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Interviews & articles

Interview by Metal Hammer

20 May 2021



Nightwish’s Tuomas Holopainen: “I've been gathering up ideas for the new Nightwish album”

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Tuomas Holopainen on Nightwish’s upcoming livestream, the departure of bassist Marko Hietala and how the world will know if the band decide to call it quits

Nightwish are late to the livestream game, but with their upcoming debut online show they’ve gone all in. An Evening With Nightwish In A Virtual World promises to be as grand as everything they put their name too – a gig in a fictional tavern, The Islander Arms, digitally created especially for the occasion.

The show is significant in that it will be the first time the Finnish symphonic metal band get to play song from last year’s Human. || Nature. album live. But it will be a bittersweet occasion too – it marks their first show without longtime bassist and co-vocalist Marko Hietala, who announced his surprise departure from the band last December.

Even without that unexpected upheaval, the last year has been surprisingly eventful for Nightwish keyboard player Tuomas Holopainen. As well as working on the livestream, he found time to record a new album with Auri, the band he’s in with his wife, singer and violinist Johanna Kurkela, and Nightwish multi-instrumentalist Troy Donockley, and reconvene Darkwoods My Bethrothed, the 1990s black metal band he was a member of. And then there’s the small of matter of finding time to pull together ideas for new Nightwish material.

“You need to keep your mind busy during these weird times, or you might go insane,” says Tuomas, as we catch up with him via Zoom to talk about the upcoming livestream and what the future may hold.

So many other bands have done livestreams over the last year, but you resisted. What changed your mind?

All of last year people were approaching us and saying, ‘You need to do a virtual show’. I was vehemently against it because I hadn’t seen a really good one – I still haven’t to this day.

All the band members agreed that this wasn’t really a thing for Nightwish to do, but then last November or December, this company from Finland called Zone approached us and said, “How about if we create a virtual tavern for you to play in? Here's our budget, here's some visuals we had in mind, would you be willing to do that?” And that actually convinced us that it might be a cool thing for us to do, if we can make it special – not just like we are in a rehearsal room. Let’s do it for the fans – make it a once-in-a-lifetime experience, if we do it really well.

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