Nightwish – Farewell, Thee Mermaid

Sunday, 31st March 2013

Blistering.com: Let’s move onto the forthcoming movie for Imaginaerum. In the States, we have the usual flashy red carpet event for a movie premier, so will the same thing take place for the premier in Finland?

Holopainen: Yes, it’s going to be a big event on the 10th of November in Helsinki in the Hartwall Arena, where we shot our DVD, an End of an Era. Basically, what’s going to happen is first, we’re going to play a show which will be Imaginaerum from beginning to end, we’ll take a 30-minute break, then the movie is going to play. It’s going to be pretty huge. There’s going to be 8,000 people, so it will be huge indoor thing.

Blistering.com: Are you starting to feel a sense of finality to the wholeImaginaerum process?

Holopainen: I had a really weird feeling last Tuesday when we saw the movie completely ready for the first time. We were in Montreal and they organized a screening for us, all the actors and the guys who worked on the movie. It was really emotional and an empty moment to see the whole thing finished because we started to work on this project in the summer of 2007, so it’s been five years in the making. Without any exaggeration, a few of us when into hell and back to get it done [laughs]. It was a really rocky road to get the thing finished because of financial reasons and a million different things. There were some desperate times, but now that I’ve seen the result, I feel really happy and proud for the whole band.

Blistering.com: How much of the band is in the movie? Are your parts cringe-worthy?

Holopainen: Luckily, we are only in two scenes. We have cameo roles and don’t have a single line the whole film. We hired professional actors for the movie. I think that was the only way to tell a believable story. We don’t know how to act. You see the band in two scenes in the background playing as a band. That’s something we felt comfortable with because it was like shooting a music video.

Blistering.com: It makes me think of when Kiss starred in their own movie in the 70’s. Sometimes it’s best that musicians just stay musicians and not try their hand at acting.

Holopainen: It was actually the director that wanted to write us a little role, and I said “Don’t you dare!” Whenever I see Justin Timberlake in a movie – no matter how well he acts, he’s still Justin Timberlake [laughs]. It takes something out of the movie. It takes something out of the credibility of the movie, and we didn’t want that. He’s not the best actor, but he’s not that bad, but still, I can’t watch movies with him…there’s something wrong with the picture.

Blistering.com: You mentioned you started work on the concept for Imaginaerum all the way back in 2007. So, are you the type that always has something going on creatively?

Holopainen: Not really. I’m a little bit on the lazy side, actually [laughs]. I’m a storyteller by heart, so these things work with me all the time. I have my notebook and microphone with me, so I’m constantly thinking about new songs and new poetry and what to create next. It’s not like I’m ever stressed over [it] or lacking time to do what I want. I’m not a workaholic, so to say. I know how to take it easy too.

Blistering.com: Switching gears, I don’t think the addition of Marco roughly 11 or 12 years ago can be understated. He’s quite the asset to you guys in a lot of facets. Can you speak to his contributions?

Holopainen: He made all the difference in the world. At that point, I knew I’d like to use a male voice a bit more, and we needed a new bass player and how wonderful it would be if we could get a bass player who could sing. Marco was the first choice…he’s a legend in Finland. We were so happy when we joined the band. His range and style is so powerful. He can sing almost anything. I love the fact that I have the chance to use two wonderful voices in this band, and can do almost anything. Just fooling around with the verses, choruses, and harmonies, and doing duets is really intriguing. It gives me a lot of possibilities as a songwriter.

Blistering.com: This year marks the 15-year mark for Angels Fall First. Have you done any type of reflecting on it?

Holopainen: Our drummer, Jukka [Nevalainen], just mentioned it a few weeks ago. I haven’t even thought about it. Obviously, we will be somewhere touring, so there’s not going to be anything happening. But let’s say in 20 years – we need some round years, then something big may happen. Give it another five years [laughs].

I remember it all vividly. The first album hit the charts in Finland, then the next album Oceanborn at the end of 1998 blew up big-time and entered the charts at #5. We started touring all the time…we were touring Finland, then we got the chance to tour Europe, then we got it licensed in Germany. Things just started rolling at such a speed that it was a bit hard to handle. I was working as a stand-in teacher in the high school of my hometown teaching all sorts of stuff like biology and mathematics, and I got this phone call: “You have a record deal in Germany, and by the way, the album is #5. Things are really rolling now.” I thought, wow, this would never happen, so I quit my teaching job and started doing Nightwish 24/7. And here I am, still walking that road.

Blistering.com: I have to ask: Were math and biology your favorite subjects growing up?

Holopainen: I have no education [laughs]. It was a stand-in thing, so when a teacher would get sick, I would go in and tell the kids what their teacher wanted them to do. I taught almost all of the possible subjects, but I have no education, it was a summer job.

Blistering.com: You know, the substitute teacher has the stigma where he or she will have to face kids goofing off and being disrespectful. Did that happen to you?

Holopainen: Not really. I guess I had enough authority for them to behave [laughs]. It was a really easy job because all I had to do was give them the sheets or read from the book. It wasn’t that hard.

Blistering.com: Did you have long hair at the time?

Holopainen: I didn’t. I had short hair, glasses…I really looked like a nerd. All the males have to go to the army in Finland, so I had just gotten out and had really short hair.

Blistering.com: Wrapping up, what’s in store after the movie is released in Finland?

Holopainen: There are some preliminary plans to enter the studio in 2014, so we’ll take some time off after this tour to write the songs. It’s going to be a big gap once again, but like I said: quality over quantity.

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