The TH Team conducted a recent interview with Tuomas and his site manager Carol. Here we talk a bit about Imaginarium, Tuomas himself and the website.
1) Is there anything special prepared for the live shows that has to do with the movie?
Tuomas: Something related to the movie will most probably be involved in the live shows but don`t know exactly what just yet. We haven`t shot a single frame of the film yet, so...
2) This being some kind of concept album, is there still place for old songs in the setlist?
Tuomas: Absolutely! I`m not a fan of the idea of playing through a whole album live, concept or not. Well, what Metallica did with "Master Of Puppets" on tour was supercool, playing the whole album through, but I doubt we will ever do something similar.
3) Your personal favourite is The Poet and The Pendulum. Is there any song in this album that equals that or that you even prefer?
Tuomas: My philosophy has been from the beginning of the songwriting process of Imaginarium, that it will be like one single song divided into 12-13 chapters. The chapters that I prefer change on a daily basis and right now I´m just too close to the album. There`s one epic piece again, something like 14min long, and it ends with quite a peculiar idea that I really like.
4) What about the Anette/Marco combination? Is there as much of Marco as on DPP or more of Anette this time?
Tuomas: Pretty much the same as on DPP.
5) We know you don't have a prominent role in the movie, but what are your thoughts about actually having to act (even if it's just a very small role)? Excited? Scared?
Tuomas: Very excited indeed! I assume there will be some coaching before the cameras start rolling so it should end up being believable acting. I honestly don`t know for sure yet how big my/the band`s part will be in the film. Originally I didn`t want the band members to act but the director insisted on it.
6) What is the best and the worst things of the movie industry?
Tuomas: I`m not the right person to answer this one, since I don`t anything about it. Well, getting the finance was a ridiculously big ordeal so that wasn`t much fun but I`m confident it will all pay off in the end.
7) You said Stobe has a similar way of thinking to you, has this put you more at ease now with the movie being in their hands?
Tuomas: It sure has! The thing is; I provided The Idea, the music and the philosophy of the movie, then we worked with the plot, characters, visual world, script, etc. for a couple of years and then I just basically let go of it. I trust Stobe and the production company 100% and let them take control from now on. Naturally I watch over what`s going on, so that if they start making a romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts I will surely have a word with the lot.
8) How long do you expect to tour for Imaginarium?
Tuomas: It will be for 1 year, maybe 80-90 shows altogether.
9) Will there be separate music videos made for the singles? If so will they relate to the movie or do you plan for them to be something different?
Tuomas: Nothing concrete has yet been decided. I`m sure there will be nothing separate, so if we make an actual "music video", it will be related to the movie somehow. A teaser and a trailer will definitely be made.
10) Have you already thought about which piece of Hans Zimmer music will be your next tour introduction?
Tuomas: Haha, maybe it`s time to change into someone else. Haven`t given it any thought, to be honest. We have Troy with us the whole tour so "Finlandia" will be there at some point.
11) You told us you felt empty after completing the mixing of the album. Is making an album that mentally draining on you? How do you combat that and move onto the next stage?
Tuomas: It`s a feeling beyond anything... It`s a mixed state of happiness, relief and ultimate emptiness. Usually lasts a month or two. I hear it`s a very common thing with people who "create". It`s also scary `cause you don`t get the kick out of the songs at all, due to hearing them a few hundred times during the recordings and the mixing. Time heals, though. And friends who convince it`s all ok.
12) The movie teaser poster looks very intriguing, can you explain what it represents or will that give away too much?
Tuomas: The idea is just to raise questions and interest so that`s it. We didn`t use the famous poster of E.T. as a reference, even though it reminds me a bit of it, now that I see the final picture. I`m a roller coaster - fanatic, so that´s gonna be one of the major inspirations in the film, and on the album, as well!
13) Have you already chose and confirmed the album artwork at this point? Are you planning it to stand on its own or relate to the movie art in some way?
Tuomas: It will relate in some way, but I`d like it to be somewhat different, too. From the start it has been important that the album will work as an individual identity also. Will start working with the artwork with the mighty Toxic Angel in a few weeks!
14) You have said you have an epic of a song that’s 20 minutes in length, please tell us that this song will be complete on the album and not split into different tracks.
Tuomas: Yeah, it`s the last one on the album, but we decided to cut it in 2 pieces. So song #12 is appr 14 mins and track #13 appr. 6 minutes. The last song was originally the last chapter of that epic (like "Mother And Father" in The Poet And The Pendulum) but it just felt natural to cut it separate. When you hear it you`ll agree.
15) You are creating something quite unique with this album/movie combo. How on Earth are you going to be able to equal/beat this with the release after Imaginarium?
Tuomas: It`s such beauty not to have to think about that stuff just yet. We`re all ceasing the moment here.
16) The age old question of: Any plans to do the concert with the orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall you have been dreaming of doing?
Tuomas: Nothing concrete, unfortunately.
17) Any plans to film any of the concerts this time?
Tuomas: Nothing concrete, again.. But I would think we will record something for future use.
About Tuomas etc:
18) We all know that you are a great song writer. But how do you overcome writers block?
Tuomas: The most simple cure for me is outdoors + physical exercise + a good night`s sleep! I had the worst writer`s block of my life while writing the songs for "Once", I got very frustrated and desperate. Then I took a week`s hike in Lapland, a rather strenuous one, and the dam was broken. The song "Dead Gardens" is actually about that feeling.
19) Did Kiti ever tell you off for playing keyboards too late at night?
Tuomas: Never did. She understood things. Still does.
20) After all these years, do you still get surprised (shocked?) by the insanity of your fans?
Tuomas: Actual "insanity" is a rare thing, even though I`ve witnessed that, too. I never get used to it, and I just don`t get the "worship" thing at all. But it feels heartwarming to see that what I`ve created has such a big impact on some people. Gives me a huge boost to carry on doing what I do.
21) Are you a moody artist when you are working? Ignoring people, forgetting to eat/sleep, etc?
Tuomas: I`m afraid I am. I`m a typical male in a sense that I can FULLY concentrate on just one thing at a time. When writing, recording or mixing a NW - album, for example, I become quite absent-minded and absorbed. I`m very fortunate to have people around me who understand the artist - side in me. In everyday life I like to be very accurate and organized.
22) If you could have been the star of a movie, which one would it have been?
Tuomas: Beast from "Beauty And The Beast". Or Indiana Jones.
23) What is the very first memory that you have?
Tuomas: This is an interesting one that I`ve sometimes thought myself! I remember vividly lying in hospital while a doctor was putting a cast in my broken leg. I was 1,5 years old then. That`s my first clear memory.
24) What is the worst movie you have ever seen?
Tuomas: Sooooo many of those... I mean if it`s bad enough it`s almost enjoyable (Plan 9 From Outer Space, Piranha 3D, Police Academy sequels, Steven Seagal - movies...). "MacGruber" was the worst one I`ve seen in ages.
25) What’s it like to kill a surprise on live TV? (The Jouni Hynynen one)
Tuomas: Ha! Didn`t realize what was going on until after the show. No big deal, the girls were cool and laughing about the whole thing.
26) Have you ever thought of Nightwish covering any song from Disney classic cartoons?
Tuomas: Yeah. Some wonderful songs in the classics!
27) Do your bracelets have sentimental value or are they just worn because you like them?
Tuomas: Some of them do have, but most of them are just crap from a souvenir shop and such.
28) As you are a fan of movies, how do you feel about this increasing amount of 3D movies - and what is the best 3D movie you have seen?
Tuomas: "Avatar" is the only 3D - film that truly made an impression to me, it was fantastic! Overall, I`m not a big fan, at least yet. Pirates 4 - 3D was simply useless, for example.
29) What is your most precious gift ever received by a fan?
Tuomas: Loads of them, impossible to mention just one.
30) What is your favourite piece of Disney memorabilia that you own?
Tuomas: The Finnish Donald Duck - comics from the early 1950`s. "Tomb Sweet Tomb" -picture from "The Haunted Mansion Ride". (Only 3 in the world). "Enchanted Castle Of The Beast" - painting by Pete Ellenshaw...
31) You once said in an interview you built a room in your home solely for your collection, would you ever take and share pictures with us of it to see how amazing it will be?
Tuomas: You`d be disappointed..
32) What was the scariest moment in your life?
Tuomas: When I fell asleep while driving in the motorway close to Joensuu. Luckily Tero TeeCee (Kinnunen, NW`s long-time engineer/technician) woke me up just in time before a crash. We had just returned from a tour and I was a zombie. Never ever drive tired!
33) What's the best thing about the Finnish summer?
Tuomas: Blooming nature, fishing, baseball.
34) Who came up with the logo for Nightwish?
Tuomas: Originally it was a high school mate of mine.
35) Do you ever get neck cramp/whiplash after a gig?
Tuomas: Always after a longer break in touring. The neck doesn`t seem to like sudden headbanging for some reason.
Website related etc:
36) A lot of fans are curious how you both came together on this website, it‘s not common for a fan to end up in personal contact with a musician we admire. First Carol, why a site for Tuomas and how did you come to actually work with him on it.
Carol: Long story made short, I felt over the years that I would like to contribute in someway to help spread the word about Tuomas’ work, especially after an older sites abandonment. This is what resulted. I just got an email of mine sent to him about what we do here and my plans, and things went from there.
37) Tuomas, what went through your mind when you first heard there was another website dedicated to you? Why did you decide to reply to Carol's email and not just ignore and dismiss as just another fansite?
Tuomas: She was convincing and unconditional. I never thought of founding my own webpage, since I`m not a solo artist and I don`t visit either my or the NW - website, but this seemed like a very proper thing to do.
38) Carol, how did you feel when approaching Tuomas about the website? And what went through your mind when you saw his reply sitting in your inbox waiting to be opened?
Carol: It was daunting at first and trying to make sure I said all I wanted in that first email took me a long time to construct. I was shocked to be honest, I never expected a response.
39) We know from other interviews that you decided to make the site when the old site became inactive, and that you received some negative responses from people who knew of the idea. How did that feel at the time, and how do you look at it now, in hindsight?
Carol: You will never get 100% praise for anything you do, so it was expected. So I just took the constructive critasisms on board and ignored other things.
40)This website has been very heavily community based from its start. You’ve done 2 competitions so far in its short life as official. Carol, how hard is it to organise these and what inspires the ideas?
Carol: It can be tricky to organise things which will have so many people who will want to take part. Sometimes it’s tough coming up with ideas as you don’t want things to get repetitive but also take things into account like language barriers etc.
41) The last competition had you involved with donating some prizes Tuomas, do you think it’s important to have things like competitions and that the musicians are willing to do things for their online communities?
Tuomas: It`s an artist`s choice. I like to be involved with the community to some extent and it`s fun to do stuff like this every now and then. Personally, I like to keep my distance, still.
42) Undoubtedly these competitions have helped the site’s community expand and we now have more than 1500 forum members. How do you both feel about the sites success?
Carol: Still shocked and amazed at it’s popularity.
Tuomas: Same here. Like I mentioned earlier, I find it even "embarrassing" in a weird way, that`s why I don`t visit the sites. Hard to explain.
43) And, Carol, if you had been told when you first started the site that it would connect so many people across different continents what would you have said?
Carol: I knew such a thing can be possible if you work hard enough at it. I just didn’t expect it to happen to us in the scale it has, and in such a short time frame.
44) Tuomas, are you quite laid back with how Carol runs the site, or do you like being involved and interested with what’s being planned?
Tuomas: Trust her completely and help with what I can.
45) Tuomas, what does it feel like having such a dedicated website promoting your work?
Tuomas: Very flattering that someone would do this out of her own request.
46) Carol, what is the general response you get from fans?
Carol: Very supportive and heart warming. It makes all the hard work and long hours so much more worthwhile.
47) Tuomas do you get a similar impression?
Tuomas: Yeah, the couple of chat sessions I had with the fans were a lot of fun, for example! It seems to be a strong social community that goes far beyond my music itself.**
48) The last time you (Tuomas) visited the Chat room the phrase "misbehave MORE, you mindless ghouls" came about. Carol, what was your reaction when you saw this?
Carol: Oh Tuomas please don’t encourage them!
49) And Tuomas, what possessed you to demand that we stop behaving ourselves?
50) You both met recently for the first time in London when you were there to record the orchestra for the new album. Did it feel a bit strange for both of you to be meeting up?
Carol: Strange, maybe not so much. It was fun actually, just a shame I wasn’t a wine drinker to steal some of his winnings from an earlier bet.
Tuomas: Not really, why would it? What I do find strange is that there is an English woman who actually knows her NHL - hockey! Wow.
Carol: Haha yes, next year it will be me winning the bet between our two teams (Habs Vs Ducks)
51) Shortly before the meeting you fell ill with tonsillitis, Tuomas, and in communicating this to Carol you told her you had angina, (which here in the UK at least), it is a serious heart condition. Is this the worst translation error you have came accross, or are there more funny stories?
Tuomas: Yeah I know that was a wrong translation. Tonsillitis in Finnish is called "angiina". That`s why.
When I was in Kansas as an exchange student in `92-`93, I asked the band leader (I played the sax + clarinet in the high school band) if they had a any "faggot players" in the band. I meant the "bassoon", which in Finnish is "fagotti". I was innocent with my question and the whole situation was right out of a Monty Python. This really happened. Still makes me laugh.
52) We heard as soon as Carol knew she would be heading to London, that she started planning the message book which you received. It seemed like such a big project to take on, was it fun to do Carol?
Carol: Very, but I didn’t give myself a lot of time. Especially with the slow mail service due to weather in the UK. We had 76 members take part if I remember correctly, which at that point in the communities life was quite a lot. Some of the messages were lovely and it was a nice project to do.
53) When we saw the pictures, we couldn’t believe how great it looked. We imagine it’s something that was very unexpected for you to receive Tuomas?
Tuomas: Oh yes indeed! Such a lovely and heartwarming gift. It made a nice combo reading through it while listening to Imaginarium some weeks ago.
54) Do you have anything else planned like the book Carol for future?
Carol: Not a book, but something very very special and unique. But since he will read this I'm not saying what. I hope to take it to him in December.
55) We saw in the interview that was filmed, your very shocked reaction to Carol never seeing The Village. Was it a bit of fun such as 'how dare you know me and never seen this movie?'
Tuomas: Of course I have to exaggerate a little in a moment like that.. Hey, I still haven`t seen "Casablanca"... And I call myself a movie fan.
56) And Carol, you have seen it now, right?
Carol: Haha I watched it the day after I returned from London, and informed Tuomas to stop any chance of him complaining to me about it.
57) Where do you see the site in say 5 years time?
Carol: That depends on what Tuomas is working on in 5 years
58) So you will still be around?
Carol: Of course
59) Ok then Tuomas, where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Tuomas: Hiking with bears in Kodiak Island, Alaska, and generating ideas for new songs.
60) The website has been privileged with some exclusive things, one of them for example was some video clips of Tuomas performing the Saxophone in the Jazz Band with Plamen. How does it feel to have things like these so your fans can watch and see you before Nightwish?
Tuomas: Weird.. I suppose next you`ll ask my mom to show pictures of me on the potty.
Carol: Haha - I promise not to ask her, although it would make for an interesting phone call. :)
The Team would like to give a big thanks to both Tuomas and Carol for doing this for us....with no complaints. :)