Nightwish days or Kitee International Music and Art Festival, during July, is the event, where the bulgarian Plamen Dimov gathers musicians from across the world in search of the next Nightwish.
Plamen is the music teacher with whom Tuomas Holopainen, Tarja Turunen, Emppu Vuorinen, Jukka Nevalainen and Sami Vanska made their first steps in their native Kitee.
You can find the first two texts about the festival here:
Plamen is particularly close with Tuomas, who came in person to the festival to talk with the people, who dream to set on his path.
Here is his conversation with them:
How is the writting procces going for your next album?
'The next album is actually well on its way, written about 80, 90% of the material so far. Just last night I had another song finished, so there's going to be 10-11 songs most likely. We are going to start recording next summer in July, so if everything goes as planned, we are looking at a spring 2020 release. And in between I think we are going to record one of the shows on this tour, from the Decades Tour. The majority of the songs that we're playing on this tour, are never going to be played again, so I think it is a good idea to immortalize them.'
Is there any theme to the new album, like there was to Endless Forms Most Beautiful and The Imaginerium?
'Yes, there is. We've had some discussion about the themes and songs, however it is in such an early stage, so let's keep it a mystery.'
Has Auri had any influence on your writing process for Nightwish?
'Not that I know of. It's a very different thing. Of course, as a song writer you have your memory and no matter what the genre is you are bound to use some of the same atmosphere, same chord structures and all that. But the biggest influence that Auri had was that it really opened up something within my head, because for about an year and a half I didn't feel like writting songs at all
And then just something happend.'
I'm curios where do you see yourself recording your next album. What country or what studio?
'We are going to go to the traditional Nightwish summer camp in Kitee once again. We are going to be 3 months there.
We will rehearse, arrange and record the whole album there, excluding drums, because there is no loose space to record drums there. But everything else will be done there. And back to London for some orchestra and some choirs and then we are going to mix it in together.'
Speaking of choirs and London arrangements, is there going to be much orchestra on this new album or is it going to be like Endless Forms Most Beautiful, which is orchestrated with the previous albums?
'I have a strong hunch that its going to be used in quite a different way than before. I personally feel that we took it to the maximum with the previous album, but it is such an essential part of the band and the sound of it, that we don't want to get rid of the orchestra, i think ever. But you want to search for new ways of using it, so that it doesn't end up sounding the same as before. And we have some good ideas for that.'
Do you think that you are changing the world with your music?
'Absolutely. Art, music, poetry, lyrics, words. They change and shape the world all the time. There's huge power to it.
And sometimes it even feels a bit scary because you realize, not necessary the responsibility, but the power and the strength that you have as an artist. That you actually have the ability and the power to change big things. And that can be a bit spooky at times.'
I know that you will be in Varna in August. This is going to be your second time in Bulgaria. What do you think of it?
'We are, yes. I've never been to Varna, so i do not know what to expect. And it's going to be the first festival show that we are leading in Bulgaria. And it is also the last one for the festival season. So I'm looking forward to it.'
Why is Nightwish called Nightwish?
'It was the first song we ever did. The very first song on the first demo back in 1996 was called Nightwish.
And we called the demo Nightwish demo, because we didn't have a band name back at the time. And then it kind of stuck.'
Do you have any other projects save Nightwish for the next year?
'No, its only Nightwish for the next few years. I have a male's brain, I can only concentrate on one thing at a time. But the idea is actually that once we get the next Nightwish album done, we're going to do some touring afterwards. Then it is time for Auri part 2 and a little tour.'
Did those "Nightwish decades" change your visions of the world and your own personality, and in what way?
'Yes, in many ways it has. Almost everything in this world is about evolution. Evolution of the personal self, the band and the music.
And I have to be honest, playing some of those older songs live, like we are doing on this tour, feels really awkward, because I remember the person behind those songs and the band with the fall then. But it's a whole different thing now. For example songs like The Carpenter and The Poet and the Pendulum. Im like, did I really feel like that back then? And that's why it's quite an energy vampire to play those songs live. You actually want to put yourself outside of those songs and just perform them, because it's pretty heavy stuff. But I remember myself in tourney in 2006, writing that song and how I felt. And to answer your question, yes I'm in many ways a different person. And in many ways the same.'
What is the future of Auri? Is there a new album coming, or was it just one-album project?
'It started of as a project, but became something more. After the next Nightwish tour we are definetely going to record another album and do a little tour. It's already in the plan.'
Since we are talking about Auri, are you planning to do a live show?
'That is the idea, yes. But we need to have an album with Auri before can hit the road. So that's the plan, an album and then we have a thought for a castles and cathedrals tour across Europe. But it is going to be pretty miniscale, of course, at least for the start.'
Have you ever had performance anxiety as a musician before live shows? Do you still have it?
'Yes. Anxiety, excitement, something like that, but it is on a whole different level than it used to be 10-15 years ago. I was very scared of going on stage. Something happend a few years ago and I'm not scared anymore. I'm just excited. But it's never like 'Okay, let's go and do it'. You always get this little tingle. And you have to, of course. What's the point otherwise?'
How has having Floor Jansen as a band member changed your aproach to music as a composer, if there was any change?
'I think about the whole band. I'm really in a privileged position because I can write anything, knowing that they can pull it off.
She can pretty much sing anything - high and loud, classical, soft. And then we have two brilliant male singers as well. Great musicians all around. Troy and Luka can play anything except tuba. So when I write songs I just feel the ultimate freedom. What a great place to be. But Floor is something else. Not only the skills, but the attitude and the personality. To put it as a cliche, she was born to do this.'
Why was the female voice so important in your creations from the beginning?
'I think the female voice thing had everything to do with the bands that I was listening to, back in the mid '90s. I loved Theatre of Tragedy, The Gathering, The 3rd and the Mortal and just wanted to do something similar. As simple as that.'
Your music seems to be quitte important for people who had almost died, or are going to die soon. What do you think about that?
'Overall, it's the power of art. The power of music, movies, paintings. When I've been in some really dark places, what has surely helped me was music. So I understand where these people come from and how they feel. Maybe sometimes it's a bit of an exaggeration to say 'your music saved my life', but it's not far from the truth, bacause that has happend to me as well.'
When do you usually write the lyrics for your songs? At night or during the day?
'I do all of my writing at the morning, that's kind of a funny fact. I'm a morning person. I usually wake up at 6, 7 o'clock and then I write songs from maybe 8:00 to 14:00. And that's it. I can't do anything in the night anymore. And that's also something that has changed during the past 20 years. I used to be able to work in front of the keyboards and or write lyrics for twelve hours straight. And now, at this age, I notice that six hours is the absolute maximum that you can concentrate per day.'
Are you going to make another solo album in the future?
'I think the solo album was a one-timer, because now we have two things - Auri and Nightwish, and everything can be fulfilled with those two projects.'
How many of your songs were influenced by the Kitee lake?
'Everyone of them, more or less, I think. It's more of a subconscious thing, because every single song I've ever written was done upstairs in my house, whether it was at my parents' house when I was still living with them or now at my new one. And the view from both of them is towards the lake. So it has to have some impact.'