translated by elwen
Obviously very affected by the trials that shook the band these last months, Tuomas Holopainen, Nightwish's cofounder, has gently accepted to answer to our questions on the occasion of the DVD live's release quite rightly The End of an Era, the end of an era, Tarja's... an interview full of emotion and decency that we are happy to propose you today.
Can you tell us about the last events and Tarja's outing?
It was one of the hardest moments, the most testing of my life. That was henceforth beyond the strictly musical scope. That was a trial essentially on the human plane. But in another side, that allowed us to take a new beginning and we breathe easily since few days. That was really the main difficulty that we had had to surmount this year.
What positive aspect have you been able to get out of this trial?
That's liberated the atmosphere and all the gates are open again to us. The result prove me that it was the best solution. And the creative inspiration is affected. I compose freer now. I have henceforth written fifteen songs during these last five months. That had never happened before. So all the songs for next album are already composed. As matter of fact and nevertheless, this period which has just ended was rich and fertile.
What could have liberated a such creative strengh? What changed in your source of inspiration or in your creative process?
Emotions were concentrated around this trial and only asked for going out. I think it's where I drew my source of inspiration. Moreover, the confrontation with medias and public was very difficult too. So I' ve had to escape and to take refuge into my music where I've re-created my own reality within all those new songs. That's what allowed me to go through and to finally surmount these difficult moments.
Did you manage to pass the message to medias and public, did they accept the change?
A big part of the public hasn't accepted it and will never accept it, but it was predictable. This is life. But in life, there's only a limited percentage of things which must be taken seriously and I'd like the public to understand that, though music is essential in my life, we are just a band... it's not LIFE. You have to relativize this kind of things to their level.
So, what are those changes in technical level?
It's still hard to say 'cause it's still a bit early, but if I look at the songs I have just finished, these last fifteen songs, the style hasn't radically changed. It's still the same type of composition. Same power, same slow rhythme. But it will nevertheless have few changes, some surprises, some strong sensations... it's the best expression. Things that no one expected to hear on the new Nightwish's album. The album's lyric concept will also be very surprising I think. I've got some new quite cool ideas that I've never been able to realize before. So no radical changes in the style but some new things.
Your DVD "The End of an Era" will be released in france in the beginning of June. I imagine that the title is significant of a turning point in the band's story?
It's henceforth the reason why the DVD is called the end of a time, of an era. That perfectly resume the ten first years of the band. I hope it will prefigure twenty postive years for the band. But when I watch the DVD it's an experience... such a strong emotion of seeing us all together for the last time. The gig was so successful, the public fantastic and all went so perfectly off that, altogether, the end was very beautiful.
Is the artwork on the DVD's cover as meaningful as it seems? What does it represent to you?
The symbolic is easy to understand. The cover is very gothic with the stoned angel on the left, the demon on the right and a broken heart between both of them, between both of us... I think that the image is obvious and easy to understand.
I hope the fans will understand that the broken heart is also a bit yours...
Absolutely. It was so difficult to do... it took us about a year to make this decision. It's what constitute the best argument to explain the whole matter. That was carefully thought out, weighed up, we thought so much about it. I've been losing sleep over during months. And now that six months have passed by, when I look back, I don't feel any regret. We'd act so if it was to do again. but of course, it doesn't make us happier for all that.
Painful things become it perhaps a bit less once evoked in songs. Does music as an outlet liberate you from sadness?
Music is a very thin line that link me up with life, that keeps me alive. It's also a defence mechanism against the vagaries of life and of the whole world . Ninety percent of the songs I compose deal, that's true, about negative things or at least are composed in a state of sadness and negative feelings. Music allows me to channel all these conflicting feelings and to react against all that happens in my life and in the world. You can imprison all those negative emotions within songs. And when you listen to them, you can say to yourself: "I've reacted, I've faced and now I can pass on something else. " It's therapeutic and all that happened these last days is translated into these songs.
What did you feel in watching your DVD and in particular in the documentary traces those 15 days of the band's life before this final gig at Hartwall Arena?
When I saw the film for the first time, I had to forget all the negative aspects of what happened these last months. You can really see in the documentary that the band suffered, all suffered, so did she. We all say to ourselves, though we don't say anything, that it isn't happening. It's like a bad dream. We look depressed, tired, angry... you make out well on every member of the band's face the trial we are going through. But the band's identity in its whole still exists. We do form a band. If we search another positive aspect about what happened: the trial has brought us together. We four are united. We have a good basis for a new beginning and I have never doubt for a single moment that this band have the future ahead of it.
A book tracing the 9 years of existence of the band, written by Mape Ollila, will be soon distribute too. What do you think of this book?
I've read it once and I insist on saying it's not an autobiography. It took the author four years for writing it and I have the feeling to be an interviewed person among dozens of others. We don't feel really concerned about this book but however, when I read it, I sometimes cried and even laught... This book brought me back the whole lot of human feelings.
But it's ever so you in the book ?
Yes. And there's all, the good like the the not so good, this is the positive aspect of the book. It shows the readers what we are as human beings and not only as Nightwish's members. It's a very honest book.
Do you finally know when the DVD is released in Finland?
The fight was so hard to release it at home. I've heard that the end was near and that it should be released at the end of June.
The band is at the moment looking for a new singer. Have you decided of a deadline or this quest will only stop when you are sure of your choice?
There's no deadline, no time limit for finding this new singer. We'll take the time that we need. If it takes five years to find the real gem, we will take five years then. But I know we'll find her and I even think it will be done before the end of the year. I've listened about 400 demos so far and they are some very serious candidates. We recieve about 30 demos every day so we are still searching and we haven't decieded anything yet.
Except the voice, what are the criterias which determine your choice? On account of your past experience, will the lucky girl's character, her human qualities, be an as important criteria as her talent?
The first quality is that she's a good person, who loves music, the band, and the persons who make it up. It's important that she has charisma. So is the voice, of course, but she won't need to have a classical opera singer's training. She must be a complete singer, with strenght, feeling. But the main part is that she is in good terms with us and we with her. She will also need to have an enormous self-confidence and to feel great. Because when she will publicly join the band, medias will become mad. They will dissect her life and will want to know everything about her: her past, her boyfriends, her husband, her children if she has some. Everything!...
In France, two real-TV shows propose to transform young people into stars of song. Do you also have this kind of broadcasts in Finland? If you lived here, a big national television channel would pobably had proposed you to do your "search for the ideal singer" a prime-time show. What do you think about these kinds of process?
Yes we have that too. I don't like that so. I don't like the violence it supposes, and suggests. They are staples which last few years before sinking in oblivion. I disaprove those programs but I can understand that they are successful. It's a part of human nature to enjoy seeing others being humiliated. It's ugly but I understand without accepting it. We have already been asked to take part in those broadcasts and we have always refused.
You said feeling free now that you don't have any singer. Won't a new performer come this feeling of breathlessness that you used to feel back?
No. because this singer will exactly suit what we are looking for and everything will go off smoothly.
Would you envisage to give an unknow girl her chance ?
The only thing which counts is to find the real voice that is as good in public as in recording. I'm sure there are millions there outside. The hardest problem to surmount is to find the character compatible with charisma.
Do you know the band Epica and its singer Simone Simons?
I like this band a lot. I've got all their CDs. She has the band that suits her, that's all.
When we have met Liv Kristin for her solo album's promo, she told us that she had just to appear with the band for the medias to immediatly deduct she will be your next singer. How do you live this situation?
She was in tabloids in Finland and her face was on every cover, announcing her as the new singer of the band... that's the medias.
I know that you are keen on Disney classics. Which princess or femal character would be for you the ideal companion?
My model is Belle in The Beauty and the Beast. If I found the woman that corresponds to her, I'd immediatly marry her.
Would you like your new singer to put a lot into songs' composition or lyrics' writing with you?
Honestly this is not a problem. If she sings and doesn't compose, it's alright. If she does it would be obviously a plus but this isn't an essential element.
Have you got a message for French fans which and for the magazine's readers?
I'd like to thank French fans for being still here, after all that have happened... and I ask them to believe nothing that hasn't been written in our website. Medias can be painful and destroyer though they can sometimes be very useful.
I hope I can say that Crypt'O'Goths belongs to this category.
I do know that!
Do you have vampires' movies that you especially love?
Except the classics, I really liked "Lost generation" when I saw it. It's my cult movie.
And may it be a source of inspiration?
Yes it may. All that is gothic tremendously inspired me.
Thanks to be as you are.
Cool and thank you!