They are uncommon rare. Those unusual, unique and enchanting diamonds washed ashore by the stormy, blustering ocean. They shine brighter than the stars and a magical spell seems to live inside that sparkling, so breathtakingly seductive adornment. NIGHTWISH are one of these adorable virtuosic jewels: Beyond comparison, sensual, touching and overwhelming beautifully. With an exceptional musical mélange combining bombastic, epically and opulent metal elements with symphonic melodies full of melancholic, romantic and dreamy moments, NIGHTWISH created their own style long ago: Often imitated, never duplicated! Mastermind Tuomas Holopainen is not just an excellent and unique composer, even more he understands from the beginning on to fulfill his musical passion - he is a blessed visionary!
Never before a band has merged elements of classic and metal so homogeneous and created such a bombastic and powerful result They have always been ahead of their time. Among the bands ever to storm the metal genre, to take the Symphonic Olympus by assault and to cut their own path, NIGHTWISH have come to be known as the most influential band worldwide in their genre.
The idea of Nightwish was born in July 1996 at midnight when Tuomas Holopainen was spending a night with his friends around a campfire and improvised some songs that should become the band's first material. The very first three NIGHTWISH tracks were recorded between October and December 1996 with a line up consisting of Tuomas, Tarja Turunen and Emppu Vuorinen.
In May 1997, NIGHTWISH signed a record deal with Spinefarm and began, together with new entrant Jukka Nevalainen on drums, recording their debut "Angel's Fall First" which was released in following November. NIGHTWISH's trademarks - the mixture of highly melodic Metal with Tarja's soprano opera voice - brought fresh air in the scene and jockeyed them on position 31 of the Finnish album charts.
The youthful admirations of favourite bands might've been obvious in these first recordings, but as years went by the maturity and the unrelentless way of the group doing their own thing made Nightwish a voice that stands out. In late 2001, Marco Hietala from SINERGY became NIGHTWISH's new bass player and further on the band also included male vocals in their songs which fitted the over-all sound of NIGHTWISH very well.
"Century Child" in 2002 earned double platinum in Finland for more than 60.000 sold copies and finally sealed NIGHTWISH's status as Scandinavia's metal mega stars. The orchestrations and the choirs met on this album were indeed magnificent and befitting the epic feel of that NIGHTWISH had always yearned for. But this was a mere overture to what was to become.
NIGHTWISH’S 2004 album "Once" was that which broke all remaining traces of separation between people. The album sold platinum on its release day in Finland and later in Germany, and gold in Austria, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland, and went over the magical "1 million copies sold worldwide"-limit. Everybody knew of NIGHTWISH.
The first era of Nightwish ended with an open letter in which the band fired it´s formidable frontperson Tarja Turunen. Was this to be supposed the end of NIGHTWISH? No one knew. People took sides, and a true circus of the media-type began. Countless of pages of Finnish magazines alone were spent on this episode, but everything that needed to be said was already public. Slowly the ruckus ended in silence, and Tuomas retreated to his own confines bringing to life what was to be the future.
The fables and their reflections have always portrayed a deciphered view to their creator’s mind, in this case that of Tuomas Holopainen. The past years and the events leading to this day have naturally affected the outcome of “Dark Passion Play”, an overwhelming masterpiece filled with emotions - separating what has been and what will become. And it stands strong; resonating the confidence of its composer. Confidence of a new time, never looking back but boldly doing whatever the heart desires. And yet again no signs of compromises shine through, the musical innocence is ever-present within these tunes. The heavenly voice of Anette Olzon carries through bright and powerful - and also more varied that of her predecessor. She truly is what NIGHTWISH’S music deserves. Despite the fact that this musical passionwork was heavy with darker atmospheres, within it still celebrated optimistic undertones. It told us that even in the bleakest of times there is hope.
But now the time has come to open a new chapter! It’s time to start this incredible journey into a charismatic composers heart so full of passionate visions, dreams and wishes. Let us follow NIGHTWISH into another virtuosic universe, far beyond from all things you could ever imagine and you would ever believe. Not every band can rise up to a musical legend but every once in a while, a group is able to exceed all expectations, to define the boundaries and even extravagate them - the sky’s the limit! Forever now. Welcome to “Imaginaerum”!
“It all started during the spring of 2007 when we were finishing the mixings for `Dark Passion Play´, says Tuomas. “I remember vividly listening through the songs and thinking what would be the next chapter in NIGHTWISH’S chronicles? When I look back at our catalogue, I see the evolution of the band, how the stories and musical landscapes evolve from one album to the next one, to the next one, to this present moment. During that time I strongly felt we need the next chapter to be something no-one`s ever done before in music. Something so big, crossover, detailed, innovative and nuts that it would leave the band, and hopefully the people experiencing it, completely awestruck. Love it or hate it, but awestruck nonetheless”, does he point out uncompromising. “I realized we needed to add another dimension into the music, and release the album as a visual experience also.”
The original idea Tuomas had, was to film 13 short stories related to the songs, “and together they would form a complete story”, explains the finnish composer. “13 music videos with a connecting storyline, in other words. And I wanted Mr. Stobe Harju to shoot them all. We were so impressed with his work with `The Islander´- music video that I never even thought of anyone else for the job. I presented him with my idea and he told me, I was totally insane, and that he would love the challenge. So we started to work on how to bring the idea to life.”
It was Stobe`s idea to turn the 13 stories / visions Tuomas had, into a more of a drama- film. “One that would have a clear plot, script, dialogue and real actors. And now, after three years of working with it, I see the result as a mixture of something never done before in music or cinema.”
The movie is based on the album and its 13 tracks, “honoring the original ideas but having evolved radically from them. Still, it was important from the very beginning that the album would work as its own individual piece of art, as well. It is a thematic album about life itself, about imagination, love, goodness and beauty, with a touch of darkness and melancholy, which are strongly included in all of those things mentioned. `Imaginaerum´ is an audiovisual testament of what NIGHTWISH has always been about.”
The songs for the album were written during 2008-2010, majority of them after the “Dark Passion Play”-world tour ended in September 2009. “`Ghost River´ is the earliest song while `Song Of Myself´ was the last one finished”, remembers Mister Holopainen clearly. “Marco provided the music for `The Crow, The Owl And The Dove´, all the other songs and all lyrics are written by me. It was an enormously fun challenge to write songs to a story and visual images, I already had in mind. It was like creating a soundtrack to a movie which didn`t exist. Our long-time engineer Tero `TeeCee´ Kinnunen and me then rented a house in Porkkala, Finland for two weeks in April 2010 to record a rehearsal tape for the other band members to listen to.”
The summer of 2010 was reserved for band rehearsals and arrangement process. “For this we rented a summer camp called Röskö in my home town of Kitee”, tells Tuomas. “During those two months we raised the songs to a level everyone was happy about and recorded a demo. This enabled Mr. Pip Williams to start working on his orchestral and choral arrangements. For the next four months, he would be doing nothing but arranging those parts for `Imaginaerum´.
The drum recordings started in October 2010, followed by guitars and basses. In February 2011 we entered Angels Studios in London to record the orchestras, choirs and ethnic instruments. This was followed by the keyboard, piano, celtic instruments and vocal recordings in Petrax Studios, Finland.”
The mixing process started in April under supervision of Mr. Mikko Karmila in Finnvox Studios, Helsinki, and the first version of the album was finished early in June. “We ended up mixing the album twice more, giving us the final and satisfactory mix in July. The final mastering, engineered by Mr. Mika Jussila took place in Finnvox on the 31st of August. A year of rehearsals and recordings, over two months of mixing and `Imaginaerum´was finally ready. The audio part of it, at least.”
The film shootings will happen during September. “The band will have but quite a small part in it, which was our request from the start. The production and the post work will take a long time, making April - May 2012 a possible premiere date for the movie, which can be categorized as `musical fantasy´.” The first single "Storytime" will be released in November 2011.