INTERVIEW WITH FLOOR JANSEN
BY ARTO LEHTINEN AND MARKO SYRJÄLÄ
FLOOR AND REVAMP PICTURES BY MARKO SYRJÄLÄ
Floor Jansen is a well known name amongst Nightwish fans as the Dutch vocalist took over vocal duties on the Nightwish US tour and has been fronting them since then, and is now an official fulltime official member. Floor Jansen’s own band ReVamp recently made the visit to Finland, supporting Kamelot on the European tour. Metal-Rules.com had the pleasure to talk to Floor Jansen about the recent ReVamp album WILD CARD and of course Nightwish and her other musical adventures. Read on !
RETURN TO THE CLUB SCENE
After a crazy, crazy last year, and especially half of this year – How does it feel to be back in this size of a club?
It’s like coming home. I have been playing smaller clubs for 14 years. So it takes more adjusting to the bigger size stages and the bigger everything than this. And I am not here for the ego; I’m here for the music. Whether it’s on a big stage or a small, you can make the music. So, that’s what counts as far as I’m concerned.
How do you prepare yourself for smaller places or big scale festivals when playing Nightwish or ReVamp as the difference is huge anyway?
Yeah. But it’s making music and it’s about singing and me wearing a stage outfit and getting makeup done, so the rituals are kind of the same. But the biggest difference for me is the length of the show, if it’s really full on, like a 100 men show or longer, like really long shows. They just take more energy. So then I don’t do so much journey today just to get all the energy I have really for the show, with the shorter shows there is more energy left for other things. And so, I can do more. Like today I was very busy with interviews, we went to the Dutch embassy and we were invited there very nicely here in Helsinki. So, then I have more energy left for that. It’s more like it.
On this tour, how has it been working with Kamelot? They are your old friends, right ?
Well, we toured a year ago together. I know then from that period and that was very great time. So, it’s nice to be here, to be back with them. The first time was in the States and they were supporting Nightwish and now we are in Europe and we are working with them as a support band.
Talking about the new ReVamp album, WILD CARD. I have listened to the album a couple of times by now. There are a few guests doing the vocals. How did you pick up those visitors for the album? Did they come by naturally or did you have the name on your mind, old friends?
A little made of everything actually, for like their solo singers like Mark Jansen from Epica, and Devin Townsend, they were on the” Wish list”. What would be cool people to have on the album, make the album extra rich with a different kind of vocals and we had a couple of ideas. But then you have to have the songs that fit to it. So, that’s kind of how it matched when we had “Misery’s No Crime”, that was nice with Mark and “Neurasthenia” could have been a Devin Townsend song in a way. I don’t want to brag about it, because his music is so good, but it has a bit of that five that we fit to him and we have to hope that he actually says yes. Which he did. Another guest is the bass player from Stream of Passion. Our former bass player left very sudden before the recording. We were in need of someone professional good. And he is there to help us out. So that was spontaneous guest number one. And then his wife and singer of Stream of Passion Marcela and Daniel de Jongh from Textures another Dutch band. They came in when we realized that a traditional choir like we used to have on the first ReVamp and also what we used to use with, After Forever, wasn’t really necessary on this album. We used good vocalists with a lot of experience in studios and harmonies and metal. And then came the choir with me, so that all together made a very long list of guests.
It’s funny actually, I just played new ReVamp album at home and my girlfriend asked, “Is that the new Nightwish album” – I was like “No”, how do you like that comment?
Some parts have the vibe of it, but a lot of it, it’s much roll I think and more aggressive style.
You have written your own music for years and years, first for After Forever and now for ReVamp. When you start working on songs, how do you decide which ones are suitable for ReVamp and how you decide as a band which ones will end up for the actual album?
It was a bit of a process of course, but what we did as a band is to make like a move board for what we wanted on the album. It was a bit of a shortlist of ingredients, like we wanted to be heavy guitar oriented, that more diverse vocal styles, more modern use of keyboards and sensitize our sounds, not necessarily super orchestral. Let’s play around with that and see what we can do. Then we just, every band member came with a list of songs. Like, I just like this band in general or that verse is cool because of the sound or listen to this for the guitar sound, or the way they write the songs structure wise, that’s cool. Everyone did that and became very long list of inspiring songs. They can just become your inspiration, and from there we started writing and that really worked, because it all kept us on the same level and we had a producer to keep us there to follow the path. Which is really good, especially because let’s say at 80% song writing process was made without me because I joined Nightwish and I was basically away all the time. So, I had to finish things in the few weeks that I was at home for the vocals, because I write the vocal lines and the lyrics but I didn’t write any of the music on this album.
If you think about the future, as nobody knows what’s going to happen, but it seems bright. But have you discussed with Tuomas about how much you will have the freedom to do things of your own with Nightwish, I mean writing etc?
Well, I love being creative, but regardless of its Nightwish or ReVamp or any other thing that I will do or did. The song is the most important thing, and my ego wanting to write something. So, if Tuomas writes something that is great, like he’s always done, I don’t feel any need to come in and say, “Yeah. We’ve done a new single and I have to write because I can”. But if there’s space for it or I start doing something and there might be some space for that, sure I would love that. But only if it makes the song sound better.
LEAVING YOUR OWN MARK
The former vocalists of Nightwish never wrote anything for the band. So, this is going to be an interesting and new situation for Nightwish?
True. But you know, these things grow and I don’t think you can really predict it like Marco writes as well. And we will find our way there, but like I said the song is what matters the most for me.
But you still want to leave your own mark?
But I will anyway through my singing.With my voice, the interpretation, even if the songs that we all know with other singers it sounds different when I sing it.
How much do you have to change your vocal style depending on if you’re singing with ReVamp or with the Nightwish material. Do you have to change your key or something like that?
No. I don’t think you can sing with anything else than your own voice. Maybe for a cover song on a Karaoke night, you can pretend to sound the singer of AC/DC or something like that. But if you do this professionally like every time, you have to use your sound and see if it fits, and I can play with little more rock or little more pro or little whatever, you know the song I need and that has been a nice puzzle or a game to play. That is why my sound is different from other ladies, and just because like in the past.
When you joined Nightwish, what was the most challenging song for you to sing?
Actually at the beginning I found “Amaranth” the most challenging, because I’m not used to the more poppy vibe. I really had to find my way there to use my voice. Actually that was. So, it was not the high or the long notes or stuff like that. But some of the songs were just there immediately, slow off slow for some reason, I never sung in that style before but it was just “wow”, that song there. Go slow of score immediately there. But “Amaranth” took a little while for me to make my own.
What many critiques have said in recent Nighwish live reviews is that Marco Hietala has finally found a true challenger from you on stage. Do you challenge him in purpose? “Laughs”
Sure. We have some things, so we sing together. We started doing together or parts where on the album, there was no female’s voice with him. With life it’s just I pick a harmony and I can put on the rocky side too. So, that’s nice to play with actually. So, yeah, it’s a nice challenge but yeah. What an honor it is to sing with a guy like that, it is.
How do you set the priorities, because ReVamp is going really strong right now being on the tour and got a new album. Well Nightwish is on hold now, but in the future he said nobody knows what happens in the future but how are you going to set the priority between the bands, because you want to do both ReVamp and Nightwish in the future as well?
Well, I don’t think you can do it at the same time. The last year, there were periods where I had to do two things, not even a one day but sometimes in one week, that is already a lot because you want to focus on something and both is big, you want to go in all the way. So, I don’t see myself doing it at the same time. But usually Nightwish has a working cycle of two years. So, two years of touring and then there is one year of the period of rest and writing, recording. I think there is a possibility of doing both, and so now indeed to the last show with Nightwish was known, and in the summer will start with the recordings and the rehearsals for the new album. But then that gives me a lot of months to fully tour with ReVamp. And how that has to continue, I don’t know exactly and ReVamp is a band and I’m not the only one in it. So, everyone needs to be okay with this kind of rhythm. So we talked about it and it feels like the right thing to do, the whole Nightwish story helps ReVamp to grow too.
Of course it helps to to get the ReVamp name known better, right?
Absolutely. So, yeah. It would be wonderful to be able to do both.
Have you heard any of the solo stuff that Tuomas is working right now?
Yeah. It’s Scrooge McDuck. It’s the name. I’ve seen the artwork, I’ve seen some of the things they were working on. The great thing about Tuomas, I think is that he has a vision of, he has a dream, something that he wants to do. This is like a big childhood dream, and he just makes it happen and I think what I heard sounds unique. In a way recognizable for his writing style, you can hear that it’s him when it’s absolutely not Nightwish, it has nothing to do with it and he uses all kinds of instruments really. I haven’t heard the whole thing, but what I heard is like, “Okay. Where does it come from? Amazing.”
You were asked to fill in with Nightwish at the last minute, but I guess you used to know all the habits and the manners that Nightwish guys used to have, because you have toured with them with your old band After Forever?
Yeah. But that’s 10 years ago, so people do change over time a little bit. But at least we got to know each other back then, and we stay in touch but it’s not like I really knew them like I don’t today.
DUETS AND WORKING WITH OTHER MUSICIANS
What Nightwish fans are now talking about now is that “one duet” which you did with some certain person a couple of weeks ago. Tell something more about that?
Well, it was actually a spontaneous idea from Tarja. I mean the festival were to play is the epicenter of metal with female singers. We were both there. We have been knowing each other also for 10 years and we have never sung together. We get really tired of all the bullshit on the Internet, whose best and who should sing in Nightwish. And it is what it is today, we are both good singers, we both make our own music. So, hey! Now you have two bands. All the things we can say about it kind of was, this is our statement, we can make music together, we can have fun together. All these soap operas that people might just think have nothing to do with us. Whatever went down between Nightwish and her has nothing to do with me in Nightwish or me and Tarja, all of that. This is just about music, that is what we wanted to do and it was really fun.
Did you get any feedback from the Nightwish camp after doing that?
I already told them before hand, I’m going to do that and they were all like, “Really good, please send our regards.” I don’t know, if they’ve seen it, but I have heard that they were happy that I had done it.
Doing things like that clears some air for sure?
Yeah. Like it has nothing to do with whatever went down between them that was our statement. We are two singers and we can sing together, and have fun together and drinking a glass of wine and how many girls in the world do the same that we do. There are only a couple. So, it’s always really nice to sit down and talk with someone who knows.
Do you have plans to work more with Arjen Lucassen in the future?
Sure. He’s just finishing or just kind of those time, been so busy where he is with his new album. So, I won’t be on that one but on the new, you never know. I’ve always enjoyed working with him on both, the Ayreon projects or Star One.
How did you start working with Arjen in the first place?
We were both in the same label. So you got to introduce to me, I got introduced to him through the label and that was with the House of Mars back in 2001 or 2000 I think, yeah, 13 years ago. So, I was just a teenager.
Speaking of Holland, back in the day there were a lot of death metal bands coming out of Holland like Pestilence. Nowadays the Dutch metal is known for female vocalists. I have been wondering what you think, there are a lot of bands fronted by great female singers like Epica, Stream of Passion. Well maybe The Gathering started out…
My theory is that once there is a successful band, there is a platform. People in the audience have seen the band, they want to see that again or something similar, booking agencies I think that works, I want to have something like that, the record labels. So, a platform starts and it can grow if there is a second band that comes in and it’s good too and it starts to work. And then comes another band they’ve never seen.
I think that from your point of view, there was kind of a huge metal invasion coming from Finland from like 15-20 years ago, but before that there was nothing..
The same for us, I mean that it didn’t grow as big as it did here in Finland nationally. Our biggest effort is the international. People outside, looking into the Netherlands are like its big export product. And we have so many female rock bands that are successful, but in the Netherlands, man! We have to fight for every stupid press release.
Before all these female bands, we only knew names Adrian Vandenberg, Vengeance and Pestilence.
Pestilence (Big Smile)
Okay our time is running out, thank you for your time Floor and see you later on!
You’re very welcome. Thanks for the interview
THE OFFICIAL SITES