Interview with Nightwish 125

Source: Metal Hammer
09 2006

Something is happening with Nightwish: The Finns are in their summer camp, in which they’re recording their first dongs after Tarja’s kick-out. METAL HAMMER was exclusive with them.

The welcoming on the provence airport of Tampere is a goodbye at the same time. Bassist Marco Hietala is on his way to play a gig with his old band Tarot on a festival. “Band-Head” Tuomas does the drivingsrvice to the Nightwish camp with his brand new cross-country vehicle. The trip leads us through hilly fields, grasslands and coniferous forests. As a color contrast to the green tones there are standing red wood houses in it.

Provence fight

Tuomas answers the question after the current state of things with a “burned silverling” (don’t know the english translation for it). “This is just the first demo of the new songs, which I use a template for the other songs I already recorded”, slerts the Finn. The first piece starts to play out of the car stereo. Goose bumps: Dark, epically long and complex is the way this musically drama with a few acts spreads with all the trademarks, which are typically for Tuomas’ way of composing. Even this blank piece sounds like an upcoming classic. “This will be my best song”, says Tuomas before he makes a short stop at a supermarket to buy vegetables and beer. The destination of our trip is the isolated Sävi in the region of Häme. An old, now unused, school accommodates the Nightwish summer camp. Juicy green fields surround the property, on the obligatory flagstaff a black litterbag is flittering.
On the one side there is a white N and on the other side is a skull. “Jens Johansson made this flag for us”, tells Tuomas. The keyboarder of Stratovarius came last weeks for a visit. Next to the yellow woodhouses with red rooftiles there are swings and one barbecue place. Nightwish choose this isolated and big place on purpose to flee from the routine of the preproduction in Kitee.
“This helped us to survive crisises in the band”, says the Finn. “When we came here in the beginning of July sparks were flying.” When these harsh words were told, no band member was able to go home or flee into a bar. Conflicts had to be solved immediately. The air was burning often until those conflicts were solved. But the atmosphere is relaxed now. “We, as a group, should have had discussions more often. Now we finally have discussions.”


Right after our arrival Tuomas goes into the smaller one of the two main buildings. There in the truss over the big kitchen Nightwish built their little studio. Guitarist Emppu sits in this noridic poor equipped room on a red couch. Nightwish producer Tero Kinnunen pushes the buttons of a recording programme on his portable computer. Those two guys are working on Emppus part of the demo album, a ratty combative piece (“Fetzer”) with oriental elements. Tuomas listens to the result intensly. He signalized his agreement with a nodding.
Then the song with the working title “Sibelius” comes to the testbed. The melody sounds like folklore, the guitar is singing. A finnish carousel. Tuomas shakes his head. A discussion between him and Emppu starts, in which Tero starts to participate after a while. The discussion goes from one side to another. “I changed a riff, of which Tuomas had an exact imagination, which didn’t work.” grins the little guitarist. “Luckily Tero’s got the same opinion as me and Tuomas conceded. After all he is mainly a keyboarder.”


For today the work is over. He grill is turned on and Tuomas is putting on birchwood. After a few seconds it’s burning. Tuomas puts sausages and meat on the grill. “We nearly grilled every evening, now I’m a master of barbecue”, grins Tuomas. “The hospitality is in the blood of us karelian guys. If others like my food, I’m happy.” The scottish hymne “Loch Lomond” in the Runrig version is coming out of a portable cd player – fits the whiskey Tuomas is pouring. After the tasty dinner Tuomas gets a wooden box filled with cylindrical wooden pieces for us. “Time for Mölkky”, says he and sets twelve of the wooden pieces up. This game is much more difficult now, because of all whiskey and beer. Even though Tuomas is winning most of the time. “My biggest competition was Jukka”, but the drummer finished his demo recordings already three days ago and went back to his family. In a good mood and high by the air of finnish late summer, Tuomas gets a box out of the house. In the box are at least another eleven boxes. In those is the biggest secret for the moment of his band: the demos of the most appealing singer candidates. But first we have to say some serious words: Some people just don’t have the ear for misc, what they don’t realize by themselves. Their crappy tones kill in the best case the midriff, even though Tuomas doesn’t want to say a bad word about those candidates. Then we hear the first serious candidates. Fantastic female voices interpret Nightwish in their own way with a lot of talent. On the photos you can see that one candidate looks better than the other. “The look and the skills are not everything” says Emppu. “The next singer has to fit our band” Because of that, two candidates were already having barbecue and rehearsals with the band. “But we haven’t decided yet and we’re still searching” accents Tuomas. Whose demo makes a big impression on all band members gets a karaoke version from the band and has to record her own singing to it. “Because so much depends on our choise of the singer, I don’t really have the best time of my life here right now.” Confesses Tuomas. ”Even though the rehearsals went really well and the recordings now go also well.”

Break-up pain

Luckily a angry musician has no problems with doing recordings. Tuomas sits in front of Tero behind his keyboard. They’re trying different variations for five seconds of a new song called “BBB” until now since a half hour now. In this song it’s changing between electronical hammering and soft pieces. Little changes show big consequences. Tuomas and Tero have a intent discussion over it. The producer of Nightwish was there since the their fisrt song ever. “Tero is the sixt band member and understands my musical visions much better than anyone else”, praises Tuomas.
The next song we listen to is “Pissd 24/7”. Like the other songs, it’s still named with it’s working title, because Tuomas gives them their final names after all changes. This one will be definitly the most brutal song Nightwish will ever have published. The keyboarder smashes his keyboard so hard that you can hear just the keys one floor below. Three songs further without any problems, the studio suo suddenly gets some with “Desert Storm”. Tuomas face is frozen because of concentration, but Tero is shaking his head again and again. Over one hour later Tuomas brows get together. Then he has to grin. He plays “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme” from Abba and stops the recording with it. “Tuomas’ crazieness goes too far sometimes and I have to get him back on the ground.” blinks Tero. Like every night they make a barbecue until midnight. Emppu leaves together with his girlfirend Maarit, but Tero’s girlfriend Sari arrives for them. Sitting on the campfire, Tuomas tells us how much he is annoyed by the media circus surrounding his band: There was a time where he only left the hous to get his mail.” For eight months I was working ten hours every day on the new songs” he says. ”I got up in the morning, drank coffe, composed and went back to bed. There was just music for me. It was so easy for me for the first time – no blockade at all. With those songs I was creating my own world. A world I could flee into everytime I saw my face in some tabloid with a quote under it I’ve never said like that.” The trouble caused by the kick-out created a wave of insoiration.

Final polish

After a bit of sleep Tuomas finally gets the right idea for “Desert Storm” and also finishes “Pink Floyd Rip Off”, a bittersweet acoustic ballade in a few minutes. In the early evening he raises both arms into the air and celebrates his last tone for the demo. Marco comes back from the festival to do some corretions and try some singing parts. Tuomas wants a bassline in “The neverending song” to be changed. This song conjures images of wide areas, titanic mountains, dark forests and heroic battles up in your mind. Marco solves this task in a few minutes. After that he sings for his own contribution “Druids on the loose”: celtic folk meets Jethro Trull – unusual, but ear candy. “It’s a hard summer for me, because I’m also recording an album with Tarot”, sighs the bassist. “At least I don’t have any kind of deflection here. If the discussion heat up, you can get a cool head doing a walk.”
Short before the ending of the demo recordings and the end of the first step of the making of the new album there is a harmonic vibe. Best premises for the next step on the way to a next masterpiece. The new Nightwish songs definitly have the potential for it. Metal Hammer stays tuned for you…

Interview with Nightwish 124

Source: Soundi 08 2006
Translation and scans by Afrodite

Lost pic 2 | Lost pic 3 | Lost pic 4 | Lost pic 5 | Lost pic 6 | Lost pic 7


Doing the following album of a giant popular Once would be stressful also without the vulures of media. Tuomas Holopainen secured the peace of working by introducing his new songs to the band in a secret place. Three medias got a change to see Nightwish's summer camp, and Soundi was the only Finnish one of them.

A new darkblue Toyota Land Cruiser runs in a southern Finnish country scene. We have just turned from Suodenniemi towards Sävi, and the weather couldn't be better. Behind the wheel is sitting Tuomas Holopainen. A little while ago he has put to his car's player a cd-r, that contains demos of songs from Nightwish's next album.
It's the 11th of July in 2006 and the songs are approached with a strict "need to know" principle. The demos haven't been showed to the outsiders, or to any journalists before. Holopainen has done demos at home with sequencer and they are instrumental.
Your reporter has been picked up half an hour ago politely in front of the front door of home. As a Holopainen's aide-de-camp with us is Jens Johansson. Keyboard player that has lived in New York for a long time spends the days between Stratovarius' European tour in his native country Sweden and in Finland.
The things that are needed for food, and strings for acoustic guitar are bought around Tammelantori in Tampere. Thanks to some afternoon papers, a normal human on the street recognizes easily Holopainen. Besides a black Pirates of the Caribbean-shirt, green army-pants and sport sandals, songmaker yet wears stubborn that pretty well known stetson. He has decided that he won't be hiding. And that's just good, for Tuomas has nothing to hide or to apologice.
After five songs the car arrives to our destination, to the yard of an old school. Tuomas hosts confidenly, shows the places and takes a ghettoblaster to the barbecue. We listen yet the other half dozen demos.
This man is still not doing music to the drawer, and he says his song making-machine never quiets down. Maybe more that ever before, making the music is a way to understand and process his own life, surronding world and that where those two meets. Tuomas will the 30 on this year's Christmas and he defines himself as a "life style song maker".

About what is the song we listeded first during that car trip, that was nearly 15 min long, winding, proge song, where someone clearly dies?
-That song sums actually all that bad feeling, that I felt during the end of last year and before it. The song was born in one moment and I know already now that it will be our best one of all our songs. And it's true that someone dies in it - nice you understood the main point of it with only one listening time. But let's return later to that who it is. It clears up easily from the lyrics.
Does the album have some "work name" or even the real name already?"
There's no work name, nor a real one. How about "Twice"? The songs have of course had nams for a long time. But I don't want to reveal those yet. We'll start recording on September. And maybe even in this year we'll go to London againg to record the orchestra parts. Band and Pip Williams have already been booded. The release of the album will happen on these times on next year, maybe even on the spring, no later that on the Fall 2007. So let's return to the names of the songs after ahalf a year.
You have done some 50 songs for Nightwish already. What is your worst side as a composer?
-Too much everything all the time. That's what I've heard.
The others have maybe said that, but it seems you haven't followed the advise, for the matherial here don't seem to become more simple. If this is others option, what is your own? -Well, let's then say an inclination... to fanatic bambast. And thinking the latest abbum, your con't find any king of red line there. Once goes so much from the theme and feeling to another that there's no sense. But maybe it's a bit like our thing.
-I'm sometimes asked why I don't do a solo album. Why would I do? I can try everything what I want with this band. We are not victims of any format, and under Nightwish's name I can fulfil all my musical ambitions. And perversions. With some Kotiteollisuus or Trio Niskalaukaus it's a bit different. To their album can't suddendly be drawn an orchestra or a female singer.
So the colourfullness and deversity is a weapon. No one can say that this doesn't sound like Nightwish.
-Exactly. Like this I've been thinking for a long time. We can do a real heavy song or a beautiful, piano-accompanied ballad or for example play in Eurovision. And so it goes.
- The most frghtening moment in this process was when I played for the first time songs from demo for the other band members. It could be said it doesn't matter for me what media or even fans like about my music, But if guys don't like it, it's depressing.
Maybe the scenery had an influence on your state of mind, but there seemed to sound clearer than ever that you're coming from Finland. Is it like this?
-Nothing that would sound like finnish I didn't at least consciously start to do. These are still for me like spirit world things. But maybe that I've lived in the back woods all my life brings also to my music that scandinavian melancholy, that connects all our music from rock to pop songs. Myself I would say that the new songs are more organic than before.
We have talked before about how you listen to all kind of music. Has this changed and have you found something new?
-I still listen to music really much. Some musicians want for example after a tour to just listen to silence, but in my case the stereos are playing all the time. At home and in the car. And I concentrate mostly on songs, not on the genre.
-I still like for the most heavy and film music, but if there comes a good song from the radio, then it's good. Regardless of the genre. Though I don't listen to radio that much, sometimes to Radio City. But the main point is that some Backstreet Boys have many really good songs.

The camping centre of Sävi, a renoved yellow school building with its cafeteria building, can be rented by anyone, and there have been confirmation camps and weddings. Nightwish summer camp has had the premises since the end of May, and there's still three weeks left. This has been a good place to shut up to do the following album of Once that was released about two years ago and has sold a million copies already.
Though it maybe couldn't been believed, secret has stayed as secret and there have been no need to be pushing away paparazzi-photographers or other uninvited guests.
From the training and arranging has been moved on to make a demo, so now on Jukka Nevalainen's drum back grounds have played their own parts guitar player Emppu Vuorinen and bass player Marco Hietala. As a sound recorder is Tere Kinnunen, who has been with Nighywish from the beginning.
Holopainen's sequenser-demos were ready on March, and after that the band members were learning songs at their homes. After they had came here, Nighywish trained, arranged and rearranged songs for a month, 3-8 hours a day. 15 tracks were chosen for the demo.
It seems that for the first time on Nightwish's next album is coming also music, that is completely by someone else than the band leader. With Holopainen's songs are taken a track from both Vuorinen and Hietala.
Now the first mentioned comes out from the cafereria building. He arrives to greet, lits a cigarette and says that he has just got recorded some pretty difficult parts. The happy guitarist returns to his work. And we continue the discussion with Tuomas.

What does demo-making teach you about the songs?
-The guys opened my eyes with many melody and riff. I've grown so close the songs that someone is needed to show me their weak points. But I think it mighy sometimes when we are training, be frustrating, because only I know, what the song will sound likewith orchestra, choir and vocals. It needs belief to train for example that 13 minutes long song, when guys have only heard my demos. Sometimes I need to say that "trust me now, this will be really good".
-Though the elements in Nightwish's music are simple, sometimes there happens really much in a song. But guys have managed well me and this way of working. And there was nothing new that four guys are playing songs without a singer. There haven't been a singer ever before, when Nightwish's has trained. Never. So, also that there would be a singer in the same room training with others is a new thing that would be nice to try now after these ten years.
-I can truly say, I've listened that demo 300 times. I mean when it have been ready, so in addition to that 300 making the songs and finishing them. The other guys have been an irreplaceable help. For they'll say, if some riff isn't good. That's why Nightwish is a band with big B.
Would your bandmates be confused, if you'd sometime bring just few riffs and say "let's start to do it based on these"?
-Sometime it would be cool to try that as well. Exactly like that we start to develop idea and see what we'll get like that. But maybe it isn't just our thing. Or haven't at least yet been.
Do you ever think that for example now we have enough songs with middle tempo, let's do now one faster song as well, or do you just start to do songs without advance thoughts?
-I never think like that. Though there's also now coming the hardest, heaviest and fastest Nightwish's song ever, it has born to be like that. I haven't thought that "now we need that and that here". Calculating is a cancer of music. And music is above all stream of consciousness, like we have talked before.
Has the hard music gotten hard lyrics with it?
-This is really over worked phrase, but making music is for me writing my own diary. And has always been . So what happened in the end of October, will be found somehow in the lyrics of the album. Songs and lyrics reflect the moments in life. But I didn't start to do any theme album about some people.
-I myself think that these songs are more relaxed and more unprejudiced than those I've done before. And that have also some other people told me.
Before Once you had some kind of "writer's block". Did you have this again or did the songs born easily?
-That tour lasted for one and half year, and on the time from the end of last October to the spring of this year I made 16 songs. The speed was confusing even from myself, because I've never done songs this fast. And no composing nor writing the lyrics have ever been easier. Where it comes from, must be that there was so much feelings and dramatic in my life. When I make songs, I create that my own world, where I can escape. From the media and also some other things.

Already now Nightwish has done work faster that planned, but still the guitar seems to be playing that well that Vuorinen, Hietala and Kinnunen goes to get one more song ready. So Tuomas will have a lot of time to record keyboards.
Jens, who went to sleep when we arrived, have woken up. He arrives with Masahito, who's spending his vacation in Finland, to play football. "Masa" lives in Garmany, but he's a japanese music journalist, who is visiting our country for the sixth time already. He is an old friend of Nightwish and now here only as a tourist. But as an effient man Masa is learning with his laptop the basics of Finnish and studies with Jens help the local swear words.
Besides them, there has also visited some other Nightwish's friends. On the midsummer party there was about 30 people on the school and on a sauna nearby. And on the videoblog on band's website, can be found for example Kai Haito, who's talking about tuning drums in one part. And really for a reason, Holopainen laughts.
He lists the reasons why they came here. It was good to be together and let the dust settle a bit. The band leader tells there was three points in the aim: to have fun together, to train the songs and to make the demo. Besides the work has moved on, Tuomas says the gang has gotten everythig on the mental side that they dared to wish.
There has also been searched for something else on the camp. As known, Nightwish has been without a singer since the 22nd of October. The band has gotten over 1000 demos and the best singers have been driven to Sävi to show their skills. Tuomas tells avoiding that there have been both Finnish and foreigner singers.

What kind of experience the auditions have been so far?
-The feeling is like I would be doctor Frankenstein. It would be nice to get some quality from someone, from someone else some other and so on. It's a bit like searching a perfect wife: If I'd get the brains from that one, the ass from that one and the tits from that one. But when we wouldn't like to do compromises, so let's wait still some time. There's no hurry. We can do the instrumental parts ready first, if we don't find a good one instantly.
Has the well known artists taken contact as well?
-There has been also those who are already... pretty well known. But I don't want to tald about them. I still feel remerse for that Marika Krook thing, though I really don't know where from that thing came to publicity. Not from us. These things should be extremely confidential, and I won't tell to anyone, from who we have gotten demos.
What is the furthest place, from where have been sent demos?
-Tapes and cds have came from every mainlands and about from 50 countries. It surprised. For there's so big boots to be filled that couldn't have believed this many people to have courage to try. On the best times we got over 30 demos a day. Now it has slowed down a bit, we get 5-10 demos a day. And it can be seen, how this Idols-phenomenon is normal. We have gotten many letters like: "I know I'm still very young, but I know many people that are young and famous".
-To those who have made an impression we have sent an instrumental version of Once and asked to sing threee optional songs there. So we have gotten the the picture how the girl's voice would sound like in our songs. If for example Nemo doesn't sound goo, we move on to the next one. Because when the voice doesn't fit the music, the thing doesn't work.
You've told before that you'd be happy if you got the singer by the Christmas. Has it any meaning where she comes from or where she lives?
-It depends on a person. But somehow I think that the nearer Finland the better. Way of thinking and culture... But if a perfect person lives in Antarktis, everything can be arranged. Tarja lived many years in Germany and we made tours as normal.
Some day the choise must be done. Has the record company set a dead line?
-No. And we can change the record company if they start to pressure us. We have still been really hard-working band for ten years - five albums, three dvds and a book. If the break lasts for four years in stead of three, it doesn't kill anyone.
Is it you who decides in the end who will be Nightwish's new singer?
-In the contradictory situations about music, it's me who says the last word. And I also decide what songs will come to the album. But in this singer-thing we try to get as democratic result as possibe. Everyone has now 25% vote. If three of us is absolutely sure, but one is not, then we'll talk.
Have you been able to do the new songs as "blinded" like that the voice that will bind them together will be found?
-We just have to believe in that. I know that the right woman is somewhere there. And the new songs have been done for Tarja's scale. Her scale was a good help. So we won't go higher or lower that that.
-And I hope that people understand we are not searching any Tarja-clone or just classic singer. Some rock or for example celtic voice would be nice thing. For if we'll leave to the new way, we'll leave there properly. We don't demand classic background, but it isn't any damage. All the time we have to think also the old production. In the singer's voice have to be force for singing the old songs as well.

Later around the camp fire we listen to some anonymous singer's demos. There's some really impressive demos, and for pure fun to the player is put some really terrible ones from the other side of the scale. Before this, Tuomas took care of cooking. Mushrooms, olives, garlics, bacon pieces and spices that were bought earlier today changed in his hand into excellent garnish for the traditional grilling food.
Holopainen, who has been the whole day on the good mood, but quiet down when the group has grown bigger and speaking volume louder, is sitting with his band mates around the camp fire, as once in Kitee. The words "new beginning" are hanging in the air like a thundercloud. Tuomas improves the fire and tune the ghettoblaster to a channel that plays Finnish pop-music.
After he has first showed his skills on cooking, the song maker of Nightwish takes a pack of cards, and stars to entertain with card tricks our group that has grown bigger by Tero's girlfriend Sari. Tero, Marco and constantly happy Emppu have already seen the tricks, but others are astonished.
Then the flagpole that stands empty next to the gate starts to disturb Jens. He founds easily a friend to come with him to the expedition to a cleaning cupboard. Soon the two happy men has done from a black garbage bag and white rouder tape to the flagpole a flag what have on its other side a big letter N and on the other side a skull and crossbones.
The evening change to the night of stories and to the small hours. As always around the camp fire. Before going to sleep Jens challenge us to a "what can be done from a rouder tape?"-game, with what have been killed time often in Stratovarius' - and sure in many other band's - tours. After many different imaginative things, to the winner of the game is announced Jens.
On the next morning Tuomas changes from the film-t-shirt to the other. Now his chest is as The Crown-movie's advertisement. After some moment here will arrive a new singer candidate, so the guests must leave. Stratovarius' gig on Tullikamari is a good adress to recover from being the guest of Nightwish. But there's still time to return with Tuomas to the interview we did yesterday.

Besides Nightwish, you'd like to make film music. It's somehow contradictory, for in film music you need to do compromises all the time.
-I think I have too romantic picture about film-composing. I've read about is lately, and understood how much the director decides. You can think yourself you've done a really good part, but if the scene lasts only for third of the music, then the heart will bleed. But still I wish I could try it some day. Even for once.
-It have been clear for me for a long time that first we'll look how we'll do with Nightwish. The worst possible thing that could happen now would be that Peter Jackson would tell tomorrow that he wants from me music to the "Hobbit" and would give me time half a year. Because Nightwish would be more important, but is would depress.
What the gigs with Kotiteollisuus and Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus have given to you?
-They have more than once brought me back by reminding, what the band-things are for. So that we are together on the stage, feel the music, play and have fun. Touring with other bands I understand that maybe Nightwish isn't the thing that fills the whole world.
Is Nightwish for you bigger than life?
-Yeah, thinking that I haven't any plan b. Everything is here. From last Christmas to May my life was that I drank a bit coffee after I woke up, played synths for ten hours, watched some movie and went to sleep. There was no social life, and nothing else than making music didn't interest me. My whole identitety and soul from the last year is in those songs.
-And when the album will be ready, I want that feeling I've given my everything. Was the result anything. This maybe have an influence to that dedication with what I drown myself to the songmaking. The amount of blood, sweat and tears must me huge while doing the songs. Only then you can say you did everything you could.
A man works with the taste of blood in his mouth. Like his last album.
-Yes. It was well said, because every album, even every song have to be done with that thinking it can be the last one. Only then you can look behind and see you've given everything.
-So I have to sometimes remind myself that people have families and they are still always more important that some syphilitic rock band. To the choise of this place had also an influence that here's so good accommondation space. Both Jukka's and Marco's families have spent time here, and so have Emppu's and Tero's girlfriends.
And you just fight there amoung others against getting older like Peter Pan?
-Exactly like that. That was well said. Like Peter Pan... 30 is getting closer... But still I must say that this has been as great summer as possible. We have done terribly much work and both I and the boys think that the songs sound good.

There, in the peace of Sävi, has also been time to think how big avalanche the firing of Tarja Turunen created. Tuomas escaped the uproar first to the Iceland and spent then on February a couple of weeks in Florida with his brother and his brother's son. Before it, the songmaker recalls he has been on the real vacation two or three years ago.
Holopainen has gotten few excellent denying victories from the yellow press, but the latest stories made him to see red. In those was said that Turunen was fired because Tuomas was in love with her, but didn't get response to his feelings.

What thoughts those headlines awoke in you?
-It was really a hit under the belt. The very last trump card. And why did they use it not until now? Yeah, for the same reason we fired the former bass player. I felf really horny for Sami, but I got the brush-off from him. -One more good thing in this summer camp has been that we get along as a band better than ever. As you have been able to read, we don't speak much about things in Nightwish. So we have practised a bit also that. Few times has really exploded - first time in ten years. It's really welcome. Because from here you can't just leave home to sulk, or to sit to the bar. The nearest cafe is 15 km away.
-The last half a year has been more stressful than the former two years together. Few times I had a feeling that I wish I'd get to the tour to relax. What is your option about the yellow press now?
-In this thing also the meager harmony is better than a big fight. The part of media is a necessary evil. It's not wise to say anyone that you are a shitty magazine, I won't give you an interview, go away. If you do like that, they can for sure pay back. I'm rather just quiet and let it be. And besides, I believe in average readers and their thinking that they don't believe everything.
-And in some way I understand that the reporter gets to his/her job to write a story that sells. So it should be pretty interesting and a bit exaggerating. But I wan't to highlight that though I understand this kind of way of thinking, I don't accept it. For when the papers play with people private life, the play gets pretty hard. But of course the media isn't just bad thing, the part of advertising is big, own thoughts can be bringed out and so on.
But it seems you haven't gotten much change to talk about music for these papers.
-About that kind of things they aren't... They are interested about dirt and shit. Nothing else. That what annoys me most is that how careful and cynical I've become with some things. Now I think twice if I would go on the night terribly drunken to Lostari to fool around. Because on last year my face became familiar even to a normal people on the street. In some bar can happen anything. Even going to the grocery store is a bit different thing than before.
Can you usually be in peace?
-There isn't any real anxienty. But they know me everywhere. And it doesn't matter because 99% of come to talk are really friendly. Those who come to ask an autograph and ask how I'm doing. But I don't like it, when someone on the street starts to follow me and whispers something with his/her friends behind my back.
-But maybe after a couple of years I've learned to ignore this. It's pretty hard school we have went through.
But somewhere the line must be drawn.
-I'm really bad to say no, but I've decided that I've no reason to give an interview to these three questionable papers. Afternoon papers are ok. Because I'll get a reputation of a selfish person if I'll say that I won't give you an interview, because on the last time you hurt my feelings. Let's try now to get along.
-I like really much to talk about music and Nightwish, but if some paper for example want's to come to look my house to do a story about it, there's no need to come. Doesn't matter what paper asks.
You have lived in busses, airports and hotels for a couple of years, but now you are really building a house to Kitee. Is it important to stay in the sceneries of home?
-Home is an important thing in life. The band and my own life is now in a bit chaotic stage, so it feels good to know that one big thing is taken care of. By the Christmas I hope I'll be able to move to my own home. I drew it myself on the paper and one log house firm realizes the plan. Now the foundation has been laid.
That you build a house to Kitee seems to answer to the question if you've thought to move away from Finland.
-No, I really haven't. There will be build a house to Kitee and that's where I'll leave. I have long-term plans for Finland. I have never even thought to move away. I like really much to live on the countryside and especially in Kitee. Though I enjoy travelling and have all the time a terrible wanderlust, home is here. Luckily I see so many new countries and places for my work that the need to be going is partly satisfied with that.
You are one of the first Finnish musicians that have gotten here, at home to the teeth of the yellow press also because of the international success. Is this setting to a some kind of precedent? Do you feel that you have an obligation to be reached more than you'd like to?
-Absolutely. It's a continuation for that I have to give autographs and talk with people. One part of this job is also giving interviews for example. As you join a rock band you sign a deal that obliges to this kind of jobs.

Interview with Nightwish 123

Source: Metal Hammer 07 2006

typed by Nocturna from the official Nightwish forum

High and Dry

On the brink of global success, Nightwish lost their singer and all momentum. David MacNamee talks to Tuomas Holopainen about how the band don't plan to disappear any time soon.
There's an incredibly touching moment in Nightwish's 2003 DVD 'The End Of Innocence', where the band's songwriter, keyboard-player and leader, Tuomas Holopainen, ponders sadly on how his artistic inspiration, his self-esteem, the camaraderie and integrity of his bandmates had deteriorated since the release of their breakthrough album, 1998's 'Oceanborn'. Corrupted, he believes, by the Finnish symphonic rock group's own success. "I've lost most of what remains of my innocence," Tuomas laments. "In two things I've managed to keep it intact. I've always been loyal, and I've always been true to the music. These two things I won't compromise. If I didn't have them, life would be even more strenuous. Music in itself is such a beautiful thing."
Nightwish's then-frontwoman, the four-octave operatic diva, Tarja Turunene - she posessed of a bewitchingly, um, angular beauty - is largely absent from the documentary.
"The more time you spend in this business, the much more cynical you get," Tuomas tells me. This time, he doesn't sound particularly sorrowful. Quite the opposite. he sounds hardened. "You stop trusting people, in a way. And you stop trusting yourself as well. You try to stay neutral and not calculate, but all the people around you are calculating so much. It's pretty hard. Success in some way always affects you, no matter what you try to do."
Was eliminating Tarja from Nightwish an attempt to exorcise that corrupting influence of success?
"Man, it's really hard to say." You can hear him squirm slightly. "This is still something I don't really enjoy talking about that much. People don't realise that it really hurt to do it."
Everybody knows what happened. Turunen was expelled via an accusatory open letter posted to the world's media the minute Nightwish finished their performance in Helsinki last October - a gig that, unbeknownst to the frontwoman, would be her last with the band. The alleged bullying, narcissistic diva-like behaviour of the singer and her manager-husband was violently at odds with the all-for-one camaraderie that Nightwish was founded on.
Potentially, it brings to an end an era in metal. In 'Oceanborn's wake, an armada of similar-sounding, identical-looking, diva-fronted pomp rock bands invaded the charts and rock media. The frontwomen of many of these bands - Leaves Eyes, Visions of Atlantis, Elis, Forever Slave - are now very publicly jockeying for the position of 'the new Trja'.
"Yes, Simone Simons from Epica, Amy Lee from Evanescence...There's close to 10 of them who have already been announced as our singer!" Tuomas chuckles. "They are really lovely ladies but they have their own bands. It's just media play - they are making up these articles. You shouldn't trust anything unless it's on, always."
Metal Hammer actually asked Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil if she'd be interested in auditioning for the role. She seems to be the obvious choice in a lot of people's minds.
"So what did she say?" He sounds intrigued.
She seemed to have some concerns over the way you'd handled things.
"What do you mean? The way..?"
The way Tarja was fired.
"Yeah, it seems like everybody has an opinion about that," he grumbles. "People have to trust us when we say this was the only way to do it. For the past year this matter was on my mind every single day, night and morning. I don't have anything else in life besides Nightwish - I don't even have a family. This is really, really important to me and I'm not going to watch it go down the drain because two people got really, really difficult all of a sudden."
Do you feel guilty at all?
"I have not felt guilty a single moment," he states flatly. "But it's also a mixed feeling between sadness and relief. Some bittersweetness as well."
Nightwish have listened to approximately 400 demos from prospective singers but have yet to audition anybody. The reason Tuomas is speaking to Hammer isn't to announce that Evanescence or whoever have bitten the dust from Singer Transferral Syndrome. He's promoting a new live DVD, recorded at the Helsinki date. The last ever performance of Nightwish mk1. Nocturna side note - 2, surely? What about Sami?!
How do you feel watching that DVD now?
"I feel really proud. That would be the first thing. I'm so proud of the guys, I'm so proud of her."
Be honest, how much of Nightwish's appeal do you think can be laid at the feet of Tarja?
"I think it was a great deal," the songwriter admits. "She was the most recognisable point of the band - both the voice and the face. She had a huge charisma and everything. But I also think - I'm not trying to be egotistical here - I also think every piece of music always starts with a good song. No matter how good a singer you are, if you're performing a lousy song it always fails. So you need to have the song." But...but...but. Here Tuomas lets out an exasperated sigh.
"That's actually something that hurts quite a bit," he says. "That accusation that Nightwish would be nothing without [Tarja], that Nightwish is just an average heavy metal band - nothing extraordinary, just an ordinary heavy metal band. I really have to disagree on this one. Because even if you take the vocals out and listen to the music, I would like to think it's something unique. 'You know, using the orchestra and the Indian guy...all these things," he explains, or tries to explain. But he's still a bit exasperated. He's right in one respect. Given the omnipotency of this particular strain of metal - of which Nightwish are considered to be both founders and leaders, and which they themselves perfected almost a decade ago - as a frontwoman, Turunen has become pretty much interchangeable. The truth is that it could be Simone Simons or Amy Lee or Cristina Scabbia wailing out Tuomas' inconsolable hymns to evaporated innocence over Nightwish's Wagnerian stormtrooper pop, and not only would most people not know the difference, they can now take their pick from an infinite number of Nightwish-a-likes. Nocturna sidenote - which just goes to show how stupid most people - and Metal Hammer - can be.) The problem is this: by the time Nightwish re-emerge - scheduled for the end of this year - with their new album and singer, will anyone still care? (Outraged Nocturna sidenote - um, YES!!)
Metal fans have felt alienated by some of Tuomas' experiments with the formula and brand name - entering Eurovision in 2000, (Nocturna sidenote - this after a double page feature on Lordi in Eurovision, you hypocritcal bastards) their cringeworthy cover of 'Walking In The Air', or the perplexing Native American poetry (from 'the Indian guy' John Two-Hawks) that marred 2004's 'Once'. Nightwish are a band that are wrong at least as many times as they are right - although they are always gloriously entertaining.
Tuomas already has the next Nightwish album written and demoed - having recorded and played everything himself.
"The music will stay heavy and metal," he affirms. "That's what Nightwish is. I would like to experiment with the vocals a bit. I wouldn't mind having a little like...soul touch. You k now, like Alicia Keys maybe."
Tuomas, be honest: these days why should anyone give a shit about Nightwish? (Irate and wrathful Nocturna sidecomment - I feel a patented Nocturna rant letter coming on...)
"Well, the truth is you always lose somebody," the Finn reckons. "Y'know, you can never please everybody. You just do the music that you like yourself. I think you have to be really selfish. In this way, the fans will appreciate the honesty.
'I have never really understood the way that some bands think that we are making music for 'the fans'," he says.
"I don't think it should be like that."

Interview with Nightwish 122

Source: Suosikki 12 2005

Scan and translation by Afrodite.

'Dear Santa, I again wish for a new female vocalist. She should be impressive and charismatic...'
'PS, and a little more humble than the previous one.'

Tuomas Comic from Suosikki 12/05

Interview with Nightwish 121

Source: The Voice fi

Nightwish teki miljoonavoitot
Musiikkiuutiset |  2009-07-30 08:50:45 |  Samuli Väänänen

Maailmalla suosiota nauttivan Nightwishin menestys näkyy myös yhtyeen tilipussissa. Bändin yritys teki viime vuonna voittoa 1,2 miljoonaa euroa, kertoo Kauppalehti.

Maailmalla suosiota nauttivan Nightwishin menestys näkyy myös yhtyeen tilipussissa. Bändin yritys teki viime vuonna voittoa 1,2 miljoonaa euroa, kertoo Kauppalehti.


Bändin omistaman Scene Nation Oy -yrityksen liikevaihto oli viime vuonna reilu kolme miljoonaa euroa. Yhtyeen yrityksen tulos kaksinkertaistui viime vuodesta, jolloin yritys teki voittoa 576 000 euroa. Lehden mukaan viime vuonna bändille osinkoja on maksettu yhteensä 659 000 euroa, joten jokainen jäsen on netonnut 164 600 euroa.


"Keikkailu, levymyynti ja merchandise-bisnes tuovat kukin suurin piirtein kolmasosan liikevaihdosta. Uuden levyn hyvä myynti on luonnollisesti vaikuttanut sekä keikka- että merchandise-myyntiin positiivisesti", kommentoi Nightwishin rumpali Jukka Nevalainen hyvää tulosta Iltalehdelle.


Yhtye on paiskinut paljon töitä menestyksensä eteen. Yhtye on kiertänyt maailmaa edellisen Dark Passion Play -levynsä tiimoilta liki kaksi vuotta. Pitkä kiertue huipentuu 19. syyskuuta Helsingin Hartwall Areenassa pidettävään konserttiin.

Interview with Nightwish 120

Source: Savon Sanomat

Translation + Part 1, Part 2

By Niko on

This Time Nobody Will Be Fired

Nigthwish's two year world tour will be over on Saturday. The band has played 196 concerts. Dark Passion Play was released two years ago and with it the band has reached a peg higher stages.

Audiences came bigger as did the amount of fans. Tuomas Holopainen has got new fans like Lemmy Kilmister from Motörhead, Steve Harris from Iron Maiden and Ozzy Osborne from Black Sabbath.

They have seen among the audience, for example, the Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi. And Britney Spears have used Nightwish's music as an intro in her gigs. She didn't ask the composer's permission, but this time it's not a problem.

- We're just flattered that they wanted to use our music, says Tuomas Holopainen.

The Abyss Was Passed

The now ending two year world tour has been both rewarding and tough for Nightwish. The tour has reached North and South America, Australia, Europe and Asia. Only Africa was missed. The new countries in the tour map are China, Latvia, Luxemburg, Ireland, Serbia and Croatia.

- These two years went fast. I remember it like yesterday when we went to the first training concert to Tallinn, says Tuomas Holopainen.

At that point Holopainen was slightly worried about how the audience receives Nigthwish and the new vocalist.

- Uppermost I now have a proud and happy feeling that we survived from the maelstrom. I'm happy that our audience was so open-minded that they gave us the second chance and that they arrived to concerts. It's a deep relief that we passed that abyss.

By abyss Tuomas Holopainen means changing Tarja Turunen to Anette Olzon. According to Tuomas Holopainen, Anette is now completely integrated with the band.

- I feel that during the last few months she has realized what this all is about and how to deal with it. Anette has improved all the time towards the end of the tour. The future of the band looks excellent.

And when the future looks good, this means that there won't be any dramatic news after the last concert in Hartwall Areena. All band members will continue in the band.

- This time we're going to have better feelings after the tour. After the Hartwall concert we have decided to have a huge party. Then we're going to reset the situation, go to separate ways and return together in the beginning of the next year. We want to take some distance to Nigthwish.

Holopainen himself goes sailing to the Mediterranean Sea for one week in the beginning of October. Soon after that he is going to spend a few weeks in Australia with his friends.

Heavy Price

Of course there are some bad moments too in the two year world tour.

- Some band members and technicians had mental breakdowns, because of the certain sad things in private life. In two of these about 200 concerts we had severe technical problems, but in the end we managed to play in those concerts too, says Holopainen about bad moments of the tour.

- Heavy tour will always have its price. In a big group of people there is always someone who have some problems. These things happen when you spend a lot of time on the road. People don't seem to be able to resist it. Some long-term relationships have ended and it's always sad. But despite the problems I'll grade this tour A-. These two years were an unbeliveable journey.

One thing Tuomas Holopainen promises to his crew.

- We will never again have as hard a tour. The next tour will be planned a bit easier.

The Band Has Been Prepared For Setbacks

The journey of Nightwish has been quite a fairy tail compared to many other bands. The band has become more and more popular after each album.

How would a band, that has always become more popular, even react if they had some setbacks?

- At some point we will have to face some setbacks and we have been prepared for it. So far, we've made six studio albums and we've always went forward. We agree that it's unbelievable, says Tuomas Holopainen.

- We've also been able to take new steps in the evolution of our music. We've always entered to some new territories without losing the soul of the band.

Tuomas Holopainen doesn't believe that Nightwish would be in a crisis if the later albums didn't sell as much as Once and Dark Passion Play that have sold about one million copies each.

- I would be more worried and depressed if I listened to the new album for the first time and realized that it's crap.

Dark Passion Play sold more than Tuomas Holopainen expected.

- It feels unimaginable that in this digital era it has sold 130,000 copies in Finland.

Globally the latest album has sold a bit less than one million copies. The previous album Once has sold a bit more than one million. Totally Nightwish albums have sold about 4 to 5 million copies.

Four Songs Ready

Four songs are ready for the new album. The album should be ready in autumn 2011 if everything goes as planned.

- In July we will begin to work with new material. Then we will have about ten months to finalize the songs. Now I've got a huge drive, all these ideas are making me crazy. I've never before been so excited about the new album, says Holopainen.

Tuomas Holopainen keeps the content of the new music a secret, but he is willing to open the curtain a little bit.

- One of the four new songs is something completely different for us. I've never done anything like that before, says Tuomas Holopainen.

Random Facts

- Each Nightwish album has been released as a vinyl version too.

- During the two year tour the band played 27 different songs and the maximum amount of songs in the one concert was 18.

- Tuomas Holopainen's own favourites are The Poet And The Pendulum and The Islander.

- The album's first hit Eva was played just few times because, according to the band, it works well only on the album.

- According to Holopainen, the highlight in this summer was Olavinlinna.

- The tour ends on Saturday, September 19 in sold-out Hartwall Areena in Helsinki.

- During the break Tuomas Holopainen will compose new Nigthwish music and play keyboards in Kotiteollisuus every now and then.

- Anette Olzon will start making her solo album.

- Marco Hietala will work with his Tarot band.

- Emppu Vuorinen will work with his Brother Firetribe band.

- Jukka Nevalainen will continue to manage the business side of Nightwish and the online shop.

Article part 1:

Nightwish jää lauantaina kahden vuoden keikkatauolle
Nyt ei kukaan saa potkuja

Lauantain jälkeen tämä kokoonpano palaa kiittämään
yleisöään esiintymislavalle kahden vuoden kuluttua.

Nightwishin kaksi vuotta kestänyt maailmankiertue on lauantaina ohi. Takana on 196 keikkaa. Kaksi vuotta sitten ilmestyneen Dark Passion Play -albumin jälkeen yhtye kasvoi jälleen kerran astetta suuremmille esiintymislavoille.

Yleisömäärät kasvoivat, samoin fanimäärä. Tuomas Holopainen on kahden vuoden aikana päässyt bongaamaan bändin fanijoukoista sellaisia muusikkonimiä kuin Motörheadin Lemmy Kilmister, Iron Maidenin Steve Harris ja Black Sabbathin Ozzy Osborne.

Keikalla on nähty muun muassa Black Sabbathin kitaristi Tony Iommi. Kohutähti Britney Spears on puolestaan keikoillaan käyttänyt sisääntulomusiikkina Nightwishia. Ei tähän tietystikään säveltäjältä ole lupaa kysytty, mutta ei se tässä tapauksessa haittaa.

- Sehän vain hivelee mieltä, kun musiikki kelpaa, Tuomas Holopainen sanoo.

Kuilu ylitettiin

Nightwishille nyt päättyvä kahden vuoden kiertue on ollut paitsi antoisa myös raskas. Kiertue on ulottunut Pohjois- ja Etelä-Amerikkaan, Australiaan, Eurooppaan ja Aasiaan. Vain Afrikka jäi käymättä. Uusina maina bändin kiertuekarttaan liittyivät Kiina, Latvia, Luxemburg, Irlanti, Serbia ja Kroatia.

- Nopeasti meni tämä kaksi vuotta. Muistan kuin eilisen päivän, kun menimme Tallinnaan ensimmäiselle treenikeikalle, Tuomas Holopainen kertoo.

Se oli sitä aikaa, kun Holopainen oli vielä hieman peloissaan, kuinka yleisö ottaa vastaan laulusolistinsa vaihtaneen Nightwishin.

- Päällimmäisenä on nyt sellainen ylpeä ja onnellinen tunne, että selvittiin kurimuksesta. Olen iloinen, että yleisömme oli niin avaramielistä, että se antoi meille toisen mahdollisuuden ja jaksoi käydä keikoilla. On syvä helpotus, että pääsimme kuilun yli.

Ja tällä kuilulla Tuomas Holopainen tarkoittaa laulusolistin vaihtamista Tarja Turusesta Anette Olzoniin. Anette on Tuomas Holopaisen mukaan jo hitsautunut täysillä bändiin.

- Tuntuu, että hän on ihan viimeisten kuukausien aikaan oivaltanut, mistä tässä on kysymys ja miten tähän pitää suhtautua. Anette on petrannut koko ajan loppua kohden. Tulevaisuus näyttää koko bändin kohdalla erittäin hyvältä.

Ja kun tulevaisuus hymyilee, tämä tarkoittaa myös sitä, että mitään dramaattisia uutisia ei kiertueen päättävän Hartwall-konsertin jälkeen tule. Bändi jatkaa entisellä kokoonpanolla.

- Nyt olemme lähdössä entistä paremmilla fiiliksillä tulevaan kauteen. Hartwallin jälkeen olemme päättäneet pitää viimeisen päälle loppukemut. Nollaamme tilanteen, lähdemme omille teillemme ja palaamme taas asiaan ensi vuoden alussa. Tarkoituksellisesti haemme etäisyyttä Nightwishiin.

Holopainen itse lähtee lokakuun alussa viikoksi Välimerelle purjehtimaan ja heti perään muutamaksi viikoksi Australiaan ystäviensä kanssa.

Raskas hinta
Toki kahteen tiiviiseen keikkavuoteen mahtuu ikäviäkin hetkiä.

- Muutamilla bändin jäsenillä ja teknikoilla matkaan mahtui henkisiä romahduksia. Tiettyjä surullisia asioita lähipiirissä. Pari keikkaa näistä lähes kahdestasadasta meni enemmän tai vähemmän penkin alle teknisten ongelmien takia, vaikka nekin keikat pystyttiin hoitamaan läpi, Holopainen valottaa ikävimpiä puolia.

- Raskas keikkailu vaatii aina veronsa. Suuressa kiertueporukassa aina jollain on jotain ongelmia. Niitä tulee, kun olemme paljon tien päällä. Ihmiset eivät tunnu jaksavan tällaista. Siinä katkeaa pitkäaikaisiakin ihmissuhteita. Se on aina surullista. Ongelmista huolimatta annan kiertueesta arvosanaksi kymppi miinus. Olihan tämä kaksi vuotta taas kerran uskomaton matka.

Yhden asian Tuomas Holopainen kuitenkin jatkossa työntekijöille lupaa.

- Tällaiseen ralliin emme lähde enää ikinä. Ensi kiertueelle suunnitellaan vähän löysempi tahti.

Nightwish : Poimintoja Nightwishin levyistä on tehty myös vinyyliversiot.

Kahden vuoden keikkarupeamassa kierrätettiin 27:ää biisiä, joista yhden keikan aikana soitettiin korkeintaan 18 kappaletta.

Tuomas Holopaisen omia suosikkeja olivat The Poet And The Pendulum sekä The Islander.

Levyn ensimmäinen hittibiisi Eva oli mukana vain muutamalla keikalla, koska se bändin mielestä toimii hyvin vain levyllä.

Tämän kesän kohokohtakeikka oli Holopaisen mielestä Olavinlinna.

Kiertue päättyy lauantaina 19. syyskuuta loppuunmyydyssä Hartwall-areenassa Helsingissä.

Tauon aikana Tuomas Holopainen säveltää uutta Nightwish-musiikkia ja keikkailee silloin tällöin Kotiteollisuus-yhtyeen kanssa.

Anette Olzon on tekemässä soololevyä.

Marco Hietala työskentelee Tarot-yhtyeensä kanssa.

Emppu Vuorinen työskentelee Brother Firetribe -yhtyeensä kanssa.

Jukka Nevalainen hoitelee bändin bisnespuolta ja verkkokauppaa kuten ennenkin.

Hannu Jarva
Kuva: Mika Jussila

Article part 2:

Takapakkiin on varauduttu matkan varrella

Nightwishin taival on ollut moneen muuhun bändiin nähden suorastaan satumainen. Bändi on jokaisen uuden levyn jälkeen astunut suosiossa aina askelmaa korkeammalle jalustalle.

Miten aina suosiotaan kasvattava yhtye edes pystyisi käsittelemään mahdollista takapakkia?

- Jossain vaiheessa taantuman täytyy tulla, ja siihen ollaan varauduttu. Me olemme tehneet nyt kuusi kokopitkää levyä ja aina menneet eteenpäin. Se tuntuu meistäkin aika käsittämättömältä, Tuomas Holopainen toteaa.

- Myös musiikin evoluutiossa olemme pystyneet ottamaan askeleita eteenpäin. Olemme pystyneet aina menemään vähän uusille territorioille menettämättä kuitenkaan bändin sielua.

Tuomas Holopainen ei usko Nightwishin ajautuvan kriisiin, vaikka tulevat levyt eivät tavoittaisikaan kahden tuoreimman levyn tavoin sitä miljoonaa ostajaa.

- Enemmänkin huolestuisin ja masentuisin, jos kuuntelisin uutta levyämme ja huomaisin, että se on ihan paska.

Dark Passion Play -albumin suuri myyntimäärä jopa yllätti Tuomas Holopaisen.

- Tuntuu ihan käsittämättömältä, että tällaisena digiteknologian aikakautena sitä on Suomen kokoisessa maassa myyty 130 000 kappaletta.

Maailmalla bändin uusinta levyä on myyty vähän vajaa miljoona. Edellistä Once-levyä on sitäkin myyty nyt jonkin verran yli miljoona. Nightwishin kokonaislevymyynti on neljän ja viiden miljoonan kappaleen välimaastossa.

Neljä biisiä valmiina
Uudelle levylle on valmiina jo neljä kappaletta.

Levyn pitäisi valmistua syksyllä 2011, jos kaikki menee suunnitelmien mukaan.

- Heinäkuussa aletaan työstää uutta materiaalia. Siinä jää lähes kymmenen kuukautta aikaa tehdä biisit valmiiksi. Nyt on hirveä draivi päällä, pää sumenee ideoista. En ole koskaan ollut yhtä innoissani uuden levyn suhteen, Holopainen sanoo.

Uuden musiikin sisällön Tuomas Holopainen pitää salassa. Jonkin verran hän kuitenkin suostuu raottamaan salaperäisyyden verhoa.

- Yksi näistä neljästä valmiina olevasta biisistä on meille ihan uutta. En koskaan ole tehnyt sellaista, Tuomas Holopainen kertoo.

Hannu Jarva

Interview with Nightwish 119

Source: Iltalehti
7 May 2009

Nightwishin rumpali sai Nuori yrittäjä -palkinnon
Torstai 7.5.2009 klo 14.07

Nightwish-yhtyeen rumpalinakin tunnettu Jukka Nevalainen pokkasi torstaina Nuori Yrittäjä -palkinnon.

Nightwishin rumpali Jukka Nevalainen (keskellä) johtaa yhtyeen
liiketoimintaa hoitavaa Scene Nationia. (TOMMI ANTTONEN)

Yhtyeen liiketoimintaa hoitava kiteeläinen Scene Nation on perustettu vuonna 2003.

Suomen Yrittäjien mukaan yritys on hyvä esimerkki rock-yhtyeiden mahdollisuuksista tuottaa musiikin julkaisutoiminnan lisäksi kiertueita ja fanituotemyyntiä. Yrityksen liikevaihto on lähes kolme miljoonaa euroa.

Lisäksi Nevalainen pyörittää yritystä, joka hoitaa saksalaisen rock-postimyyntiyrityksen Suomen-toimintaa.

Parhaillaan Nightwishin Amerikan-kiertueella oleva Nevalainen viestittää lausunnossaan arvostavansa sitä, että huomiota sai tavallisesta poikkeava yrittäjyys. Suomessa bänditoiminnan yhtiöittäminen on yleistynyt vasta viime vuosina.

Lisäksi Nuori yrittäjä -palkinnot saivat metalliyrittäjä Juha-Pekka Jaskari Köyliöstä, ikäihmisten palvelukotia pyörittävä Riikka Pikkarainen Kajaanista sekä Lappeenrannasta Ari-Pekka Salovaara ja Jari Kärkkäinen, joiden perustama yritys Severa tuottaa nettipohjaisia toiminnanohjauspalveluja.

Suomen Yrittäjät ja Yksityisyrittäjäin Säätiö järjestävät kilpailun vuosittain. Kukin palkittu yritys saa 12 000 euron rahapalkinnon. Kilpailun sääntöjen mukaisesti palkitut ovat enintään 35-vuotiaita.


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Interview with Epica 10

Source: Piercing Metal
Date: 2006-09-20
By: Ken Pierce

Epica: The Dutch Sensation Arrives In New York City. Epica is one of the most outstanding Symphonic Power Metal acts to hit the scene in some time. As the opener for Kamelot it was great to find the band coming to New York as their opener for the tour. The two have worked together in the past and this was met with approval in the Metal world. The band visited the Prog-Power USA Festival earlier that week and now were off and running with Kamelot. I had reviewed a majority of their releases and as a result I was very interested in speaking with them yet was unsure of how possible this would actually be on the night of the show. The uncertainty led me to not have a “formal” interview written up and of course, as luck would have it I was able to meet both Simone Simons and Mark Jansen. After introductions were made, we secured some space in the depths of the back halls of the venue where we also found Yves relaxing. Mark joked that if I wanted to know anything related to Belgium, like about the fries that I should ask him. We were off to a great start with this one it seemed for there would more joking ahead with this very good-natured and friendly bunch of musicians.


Mark: Yves is here so if you need to know about anything from Belgium, such as Belgium fries you can ask him.

PiercingMetal: What do I need to know about fries and beer? What do you want to tell us about them?

Yves: It depends on what you want to know.

Simone: They’re tasty, they’re thick……

PiercingMetal: You guys are all talking about food and I have no eaten yet.

Simone: OK, let’s skip that food subject then.

Mark: No let’s talk about food, it was very nice food back here mmmmmmmm. (Yves goes back to the main club at this point since his secluded spot has been discovered)

PiercingMetal: Great we are starting off with Epica teasing me on their first night here in New York. So ok guys welcome to New York, and please pardon me for we all seem to say “guys” over here.

Simone: Yeah that’s ok I’ve got balls too. (laughs)

PiercingMetal: So really, welcome to New York and tell me what it feels like to be performing here for the very first time ever.

Simone: Well they told me that the buildings were huge and there were ads everywhere on the billboards, and I thought about it when I entered the City I experienced it a little bit as if it was a commercial. With all the big signs everywhere, it was how do you say it “monstrous”, no “gigantic”. I think big in America.

Mark: We got out of the bus we were like in “Gladiator”, you know the part where he enters the arena looking up at the big building.

PiercingMetal: Now I’ve reviewed all of the releases so far, “The Phantom Agony”, “Consign To Oblivion”, and “We Will Take You With Us” which I was able to get via your US Distribution on The End Records. So we have done some press for the band here and I guess my question is what have you found the response to your music to be over here.

Simone: Do you mean if we have fans here or something other?

PiercingMetal: Not so much fans, but are you finding a strong interest in the music.

Simone: Well, yesterday we did ProgPower and the audience was great. We noticed many of them singing the songs and we were quite surprised because they were wearing our shirts and also at the signing session we found many of the American fans had all our stuff.

PiercingMetal: Did it surprise you to see this?

Simone: A little bit yeah but they said that it is growing here and they are spreading the word for us.

PiercingMetal: Given that one of the only mechanisms for getting your music is via this The End Records distribution deal, have you been looking to move to a US Based label or a medium that will reach a larger amount of people easier.

Mark: Maybe that is something for the near future because we need to make some steps forward and this is certainly one of the possibilities we have in mind. This tour is perfect for us to get started and make a basis and from there on, we can build further. No one knows what the future will bring but it would be perfect to have something come from this.

Simone: Same from me.

PiercingMetal: The exact same words as Mark?

Simone: Yeah well this is the first time we have come to America and you never know who is going to come to the shows. Lacuna Coil is already quite famous and Nightwish but I think Epica is something new and something different. So you never know if you will meet some people and we are open for it to come back to the US.

PiercingMetal: Well, Epica is very different from Lacuna Coil and of course along the same lines as Nightwish but in that I think in terms of a little heavier. Don’t get me wrong I love Nightwish music, and I think Tarja was fantastic as the singer and I wish her luck in whatever she will do on her own. So I wonder if you think that Epica can step into the shoes of what Nightwish has started here as far as bringing Symphonic Metal to a wider audience and general public.

Simone: I think that you could compare Nightwish in what it has done for us here and the rest of Europe and Within Temptation over in Holland. They have opened the doors for us there is more appreciation for female fronted Metal bands. I think that Nightwish was one of the reasons I started because I love the band and I think Epica is a little bit more edgy than Nightwish. I still think Epica is kind of approachable but Nightwish is a little bit more commercial. My Mom likes Nightwish more because it doesn’t have so much growling in it .

PiercingMetal: And its also not her Daughter running around the world.

Simone: Yeah but she likes it, I mean if we play a big club in Holland she comes and tells everyone “oh that’s my daughter”.

PiercingMetal: That’s good. So what are your anticipations for tonights show? I mean ok, you got off the bus and saw the big buildings – which to me is just commuting to work as the site doesn’t faze us. So coming here from Holland and being in “The Big City”, what are the expectations for the show.

Simone: Well, this is a famous venue and we are not playing Jazz as we are a little bit harder than that.

PiercingMetal: Celtic Frost was here last week.

Simone: I heard over 500 people are coming and many people got to know Epica because of Kamelot because we are in a way linked. I did a song with them and we are named after one of their albums so I believe it’s going to be a great night.

PiercingMetal: “Consign To Oblivion” is the new album and it is available here via Candlelight Records but since it has been out for a few months I wondered what was happening with any other new music. Do you have anything ready to be recorded and released.

Mark: Yeah we have already written a lot of new songs and we are in the finishing stage so we are now adding some finishing touches on some of the lyrics. With this new stuff, we have never before worked such a long time on new stuff. We started already about one and a half years ago and now its almost finished. The reason for this is because we want to make an album that is better than the two albums before. Hopefully the fans have to judge if we have succeeded.

PiercingMetal: Simone as the singer, how active are you taking the role for your part when it comes to the writing process.

Simone: I am mainly anticipating to do more when the songs are almost finished but of course I am hearing the songs when they are in the starter product stage. From there we then discuss who is going to write lyrics for which song based on what the feeling is and what the concept is. As the song flows, the lyrics flow and when it is almost finished then we start with the vocal line.

PiercingMetal: What inspires you as musicians – I mean it does not have to be Metal overall but what ends up being the cause for any inspiration you have.

Mark: Inspiration for the lyrics or the music?

PiercingMetal: Inspiration for both I guess is fine.

Mark: Well lyric wise I get the inspiration from reading books and things relating to Philosophy such as was the case on the last album. The news is something I watch everyday and that’s an affect as well.

PiercingMetal: The news makes me wonder about the track on “Phantom Agony” which was at the time sent to me from Transmission Records. Now, I live in New York and am one of the City residents who all too clearly remembers the events of 9-11 and in listening to the album you have that very strong reference to the incident in the song "Facade Of Reality". What made you put that in there as that was a very heavy thing to add at the time, and you guys are all the way in Holland and while it did truly hit the whole world with us being the hardest of them all – seeing this in a band from so far away who is at the “coming up” stage, it strikes you as very powerful.

Mark: Yes I can imagine that it would be powerful and I was thinking this today because we are going to play this song tonight. It’s going to be a weird thing to play this song in New York itself

Simone: In a weird way the circle is around now.

Mark: All the years this song has existed and now it finally arrives in New York.

PiercingMetal: I felt it was a great moment in the song, and of course really enjoyed this album as a whole. You can understand as an American and from New York hearing something like this from a band still on the new side doing something of this nature. This wasn’t used as a gimmick, meaning you did not think the band was being “oh we have to say something about 9-11 in our music”

Mark: No, not at all.

PiercingMetal: You have other bands that are indeed guilty of this but Epica came off as genuine.

Mark: It was also the reason that we didn’t only have the view of the victim side but we also had used the view from the terroristic side. The chorus is uhm (turns to Simone) what is the chorus again? (laughs) It seems I can always remember it when I have to sing it but moments like this.

Simone: I don’t remember it either.

PiercingMetal: You didn’t know there would be a test during the interview I guess.

Simone: We have to be on stage for it to come to us.

Mark: Wait “our desire to die is stronger than your desire to live” and that is from the Director’s View.

Simone: Yeah when we sing it, it’s much easier.

Mark: So its not just doing what people expect from us just showing what actually happened.

Simone: Yes, showing pity for everyone in that one.

Mark: A milestone, a negative milestone in history and we wanted to say something about it.

PiercingMetal: Simone if I can ask you what are some of the things that inspire you in your writing.

Simone: Humankind, myself and my friends and that’s basically it. Mark also has some personal lyrics but mostly writing about politics, religion and society. Mostly things that happen in how people are treating each other, how people are treating nature and they are not living in harmony anymore. Going back to the things that really are important – we are living in the material world.

PiercingMetal: Quoting the Police? You know that is a song by them.

Simone: Its also “we’re living in the material world” (as Simone begins to sing Madonna).

Mark: Or the song “we’re all living in America” (as Mark begins singing Rammstein I had no idea this would become “sing along with Epica”).

PiercingMetal: Ok then, so let’s talk about a couple of the products coming out. I understand there is a DVD.

Mark: Yeah but this one is delayed because there is some problems with Transmission Records and its not financially an option for them to do this. So we are trying to get the DVD out of their hands and get it released as otherwise it takes too long and it doesn’t make sense to put it out over a year after.

Simone: Yeah then it will be “ten years with Epica” and here is an extra video.

Mark: We also have a little bit of a Disco situation and that is why we are looking for possibilities like I mentioned earlier. I do hope that we can come to a solution that works out for everyone.

PiercingMetal: So what will be some of the surprises be tonight as fans of the band, and since I am not running to type and post this before the show in a little while it is ok to tell me.

Simone: I think that already the music is on the bombastic side and we bring the music to life on stage.

Mark: Yes, its very energetic.

Simone: Yes, we really transmit the energy that we trap on the album and on the stage it is able to get out and we hope that we can transmit that to the fans.

Mark: We also get the energy back from the audience as well, and we saw this yesterday and if its like that you can expect a very good show.

PiercingMetal: Thanks so much for the time friends, we will see you later on the stage.

Simone: Yes, you have two hours until we go on so now you can go to eat something.

PiercingMetal: ………………

And so I did just that, and gathered at one of the local external from the club places before Epica went on to deliver an amazing set. The band sounds very close to the recordings on the stage with the exception of their music being a little more in your face than you can find sitting in your living room. They are a recommendation without any question, especially for the fans of female-fronted endeavors that truly stand out in their music and the delivery of it. It was both an honor and a lot of fun to meet them, and for a spur of the moment interview with not one question written down for them we managed to not lose too much of the point.


Interview with Epica 9

Source: Piercing Metal
Date: 2007-09-09
By: Ken Pierce

Epica is the Symphonic Gothic Metal act from Holland who we last saw in the USA as the opener for Kamelot. Now recently signed to Nuclear Blast Records, the band has released their third album “The Diving Conspiracy”. On their stop in New York City at The Highline Ballroom I made time to do some interview stuff with them as well as cover the show. My plan was to meet with lead guitarist and band founder Mark Jansen along with their amazing singer Simone Simons but on arrival at the venue I found only Mark available. With four bands in total tonight the venue was packed with musicians and their techs as they hurried to be ready for the doors to open so Mark suggested we walk down to the nearby waterfront area on the West Side Highway so we could talk in peace. Peace? NYC? OK Mark, I’ll give it a shot. Below is our entire conversation.


PiercingMetal: Here we are sitting with Mark Jansen of Epica and it’s so nice to have you back in the Big Apple again. So let me ask you are you happy to be bringing Epica back for a full tour so soon after the last time.

Jansen: Oh yes absolutely and we try to be on tour as much as possible and visit many diverse places and its great that the United States is also one of these spots that we can do tours because the United States is such a big area and we try to come back every year and hopefully build up something so that every year we can play for bigger crowds. It all depends what happens on this tour about what we will do next time as far as whether we will come back as a support act or another headlining tour and this also depends on the opportunities that we get. If we can support a really great band then we will take that opportunity for sure even though if this tour is going really well. So far so good.

PiercingMetal: When we first met, Epica was on tour with Kamelot as they supported their album “The Black Halo”. Now that this tour has finished I’m curious about the overall experience as a whole for a band like Epica, especially since that last time we talked it was during the first time that Epica music had really officially been presented to the US audience in the live sense. Please give me some thoughts on this.

Jansen: Yes it was a great experience last time with Kamelot because to many we were quite unknown and a lot of the people who came to the concert for were for Kamelot and there were only a few Epica fans. Yet I think we surprised a lot of people because after the show we had a chat with many people and they told us over and over again “wow, this band is great and we want to see you back again” or “we want to see a lot longer set list”, so this was a very nice experience for us. Also at the beginning of the show most people were standing still and during the show they got more loud and by the end of the show they got wild. So that was a really good sign and it made us very happy that tour with Kamelot. It was the right opportunity at the right time.

PiercingMetal: Now that tour was in direct support of your own release at the time, “Consign To Oblivion” which was being re-released on Candlelight Records as I understood as the previous label Transmission Records was falling upon hard times. Did you find this album being well-received at the time for this totally new audience or did it seem like to you that more people were aware of Epica than you might have imagined.

Jansen: Uhm, I really don’t know because even now its rather hard to say how many people are aware of Epica already. It’s really difficult to say and by that time Candlelight Records was re-releasing the album but Transmission was doing really bad just at the time that the deal was signed so I have no idea really what happened exactly from then on. I don’t even know if the old releases are still available because I just bought the last bunch of CD’s from The End Records because they still had some but I have no idea what will happen with the old records because Transmission doesn’t exist anymore but they still do have all the rights of the albums. Let’s just hope that all the old albums will still be available because it would be a real pity if nobody could get them anymore.

PiercingMetal: The end of the tour came with a couple of double shots that no band wants to deal with, the first was the seeming full dissolution of your records label Transmission Records and then the second the quitting of Jeroen Simons, your drummer. What was it like to complete a rousing success with this kind of drama?

Jansen: Well its not fun because we had considered that United States tour our best tour so far and right after that tour Jeroen Simons decides to leave and he had already decided this during the tour and when you get back home off the tour you realize everything. So yeah it was really hard for us because all the six of us were together for five years and nobody had left and everybody was happy but then it turned out that for almost a year he was not really happy anymore. He was always kind of a loner and he was always in the back of the tour bus sitting by himself and in the end it just seemed like he didn’t like touring anymore and being away from home playing the same kind of music every night which is not really even his type of music. So I understand his decision but still its difficult especially because its hard to find a really good replacement and we don’t want to make a step back, we want to make a step forward with a new drummer. This is why we have Arien van Weesenbeek drumming on the new record but he is very busy with God Dethroned so we still haven’t found a replacement or a permanent one. So far we are working with Arien and Kuhn Hoerst who is another drummer from Netherlands and hopefully one of them will decide in the future to stay with Epica because that would be perfect.

PiercingMetal: In proving that most rainstorms end with a rainbow …….(we both laugh at how it sounds). This sounded good on paper, sorry….so the band found themselves on Nuclear Blast Records. Please tell me how you ended up on this great label and how the relationship has been so far.

Jansen: It was a very funny story because when this ended with Transmission Records we decided to sit and wait. We didn’t contact the labels ourselves and instead we waited to see which labels would contact us because then you know for sure when a label contacts you then you know for sure that they are really interested in the band. So a lot of labels expressed interest in us, even Nuclear Blast, but they offered deals that weren’t very good. So we got to the negotiations with Century Media and we almost signed the deal with them but the only problem was that it took very long to work on the last details but the positive thing from that was that after awhile Nuclear Blast came back to us and they offered us a much better deal. So after several months they suddenly realized that they really wanted this band Epica on the label and later on it seemed that internally they decided not to sign a female-fronted band anymore because they had already Sirenia, Nightwish and After Forever. But when they heard the new Epica stuff they realized that we should not let this band go and Markus the owner, he himself offered us the deal. In one week we agreed and we signed the final things and within that time we became a Nuclear Blast Records band. Its strange how things can go.

PiercingMetal: Which finally brings us to the new album “The Divine Conspiracy”, congratulations on this smoldering hot piece of music. Let me ask you a few things about it with the first being – did you feel you had to create the Epica “magnum opus” now that you were on a label that has a much wider reach than you had with the Dutch label?

Jansen: Well when we started composing for this record we thought it would still be released under Transmission Records as we had started composing it two and a half years ago already. It was only in the end when the songs were almost ready that things began to go wrong with Transmission Records. For sure the third album is a very important one for a band because it’s the album that a band proves that it has the right to stay or blow up everything and disappear. We realized that this one should really be THE RECORD and that’s why we worked even harder than on the first records even though we always worked hard on our records. This one took almost half a year longer just on the last details and I think it paid off because we are very happy with the end result. Also in the studio we took a little longer time to record all the stuff to take more time for the details. We even did a pre-production on the vocals so everything was better prepared this time.

PiercingMetal: I guess this might be a little bit of the same kind of question but how easy or hard was it to put this together compared to “The Phantom Agony” and “Consign To Oblivion”.

Jansen: Well with “The Phantom Agony” that’s in a way much different because it’s your debut album and there are no high expectations yet so in the end for that you are just making music freely. With “Consign To Oblivion” there was some more pressure but this time we could take all the pressure away. We could just make the music that we really want to ourselves – all of the stuff had to come from our hearts and it was a long time ago that I made music this way. Without thinking, just doing whatever comes to me. That’s also the main reason that the album sounds so heavy because I didn’t think like “oh maybe it’s too heavy or too Metal” as opposed to being a little bit more mainstream. This time I just said fuck it and let me just do something that is cool for myself and when I like it a lot I am sure that the diehard Epica fans will like it as well.

PiercingMetal: As we’ve discussed briefly, the drumming was done by the God Dethroned’s own skin basher Ariën van Weesenbeek – how did a member of one of Holland’s leading Death Metal bands even come to mind as the perfect person to record the new album? Did you find he was easy to work with as opposed to the bands previous drummer?

Jansen: Yes to answer your last question because they are so different these guys. Arien is the most easy-going guy you can imagine. Behind the drum kit he is a beast and then when he gets off his drum kit and he starts talking to you he is such a modest guy and very different. The same happens in the studio, because he is so easy-going and he brings up great ideas which was very different from Jerouen I have to be honest. Sometimes Jerouen was really a pain in the ass in the studio. When you had a suggestion he would sometimes say fuck off or something and then he would do it his own way. Sometimes this could really be good but sometimes this could cost the band. So it was really a relief to record with Arien because he was really a good guy. To answer your other question we were not afraid that his power would be too heavy for Epica because he had also recorded the CD with Delain which is a Dutch Gothic Metal band who are in the vein of Within Temptation. So we thought if you take Delain and you take God Dethroned and mix it up, it becomes something Epica-like. You have the heavy stuff of God Dethroned in our music and the more melodic side of Delain. So it made us think that Arien would be the perfect drummer, and it turned out to be great so I am really glad that we took this chance to have him on the album.

PiercingMetal: My next question was going to be about how come he was NOT touring with Epica in the States but then I walk into the venue and there he is on his page. How did he end up coming on the tour as opposed to Koen Hoerst I had read was coming.

Jansen: First we asked him …

PiercingMetal: It was money wasn’t it?

Jansen: No actually he is also pretty easy going with money as well. He is really one of these guys who loves to drum and when he wouldn’t have liked the music he wouldn’t have done it. Even if we offered to pay him double – he said this to me, if he doesn’t like the music there is no way that he will do it. However he liked the Epica stuff so much in the studio that we asked him first if he wanted to be our permanent drummer but he told us about his commitments in God Dethroned, and we told him that we understood and the second question was can you do some tours with us because we didn’t find another permanent drummer yet and the standards he put on us were very, very high. He told us yes if he had some periods of time where he was available that he would love to do tours with us. So we sat together also with the other drummer Koen who is doing some tours and we filled in all the stops. We have some spots with Koen and we have other ones with Arien, and the US tour just happened to be with Arien.

PiercingMetal: Let’s talk about some song-writing now. On the first album it was pretty much mostly you doing it and then with “Consign To Oblivion” we found Simone doing a lot more in the way of contributions and now with “The Divine Conspiracy” it really seems like the whole band is involved as far as the song-writing. There are two songs written by Yves the bass player – how did this work out for you as a band and did you find this to be a positive experience and something that you would do again in Epica’s future.

Jansen: Yeah, yeah I always said this to the band that it doesn’t matter who writes the stuff but it only matters that the stuff is of the highest possible quality. So whoever comes up with a great piece of music it will be used. There are some bands that I know where there are two people who write the music and it always stays like that because they want to earn all the money. For us it doesn’t work this way as instead we want the highest quality of music so the more pieces that are delivered to me the more colors I can use. It’s like a painting. I cannot do it on my own, well, perhaps I can but if I did I am sure that the album would not be as good as it is now. So my only hope is that the guys keep on contributing this way in the future because it brings the album to a higher level.

PiercingMetal: I definitely find the new album a very-exciting listen. What would you say some of the factors that inspired the writing process were? Past experiences in Epica, or stuff you had done in your lives outside of the band, the world, etc. This album is VERY heavy at times and there is a lot more blast-beat drumming over some razor guitar riffs. You are doing a lot more of the Death Metal growls in places where you used to wait to put them in and now you are now waiting. Was the heaviness in part to having the Death Metal drummer on board or was it how you always envisioned Epica’s sound?

Jansen: That goes to exactly to what I mentioned before in that we didn’t think too much and instead just did it. For “Consign To Oblivion” there was a time where we said oh lets not put this kind of drums onto it in case we want to get this on the radio, but with “The Divine Conspiracy” we just did it, and we get inspiration from all the things you’ve mentioned and we put them together into one big concept as this became a concept album. I find that you always need new input to get good output. If you want to ask a question about the concept I can explain it.

PiercingMetal: Hey let’s talk about the concept.

Jansen: Good idea, what do you want to know about the concept?

PiercingMetal: You wrote the question so how about you just tell me everything.

Jansen: The concept in short is about dealing with God or a higher spirit who leads many religions of mankind. As a test to see what would happen if people would be fighting each other forever and say that their religion is the only true one or they would see that all kinds of religions have a lot in common and would respect each other more and find out if all religions all lead to the same source. That’s the big test that we are facing – still we are fighting each other and the big question is if we would see it or not and the whole concept is leading to this final question – “The Divine Conspiracy”. Of course there is a lot more to the concept, there are a lot of side steps that all lead to this final concept in the end. There is quite a bit in there.

PiercingMetal: Are you happy with how it came out in the end, when you sat in the studio and listened to the final mix. Was it exactly how you wanted it to be?

Jansen: Yeah because we wanted it to be heavier, we wanted it to be more raw and where the guitar riffing is more important. This was because “Consign To Oblivion” was really orchestral and this time we have made more room for the guitars. Who knows what we will do next, perhaps make even more room for the guitars but I am very happy with the way that it turned out. We were surprised that Sascha (Paeth) could make a mix like this because he had never mixed a band like us before this time so it shows that he is really a multitalented guy.

PiercingMetal: Was the album cover your idea?

Jansen: No, that was Simone’s idea really but everybody thinks it was one of the guy’s idea or even the record company’s idea but it wasn’t. It was all her.

PiercingMetal: She certainly is a tough one. OK, so I am wondering if you think that your own instrumentation has evolved since the band first formed. As a guitar player, I mean with your own creativity.

Jansen: Yes definitely and the main difference is during “The Phantom Agony”, I wrote almost entirely on keyboards and then I added guitar riffs together with the rest. Yet on this new record a lot of the riffs started with the guitar and that’s what I want to do more in the future as well.

As Mark continues to talk, a car alarm breaks the relative quiet of the afternoon but I keep talking which seems to amuse him greatly.


Jansen: I hear this kind of noise all the time in New York, but you are just sitting there.

PiercingMetal: Well, you wanted “Quiet New York” and this is about as quiet as it gets.

Jansen: Don’t worry I can keep on talking. So back to the albums, that aspect is what I want to do more on the next records – start with the guitar riff and add some keyboards later and I already have a couple of songs for the next album and they were also started with the guitars. So my goal is to try and have the guitars be even more interesting next time. There were some guitar guys who came to the concert and they told me that “oh I played your record and in one day I could play all the songs” so I said, “well done, but next time I will make it harder for you” .

PiercingMetal: Ah, so people who are full of shit come up and talk to you as well I see. Let’s talk a little bit about being a Dutch act now. We have Within Temptation, and we have After Forever, which was actually a very close act to you at one time and it seemed as thought there was once some tension but now that has broken.

Jansen: Yes that is all solved.

PiercingMetal: Do you think we will ever see an Epica and After Forever tour?

Jansen: Yes, yes, but I don’t know when it will happen yet that it will happen is something that I am very sure of. Both bands are very busy at the moment but we have talked about it together and there are so many people who want to see this package on the road.

PiercingMetal: You know we have Within Temptation here on Friday.

Jansen: Yes I know. We played something like 100 miles in the other direction but we could feel that Within Temptation was playing because it was not too crowded for the show. They are also Dutch so its good to find that the Dutch are invading the United States.

PiercingMetal: You want New York back don’t you.

Jansen: No, we don’t want it back but we want the piece back that belongs to us (hahaha), just a little piece of New York is good.

PiercingMetal: What other kind of stuff do you do outside of your work with Epica if anything.

Jansen: I sport a lot, I do a lot of cycling and fitness things. Besides that I like cooking and while I don’t do it that much yet, I think I need to do it more often. All the work however is for Epica and I am almost working some 24 hours a day on Epica stuff. Even when I am sporting I am thinking about what needs to be done and as long as I can make a living out of this it is possible this way. We can even evolve more so that every person in Epica can make a living out of it. That is my dream for everybody in the band.

PiercingMetal: Another album you did was called “The Score” and it was literally the score for a movie. Do you think that you will ever do something like this again either outside of the Epica world or in its context.

Jansen: Ahh that doesn’t matter for as long as there is a new opportunity I will take it especially if it is a more professional film production than the last time because that one changed so much of my music in the movie that I really didn’t like it so much anymore in the end. I think that there will be a new opportunity in the future and perhaps even at the end of this tour because I had a conversation with a guy about the concept of a movie and when it looks good then perhaps that will be the chance and if not then we will wait for another chance. For sure the certainty is that I want to do it again.

PiercingMetal: Just a couple of more quick ones before we go back to the club. What is the state of Metal according to Mark Jansen?

Jansen: Hmm, what is the state of Metal you say. Well, its hard to say sometimes because Metal always goes with ups and downs. In some parts of the world Metal is really big and in other parts of the world its small but it never dies. Metal never dies – it is always there even in periods of time where it is difficult, it will always survive because there are always Metal heads and there is always an underground scene so it seems that Metal will always remain forever alive.

PiercingMetal: Any closing thoughts about the tour and what is next on the plate for Epica?

Jansen: Well, let’s see. This is now the fifth show that we are doing and there is still a long road to go and there are twenty three in total with our last two being with Overkill so those will be fun as well. It’s always a pity that the tour gets shorter and shorter the longer that you are on tour. I want to tour always and forever and when a tour is over it’s always a feeling of sadness for me. So I hope that I can enjoy every minute of it and that the tour lasts forever but when its finished we just look forward to the next one.

PiercingMetal: We’ve talked about the Transmission Records back catalog of music but what about that DVD that you filmed for this “Road To Paradiso”.

Jansen: Sadly that is also there and we had a talk with them about two months ago about this stuff and they are not willing to move an inch unfortunately. They only want to do better off of it themselves – this guy Hans van Vuuren, I don’t know how long he wants to wait with it because its almost to the point where it doesn’t make sense to release it anymore but I really hope that it all gets released as its such a pity that such a great DVD goes unseen. I saw all the images already and everything was worked out for it, it was almost mixed already. It would be such a pity if something like that couldn’t be released anymore.

PiercingMetal: Thanks Mark for your time – I know you are going to kick some ass tonight and we are happy to have you back in our town.

Jansen: I look forward to this one because we heard the pre-sales were pretty good so I am excited.

Mark asked if we could remain by the waterfront for just a few more minutes instead of running right back to the venue as he was enjoying the relative quiet and calm that was for some odd reason happening at the close of our discussion. Given he was a visitor and that I seldom find a quiet space on the West Side Highway I obliged him. On our return to the Highline Ballroom he was greeted by fans who wanted to shake his hand and take photos with him, and he quickly accommodated them. The bands started up earlier than expected and he made sure to watch them all along with the other guys in Epica. I was supposed to meet with Simone but she had not been feeling well that day, and would remain at the hotel until closer to the show time. We would have to do our interview sometime after the show if time allowed. Epica really kicked ass tonight and I was glad to have sit and talked with Mark about so many of their plans both past and present as they aim for the future.

Interview with After Forever 7

Source: Piercing Metal
Date: 2007-10-21
By: Ken Pierce

Floor Jansen is the bombastic vocal force that leads the band After Forever into the hearts of Melodic Metal fans around the world. 2007 found the band signing to Nuclear Blast Records and releasing a self titled album that was one of the most exciting releases of the year. We caught up with Floor when the band was making their debut appearance as direct support of legendary Thrashers Overkill. We secured some space in the backstage area of B.B. King Blues Club and aimed at covering a wide number of topics based on the many experiences and challenges that Floor and company had faced as performers. Below is the transcription of our entire conversation.


PiercingMetal: Hails to you Floor, so I am guessing it’s safe to say that you are happy to finally be bringing After Forever and their music to the fans in the USA. How would you say that the tour is coming along so far and what was the Prog Power show like? How has the reaction from the audience been for After Forever on the whole?

Floor: Well ProgPower was what we started out with which was like the first real show here in the states and to immediately be headlining a festival was like huge. It was really, really fun and people were really into it and really knew our band and that was really surprising for us to see how many people actually already knew us. There were so many old albums that we were signing even though they had never been released here and I guess we kept on running into that during this tour that a lot of people did know us. It’s still a relatively small crowd of course so I think for the next time we would definitely benefit more if we could be a support act for an even bigger band or similar genres but yeah it’s cool to see how many people from all kinds of different styles really like our music.

PiercingMetal: There are still probably quite a few people who were unaware of After Forever before the Nuclear Blast Records signing, so while I congratulate you on this achievement with this fine label who I am a fan of I am interested in finding out how this came to pass in the first place.

Floor: Well I guess that it started around the time that we started announcing that we were going to record our last album with Transmission Records and after that we got a lot of interest from all kinds of record companies and I am talking about in Europe. So we ended up signing with Nuclear Blast Europe which we thought was fitting the best to our situation and then we did the South by Southwest Festival in the States in Austin Texas and this is a festival that allows a lot of the industry people to see the band and for the bands to meet the industry people and that’s where we met Nuclear Blast US. And since we were already working with Nuclear Blast Europe and had been in touch with them we were also wondering if they would be a good party for us to work with here in the States. So we ended up working with them.

PiercingMetal: It’s pretty interesting to find that both of the Dutch bands from Transmission Records are now on Nuclear Blast Records (I am speaking of Epica for those who are unaware).

Floor: Yeah that’s what we thought too.

PiercingMetal: So while the band seeks to become more of a household name in areas like this, until that happens you want to appeal to a specific existing fan base. So who in Floor Jansen’s mind should be listening to After Forever and you cannot say “everybody”.

Floor: Well, everybody (laughs) but I am serious about that – everybody. We attract people that listen to Pop music; we attract people who listen to very Progressive Metal, to Classical Music, and even to Black and Death Metal. These are the people who like out music so maybe a Jazz fan would really like it or someone who only likes growls and really testosterone led male dominated Metal but I think a lot of people should give it a try because there is more in there than most people think. That’s why I don’t want to be put into one little corner too much by saying it’s that, or that, or that because that only limits the people that you can reach if you do that. Just in the fact that we’re playing with a band like Overkill tonight and last time we did it their audience really seemed to like us so you never know what’s going to happen up front. Last night we played with Mushroomhead and I had never heard of them before and their audience in the beginning was like “ugh there’s a girl singing, my god, fuck off” (Floor delivers her best ignorant Metal fan voice as she tells this to me). They were even counting down the numbers on our set list and wondering when we were going to fuck up yet in the end they did like it so it’s good to reach those kinds of people because otherwise they would have never bought a CD.

PiercingMetal: What would you say went into the creative process for the new album, the self-titled “After Forever”?

Floor: OK, well, I guess in the beginning, the very, very beginning we wanted to have all kinds of things in it and we had things that we didn’t want in it. We had people we wanted to make happy and felt that they would probably want this or that and then it only limited us. It didn’t really get much in the way of creativity going until the moment that we dropped that idea – then it came. And this is from Joost and Sanders because they are the main songwriters for the instrumental parts. They write about 90% of the form of the song and shape how it’s going to be with the melody for the guitar and the keyboards. Then they record that with some basic ideas for drum and bass and with that I start making my vocal lines. Then when I have that I will write my lyrics and record that and we send it to the rest of the band and we all start working them out until it’s 100% done.

PiercingMetal: Well I like what I have heard on the CD very much and sadly I did not get to hear “Remagine”, the album that preceded this one because it was quite impossible to find. However, what I do know from the listening to After Forever on the whole is that it is very different from the CD I last heard which is “Invisible Circles”. What went into your saying, “ok, we don’t just want to do storytelling” and while I am not certain your answer was in the previous question was it easy to switch from this idea of one full tale as opposed to individual tunes.

Floor: Well, you know that while “Invisible Circles” is a story, it’ not an epic one and the concept behind the story is not epic at all. Yet it was a concept and the only one that we ever did which was one story. So it was more like the other way around with this change. It was our third album and all of them “Prison Of Desire”, “Decipher” and “Exordium”, an EP, are not concept albums and there is a little bit of “Invisible Circles” in our new album it’s just not entirely the same. In terms of the progressive sound, I think that “Invisible Circles” was our most progressive album and stuff like this comes back in songs like “Dream Flight” and the other more progressive sounding songs. Elements are in there, but they are not the exact same thing.

PiercingMetal: Would you say now that having tried both kinds of things you would prefer to do yet another concept record or continue along the separate tracks type of release.

Floor: It depends because right now we are not really focusing on new work we are really focusing on getting this one properly promoted so I can’t really say.

PiercingMetal: I have to say that my favorites from the new release are the ones we are finding getting some heavy rotation on either the Internet radio and other online things and I am speaking of “Equally Destructive” and of course “Energize Me”. These are really among the catchiest on the album, or at least the ones that first hit you like that when you listen to it. What tunes from this new album are you most proud of and connected to this what would you say are the most fun for you to perform live as a singer?

Floor: Well, of both I can say that I have no favorite because to me those songs are all my babies. They all have my equal input of creativity and some have more personal things to it and are more challenging than others but I never can say that this is my favorite or that one is. I think one of the most challenging songs as to both write and record as it is to play is “Dreamflight” and a very fun one is “Equally Destructive” since it’s a very up tempo song that is easy to pick up for people who do not know the song. From the minute it starts the people are paying more attention to it than to some others and we notice that, so it makes it an extra special live song to play. It’s all based on the people’s reactions so that’s how I would best answer that one.

PiercingMetal: How did you like having the guest stars of Jeff Waters and Doro Pesch being involved in the project and whose idea was this?

Floor: Well in both cases it’s a huge honor to have such Metal icons on your album and both ideas came from Sander. Sander was in touch with Jeff Waters already for awhile and this is because he is a huge Annihilator fan and Jeff happened to see our show one day in Berlin and they stayed in touch after that. We want to emphasize the Metal side of our band and that’s why we wanted people from the Metal scene, from the real heavy scene and also a female who’s not into all this lyrical stuff. Doro is one of the first ladies in Metal but then again its more in a Heavy Metal eighties sound and nowadays its more with the whole growth of the genre that is more into the lyrical stuff. It’s a different kind of singing with different sounds so we thought it was kind of cool to just cross over and so did Doro so we got in touch with her through Bas (the other guitar player) and that’s how it came to be.

PiercingMetal: It might be a silly question, but do you prefer just recording or doing the actual touring.

Floor: I don’t think you can compare these things because for me they are just both so different and each has their good sides and challenges as well as their downsides. In the studio you can really be a perfectionist on everything which after awhile can be nerve wracking because you don’t know which one is actually perfect anymore. Getting the chance to hear back what you have just done is really, really extraordinary. Live, the energy that is present live makes me just love to sing live. I love performing and being onstage and when it comes to that I feel like a true performer and get to feel that side of me is just amazing.

PiercingMetal: I had asked that because there are some artists that you meet who say that they would just rather record and release album after album.

Floor: Yes, Sander is like that, our guitar player is definitely like that but if I had to choose between those two I would go for the live side. However I love recording as well because you can do so much more. It’s such a different side of this profession.

PiercingMetal: Reviewing your back catalog of material. There was some great stuff released but with Transmission Records gone would it be safe to assume that your old recordings are in the same boat at the folks in Epica as just impossible to get back?

Floor: Yeah we are both in the same awkward position with our former record company owner. He had sold all his stuff to his wife and it’s really, really amazing because he is playing very dirty games. I don’t understand why there is no law in Holland protecting us from this and we have spent thousands and thousands of euros to try and get our rights back and fighting for these rights in general. He is the owner of the masters but he went bankrupt so he needs money, and we want to buy our rights back so we can get him money. Yet he keeps doing very weird and very sneaky things which leave us unable to do a DVD which is something that is very high on our priority list. The fans from all over the world have been asking for this for years and we simply cant because this guy is holding us back. So Epica has similar situations going on with this and they actually finished a DVD.

PiercingMetal: Mark had mentioned this to me when we talked during their visit here several weeks ago.

Floor: This guy has been boycotting us in the past already and doing many other things that almost ruined us. He has partially ruined us right now because our reputation in some countries is really bad because of him and we come back to these places and find this happening. He has really done a lot of damage to us.

PiercingMetal: Let’s just hope that everything he has done comes back around and hits him as well.

Floor: My hope is that this guy gets what he deserves because he has really been making our life Hell for some time.

PiercingMetal: It’s amazing to hear about pitfalls like these and it often comes as a surprise to those people who think that being a professional musician is just a lot of sitting back going hahahaha; life is so grand and easy.

Floor: Oh hell no It’s really hard work believe me it’s a lot of hard work.

PiercingMetal: Speaking of Epica; there are no issues between the bands as I understand which is good. Do you think we shall see some touring combination or perhaps even cross-networking on some recordings?

Floor: There are no issues between us as bands. Sander actually sang on the new Epica album so that’s a crossover thing. There is Epica and there is After Forever and that’s it. Two different bands and they do what we did five, six, seven years ago and there is nothing more to it. It’s different.

PiercingMetal: Let’s talk a little about some of the other stuff that you do in life. You have a vocal studio where you teach. Tell me what made you start doing this, and if you can indulge us what can you offer as guidance to those students from abroad who cannot attend and might really want to learn from your expertise. See I am going to butter you up a little after the difficult questions.

Floor: Thank you (laughs) – well you know I have studied for many years and I learned a lot about vocal techniques and making a living from a band is almost impossible in Holland. I think there is only a few countries on this planet that support bands more than Holland does so I need another financial input. That is actually the main reason why I started giving singing lessons and it was from this that I found out that I really enjoy working with people who are motivated and want to learn. You don’t have to have the biggest talent in the world and you do not have to know anything about singing. People ask me “do you also work with beginners” and I tend to like that better because then I can teach them right from scratch how it is done and seeing them grow is something that is really rewarding. I have always been a very driven and self-motivated student myself so I have a hard time with people who just come every once in awhile and didn’t do anything in between sessions. I am like why did you even make the effort to take the trip because getting to me is not easy. I don’t live in the middle of the country, and it’s expensive. Singing lessons are always expensive and even I am not so expensive compared to others but I do prefer working with the student who is more motivated and for me it all starts with that. You do need to have some form of talent if you really want to do something with it – you need some amount of talent. However if you just want to do it to enjoy yourself you really don’t need anything more than the will to do it and to enjoy singing. That sometimes is more important than the actual thing that comes out. That is something I would like to say to everybody who sings that is more important than what you do. Also you should not think too much of yourself because you have to work for it as it doesn’t come to you by not doing anything.

PiercingMetal: .com: Do you find teaching what you do easy or hard?

Floor: This depends on my student actually. If I have someone who like I said, is motivated and makes progress – I find it easy to teach. If I have to teach someone who is not that motivated or is not making any progress then I cant put my finger on how to teach another way because it’s me that is not making the progress. I mean it as it’s a little bit of both because if my student is actually doing the exercises and there is no progress than it’s me. It means I have to change the exercises and this is because there is not only one way to learn how to sing, there are many different ways. Each body is different so each individual responds differently to the different exercises. If the person works on it and nothing comes of it I have to change it. Of course if the exercise works and the student is just not doing anything with it then its like “wow, how do I fill an hour with someone who is not doing anything”. That I find really hard and really de-motivating and I keep looking at my watch to see how much more time I have to sit here and listen to it because you know my motivation is really high. It always has been and I have always expected this of myself so I need a little of this back. Of course it’s hard not to project your own motivations onto your students but if someone is standing in front of my nose and really doing it then I am like “yeah!”

PiercingMetal: Now outside of After Forever and really making sure that this new album is on everybody’s mind and the most important part of the tour I understand that you are doing the new Ayreon recording as well. Do you think we will ever see him coming over here?

Floor: Gosh I dunno, because Arjen is someone who has done way more live stuff than you realize and when I met him about seven years ago he was not doing anything live. His thought was that he didn’t like playing live and he only wanted to record. He is one of those people that we discussed before but then again he did put together the Star One show and then he started his Stream Of Passion stuff and I am not sure you know those things.

PiercingMetal: I do in fact know them both.

Floor: So yes, he did that but maybe since then his point of view on doing stuff live has changed. The hard thing about any music made by Ayreon is that there are all these singers involved and if you want to do this live properly, you have to have a lot of people there at the same time. Everybody has their own schedule and everybody has their own project so for Star One it was already not really possible so it was amazing that so many people got to be there at the same time.

PiercingMetal: Your sister was involved in that performance as well.

Floor: Yes my sister was singing live too because on the album I had done all those harmonies and of course I couldn’t do that by myself so we were looking for someone who I could sound as good with and also look nice with because I am really tall. If I stand next to a small woman it would look weird, and I wouldn’t like that and most important was the ability to be able to practice together and if she lived on the other side of the planet I would never be able to practice. My sister only lives a few kilometers away and all of these things worked to her advantage. She actually had no experience so Arjen wasn’t so sure about it until he heard us and was like ok yes we can do this. My sister did an amazing job in my opinion for someone who just walked in there and did it.

PiercingMetal: Now outside further from the musical stuff, what else are the things that Floor Jansen likes to do?

Floor: I like to go horseback riding, that’s one of my biggest passions. Of course I haven’t done it in over a year because I just haven’t got the time to do it. I really do enjoy working with a horse that is trained because I am a little bit trained myself. I am not that much of course but it allows me to work on myself better by riding it. Not just riding horses in some type of riding school but I just don’t have the time for that right now. I do miss it.

PiercingMetal: Who does Floor Jansen listen to for inspiration?

Floor: I don’t listen for inspiration I listen because I like music. That forms my source for inspiration and everything I listen to becomes inspiration. Also the things that I don’t like just to know that I don’t like that.

PiercingMetal: So you consciously find something that you don’t like to listen to?

Floor: Well sometimes, and this happened to me yesterday and some people might hate me for this but I was listening to Jimi Hendrix because I wanted to give it another try but it was just not my music and he was a great musician who was simply phenomenal and he did so many things for music but to listen to it for me is like “my God this is not it”.

PiercingMetal: I was expecting you to say something more along the lines of Bon Jovi.

Floor: No I like Bon Jovi and I think he is an amazing vocalist and all the hair stuff that he had in the eighties when I was still a little kid, I mean not my music exactly but the way he sings is really cool. I listen to a lot of different styles of music and a lot of different styles of Metal. It’s very Metal dominated still but I do listen to a lot of different things. This is also because Metal in the vocal sense is not always the most interesting genre to listen to. It’s getting better, especially in the area of female fronted things but my style is not really represented yet.

PiercingMetal: You’ve actually led into my next question which is with After Forever being around for a couple of years now what is your view on the current Metal scene. I guess we can extend this into what you have experienced abroad and what you have observed so far in the States.

Floor: Well in the states and in Europe it is really different and I can’t really say too much of the states yet. However I know this is probably going to change quick because I understand there is a big wave of European Metal that has been coming over here, and this is not only in the female-fronted bands but all different types because there has been a big demand for it. I feel this is the other way around in Europe because over there we are interested in the American bands especially when that Nu-Metal wave was coming out. Now that Nu-Metal has kind of died out it will be time for something new to rise up. If there is one thing that I don’t like about Metal it is all these bands that keep repeating themselves or other bands. Do something new.

PiercingMetal: I’m glad that a number of them went away.

Floor: Yeah but this is not just in Nu-Metal, this is in a lot of styles and I feel that now there is a revival of very Extreme Metal and I mean much heavier than before. Bands like Chimaira and Machinehead, who while I don’t consider being Extreme, did seem to come back stronger than before and this is also part of a big revival of older bands that are back together again all of a sudden. Its good that Metal is in constant movement and female fronted Metal when we came up there was no real scene for and now there is one and it is still growing and moving and fortunately changing. Like I said before there are bands that start doing a little bit of what some other bands are doing. We had this happen to us with other bands doing things that we did which on one side is cool seeing them copy you but on the other hand since they are only copying you, the feeling is hey why don’t you come up with your own kind of music. I do see a difference in that happening now with bands that are doing something different and that helps keep the scene alive because if there was one big scene with all the bands doing the same thing then it would dry out. This way it will survive.

PiercingMetal: I was starting to wonder recently if the Dutch were trying to take New York back because recently we had Epica here, and then we had Within Temptation and now we have After Forever. So what are your thoughts on all of these bands from Holland who were never really able to get over here all now arriving at pretty much the same time?

Floor: Well you know that’s the reason we all are from Holland or my idea at least. Once there is one band doing good and being successful in a certain market there is an interest. If you are a booking agent and you have a band like that who has been successful you are going to want another band like that for the next time because you had success with them. Record companies see the success of Within Temptation and say “hey it would be interesting for us to have a female fronted band like that too”. That’s how it just grows and with the interest in this kind of female fronted band it is why a lot of the bands in Holland got the opportunity to eventually become something. In other countries this might not have happened because there wasn’t the same interest or the same market for it and over here with the success of a band like Evanescence and then Lacuna Coil crossing the ocean and being successful there became a stronger interest in female fronted Metal. Not necessarily European but Nightwish was here before and they were successful and a band like Within Temptation sees this happening and says ok lets take that step. In Europe they are a big band and they also have the money to make such a step and that makes it a little easier for bands like us to follow along. I pretty much think this is how it goes and how it works.

PiercingMetal: What do you want to happen now, going forward with After Forever and the new label, the new music and the new territories?

Floor: Well, I want to show what kind of band we are and not be labeled as we have so often been labeled as Gothic Metal like we had been in Holland and other parts of Europe. Here we are very often considered Progressive or just Melodic and we are able to play for a lot of different kinds of audiences. That is something I would like to hold onto and I think for us a very wise next step would be to jump on board with an even bigger band and be the support slot for a band that has an audience that is similar to ours.

PiercingMetal: Who would be the best band to tour with?

Floor: I would love to jump on board with Symphony X because I think that would be a really great opening spot for us. Especially since they are considered Progressive so much. Kamelot would work and maybe even Within Temptation. We wanted to go with Nightwish, but they didn’t want to have a female fronted band in the opening slot. Maybe even Sonata Arctica. So stuff like that and at least bands that can draw some people.

PiercingMetal: Closing words for those who want to be like Floor Jansen? Especially those girls who want to sing and might be out in the audience. Or perhaps even the guys who have the high enough voice to be like Floor Jansen.

Floor: (laughing) If you sing and if you have the ambition the most important thing is that you enjoy what you do and that you study for it. This doesn’t happen overnight. You have to have a talent and I am very happy to have been born with that but next to that I really did study to get where I am today. If you want that, you have to work for it.

PiercingMetal: What’s the set going to look like for the show?

Floor: It’s going to be a mixture of things but since we are only playing for fifty minutes it is going to be very dominated by our new album but we will also throw in some older stuff.

PiercingMetal: Final thoughts on the whole thing.

Floor: Thank you very much for supporting us. It has been amazing to see all the people who have really took the trouble to get our music from Europe into the states. We think that is so cool. We love to see these people at the show, its really great for us to experience. I hope we can reach even more people in the future and make even bigger parties of the shows.

PiercingMetal: Thanks Floor, best of luck to you and the band in everything.

After Forever went on to deliver a power packed set of material which was loaded to the hilt with the new albums incredible tracks. While only performing a fifty minute set there wasn’t a person in the audience who would forget them and based on the reaction they got the bands return would be something that all could look forward to. I can hardly wait.

Interview with Sonata Arctica 5

Source: Piercing Metal
Date: 2006-01-18
By: Ken Pierce

Finnish Power Metal has a great ally in the group Sonata Arctica. Their musical textures richly mixing powerful riffs with explosive vocals and harmonies. I had the chance to discuss a wide variety of topics with lead singer Tony Kakko when the band arrived in New York City for their first-headlining appearance. We began our discussion with Tony having some level of curiousity as to the recording device I was using. I always bring one of the Sandisk devices which do a great job under these circumstances. Below is our exact conversation.


PiercingMetal: I’m trying to make sure this thing is started correctly but my hands are freezing, it seems you brought the Finnish weather with you.


Tony: You’re telling me.


PiercingMetal: So let’s talk about the last time we were planning on talking you guys were on the eve of the Nightwish tour which was very abruptly cancelled. I wondered if you guys thought you were not going to be able to play the USA at that time.


Tony: Yes, that was the fear, and then suddenly we got a lot of response from the promoters who were doing those shows and the audience and they said we should still come. So, we decided to see that if the promoters could still do it and we are able to come then we would. When it seemed that it could be done that was how we were able to arrive in the USA that time.


PiercingMetal: Now that was a really interesting show and it really kicked a lot of ass as you most likely remember. Partnering up with Thrash legends Overkill gave you a really different vibe than what goes on at a Sonata Arctica gig. Did you think going into this particular show that you would have a problem with the audience. I mean you guys are this Melodic Power Metal and the Overkill crowd is hard core Thrashers.


Tony: No not at all because in the time we had been here before we found the audience to be mainly people with open minds for all kinds of music.


PiercingMetal: So what did you think overall with this tour once it had completed for to my knowledge this was the first tour of any fashion you had been able to do here.


Tony: It was great and we just wanted to come back for more and you know our working visas are valid for one year so we wanted to be sure to do it again before they expired. Here we are.


PiercingMetal: What were some of your favorite places to play during that tour?


Tony: Everywhere, because to me a new place is always great to play and it didn’t really matter to me. So I really didn’t have any favorites. In Canada, in French Canada we had a few sold-out shows there and those are always special.


PiercingMetal: You also sold out New York that night and that was about 1100 people I was told.


Tony: Really, well we had Overkill there so that is why.


PiercingMetal: You should know there was an equal amount of support for you guys, a nice representation of Sonata Arctica fans made sure to attend. I remembered that night as I was shooting photos, I also like to check and see how the audience is reacting and I saw a lot of people singing along.


Tony: Yes, Manhattan did seem to like it a lot.


PiercingMetal: Sonata Arctica is still supporting “Reckoning Night”, how is the album been received by both the core following and“Reckoning Night” how has this album been received by the core following and the casual fan. It seems a little cleaner in production and is not as big or in your face as something like “Winterhearts Guild”.


Tony: Well, it has been the best seller of our albums so far, and its sold over 100,000 copies so far which is really good for us.


- the openers begin their sound check in the background which makes our spot to talk a very bad place but we make due as we can.


PiercingMetal: Sorry I am only holding this now, since it’s more important that I hear you than the opening band right now. It’s cool though since I recognize someone in the group so the show is more fun.


Tony: Oh you do. Well on the album when the band has more than one album everybody has their opinion on each one and luckily for us this one has been received very well.


PiercingMetal: What’s going on with some new recordings, will we be seeing a new album, or dvd concert anytime soon. What about the back catalog being made available in the States for all the fans to grab a hold of.


Tony: Well that kind of stuff is always up to our record label so about that I have no idea. Of course the dream is to have the albums available everywhere. I don’t know how well or easy it is to find the newest album, have you had much problem with that.


PiercingMetal: Yes the new one very easily and some places have “Winterheart’s Guild”. Others like “Eclipse” and the rest not too much success that I have seen.


Tony: Well, we are opening up the web-shop so that should help out a little more. People can order them from there and this is when we eventually are able to make this work.


PiercingMetal: Let’s talk about Finland a little bit because over the past couple of years especially we have been seing such a steady stream of talented musicians Bands like HIM, Nightwish, Children Of Bodom and of course Sonata Arctica among others. To what do you attribute to this renaissance in Heavy Metal music coming from your Country for the most part.


Tony: Well, it’s always coming from somewhere I mean you have a lot coming from Germany and Finland always puts out stuff and then there is the Black Metal things coming out of Sweden. Yet I think what makes me the happiest is that all of these kind of bands are able to tour in the USA. It’s like the bar has been raised, because no one says “there is no way you can tour there because you are not going to make any money or have any people come to the show since they don’t know you”. It’s not the environment that becomes a financial crap and you don’t kick yourself for coming here. It really seems like we are able to do it and all of the Finnish bands that have come here have said its been cool.


PiercingMetal: The reason for my next question is because I always used to connect the sonata Arctica name with the band Nightwish. There were always reports online of shows and things together so it stuck in my head. I just wondered what kind of thoughts went through your head when you heard this sad news about them firing the singer Tarja Turunen and choosing to find someone else for the job. Can you actually say anything about this?


Tony: It was hanging in the air for a long, long time and a lot of us were wondering how long it would last. With all the little problems that everybody seems to end up having and then came the open letter that they put out there.


PiercingMetal: That was amazing, I mean I thought it was a joke.


Tony: Sadly, I knew it was not a joke but I don’t really feel it is necessary for me to put my spoon in that soup anymore. They are good friends and I hope they made the right choice there and it makes things easier. I hope they find a great singer.


PiercingMetal: Well I guess we can consider Sonata Arctica the biggest Power Metal band out of Finland now.


Tony: I don’t know about that because I think we are too mellow to be a Power Metal band.


PiercingMetal: I think the band falls more into the Melodic Power side.


Tony: Melodic Metal yes, but I don’t know about Power Metal. I don’t know, maybe I am too blind to it yet.


PiercingMetal: While all of this is very early in the tour how are you finding doing this without the support of another major label act in the most cases. I mean tonight you are performing with a local area group that performs Queensryche covers. I wonder how you think on this because often you are already going to be playing for the Sonata Arctica fan, and in one sense that is “preaching to the choir” and no one really new is getting to hear the music.

Tony: Well, I feel as long as there are enough people coming to the shows then I am happy. The tour is also like marketing ourselves and maybe from this a bigger band will find interest and want to take us along with them. From there we get to play to the new audience and it begins to build up and become something more people see.

PiercingMetal: I asked this because I spoke to Jon Schaffer of Iced Earth last year and we discussed that while it is great to headline the shows, it seems that everyone there already knows the material and the music. They all have the records and there is not enough presence of new people a lot of times. That becomes a concern when this is what you do for a living.

Tony: I find that a lot of times people bring their friends.

PiercingMetal: I guess you’re right since I even brought some tonight. So are we keeping the same set tonight or are you changing it around a little each night.

Tony: No, it is pretty much the same every night but I mean there are some minor changes as we go along. For instance we are playing two shows in Quebec so we felt we should change a little something there. We might change one of the songs to “Wolf And Raven” at some point if we have enough time to rehearse it but today we had a lot of little problems so we didn’t have time to rehearse at all.

PiercingMetal: So who does Tony Kakko listen to when you just decide that you want to listen to some music. What do you find inspiration in.

Tony: Anything really, anything music. I mean the latest CD’s I ended up buying were collections editions and I bought some Stevie Wonder, and Ray Charles.

PiercingMetal: I always find it interesting to hear that kind of stuff from you guys because you never know what to expect. We did an interview with Hank Shermann awhile back (Force Of Evil & Mercyful Fate) and we asked the same question of him. He responded that he liked the old Led Zeppelin and Judas Priest stuff but also Abba. And I never expected to find out this piece of information from him so it was kind of funny. Now as we draw to a close, what would you say the future holds for Sonata Arctica. Let’s look past this tour.

Tony: The tour ends in August and from there we will start working on material. I already have some things ready and we hope to be in the studio for November and have something released I guess in the Spring after that. Before that happens we will see a live DVD come out and there is a compilation, but that is right now only released in Japan.

PiercingMetal: So the fans can get that here you think.

Tony: I would think so because it also is on Nuclear Blast but I think it will still be a few months for that to happen.

PiercingMetal: What has the relationship with the label been like so far.

Tony: Yeah its cool, there is nothing bad to say about it.

PiercingMetal: I think it’s a great label for a band like this and I guess we are pretty much done. I don’t like to keep you too long with you needing to sing in a little while and also having to talk to some more people. Any closing comments?

Tony: After this we hope to return soon, and see even more of you. Thanks.

The band soon performed and as expected they were met with a resounding level of approval and excitement from their fans. The band truly gave their all and photos of the performance are present elsewhere on the site so please take a look and be sure to investigate this amazing band a little more when you get the chance.

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