Nightwish

Loads has happened in and to Nightwish in the past couple of months. They did not only add two talented musicians to their family, but they also wrapped up the festivals, touring and the shooting of their new DVD. After I watched ‘Showtime, Storytime’ (read my review in this edition!) I was still wondering about a couple of things. Because the DVD had come without subtitles and the commentary was almost entirely in Finnish, I was excited to hear about Tuomas’ side of the story. The interview was set up soon after, and so here I was on a rainy Sunday afternoon, waiting on his phone call. Within moments I find myself curled up on the couch, talking to Tuomas about the new line up, the DVD which will be released in a couple of weeks, his new project on Scrooge McDuck and whatever topic we can come up with.

By: Melanie | Archive under gothic metal

So tell me Tuomas, busy day for you then?
Yeah, it's been a busy couple of days. I started off in Paris and then London two days ago. Yesterday, today and tomorrow will be spent in the Nuclear Blast headquarters. A bit of a promo tour. Talking about the upcoming DVD, and new line-up, and all that.

Loads of talking, I assume. Are you already bored of us?
Absolutely not. Some journalists try to dig for the dirty stuff, though. That's something I don't fancy talking about, everything else is okay!

Just to let you know up front, I don't care much for the dirty stuff, to be honest. No worries there.
Thank you in advance!

First of all, congrats on the new line-up! I think I speak for the entirety of the Netherlands when I say that we are thrilled to see Floor stay.
Not as thrilled as we are! I'm super-super thrilled. We've been together for little bit over a year now, and it's going better and better. We all really like her personality, and her versatility when it comes to performance. Whenever I look at her on stage; it puts a big smile on my face when I see how much she enjoys what she's doing. So she's definitely born to do what she does.

Originally you wanted to wait until 2014 to make a decision for the new singer. What changed your mind?
One very practical thing. It happened about a month ago, when I was writing down the credits for the DVD booklet, together with the thanks list. Then I came to the part where it said "Nightwish is" and I just started to think about how to present Floor and Troy. Guest singer on this DVD sounded so silly. That's when I realised it would be better to give the news now; it would make everyone's life so much easier. We could then do the interviews and talk about this out loud. It's nice to have the worries off my back. The fans reaction to all of this could not have been better. I did not hear one negative comment. There was one person though, crying over how she could do this to her mates in ReVamp. That's just a matter of scheduling, I think. Everyone has their side projects. Anyway, it's not the death of any band.

I'm sure she will figure that out, she's a smart cookie.
(laughs) She will. And it's not like we forced her, she wants this. We already decided in June, after a festival in Finland. We went to her and carefully asked her how she would like to continue with us after the tour. She didn't have to decide right away, but she gave us a big smile, a big hug and a big yes! So that was already decided back then.

You've done a hell of a job of keeping us in the dark then!
I hope we did! We just wanted to tour, have a good time, not make any drastic decisions. During the spring time, it was already clear to us we wanted her to stay, we just didn't know how she felt. But since I am hyping so much about her, and about our feelings for her staying, I don't want to diminish our previous times. We all had our big glorious moments with the other singers as well. This doesn't take anything away from them. In Finland I recently read something about why it took us seventeen years to find the right singer, blah blah blah. I can't stand this kind of writing because Tarja and Anette were both excellent in their own ways, and it's just the most naive thing to say. I'm really relieved and happy to have Floor now, but this shouldn't have happened earlier. Things happen for a reason.

Can you tell me a bit about working with Floor and Troy?
Easy. The only thing we've experienced so far is touring, we've never done an album with Floor. The past year has been really smooth, and the chemistry is as good as it can possibly be. Troy for example lights up an entire room when he enters the place. He has this really positive and funny personality, and he's just a wonderful guy to be with. In addition to that his musicianship is magical. He's a talented musician so he's all fun to be around. Floor also, because she's so motivated and she feels at home. She loves what she does and of course she's unbelievably talented. It's balanced. The right attitude towards things. It all feels really good. You never know what the future will bring but we will do our absolute best to have no further line up changes in this band.

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What changes do you think Floor and Troy will bring to the band and to your music?
We have to see when the songs get done. For the next six or seven months I will stay at home and write the songs with them in mind. Floor has such a versatile voice, she can do the clean stuff, operatic stuff. Though I don't think we'll go back to the operatic vocals, maybe occasionally. There's also the growling and the pop sounds, so endless possibilities. Same thing with Troy; he can play all the Celtic instruments from Indian pipes to low whistles. Also the flute and the guitar and he's a good singer as well! So there's some potential there as well, for the song writing.

The DVD will be out in six weeks, can you tell our readers what to expect?
There's a reason why the DVD is called 'Showtime, Storytime' and that's because it's a fifty/fifty release with the tour documentary and the live show. Originally, up until mid-June it was only supposed to be the documentary part. We wanted to do something a little bit different. A really good documentary. For a good reason, NuClear Blast contacted us and said it wasn't enough and that we had to shoot a concert as well to go with the DVD. Initially I just said "no way". We only had seven festival shows left at that time, so it would have to be one of those. I didn't fancy the idea of shooting a live DVD from a festival, at all. But when I slept through a couple of nights I realised they were probably right. This release needs the live part as well. And then out of the festival we were doing, Wacken was the biggest one. It had all the fielding equipment already so it made it easier to shoot. It was the ultimate ending of the festival season. I had nothing to do with the editing process, though. I saw it for the first time about two weeks ago. We all gathered, except for Troy, and watched it with surround sound and I was blown away. It looked, and sounded amazing. It's not that I was against the live show, by the way. It just never was the idea. I wanted to do the documentary on its own. I would love to do a live DVD one time. Just our own show, and maybe a second show for the back filming. Maybe involve an orchestra or a choir, to make it even more special. So when they said they wanted a live part as well, it was too sudden. We had only one chance of succeeding. That felt wrong. It was a lot of pressure, but it was the right decision. The DVD is a lot better with the show in it.

The documentary sure looks amazing, though I must confess I hardly understand a word of it because the subtitles aren't working.
Yeah that's something I have heard about twenty times this week already. It seems as though every journalist got the DVD without subtitles.

Sucks to be us then. But tell me what you were trying to tell others with this documentary?
All the previous documentaries and deleted scenes were full of drinking, partying, fooling around; just comic relief. We wanted to do a bit more thorough with a bit more insight. Something that shows you what it is to be on tour. Also, we wanted to have a little souvenir for ourselves out of this eighteen months. It's going to be a lot of fun to watch this in twenty years. That's the reason why we wanted to do this. Also, when I think about myself being a fan of certain bands and artists, I love to see something similar from those artists. Something a bit different for the fans to see.

Yeah, Floor told me that in an interview a couple of weeks ago. She said she didn't receive one single negative comment, which is rare because people can be so judgemental.
I'll second that. Maybe it's to do with the fact that she's already got a reputation. She has a face and voice people recognize. She's a rather believable character and a singer.

What does it feel like for you to be able to perform older songs such as 'Bless The Child' again?
It felt good. When we renewed the setlist for a little bit, we actually asked her what songs she would like to do. She said she wanted to do 'Romanticide', and I wanted to take 'Bless The Child' back into the set, so that made a nice combination. I'm quite excited about the future because I think for the next tour we better up the chest and probably rehearse some of the older stuff as well.

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So now that the touring is done, are you guys having a break of some sorts?
From touring, yes. I have a lot of song writing to do because we're entering the studio next summer already. It's quite soon. Actually, we're entering the Nightwish camp on the first of July, again. Rehearse the songs, and the studio is after that. The plan is actually to get the songs finished so it should be released somewhere around springtime 2015.

Have you already figured out what you want for this album?
Not really, I think I'll just let the mind flow. It's the same thing I do with every album; I don't try to think too much in advance. I'll see what happens so that the songs don't become forced. I have some lyrical themes in my head, and I feel extremely motivated to start. I can't wait to get home and begin writing. I mean, it's okay to talk to you...

Oh well, that's a relief.
(laughs) No really, I'm actually enjoying myself. Though I cannot wait to get home and start the process. Six or seven months just focussing on the songs.

When are you going home?
Friday. Well, I still have to mix my solo projects and that will take a few weeks but from the beginning of November; I'm free.

Sounds nice! Your solo project is a soundtrack to the comic of Scrooge McDuck, right?
That's right.

Okay, tell me more, because it's sounds so intriguing and so completely 'you'.
(laughs) I'll take that as a compliment. We finished recording everything about two weeks ago so it's all about mixing. I'm really thrilled about it and especially because mister Don Rosa, the artist of the comic, got involved. It's a bit thing for me. He drew the cover of the album, so it's such a thrill. He hasn't done anything new for the last seven years. He told me that he stopped drawing from 2007. He did this one for me and that was the most flattering thing ever. The cover looks amazing and also; he was in Finland for two days and we shot the music video with him. It's incredible times. I think he's one of the best story tellers of our times. This particular book, 'The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck', is my desert island book. It's the most beautiful love story ever written, full of moral lessons and funny as hell. Jus the perfect adventure. I don't ever think of them as ducks, when I read the story. I just think of them of caricatures of human beings.

The last time we spoke was in Amsterdam, about two years ago. You told me the one thing you were still looking for, was balance. Do you think you are more balanced now than two years ago?
Maybe. It's a slow process. Maybe when I'm eighty, sitting in my rocking chair, looking at the documentary part of the DVD, maybe then. Maybe I'll be balanced then.

Do you feel you need to suffer as human being in order to be a good artist?
No, I don't. You need to feel. Some of the best songs I have ever written were written in the ultimate state of happiness. Being content, thrilled about being alive. You don't need the suffering, you need the emotion. But being incredibly pissed off and fucked up and depressed, it helps as well.

Can you tell me a bit about the future for you guys?
All I know now is that we're going to gather up next summer, have a good time, try to get the songs finished. We're looking at an album release of spring '15, and after that: World tour. That's about it for the moment.

You've made an appearance on the solo album of Kari Rueslatten's album. Tell me about that experience.
I did not meet her for this experience. I did my parts at home. This particular song has a big meaning for me. It's one of my all time favourite songs, by one of my all time favourite bands. She knew that I was a big fan, so when she covered this song for her solo album, she contacted me and asked me if I wanted to play the piano and keyboards. I didn't have to think twice.

Do you think your status as a famous musician changes the way you look at other musicians?
That is a hard question, because yes and no. Sometimes I don't get the screaming fans, but when I met Don Rosa a couple of weeks ago, I almost fainted. So that was a good lesson for me. That was a fan boy moment for me. It reminded me how some people feel, no matter how foolish it seems to me.

I have some off-topic cool down questions. Just give us the first answer that comes to mind.
Bring it on.

What's the poem you know by heart?
I don't know any. Remembering lines is awful and hard. I'm really bad at remembering lyrics as well.

What's your favourite cliche?
Carpe Diem.

What's your favourite hour of the day?
Morning. Between six and eight am. The magic hour, dawn. I'm a morning person, I like to get up really early.

Which book changed your life?
The ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. I read it when I was in second grade and in a way; it did change my life.

What's your guilty pleasure?
Which one do I pick? (laughs) Cigarettes, whiskey, red wine, chocolate.

What's your favourite villain?
Hannibal Lecter!

My time is up, so I'm going to leave the last words to you!
Thank you to the fans, for sticking around and welcoming our new family members. Also, thank you for this conversation which I enjoyed! All the best to you! Thank you!

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