Interviews & articles
31 Oct 2005
Summary by Frank H:
"She understand that many problems within Nightwish contributed to the situation that the band could no longer work properly together, but she was nevertheless utterly shocked about the way it all ended (the letter).
In 2001 after Wishmaster tour everyone in the band felt terrible. International tours were a new thing for Nightwish, and the novelty of that experience caused many problems both on a practical level and with relations between the band members. The members were not talking to one another and this was a frequent problem within the band. Tuomas decided to put and end to Nightwish and Tarja was informed about this decision through a friend when she was studying in Germany. Tuomas however changed his mind and wanted to continue because Nightwish had already reached a significant following. This however meant that the bass player had to be fired cause Tuomas could not work with him anymore. Marco came in as a replacement shortly after.
Tuomas, Tarja and her husband/manager Marcelo met in Finland to discuss everything that needed to change in the band to make things better.
They agreed that tours needed to be more humane as everyone in the band was burning out from playing too many shows. As the singer of the band, these tours were even harder for Tarja. What more she was a classically trained singer and her voice needed constant maintenance and care, but the conditions on tours made this very hard. Nightwish would play 3 shows in a row with only one day of rest in between.
The tour bus was a difficult place to sleep and thanks to both this and air conditioning Tarja would often get sick on tours. All of this put a heavy burden on her voice, and Tarja was afraid causing it permanent harm. However she felt that everyone in the band was in the same boat so rather than constantly bitch about these problems, she would simply cope with them.
The main point in the 2001 meeting was that the band could focus less on management and business side of things and more on the music. Tuomas hired his good friend as the manager of Nightwish while Tarja chose Marcelo to represent her as she was uncertain the problems they had discussed would be solved with one meeting. From there on these two management teams would take care of the band.
Things did improve. Tarja felt that the whole band was trying their best, but the communication problems remained. Tarja said she wanted to know about what was discussed within the band before decisions were made, whether it was about tours, gigs, record deals or tv-appearances. Instead she would sometimes get informed about these things last minute. Many of the problems which had existed during the Wishmaster era came back.
Despite the issues and the pressure, the band had incredible experiences. They had wonderful shows and fans. Tarja felt personally gratified about the fact that she was getting recognized and accepted as a classical singer in the heavy metal genre which she was first not very familiar with. Century Child album opened the band many doors and they had more freedom in choosing what things they wanted to do.
After the Century Child tour and before recording Once Tarja was once again uncertain whether she wanted to continue. Her husband supported her during dark moments and told her that "Tarja, you just learned how to sing this band's music." She stayed, and Once became a huge success. The band started receiving offers from all around the world and Tarja felt she needed to constantly turn down offers in order to stop touring schedules from becoming too intense or too drawn out. Because of this the band would accuse her from letting down the fans. Tarja felt that dragging the fans in the middle of all the bands problems was unjustified. If the only reason for touring was to please the fans, then the band could play a show every night with no breaks.
Tarja and Marcelo became more and more isolated from the band. As a woman, Tarja needed her own dressing room. She would use the room to iron and wash her clothes, open her voice, do her make-up and prepare for the shows. Tarja travelled from gig to another with her husband often by plane instead of a bus to preserve her voice. Tarja suggested that the rest of the band would fly with her (since they could afford to due to the success of Once), but they still chose the tour bus most of the time instead. In fact the band was happy that they could party more in the bus since Tarja did not travel with them anymore. When it was time to do a show, the tour crew had set up the rest of the bands instruments and equipment, but some of Tarja's requests such as a booth for changing outfit during the shows were forgotten nearly every time. Marcelo would take care of many Tarja's errands on tour instead, and he was her support system and friend on the road.
Touring was tough. Many of the days between the shows which used to be days off became days when the band would do promotion and give interviews. Tarja asked the band to split some of the interviews with her and the rest of the band members agreed to do so. In this way Tarja does feel that the band did care for her.
By December 2004, Tarja felt so bad that she could no longer continue. Once was a big album, and it had only made all the problems within the band even bigger than before. To her, the rest of the people in the band were not friends, but bandmates. The communication she had with them outside of tours was to discuss things related to the band. Nightwish did not feel like a family.
Tarja had spoken about going solo in different occasions over the years, but before she would actually do it, Nightwish would remain the priority. She received offers constantly from different record companies, but she turned them all down. When it came to metal music, she only wanted to sing in Nightwish. She was not feeling good about being in the band what it came to communications issues and other problems, but she, like the rest of the band, loved the music.
During the Once tour she then told the band mates that she would leave Nightwish. She had accepted that Nightwish could never completely solve all its issues. She felt that her decision to quit the band was not going be the end of Nightwish. The band would go on with a new singer. She would have gone to the next Nightwish show, congratulated the band, thanked them for the years she had with the band and felt happy for them. In this press conference she felt that she would still be willing to go to the next Nightwish show and feel proud of the person who filled her shoes.
The fact that she had said to the band that she could leave with one days notice was something she had said during a fight in an airplane. In fact anyone in the band could have left with one days notice, but when she eventually decided to leave, she gave the rest of the band 2,5 years notice. She would do the rest of the shows on the Once tour with full force, she would record the next album and do the gigs that came with it (not sure if she refers to only promotional shows or also a tour here). This is nevertheless the reason why she feels so bad that the band decided to fire her with an open letter instead of doing it differently. This was especially terrible because the band could not say it to her face to face after a the incredible 9 year long musical experience they had together (this is what she says in tears at 51 minutes). The letter was shocking, and she could not believe the band could say all those things about her after all they had been through. She especially could not understand the part in the letter where the band said that cultural differences paired with love and opportunism etc is a dangerous combination. She did not even think of her husband who came from Latin America, she thought about all the people there.
What Nightwish became, its music and the success it had as a Finnish band was the result of all five band members. It was not all thanks to just one man's dream or one classical singer in a metal band. It had given Tarja an opportunity to see the world, meet the people, become a singer, and learn more as an artist. She still remembers foremost all the good and not the bad. She is not bitter, even though the weeks following the firing broke many things.
In the Q&A section she says that after the letter she was still in touch with Marco and Emppu, but does not specify more about what was discussed as it was personal. They simply exchanged text messages. She speculates what the next singer could be (no names, just gender). She feels Nightwish would change radically if they instead took a male singer. She says Marco is a fantastic singer. Those years when they were together in the band, he was an important support person for her because he sang too. She looked up to Marco and thought he was a guru with 20 years of experience, and she felt suspense about first recording with him.
On her solo career she would continue working with name "Tarja" and she has began the talks with different recording companies in Europe about what kind of music she would perform. She said she will not forget heavy metal, and while she would not release a metal album, she will have elements of metal in her music such as heavy drums and heavy guitar. She will also use her classical background. She hopes this will become a unique mix which is not yet on the market. She does not feel like joining an existing band would feel right her for."