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Nightwish Founder Talks Disney and the Night That Changed His Life

Roadrunner Records

Last Saturday, Jan. 21, Finnish/Swedish symphonic metal legends Nightwish kicked off their 2012 world tour at the Gibson Amphitheater in Universal City, Calif. Hailed as their most important U.S. show to date, it was the only major show being played in the country till their fall tour commences. Fans traveled from all over the world to witness the spectacular, fire-laden production, and Nightwish delivered an epic night of soaring classics featuring a host of songs from their latest album, ‘Imaginaerum.’

Nightwish is the third-best-selling musical entity in Finland with sales of over 827,000 certified copies of their albums sold. The group is also the most successful Finnish band abroad with more than 7 million records sold worldwide, and having collected over 60 gold and platinum awards.

Founding keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen sat down with Noisecreep before the show to talk about Nightwish, his love for the Disney theme parks, and the night that changed his life.

I hear your a fan of Disney. How many times have you been to Disneyland?

Five times to Disneyland. About nine times to Disney World in Florida. I’m going there next week.

Do you find inspiration there?

Absolutely. At all theme parks actually. The imagination and stories you find in theme parks is very inspirational. I love all the details, characters – and of course the big roller coasters.

You like the big coasters?

I love them. Here at Universal City we had a day off so we visited the park the other day. I went on Jurassic Park three times. Actually I prefer The Simpsons ride. And I love the studio tour, especially the King Kong in 3-D.

Charles Epting

Talk about growing up, when did music first start to have a big impact on you?

Many people do not believe this but I did not listen to music when I was young. I played clarinet, saxophone and piano, I took lessons each week and my mother was a music teacher. But I did not listen to recorded music. My brother would be listening to maybe Iron Maiden and Finnish rock, but not me.

Then something happened.

Yes. It was the 17th of September 1992. I saw Metallica in Kansas City. You see, I was in Wichita as exchange student for one a year. My host family had tickets for a Metallica and Guns N’ Roses show.

I did not want to go. I had no interest. But they insisted. Metallica started to play the first song, ‘Harvester of Sorrow,’ and I was instantly hooked. There was 80,000 people going crazy. My life changed. It was the best thing ever. Not so much with Guns N’ Roses. It was Metallica for me. The next day, I bought all of the Metallica cassettes. And from that moment on, it was full immersion in metal. Several albums became important to me. ‘Images and Words’ by Dream Theater, that is one of the best albums ever made. And Pantera‘s ‘Vulgar Display of Power.’ That got me into the darker side of metal. And Norwegian black metal, which I still enjoy.

Did you save the ticket from that first show?

I did. In fact I still keep it in my wallet.

Would you show us?

(At this point, Holopainen went into the next room found his wallet, and proudly displayed the faded artifact that changed his life).

Charles Epting

Talk about Nightwish’s latest album, ‘Imaginaerum.

We like to challenge ourselves. It occurred to me, we have always been so inspired by soundtracks, so let’s create an album that’s a soundtrack to a movie. And then let’s make the movie! Everyone said, where will get the money for a film? I was so naive, I thought it would be easy, but for a year and a half I went to sponsors and producers presenting the idea and that was hard. We got desperate at some point. All the songs were done for the movie. Then our saviors, Caramel Films in Montreal, Canada stepped in. So we did it. I just got the edited film into my email today. There is no CGI yet, that will happen after the final edit

It’s about a composer sick on his deathbed, going through his whole life – praising life, beauty, truth – if you have seen ‘Big Fish’ by Tim Burton – and liked it- I think you will like this. Tim Burton is a big inspiration of ours. And I’d like to stress – the album is a separate entity. If you never see the movie once it comes out in about April, the album still makes on its own.

Watch Nightwish’s ‘Storytime’ Video

It sounds great. Lastly, Nightwish fans are very passionate about the band. Talk about that.

They are the most passionate, enthusiastic and loyal people in the world. It is heartwarming – they have genuine, unconditional love for our band. We want them to be happy with what we do. They mean everything to us.

Charles Epting

Nightwish’s ‘Imaginaerum’ is available now via Roadrunner Records.

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