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Interviews : “This is who we are. This is what a Nightwish show is like.” – An Interview With Floor Jansen (Nightwish)

By on December 4, 2016

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Floor Jansen – Nightwish

Nightwish are about to drop a massive live DVD entitled Vehicle of Spirit. Containing not one, but two full shows as well as a lot of bonus material from around the world (a clip from the Sydney show this year is included as well!) it is the band’s most ambitious live release to date. Floor Jansen phoned me up on Thursday night from her home in Sweden to discuss Nightwish’s live show, the DVD, food, as well as the terrible band that is Slayer. 

I was lucky enough to watch Nightwish with their full stage production in Copehagen last year, as well as in Sydney this year. One thing that really struck me is the fact that the band isn’t using the pyrotechnics and the fancy lights as a way to make life easier for themselves, the energy and musical brilliance was just as prominent in Copenhagen as in Sydney. I was curious to know if Floor sees it as a risk, that the band might start using the stage show as a sort of security blanket?  

“No, I’m not too worried about that! It’s an extra, it’s not a substitute for anything. I’d say we have more shows without pyro than with. We’re not bringing them to Asia, Canada, The US, South America or Australia. So we only do this in Europe, unfortunately, I’d say, since it’s great fun. But it’s not the main element of a Nightwish show and I don’t think it will ever be that way.”

Rumours have been circulating for a while now about 2018 being a special year for Nightwish. Most fans that know their basic math quickly realised that it will be the 20th anniversary of Oceanborn. Seeing as it’s become popular to do anniversary shows where bands play an album in its entirety, one can assume that this is the case. I didn’t expect Jansen to give anything away, but I had to ask the question anyway!

[laughs] “Well, as you might’ve known about these rumours, we haven’t been saying anything! We wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise!”

Having finished the band’s incredibly busy world tour about 90 days ago, I was curious to see what Jansen has been up to since arriving back home in Europe. 

“I sang on Ayreon’s new album, I joined Evergrey for a video clip and one out of eight shows are done with Raskasta Joulua which is like a Finnish heavy metal band that plays Christmas music in Finland. So yeah, nice and busy!”

Having been on such an extensive tour, that spanned the entire world, I really wanted to know how she managed to keep her voice in such good shape for such a long time. 

“Well, the voice is part of the body, and if the body is fine, so is the voice, for me. I’ve never had any problems with my voice. Of course when you get sick, things get more difficult but I haven’t been sick at all. So that’s been really good. The only thing that happens, and funny enough it only happen in the States, is when I get too tired. If I eat well, sleep well and regularly work out I’m good. So I need to really focus on that. That doesn’t mean that I can never have a glass of wine or go to bed a bit later. And over focusing on the matter is equally damaging as a cold could be. So I don’t do that, I just need to make sure that those ingredients are there. But I’m quite dependent on the food. And, you know, no input, no output, it’s very simple actually. There’s something in the American food I don’t seem to appreciate, my body doesn’t. I always get sick in the States, I always get exhausted if I can’t get enough vitamins or whatever it is out of the food.”

What’s your favourite food on tour? 

“I don’t really have a favourite dish or anything, but I’m a vegetarian. So, I prefer the Indian kitchen because that’s usually the only kitchen that provides options for vegetarians. Some restaurants seem to be extremely satisfied when they offer you one possibility that doesn’t have dead animal in it. Which then brings you to no options, you can never choose. This is what we can do. When you come to countries where vegetarianism is still pretty new so then it’s like, “yeah, we can make you the same food without the meat.” So there’s no replacement. So a WELL made, tasty vegetarian dish will do it for me.”

Are you saying you DON’T enjoy a burger bun with just lettuce?!

“It’s extraordinary… But I think now, countries such as Australia and where I live in Sweden and Netherlands it is very possible to have a nutritious and tasty substitute. But that takes a little bit of the cook. Often in restaurants it’s a big problem, don’t try this in Brazil or China… China was perfect… [laughs] Also with the life experience, it’s very, very tricky sometimes! Troy (Donockley, pipes/everything) in our band is vegan, so we have two vegetarians and a vegan. Yeah, good luck!” [laughs]

In an interview I did with Tuomas Holopainen last year, he mentioned that he would love to see Jansen keep a straight face when singing the cheesy lyrics of Elvenpath. I naturally had to ask if she’ll be up for the task! 

“Oh god! [laughs] No idea! Maybe not at first! It will be fun to practice at first. We’ll get it in the end with a healthy dose of humour!” [laughs]

Are there any fantastic memories from this tour that you’d like to share with your fans? 

“Yeah, many! Of course the most fresh one because of the DVD is the moment when Richard Dawkins came on stage at the Wembley Arena and spoke his words and got the audience with him. That was goosebump stuff! During a show there can be a moment where you get the goosebumps, because it just hits you. It doesn’t matter how often you play, every show is different, or a reaction who just really felt it, you can see it on this person. That’s beautiful.”

Did you take part in the creation of the DVD, have you watched it? 

“Yes, I’ve seen it! I’m very happy with it. We would not release something we’re not satisfied with. Of course there’s only so much you can say after the work is done in that sense. Was it good enough? Is it going to be mind-blowing? What is it going to be? If you say that we’re going to document our world tour, have two full length shows plus all the bonus material from all over the world, that’s a lot of material. I am super proud to see it. As a band we’ve established a certain level of performance. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but I think we’re good. It looks good, it sounds good. That makes me very proud, that we pulled it off, and I’m super proud to present this to anybody, fan or not fan. This is who we are. This is what a Nightwish show is like. And of course, on a personal level, it’s a unique documentation of the time we spent together, imagine in 10 or 20 years from now, it will be fantastic to have this.”

When asked if she could describe some of the band members in three words each, Jansen broke the rules on more than one occasion. I didn’t mind though, it is evident that she’s really settled into the band at this point and holds great amounts of respect for each and every band member. 

“There is Kai (Hahto, drums). He is always happy. Very professional and a magnificent boozer. He’s the band’s boozer! Then there’s Troy. He’s also always happy! He has the most fantastic mood. He is a great conversational partner and the loveliest man in the world. Tuomas (Holopainen, keys), I would describe him as very sensitive. That goes for everybody. Everybody is proud and professional in Nightwish. But it’s even more Tuomas’ baby. The pride shines of him mostly. If you see how he’s sort of conducting the show, he looks around on stage more than any other member. Not that by looking at us, anything will change, but he’s just on top of it. That’s his style and I appreciate it. Great company. Then there’s Emppu (Vuorinen, guitars). He’s the loner of the group. Very funny [laughs]. He’s got a great sense of humour. He loves playing, you can see it. It doesn’t matter where or when, it doesn’t matter how. He doesn’t care about any sort of details, he just wants to play and drink beer. If that’s sorted he’s happy!” [laughs]

When did you first listen to Nightwish and when did you first personally get in touch with them? And also, did you ever consider auditioning for the vocalist spot back in 2006? 

“I think it must have been ’99. We toured together in 2002 so that’s when I got to know them. I went to their show in Belgium sometime in ’99 or 2000. But then I didn’t really meet them of course. So I got to know them in 2002. And  no, I never did that because I had After Forever. Which is also why they never asked me. They wouldn’t take me away from something well-established.”

You’ve been involved in a controversy within the last 24 hours or so. Do you have any idea what I’m talking about?

“It’s that Slayer thing, isn’t it?! I must have said it in an interview once. But the way it’s been torn out of perspective is quite pathetic. I didn’t know that Metal Hammer in a big country needs that, but, it’s the truth though. I think it’s a terrible band! So yeah, sorry! I don’t think they like us either!”

 

 

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Vehicle of Spirit will be out on December 16 (via Nuclear Blast) and is available for pre-order via the Official Nightwish webshop.

About

Martin is an aspiring music photographer/videographer. He is originally from the southern parts of Sweden and now he's living in Sydney, Australia. Thanks to his older sister, he got into Rammstein at the age of 9, and since then he's been into all types of metal/rock. He loves to combine photography and music, but also filming concerts and produce live material. Follow him on Twitter and check out his website.