Australia loves Nightwish, and Nightwish loves Australia, so they are returning for their third tour of our nation very shortly, after what has been a massive period of success, experimentation and turmoil for these Finnish symphonic metal masters.
Late 2011 saw the release of their epic seventh album, the concept piece known as Imaginaerum, which as expected has done magnificently the world over. However, in October 2012 it was announced that lead vocalist Annete Olzon would be leaving the band, to be replaced, at least for the moment, with well known Dutch singer Floor Jansen.
During 2012, the band also went out on a limb and released a movie based around the concept of the album. So it’s been a busy period for the band, and keyboardist and main man Tuomas Holopainen joined us recently to talk about the upcoming Aussie tour, as well as many other Nightwish related issues.
“I can’t wait!” he enthuses, regarding the tour, “Australia is my favourite country in the world, and it always gives me the chills to be able to come back. The legs we have done there earlier were a blast and I also spent six, five weeks driving from Perth to Cairns back in 2009. The best trip I ever did! There’s something strangely unique about Oz and the people there.”
The band did indeed take a risk, both in releasing a full concept album in Imaginaerum, and especially in creating the movie. But whether they succeed or fail, Tuomas and the band are extremely happy with their efforts on both.
“It’s been fantastic!” he says, “The band still feels strongly about the album, it ended up being exactly what we were after; A thematic roller coaster of an album and a movie. The songs work out live superbly, as well. Especially songs like Last Ride of the Day and I Want My Tears Back are amongst the best live songs we ever had. The smiles on people’s faces when the c-part of I Want My Tears Back begins is the stuff of dreams!”
“The premiere in Finland was two days ago and the reactions have been very mixed, as anticipated” he reveals, regarding the Imaginaerum movie, “people love it for its complexity and visual splendour, for its universal themes and music. But for some people it has been too difficult and ‘David Lynchy.’”
“This comes as no surprise to us at all, the main point is that we are extremely proud of the film, it reflects the band’s sole image and is a pure effort of love and persistence”
Whilst Nightwish are undoubtedly one of the most ambitious bands in all of rock and metal, and continue to produce albums and tours that are bigger, bolder and more epic than the previous one, he is adamant that this is not at all planned, but simply the way it happens naturally. He also believes that the band could very easily go in a very different direction in the future.
“No, that`s not the idea at all,” he states firmly, “It’s merely a natural development we’ve had over the years, the albums being always more diverse and ‘bigger’ if you will, than the previous ones. The ambition and the urge to do something challenging and innovative is always there and has resulted in albums like these, but it’s never calculated in advance. Calculating is the biggest cancer in music.”
“I can see Nightwish doing a fully acoustic album, or an album without orchestras or other extra cream at some point, but this is the way we feel the production should be now. The main thing is to let the mind flow freely and trust the songs that come out of you naturally, and try to find a certain new ‘hook’ to the release.”
He is just as adamant that the film project was a one-off, “Not that we would be in any way traumatized by this experience but definitely no…At least in the near future.”
The band actually seem like the ideal candidates to do the full soundtrack to a massive Hollywood blockbuster. He is very open to the idea, but remains focused on the main job at hand.
“We’ll see if such a chance appears,” he says, “We’ve always been heavily influenced by movies and film music so it’s not that far fetched, but the main focus still is in the actual albums. The band is fully content at the moment and we have the schedule for [our] next album figured out already, that’s all we need to care about now. The carousel is spinning beautiful and strong!”
Tuomas is tight lipped about the change of vocalist, but very excited about their new recruit: “Our new voice of Nether-Netherlands, Floor Jansen, is awesome and something you definitely want to check out.”
Photo by Ville Juurikkala