Before me is laying a copy of Century Child from the French XIII Bis Records licensed by Spinefarm. This one was available about three weeks before the release by Universal Records, your record company for France. Is this a bootleg?
I'm not allowed to tell too much about that. There have been some mistakes at the taking over by Universal of Spinefarm. XIII Bis had to wait with the release but obviously they didn't. The XIII Bis edition isn't the official Nightwish release. This 'problem' will be fixed pretty quickly.
Congratulations. Century Child got form zero to five in the German album charts and got platinum within two weeks in Finland with Ever Dream at the top position in the single charts.
Yes, I was very surprised. It's going very fast at the moment with the band's success.
At the moment you're studying in Karlsruhe. How did the recording went for you? You probably haven't spend two months in the studio with the rest of the band?
No, I haven't. Tuomas sent the demo's to Germany with the singing notes as piano notes. This way I at least had a rough version of the songs. A few weeks later I got the lyrics. This wasn't a new way of working, we've done it the same in the past. I had a break between two semesters in March, and in those two weeks I recorded my parts in the Finnvox studio's in Helsinki.
Last week we played at the Bang Your Head Festival, Balingen. One weekend day, so that was easy to combine with my studies though I sometimes have to follow classes in the weekends. For me it isn't always fun to go to school and be in Nightwish at the same time. We can only tour when I have holidays in school, so I actually never have a day off. Maybe with Christmas, I could use that.
Your singing parts on this album are a bit lower. Were you surprised when you heard Tuomas material?
No, not at all. Tuomas had heard my lower singing voice and he liked the softer side of my voice. I had tried all that earlier before but I couldn't manage it like I do now. Back then I said "I'm not a popsinger, I'm a classical singer." But now that I'm in Germany and that I've been following singing lessons for half a year, I can focus better on my voice. My technique has progressed and I don't feel so insecure anymore when I use my lower voice.
I don't know if it's this mix, but your lower voice sounds a lot softer, less bombastic.
I know what you're trying to say, but it isn't meant that way. In the beginning it wasn't really my choice to use my lower voice but Tuomas absolutely loved it. I still have that bombastic voice though.
Absolutely, you can still hear that on songs like End of All Hope and Slaying the Dreamer. But with a song like f.e. Dead to the World the main parts are sung by the new bassist Marco Hietala (ex-Sinergy) and you're as good as degraded to only backing vocals while you're the front woman of the band.
I've been getting a lot of questions about that but to me there's absolutely no problem that Marco is doing the main vocals on that song - and some others. But let me say that Tarja will never become a singer for only backing vocals within Nightwish. Over my dead body, that will never happen. When Tuomas started writing the songs for this album, he wanted them form the beginning to be sung by a male voice and because Marco was a singer as well in his previous band, it worked out good for us. It are only rumours that Marco has been asked to join the band to take over the vocals when I would leave the band. On questions about that I don't even want to answer because it's all bullshit!
But you have to understand the fans. They are worried: Tarja is singing more on the background on some songs, a bassist is taking over some lead vocals, the band has to follow a recording and touring schedule that can be combined with your school schedule, you're studying in Germany while the other members are living in Finland, you're going to marry an Argentinean guy. All of this combined makes you conclude that the beginning of Tarja's end with Nightwish is near.
Of course it's easy to conclude that en I can't guarantee that things will be the same for the next ten years but why don't they just let us do our thing? Music is an universal language. Nightwish is making music they like and Tuomas isn't writing music with the thought "What will the fans think of this?" He is just writing what he feels, thinks and goes through at that moment. And while writing he of course thinks of my abilities with my voice. Of course he won't suddenly write a jazz-song, because that would be a disaster to all Nightwish-fans. On the new album there have been some changes but not changes that will be too much for the fans. The band has made progress with each album. To me it isn't a problem to sing about the personal troubles of Tuomas, because I know him so well. There are some mysterious things going on in his head and to me it's every time a surprise again what he has come up with now. I admire that in him, I never would be able to expose my feelings that way. I'm just the messenger if his emotions.
What is your final goal? Do you want to go in the direction of Sarah Brightman or even Celine Dion? Forever Yours could have been on the soundtrack of Titanic.
To be honest, I don't like Sarah's voice. I do on her pop songs but not the classical ones, then I even hate it. I do think she does a very good job in arranging and producing songs. My favourites are some Swedish opera singers. Forever Yours is seen by many people to be a Titanic song. Tuomas had to laugh pretty loud when he heard the outcome of the song in the studio - but that's mostly because of the pipes that are in the song. I myself just think of it as a good ballad.
Another surprise on the album is The Phantom of the Opera.
The original I really don't think of as good, but Tuomas really wanted to work with it because he thought the song was perfect to get a Nightwish treatment. Maybe the song isn't as bombastic as we would have wanted but it's definitely better than the original.
If everything turns out the way it should, how long do you still have to study?
The study takes two years, but what follows after, nobody knows.
You also have worked with BVI. Will you continue that?
No, they already asked somebody else to do that. The Infinity thing was the first and absolute last metal project I have worked on. I'm simply too busy. I sang the Until Dawn song on Infinity. It had to be recorded in one day and I only got the lyrics the day before. It was very hard for me to fit in the lyrics in such a short time. I recorded my part in Helsinki, I never saw the other singers of the project.
As already has been said, the album is doing great everywhere. More and more people will want to see you. On a certain point you probably have to choose between your study and Nightwish.
I have been making that kind of decisions more times a day already. The past five years I have put most of my energy in Nightwish and now I finally want to take more time for my classical singing everybody is disagreeing. When we started Nightwish, nobody expected the success we have now. At a certain point I will have to choose yes, but I can't answer you right now.
And it should be clear that Marco won't replace you in the future?
No because then it wouldn't be Nightwish anymore.