Source: Cursed with Oblivion
At 17 o'clock the phone is ringing. "Hello, this is Tuomas of Nightwish calling," I hear on the other side. This is his tenth interview of that day, he says. "It's ok. There's like eight more to go," he laughs. "That's what I'm here for."
I'm starting our interview with the questions about the upcoming Nightwish dvd, "End Of An Era."
Marta: You must have already seen the footage from the upcoming dvd. What emotions did you have when you watched this concert?
Tuomas: I've seen the concert about 25 times already. And last Monday night we watched it for the first time in a cinema, on a big screen. It was quite impressive. Tha main feeling that I had was the feeling of pride. When I think about the band's ten-years of history, about when we started, this is definitely in a way a symbolic highlight for the band. And I felt so proud of the other guys and the girl in the band, that we were able to accomplish something like this. So that was like the main feeling that I had. In between all this bitter-sweetness.
Marta: Did you also have the feeling of sadness, like this is the end of something?
Tuomas: Yes, of course. Something between sadness and also relief. Because last year was incredibly hard in every way. So even though it was the most horrible thing we ever had to do (the split with Tarja), and the hardest times of our lives, we still felt that it was the only way to do it. In between all this sadness there was this sense of relief. For us, and I hope for her as well.
Marta: And what were the highlights of this show for you?
Tuomas: Definitely the performance of "Creek Mary's Blood." This was the first time we played this song with John Two-Hawks in a live situation. And it's very probable that we will never play with him again either, so this was something very special. Only for this show. Also the visual side of the show, like the use of the video-screens for the first time ever, extra pyrotechnics, lots of lights, the most incredible audience you could imagine… I'm just happy that we happened to be able to play the best show ever when it was filmed for a dvd.
Marta: When was it decided that this concert would be recorded for a dvd?
Tuomas: It was decided already quite early. Before we even started the tour with the new album we thought: let's make a final show of this tour something really really special. The initial idea was to do it with a real orchestra and a real choir, and stuff like that. But it didn't happen, so we ended up doing it in the biggest arena in Finland.
Marta: So even if it hadn't been your last show with Tarja, it still would have been recorded?
Tuomas: Yes, definitely.
Marta: Were you nervous before or during the concert, knowing that it all would be recorded and that it would be your last show with Tarja?
Tuomas: Yeah, I was shit-scared. I mean, you know, this was something that had to be done. And it had to work. And we all had just one shot of it. You couldn't imagine the amount of technical equipment that was on stage because of the video-screens, backlines, pyrotechnics and lights. There were 50 cameras, 30 cameramen. You know there were so many different factors that could have gone wrong. But thank God, nothing went wrong. And the result is pretty good.
Marta: Are you sometimes still nervous before the concerts or is it mostly routine for you?
Tuomas: Sometimes it's more of a routine. But I always am a little bit scared. And I think that's a good thing. But with this special show, I was dead-scared.
Marta: Some weeks ago I read on internet comments from Tarja concerning the dvd-release, and she said this: "It just seems a bit weird for me that I need to beg on my knees to get the information from the band. I am singing on that recording and in my opinion, I have the right to see it before the DVD is released!" How would you comment on this?
Tuomas: I definitely agree that she has the right to see everything. The only problem is that she never ever contacted any of us that she wanted to see the material. And in the past, after all the albums that we recorded, she never was interested at all in listening to them. So we never heard anything from her that she wanted to see the material. All she needed to do was write an e-mail that she wants to see it. And of course, she can see it. So I really don't understand what this "begging on my knees"-crap is.
Marta: So it seems that you are communicating only through reading each other's interviews.
Tuomas: It's something like that. But it's been like this for the past year and a half. Not much has changed.
Marta: Will you follow Tarja's own solo career?
Tuomas: Of course, I can read what's in the papers. But it's in a way no special interest for me. I just wish her the best, and she can go her own way. I really do wish her all the best, because, even after what happened, I still consider her as an old friend. And the saddest thing in all this mess is that I lost an old good friend of mine.
Marta: The new dvd is called "End Of An Era." How will you remember this era - those past years?
Tuomas: It was one big drama. I wouldn't change a thing, to be honest. I've had the very best moments of my life, during those ten years. But also the worst moments of my life. The scale is huge.
Marta: And what specific things do you hope for the future?
Tuomas: I just hope in the future that we can find each other again, the way it was seven-eight years ago. That the new singer will be like one of the guys in a way. That we wouln't have to worry about everything so much. Just go back to the basics. Just make the music, play, tour the world, see new countries, see new people, and have fun. Do things the very best way we can, and not worry about irrelevant stuff that doesn't belong to us.
Marta: I've read that you're already composed a lot of new material. What can you tell us about it now?
Tuomas: There are 15 songs done, but it's way too early to talk about it now. It's all in such an early stage that even I don't know yet what it's gonna sound like in the future. I made15 songs in 5 months. That had never happened before. I think the reason for this is that there was such an amount of relief after what had happened. And also the fact that all these emotions were so up-front all the time, because of what had happened. So it was a good way to esacpe all this shit.
Marta: Is it difficult to compose now, without knowing who will sing your lyrics and vocal lines?
Tuomas: I haven't written the lyrics yet. Just a few lines in some songs, so I wouldn't know about that. But writing the vocal lines - it was just the same process as always before. So that hasn't changed. I hear this kind of a "ghost" female voice in my head all the time when I write songs, so it's really no problem.
Marta: The band has been now busy with the auditions for a new vocalist. I bet many women have responded to the ad. Are these mostly unknown vocalists or are there also some more famous singers competeing for this position?
Tuomas: Well, there are both. A lot of unknown ones, but some well-known as well. In total around 415 females so far. And there are still 10-15 demos coming each day. We're taking our time, and checking out everyone. But nothing, absolutely nothing, has been decided yet.
Marta: And what do you think about the general level of the material you've received so far?
Tuomas: There are some really impressive ones, really good. But it seems also that some people are being either really brave or really ignorant. I think it's the whole Idols-synchrome.
Marta: Are you now in the stage of still listening to all the material? Or have you also invited some singers already?
Tuomas: We just listen at the moment. We haven't met a single person yet.
Marta: You're the main composer and a band-leader. Will you also have a deciding word in choosing a new singer? Or will you decide it democratically with the whole band?
Tuomas: It's really democratic. You know, there's always someone from the band who's listening to the demos. But the ones with the potential are being listened to by everybody. And it's not going to be only my decision. Absolutely not. Everyone has a word to say about it. Everybody needs to be happy because it's such a huge decision that's gonna influence our lives for maybe next ten years, so everybody has a word to say.
Marta: And what is the record company's role in this? Do they also have something to say?
Tuomas: No, absolutely nothing.
Marta: For many fans Tarja was quite irreplacable. She represented the band, and any other vocalist, however good she might be, will definitely have a very hard task replacing her. And there will be always people who will be prejudiced and will constantly compare her with Tarja. What is your attiture towards it?
Tuomas: Yeah, I know. It's just natural in a way. And I know that many people will think like that. But I also think that people should give her (the future singer) a chance; give us a chance with the next album. Just listen to it through, and after that make your opinion. But there are many hardcore Tarja-fans out there, who won't appreciate anything we'll do. This is just the way it goes. And because of this one of the most important criteria for a new singer is that she needs to have a little bit sense of humour (laughs a bit).
Marta: Have you ever considered continuing with Marco on lead vocals only? Without taking a new female vocalist at all?
Tuomas: You know, this is a really really weird thing: this is the question that everybody asks. I've done like 60 interviews already, and every single interviewer is asking this. And it has never even crossed my mind. I think it's the biggest, cheapest trick anyone could imagine. Just continuing with a male singer. No way!! So it's really surprising that people even come up with this idea, because we never surely have (thought of it). Marco will continue singing the future as well. But WITH a female singer.