Interview with Nightwish 112

Source: Metal Hammer
(Greek version)
Mars 2009

Nightwish keyboardist and mastermind, Tuomas Holopainen, shares with us thoughts and confessions, with a shocking honesty. But, anyway, don’t be hurry to forejudge anything

Journalist: So, eventually, women are a big trouble, aren’t they?
Tuomas: (laughing) I won’t blame anyone who’s gonna say that referring to Nighwish.

J: But you push your luck too! Touring for 2 years? With a new member?
T: Yes, you’re right. To be honest, I confess, this decision was wrong. We scheduled 160 gigs for the first year and it might be overmuch. We made this decision because we couldn’t just hold it back, we wanted to get out there and perform. We had a new vocalist and a new album, we had been working very hard, we wanted to see if we could make it. We couldn’t hold back ourselves 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…

J: Where are you now?
T: I’m in Helsinki. We returned home but I haven’t been yet to my hometown. I live in Kitee, you know, it’s a place far away from here, close to Russian borders.

J: Are you alone there or with the other members of the band?
T: I’m all alone. The other guys are already to their families and occupy with their own matters. We need that more than anything else.

J: Are you in touch or you belong to this category of musicians who’s getting of the hook of each other?
T: No, we’re not like this, we are a family. We communicate all the time, SMS, calls…

J: What are you doing when you get home?
T: See my beloved ones, family and friends. Work on music stuff, not on Nightwish but on my own side-projects.

J: So you have any side-projects?
T: Yes. So do Marco and Emppu. At this moment, Marco is on tour for Tarot’s DVD.

J: Do you want to speak about your side-projects?
T: No, I can’t reveal anything. You’ll find it out on time. I am sorry, but really it’s impossible.

J: Ok. Are you in touch with Anette? She’s in Sweden, I guess, with her son…
T: Yes, she’s there. She needed to be there. She’s resting.

J: The tour will carry out?
T: Of course. At the moment, we are taking just a 3-month break. Next month we will take again to the roads. The tour ends in the middle of May but we arranged some summer festivals too.

J: So, you insist!
T: What can we do? Those performances had been already arranged. Plus we can’t ignore the invitations for the summer festivals. Besides, I guess this long break will benefit us. We will be back stronger and much more responsible.

J: What about the cancelled US shows?
T: We have already arranged new ones. Same places.

J: Which was the peak of the tour so far? And which was the worst moment?
T: I can’t pick up the best moment, because the whole beginning – I’m talking about the first 5-10 gigs – was a dream. We were full of energy and enthusiasm, even anxious too. The fans fulfilled the venues and it was a feeling of deliverance. Yes, it was deliverance to see the fans being still there! Of course, some of them left, but we gain new ones. Then, we could comment to each other ‘’yes, we made it’’.
About the worst moment, we can’t speak only for some moments, but a whole period, the last one before this break. During the last part of this tour, in South America, we all have reached our dead-ends. Our psychological condition had reached the bottom. Not only when it comes to nightwish members, but the whole crew as well, technicians, sound engineers, managers. We couldn’t hold on any more. Everybody missed their homes, their beloved ones. Tour-bus, hotels, changes, life on the road…it was too much.

J: Nonetheless, amongst the situation you just described, you will release the live CD/DVD ‘’Made in Hong Kong’’. Strategic action, I must confess, in many aspects…
T: Actually, the original idea was not mine. This concept comes from our company. Besides, I don’t like live cds that much. I don’t know if I can thump this release as much as they expect me to do, mainly because I don’t feel I gave any part of myself on it to be produced. I haven’t been devoted to this project, I haven’t put anything in, artistic or creative. I thought a lot about this decision of our company, I found it ‘’fishy’’.

J: The title is ‘’Made in Hong Kong’’ but it’s nothing to do with, right?
T: Indeed. Only the first song was recorded there and you can hear the classical ‘’Good evening Hong Kong’’, that’s all. The other songs were recorded to different venues, around the world. Don’t ask me where because I can’t remember! It’s in Germany, in Finland, in Chile which was our last show before the break…But I can’t remember nothing more nothing less.

J: The songs were chosen from the DPP cd. Was it on purpose, to avoid the comparison because your latter live DVD was released just 2 years before?
T: Not at all. I don’t have any problem with Anette’s performance – if I have had doubts, we wouldn’t have started our cooperation all along. I would like to have some old stuff but the problem was the bureaucracy. We would get along with a long term routine to get the green light. So, to make things easier, it was decided to use those songs that we wouldn’t have any problem with, and those songs were DPP’s.

J: There is also a documentary where we can find mainly your interview/narration. When did you shoot this stuff?
T: I think this documentary is the most rememberable stuff of this release, by far. And the most interesting. We shoot it during the last period of this tour, during the last shows. My narrative parts were shot in Chile. You can easily understand how the things have already changed, you can feel how tired we were, how exhausted we were

J: So, South America is a fatal place for you..
T : Maybe. But the truth is that the fans, there, are amazing. You can’t imagine what is going on. We are very lucky to have travelled around the world and have the chance to hear people tell us how important Nightwish is for them. And this is something beyond my sight. I mean when I’m at home, writing music, I want to share it with the fans and I am happy to see that you like my music, but I feel I can’t fully understand what is going on inside them, the connection between them and my songs. In South America, wherever we’ve been, the fans were following us like shadows! They were waiting for us in the hotel, they were standing and screaming to us, talking to us. I don’t have the right to say I feel upset with that, because it’s a great honour but it is something that brings embarrassment to me. When you are exhausted, you feel like you have just to deal with a daily routine. Of course, it’s nothing to do with the gigs but with all the others, the personal fight with yourself and the communicative skills with the others. This devotion and love of the fans is something I wasn’t sure how to hand it out.

J: In my opinion, the smartest moment on this DVD is the reference to the Brazilian gig and Anette’s walk-out. The way it was shot, including her explanation and your support declaration, I think, is the unnegiotiable, official answer for all that rumours…
T: What kind of rumours?

J: Many rumours. About walk-out,dismissal, stuff like that. Don’t tell me it’s the first time you heard that!
T: OK, let’s make it clear that for the moment Anette is the vocalist. Now, as far as the incident in Brazil is concerned, oh my God, I don’t believe people still fuss about that…

J: Anette said that she walked out because of the smoke-machine. Is that what really happened?
T: I believe her. Since she said that, it’s true. 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 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 crown against her. Her break-down at the end was normal. And let me tell you that 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, then you can’t be surprised with the incident.
J: How did you react when you saw the incident? Which were your thoughts?
T: I was anxious if it was an injury or something. We kept on playing waiting for some news. A technician came and told me that she wouldn’t return on stage so I thought ‘’That’s it. Finally it happened’’.

J: You kept on playing?
T: No, how could we? We played 2 songs and then walked out of the stage.

J: Would you do the same, if you were at the same condition?
T: I don’t know…I can’t answer that question.

J: As you have big experience on stage and you know the difficulties, do you think it was proper for a professional to walk out of the stage?
T: Well, I guess, due to my experience you just mentioned, I wouldn’t have done the same. But I can’t be sure. I think it’s impossible for someone to understand singers’ feelings while performing on stage. For the rest of us, it’s easier, we hide behide our instruments and play. The singer is a different matter. She’s responsible for the communication with the fans, everybody’s staring at her. She receives the biggest pressure, and the voice is something that can’t ‘’work’’ under any conditions.

J: Did you discuss each other about it backstage?
T: You can’t deal with words during those moments. We all understood what had happened. We didn’t bother her. She needed time, like all of us. Next day, we were all just fine. We could communicate and go on, the incident belonged already to the past. Eventually, not for all of us, huh?

J: Besides, you had to cancel some shows, because of Anette’s severe illness. Of course, health is unnegiotiable but did you feel a little depression?
T: You can’t do anything in such cases. We are human beings and we have all that difficulties. She did had a severe illness and the doctors couldn’t do anything. She had got the worst virus these period. She just needed to rest. And I have to tell you, it wasn’t only Anette, we were all ill these period. But, as I’ve mentioned before, for the musician is a different situation. You can play the guitar or the keyboards even when you are ill and nobody notice that. But when it comes to the voice, it is important to be in a good condition.

J: Do you think it is accidental that you were taken ill when you’ve had enough?
T: No! I think we were corruptible with all that and it was easy to come down. It was about physical and mental balance. For me, that’s why we came down.
The last news we had from Anette have been very shocking. She decided to hire a personal manager to cover the needs the rest of the members can’t occupy with. If I got it right, it’s about woman stuff.

J: You said it cool! But, tell me, honestly, how did you react when you got informed?
T: I won’t lie, I was shocked! I had this déjà-vu that freaked me out!

J: Why she decided to hire a manager?
T: We met each other and she explained us the reasons, in a way I understand her. She’s a woman so she has different needs from us, clothes stuff or something. On the other side, even though she speaks English fluently, it’s hard to communicate in a language which is not her mother tongue. A Swedish company assumed the management so she can use her mother tongue. For now, we are in a break, so I don’t have any experience from this mater.

J: So, Nightwish agreed with this decision?
T: For now, yes. We will see…

J: The fee of this company will be paid by Nightwish?
T: (little pause..) It’s Anette’s personal matter…

J: But since you are a team, shouldn’t the members’ needs get covered by the band?
T: Yes…I understand what you mean…(big pause)

J: How do you feel Nightwish will be after this tour?
T: We will be stronger and much more experienced for sure.

J: Do you have any ideas on the new album?
T: I have already started preparing some things. We have much time to work on the new album though. When all this 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.

J: Are you referring to someone special?
T: Yes…

J: Not to Marco?
T: No…

J: Not to Emppu?
T: No…

J: Then, to Anette?
T: I don’t want to continue the discussion on that matter.

J: Ok, last question. I guess your last show in Athens is among the worst moments of the tour, right?
T: About that, I wanted to say that there’s nothing to do with the fans who have been waiting to see us and welcomed us with warmth, which I won’t forget. But the promoter fuck it up! I’ve never met anywhere anybody worse. He put in danger our gig. There have been some statements (he means Anette’s statements) that we won’t return to Greece and I want to say that it’s not true at all, in no way! We love Greece and we know how warmly the people there support us. Of course, we will come back to Greece as soon as possible, when we have the chance. But we will be careful with some matters which have nothing to do with the people. And we will have a show that the Greek audience deserves.

J: You don’t want to tell me about the promoter?
T: No, it would be non-professional and at the end, it’s nothing to do with the fans

J: Ok, thanks for this discussion! Do you want to add something?
T: I want to thank you too for giving me the chance to explain to the Greek audience my feelings and Nightwish feelings for them. I hope to come there as soon as possible!


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