Interview conducted September 02 2007
Interview published January 18 2008
After taking part in a signing session
of the new single Amaranth on Swedish Metal Expo together with new vocalist
Anette Olzon, Nightwish's drummer Jukka Nevelainen
sat down with Metal Covenant to discuss the new album, the upcoming tour
and Tarja Turunen's departure.
Niklas: So how was it meeting all the fans
Jukka: It was really great, actually. I have
been doing these kinds of things for two years now, having a break
from touring after the final show on the Once-tour. So now it's great
to be back with a new album.
Niklas: What is everyone in Nightwish up
to at the moment? Are you rehearsing for the upcoming tour?
Jukka: Yeah, we are rehearsing. We have already
rehearsed twice, once with just the guys in the band and once with
the whole band, Anette included. When we get back from Stockholm we
will start the final preparations for the upcoming tour.
Have you lined up the plans for the tour, about which songs you will play
and so on?
Jukka: Pretty much, actually. We've been rehearsing
a quite a huge load of songs, mostly to find out how the old songs
fit Anette's voice. So far it's going really well. We have plenty
of songs to pick for the set list. Let's see what it ends up being.
Niklas: How will Anette try to tackle the
old songs, will she try to copy Tarja's operatic style or add her own
personal touch to them?
Jukka: We're not going to use any operatic
or classically trained vocals, because Anette is not like that, she
never had the same training that Tarja did. It's possible that some
fans are expecting these kinds of vocals and therefore will be disappointed,
but I can assure them that the work Anette is doing on the old songs
is really great. She's using her own voice with no imitations from
the old days.
Niklas: Has Dark Passion Play been the hardest
album to record with Nightwish so far, considering all that has happened?
Jukka: It has been a long process, and certainly
a big project for us. We started rehearsing and arranging songs already
back in June 2006 and the album was finished one year later, in the
beginning of June 2007. The whole process went very smoothly, but
we just needed some extra time because we wanted to rehearse and arrange
the songs as good as possible in the studio. And in the studio we
didn't rush anything, we took the time we needed. It was actually
Niklas: People that have listened to the
album says that it contains all the elements we love about Nightwish,
just more of everything. How would you describe it?
Jukka: Our previous album Once was already
a rather versatile and wide album; there were really soft parts but
it also had extreme and really heavy parts. This album takes the same
thing even wider. It does contain all the elements that you connect
with Nightwish, and for me it's a natural follow-up to Once. The composing
and musical style is, to me at least, quite similar to the songs on
Once. The biggest difference is, of course, the new vocalist.
Niklas: Do you have a particular track on
Dark Passion Play that you like extra much?
Jukka: It's called The Poet And The Pendulum.
It was actually a nice challenge to record it, and also to make it
work in the rehearsal room. It's also the song that I look forward
to the most to play on shows. It's fourteen minutes of highs and lows,
and it should be quite spectacular.
The album contains two tracks that aren't written by Tuomas Holopainen
(keyboards): "Whoever Brings The Night" by Emppu Vuorinen (guitar)
and "The Islander" by Marco Hietala (bass). Why did Tuomas decide
to not do all the song writing alone this time around?
Jukka: Tuomas has always been open to other
members' songs and ideas, actually. If he feels that a song is proper
for a Nightwish-album, it will end up being on it. It just matched
well that Marco and Emppu had these songs at the time. Both fitted
in very well with the concept and there were just some minor changes
to be had for these songs, and then they were put on the album. So
basically, if a song is good enough to fit together with the whole
album-package it will be there, and it doesn't matter if it's Tuomas
or anybody else who has written it.
Niklas: You recorded the videos to Amaranth
and Bye Bye Beautiful in America. How was it?
Jukka: Yes, we went to Los Angeles for the
video shoot. Both videos are directed by Anti Jokonen, whose earlier
work we really like. We decided to shoot both videos at the same time
because it saved us both time and money. The whole thing went really
smooth. We just went there and did our job in one day.
Niklas: What do you think are the biggest
differences between Anette and Tarja?
Jukka: There is the lack of operatic and classically
trained voice, of course. To me, Anette's singing style sounds really
fresh, especially in this context. Like I've said, it will be really
exciting to hear what she can do with the older songs. It was obvious
to us that we didn't want a cheap copy, instead we wanted something
different. It wouldn't have made sense to choose someone who just
tried to imitate Tarja. A different kind of voice could bring something
new into our music, we felt.
Niklas: Did all the band members decide
together that Anette was the right replacement for Tarja, or was it
Jukka: After we had kicked Tarja out and announced
that we were looking for a new vocalist, we received a lot of potential
demos. So all four of us in the band sat down once in a while together
and listened to all the applicants. When one member found something
that he thought could be useful, we all listened to that particular
recording even more. So the decision was made by all four of us and
we stand behind it completely.
Niklas: If you could name your own personal
favourite Nightwish-album - except Dark Passion Play - which one would
Jukka: Yeah, I knew that was coming up. (laughs)
I would say that it's Once. Already at that time I considered it to
be our best album. There are great songs on the early ones as well,
but I think that Once is the strongest overall.
Niklas: Any closing words to your fans?
Jukka: Well, we're finally getting closer to
the start of the tour, and we haven't been here for two whole years.
It's always special for us to play here in Sweden, and in Stockholm
of course, since it's so close to home. It's just a boat trip away.
of the album Dark Passion Play »»