Keyboardist/mainman Tuomas Holopainen of Finnish/Swedish symphonic metallers NIGHTWISH recently answered a number of fan-submitted questions for the NIGHTWISH fan site Oceansouls Of America. A couple of excerpts from the question-and-answer session follow below.
Oceansouls Of America: How much of a culture shock was it coming to the U.S. when you were a teen? I’m from the area you stayed (Missouri/Kansas), what were your impressions of the area?
Tuomas: It was a huge shock. The thing is, I came here when I was 15, and I was quite a different person back then. Well, not that different; but back then, I was incredibly shy. I remember that during the year that I was here, I didn’t make but one friend, for example, besides my host family. You know, I didn’t hate anybody, nobody hated me; but I was just a quiet kid in the school corridors. I really was just playing the clarinet in the band, and being real, real quiet. So that’s what I remember; that everything was so new, and I was quite scared. It was truly a nice lesson of independence and everything. Afterwards, I’d been thinking that maybe I did it, like 1 or 2 years too early. I was just so secluded. But only good memories living here; fantastic host family and everything.
Oceansouls Of America: This show at Gibson [Ampitheater in Universal City, California on January 21] will be the band’s first opportunity to bring their elaborate stage show to their American audience. What kind of things can we expect? While it’s likely that much of it will be part of the stage show for this tour, are there any special surprises that will be exclusive only to this show?
Tuomas: We had some big plans, but then we got the budget and we had to cut a lot of that away. I’m being really honest here. Because, for example, pyrotechnics, they cost about four times here, more than in Europe. So there was no way we could pay for…astronomical, the expenses. So we basically just have flames, some confetti… but that’s it. We couldn’t bring the screens, for example; there’s no way. It’s the first time we have fire on U.S. soil, so that’s something special.
Oceansouls Of America: Seeing as how the “Imaginaerum” movie was filmed in Canada, is there a likelihood of the movie being shown in Canadian theaters? Is there any possibility of the movie being shown in theaters throughout other North American countries?
Tuomas: I have my doubts, I really do. I’m sure it will be shown in theaters in Finland; it’s gonna be quite an event over there, no doubt. But maybe Canada, because it was shot in Canada. But I would be highly surprised if it got any kind of theatrical release in the U.S. or UK or Europe, even. Because, I mean, it’s a lot on the “cult” side; it doesn’t really have blockbuster written all over it. But you know, when we have asked the directors, “Does this movie have any chance of hitting the theaters?” They always say, “Give us a two-minute trailer and we’ll decide.” So we’ll know more in March, when we get the trailer done.
Oceansouls Of America: Have you written any other songs that didn’t make it onto the album, that you will release as bonus tracks later on?
Tuomas: We don’t have any bonus tracks, not a single one. We just did those 13 songs, and that’s it. But we are coming up with a separate score album, because all the music that you hear in the movie are the same songs, but completely rearranged. We’re going to release the score album with those songs.
Oceansouls Of America: In my opinion, “Dark Passion Play” was an album full of sorrow with a little bit of anger. But now, in “Imaginaerum”, all energy changed: sorrow gave way to hope and there is a full harmony sensation in each song. So, the question is: what changed since “Dark Passion Play”, in your head and in your heart, to have such a wonderful change in NIGHTWISH‘s music?
Tuomas: I just don’t want to go through the “Dark Passion Play” era ever again. That’s something I decided when I started to do the songs for the new album; not all this melancholy… well, not melancholy, that’s good. But enough of the anger, and sorrow, and being really, really depressed all the time. I mean, it’s just a waste of life. So we deliberately decided that, “OK, let’s do the more optimistic album.” Which doesn’t mean that it’s, like, all positive and just major chords. Melancholy and sorrow and darkness needs to be there, but the overall feeling is so much more optimistic. It’s all about imagination and the beauty of the world and all that.
Oceansouls Of America: Are there any songs you don’t like to perform, or are tired of performing?
Tuomas: “Wishmaster”. It’s just that we decided with the band that let’s, on this tour, let’s just do the songs that everybody enjoys doing. Because that’s how you keep up the energy, and the smiles, and it reflects to the people. So “who wants to do ‘Wishmaster’?” Nobody raised their hands. Some other songs as well; for example, I wanted to do “The Wayfarer”, we even practiced it. It was Marco [Hietala, bass/vocals] who said that this is not a really good song. I really like that song, and I wanted to do it, but yeah, they were like, “Maybe something else.” And then it was Anette‘s [Olzon, vocals] idea, that why don’t we… because everybody was sick and tired of “Nemo” as well… Let’s re-arrange it, acoustic.
Read the entire interview frm Oceansouls Of America.