translated by Norwegian Oceansoul
Finnish band Nightwish has with time become a huge name in the operatic metal-genre, and later this spring there’ll be a new release from Tarja & the guys. The redordcompany Nucler Blast therefore invited to a listening-session and interview with other enjoyables in Helsinki. I threw myself on the first plane expecting not much more than free booze. After both yksi and kakksi Lapin Kulta in my system I got a truly great surprise while listening to the new album, named Once. Finally a Nightwish-release with true male hormones involved. I grabbed hold of boardist and bandboss Tuomas Holopainen in hope of squeezing out what’s going on….
Once shows a much harder and powerful side of Nightwish than we’re used of. How do you think the fans will respond?
-Hopefully with their wallets. Hehe, no just kidding. Everyone who’s heard it, and knows our previous stuff has been kinda confused to begin with. Most of them has liked the album, but think it takes a few listens than what’s usual. It’s a lot more guitar, more sound, more everything. I have in a greater degree used guitars to write the songs, and that has given a harder and tougher sound to it all. I both hope, and believe that this will become a classic eventually, it grows on you for every time you listen to it.
Where did you get the inspiration to write Once?
-In principle soundtracks. I’m a filmfreak, and my recordcollection is about 70% soundtracks. My thought was to create 11 small, musical “shortfilms” – I guess you can call us a “Movie-metal band”, hehe.. I get a lot from soundtrack creators like John Williams (Star wars) and Hans Zimmer (Gladiator). Fact is that I discovered the metal-genre quite late in life, I was about 15 when I saw Metallice and Guns’n’Roseslive in San Fransisco in ’92. That was a huge kick, and it had developed ever since. 3rd and the Mortal is propably the band I had in the back of my head when I started Nightwish as a band. Dimmu Borgir, Immortal and Mayhem has also meant a lot to me in my musical development.
You have as time has passed become one of the big metal-bands nowadays. Do you feel a certain pressure while writing new materiale?
-To a certain degree yes. We felt we had to work harder than ever to reach goal with this album. We worked intensivly with the album for six months straight, and this is actually the first time I’ve kept faith in it all the way. I’m proud of this album! We’ve grown a lot as a band since the previous record, to what we can offer today.
Nemo is the first single. It’s not about hunting fish is it?
-*giggles* No, it isn’t. But you can’t make me give you any answers to what the songs are about, that you’ll have to figure out on your own! Nemo was picked because it’s both short and catchy enough to be played on the radio. This is recordcompany-bullshit of course, but on the other hand, it does give an impression of how much we’ve grown as a band – without frightening away the fans who discovered us with our last record. Next single out will propably be Wish I had an Angel, which will be a real asskicker.
You’ve used a lot of orchestra throughout the entire record. What are you gonna do live?
It would be amazing to have an orchestra with us on stage, but it’s a question of money of course. We’ll have to use playback to do these songs on stage. It would be great if we could have used an orchestra on like 2-5 gigs at the end of the tour, but we’ll have to see about that. You shouldn’t count out the possibility of a live-dvd from one of these shows. But na orchestra costs a lot of money! To put a perspective on it all, the orchestra-recordings for Once costed us more than the entire recording of out previous album.
And what about the trach Creek Mary’s Blodd, with the native American John TwoHawks. Will this one be performed live?
Unfortunatly, no. It’s my personal favourite on this album, but without TwoHawks I feel that it’s wrong to perform it live. It was a certain “then and there”-feeling when we did it in the studio which I think is impossible to recreate in concert.
How did you get in touch with John TwoHawks?
Through the internet! I searched for “native American singer”, and there he was!
Hehe! In which direction will Nightwish move on the next album?
God knows – and he usually won’t reveal much. Truth be told, it’s impossible to answer that yet. I’ve spent all my resources on this album, and I feel totally worn out. It will be a while before we can start working on new songs, but all of a sudden the ideas come flowing in, and when that happens all I can do is to write. One thing is for sure: It will be a step onwards, but I’m not interested in writing an album named Twice next time. Our three first records are pretty much quite alike, and this new one is a huge step forward. We will work out from that, and not fall back on old paths.
Oh yeah! We’re starting off with a tiny one in Finland, and after that it’ll be a rather calm festival-summer with 10-12 dates, and at the end of July we begin the Europetour. And then, America, Australia and Japan before we finish it all in Europe again. It’ll be quite hectic in the upcoming year.
Speaking of Japan, you haven’t really taken off there, as other Scandinavian bands traditionally do. What’s the reason for that?
We didn’t get that either – we are goddamn better than any other bands from “coldland”, hehe! Naah, after some investigation we found out that it’s because of Japaneese tradition-values. It’s hard for proud Japaneese men to idealise a female frontfigure. A little weird, really, ‘cause wher else can you find a more sex-fixated people?!
You play on a lot of festivals, and are in general a lot on the road. Do you prefer huge festival-scenes or the smaller venues?
Personally I prefer the smaller stages where we can get more in touch with our fans, while Tarja for example really digs to stand before massive crowds on big arrangements. It has to be said that I’m totally naive when it comes to money, and financial stuff, we do earn more on big festivals than on smaller venues, but still!!! The best thing with festivals is that there’s a lot of drinking and messing about – we are a Finnish band, for crying out loud!!
Sex, drugs & Rock’n’Roll?
No comment! But it’s not for no reason we made a huge storage of Nightwish-condoms…!
After this rather intimate revelation the conversation slides over in GBS (General BullShit)- land, greatly assisted by our friend L. Kulta, so it was hard to get any more sense out of Tuomas.
But we assume we’ll come back stronger with more in the occation of the Nightwish-gigs at Rockefeller 23. and the 24. of July. Meanwhile you should look forward to see Once on the shelfs!