Metalfan: The album has sold double platinum in Finland and has been #1 in Germany, Greece, and Brazil. Is it continuing to sell well for you?
Tuomas Holopainen: Yeah I think it's still doing pretty well especially in Europe. I mean the album is not released in America yet. It's going to be released the 5th of October. But so far everything looks really well and I think it's one of the highlights of the career of the band. I mean the album went two weeks number one in the whole Europe on the European charts. That is totally incredible. With music like this to be Avril Lavigne and Norah Jones is pretty incredible to be this successful.
Metalfan: What differences have you found touring the USA compared to Europe and Japan?
Tuomas Holopainen: Uh I don't know it's pretty much the same wherever you go. Of course I mean we as a band are nobody here so it takes a little bit more effort to get the things you want.
Metalfan: Hopefully that will improve.
Tuomas Holopainen: Yeah, uh, I think it's pretty much the same.
Metalfan: Your first video for "Once" is "Nemo" which is absolutely fantastic by the way. Is there a story behind the video itself?
Tuomas Holopainen: The thing is that when we heard there was a video coming, Ewo (Nightwish tour manager) called me up and said you have like ten minutes to create this video's idea. So I came up with this idea of having the band play in this mountain area scenery and this lonely girl wandering around trying to find herself and all that. Then I explained the idea to the director of the video and he pretty much agreed on the main parts but left out some things that I had in mind. It was very low pressure and I think it came out okay. I think it's the really satisfying video we've done.
Metalfan: How many days did it take to shoot?
Tuomas Holopainen: One
Tuomas Holopainen: Yeah for the band parts. But then they went to a different location to shoot the water parts and all that.
Metalfan: Comparing "Once" to "Century Child" it seems that it's quite a bit heavier but nicely balanced with the orchestrations. Did you have difficulty achieving this?
Tuomas Holopainen: Actually writing this album was the most fun I have ever had writing music. I mean it's a lot of work, more than ever before but still I never felt more self confident about material already in the early stage of the songwriting process. So it was a lot of fun to do and especially when I knew that the first time I had my hands on a really good, big orchestra. So in a way I created the songs thinking that the orchestra would be like a 6th member of the band. Playing everything as well as possible.
Metalfan: Are you looking forward to seeing anything in the USA while you're here?
Tuomas Holopainen: (Quickly) Disneyland!
Tuomas Holopainen: Yeah.
Metalfan: Anything particular about Disneyland?
Tuomas Holopainen: Not really, I'm just a Disney freak. I've been all my life. I'm kind of like a semi professional collector of Disney items. I just love all that stuff. So it's going to be great to go there. I'm also going to meet my good friends the Brueland family in San Diego. They're going to be at the four last shows so it will be nice to hang out with them as well.
Metalfan: It has been noted in various biographies on yourself that you have a fascination with American Indian culture. On the song "Creek Mary's Blood" of course, can you tell us a little bit about how you got interested in it?
Tuomas Holopainen: Um, well it goes way back to when I was a kid you know. We were playing cowboys and Indians and I always wanted to be the Indian chief or the medicine man or something like that. But yeah it's something to do with their culture, their habits, their respect for nature, their mythology and all that It was always really fascinating to me, and then I read a lot about their history and their culture. Like "Creek Mary's Blood" and I think about what happened to these people is one of the like biggest sins of the whole mankind.
Metalfan: Being in Atlanta last year for ProgPower 4, and being in that area where the Cherokee Indians were forced off their land, was that kind of fascinating to you?
Tuomas Holopainen: All I saw was like the airport and the venue. Someday I'm definitely going to do like a vacation in the states where I'm going to like rent a car and drive through to all the different places in history. That's one of my dreams.
Metalfan: How do you see the image of Nightwish now compared to when you first started out with "Angels Fall First"?
Tuomas Holopainen: We have longer hair. Because at the time we were in the Army and we were not allowed to have long hair so now we have had time to grow it. I don't know, the image of the band I mean on a mental stage has very much stayed the same. We're still the same high school friends. Maybe we are a little bit more careful on how we look in the pictures and stuff like that. But that's really the main point, we let the music speak for itself.
Metalfan: This is Marco's second album with the band. What has he brought to the band and what are your opinions on his performance?
Tuomas Holopainen: Well of course there's the bass playing skills, the vocal skills. But I mean the highest priority for me is the chemistry between us. Between him and the band. He's the most easy going person in the whole world, you know so he's something to rely on. He's like ten years older than us and I wouldn't say he's a father figure to us but you know he has this experience that nobody else in the band has. So he brings a lot of like sureness to the band. And like in the rehearsals he has a lot of cool ideas that we never really had before. He's a great musician so I mean he's one of the reasons that the band was saved.
Tuomas Holopainen: Yeah
Metalfan: Well that's good to hear.
Tuomas Holopainen: Yeah
Metalfan: How different is it playing small venues here in the USA compared to the festivals you are used to playing in Europe?
Tuomas Holopainen: Actually I kind of like it more. Having this intimate feeling between the crowd and seeing them and this really warm hectic atmosphere, that's something I like. I really am not a festival person. All the hassle, you know, the hurry, different places. You don't get a sound check and the people are like a mile away and all that so you don't get the feeling you get in small clubs. So at least for me these kinds of shows are great.
Metalfan: Can we look forward to a live CD or DVD soon? hopefully?
Tuomas Holopainen: Uh, I don't know. One thing is that we are going to do, at some point we are going to do a show with a real orchestra and a choir. I don't know when or where but we are going to do that definitely and definitely come out with a DVD at that time as well.
Metalfan: The fan reaction to Nightwish at ProgPower 4 was overwhelming. It was your first time performing in the USA, what was it like?
Tuomas Holopainen: The thing was there was absolutely no expectations. I mean the first time ever here, you know the record sales were very bad and there wasn't much like fan mail coming so we didn't know what to expect. Then the reaction from a crowd like that was overwhelming as you said and it really gave us self confidence because I had pretty much lost hope in this country with this kind of music. I didn't think it would ever happen for us here. That gave us like a new boost. And here we are now.
Metalfan: Any memorable events that you remember from ProgPower 4?
Tuomas Holopainen: Yeah there was a memorable moment because I don't know maybe you know this story about the Brueland family and their son Marc who had cancer. And he died like a month after that show so it was his first and last time he saw Nightwish and he saw it from the stage. And he was really into it, it was a real touching moment. So that's the thing that I remember that show the most about.
Metalfan: And you wrote the song "Higher Than Hope" for Mark?
Tuomas Holopainen: Yeah, it was like his story, very much. So it was kind of like dedicated to him.
by Todd Brown