TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE
This live interview with keyboard player Tuomas Holopainen of the Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish was done by Boris Van Berlo prior to their show at the Oktoberhallen in Wieze, Belgium on February 21st, 2005.
Let me start of with congratulating you with the new album. It has been quite some time now since it was released, and we all know that it was received well, with as result several golden and/or platinum records. But how did you perceive this? Did you expect it?
Well, we kind of hoped and expected that the album would be received well, but never thought that it was going to be so well. A gold record in Finland ok, but we have won one now in I believe 5 countries. That’s amazing.
I also hoped that this album would open some new doors for us, more particularly going to places we haven’t been to before, like Australia. And this is going to happen, so we are very happy.
How did you approach the recording process for Once? Was it different than with the previous recordings?
Not really. We did it the same way.
And how was it to work with a classical orchestra?
It was one of the best things ever. Those people are such professionals! They did not need any preparation. We arrived and gave them the music, and in just a little time later they played it and it sounded great. It was really fantastic working with them.
Would you like to, or do you think it would be possible, to take an orchestra or a part of it with you on tour?
That’s definitely something I would like to do, but unfortunately it is very difficult. Taking an orchestra on tour is also really expensive. Just to do the recordings with them during 3 days has cost us around 10.000 Euro.
So maybe it’s going to happen on a one off thing, like for a DVD recording or so?
Yes, maybe, that would be great and could work.
It’s been around 6 months since the release of Once. Are you still completely satisfied with the album? Or does the critical mind of the musician already started to look at it from a distance?
Of course I am still happy with the album. I do not think that we have made compromises or changed our sound.
Actually I didn't mean it in a negative way. I was more wondering if you look at the album from a distance now. Not just happy to release it and go out to play the new songs and promote the album live, but more as a musician/perfectionist to learn from the process and maybe do it differently and/or even better next time?
Ok, I see what you mean. Well ….. we always try to improve ourselves with every album, so in that way there are certainly things that we are going to do in another way next time.
And do you have any favourites on the album?
I like the whole album, but in particular the song “Creek Mary’s Blood”.
Where did the idea for this song came from?
Native American Indians are a subject of interest and passion for me for quite some time now. The idea of the song comes from a book. Creek Mary’s Blood is actually the title of a book from novelist Dee Brown that I’ve read a few years ago.
You did a small European tour at the end of last year, and now you are back on the road in Europe. How is it going so far?
It’s great! We play for a few thousand people every night.
I believe that the venues you play on this tour are also the biggest venues you ever played in Europe?
Yeah, and quite some venues are sold out. So that’s also great.
What can we expect from the set list? Do you consider this tour also a full promotion tour for Once, or do you balance your set list with songs from all albums?
It is still mainly songs from Once. Actually we added some more songs from Once to the set list compared with last year’s tour. We are now also playing “The Siren” and the Finnish song (Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan – BVB). And also a new cover song (Pink Floyd’s High Hopes – BVB).
Do you change your set list a bit from day to day, or do you stick with the same one during the whole tour.
We normally use the same set list every night. When we choose a set list and it works for the people, there is no need to change it. The audience changes every day, the songs stay the same, and it works every night.
And what are the plans after this European tour?
We will go to Japan and Australia for a few shows, and this summer we will be doing some festivals in Europe.
How is it actually with the popularity of Nightwish in the United States?
There is something moving in the US for us. Hopefully we will be able to go back and tour the States again soon.
Now something else: Once has been released in different versions, together with different formats (CDS, DVD, 10” and Pic-LP) of the singles for “Nemo” and “Wish I Had An Angel”. There is a best of album and Spinefarm is re-releasing your old albums on CD and Pic-LP. Don’t you think there is an overflow? And what is your say as a band in this policy of the record label?
It is indeed so that our record label is releasing different versions. Maybe it is a bit too much, but if you do not want it, you do not have to buy it. Concerning the “Tales From The Elvenpath” best of I would like to say that we do not support this release. We do not think it was necessary to release it and it also does not contribute anything. The re-releases are mainly done because it was getting difficult to find some of our albums.
Connected to this I also have a question concerning merchandising. Do you really think there is a need for Nightwish bed sheets and pillows?
(small laughter) There are people who want such things, and once again, you do not have to buy it if you don’t want to.
Do you understand fans that want to sleep in a Nightwish bed sheet or collect everything from their favourite band? Would you buy or collect things like that?
Well, maybe I would buy a …. (could not understand – BVB) bed sheet. (laughs)
Some time ago you released the DVD “End Of Innocence”. It is something special, not many bands or people would talk so openly about various things as Nightwish did on this DVD. Did you afterwards ever had any doubts or thoughts like “why did we do this”?
Well ….. yes. Actually I’m not always sure that it was a good thing to do this. There are some things I am ashamed of….. because of this DVD my parents saw me get drunk and do these obscenities….. I will never watch this video again for myself.
At one moment you say something about Finnish man having difficulties telling other people what’s on their mind. Putting it into music/lyrics makes it easier, but how about telling it in front of a camera for thousands of people to watch?
It was never planned to be released. The original idea was to let a friend film some things and somehow it ended up like this documentary that got released. So when certain things were said it was never with the idea that all those people would hear it.
With lyrics it is different, you know people will read them. Writing lyrics gives me some kind of perverse satisfaction.
You also talked about your “Environmental Studies”. Is it something you would like to do later on in your life? Or do you see yourself growing old as a musician?
I studied it for one year, but now I am fully occupied with Nightwish, as are the rest of the band. There is no time for anything else. Who knows, maybe someday I can do something in that direction, but I also see myself still occupied with music in 20 years. Not necessarily in a band, but I love spending my time with music.
And what about the other members and their projects?
Until almost the end of 2005 everybody’s priority will be Nightwish. After that there will be time for some personal projects. Normally I will start writing some new music then, so the other band members will have 6 months or so for themselves.
And how do you prepare for writing music? You go up to your cabin?
Yes, I go to my cabin and start writing.
A final question to finish up: Nightwish is now one of Europe’s biggest metal bands. Do you still have any particular ambitions, things you want to achieve with the band?
Yeah, playing live in places we haven’t been yet. Like Africa. I think there are quite some possibilities for metal bands, especially in South-Africa.
Do you have any concluding words for our readers?
Stay true to yourself, we are trying this to.
Thank you for the interview and have a good show tonight and a nice continuation of the tour.
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