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After a year of absence the Finish band Nightwish returns to the front by means of a very extensive double compilation album ‘Decades’, on which the most important songs from their twenty years of existence are placed. ‘Decades’ is also the name of the very extensive world tour that the band is going to undertake in 2018. Lords Of Metal spoke with female singer Floor Jansen among others about the sabbatical, the compilation album and the coming world tour.

By: Sjak | Archive under prog / sympho metal

Hi Floor, the last time we spoke was at the end of 2016 for your 3-DVD release ‘Vehicle Of Spirit’. What did that release do for the band as it was the last sign of life before the announced one year sabbatical?
To be honest, I don’t know exactly because right after the release we really went into silent mode. And halfway during pregnancy I didn’t really think to ask about sales numbers…haha. So I’m not really sure what it did from a commercial perspective, but I’ve had a lot of positive feedback on the release itself.

The hibernation period of Nightwish didn’t just allow you to give birth to your firstborn, but was also meant to recharge the batteries of the Nightwish band members. Do you think that this was accomplished and what are the signals that substantiate that conclusion
I certainly think that we’ve accomplished that and especially Tuomas, since he is now already actively writing for a new record even though we’re extremely busy with the ‘Decades’ tour that’s coming up. For me that’s a clear sign that we’re back on track again. I notice that during the rehearsals as well, because also there the energy is back.

The first release after the sabbatical is the double compilation album ‘Decades’. Who came up with the idea for this album and what is the intention that the band has with this release?
As a matter of fact one of our managers had the idea of doing a tour which would feature the complete back catalogue of Nightwish instead of creating a new record first, especially just after we came back out of hibernation mode. Instead of starting the intensive process of writing and recording a new record, we thought it would be a great idea to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the band by means of a tour where the setlist would cover the whole Nightwish period. That’s how the ‘Decades’ tour idea started and of course an album was needed to support this. Therefore we created this double compilation album as support for the extensive tour and as a celebration for the twentieth anniversary.

What were the decision criteria for the track list of this compilation and was this a band effort or was Tuomas the one who decided here?
It was somewhat of a joint effort, but of course Tuomas had the final say. We all had our wish list and we did some brainstorming about the track list and these were the songs that came out of that. We didn’t want to call it a “best-of” album as a lot of other tracks could have been featured on the album as well then, but if you want to show somebody how Nightwish sounds and has sounded in the past, especially for somebody who’s not really familiar with our music, then this album is a good profile of just that.

The choice was made to release the material in their original versions. What was the reason for doing this and didn’t it ever cross your mind to re-record the older material with your vocals as most of the fans already have these versions?
In my opinion you shouldn’t rewrite history and therefore we didn’t do any re-recordings or change vocals or whatsoever. Of course everything is re-mastered, but we thought it was best not to touch the original versions and leave them as they are. Now that we’re going to do these songs live during the tour, I get the opportunity to make them my own. So when people won’t to know how that sounds like, they’re invited to come to the shows.

The oldest song on the record is the demo version of ‘Nightwish’, which is more than twenty years hold. How do you look at the band’s development from the very beginning until now and what do you think about their material when Tarja and Anette were still in the band?
I got to know the band when they had released their second album and I’ve been a fan of the music ever since. For me it has always been Nightwish, whether the material was sung by Tarja, Anette or me, as I don’t really think in periods of the band. At the same time it reminds me somewhat about the development of After Forever as that band had something similar like Nightwish. You could sense with both band’s first album that the quality level was not quite there yet, but you could definitely hear that the music was special from the very beginning. Things got a whole lot better from the second album onwards with all the charming elements that come with that. At the same time it’s also nice to think that everybody listens in a different way to those songs and has other memories while listening to them. It’s a trip down memory lane for everybody that listens to this material.

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Do you yourself have any favorite Nightwish tracks and if so, which ones are these?
Yes and no….I have complete fallen in love again with ‘Dead Boy’s Poem’ which is featured on ‘Decades’, but also ‘Ghost Love Score’, ‘The Poet And The Pendulum’, ‘The Siren’ and ‘Wish I Had An Angel’ are among my favorites.

There’s no bonus material available on this release. Why is that as it could have made the release even more interesting, especially for the die-hard fans?
It was the intention to give a good overview of the past two decades and that didn’t leave any space for bonus material. We have placed the demo version of ‘Nightwish’ on the album, because it fitted so well with the purpose that we had with ‘Decades’.

The ‘Decades’ tour will start in March and will bring you to the North America first while Europe will be done after the summer festivals. Who will be the support acts on this tour and will you play ‘Decades’ material exclusively or will there be some surprises as well?]
We don’t use a support act in the first leg of the tour, but in Europe Beast In Black will open for us. Telling the story of twenty years Nightwish and visualizing that will be the essence of the spectacle that we will bring to the audience. Of course I’m not going to tell anything about possible surprises yet…

You will be headlining Fortarock in The Netherlands, while you will play the Lotto Arena in Belgium. Why have you chosen to only do Fortarock and not add a few other shows in our country?
Not all the dates for the European tour have been announced and I would be very surprised if we didn’t play more shows in the Netherlands, especially after having sold out the Heineken Music Hall twice. I would advise our Dutch fans to keep an eye on the website…

You already said that Tuomas was already writing on new material for a possible next album. As Tuomas always want to add new things into the material, where will this lead to?
To be honest, I have no idea yet. Tuomas is really busy with this process, but so far still on his own. We will first focus on the tour and when that is finished, where will be time and space again for the creative process of writing and recording the new album.

Do you already have a planning for a possible release?
Only on a very high level, as first priority is the tour that we’re going to do in 2018. Then in 2019 we will most probably work on the new album for a possible release in 2020.

Nightwish has over the years become the biggest band in the genre. Does that put any additional pressure on the band?
We’re not really busy with these kind of things. We don’t think about being or remaining the biggest band, but instead we care about delivering quality material that feels good. As song writer you have to be focused on your own strengths and not on what other people want to hear from you. You just can’t please everybody, but you can make sure that you create something that you believe in and which is really good by your own standards

You have already achieved quite a lot in your career, but what are some of the dreams that you still want to accomplish both as a musician and as a person?
There are always special things that you still want to accomplish, like touring in (strange) places where you’ve never been before or becoming bigger in some places of the world. But above all, my biggest ambition is that we keep doing what we are doing today in good health…

Okay Floor, I would like to thank you for your willingness to answer my questions. Is there anything that we didn’t cover that you want to express to our readers?
As most of you will probably know I’m involved in a project called Northward with Jorn Viggo Lofstad, the guitar player of Pagan’s Mind. We have recorded the first album in 2017 and it will be released in October via the Nuclear Blast label. It’s totally different from what we’re doing with Nightwish as the material is much more in the traditional rock vein, but it’s great material in my opinion so people should definitely check it out!

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