When wishes come true
When I call a telephone-number with twelve figures at the 24th of September Tuomas Holopainen, composer and boss of Nightwish, answers the phone from the other end of the line in Joensuu. There is the fifth stop of the Finland-tour for the current album ‘Once’. The second single ‘Wish I Had An Angel’ came out over here at the 27th of September in the normal version. Friendly for collectors and unfriendly for your purse –the same way it was with the predecessor ‘Nemo’- three other editions follow later on. Moreover a Best Of called “Songs From The Elvenpath” will be released at the 18th of October 2004.
While the current single includes one previously unreleased song called ‘Where Were You Last Night’ which by the way follows the tradition of Bon Jovi (the first part of the chorus of ‘You Give Love A Bad Name’ is quite similar) and other important bands of the Eighties –in noble Nightwish-gown of course- the Best of does not include really new songs. Tuomas’ opinion about the Best Of is conflicting. “A few months ago I heard that there will be this Best Of. This is such a bad idea that I do not want to have anything to do with it. The company has the right for such a release and there is nothing we can do against it. So let’s forget it.” Artistic considerations seem to be the reason for his angriness. Because of the record label change from Drakker to Nuclear Blast Drakker’s Best Of naturally covers the period at Drakkar and disregards the younger releases; so it cannot show comprehensively what Nightwish is all about. But of course Tuomas knows the business. “I can understand the label’s policy especially after the chance. Our relations to Drakkar have always been excellent und it is clear to me why they do it. At the same time they are aware that I can’t be happy with it.” Even though it wasn’t caused intentionally both parts agree on the selection of the songs. “I have to admit that the selection turned out really well. I wouldn’t do it differently.” The song ‘Dead Boy’s Peom’ known from the album ‘Wishmaster’ from 2000 is t h e key-track for Nightwish and represents this role also on ‘Songs from The Elvenpath’. Tuomas explains the meaning of the song: “Some time ago we had a poll on our website about which song is the favourite Nightwish-song and ‘Dead Boy’s Poem’ won by far. Additionally it is my personal favourite. It is absolutely honest and open and at the same time the listeners can find themselves in it. Besides, the term ‘oceansoul’ which in a certain way includes the identity of Nightwish and represents what Nightwish is all about appears here for the very first time. The lyrics are among the bests I’ve ever written.”
The title of the record refers to the opening song of the first album, ‘Elvenpath’ from ‘Angels fall first’ (2007), from which no song made it to the Best Of. Preference was given to the albums ‘Oceanborn’, ‘Wishmaster’ and of course ‘Century Child’. May Nightwish-fans discuss the pros and cons of this decision. It should be beyond dispute that there are real hits with ‘Wishmaster’, ‘Bless The Child’, ‘Sleeping Sun’, ‘Over The Hills And Far Away’ and ‘Kinslayer’. The Nightwish period from 1998 to 2002 is represented well with ‘Songs From The Elvenpath’ and leads especially the people to the roots that got into the band not so long ago because of ‘Once’. The first edition is released as a limited one with a jewel case inside of a cardboard box with a golden coinage. Und that’s something anyway…
Nightwish will be on tour in Germany in October and return for the end of the year to the ‘On A Dark Winter’s Night’-Festival in Oberhausen in December. Then even they should describe themselves as well practiced at the latest. “I’ve always said that you learn playing concerts only by practising. At the first shows we were lacking a bit of routine because of the months-long break we had before. It was also a difficult task to play the new songs live, with the choir and all the other parts so the first shows have been the practicing rounds. But we get better every time and are able to play small shows as well. I’m happy about that because I do not like it that much to play on big stages.”
Time will tell which songs will be included on upcoming collections. When it goes by Tuomas -at least the current state of things- ‘Wish I Had An Angel’ will be definitely among them although it didn’t look like this at the beginning. With this song there was a big difference between the expected reactions and the actual ones: “We had doubts because the beat is almost industrial-like and untypical for Nightwish and then all these big machines. That is why we worked flat out so this song really kicks in a live situation. And now I have to say that it is one of the songs that works best live. Because of that we will play it at the very end of the set at the upcoming shows.” We will talk again after the tour.