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2020-21: Interviews during the pandemic shutdown


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Nightwish’s Floor Jansen: “After 20 years of metal, I would like to do something else”

(Metal Hammer Jul 14, 2020)

https://www.loudersound.com/features/nightwishs-floor-jansen-after-20-years-of-metal-i-would-like-to-do-something-else

A few notable quotes:

"We couldn’t even rehearse for the tour,” says Floor. “We were supposed to, but it was just before the flying ban came in. Some of us are in different countries, so we couldn't even meet to rehearse."

"I was properly challenged – there are some difficult melodies in Music and Shoemaker. Some verses are extremely tricky to sing."

"[...] After 20 years of rock and metal, I think I would like to do something else. I don't mean stop with Nightwish, but something alongside it. I was recently involved in a TV show in my home country in the Netherlands [reality series Beste Zangers, aka ‘Best Singers”]. That really inspired me to start writing, and the stuff that has come out is very calm. I would love to make an album where less actually is more. Something different – not because I’m bored, but because if you are already in one of the biggest bands in your own genre, and you have someone like Tuomas Holopainen as a songwriter, I don’t really see that I’d be adding anything by making another metal album myself."

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Most band member interviews these days are made by Finnish outlets. But Google is getting better at translating Finnish!

13-3-11500186.jpg

 

Covid-19 got Nightwish Floor Jansen to make your own music: "I am currently in the rock, I did not survive the opera stages"
Floor Jansen is currently considered one of the most talented and versatile metal singers.

20.8.2020
Jussi Mankkinen

https://yle.fi/uutiset/3-11499953

The cat has had puppies two days ago, and the home of Floor Jansen and her Swedish musician is now full of hustle and bustle.

- Emo and the chicks are in our bedroom next to the bed in a box so we can keep an eye on them during these first critical days. There is a little cute sound from the box all the time, Jansen says and imitates the kitten's wick at the same time: viuu, viuu, viuu.

The voice of Jansen, who was reached by telephone from southern Sweden, is pleasant to listen to - it exudes musicality - and in addition, the singer often laughs. The impression is created of an uncomplicated person who is with you.

Jansen loves animals. He also has two horses at home, Lily and Auri, of which he shares frequent images on social media. Current daily routines do include grooming and feeding horses, but not necessarily riding.

- One of my horses is still too young to ride, the other doesn't really like it. Last night, however, it was great weather, so we made a horseback ride to the nearby forest.

Riding and grooming animals is a great way to relax for Jansen - who has spent a lot of time touring and recording studios in recent years.

- Everyone needs to relax things that have nothing to do with the actual bread work. Riding and being outdoors are good ways for me to relax.

Nightwish is a positive escape from reality

Jansen, who sang in the Dutch After Forever and ReVamp playing symphonic metal, became familiar to Finns in 2012 at the latest, when she was attached to Nightwish. With the new vocalist, the album Endless Forms Most Beautiful was born in 2015, and this spring the mind-boggling Human. : II: Nature ..

The bold Jansen is naturally able to produce soft pop singing, death metal rumble, screaming as well as opera aria, so it's no wonder that Tuomas Holopainen grabbed her from record to his ever-expanding project.

And the latest wash at Nightwish has shown that Jansen is not in vain considered one of the most talented and versatile metal singers of our era. So far, she has undoubtedly been the best choice to realize even Tuomas Holopainen's wildest vocal visions.

- Getting To me, a singer of Nightwish has been a dream come true - the fact that I got to be involved, to see the band's growing and changing current form, Jansen says.

According to Jansen, the cornerstones of Nightwish’s concept include a positive message - despite the fact that the band’s strongly orchestrated and cinematic music can sometimes be incredibly dramatic and pompous.

- It's a kind of escapism, an escape from reality. Previously, Nightwish’s music was based more on fantasy, now bringing out the splendor, beauty and splendor of the world and all of life. The music takes you somewhere very far away, and you don’t even need to notice the details of the lyrics.

With this in mind, Jansen believes that Human appeared in April. : II: Nature. album was released just in time.

- During the Corona Spring, the album has brought people comfort, and they have gained new energy from it.

 

Challenging singing performances

Human. : II: Nature. When listening to the song parts of the album, the first thing that comes to mind is that these have probably not been very easy to perform. Jansen does not deny this.

- The songs on the album - and especially the vocal parts - are very complex. It was really hard work to practice and learn the vocal parts, and internalize them holistically. It’s not just about singing, it’s about telling a story - that expression is more than just notes and words. This was definitely a challenge.

A good example of the challenge is Human. : II: Nature. the third song in the album, Shoemaker, about astronomer Eugene Shoemaker. The intricately meandering structure of the piece contains a wealth of stylistic and rhythmic variations, and its lyrics extend into the planetary spheres, travel through the craters of the moon, and wander in the farthest reaches of space.

Such should therefore be experienced.

A vocal track culminates in the second half of the opera rugged portion where Jansen dazzling soprano praise for Latin stars - Ad Astra.

Songs like Shoemaker Jansen practices piece by piece, and eventually analyzes them into atoms. The process includes intensive discussions with Tuomas Holopainen and endless practice.

- That's not how it goes into the jar at once: it's about repeating, repeating and repeating again. After six or more weeks, I can then present the song as it should. At that time, I start to know the meaning of the words and the style of singing: is it about howling, should there be softness or opera, what is the right tone ...

There are other challenges involved in the process: in his previous bands, Jansen has also been involved in composing and lyrics, in the case of Nightwish the situation is different.

- It is still a relatively new thing for me that I will be involved in the music-making process only at a later stage. Human. : II: Nature. making the album was a very black and white experience. On the one hand, it was a long and complex period of time, on the other hand, it was easy to dive into the process because I have the same interests as the rest of the band.

Jansen has studied both musical theatre and classical singing, but she has never longed for opera stages.

- I am certainly interested in opera technique, but I'm from the opera itself: I have a too personal and self-motivated person. Besides, I'm at the moment so the rock, I did not survive the opera stages.

Jansen cites Lzzy Hale of Halestorm, Russell Allen of Symphony X and Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge as her current favorite singers.

 

Korona stumbled upon making her own music

The corona pandemic has plagued performing artists in particular, and Floor Jansen is no exception.

- Covid wiped everything off my calendar for the whole year. Maybe there may be some kind of European tour, but right now it seems that the situation will not change, at least radically. I also had to have solo concerts that have now been cancelled.

For both Jansen and her husband, Sabaton band drummer Hannes Van Dahl, the situation is completely new: both play in a successful, long-touring band.

- We are not quite completely used to the situation yet. Fortunately, we live in the countryside: there is always something to do here and there is space and space around. We’re not the type of person who would just sit at home doing nothing.

The spring patterns were also complicated by the fact that in March, Jansen contracted a persistent, feverish flu. There is no certainty as to whether it was a corona, but the singer isolated herself in the guest cottage of her home.

- When I finally started to recover, things fell into place. I settled down to my piano and now I want to make a whole album of new, my own music. I noticed that I have certainly grown in recent years as a singer, but I'm a songwriter.

Jansen doesn’t want to talk about the content or music style of the upcoming album yet.

- I do not want to sound like Nightwish, because Nightwish is already there, and I do not Revamp, because the band I've already seen and experienced. I don’t have an actual schedule because finding the right kind of sound and the right songs is far more important. This takes time, and that is what I have now.

In addition, Jansen has discovered the magical world of YouTube. He has made a Storytime series for his channel, in which she tells about her daily life and builds a horse hook, for example, with the help of a worker.

- This has been a lot of fun: this is a completely different way of communicating, than what I'm accustomed to in the past.

Studying Finnish was interrupted

Through Nightwish, Floor Jansen has naturally developed strong ties to Finland as well. She lived in Joensuu during the recording of Endless Forms Most Beautiful, and according to a well-established tradition, Nightwish's latest album was also completed at the camp center in Kitee Röskö.

- I visit Finland at least twice a year, whether it is a Christmas or summer visit to Röskö. At the moment, I miss Finland so much: it is somehow strange that there is no tour or anything like that going on.

Jansen has a hate-love relationship to the Finnish language. She plans to study it on Nightwish’s next world tour - whenever it comes true.

- I try to save my energy on tours, but on the other hand, there is usually enough extra time. Being sitting down and studying something for an hour, for example, is a nice pastime and keeps the main booth moving.

Jansen had to study Finnish before, but then fate was missing. She met her Swedish husband and moved to the vicinity of Gothenburg. Three years ago, the couple had a common child, Freja. Naturally, the study of the Swedish language and Swedish culture became a priority.

- Finland and Sweden have a variety of countries and backgrounds and cultures, and the more from these two countries, I have learned, the more I find the differences. Of course, the same features can be found: Midsummer is celebrated in both countries, unlike in the Netherlands. Now I'm used to this as well.

Jansen also indirectly refers to the very different ways in which Finland and Sweden deal with the corona pandemic.

- I am glad that the Government has kept you so well looked after.

Sabbath-playing power metal Sabaton playing war metal plays songs like Panzerkampf, Fields of Verdun and White Death. The band's music is thus quite far from Nightwish's symphonic metal painting.

But does Floor listen to Jansen Sabaton at home?

- I do like the vibes of the band, I admire their energy and how they have built their careers. However, I would call Sabatonia at home on a Sunday morning, just when I have risen up out of bed - even though I'm married to the band's drummer, Jansen laugh.

 

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On 10/10/2020 at 4:12 AM, Fugazi said:

Most band member interviews these days are made by Finnish outlets. But Google is getting better at translating Finnish!

I fixed some issues in the translation. Should be more readable now.

 

Covid-19 got Nightwish's Floor Jansen to make her own music: "I'm currently so rock, that I couldn't survive opera stages"

Floor Jansen is currently considered one of the most talented and versatile metal singers.

The cat has had kittens two days ago, and the home of Floor Jansen and her Swedish musician is now full of hustle and bustle.

- The mother and the kittens are in our bedroom in a box next to the bed so we can keep an eye on them during these first critical days. There is a little cute sound from the box all the time, Jansen says and imitates the kitten's whining at the same time: viuu, viuu, viuu.

The voice of Jansen, who was reached by telephone from southern Sweden, is pleasant to listen to - it exudes musicality - and in addition, the singer often laughs. It creates an impression of an easy-going person who is happy with herself.

Jansen loves animals. She also has two horses at home, Lily and Auri, of which she shares frequently images on social media. Current daily routines do include greeting and feeding horses, but not necessarily riding.

- One of my horses is still too young to ride, the other doesn't really like it. Last night, however, it was great weather, so we made a horseback ride to the nearby forest.

Riding and grooming animals is a great way to relax for Jansen, who has spent a lot of time touring and recording studios in recent years.

- Everyone needs to relax with things that have nothing to do with the actual main job. Riding and being outdoors are good ways for me to relax.

 

Nightwish is a positive escape from reality

Jansen, who sang in the Dutch symphonic metal bands After Forever and ReVamp, became ultimately familiar to Finns in 2012, when she joined Nightwish. With the new vocalist, the album Endless Forms Most Beautiful was born in 2015, and this spring the mind-boggling Human.:II:.Nature.

Gracefully singing Jansen is naturally able to produce soft pop singing, death metal growls, screaming as well as opera aria, so it's no wonder that Tuomas Holopainen grabbed her to his album by album ever-expanding project.

And eventually her job in Nightwish has shown that Jansen is not in vain considered one of the most talented and versatile metal singers of our era. So far, she has undoubtedly been the best choice to realize even Tuomas Holopainen's wildest vocal visions.

- Becoming a Nightwish singer has been a dream come true for me - the fact that I got to be involved, to see the band's growing and changing to the current form, Jansen says.

According to Jansen, the cornerstones of Nightwish’s concept include a positive message - despite the fact that the band’s strongly orchestrated and cinematic music can sometimes be incredibly dramatic and pompous.

- It's a kind of escapism, an escape from reality. Previously, Nightwish’s music was based more on fantasy, now bringing out the splendor, beauty and shine of the world and all of life. The music takes you somewhere very far away, and you don’t even need to notice the details of the lyrics.

With this in mind, Jansen believes that Human.:II:.Nature, released in April, got out just at the right time.

- During the coronavirus spring, the album has brought people comfort, and they have gained new energy from it.

 

Challenging singing performances

When listening to the vocal lines of the Human.:II:.Nature album, the first thing that comes to mind is that they have probably not been very easy to perform. Jansen does not deny that.

- The songs on the album - and especially the vocal lines - are very complex. It was really hard work to practice and learn the vocal lines, and internalize them holistically. It’s not just about singing, it’s about telling a story - that expression is more than just notes and words. This was definitely a challenge.

A good example of the challenge is the third song in the album Human.:II:.Nature, Shoemaker, about astronomer Eugene Shoemaker. The intricately meandering structure of the piece contains a wealth of stylistic and rhythmic variations, and its lyrics extend into the planetary spheres, travel through the craters of the moon, and wander in the farthest reaches of space.

Now this is what the singer should put her soul into!

Vocally the track culminates in the powerful opera section in the second half where Jansen's dazzling soprano voice praises stars in Latin - Ad Astra.

Jansen practices songs like Shoemaker piece by piece, and eventually analyzes them into atoms. The process includes intensive discussions with Tuomas Holopainen and endless practice.

- You can't wrap it up at once: it's about repeating, repeating and repeating again. After six or more weeks, I can present the song as it should. At that time, I start to know the meaning of the words and the style of singing: is it growling, should there be softness or opera, what is the right tone...

There are other challenges involved in the process as well: in her previous bands, Jansen has also been involved in composing and lyrics, in the case of Nightwish the situation is different.

- It is still a relatively new thing for me that I will be involved in the music-making process only at a later stage. Making the Human.:II:. Nature album was a very black and white experience. On the one hand, it was a long and complex period of time, on the other hand, it was easy to dive into the process because I have the same interests as the rest of the band.

Jansen has studied both musical theatre and classical singing, but she has never longed for opera stages.

- I am certainly interested in opera technique, but not in the opera itself: I am a too individual and self-motivated person for it. Besides, I'm at the moment so rock that I couldn't survive the opera stages.

Jansen cites Lzzy Hale of Halestorm, Russell Allen of Symphony X and Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge as her current favorite singers.

 

Covid pushed to make her own music

The covid pandemic has plagued performing artists in particular, and Floor Jansen is no exception.

- Coronavirus wiped everything off my calendar for the whole year. Maybe there may be some kind of European tour, but right now it seems that the situation will not change, at least radically. I also had solo concerts to be held, but they have now been cancelled.

For both Jansen and her husband, Sabaton band drummer Hannes Van Dahl, the situation is completely new: both play in a successful, long-touring band.

- We are not quite completely used to the situation yet. Fortunately, we live in the countryside: there is always something to do here and there is space around. We’re not the type of people who would just sit at home doing nothing.

The plan for spring was also complicated by the fact that in March, Jansen contracted a persistent, feverish flu. There is no certainty as to whether it was a covid, but the singer isolated herself in the guest cottage of her home.

- When I finally started to recover, things fell into place. I settled down to my piano and now I want to make a whole album of new, my own music. I noticed that I have certainly grown in recent years as a singer, but not as a songwriter.

Jansen doesn’t want to talk about the content or music style of the upcoming album yet.

- I do not want to sound like Nightwish, because Nightwish is already there, or Revamp, because it's the band I've already seen and experienced. I don’t have an actual schedule because finding the right kind of sound and the right songs is far more important. This takes time, and that is what I have now.

In addition, Jansen has discovered the magical world of YouTube. She has made a Storytime series for her channel, in which she tells about her daily life and builds a horse paddock, for example, like a workman.

- This has been a lot of fun: this is a completely different way of communicating, than what I'm accustomed to in the past.

 

Studying Finnish is in progress

Through Nightwish, Floor Jansen has naturally developed strong ties to Finland as well. She lived in Joensuu during the recording of Endless Forms Most Beautiful, and by a well-established tradition, Nightwish's latest album was also completed at the camp center in Röskö, Kitee.

- I visit Finland at least twice a year, whether it is Christmas or a summer visit to Röskö. At the moment, I miss Finland so much: it is somehow strange that there is no tour or anything like that going on.

Jansen has a hate-love relationship to the Finnish language. She plans to study it on Nightwish’s next world tour - whenever it comes true.

- I try to save my energy on tours, but on the other hand, there is usually enough extra time. Sitting down and studying something for an hour, for example, is a nice pastime and keeps my mind fresh.

Jansen intended to study Finnish before, but then fate came along. She met her Swedish husband and moved to the vicinity of Gothenburg. Three years ago, the couple had a common child, Freja. Naturally, the study of the Swedish language and Swedish culture became a priority.

- Finland and Sweden are different countries by both backgrounds and cultures, and the more I have learned from these two countries, the more I find the differences. Of course, the same features can be found: Midsummer is celebrated in both countries, unlike in the Netherlands. Now I'm used to this as well.

Jansen also indirectly refers to the very different ways in which Finland and Sweden deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

- I am glad that your Government has looked after you so well.

Flavoured with thundering power metal accompaniment, war metal playing Sabaton have songs such as Panzerkampf, Fields of Verdun and White Death. The band's music is thus quite far from Nightwish's symphonic metal imagery.

But does Floor Jansen listen to Sabaton at home?

- I do like the vibes of the band, I admire their energy and how they have built their careers. However, I wouldn't play Sabaton at home on a Sunday morning, just when I have waken up - even though I'm married to the band's drummer, Jansen laughs.

 

Edited by whitenoise
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1 hour ago, whitenoise said:

I fixed some issues in the translation. Should be more readable now.

Thank you, much appreciated!  👍  There were bits that Google didn't manage to translate properly but I couldn't figure out what the original intent was, so I left tham as is.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nightwish's Floor Jansen: the music that changed my life

Nightwish singer Floor Jansen celebrates the music that lit her path into symphonic metal.

2020-04-09

https://www.loudersound.com/features/nightwishs-floor-jansen-the-music-that-changed-my-life

 

It's about the music and musicians that inspired her over the years. There's also a little anecdote about Nightwish:

"I can’t remember when I heard Nightwish for the first time, or which Nightwish album it was exactly when I got into them. And I can’t name one Nightwish album that meant so much it was life changing, but touring with them in 2002 with After Forever as a support act - that was life changing for me. 

"I wanted to do what they were doing. That kept me going, it gave me a purpose. I remember that was 2002 we were going to go on our first European tour and share our bus with part of the crew with Nightwish. Tony and Ewo [Nightwish’s management] were these massive big Finnish guys. Both of them are extremely tall, broad shouldered, low voiced giants and they came in and explained the basic rules of touring together. 

"We were like a bunch of school kids listening to them. We were almost afraid, but then they started talking with their low voices and I realised these are super nice guys. It all came down to just, ‘Don’t be a total asshole, let’s drink a little too much and have a good time.’ Which we did!"

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  • 3 months later...

Here's a brand new (and long) interview with Tuomas on "Breaking Absolutes". Lots of insight into Tuomas' writing and composing. Here are some highlights:

-First rehearsals for the virtual show took place during the last few weeks.

-Another teaser for the virtual show will be released in about 3 weeks.

-Virtual show will include some but not all of the HN album songs, and older songs mostly from the more recent albums.

-Setlist was adjusted after Marko's departure, for instance Endlessness was ditched for obvious reasons.

-The new base player will be announced a few hours before the virtual show.

-There's a "little" tour planned for Auri, when the schedule and pandemic allows. Presumably after the second album comes out in September 2021.

-Tuomas has 12 stories written for an eventual short story book.

-Still working on creating crosswords puzzles with his wife.

-Would like to create a board game one day.

 

 

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Tuomas Holopainen open about Nightwish's difficult start to the year – Marko Hietala's shock announcement was followed by a soloist being hospitalized

Nightwish's Tuomas Holopainen tells IS that the band's Dutch singer Floor Jansen is currently on sick leave at home in Sweden.

Pasi Kostiainen 2021-04-22

https://www.is.fi/musiikki/art-2000007933762.html

 

"I spoke to Floor on Tuesday night. She's recovered well."

This is what Nightwish keyboardist and composer Tuomas Holopainen tells IS.

"Floor stayed four days in a hospital in Joensuu," he says.

"We had time to train with the whole band once. The next day, Floor called to say she was suffering from terrible stomach pains. She was taken to a hospital, where gallstones were removed. She also had pancreatitis. It took four days at the hospital. Then she was able to travel home to Sweden, where she is now recovering in peace."

It is expected that Jansen will be in full singing condition at the end of May. Then Nightwish's long silence will be cut off by a series of two virtual concerts, An Evening with Nightwish in a Virtual World.

Fans of the band will be interested in what kind of fantasy world the band has built for their concert.

But it's also interesting who plays bass in Nightwish after Marko Hietala, who split in January.

According to Holopainen, the bassist will be revealed on that virtual gig.

"VIP ticket buyers will be the first to see who is involved. They get to see an interview with the bass player before the concert."

But is the bass player getting a permanent mortgage on the band? We don't know that yet according to Holopainen.

"For the time being, he is involved as a fill-in. Let's see how these virtual gigs and possible summer gigs go."

Like all big names in large arenas around the world, Nightwish has not performed throughout the corona pandemic.

Dozens of people transferred from Nightwish after the publication last year. :II: Nature album tour gigs this year. And since the movements of the pandemic are unpredictable, nothing is certain in the future either.

"There are still a few festival gigs for the summer that have not been cancelled. In the autumn, we should tour America, and November-December in Europe. But let's see what happens to the gigs," Holopainen says.

The beginning of the year was a trying time for Holopainen: first an old friend, Children of Bodom's Alexi Laiho , died – and then Hietala left the band for personal reasons.

"There have been all sorts of things... Then let it all come together so that we can be left alone in the summer," he says.

Holopainen has spent the forced leave caused by the coronavirus focusing on recording. He joined his high school black metal band Darkwoods My Betrothed for a revival. At the time, Holopainen was involved as a session musician, now a full member.

"We made the last album in 1998. And now, 23 years later, the next one comes!"

Holopainen has also completed the second album by his spouse, singer Johanna Kurkela, and Nightwish bandmate Troy Donockley. It will be released in September.

"I have not been crippled by the corona break. In addition, renovations have also been carried out in the house," he says.

And Nightwish fans will be sure to be inspired by what Holopainen has recently begun to focus on:

"I have been using keyboards to outline new Nightwish music."

However, it may be expected for at least two years. In between is a harvest tour of the album released last year.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another new interview with Tuomas, apparently the virtual show promotion is heating up! Some highlights:

-The first Auri single from the second album will be released mid-June 2021, with the full album release in September.

-The Darkwoods My Betrothed album is in the mixing process, for a release later in 2021. Tuomas is not involved in the writing.

-Tuomas will also play keyboards on the next Kotiteollisuus album.

-Nightwish only had 2 hours of rehearsals with the full band before Floor was incapacitated.

-Marko informed the band in December 2020 that he would leave, and it came as a surprise to them. For a few days, Tuomas thought that the band was done (again), but eventually thought that they still had a lot of music and stories left to share.

-Finding a new bassist was really easy. That person is not considered a permanent member at the moment.

-Songs like "The Islander", "While Your Lips Are Still Red" and "Endlessness" are unlikely to be played ever again without Marko. Other songs worked surprisingly well in rehearsals with Floor or Troy replacing Marko on vocals.

-The studio and rehearsal place for NW album #10 has been booked for Summer 2023.

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Nightwish’s Tuomas Holopainen: “I've been gathering up ideas for the new Nightwish album”

By Dave Everley (Metal Hammer)

Tuomas Holopainen on Nightwish’s upcoming livestream, the departure of bassist Marko Hietala and how the world will know if the band decide to call it quits

https://www.loudersound.com/features/nightwish-tuomas-holopainen-interview-livestream-marko-new-album

A few interesting snippets:

"All of last year people were approaching us and saying, ‘You need to do a virtual show’. I was vehemently against it because I hadn’t seen a really good one – I still haven’t to this day."

"They’ve been working on the details of the tavern for months now, It’s going to be full of Easter eggs for the hardcore Nightwish fans. The background will change according to the song we are playing and the weather outside the tavern will change - little details here and there that you can actually investigate while we are doing the show. I'd like to think that it's a world-first when it comes to virtual shows by metal bands."

"There will be songs from the new album, which will be a world premiere because they’ve never been performed before. But then it will also feature songs from all the albums – ‘best of’ or ‘greatest hits’ or whatever you want to call them."

"He was with us for 20 years, so it's gonna be really weird. And when he announced his thing – this was last December when he sent us a group email – I have to be honest, I was completely devastated for a few days. I was almost completely sure that this was the end of the band. I remember calling out guitar player, Emppu, and saying, “Should we call it quits? This is too much, it just keeps happening and happening to us.” He said, “Yeah, let's do it, there's no future. But then after a few days passed, we had a little meeting with the band and the management, and I realised the music is still there and that's the most essential part of this whole thing."

"For the past few weeks, I've been immersed in gathering up some ideas for the new Nightwish album. We even booked a studio for it, which is going to happen in the summer of 2023."

"An acoustic album is going to happen at some point, I’m pretty sure. The romantic in me is excited by the idea that when we know Nightwish is ending, the last album we do will be acoustic. We started out acoustic, and we’re gonna finish acoustic. The circle will close."

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And one translated from French:

Nightwish: the sun shines in the tavern

by Nicolas Gricourt

http://www.radiometal.com/article/nightwish-soleil-brille-taverne,394895

Tuomas Holopainen is not idle: Auri’s new album is in the box, that of black metal band Darkwoods My Betrothed, reactivated after more than twenty years of absence, will be soon, and the successor to Human. : ||: Nature. of Nightwish is already launched and scheduled. And then he also resolved, after having hesitated for a long time, to offer two live-streams with the famous symphonic metal group on May 28 and 30. More than concerts, these are above all evenings to be spent alongside Nightwish in a virtual tavern. Once again, the Finns are trying to distinguish themselves while waiting for a return to normal, as Tuomas explains in the interview below. These "An evening with Nightwish in a Virtual World" events will also be an opportunity to present the band's new bassist, successor to Marko Hietala. Fans can rejoice because if "the sun is shining again", this departure almost marked the stop of Nightwish, tired of the line-up changes, especially since it had the effect of a real blow of the club.

Radio Metal: The last time you spoke to Radio Metal was in Helsinki with my colleague Tiphaine last September. How has it been for you since?

Tuomas Holopainen (keyboards): It was very inspiring! We did a lot of music. We finished Auri’s album last October. The initial idea was to do Auri's next album in 2021, so it would have been at the end of this year, but then there was the lockdown and we immediately brainstormed: "What if we took advantage of the time that we have available to go to the studio this fall?" And the album was ready around November or December, and now it's slated for release on September 3rd, with a first single coming out in mid-June. Then we have another project, an old black metal band that I played in the mid 90's called Darkwoods My Betrothed. We've done each of these two albums over the past few months. So that kept my mind busy. Then, of course, we organized a lot of things for the future of Nightwish, especially for the virtual concerts at the end of the month. So despite all the oddities going on in the world, personally, I haven't had time to be bored for a single day yet.

These concerts "an evening with Nightwish in a Virtual World" will take place in a virtual tavern called "The Islanders Arms", obviously in reference to the song "The Islander", but do you have the impression that we are all islanders at the moment ?

[Laughs] That's a good point! It hadn't crossed my mind. It's good to have this thing called modern technology and these little devices that allow you to communicate with people in real time, like you and I are doing right now. It keeps the world much more cohesive despite the strange times. Skype, and all those Zoom meetings we do, made it a lot easier and reduced the feeling of loneliness during confinement. So it wasn't that bad for me personally.

Nightwish concerts are great productions. Obviously, seeing a concert on a screen is very different. How different will your approach to stage and performance be from a traditional concert?

First, it will be very different in terms of dynamics, because there will be no audience. The only people going to see each other are the six band members on stage, plus the camera crew, but that's about it. Likewise, we will not have any scenery on stage. We will only play in front of a green background. As a result, the setting will be very spartan. I'm not sure how we're going to feel because we haven't started rehearsals for the show yet, it's going to happen in the middle of next week, but the band is really in high spirits right now. It’s really fun to be able to play together again after all these months. Likewise, the visuals I have seen so far for the tavern, exterior and interior, are absolutely stunning. All the elements are there. Now it only remains to put them together so that the group merges into the tavern and that we can provide a nice virtual experience for people or for ourselves, but that's for sure that will feel weird and it will take time to adapt.

How do you prepare for such a concert, technically speaking and as a group?

To prepare, first of all, you have to learn the setlist, first alone and then with the group. So far we've only done one group rehearsal over five days. So the most important thing is that we know what we're going to do on stage musically. Then we supervised the construction of the tavern, what we will see there, how the scenery will change depending on the songs. There will be different references to the songs. There will sometimes be changes in the weather outside, so it will be a great virtual experience. The big challenge, I think, will be that it will last about a hundred minutes. It’s a very long time to spend in a unique environment without any audience. So the question is: how do we keep it interesting throughout the concert? You don't want to give it all away from the start and you have to be very careful with the shots, the camera angles, all that to keep people interested visually and hearing. A lot of virtual concerts that I've seen so far were very intriguing at first, it immediately hits the mark, like, "How did they do that? It's awesome ! But after fifteen minutes, it repeats itself, we still see the same setting. Obviously the music changes and that compensates, but it gets a bit boring and we don't have the physical boost of the band, of course, because we're not there. So it will be a real challenge. We will have to wait to see how it will go.

Obviously, you won't be able to have that exchange of energy that you have in a real concert. On the other hand, if you compare to twenty years ago, Nightwish is used to playing on huge stages: what level of energy exchange is there during a real concert of Nightwish? Isn't the size of the room sometimes a barrier to this?

Yes, that matters a lot. It's not just the exchange between the band and the audience, it's also the exchange between the band members on stage. This is very important and this is where we get a lot of our energy. That’s something that we’ll have to rely on one hundred percent for these upcoming virtual concerts, to suck the energy out of the rest of the band. I also consider the fact that we can play in very different venues as an asset for Nightwish. When we go to Australia or North America, the venues are smaller, there are even clubs with less than a thousand spectators and that kind of place offers a real sense of privacy. I love it when people are close and it's really old school. But then, in Europe and at festivals, we play in front of fifty thousand people, it's a whole different dynamic and it's just as wonderful. We have it both ways. I like that it varies and that we can experience the full spectrum. It's like having all four seasons in Finland. We don't want summer or winter to last forever. The fact that it changes in cycles is the best option.

Even though live-streams have been largely democratized now, we still see a lot of bands refusing to do it because it's not live for them. Did you yourself hesitate?

Absolutely. I've been against the idea of doing a virtual concert for a very long time, and I still totally understand bands and artists who don't want to do it, because to create a live experience, you have to be there. But what we're doing with this virtual party with Nightwish is a little different approach. It's done in such a way that we have created this fantastic space, this steampunk tavern where we invite people to join us for a musical moment. So the idea is not so much to do a virtual concert for the whole world, but just to play for each other. I see it as a dress rehearsal for a concert or a jam session in a medieval tavern, and we invite people to join us and listen to what we have to say. So there will be no communication with people, like, "Hi, world, welcome to the virtual concert, clap your hands and all that. "It's not for nothing that it's called" an evening with Nightwish in a virtual world "instead of" a virtual Nigthwish concert ". The atmosphere will be special and that’s why we have decided to do it.

We live in a time when bands can't rely on album sales to survive, so touring is crucial, making this pandemic particularly difficult for small and medium-sized bands. But what about Nightwish? How are finances going for a group of your level?

We are still doing well, because we have twenty-four years of touring behind us and big savings thanks to that. We can go on without any concerts for a year or two, but it's very difficult for the people who are close to us, like the technical team, management and the rest of the staff. We have tried to help them as best we can during this difficult time. It has been such a nightmare for many people I know in this business that it really breaks your heart. We want to help the best we can and that's what we did, but neither can an individual. This is where governments really need to help.

I imagine that for a band, a live-stream concert costs less than a full tour, and there are no capacity limits. On the other hand, I doubt that it can financially replace what you earn on a tour. So, to what extent can live-streams make up for the lack of tours?

It all depends on the number of seats that will be sold. To be honest, I don't have any numbers. I don't know how many tickets will be sold for these virtual concerts. But the fees are surprisingly high. Creating the virtual world is extremely expensive. I won't go into details, let's keep it a mystery, but imagine an astronomical number. Just to get our expenses, we have to sell a lot of places. I also find it positive that now, after all these virtual concerts that have been put on, it hasn't been a huge success anywhere, because it means people still want to go to real concerts. It makes me very optimistic.

What kind of mark do you think the current period with the virus will leave on the entertainment world?

That remains to be seen. No one knows exactly, except it will clearly leave a mark. I just saw a poll in Canada, which said that even when things get back to normal, roughly thirty-seven percent of the country will never attend crowded events again. I found this figure to be surprisingly high. That is, a third of Canadians say that even after we get rid of the virus, they will never go to big concerts again. If this is any clue as to what lies ahead, we have cause for concern, but like I said, no one is sure. The vast majority of people still want to see concerts and will come to concerts when the world recovers their sanity. Once again, I am optimistic about the future.

I imagine one of the problems is also that when everything reopens, all the bands will want to tour at the same time ...

This is a very good point. So much is going to happen simultaneously all over the world when the world reopens that it's going to be chaos for a few years, that's for sure.

Do you think that the current situation could push artists to be less dependent on concerts or to rethink the way they approach their work?

Artists and groups today live from the concerts. I don't believe that will ever change. As I said, we have now tried these virtual concerts for a year without much success. So I think the future will be pretty old school when it comes to touring.

Do you think the live streams will continue after Covid-19?

I do not know. I have my doubts, just because I spoke to my colleagues who did these virtual concerts, none of them really enjoyed it. I haven't heard a single person say that doing a virtual live-stream was the best thing their band had ever done and that it was wonderful. I haven't heard anyone say that. Likewise, I haven't heard anyone say, “Have you seen their live stream? It was fantastic ! It was the best concert I have ever seen! We don't see that. This is something to be done temporarily before the world returns to normal.

In January, Nightwish fans were surprised and sad to learn of the departure of Marko Hietala. But you, did you see it coming?

Marko has been very transparent about his difficulties in the past years. It was mentioned everywhere in his book, his autobiography, and he spoke about it openly in an interview. This is why I can say loud and clear that he struggled mentally with his depression for a very long time. Still, that being said, his announcement took us by surprise. We knew he was going through a dark time, but we were still shocked. I remember last December, about five months ago when we got his announcement, for a few days I was sure that was the end of the band. I remember calling Emppu [Vuorinen], our guitarist, asking him, "What do you think? " He said: " I don't think I will be able to endure yet another departure from the group. "Line-up changes are the ultimate vampires that suck all of our energy, it's really demoralizing and it's hard to get over it. For a character as important as Marko to go away, it felt like it was, maybe not the end of the world, but the end of the group. But after a few days, having re-examined everything, discussed with the management and realized that we had lived a sacred adventure for twenty-four years with this group, we were there: "Do we want to put an end to it, like a lightning in a blue sky? It didn't seem like the right thing to do. The most important thing was to realize that the music was still there. When I think of Nightwish, my lineup, and the band that plays these songs, our unit, there's still so much to do, honestly. This realization made me realize that we had to give it a go at least once more.

You must feel a certain weariness with the line-up changes ...

I remember when it happened, I think my first reaction was to start laughing hysterically, like, "There's no way it's going to happen to this band again. I do not believe it. After that, I had to ask myself to think about it. It was really tough for a few days, I have to be honest, but now that it's done, five months later, the sun is shining again. We have a new line-up, the world is opening up, finally new gigs [are being scheduled] and we've also booked the studio for the next Nightwish [album]. Nightwish's album number ten is slated for Summer 2023. It's also something to look forward to.

Marko was disillusioned with the music industry, saying, among other things, “We are the banana republic of the music industry. Are you in tune with his analysis?

I try as much as possible to stay away from the music industry. Call me naive, I don't care, because this approach is the only way I can keep my composing mind clear and be inspired. The industry, the money, the contracts, all that is a giant seven-headed dragon and I don't want to go into it at all. This is the reason why we have hired as managers the most trustworthy people there is to take care of all this and try to spare me and spare some other members of the group as much as possible. Likewise, we now have a status that allows us to say certain things and set a standard, so to speak, so that makes it easier for sure. I don't have a strong opinion on it. I understand what Marko means and what's going on, and I agree with a lot of what he says, but personally I enjoy the process of making songs and albums too much to worry.

I'm not going to ask you who the new bassist is because you'll be revealing it soon, but have there been a lot of applicants?

It turns out yes! Not that we actively searched, but we had many applications.

Since the virtual tavern is called "The Islanders Arms", will you be playing the song "The Islander"? Because Marko had a bit of the main role in this song…

No, we are not going to play it. Before Marko left, the song "The Islander" was on the setlist because it’s the kind of song that fits the décor of this tavern perfectly, but we had to delete it because it’s too unique to Marko. He composed the music for that song, it's kind of his song, so we're never going to touch it again. There is a song in the new album called "Endlessness" which is also very much related to Marko and which we are never going to play again. Then there are a few songs on older albums that I think can't be played without Marko - maybe I'm wrong - but I think we'll be able to play the vast majority of songs without him.

You mentioned at the start of the interview your old black metal band, Darkwoods My Betrothed, which you played with before founding Nightwish, and who will be releasing a brand new album. How did it happen?

First, I want to stress that this is not my group. I was just a session musician on those first three albums that came out in the 90s. I wasn't the one who imagined this band, but now I'm a full time member. I've played the keyboards, I've arranged my parts, and I'm very involved in the band. Twenty-three years have passed since the previous album and because of the Covid-19 we figured that now everyone has the time and the means to finally make a reunion album. We decided last July to make songs, record the album and have it ready for May. Currently, it's in the very last phase of the mixing process and it's going to be released in early November this year. You can tell right away it's Darkwoods My Betrothed, but obviously the production is much better this time around because we spent a lot of time in the studio. The composition was the work of the three original members of the group - singer, bassist and guitarist. This is a concept album about the Great Northern War in Finland at the start of the 18th century. All texts are based on a book called Murhanenkeli by Finnish historian Teemu Keskisarja. So this is a complete concept on horrific historical events.

What was your own history with black metal?

When I was in high school, when I was sixteen or seventeen, I was really into it. Bands like Emperor and Enslaved have left a huge mark on me. I hardly listen to any type of music anymore, but I have always liked the purity and the primitive side of this musical genre. That’s the reason I love being part of Darkwoods My Betrothed. This is real black metal.

You mentioned the next Nightwish album: do you have any vision or idea on where you want to take it, after two albums that have nevertheless pushed the limits a lot for Nightwish?

We shouldn't deliberately try to invent something completely new all the time. I firmly believe in letting the spirit go and things come as they come. This is also the approach for the next album. I've been cobbling up a few ideas over the past few weeks. There are the basics of four new songs right now. The good thing is that there are still two years to go before we go into the studio, so we can take our time and really develop all the ideas to the maximum. So it's still in the very early stages. I have no idea if this will be a concept album or independent songs, or what form it will take. The adventure has only just begun, which is wonderful. But the point is, it's launched and we all feel very inspired, so I can't wait.

Do you think that the unprecedented period that we are living could have an impact on this next album, conceptually or thematically?

I do not believe. I can't be sure because there is still a lot to do on the next album. Maybe on a subconscious level, but I'm so fed up with the words coronavirus, Covid-19 and pandemic that I don't want to use them in our art [laughs]. I just want to forget about it!

 

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A new interview with Tuomas from Powermetal.de

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYkf_QgxwQ0

Some highlights:

-Nightwish was created around July 5 or 7, 1996.

-Virtual show has no pyros, no extra lighting, no contrived interaction with the (absent) crowd -- only the digital environment.

-The new bass player has been phenomenal and fits very well with the band.

-No songs from the first 2 albums, at least for the virtual shows.

-Tens of thousands of tickets have been sold for the virtual shows, but no exact figures.

-Tuomas' lifetime favourite song: Fields of Coral by Vangelis, still listens to it almost every day.

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A new interview about Marko and his replacement:

 

Marko Hietala's departure was a huge shock to Nightwish's members - the band is now revealing new information about Hietala's replacement

https://www.mtvuutiset.fi/artikkeli/marko-hietalan-lahto-oli-nightwishin-jasenille-taydellinen-sokki-yhtye-paljastaa-nyt-uutta-tietoa-hietalan-korvaajasta/8153144

2021-05-27

Nightwish's history includes several dramatic twists and turns, the most recent of which was seen in January, when the band's longtime bassist-singer Marko Hietala decided to step aside from the band's ranks. 

Hietala had time to play in the band for almost two full decades. 

Nightwish's keyboardist and lead character Tuomas Holopainen reveals that inside the band they were aware of Hietala's feelings. 

- We were aware of Mark's thoughts and he was very open about it. His departure was still a huge shock. 

Hietala is known as a talented multi-instrumentalist, and in addition to his role as bassist, he held several different positions at Nightwish. 

However, finding a replacement was not very difficult, according to Holopainen.

- We had a few names in mind, and then they started asking about it, says the band's drummer Kai Hahto.

At the same time, Hahto wants to make it clear that the band’s bassist is a new person who does things his own way. 

- Marko is such an iconic and unique character that the last thing we want to do is try to monkey or replace him, Holopainen says. 

- The new member of the band must be completely himself, and this is what he has now been able to do, he continues. 

The band members have not talked to Marko since he left. 

- Marko now wants to be at home in peace, and let it be granted to him, Holopainen says.

Playing with a new member has gone well.

In addition to drums, the bass is an integral part of the band's rhythm section. According to Hahto, the collaboration with the new bassist has gone well. 

- It feels really good. It's easy to play with a friend. 

Nightwish will play two large-scale virtual concerts later this week. The band's new bassist will be unveiled on Friday during the first virtual gig. 

 

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A new interview with Jukka Koskinen on KaaosTV:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KdHyIMZomk

 

More of the usual stuff, but here are a few highlights:

Wintersun is on an extended writing break, so there are no short-term plans for Jukka with his band.

He was already familiar with NW music but never played any of it, so he had to learn 21 songs in about 2 months.

Overall the technical aspects of bass playing in NW aren't new territory to Jukka, except for palm muting.

The streaming concerts were pre-recorded a few hours before the online broadcasting, to allow for potential major technical bugs. However the shows were recorded in one go and no mistakes were corrected.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

A new interview with Kai and Tuomas on MTV (Finnish outlet):

https://www.mtvuutiset.fi/artikkeli/tuomas-holopainen-paljastaa-koska-seuraava-nightwishin-albumi-saattaa-nahda-paivanvalon-olen-jo-kaynyt/8157692#gs.3tsu16

Sorry for the poor translation!

Tuomas Holopainen reveals because Nightwish's next album may see the light of day: "I've already visited ..."

Finland's largest metal band, Nightwish, turns 25 this year.

Nightwish has achieved a lot over the last quarter of a century, but the band’s enthusiasm for playing and making new music has not waned. 

The band's lead character Tuomas Holopainen says that he looks with great pride at the curve seen during Nightwish's career. 

- The band still sounds like Nightwish, but during the nine records we have always managed to renew and find the thing interesting. 

- Sometimes there have been quite a few roller coasters, but this has given so much more than what it has taken. 

According to Holopainen, making music, telling stories and being together have always been the main thing for the band members. All the crises experienced along the way are in a completely secondary position. 

“I want to make more records” 

There have been many highlights in Nightwish's extensive career, but according to Holopainen, the band still has a lot to achieve and new things to experience. 

- I want to make more records, take Nightwish's development even further and come up with new musical stuff, Holopainen says. 

- New things come as a surprise many times, and you can't always be terribly influenced by them. Sometimes things just seem to fall into place, Nightwish drummer Kai Hahto continues.

Nightwish’s music has changed several times over the years, and the band members have also changed at a rapid pace.

For example, the German band Helloween has made a strong new comeback in recent years with a so-called expanded line-up that combines many different eras of the band.

According to Hahto, doing a similar trick in the future is not completely ruled out for Nightwish. 

- In fact, we haven't even thought about that yet. Instead, we have considered playing a concert with a large symphony orchestra, but such a gig is very logistically very difficult to implement.   

Tenth record under construction

Holopainen reveals that he has already started preparing for his next Nightwish album. 

However, at this stage, he is not yet able to tell in which direction the band's music will develop next. 

- In recent weeks, I have already visited the next Nightwish [album] to sketch a bit.  

- At this stage, however, it is impossible to say whether the nature trilogy will make its decision on the next album, or whether we will start to smell completely new winds here. 

With certainty, however, Holopainen can tell you that a new record is indeed coming.

- In 2023 we go to the studio, and something interesting is coming from there again.

The release of the next Nightwish album can therefore probably be expected until 2024.

Watch the video for more thoughts on the band’s 25-year history and future plans. [Finnish only]

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

A new interview with Tuomas, with a mention of the band's 25th anniversary. They settled for July 6 as the actual anniversary date, Tuomas mentioned in a recent interview the 5th or the 7th.

Oh and sorry for the poor translation! 😁

https://yle.fi/uutiset/3-12002828

 

Tuomas Holopainen is an introverted rock star for whom the Covid era is suitable - Nightwish turns 25 these days

Bassist Marko Hietala's departure from the band was a crisis. That's when Tuomas Holopainen thought for a moment that Nightwish's story is over. However, the exceptional virtual gigs of the spring sparked a fire of playing.

Tapio Laakkonen, Laura Kosonen

4 June 2021

The entry in the cottage's guest book is almost a day from a quarter of a century ago. At that time, on July 6, 1996, Tuomas Holopainen sat with his bandmates in a cottage by the campfire and shared his ideas about the project band.

There was no name for the project yet, but Holopainen had a vision of a loud female singer. None of those sitting by the campfire could imagine where the idea would lead. Now, 25 years later, Nightwish is one of the most successful Finnish bands.

The band has lasted for a while, even though its creator and soul, Tuomas Holopainen, is anything but a time-bound person.

- When the band got off to a flying start, I thought there was a nice adventure ahead. That this will be considered for a couple of years now, Tuomas Holopainen says.

Hietala's departure was a crisis

Holopainen's mind has only been serious about burying the band only once: when bassist-singer Marko Hietala announced that he was leaving the band last year.

- That's when I thought for a while that this fable must be here, Holopainen says.

Hietala’s playing and distinctive singing voice have been an integral part of Nightwish’s sound.

- After a few days of brewing, however, there was a desire to make music with the name of this group. It feels like we still have something to give, Holopainen says.

The band announced Hietala's resignation at the beginning of this year. A little later, it was announced that Jukka Koskinen would be the bassist at future gigs . Admittedly, there have been only two gigs so far, and they are also virtual.

But when it comes to Nightwish, the thing was twisted to great power with virtual gigs as well. A green screen room was built in the Vantaa warehouse. A virtual fantasy world was created there, a “tavern on the edge of the world”.

According to Holopainen, the costs of organizing the gig were “astronomical”, as no similar virtual show has been made in Finland before.

The contract was worthwhile. Tickets for two gigs were purchased from a total of 108 countries. According to the band's own estimate, the gig was seen by more than 150,000 fans.

The band crammed into a cube

For the band themselves, the gig was far from the charm of a full stadium. The band and a few photographers crammed into a small cube in a Vantaa warehouse.

- I wondered how to get into a gig mode in such a bare environment and without a live audience, Holopainen recalls.

The itch to play together won over the barren framework. Holopainen thinks the gigs went great. The new bassist also took his place in the band.

- Jukka was already familiar to us. He’s an extremely calm and grounding guy who fits the band’s atmosphere. And besides, of course, a virtuoso caller.

In summer, Nightwish will also be seen live in Finland in Kuopiorock, Qstock in Oulu and Kaisaniemi in Helsinki. No one knows about the gigs for the rest of the year on the World Tour yet. It all depends on Covid.

Creating crossword puzzles is a new hobby

The Covid era has severely tested the music industry, but for Tuomas Holopainen, calming down has agreed.

- It is really difficult to stop at first. Now it has been possible to watch movies, read books and play board games on the day. It has done good.

Holopainen lives with his wife, singer Johanna Kurkela, in his hometown of Kitee. In the country house, the couple takes care of the garden, the horse and the cats. Mushrooming and berry picking have become an interest in recent years.

Their latest hobby is making crossword puzzles. They do them regularly for Red Pelican magazine. Kurkela is responsible for the technical side, as Holopainen, in his own words, cannot use any computer programs.

- I am not involved in any social media either.

Songs for the band only very ready

The songs are largely created solely in his own mind. Everything is based on feeling and story. Then Holopainen begins to ball in his mind how it would be told through music.

The process is long, but Holopainen recognizes the feeling when he knows the song is ready.

He makes music purely for himself and introduces the song demos to the band only when they are already at a very advanced stage.

- Then we dress them up with the band.

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Another similar interview with Tuomas about their 25th anniversary.

 

Tuomas Holopainen wrote down a big dream: a year later everything crumbled

On Tuesday, 25-year-old Nightwish’s journey has not avoided knocks. However, in the eyes of Tuomas Holopainen, the future is bright even in his uncertainty.

https://www.iltalehti.fi/viihdeuutiset/a/532d4b9e-5f32-46b0-9bf7-ad942d594191

Sanna Salo 2021-07-06

 

Nightwish head man Tuomas Holopainen and singer wife Johanna Kurkela have an annual New Year's tradition.

The couple draws a large treasure map full of islands of different sizes. Each island reflects a goal or dream that is desired to be achieved. Over the years, both the Scrooge McDuck-themed album and his own horse have been lost on the map.

On New Year's Day 2020, Holopainen wrote the following goal on his treasure map: "Keep the band together with this line-up until the end."

In December 2020, bassist-singer Marko Hietala announced to his Nightwish comrades that he would leave the band after almost two decades.

- It was a huge island, a huge dream, and it crumbled right away, Holopainen recalls in an interview with Iltalehti.

Hietala's departure came as a shock not only to the audience, but also to the band. Holopainen admits that Nightwish's breakup was not far off.

In the end, the joint fire of the members to continue creating music together took the victory.

- It happened a bit that the others, right up to the management, tricked me into getting over the bad pitfalls here before. Now there is another such bump.

There have been bumps for the trip, for a quarter of a century. The 25th anniversary of the founding of Nightwish on Tuesday, July 6th.

Nightwish was born out of a whim

That summer evening in 1996, 19-year-old Tuomas Holopainen was spending a cottage weekend with a group of friends when he got an idea for his own project band. Holopainen, who dreamed of a career as a biologist, had not even thought of music as a career option before.

- It came from a complete whim. It was never a dream of any kind. Pretty soon I realized that this is the thing I want to do in life, Holopainen, 44, recalls.

A few days later, Holopainen left to perform his military service for the Kontiolahti garrison's military orchestra. The first Nightwish songs were composed with the orchestra’s keyboard player.

Holopainen founded the band together with guitarist Emppu Vuorinen . Next he had to find a female singer, like in all of their favorite bands of the time. Tarja Turunen, known through the school's jazz band, came to mind .

- I remember walking to Tarja's house in Kitee with Empu, ringing the doorbell and announcing the matter.

“We have an acoustic project like this, it’s called Nightwish, and we’d need a singer for three songs. This will probably not be any stranger, but it would be nice to do such a project. ”

In April 1997, Holopainen escaped from the army, and the snowball began to roll on the project. The band, which has grown to four with drummer Jukka Nevalainen, entered the studio in the same month, and a two-record record deal was signed in May. The debut album Angels Fall First was released in November 1997, followed by Oceanborn just 13 months later.

- The passion of youth, such an ambitious desire to show. There was nothing in our lives other than Nightwish, Holopainen explains the rapid pace of the beginning.

In twenty-five years, Nightwish has, among other things, released nine studio albums, which have sold more than eight million copies worldwide and collected a record 16 Emma awards.

- I often hear people say that I live my dream. But this is not the case. I live a happy fairy tale.

Turnover is relevant

The fairy tale can also accommodate drama and gloom. The bottom mud has become familiar to Nightwish as time and time again the roads with the members have parted. Bassist Sami Vänskä left in 2001, Tarja Turunen in 2005 and singer Anette Olzon in 2012 . Jukka Nevalainen dropped out due to insomnia in 2013, Kai Hahto was established as a drummer in 2019.

It has always continued and ascended into a new flourish. However, one has to ask: what would be the thing that would eventually break up Nightwish completely?

- I'm not really afraid to answer anything. If you had asked a few years ago that if Marko leaves, if the band has a sequel, I would probably have answered that it is not, Holopainen ponders.

- It is quite certain that Floor (Jansen) is our last singer, no one can replace her.

- Yes, this humbles me, for better or worse. A lot of amazing stuff has been experienced in twenty-five years, and a few times it has come to the fore really drastically. Always music and being together have kept the surface. I hope it will last longer, Holopainen sums up.

Holopainen hopes that the band will be remembered for their music instead of the drama floating around. There is not even anything new in the turnover of band members per se. Holopainen, for example, mentions Black Sabbath, one of the pioneers of metal music, who has seen both seven singers and nine drummers in its more than 50-year history.

- The most important thing is what is heard from the speakers and what emotions they evoke. It shouldn’t matter who or who is behind its music.

Holopainen has severely criticized the cult of personality associated with pop culture.

- Art must touch and arouse great passions. There is something dangerous about it if you go to glorify the people behind the art.

No big parties

In the summer of 2016, Nightwish celebrated its 20th anniversary with an exceptional gig in Jämsän Himos, when ex-members Jukka Nevalainen and Sami Vänskä took the stage to visit.

No similar festivities are planned this time. Nightwish has three domestic gigs planned for the summer season in Kuopio, Oulu and Helsinki , but at the moment the hopes are only that the performances will be realized.

The world tour, which was postponed for more than a year, got its unusual start in May in the form of two virtual gigs. However, the longing for the right stage and the contact of the crowd is hard.

The virtual gigs were exceptionally a wonderful experience, in which the band managed to excel. The second time, however, will hardly come again.

- I think this could have been a unique one-time experience, Holopainen ponders.

Marko's successor

The virtual gigs were special in another sense as well. At that time, Jukka Koskinen, who had joined Marko Hietala to play for the first time, played alongside the band .

- At no point have we even thought of replacing Marko. It was clear from the beginning, Holopainen opens Koskinen's choice.

- Now let's see the upcoming round, whether he came to stay. There is definitely potential, Holopainen says.

Before the announcement of Hietala's replacement, there was a lot of speculation as to who would fill the demanding boots of the singing bassist. Jukka Koskinen only heard bass at virtual gigs, the vocal melodies were performed by Jansen and multi-instrumentalist Troy Donockley .

Holopainen confirms that the band will continue with two singers in the future. So Hietala's roaring rock sound is not looking for a successor.

- It's part of the band's evolution. Marko’s time lasted a handsome twenty years. It’s pointless to start imitating him when it comes to singing.

The band has achieved a lot during the quarter of a century: symphony orchestras have been included on the record, a film has been made and Wembley sold out, and even world-renowned evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has been attracted to the record and stage.

Alongside these, Holopainen’s next big goal may even sound modest: to make the next Nightwish album, tenth in a row. The studio is reserved for 2023 and half-a-dozen songs are getting ready.

There are still big dreams for Nightwish, too. The treasure map has a small island of performance along with a symphony orchestra and choir. This has been what fans have been hoping for for years. Logistical challenges and finding the much-needed new angle have so far become obstacles. However, Holopainen considers it very possible that such a project would sometimes be presented to the people.

A band with his wife

During the Covid year, Holopainen has also been kept busy with other projects: the second album of the band Auri, formed together with Johanna Kurkela and Troy Donockley, and the revived high school black metal project Darkwoods My Betrothed, whose last record goes back a meager 23 years.

Each project combines a fire to make a specific group with music, the dynamics just vary. In Nightwish, Holopainen is responsible for almost all creative work, in Auri everything is done in three parts. In Darkwoods My Betrothed, Holopainen plays and arranges, other songs are written.

- The balance of these three feeds each other handsomely.

The uneven distribution of responsibilities has not become a problem at Nightwish. The band members trust Holopainen's vision, but also offer their help when requested.

- The band is a full democracy in certain matters, but someone must have decision-making power.

According to Holopainen, working with Johanna in Auri, on the other hand, works great. Spouses ball each other with ideas from their own rooms. No worries about Donockley remaining third.

- It's hard to imagine that we would ever have any kind of conflict, Holopainen laughs.

In addition to music, the couple's hobbies include making crossword puzzles. Holopainen develops words and the majority of clues, Kurkela is responsible for the visual side and technology-intensive matters. A good puzzle includes fun insights and a balance between different levels and styles of clues.

All in all, there is good in the life of a couple of musicians. The next island to be conquered from the treasure map is a roadtrip across the United States.

An uncertain future

The near future of Nightwish, which is celebrating its anniversaries, is also bright. Admittedly, the latest stick hit the stroller just a month before the virtual gigs, when Floor Jansen was rushed from the first workouts to the first aid and on the operating table due to pancreatitis and gallstones .

- This Murphy's Law is starting to laugh a little, Holopainen updates.

Since then, the singer has recovered power perfectly.

However, Holopainen’s Nightwish plans sound tinted with uncertainty. Let's try again, make another record.

What would life be like if Nightwish one day didn’t exist anymore? At least the music would survive, be it other bands or solo material, Holopainen assures.

- Let's do something as long as we can make music.

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A longer interview with Floor on Breaking Absolutes. 👍

Many things already covered before, but here are some highlights:

  • Learning how to project the emotions in Tuomas' lyrics and music helped Floor grow as a singer.
  • The speed and complexity of the lyric lines on Human Nature had Floor rehearse more than ever in her career so far.
  • Floor recorded the operatic vocals for Shoemaker three times until she was satisfied with the result. The final take was recorded in her home studio.
  • The US Nightwish tour was postponed because of visa delivery hurdles.

 

 

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Another Peter Orullian interview on Breaking Absolutes, this time with our favourite multi-instrumentalist Troy.

Troy is quite hilarious. Some personal highlights:

  • Find out how Troy became "the gynecologist of progressive rock" playing the "ovarian pipes"
  • Troy was once voted the second most important Cumbrian of all times. 😲
  • He also can tiptoe around a dance floor to Cannibal Corpse. 😈
  • Troy was strongly encouraged by the band to sing more, which led to new vocal harmonies and him being "pressured" into singing lead vocals on Human Nature.
  • We can expect to hear him singing more in future Nightwish and Auri works.
  • Troy is gearing up to find Excalibur using his new metal detector.

 

 

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