It's amazing, how fast finnish Nightwish achieved such a success. The number of sold copies ("Oceanborn" only) is astonishing 100000. Is this good or bad? Ha, you don't even good that was for metal, because such eccentric success is healthy and needed and makes the genre stronger in the market. The main thing is, that Nightwish didn't sit on one's laurels after two earlier CD's, and after very hard work made the marvellous masterpiece called "Wishmaster", which cultivated and underlined everything they achieved. Without changing the style Nightwish have entered new musical territory. And believe me, it isn't easy to do it.

Tarja, without a doubt your voice is the most important thing in Nightwish music, but you are very rarely in press columns. Don't you like to be interviewed?

Oh, no I very like it, but Tuomas has a privilege because he's the composer. I'm trying to take an opportunity to speak with journalists because I'm such a chatterbox, and I want people to know me because I'm a important part of NIghtwish.

So, in whose hands is the responsibility to make an interesting interview, a journalist or musician?

Of course, the journalist ha, ha, ha... No, it wouldn't be fair, I think they both have responsibility. If one of them don't want to talk the second one automatically has no inclination to speak. But we are lucky, because most of journalists who want to interview us are impressed with our music, so they´re getting involved in conversation. Now we had a press tour in Germany, had a lot of interviews, but the journalists were very engaged in this whole thing, so most of the interviews were very creative… You know such a chat can be a very nice experience.

Maybe not everybody knows that, but Nightwish took part in Finnish Eurovision. There were Nightwish and another band whose name I cannot remember now. You had 50000 votes, the other band 7000, but the jury said that Nightwish is out of the competition- have you been pissed?

You can believe me or not, but for us the story with Eurovision was nothing more than a good joke- we made one commercial song, but still in Nightwish convention ("Sleepwalker"- Track Of The Week in Polish Radio 3) which many people liked very much. You know, it's an amazing thing for a heavemetal band, when you can play in front of so many people and to be one of two Eurovision finalists at the same time. The fact, that we didn't won doesn't have an excessive meaning, because we know that our performance was liked much, we had ten times more votes, so we value the promotive aspect of this undertaking.

Did your family see you in TV?

Not only my family, but all my friends too- this show had a very large rating, so many people noticed that Nightwish exists. My mother was very happy to see me on stage in such a prestige performance.

Good, let's get back to "Oceanborn"- after the emission of this album many things started to happend, you achieved unexpectedly large success and from a tiny band you became a world wide star.

Really, we didn't expect it, "Oceanborn" became perfectly received in the whole world, collected excellent reviews among critics, and what's most important for our label it was sold in terrific quantities. At last we had a chance to make a professional performance with Rage which turned into great success. We played 25 concerts, unfortunately at the end of the tour everybody was seriously ill and we had to cancel the last gig in Barcelona.

I've heard that in that tour you had a better reception than Rage, which was the star there?

Yes, it's true and I don't have to say it probably, for it was an amazing surprise, because Rage seemed to be much more popular than us. We are very happy from such turn of matter.

Did Rage musicians think similarly?

Ha, ha I don't think so, they were sulky all the time and they had claims to us about all. They called to their label in Germany and said they had hopeless support, and they were very, very disappointed. I felt pity because of situations when after our performance over half of people have left the hall and on Rage show were only the most faithful fans. This had to be very depressing. To me it seems not needed that Rage musicians unloaded anger on us- for example they didn't give us time to make a rehearsal.

After this success you didn't wait too long and in around a year after emission of your second album you're back with the wonderful new CD "Wishmaster". Composing and recording of it didn't took you much time.

Maybe for an outside person it looks like everything happend so fast but Tuomas worked with this material for five months and we were in the studio for two months, so it was quite long. I must admit, that we had a good situation because we used local and very nice studio. So, if we weren´t in the mood to sit in the studio we just took ourselves a brake. Of course a lot of material had been changed in the middle of session, but it happends on every recording session and it reflects favorably in the end.

As that Tuomas is the main composer I'm curious does your vocal parties are made by him too?

Orginally everything is arranged by Tuomas, but fortunately he is very indulgent, so he's letting me interpret everything in my way, he dosen't interfere. That's why Nightwish sounds like that, not differently.

Do you still study classical singing at university?

I want to say yes, but at the moment when I became part of Nightwish I had to give up from something- the band is more important to me. I'm not worried about it, because I'm still young and I have lot of time to return on university. Of course I'm taking care of my voice and I treat it like the biggest treasure- once in a week I have singing lesson and every day I'm training alone in my home for couple of hours. Opera and singing are my biggest love and I'm hoping that I can have them for my whole life.

When do you started to sing?

It wasn't a long time ago because you can't sing real opera voice too early because you can destroy it. I've started to sing when I was nineteen, so it was five years ago...O my god, now you know everything about me!!! I don't know why, but I hate talking about my age, it's embarrassing for a woman in some kind of way.

Okay, I forgot about it already, tell me please what induced you to sing opera?

I loved opera long time ago, but I've never thought that I can sing like this. Of course I always tried to sing, but I never thought that might be good. My mother had a different opinion, and she arranged a meeting with a singing teacher. That teacher said that I'm a very talented young girl and I must go to music school. When I heard so flattering opinions under my address I felt that I'm the happiest person on Earth. That was my first step to become Nightwish vocalist.

I don't understand one thing here, you love opera, were on very esteem university Sybillius Academy and you started to sing in a metal band. Where is the hook?

Ah, there is no secret here. It's quite funny. At the end of 1996 I've met Tuomas which asked me to make a demo tape with him- and watch out, for me it was really scary then- in a real studio. So we entered the studio, the rest of the band knew only that I can sing, they didn't know anything about my voice, scale etc. Before Nightwish I didn't have any contact with metal, so I must admit, that I'm very lucky to know it know. You need to know that many of classical singers don't see the world behind an opera, and I'm very lucky because I've discovered a new, fascinating world.

What are your favourite bands?

From heavy metal I like the young Finnish band Sonata Arctica which is in a very promising position now, I can´t forget about Stratovarius which is very often compared to Nightwish. I like melodic metal, technique is important to me and of course vocal skills of vocalists. Unfortunately I can't understand bands which their vocalists roaring into the microphone.

And in opera?

Hmm, I have so called dramatic soprano, so I prefer dramatic composers like Wagner or Verdi. Of course it's classic, but I was raised with it and this is what I value most.

Let's talk about the "Wishmaster" album which is more difficult and ambitious than "Oceanborn". On the other side this music grows for the listener, everytime you can discover new elements, hidden sounds- was it a case or intentional effect?

Hmm, this is difficult question, particularly for a musician which co-operates in the making of this album, but it's nice to hear such an analysis. For me personally "Wishmaster" is easier than "Oceanborn". The most important things in this album are vocal parties which gives it an unique climate. The recording of this album didn't bring any problems to us, my vocals were recorded in a week, what I think is a big success in comparsion to "Oceanborn". I was crying there, I couldn't understand how Tuomas wants so difficult singing from me. Fortunately we reached some compromises and during the last session Tuomas knew much better the possibilities of my voice, so he didn't want anything impossible of me.

The album got wonderful reviews and the biggest success is first place in german Rockhard, it´s a big distinction.

It's true, we've got very high notes there - a review which can be a dream for every band. It was nice, because this magazine has 100000 expenditure so it was very good promotion for us. Beside of that my photo was on the cover and the interview with Nightwish was an integral part of the magazine. It was a very good start.

Spinefarm Records believes in you, they are making huge advertising campaign at the moment, for example they bought 5000 spaces in the bus stops all over Finland. Your faces gonna be famous…

It's scary, because these posters will be in every city, of course in mine where live around 80000 people too. I think I'll stop going out on the streets ha,ha. Seriously, our label makes huge promotion, it's hard to believe that it pays for them, because they pay us well too… but they see something in it and this is a very comfortable situation for us. You know, "Wishmaster" is on the top selling albums in Finland, it's been sold in 20000 copys so the promotion bear interest.

When you started to sing in Nightwish, you supposed that this band achieves such a success?

Oh, that time I was curious what it´s like to be in a band, to record tracks in a real studio. I didn't think that stuff we created is gonna be published anywhere. It turned out, that I love working in the studio, all this confusion, feelings when you sing. These are unique moments. Of course, in the beginning I was very scared, a little ashamed, but when I closed my eyes everything was great. Similarly was before our first gigs- Me, an opera singer, needed to sing in front of metal fans. The rest of the band had the same fears as me, but it turned out that the stage and the fans belong to me!

So how did you cope with your first gig?

Ha,ha it was quite funny. We played in our hometown and everybody was uneasy that I cope on the stage, move properly or just stand like a pole. It turned out that I'm crazier than most of the guys. So after this gig everybody knew that they don't need to worry about me. I've never failed so far.

I want to talk about the covers of your albums, which at least to this on "Wishmaster" weren't your strongest side. The picture on your debut album "Angels Fall First" was rather average…

Yes, it's true. I didn't like it very much, but the cover of "Oceanborn" is quite interesting and many people like it.

Your newest cover made by your graphic artist Markus Mayer is very good and what is the most important thing it's very adequate to the title- "Wishmaster". Please, don't laugh now and forgive me this question but why has the child kneeling above the lake his left leg disproportionately longer than the right?

Ha,ha,ha, how can't I laugh, I've just seen it today too. I've called Spinefarm, and they saw it too, but we haven't had the time to make any correction, besides let's not transplant, this leg isn't so huge ha,ha. I don't think that many people see the difference.

Okay, maybe you're right, but couple of them surely see that, on his right palm he has only four fingers.

Whaaaat? I don't believe you, four fingers?????? Maybe you have some problems with your eyes? Ha,ha I need to think of some story quick….hmm….maybe i'll just say that the boy on the cover, or maybe just read the text of "Dead Boy's Poem" which tells about the boy from our cover.

Okay, let's leave the subject of the "crippled child" and talk about your plans for the couple next months.

Okay, so tomorrow I have a very important exam in classical singing, so I'm little nervous about it, next two weeks we make interviews with the press from around the world, later we're going to have a two weeks tour in Finland with gothic revelation To/Die/For.

Do you seriously think that To/Die/For is a revelation? I thought that this band will be defeat.

In Finland they are treated as the successors of HIM, hopefully they are heavier than HIM, so not that commercial. They had a good vocalist and their debut pleases interest. Soon Nuclear Blast want to publish their album in Europe, and I think this band is gonna be great someday.

Well, maybe Spinefarm Records restrained after they didn't sign the contract with HIM, because they said that the band is too boring. But back to your plans, what will you do after the Finnish tour?

First, we are going on a three week tour in South America, later in early autumn we are going on a much longer tour in Europe, and I´m hoping that we visit Poland at least for one gig. Unfortunately, we don't know what bands gonna play with us, but there is a big chance that it will be Sinergy. I think, that it´s an intresting set. As you see we have this year planned till end and surely we're not gonna be boring.