Nightwish are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year in style, with the upcoming release of ‘Decades,’ scheduled for release on March 9th, and are about to embark on a seven week tour, bringing the “greatest show on earth” to North America. Metal Wani’s Laura Vezer spoke with Floor Jansen on the album, getting ready for tour, and how the Finnish story-tellers have evolved as a group during their time together.
When asked how everyone is feeling about the anniversary, Jansen was reflective, sharing that “it’s a celebration of all those years and all this music that’s been written.” When thinking about how to celebrate such a milestone, “Lets release an album where you go back in time, then go on tour, and dedicate the whole tour to just that.”
Regarding the process of putting the album together, Jansen mentioned that each member got to put together their ideal set, but “it was Tuomas who made the decisions on what songs were going to be.” It was also his idea to set the compilation to go back in time, instead of starting at the beginning. ’Decades’ starts with the band’s latest work.
When asked about reading somewhere that Thomas said that selecting tracks for Decades was like “killing your darlings,” Jansen agreed: “It’s IMPOSSIBLE to choose really. That’s also why you can’t call it a ‘best of,’ because you’ll always leave things out. It’s a good overview of the sound as it is and has been over the course of time.”
Preparations for the tour of Decades were completed, as Jansen explained “We came together in January and I just came back from a week in Finland where we had our second rehearsal with production, so we put everything together and it was great to feel everything come together more and more.”
Sharing again that Tuomas had said in a release that there was one point in rehearsals where he felt himself grinning, so happy from hearing some of the older material the band had touched on in rehearsal. When asked if she experienced something similar, Jansen replied “Yes absolutely. This is the first time in this setting that we get to play these songs and give them a new face. We’re not changing them per se but with this sound that we have today, and also with Troy there, with his unique sound and multiple instruments. The fact that we sing with three people now… the approach of things is different now and it’s cool to see things come together. It’s musicianship; it’s not just playing old songs, it’s making them come alive, making them your own. That surely puts a huge grin on your face when you hear that come together.”
When asked how she felt about visiting material she had not yet sung with Nightwish, Jansen was reflective; “It’s a road down memory lane and a unique opportunity to give it my own twist. It’s a huge honour really. It puts me back in time into some of those early years where I was just a teenager and a huge fan of this band and having my own band and finding my place in this world. Things have really changed over the course of time and it’s cool to go back to that”
On asking if there were any new Nightwish stories on the horizon, Jansen confirmed that Tuamas has been writing material: “He’s such a creative spirit, there is always something bubbling.”
Asking how she felt the band has evolved over the years, Jansen said that “it became more grown up in its sound and themes. The poetic touch that Tuomas has always had matured and bettered, he’s been really exploring story telling and going into the music regardless of whoever plays or sings it. He has a unique sound and that became more distinctive over the years.”
How about Jansen herself? How has she evolved with Nighwish? “I think I grew more comfortable in really singing everything my own way. With the coaching of Tuomas in that sense, I always want him to be happy. I always ask him for feedback. If I start something with a “new-old” song, so to speak, also with the creation of this forms most beautiful… It’s kind of a vocal puzzle, and I’ve never made it with somebody else, it’s been my thing. It’s a bad process but I’ve never been so directly reflecting it back to a band member. Not being songwriter, this creative process is different and very inspiring, I think I really grew that part to be open to that and experiment with new sounds. Really using everything I have to offer in the storytelling of all these Nightwish songs. I feel like I really found my place in that more than ever.”
Our final question to Jansen was What advice would you give to your younger self of 20 years ago? What would you want younger Floor to know about her future?
Jansen laughs. “it’s going to be fine! I think it’s that. The constant concern and at the same time I’d bite myself in the ass for that, because the concern and hard work leads to something. I’d focus more on the confidence. Every younger self lacks the confidence that the older self gets, and you need years for that. So I wish I could tell my younger self that I did look good, I like myself a lot better now, which comes with years as well.
It’s such an inevitable evolution that we all make. I wish I could tell myself ‘things are fine, you look good, don’t worry!’”
‘Decades’ will be released on March 9th. For tour dates please check www.nightwish.com