How do you keep songwriting challenging? Such as, what time of
day do you believe you're blessed with the most inspirational ideas and
what type of environment do you require around you when you are
Well, it differs a lot. It's not about the time of the day or the
place or anything like that. You just have to have like a strong emotion
going on. Either you feel real happy or you feel real pissed or sad or
whatever. You have to have this emotion, it doesn't matter what time of
the day or where you are.
Here's one that from the inside I don't know if you'll be able
to answer. But, in your opinion what elements in a Nightwish song
actually make that song sound like a Nightwish song? What is it about
you that would differ you from, I guess, other melodic metal bands?
Whew.........Well of course the first thing that would pop into mind
would be the Tarja's voice because it's something very unique. I don't
think you have heard something like that as the lead vocalist in any
band before. Yes, so I think that is the main part. But, also the songs.
I would like to think of them like variable. There are very many
different elements and no song sounds like another. So, I'd like to
think that has something unique as well.
Can you tell me what Nightwish songs have a special meaning for
you for some particular reason and what that reason might be?
Almost all of the songs are, more or less, somehow related to my
personal life or my experiences in life. So they're all kind of
personal. There are a couple that are extra personal for me. I would say
"Gethsemane" from the OCEANBORN album. It tells like a true
story from my own life and the same thing goes for "Beauty and the
Beast" from our first album, ANGELS FALL FIRST. So I would mention
As your fans have surely noticed, each of your albums have
gotten, I guess, somewhat more complex, catchier, more powerful and more
of everything. Has your goal been to show some kind of progression with
each new release that you've put out or do you think you'll reach a
point someday where you just cannot go any further in terms of
complexity and these things?
No absolutely we will make a progress all the time, that's the deal.
We never want to make two same kinds of albums. So, that's why I'm
constantly always looking for new ideas, new instruments and new ways of
making songs. But still trying to keep the original Nightwish sound so
that we won't be upsetting the fans or ourselves. We just want to
continue making the music we like to do.
Have you ever considered using a whole classical orchestra with
your music or anything like that?
Yeah, all the time. That's a classic question. I think that it would
fit our music perfectly to use much more real-like instruments and
choirs but it's always a matter of time, money, arrangements so it's a
little bit hard. But, on our next album we are going to try something
very big. So maybe some real instruments, string sections, choirs. But
nothing is certain yet.
What is your opinion on bands like Rhapsody who are pretty well
known for incorporating choirs and orchestras to their power metal
Yeah, I think that it is very good that bands are trying to find
these new elements and bringing the classical music back alive like
this. For example, I personally love Rhapsody. They are great, so all
the best for them!
When you first started out, did you ever dream of the success
and fame that would come with Nightwish that you've achieved in the past
couple of years?
I think we are the only one of the bands that can honestly say that
we never expected anything, never dreamt of success, because the whole
idea of the band was to just be a project band; to go to the studio and
make a few songs just for fun. Somehow the demo ended up to a record
label and suddenly we had a deal and in two years we have started
selling gold and touring all the time. It has just all got out of hand.
We are just going with the flow and trying the best we can.
When you started out on day one you were obviously not the same
as you are now in terms of your music. I was wondering if you could
speak a little bit about the progression in the band and when you first
started you weren't even metal I guess. It was more acoustic guitars and
voice and keyboards and stuff like that. But, you have become known now
as a melodic metal band. Was that something that was planned or did it
just kind of happen that way?
The whole plan was Nightwish was supposed to be this all-acoustic
mood music band. Because at the time, and I still do, I really like
acoustic bands and acoustic music like Celtic music and stuff like this,
film music, soundtracks... I just wanted to do something similar to
that. But, after our first demo I don't know what happened. Maybe it was
Tarja's voice, it was so strong and when you only have an acoustic
guitar and a piano in the background it sounds kind of funny. Also all
of the guys in the band, we had a metal background. So we just wanted to
go back and do it the safe way because we all knew the metal. So, I
think that's the story.
What is your opinion on why Nightwish is able to tour not only
throughout Europe but most of South America while you have yet to do a
tour in North America?
Yeah...(laughs) you tell me if you know. I don't know man. People all
over the world are constantly looking for something new, a new sound.
This is in music as well. They are looking for something new. There's
some kind of melodic metal trend going on right now so I think we hit
the right timing in that matter. But, there are two hard markets for us
and that's the United States and Japan. Japan I believe the problem is
that they are kind of conservative people at heart. In metal they
require a male singer and this traditional Stratovarius, Helloween
style. I don't know about the USA. Maybe there's too much information in
our music or something for them. (laughter)
Do you have any idea what your album sales are like in North
America or do you even need to crack at the North American markets since
you have been doing so well in the rest of the world?
Well, of course we wanna break a little bit into the states because
there are a couple of Finnish bands like Amorphis which is doing pretty
good in the United States. So, there's always the hope. Our records were
released only last February in the United States so, so far we haven't
heard anything. Not very well I think.
You did manage to play a show last year in Montreal, Canada.
So, that's the only show I believe you have done over here?
Yeah, actually we did two shows in in consecutive days in Montreal.
It was fantastic. Again we had no expectations at all. I didn't even
know our records were released in Canada, only that they asked us to
come there and play so I was really overwhelmed by it. The first show
was sold out with like 1800 people or something. It was fantastic and
people really knew us too. They knew the songs and were singing along.
It was a real break through.
Any chance of making another trip to Canada anytime soon?
Yeah, well they already offered us a show in like August or September
but there's no way that we can do it because we are doing so much
touring elsewhere at the time. So, I think it's going to be next summer
I think at the earliest, after the next album. We really want to come
back because it was a fantastic experience for us.
Yeah, I had heard the rumor that you might be coming here in
August or September. I was kinda hoping but I also heard like a week or
two ago that it was not going to happen because of schedules. Someday
Yeah I'm sure someday, I can promise that.
A couple quick questions I guess regarding classical music.
I've read that your vocalist has obviously studied classical music and
opera and I was wondering if she's still continuing those studies or has
metal completely taken her?
No, definitely not. It goes like 50/50 for her. She is really into
this Opera thing and she really loves Nightwish. So she is just doing
both walking hand in hand. It's a fact that her classical studies have
suffered a lot because of Nightwish because we're touring all the time
and she cannot concentrate. She has told us that she is going to take a
little bit more time for this classical stuff next year. That's just
fine with us but its not going to affect the music of Nightwish in any
And how about yourself? Do you listen to or play any classical
music yourself or are your tastes a little bit different than that?
I used to play classical piano and classical clarinet a lot actually
and I also listened to classical music. But, I kinda grew out of that. I
don't listen to classical music at all anymore. I'm more of a film score
and soundtrack kind of guy.
Do you listen to any metal yourself or do you kind of stay away
I listen to some but not as much as this film music and new age
stuff. Every now and then I do. I also follow the scene fairly close.
Regarding the beginning of the band. When you started out it
started as kind of an acoustic project. I was wondering when you did
start to include metal elements in your music did anyone say "Hey,
wait a minute, what are we doing here?" or did your vocalist say
"Hey, I thought we were doing acoustic stuff and now you're doing
the metal thing!"
Yeah, well I think we all agreed that after the first demo that the
acoustic stuff was really cool but its kind of weird. It's not any fun
so we tried to do something else and everyone was straight into it. So
no problem there.
One thing I was wondering was have you heard from any fans of
opera music, for example, hearing and getting into Nightwish or does the
hard hitting drums and distorted guitars kind of scare them away.
Actually we have and that's a very nice thing. We have a lot fans
that are over 40 and even over 50. That is amazing as it sounds. I think
it has to do with the vocal style and the fact that we have quite a few
ballads that the older people kind of relate to. So, we have a lot of
those fans who usually don't listen to metal at all and they come to us
like "Ok, you're kind of cool" and "I like to listen to
you every now and then". You can see them at the shows as well.
It maybe opens the door for them to check out other melodic
type metal bands as well.
Yeah, yeah sure.
I know that my mother likes Nightwish now. (laughs)
Alright!!! Cool! (laughs)
She's not what I would call a metalhead but she likes it very
Well, she's the kind then that I was talking about.
So, a little bit about the future now. What are your plans for
Nightwish for the coming year.
Well for the next month and a half we are touring pretty hard. We are
doing a lot of festivals in Finland and then we are going to Europe.
There's Wacken Open-Air in Germany. There's also one in Hungary and
Switzerland and Austria. Then we have another festival show in South
Korea. It is very interesting to fly us there just for one festival and
back. That's kind of cool though! Then also there's also 2 shows in
Russia. After that we have a two week tour in Finland and a long break.
The break starts in the middle of September and then we're entering the
studio in January. So we have like 3 months time to write all the songs
and arrange them.
So, it's not really a break then I guess.
Well, not a break, you're right. Just a break from doing shows. After
September we aren't doing any shows until next June.
Have you had any time yet to start any writing for the next
Yeah, I'm doing it all the time, everyday that I'm not on tour I'm
doing songs. It's so much fun because I'm not in a hurry. I know that I
have the time until December, so it's very relaxing and very fun to do
Any ideas yet on what sounds you might have on the next album
or is it still too early to talk about that?
Well, I would say that it is a little too early. But, I could say
that it's going to be a little bit different. I've become so passionate
about film music and soundtracks so I think that that's going to be
heard on the next album.
So you'll be incorporating more instruments I assume?
Yeah I hope so. Maybe a little bit more authentic sound.
Any lyrical ideas yet or do you usually do the music before you
do the lyrics?
Well, I always have the ideas but the lyrics come after the music.
You write all the lyrics yourself?
Yeah I do.
No one else in the band has been into writing lyrics besides
No, they don't. I guess they are satisfied with what I am doing so...
OK, that's all the questions. I don't know if I missed anything
in terms of news that you would like to pass on to people who read the
interview? Or did we cover pretty much all the news?
I think we've pretty much covered it.
Ok, good. Well thanks again. Good luck on your tour and I hope
to see you sometime here in Canada.
Alright, I hope so too!
Hails To Those Who Made This
©2001 Metal Rules!!