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.


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.


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