer, it's very important that a composer of songs has also ability to pay attention to certain vocalists' needs to be able to sing his creations 'coz vocals are one of those instruments there just like guitar or drums are.      "[...]I remember when I was singing my vocal parts for Oceanborn, I was sitting and crying on the floor and the other guys were yelling to me: 'Sing, dammit!' [laughs]      "It was quite a tough experience for me after all to get my vocals recorded for that album, but on the other hand the songs on Oceanborn are also quite complex and difficult structure-wise all in all, even for us.[...]" (Metal-Rules.com, June 2004)   Tuomas Holopainen: "The recording sessions of Oceanborn were a total hell and way too long so the success was a huge relief for us." (Battlehelm interview, 2001)       Amidst the turmoil of the Oceanborn recording sessions, a diamond would emerge from the rough and become a Nightwish classic...   Tuomas Holopainen: "We had a song called "Sleeping Sun" that was our nominee for the Finnish qualification for the Eurovision Song Contest and which we recorded in London, this unnamed 'mega-producer' taking care of the production for it and so on. Unfortunately the production for it was kind of 'so-so' and in my opinion it's the worst-sounding Nightwish song we have ever done!" (Metal-Rules.com, March 2002)   Tarja Turunen: "Our song "Sleeping Sun" was one of the nominees for Finland and just like you mentioned, it was chosen as No. 1 song out of all nominees by majority of votes given by the Finns. It still was a good experience for Nightwish in this kind of 'questionable' song contest, but eventually I think I should be glad that we weren't chosen to represent Finland to that particular song contest because those type of competitions have not been meant for a band like us. The positive thing was that we got a great bunch of new fans for Nightwish by the help of that song, so in that sense it was worth it." (Metal-Rules.com, June 2004)     It was only the beginning of the Nightwish juggernaut, which would start the band going on full speed with the release of their 3rd album, Wishmaster (and considered by many to be their "breakthrough" album), the success of which would culminate into a live DVD entitled From Wishes to Eternity...   Tarja Turunen: "Heh, if Oceanborn gave this type of 'Wow!' feelings to people, then Wishmaster's whole era was ended to a certain burst of different problems inside the band. We had been touring like hell for that album, got very exhausted for touring and even got tired of seeing each other's faces at that time. Eventually every one of us thought that things just didn't seem to turn out as smoothly and effortlessly for any one of us as we were hoping for and all this was culminated pretty heavily into the recording of Wishmaster, the mother of all our troubles that we channeled right into the stressful studio sessions of this particular album. We kind of managed to get rid of our shitty feelings right after we had finished the recordings for Wishmaster and because of that it was much easier and more comfortable for us to start doing gigs again. Because of our somewhat shitty feelings during the recording sessions of Wishmaster, it turned out to be a damn dark and even scary album both musically and lyrically in my opinion." (Metal-Rules.com, June 2004)   Tuomas Holopainen: "I think that it pretty much came naturally, we just wanted to do a natural sequel to Oceanborn because I think that with this record we had found the style that we want to do. We wanted to improve everything, for I think that Oceanborn is a great record, but it lacks the good arrangements and at some point Tarja sings too high and things like that. So we only wanted to make things a little better and in my opinion that is just what happened." (Battlehelm interview, 2001)   "I guess the most memorable thing for me with Nightwish has been our gig in Tampere, Finland...which was filmed and came out as a DVD titled From Wishes to Eternity. Particularly that very moment when we all knew that it went just great and our label manager Ewo from Spinefarm Records brought us platinum albums (for the Wishmaster album!) to the stage. I think that's one of those very memorable and special moments for all of us in the band that we have acheived with Nightwish thus far. I have to admit some of us had tiny tears in our eyes because it was indeed kind of a 'touching moment', ya know? It was overall just an indescribable feeling." (Metal-Rules.com, March 2002)     Wishmaster would be the biggest test of the band's career. For despite all the happy times that came with their success, many unresolved conflicts were coming to a head. The 2001 release of their mini-EP Over the Hills and Far Away brought even more success and touring, but less time to focus on these issues. The result was the departure of bassist Sami Vanska, and the future of Nightwish was uncertain.   Tarja Turunen: "We had many music disagreements, and discussions started to appear. We tried to avoid them and talk to make things go better but Sami was who decided to leave the band. But he left it in a pacific way without problems." (Cursed With Oblivion, July 8th, 2002)   "At the time, I was in Germany and didn't know what the hell was going on, when somebody called me from Finland and told me that Tuomas wanted to end Nightwish. We all had a bad phase and I honestly don't know what went wrong. Maybe we were just tired from all the touring." (Terrorizer Magazine, December 2004)     However, a breakup wasn't necessary. It seemed that all Nightwish really needed was some new blood, which would be provided by Tarot bassist/vocalist Marco Hietala...   Marco Hietala: "Well I guess I started beating up my father's old acoustics when I was like 11 or 12. After I played for a couple of years, I got a personal tutor for a couple of years then went into musical college where I studied some musical theory and classical guitar. So there's the basic education I had, though I had some lessons after that, but it was some pop jazz concert stuff, which wasn't my thing anymore. I had an hour lesson a week, or a couple, and I kinda figured out that I figured out things faster than they could teach me. Then I just started playing with the bass and that sort." (Metal Underground, August 25th, 2004)   Tuomas Holopainen: "For me personally he was basically the only thinkable alternative to replace Sami because I expressly wanted to include some male voice for our next album in order to get some contrasts to Tarja's voice. I thought myself that the best alternative for us could be a guy who's an experienced musician in a band already; also for doing gigs with us. And to hire some guy for this slot only helping us out with gigs was out of question since at the earliest stage of my thoughts. And as I have always considered Marco as the best heavy metal vocalist as well as bassist in Finland, I wishfully asked if he would be interested in taking that vacancy in Nightwish permanently. He gave me his answer the way I was hoping for, and now he's our permanent vocalist/bassist in the band." (Metal-Rules.com, March 2002)     Now the band would take the new lineup into the studio to see if the magic was still there...   Tuomas Holopainen: "Definitely some sort of a pressure was haunting there behind my back all the time after the success of our previous album Wishmaster. That was haunting somewhere in the depths of my mind all the time, however I knew somehow that I could beat Wishmaster content-wise and make even a better album. I just had to think that I need to do better, catchier and greater songs than we had on Wishmaster. That was the only way to think for me really. You always try to push yourself towards even better and better things constantly and that's exactly what I did with the songs for our new album, I guess...When you write and compose new material, of course the main priority is to do it for yourself first and get pleased by it. You cannot think too much what your fans might think of your new stuff, 'cause in my opinion that's always a secondary thing. If they like it, then that's fine. But if they don't, well, it's not my headache a bit then, let it be then." (Metal-Rules.com, March2002)     All was well again in Nightwish camp, but the dark and gloomy sound of the album that would become Century Child almost seemed to belie the positive chemistry that was within the new line-up.   Tuomas Holopainen: "Every album I make is like a diary from my own life. I write about my feelings and things that happen to me or things that interest me at that point in my life. The first three albums were happier, there were a lot of fantasy things, historical and Biblical things. When I was writing Century Child, I had just had the worst year of my life personally so I just put all that shit into that album, and that's why it ended up being...I don't know if I should use the word dark, but a real dark album." (ProgPower interview, 2003)   "Ya know, we are all very ambitious musicians by our nature and a bunch of real perfectionists. We wanted to have a very 'big-sounding' album right from the very start, with pompous and epic-like atmospheres, ya know. I wanted Century Child to be like the biggest sounding, very variable heavy metal soundtrack album. That was my personal goal since the very beginning---no less than that. If you listen to our song "Wishmaster" off the previous Nightwish album Wishmaster, that song worked out kind of like as a good stepping stone for me for Century Child. I wanted to get the same type of epic-sounding thing for this new album as that particular song had. That was part of the reason why we took both the whole orchestra and the choir in for the recordings of Century Child. I wanted it to sound like 'a very ultimate thing', so we just kept pushing ourselves constantly towards that goal and I believe we acheived it as well. It was the main idea for all of us in the very beginning---I can confess it now." (Metal-Rules.com, March 2002)   Tarja Turunen: "Unfortunately I was sick and had no voice in the studio. Surely I wanted to give it my best. It was difficult for me because I sang in another way than on the old records." (Orkus Magazine, February 7th, 2003)     Century Child was a smash, achieving gold and platinum success in many countries. The band would even perform for the very first time in the United States, at the ProgPower festival. To strike the iron while it was hot, and to give the band enough space to have time for themselves before working on a new album, the band released another DVD, this time more personal and more detailed. The DVD's title was homage to the overall theme of the album: End of Innocence.   Tuomas Holopainen: "The whole thing was coincidence, to be honest. I mean what you see on the documentary is me and Jukka, talking to a guy who's writing a book about us. That's why we are so open. We never thought that this would end up being on the DVD, in a visual way. The author, he brought a cameraman with him, who filmed the whole thing. When I saw the footage and when the record label saw the footage, we thought that this would make a cool documentary, actually. It's all like a souvenir for the bandmembers. I could also imagine that it is boring as hell for people who don't know the band. Or who don't like the band. But for the fans, it's something really unique." (Cursed With Oblivion, May 12th, 2004)     Nightwish has not been a band known for resting on its laurels, so it was no surprise to anyone that shortly after the release of End of Innocence, word got out that they were going back into the studio at the end of the year to work on their fifth full-length album. They would be incorporating many new sounds into their already-varied style that had not been heard before. Each song delved into a new frontier musically for all members of the band. This exploration in experimentation would result in Once, their most ambitious album yet.   Marco Hietala: "...Because of all the variety and all the musical elements, different atmospheric things that we have on there due to the orchestration and choir stuff and all that. To some people it might even be scary...I was a bit scared myself! When we were still in rehearsal and demo stage I was thinking will this be too much?" (Pretties for You online magazine, April 2004)   Tarja Turunen: "With this album, I'm especially very excited about at the moment because of all Nightwish albums I'm personally most satisfied and happiest with Once so far. I would be lying if I said the band wouldn't think the same way. So yeah, I must say that I actually feel pretty confident about this album and hopefully our fans would like the album specifically. Now I feel like my voice on Once is as natural and relaxed as it can be in the first place and I don't sound 'forced' or 'artificial' as I partly tend to sound on previous albums. And this is actually what I tried to acheive for Nightwish albums for so many years already...I feel very comfortable with my vocals on Once for the very first time in Nightwish and that's the thing what really makes me happy." (Metal-Rules.com, June 2004)   Tuomas Holopainen: "At the moment, I'm very happy. The biggest dream for me to ever come true was when I had the final master copy of Once in my hands. When I heard it, I thought it really was the best effort that I could have done at that time. It was a big highlight for me last year to have the album finished, and to be that proud of it. From the fans' perspective, I think they had very high expectations from us on a musical level, so I really wanted to do my best, without any compromises. That's why we hired the best possible orchestra (who were the London Academy of St. Martin's in the Fields Orchestra) and choir that we could get. That was also the reason why I had (Native American) John Two-Hawks perform on "Creek Mary's Blood". We didn't want to make any compromises on Once. I also wanted to meet my own expectations. That to me is always the most important. It's always the quality of the music that matters to me. Of course we wanted to be able to top the previous album in sales too, and be able to tour some new places, which we had never been able to do before with that success. Fortunately, all that happened, so we couldn't be happier." (Metal Forge, February 24th, 2005)     Once ran the musical gamut, crossing over one musical barrier after the other with every song. It seemed there was something for everyone on this album. Techno-inspired rock songs such as "Wish I Had an Angel". A touch of what seemed the rap-rock element in "Romanticide". The marriage of Nightwish's bombastic sound to the powerful orchestra on songs like "Ghost Love Score" and "Planet Hell". A nod to their Finnish roots with lyrics in their mother tongue on "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan". Middle-Eastern influences on "The Siren". Undoubtedly, one of the most experimental songs on Once, however, was "Creek Mary's Blood", inspired by Native American culture and music. The song featured Native American musician John Two-Hawks, who not only played flute but also had a spoken part by translating a poem Tuomas wrote in English, to his native Lakota language.   Tuomas Holopainen: "I've always had this strange fascination for Indian culture and spirituality. He speaks a poem that was written by me in honor of his ancestors. I don't understand a word of what he's saying but I trust his translation skills." [laughs] (Metal Hammer magazine, May 2004)   John Two-Hawks: "...When Nightwish called and said that they wanted to do this and we heard the music and read the lyrics, I was excited because I thought this is fresh and a great opportunity to express the joining of two very different musical genres and kind of wrap them together in a braid. I think the end result is absolutely powerhouse, incredible." (Beyond Ear Candy, August 2004)     Even though the band had been taken on a musical journey like one they had never been on before, there was one element on Once that stayed close to their hearts, yet in many ways was another endeavor into musical horizons unknown. The final track, "Higher Than Hope", was written as a tribute to a dying Nightwish fan, Marc Brueland, who would fulfill his final wish to see the band perform live, but would not live to hear the song that his struggles had inspired, though his voice would live on as a spoken part within the song. This was without question one of their most emotional and personal songs ever. It combined beautifully the melodic melancholy and heroic bombast that encompasses Nightwish's music: a fitting tribute to a life lived and fought bravely, but gone all too soon.   Tuomas Holopainen: "Well, I'm very close with the whole family...We've grown to be really close and I followed his story for like 3 years altogether before he finally died so it was just something really touching and I just felt like I needed to make a song about this. He [Marco] did almost all the music. I did the lyrics and some of the music but it was the last song we did for this album and Marco came up with this song. By the demo I had these melodies and 'OK,' I said, 'it perfectly leads for the idea of these lyrics I have that I want to write about Marc Brueland.' So we just did it together and the result is what you get...I just thought that this would be the perfect immortalization of him to put his words on this part of the song. I really didn't want to make a heavy song part of his story and I didn't want to make a, like, cheesy ballad and this song that Marco had was perfect like in-between it's kind of like half-ballad, but has a really, really hard punch in it, so I think it fit perfectly." (Beyond Ear Candy, September 2004)     With an album as diverse as Once, it seemed only natural that the new sounds would take the band to new places. They would embark on their first tour in the United States in the summer of 2004, but not without its difficulties. But in typical Nightwish fashion, the rewards would be far sweeter than the toils once they finally did get acquainted with their American audience.   Marco Hietala: "...When we came to Atlanta and New York to play, our guys at management had an agency that helped us. We had to pay a certain amount of money per person and would help getting the people there faster. This time we got the papers forward between March and May. The agency said that it would be ready in about four or five months, they said it would be OK and they would come in time, but they didn't." (Metal Underground, August 25th, 2004)   Tuomas Holopainen: "I mean the reaction from the fans is close to what it would be in South America. They're really passionate, really wild over the music and we never really expected anything like this. I knew the sales were going pretty well. They even know the songs from the new album even though it's not released yet. I guess that they have some imports or something. I mean that's the biggest surprise; the fans, they're so nice, so passionate." (Beyond Ear Candy, September 2004)   Tarja Turunen: "There is no certain stereotype Nightwish fan. They vary from babies to grandpas. Actually it has been wonderful to find out, and then meet these people along the road." (Radio YLE-2, Finland)     Just when it seemed the Nightwish train could not possibly be stopped, Tuomas slammed on the brakes in the most unexpected way: moments after the final concert of the Once tour, a letter was delivered to Tarja from Tuomas and the other bandmembers, dismissing her from Nightwish and forever splitting the Nightwish community into two separate entities. Although it was Tarja getting the walking papers, it was clear that it was someone not even in the band that caused the rift...   Tuomas Holopainen: "It's not really Tarja that's the main problem, it's Marcelo, her husband. I think it's tragic that one of my best friends from elementary school has been brainwashed by an Argentinean mafia-dude. Marcelo is scary! He can talk you around his finger, and is a manipulator of another world[...]she's too good for this serpent!" (Scream, November 2005)   "This letter includes it all. I have to put it to the internet in a moment. My biggest wish is to continue Nightwish with a new singer. At the moment I'm not sure who this is going to be. I'm still shocked and the situation has to calm down first. Then we can go on planning the future. This decision is the biggest tragedy of my life."   "Actually I thought about disappearing from the scene and going on holiday but that would be the easy way out. I want to defend the band and I want to tell the true story. That's what I owe us and the fans. When you are on a stage you take responsibility. We never disappointed the fans, not even when we were ill or tired or just in a bad mood. Unfortunately Tarja had a different attitude towards this matter."   "I already suffered the whole year. It can't get any worse. Actually I'm really happy that I finally talked about all of this. At the moment I have a real chaos of feelings inside of me---it's a mixture of sadness, of hope and of relief. I'm sure that Tarja suffered from this situation as well. It's not easy for both of us and it won't be easy for a long time. But in spite of everything that happened I do not hate Tarja. I'm just completely disappointed. Nightwish will go on with a new singer and she will cause a stir with her solo-projects." (Rock Hard, December 2005)   Tarja Turunen: "I was naturally enough both shocked and surprised. I was shocked that I was left out there without a chance to defend myself. That's what stuck as the strongest and most bitter reaction. I could have understood the content of it a lot better if I'd been confronted with it face-to-face, and thereby had a chance to defend myself, and straightened out misunderstanding that lies behind it. I never got that opportunity, and that really hurts me. I didn't think I deserved such treatment after all of these years." (Scream, November 2005)   "There were many things that were very private, talks about my personality and me. In that letter, they try to put words in my mouth, thoughts in my head, and feelings in my heart without giving me a chance to talk or respond in any way. I need to face this situation now, as the Tarja I have been, and that Tarja I am and that is that person that is not accusing or attacking with anger. I cannot do that." (NightwishSpain.com press conference, November 14th, 2005)       Upon the break between Tarja and the members of Nightwish, they each went their separate ways: Tarja, to release a Christmas album to tide fans over as she made her much-anticipated solo album; and Nightwish, to find a new singer. To the fans, for whom obviously the recent events were a huge shock, they would at last see for themselves the bittersweet final moments of Nightwish when the DVD End of an Era was released, and learn every detail of their tumultuous relationship with Tarja when the long-awaited book Once Upon a Nightwish made its way to bookstore shelves.   Tuomas Holopainen: "When I saw the film for the first time, I had to forget all the negative aspects of what happened these last months. You can really see in the documentary that the band suffered, all suffered, so did she. We all say to ourselves, though we don't say anything, that it isn't happening. It's like a bad dream. We look depressed, tired, angry...you make out well on every member of the band's face the trial we are going through. But the band's identity in its whole still exists. We do form a band. If we search another positive aspect about what happened: the trial has brought us together. We four are united. We have a good basis for a new beginning and I never doubt for a single moment that this band have the future ahead of it."   "I've read it [the book] once and I insist on saying it's not an autobiography. It took the author four years for writing it and I have the feeling to be an interviewed person among dozens of others. We don't feel really concerned about this book but however, when I read it, I sometimes cried and even laughed...This book brought me back the whole lot of human feelings." (CryptoGoths, May 2006)     Once the world got over the initial shock of Tarja's departure, the next obvious questions were: who would the new singer be? Who could possibly replace Tarja? The band held an "open audition", inviting women from around the world to send in demo tapes and show if she had what it took to gain the most enviable, yet most difficult position: stepping up to the microphone and becoming the new frontwoman of Nightwish. The band would give the fans a tease by releasing the song "While Your Lips Are Still Red" as part of a Finnish movie soundtrack, with only Marco on vocals, but as far as who would take over as the new feminine voice of Nightwish, it remained one of the biggest mysteries on the current metal scene.   Tuomas Holopainen: "I know that there are a lot of people outside there who will never accept the new singer---no matter how talented and charismatic she will be. Our new frontwoman has to have the biggest self-confidence in the world because she will have the hardest job in the world. Everybody will talk at length about her and she will have to take a lot of criticism. Honestly said, I do not care if the next record will sell 50,000 or 1,000,000 times. The most important thing is that we get along with our new singer and that we can lead a normal band's life again as it used to be."   "The first demo I got one day after I published the letter on our homepage. Until now I received about 400 applications. Most of them are from Finland, Scandinavia, and Germany. I am still surprised about the amount of letters. I never thought so many women dare to follow in Tarja's footsteps." (Rock Hard, June 2006)       After over a year of endless speculation, countless auditions and many months of secretive silence, the band finally made their decision and in May 2007 the new singer would at last be revealed to the world: 36-year-old Swedish vocalist Anette Olzon, mother of one and former frontwoman of the band Alyson Avenue. Although Anette's demo tape was one of the first to reach the ears of Nightwish, the band would not instantly name her their new member. But Anette refused to take 'no' for an answer, because it appeared that from the start, music was her destiny...   Anette Olzon: "I've been singing my whole life and was born into a family of musicians where everyone from my mother's side has worked as a musician. My childhood was full of instruments, playing and singing. My mother is also a singer so I've toured with my parents in the tour bus ever since my early childhood. I started singing with a band when I was 13. [...] Then my mother got married for the second time for ten years. Her new husband had a son named Niklas and I went to sing some backing vocals to the demo of his band. I was seventeen at that time. That band was called Alyson Avenue. The boys of the band were so impressed with my voice that they asked me to join the band. At first the band also had a male vocalist who was later kicked out of the band so I had full control of the mic. I think it was the year '89. From that moment on Alyson Avenue kept rocking until things cooled down about two years ago." (Imperiumi.net interview, May 30th, 2007)   "I liked this music right from the beginning. But I never envisaged the fact that an e-mail with a positive reaction would arrive only a few days after I sent my application!" (Metal Hammer, July 2007)   "At first I felt like I should send them a demo even though I can't sing operatically. But then I thought, 'Nah, I'll pass.' The sound technician of Arrival ranted at me: 'But you must send them that demo, you have to send it right now!' After he had persuaded me for a while, I finally asked Niklas and the guitar player of Cloudscape if they could help me to record "Ever Dream". We recorded that one song in one day and sent it forward. I received e-mail from Tuomas almost instantly. He had liked my singing very much and asked me to send three songs more. I even sung "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan" as a bonus! I thought the band would make the decision quickly so I recorded this second demo in a hurry. I think it was January when Tuomas already had all the songs I'd recorded." (Imperiumi.net interview, May 30th, 2007)   "It wasn't really helpful that the whole band was watching me during the demo-recordings. But they were all really nice to me. Finally not only Nightwish have chosen me---I have chosen the band as well." (Metal Hammer, July 2007)   "Of course I can't please everyone and I'm not even going to try. But I think the band will now gain some new fans who haven't liked them before. Some just didn't like the opera-style vocals. If the band had chosen a new operatic singer, it could have been their doom because Tarja is so extremely good at what she does. Her sound can't be copied and it wouldn't make any sense to try. The change can be welcome as well." (Imperiumi.net interview, May 30th, 2007)   Tuomas Holopainen: "The uppermost feeling I have at the moment, is relief because we don't have to hide her anymore. And it must be a huge relief to her as well because like keeping her in a cave all the time, wasn't that much fun. But it was something that needed to be done. And now, we finished mixing the album last Friday so we have the album ready. She's out, so in that sense I feel really, really good. Also, the people, the band and the media have welcomed her in a really nice way. I personally expected 'the barbecue' to be much worse!" (Metal-Rules.com, May 31st, 2007)   "Anette convinced us right from the beginning both with her voice and her personality, but we absolutely wanted to play safe and took up a lot of time with the search and the decision. But all the others always had to compete with Anette who sent us one of the first applications. She was and is a real lucky choice." (Sonic Seducer, July 2007)       Now that the long wait was over and the era of Tarja firmly behind them, Nightwish turned the page and entered the next chapter of their career with Anette. The album Dark Passion Play was another peek into Tuomas' diary: the lyrics ranging from sadness and regret towards the split with Tarja on songs like "Bye Bye Beautiful"; anger towards the outside parties that caused the split on "Master Passion Greed", anticipation and hope for the future in songs like "Cadence of Her Last Breath". Again, the band brought back the orchestral sounds, and as usual, tried to bring new elements to the table, as if a brand-new voice wasn't enough for fans to digest. In unorthodox fashion, the album kicked off with the 14-minute opus "The Poet and the Pendulum", one of the most epic Nightwish songs ever written and lyrically, an emotional rollercoaster that laid it all out on the table and left no doubts to any listener as to what the past few years had been for Tuomas.   Tuomas Holopainen: "We recorded 15 songs altogether. Out of them 13 will end up on this new album. As far as differences go, I think the biggest difference is sitting here next to me, so it's the vocals. I mean, musically I don't think the album differs that much from Once. There's some new elements on this album---like there's Celtic instruments, there's a voice of sopranos, there's a gospel choir and all little details here and there. But the overall feeling that the songs have, is a natural sequel from what Once was. We didn't wanna do anything too radical because she is already a radical change to our sound."   "I try to think our songs like a soundtrack play. But the amount of material "The Poet and the Pendulum" has absorbed, with the orchestra and the choir, and there's the Celtic-fill, there's the voice of soprano, there's her singing and Marco's singing---and there's even Marco growling plus all the sound effects created by Mr. Jussi Tegelman in Hollywood. It's a really big song, I can tell." (Metal-Rules.com, May 31st, 2007)   Anette Olzon: "The soundscapes Tuomas makes make some of the songs really difficult. They are all difficult but some of them are so hard that you need to be an experienced singer to be able to sing them. I don't think I'd be able to sing them when I was 20. [...] The new album is not Once 2, it's something completely new. We've tried all kinds of stuff on the album, for example in this one horror movie song that Emppu made. It's a guitar song where everything, the melody, the rhythm of the lyrics and everything has been composed with a guitar. It's a really difficult way to make songs, I've tried it myself. For me it's much easier to compose melodies with keyboards." (Imperiumi.net interview, May 30th, 2007)   "I don't think that there's a generic storyline. All lyrics treat different subjects, although there might be certain similarities in some songs. It's a lot about emotions in 2005 when the band was going through a hard time and there was a lot of bitterness. Some songs are about certain Celtic things and cultures. [...] This is indeed very hard for me to answer, so I'll just give you my opinion as a listener. I think Dark Passion Play is a continuation of Once, which at that time was Nightwish's best album to date. Dark Passion Play is more bombastic with bigger orchestration and a lot of special instruments and even a gospel choir. Furthermore I also think that Tuomas has even more matured as a songwriter." (Lords of Metal, September 2007)     So now that the hype and excitement had lulled and the album officially released, it was time for Nightwish to take their new lineup on the road and introduce Anette to the sometimes-overzealous fans, many of whom were still loyal to Tarja. Sometimes it would not be easy. To show that the Nightwish past was not fading away, at the same time as Dark Passion Play hit store shelves, Tarja released her highly anticipated solo album, My Winter Storm, only garnering comparisons between the two vocalists all the more. Anette would be met with both praise and criticism everywhere she went. While Anette's cheery, bubbly personality was a stark contrast to the aloof Tarja, even the most upbeat people have their rough moments and it would come out at a gig in Brazil, when Anette walked offstage (later stating that she was affected by the onstage smoke machines) and sparked rumors that are still being debated to this day...   Anette Olzon: "I'm certainly not going to try and imitate here, because she [Tarja] was so damn good. Furthermore, our voices are very different and I'm my own person so it's really no use to try that. I'm practicing the songs at home already and a lot of the old material also suits my voice quite well, it will only sound a bit different because of my distinct style. I've got more of a rock voice than Tarja."   "We talked about this and I'm sure that things like this will happen during the tour. Actually there's no good solution for coping with this. I'm just gonna keep my head up high and hope that those people will adjust. Other bands have succeeded in replacing their lead vocalist too so why shouldn't Nightwish be capable of doing that?" (Lords of Metal, September 2007)   Tuomas Holopainen: "We scheduled 160 gigs for the first year and it might be overmuch. We made this decision because we just couldn't hold it back, we wanted to get out there and perform. We had a new vocalist and a new album, and we wanted to see if we could make it. We couldn't hold ourselves back from touring. We wanted to see the reactions, to understand if we won the bet or lost it. The truth is that the very first months of the tour were amazing..."   "But, for sure, this was just the visible reason during a period which was very difficult for us. And it's totally reasonable. People break down, it happens. But the smoke-machine is not the only reason. We were all tired, we were jaded. We were nervous and fed up. Especially Anette, it was unfamiliar for her all that. We dropped her into the ocean and she made it really well. Lots of times we said to each other, 'I would never expect she could hold on for so long!' But she did. She disproved all the predictions. She made it very well with such a long tour, and she had a lot of times the crowd against her. Her breakdown at the end was normal. And let me tell you, during that gig, there were guys with middle fingers in front of her who were shouting many things...If you keep in mind all that, you can't be surprised with the incident." (Metal Hammer (Greek version), March 2009)     As the Dark Passion Play tour rolls on for what will be over 2 years by the time it makes its final curtain call later this year, all the ups and downs of the tour will be chronicled in the DVD Made in Hong Kong (And Various Other Places). But once the tour is over and the band returns to their everyday lives, what then? What does the future of Nightwish hold?   Tuomas Holopainen: "I have plenty of material for the new album. I think the stuff is typical Nightwish, but there are new elements as well. We have booked the training local for two months in the spring 2010 and then we will begin work with the album. I imagine that it will be released in the end of 2010 or early 2011." (Stara interview, March 5th, 2009)   "I have already started preparing some things. We have much time to work on the new album though. When this all comes to an end, we have to meet each other and discuss, to see who wants to stay in the band and who don't. I hope everybody in the band understood that too." (Metal Hammer (Greek version), March 2009)     ...But no matter what may happen in the future, no matter what turmoils the band has endured, no matter whether it is Tarja or Anette out in front, it is clear that through the ups and downs of Nightwish's career, they have made their mark on the music world, and they have won the respect of many all over the world, fans and fellow colleagues alike.   Peter Buck (of R.E.M.): "Too bad that the schedule is so tight, that I hardly have any time to visit a record store. When we came yesterday from the airport to the city I heard a really interesting song on the radio. It was the Finnish band Nightwish. The thought of mixing heavy metal and opera doesn't seem very exciting, but the band sounded really great. If I have time, I'll go to the record store and buy their album." (Rocket 95.3 FM, Stockholm, Sweden, November 2003)   Tony Kakko (of Sonata Arctica): "I'm not as deep as Tuomas when it comes to songwriting. I'm trying to live my personal life along with my musical one; I try to mix them equally. With Tuomas, in my opinion, it's more like...music with you is an on/off thing. You're totally into it or completely not into it, and with me it's a constant thing but not nearly as deep as it is with you [Tuomas]." (Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles Magazine)   Simone Simons (of Epica): "I am in Epica because of Nightwish, when I discovered Nightwish I knew that that was what I wanted to do." (Heavy Law metal webzine, 2004)   John Two-Hawks: "What I really loved about Nightwish's music was that they were passionate. When I read the lyrics, which I understand Tuomas writes, I thought, 'Here's a guy writing with passion!' The music is also incredibly ingenious and passionate. You can tell just by listening to the music that it says something, it means something. I like when the listener has to think and Tuomas makes you think with his writing. He writes in a way that makes you have to dig a little bit. The lyrics in the song "Creek Mary's Blood"; oh, they mean something. What he wrote really comes from his heart." (Beyond Ear Candy, August 2004)     Did the members of Nightwish "ever dream" themselves how far this mere "acoustic mood music project" would take them? Perhaps the answer can be found within their own Finnish modesty...   Tuomas Holopainen: "We've accomplished a lot but the hunger grows all the time. So there still are millions wishes to be fulfilled." (Battlehelm interview, 2001)     Pictures provided courtesy of Nightwish France with permission.

    Links from OSA

    Nightwish-related sites: 

    http://www.nightwish.com/
    The official website of Nightwish.  

    http://www.tarjaturunen.com/
    The official website of former Nightwish frontwoman, Tarja Turunen.  

    http://www.ultimatemetal.com/forum/nightwish-unofficial-463/
    The Oceansouls of America message board.  

    http://www.nwshop.fi/
    Your online shop for official Nightwish merchandise!  

    http://www.nightwish-world.com/
    Make contact with other Nightwish fans around the world.  

    http://www.nightwish-bibliotheca.com/
    Your source for Nightwish interviews, articles and other archives.  

    http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/
    Official website for the U.S. record label of Nightwish.  

    http://www.enterthevault.com/
    Purchase tickets for your next Nightwish concert!  

    http://www.ticketmaster.com/
    Another great source for Nightwish tickets!  

    http://www.bazillionpoints.com/
    Purchase the book Once Upon a Nightwish from this site and receive a limited edition Nightwish pin!  

    http://www.rockabilia.com/
    For all your Nightwish merchandise needs, based right here in the U.S.    

    Nightwish fan clubs around the world:
      

    http://www.nightwish.fr/
    French fan club  

    http://www.ever-dream.de/
    German fan club  

    http://www.nightwish-japan.com/
    Japanese fan club  

    http://www.oceansouls.nazwa.pl/
    Polish fan club  

    http://www.nightwishtr.com/
    Turkish fan club  

    http://www.darkpassionsite.es.kz/
    Spanish fan club  

    Friends of OSA:  

    http://www.soniccathedral.com/
    Looking for bands similar to Nightwish or just like the female voice in metal? Look no further!  

    http://www.beyondearcandy.com/

    Showcasing metal music of all kinds from around the world.  

    http://www.risingforcesusa.com/
    Focusing on up-and-coming metal bands from the U.S.  

    http://www.johntwohawks.com/
    The official website of Lakota musician John Two-Hawks, guest flutist/vocalist on the Nightwish song "Creek Mary's Blood".  

    http://www.anetteolzonitalia.com/
    Italian fansite for Anette Olzon (page is in Italian language).

    Interview with Nightwish 55

    Source: Nightwish World, Nightwish France

    Interview with Tuomas at Paris, Le Zénith, on Tuesday March 24th, 2009.

    Elise : With the hindsight, how did you like the first shows of this leg of the tour ?
    Tuomas : Really good, really, really good. This tour has been the most relaxing and easiest in many ways. London was a blast; every single show of this tour has been really good. Mainly because we had a long break so everybody got a chance to build up their energy levels back to a normal state, and also we have a new set up onstage, some new songs and now we have Troy with us so it’s something really special for us as well.


    Nicolas :  So no pressure ?

    Tuomas : Pressure? Not anymore, no. A little excitement before every show of course but, you know, the fear of dying has passed.

    Nicolas : About the new songs, can you tell us why you chose these? Was it a popular demand or your own choice ?
    Tuomas :  It was our own choice. Actually, Romanticide is Anette’s favorite and that was her request, she wanted to do that and we said “ok, we’ll give it a shot”. Ghost Love Score was my personal favorite but she had prejudices about that song, she was scared because it’s so Tarja-related, but she’s doing it really well. And then, Escapist was a common decision, we all like that song and wanted to play it live. It didn’t fit the album but it’s a nice treat. And Dead Boy’s Poem is just for good old times’ sake. And the new intro it was an obvious thing because Troy Donockley has this song on his solo album, he has recorded Finlandia. Finlandia is almost a national anthem of Finland. It’s composed by John Sibelius, he’s our most well-known classical composer and it’s a song that everybody knows in Finland, it’s like a national anthem for us.

    Nicolas : Why don’t you want to play the end of Dead Boy’s Poem ?
    Tuomas : I never liked the ending, I don’t know why. That’s the only reason. I think it just works fine like that, and we extended the guitar solo. It’s just an arrangement that we all like.

    Guillaume : Paris is the only city where you play two times in a row. Why Paris ?
    Tuomas : Because of the popular demand, I guess. Yesterday’s show was sold out pretty quick so they wanted to have another day, that’s fine by me. If people want to come and see us we’re just flattered.

    Nicolas : In an interview, you said you had plans with some side projects, can you tell us more about them ?
    Tuomas : “Side Project” maybe is a bad term. I’ve been doing a couple of songs for some other artists in Finland, then I have this little movie project going on, this kind of stuff but they told me not to talk about them so I have to keep my word. But there are some little things going on beside Nightwish all the time as well. But nothing that big, I wouldn’t call them “side projects”. And also, I’ve been working with Indica for the past half a year: we’ve just finished the English album about a month ago and that has taken a lot of my time, but it’s a fun thing to do.


    Elise :  You rearranged Vuorien Taa but did you rearrange other songs as well ?
    Tuomas : 
    Yeah we took the old songs and rewrote them a little bit. Some songs changed quite a bit, some songs didn’t change at all. And for 4 songs on the album, we went to London, we used the same orchestra as we used for Nightwish, The London Session Orchestra and Pip Williams did the arrangements for the girls as well. And there’s the same choir and Troy is playing some pipes in one of the songs.

    Elise :  Were there some songs that you rehearsed with Anette that didn’t make it to the shows ?
    Tuomas : Actually no. At some point we tried Elvenpath but it just didn’t work, for some reason I don’t know, but that’s the only one. And there are some songs that we totally dropped out like we’re never going to play Bye Bye Beautiful again, that’s for sure. Because it feels so corny, because of the lyrical content of that song and we’ve played that song again and again so it’s dead and buried.

    Elise : Is there any chance that you’ll play Erämaan Viimeinen with Jonsuu ?
    Tuomas : Yeah there were some talks about that but I don’t know, we’ll see. There’s a possibility and actually she told us that she would like to do it.


    Elise : What about tonight ?

    Tuomas : No, we have never rehearsed it, we have never ever played it together so it would take a lot of practice but maybe. But it works so nicely with Troy as well, so…

    Nicolas : And Anette doesn’t want to sing Follow Me with Pain ?
    Tuomas : I don’t know, maybe she will at some point.

    Nicolas :  Will Troy be there for the whole tour ?
    Tuomas : Yes, for the whole European Tour.


    Nicolas : Crimson Tide is over ?

    Tuomas : Yes Crimson Tide is over for now.


    Nicolas : Why did you choose to play it again because you used it for the Wishmastour initially ?

    Tuomas :  Well this tour is called “European Déjà Vu Tour”, that’s why. That’s why we brought back Dead Boy’s Poem and the old stuff, and I still think it’s the best intro we ever had.

    Guillaume : Did you choose to be the one in the boat, as the captain of the band ?
    Tuomas : It was actually our pyro technician’s idea: “we need to put you into a boat”. And the whole idea of the nautical, the ocean theme, came from him: “let’s put an anchor, a boat and some rocks” but it was not my idea to be in a boat in the first place. I enjoy being there because I can always hide, when I go down, nobody sees me and I can drink my wine.

    Elise :  You didn’t play the “The Piano” theme last night, and even on Made In Hong Kong, is it a copyright issue ?
    Tuomas :  No, it’s not, it’s just because now we have Troy here and it’s his solo part. When Troy is not there I always play it.


    ------ Some other questions... --------


    Nicolas : What are the first things that come to your mind when you hear the word “France” ?

    Tuomas : Disneyland Paris, wine, this hat that people wear…beret! Baguette, Thierry Henry, World Cup champions of 2004 or 2000… oh 98 yes. And Asterix, I love it, I have every album! And I’ve never been to the amusement park but I’ve heard of it. And also I have to mention quite rude waiters in restaurants ; maybe it’s a cultural thing !

    Elise : Do you know any French artists ?
    Tuomas :
    Mylène Farmer. I have a DVD, it’s one of the best DVDs I’ve ever seen. I’m not so much into the music but the whole set up and everything is “waow”.

    Guillaume : What bands or albums have you been listening to lately ?
    Tuomas : A lot of Indica, through the past year because of this producing thing, I really try to go into the songs. Also, a lot of soundtracks, a lot of James Newton Howard lately. The new Delain is really good, I just got the CD a few days ago when I met the guys in Rotterdam. So that have been the albums that I’ve been listening to the most during the past weeks.

    Guillaume : What’s the last concert you’ve been to as a member of the audience ?
    Tuomas : I went to see Sabaton in Helsinki, I loved it. It’s like really traditional Swedish power metal, with a good attitude and a big smile on their faces, a wonderful band! And I will see AC/DC in June in Helsinki, that’s going to be a blast.

    Elise : What’s the last book you’ve read ?
    Tuomas : Insomnia by Stephen King. It had been the only book by him I had not read. I read it all. And I think that’s probably the worst Stephen King I’ve read. It was still ok but to his standards it wasn’t that good.

    Elise : What’s the last piece of news that surprised you in any way ?
    Tuomas : Well this morning I was in the headline in the Finnish tabloids again. The headline was like: “I have a bad self-esteem and I’m the most unsexy person in the world” (laughter) They sure know how to put on those titles.


    Elise : Do you react to that, write to the paper ?

    Tuomas : No, never. It’s no use.

    Nicolas : What’s your favorite expression or phrase, something you’ve been saying a lot lately ?
    Tuomas : [Something Finnish]: “I don’t fucking care”. But that don’t mean that I don’t care, it’s just a phrase that we use, for example “what’s your opinion about this?” “[Finnish phrase]”.

    Nicolas : If you could be anyone in the world for one day, who would it be ?
    Tuomas : (long pause) I’d like to be the Beast, from Beauty and the Beast, because Belle is my all time favorite character in my little day-dream so I wouldn’t mind changing places with the Beast for one day.


    ------ About the others members of the band -------


    Elise : What are their strengths onstage ?

    Tuomas : Emppu’s always happy. I don’t know how he does it but he’s always happy. Even if he has a bad day he gets a smile and gives energy to the others. Anette is a perfectionist; she really really gives her everything and never leaves anything half-way so she’s really strict about her physical condition. I would say the same for Jukka, he’s always like that, he always has the energy. And Marco is a natural phenomenon because even though he’s sick, he has a hangover or he feels bad for some reason, he always puts it up perfectly. I don’t know how the hell he does it. I’ve never heard him sing a wrong note no matter how bad of a day he has.

    Elise :  What are their strengths offstage ?
    Tuomas : Just the best of friends, all of them.

    Nicolas : What are their favorite phrases ?
    Tuomas : A lot of Finnish and Swedish swearing and “what time should we open the bottle tonight?” which is agreed on 8:30 pm for tonight.

    Guillaume : If you were in their shoes for a day, what would you do ?
    Tuomas : I think that would be a really good chance to really see how they feel about being in this band, and how they feel about me as the band leader so I would really check their inner thoughts to find out because I honestly don’t know.

    Guillaume : Would you like to play their instruments ?
    Tuomas : No… I love my piano and my keyboard. I leave the playing to those who actually can play their instruments.


    Nicolas : No singing ? =)

    Tuomas : No ! (Laughter) Not ever. Actually I sang two lines on the new English Indica album, I sang background “oohhh”. You can actually hear it, it’s so loud on the album. But I don’t like to sing, I just don’t enjoy the idea of singing, that’s the problem.

    Elise : What are their best feature and biggest flaw ?
    Tuomas : For Anette I would say her perfectionism is a virtue as well as a flaw; she’s sometimes really annoying because everything needs to be perfect. Jukka is the hard worker of the band, he keeps this whole organization together, the financial stuff, which I could never ever do. His biggest flaw is that he’s also really strict and perfectionist. Sometimes it’s hard with him about that sort of stuff because he’s so “this thing needs to be done like this, that’s all”. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s a flaw. Marco is the most loyal person in the world and a really sensitive guy so if I need somebody to talk to in the band, it would be him, he’s the first choice. He has a big shoulder you can lean on. And his flaws…I don’t know. He’s getting old, I don’t know if he can take this for many more years (laughter). (In the microphone) I’m sorry, that was a joke! And Emppu: he’s like Marco, he’s the friend you need. He’s always the one who asks “are you okay? Everything’s okay ? You want to talk about something ?” so he’s really empathetic. But he’s also probably the most absent minded person I know. If we don’t practice some songs for a week he forgets them and he can’t remember what he has said the day before, he can tell the same joke again and again so he’s really absent minded, but in a cute way.

    Elise : What about you? What are your flaws and best features ?
    Tuomas : Erf, you need to ask somebody else ! I think I’m kind, I try to be good to people and I’m also creative, and empathetic. But I’m also really impatient: I want everything right here and right now, I can’t wait. And I’m also quite selfish for some things.


    In French...

    Interview réalisée au Zénith de Paris, le mardi 24 Mars 2009.

    Elise : Avec le recul, comment as-tu trouvé les premiers concerts de cette nouvelle tournée ?

    Tuomas : Très bien, vraiment très bien. Cette tournée à été la plus relaxante et la plus facile pour plusieurs raisons. Le concert à Londres était génial ; chaque concert de cette tournée était vraiment bien. Principalement parce que nous avons fait une grande pause donc tout le monde a pu retrouver toute son énergie, et nous avons aussi un nouveau décor, de nouvelles chansons et puis Troy est avec nous maintenant ce qui compte beaucoup pour nous.


    Nicolas : Pas de pression donc ?

    Tuomas : De pression ? Non, plus maintenant. Nous avons une petite appréhension avant chaque concert, bien-sûr mais la peur de mourir est passée. (rires)


    Nicolas: Concernant les nouvelles chansons, peux-tu nous dire pourquoi vous avez choisi celles-ci ? Etait-ce pour répondre à une demande ou était-ce votre propre choix ?
    Tuomas :
    C’était notre choix. En fait, Romanticide est la chanson préférée d’Anette donc c’était une demande à elle, elle voulait le faire alors on a dit « ok, on va essayer ». Ghost Love Score était ma chanson préférée à moi mais Anette avait des aprioris concernant cette chanson, elle avait peur parce que cette chanson est fortement attachée à l’image de Tarja, mais elle la chante très bien au final. Et puis, Escapist est une décision commune, nous aimons tous cette chanson et voulions la jouer en concert. Elle ne convenait pas à l’album mais c’est une chanson très sympa. Dead Boy’s Poem c’est juste en souvenirs du bon vieux temps. Pour ce qui est de la nouvelle intro, c’était un choix évident puisque Troy Donockley la joue sur son album solo. Finlandia est presque un hymne national pour la Finlande. Elle est composée par John Sibelius qui est notre compositeur classique le plus connu et c’est une chanson que tout le monde connait en Finlande.

    Nicolas : Pourquoi ne jouez-vous pas la fin de Dead Boy’s Poem ?
    Tuomas : Je n’ai jamais aimé la fin, je ne sais pas pourquoi. C’est la seule raison. Je trouve que ça fonctionne très bien comme nous la jouons et puis nous avons rallongé le solo de guitare. C’est simplement un arrangement que nous aimons tous.

    Guillaume : Paris est la seule ville où vous jouez deux soirs de suite. Pourquoi Paris ?
    Tuomas : A cause de la demande, j’imagine. Le concert d’hier a été complet assez rapidement alors ils voulaient une deuxième date, ça me convient très bien. Si les gens veulent venir nous voir nous sommes flattés.

    Nicolas : Dans une interview, tu as dis que tu avais des side-projects, peux-tu nous en dire plus ?
    Tuomas 
    : “Side-projects” n’est peut-être pas le bon terme. J’ai fait quelques chansons pour d’autres artistes en Finlande, puis j’ai un petit projet en cours concernant un film, ce genre de choses, mais ils m’ont dit de ne pas en parler alors je dois tenir parole. Mais je fais toujours des choses en dehors de Nightwish. Rien de très important, cependant, je n’appellerai donc pas cela des “side-projects”. J’ai aussi travaillé avec Indica ces six derniers mois : nous avons fini l’album anglais il y a un mois et cela a pris beaucoup de mon temps, mais c’est amusant à faire.


    Elise : Vous avez retravaillé Vuorien Taa mais avez-vous retravaillé d’autres chansons également ?

    Tuomas : Oui, nous avons repris les vieilles chansons et les avons réécrites. Certaines chansons ont pas mal changé, d’autres n’ont pas changé du tout. Pour 4 chansons, nous sommes allés à Londres, nous avons utilisé le même orchestre que celui que nous avions utilisé pour Nightwish, le London Session Orchestra, et c’est aussi Pip Williams qui s’est occupé des arrangements pour les filles. Il y a aussi le même chœur et Troy joue de la cornemuse sur un des titres.

    Elise : Aviez-vous répété des chansons avec Anette qui n’ont finalement pas été choisies pour la tournée ?
    Tuomas : En fait non. A un moment, nous avons essayé Elvenpath mais ça ne fonctionnait pas pour je ne sais quelle raison, et ce fut la seule. Il y a des chansons que nous avons complètement laissées de coté. Nous ne rejouerons jamais Bye Bye Beautiful, par exemple, c’est certain. Parce que ça fait trop rebattu, à cause des paroles et nous l’avons jouée soirs après soirs alors elle est morte et enterrée.

    Elise : Est-ce que vous jouerez Erämaan Viimeinen avec Jonsuu ?
    Tuomas : Nous en avons parlé mais je ne sais pas, nous verrons. C’est une possibilité et elle nous a même dit qu’elle aimerait le faire.


    Elise : Ce soir, par exemple ?
    Tuomas :
    Non, nous ne l’avons jamais répétée, nous ne l’avons jamais jouée ensemble alors nous aurions besoin de la travailler. Mais ça rend tellement bien avec Troy aussi…

    Nicolas : Et Anette ne veut pas chanter Follow Me avec Pain ?
    Tuomas :
    Je ne sais pas, elle le fera peut-être un jour.

    Nicolas : Est-ce que Troy sera avec vous pour toute la tournée ?
    Tuomas :
    Oui, toute la tournée européenne.


    Nicolas : Vous ne jouerez plus Crimson Tide, donc ?

    Tuomas : Non, on arrête Crimson Tide pour l’instant.


    Nicolas : Pourquoi aviez-vous décidé de la rejouer ?

    Tuomas : Parce que cette tournée s’appelle « European Déjà Vu Tour ». C’est aussi la raison pour laquelle nous rejouons Dead Boy’s Poem et les autres vieilles chansons et je pense toujours que c’est la meilleure introduction que nous avons eue.


    Guillaume : Est-ce que c’est toi qui as choisi d’être dans le bateau, comme tu es le capitaine du groupe ?

    Tuomas : C’était une idée de notre pyrotechnicien : « il faut qu’on te mette dans un bateau ». Et toutes les idées sur le thème de l’océan viennent de lui : « mettons une ancre, un bateau et des rochers ». Mais ce n’était pas mon idée d’être dans le bateau. J’aime bien y être parce que je peux m’y cacher, quand je me baisse personne ne peut me voir et je peux boire ma bouteille de vin.

    Elise : Tu n’as pas joué le theme de “The Piano” hier soir, ni sur Made in Hong Kong, est-ce à cause d’un problème de droits?
    Tuomas :
    Non, c’est juste parce que nous avons Troy avec nous et que c’est la partie où il fait son solo. Quand Troy n’est pas là je le joue toujours.


    ------ 2e partie de l'interview : questions hors actualité, plus décalées ------


    Nicolas: Quelles sont les choses qui te viennent à l’esprit lorsque tu entends le mot “France” ?
    Tuomas : Disneyland Paris, le vin, ce chapeau que les gens portent… le béret ! La baguette, Thierry Henry, les champions de la Coupe du Monde de 2004 ou 2000… ah, 98, oui. Et Astérix, j’adore, j’ai toutes les BD ! Je ne suis jamais allé au parc mais j’en ai entendu parlé. Et il faut aussi que je mentionne les serveurs malpolis dans les restaurants, c’est peut-être culturel !

    Elise : Connais-tu des artistes français ?
    Tuomas : Mylène Farmer. J’ai un DVD d’elle, c’est un des meilleurs DVD que j’ai vu. Je n’aime pas tant la musique mais le décor et l’ensemble du DVD est « waow ».

    Guillaume : Quels groupes ou albums écoutes-tu souvent ces derniers temps ?
    Tuomas : J’ai beaucoup écouté Indica cette année à cause de mon travail de production, j’essaie de bien m’imprégner des chansons. J’ai aussi écouté beaucoup de musiques de films, beaucoup de James Newton Howard dernièrement. Le nouveau Delain est très bon, on m’a donné le CD il y a quelques jours seulement lorsque j’ai rencontré les membres à Rotterdam. Voilà les albums que j’ai écoutés ces dernières semaines.

    Guillaume: Quel est le dernier concert que tu aies vu ?
    Tuomas : J’ai vu Sabaton à Helsinki et j’ai adoré. Ils jouent un power métal traditionnel de Suède, avec une bonne humeur et un grand sourire sur le visage, un groupe merveilleux ! Et je vais aller voir AC/DC en Juin à Helsinki, ça va être génial.

    Elise : Quel est le dernier livre que tu aies lu ?
    Tuomas : Insomnie de Stephen King. C’était son seul livre que je n’avais pas encore lu. J’ai lu tous les autres. Et je pense que c’est probablement le pire Stephen King que j’ai pu lire. Il n’était pas mauvais mais comparé à ce à quoi il nous habitue, il n’était pas terrible.

    Elise: Quelle est la dernière information que tu aies lue ou vue dans un journal qui t’as surpris ?
    Tuomas : Ce matin j’étais encore à la une d’un journal people finlandais. Le titre disait : « J’ai une mauvaise estime de moi-même et je suis la personne la moins sexy au monde” (rires). Ils savent y faire avec leurs titres…


    Elise : Est-ce que tu réagis à ce genre de choses, est-ce que tu écris au journal ?

    Tuomas : Non, jamais, ça ne sert à rien.

    Nicolas : Quelle est ton expression préférée en ce moment ?
    Tuomas : [Dit quelque chose en Finnois] : « J’en ai rien à foutre ». Mais ça ne veut pas dire que je m’en moque, c’est juste une expression que nous utilisons. Par exemple : “Que penses-tu de ça?” “[Expression finlandaise]”.

    Nicolas : Si tu pouvais être quelqu’un d’autre pour un jour, qui choisirais-tu d’être ?
    Tuomas : (longue pause) J’aimerais être la Bête de la Belle et la Bête, parce que Belle est mon personnage préféré depuis toujours dans mes petits rêves éveillés alors ça ne me dérangerait pas d’échanger ma place avec la Bête pour un jour.


    ------ Interview à propos des autres membres du groupe ------


    Elise: Quelles sont leurs forces sur scène?
    Tuomas : Emppu est toujours heureux. Je ne sais pas comment il fait mais il est toujours heureux. Même s’il passe une mauvaise journée il a le sourire et donne de l’énergie aux autres. Anette est perfectionniste : elle donne vraiment tout ce qu’elle a et ne laisse pas les choses inachevées ; elle est donc très stricte en ce qui concerne ses conditions physiques. Je dirais la même chose pour Jukka : il est toujours comme ça, il a toujours de l’énergie. Et Marco est un phénomène parce que même s’il est malade, même s’il a la gueule de bois ou qu’il se sent mal pour quelque raison que ce soit, il se débrouille toujours parfaitement. Je ne sais pas comment il se démmerde. Je ne l’ai jamais entendu faire une fausse note, même s’il a vécu la pire des journées.


    Elise : Quelles sont leurs forces en dehors de la scène ?

    Tuomas : Ce sont tout simplement les meilleurs amis, tous.

    Nicolas : Quelles sont leurs expressions préférées ?
    Tuomas : Beaucoup de gros mots finlandais et suédois. Et puis « à quelle heure on débouche la bouteille ce soir ? » et nous nous sommes mis d’accord sur 20h30 ce soir.

    Guillaume : Si tu pouvais être eux pour une journée, que ferais-tu ?
    Tuomas : Je crois que ce serait une bonne occasion de connaitre leurs vrais sentiments sur le groupe et sur moi en tant que leader du groupe. Je regarderais leurs pensées profondes pour savoir parce qu’honnêtement, je ne les connais pas.


    Guillaume : Aimerais-tu jouer de leurs instruments ?

    Tuomas : Non… j’aime mon piano et mon clavier. Je laisse leurs instruments à ceux qui savent vraiment en jouer.

    Nicolas : Tu ne chanterais pas ? =)
    Tuomas : Non ! (rires). Jamais de la vie. En fait j’ai chanté deux lignes sur le nouvel album anglais d’Indica, j’ai chanté les chœurs : « ooooohhh ». Ca s’entend bien, c’est très fort sur l’album. Mais je n’aime pas chanter, l’idée même de chanter ne me plait pas, c’est le problème.

    Elise : Quels sont leurs qualités et leurs défauts?
    Tuomas: En ce qui concerne Anette, je dirais que son perfectionnisme est autant une vertu d’un défaut, elle est parfois énervante parce que tout doit être parfait. Jukka est le travailleur du groupe, il fait en sorte de tout organiser, les choses financières, ce que je ne pourrais jamais faire moi. Son plus grand défaut est qu’il est aussi très stricte et perfectionniste. C’est parfois difficile parce qu’il est très « ça doit être fait comme ça et c’est tout ». Parfois c’est bien, parfois c’est un défaut. Marco est la personne la plus loyale au monde et c’est un mec sensible donc si j’ai besoin de parler à quelqu’un du groupe c’est lui, c’est mon premier choix. Il a une large épaule sur laquelle tu peux t’appuyer. Et ses défauts… Je ne sais pas. Il vieillit, je ne sais pas s’il pourra continuer pendant de nombreuses années (rires). (Dans le micro : ) Je suis désolée, c’était une blague ! Et Emppu: il est comme Marco, c’est l’ami qu’il te faut. C’est toujours lui qui demande « Ca va ? Tout va bien ? Tu veux parler de quelque chose ? », il est très empathique.  Mais c’est surement la personne la plus tête-en-l’air que je connaisse. Si on ne répète pas certaines chansons pendant une semaine il les oublie et il ne se rappelle pas de ce qu’il te dit d’un jour à l’autre, il peut te répéter la même blague encore et encore. Il est donc très tête-en-l’air, mais c’est mignon.

    Elise: Et toi? Quels sont tes qualités et tes défauts ?
    Tuomas : Il faut demander à quelqu’un d’autre ! Je pense que je suis gentil, j’essaie d’être bon avec les autres et je suis aussi créatif et empathique. Mais je suis aussi très impatient : je veux tout ici et maintenant, je ne sais pas attendre. Et je suis aussi assez égoïste pour certaines choses.


    Jukka's family

    Source: 1, 2

    Nightwish photos

    Source: Hyves


    Anette's Songbird tattoo

    Source: Hyves


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