NIGHTWISH keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen recently spoke with Spain's Metal Journal. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On revisiting some of NIGHTWISH's earliest material during the band's ongoing "Decades" tour:
Tuomas: "Nostalgia would be the perfect word to describe how we feel. It really is a trip to the distant past, and every time we play those songs live on this tour, it's an intriguing feeling because I don't think we would write songs like that anymore in 2018, but I still remember the kid who wrote those songs; I remember the band who performed those songs 15-20 years ago; and it's really interesting to see the evolution of the band. I have to pay respect to the vocalists, Floor [Jansen], Marco [Hietala] and Troy [Donockley], that they can sing some of the lyrics with a straight face still. If you think about songs like 'Elvenpath' or 'The Carpenter' [or] 'Devil & The Deep Dark Ocean', they're wonderful songs and they reflect their time, but songs about witches and broomsticks warming up the sauna and all that, it's really cute, but it's just something else."
On how the group approached those older songs:
Tuomas: "We did some rearranging to the songs. We actually went to Budapest and recorded some orchestras that we use as backing tracks to seven of the songs, and then we have Troy [and] Floor, so they bring their own impact to the songs. But we were also really careful not to completely destroy the songs and rearrange them, because this is very likely the last time that we're ever going to play at least some of the songs on the setlist, so they needed to pay respect to the original as well. But of course, you want to update it to the NIGHTWISH of 2018."
On the concerts the group recently recorded in Buenos Aries, Argentina and Bogota, Colombia:
Tuomas: "The idea is — we haven't even started the process yet, but we will come up with a live DVD at some point next year. They needed to be immortalized, so [it was] definitely worth doing, and we hadn't filmed any shows in Latin America before, so that was the idea. The fans and the audience when we play there, it's quite the racket — in a good sense."
On whether he feels any pressure when writing new material for the group:
Tuomas: "I don't really feel pressure, but especially after the previous album, 'Endless Forms Most Beautiful', I did feel very blank, and that's why we decided as a whole band to take a year off. It just felt so unnatural to start doing another album immediately. The stories and the feeling and the passion just wasn't there, but after the year off, now things are looking really right. I actually have all the songs already written for the next album, and that's what we're going to be doing all next year."
On the musical direction of the new material he's written:
Tuomas: "Even the other members in the band, they haven't heard a single bar yet, so it's really early — but as always before, there are the quintessential NIGHTWISH elements, but there's also something completely new. That's what we've been doing in the past, and that trend will continue on the upcoming album... All I can tell you [now] is that it's looking really good. The songs are there. They need a lot of arranging, rehearsing, recording, all that, but we should have a ready album in our hands by the end of the year 2019."
On the planned June 2019 meeting when he will present the new songs to his bandmates:
Tuomas: "Actually, that's the only time that I feel nervous about songs, because I really want them to feel inspired about the stuff as well. We work with the whole band for months so that everybody's as pleased with the material as possible, but of course, the first moment that I present the songs and the lyrics, it's really nerve-racking, so I just hope that they will like it. If not, then we will come up with something new."
On releasing music more frequently during the band's early years:
Tuomas: "You are really young, really ignorant, really ambitious. You just want to do music and tours all the time, and now, when some time has passed by, you want to think about the other aspects of life as well — people getting families and kids and all that, so you have to balance it a bit more. Back in the day, it was all NIGHTWISH and nothing else mattered. These days, it's really balanced and wonderful. You just have to schedule things really carefully and take care of each other."
On the re-release of the band's "End Of An Era" DVD:
Tuomas: "I heard about the release, like, three weeks ago myself. Nobody asked us. I had no idea about the release. I have absolutely nothing to do with it; I don't know anything about it; but I don't mind."
On the status of drummer Jukka Nevalainen, who stepped down from the band in 2014 due to chronic insomnia:
Tuomas: "He's still very much involved with the band. He's the CEO of our company. We are in contact constantly, but when it comes to his future as a drummer, some decisions have to be made at some point next year — but more about that later. He's feeling much better, and that's the most important thing."
On whether he has any desire to compose music for films:
Tuomas: "That's something that I would really like to try at some point in the future. Please, not now, because the next three years is going to be nonstop NIGHTWISH, but at some point it would be lovely. Maybe not even films, which would be wonderful, but maybe, like, nature documentaries or even games. I heard that they are doing a follow-up to the video game 'Skyrim' – 'Elder Scrolls VI'. Something like that would be a dream come true."
NIGHTWISH's next album will mark the band's second full-length release with Jansen, who has been touring with the group since 2012.
NIGHTWISH has spent the last few months on the road in support of its recently released "Decades" compilation.