The mighty Finns are back! With sold-out world tours and some of the highest selling albums of the past decade it is hard to imagine that the talented juggernaut that is Nightwish could get any bigger. Yet the release of their brand new album Human :II: Nature last week has seen the band reach new heights that not even they could imagine.
When I get the chance to talk to lead vocalist Floor Jansen it is obvious that she is still in shock at what the album has managed to achieve in its short life on shelves around the world.
“I just heard that we went number one in England,” she says completely surprised when I tell her that the album has become Nightwish’s highest ever charting in Australia. “Even in the Netherlands and I think Germany we have done really well… it is wonderful news.”
“I definitely get more excited,” she replies with ironically excitement in her voice when her ask how she feels when an album is about to be released to the fans. “To get nervous would mean that you doubt something. By the time you call it ready of course there will always be small things but you do really get this feeling that it is ready for the world. Then you get excited to finally be able to share it because yeah it is time.”
One of the big surprises that many fans got when the album was released was to find that Human :II: Nature is a double album but Jansen says that wasn’t always what the band planned on releasing. “Well, it wasn’t always planned to be a double album,” she says laughing. “It just basically doesn’t fit on one CD. We can fly to the moon and we can do open-heart surgery but we can’t physically put more than eighty-five minutes worth of music on one CD. So that part of the technology caught up yet, so yeah it became a double album.”
“Tuomas Holopainen is our song-writer who really provides us with demos,” says Jansen continuing into how the album became a double album. “They are pretty far done by the time that we get them and then we have Pete Williams do the orchestrations but unlike our other albums we don’t have any orchestra on the nine songs that the band plays on that was all saved for the orchestral suite. Then we get input from the rest of the band when we all start to play on tracks that previously were only in Tuomas’ head. That is when the demo version of the song really starts to come alive… it is also a process that seems to really work for us. We did take a long time to rehearse the songs that we got though and this time we really worked on backing vocals as well and also harmonic vocals as well.”
As we chat further about the new album Jansen admits the chance in vocals on this album came about during the last tour. “We had the Decades tour where we went through all the old songs and instead of copying my voice one hundred times on the disc we decided to do a lot of live stuff because the voices of Marco, Troy and I work well together and from that came a whole new sound, basically. That seemed to really inspire Tuomas to write more in that direction and so now basically every chorus on the album is us three doing vocals and that gives us an unique sound. There are unique vocal harmonies on every song, different vocal styles – they really seem to fit the songs.”
With the conversation now centring around the new sound of Nightwish on this album I soon learn that Jansen is not a fan of the people that have been calling this an ‘experimental’ album. “I don’t think it is experimental because we really did have a focus on what we wanted,” she says. “I think musically though we explored more than we have in the past. We were better aware of the diversity in our qualities. I think having someone like Troy who plays so many different instruments and the comes from a different musical background to us. Actually we all have very different musical backgrounds and I think you can hear that more on this album because there was more space for it to flourish and leave its mark on the music in a very positive way.
Human :II: Nature is out now through Nuclear Blast Records.