By Carl Begai
During a recent interview with Nightwish keyboardist mastermind Tuomas Holopainen about the band’s forthcoming DVD Showtime, Storytime and their decision to make vocalist Floor Jansen a permanent member, he discussed his orchestral project currently on the go, The Life And Times Of Scrooge McDuck. At press time the album was being mixed and a release date was tentatively slated for April 2014. Described by Holopainen as “somewhere between film music, folk and classical, echoing distantly the works of Vaughan Williams, Enya, Mike Oldfield and Michael Nyman”, he’s in the process of bringing another one of his dreams to life.
“This particular graphic novel called The Life And Times Of Scrooge McDuck would be my desert island book,” says Holopainen. “That or Lord Of The Rings, I’m not sure. It had such a huge impact on me ever since I read it for the first time in 1996, and I had the idea for Scrooge back in 1999. It’s been there for 14 years. Every time I read those wonderful stories by Don Rosa my head is filled with music, and at some point it just needed to come out. Then I had the idea of doing a soundtrack to the graphic novel, and it was an idea that just sounded so awkward and far off that I had to do it (laughs). I can’t think of too many albums that are made as a soundtrack to a book; there was a guy in the ’70s that did it for Lord Of The Rings but that’s the only one that comes to mind. So this project is quite innovative in that sense.”
It sounds like an odd undertaking, no question, but Holopainen is known for thinking outside the box. When word came down that Nightwish would release a movie based on his concept for the Imaginaerum album a lot of people – critics and fans – were left wondering why they’d bother. Ultimately, anyone who asked Holopainen why he and the band would bother to invest time and a couple million dollars on the project received what amounted to “because we want to” as an answer.
“It’s about searching for new territories and finding things to do and do them in a really weird way,” he explains. “That intrigues me. It’s really a matter of how you feel about doing them. Doing the soundtrack for the book, for example, felt like the absolutely right thing to do. I needed to get it out of my system, and when I hear the final result I’m really happy I did it.”
Holopainen co-wrote the Imaginaerum movie (released in 2012) with director Stobe Harju, and although it wasn’t a box office smash it appealed to most Nightwish fans (which seemed to be the point in some critics’ eyes). Now that he has some serious distance from the film, is he satisfied with the end result as an interpretation of his original concept?
“Believe it or not, I really am. When I look at the film and I think about all that we accomplished I feel super proud and really happy we did it. It was a long time dream and we actually fulfilled it. It pretty much emptied the band’s treasure chest but it doesn’t matter; we still have our houses (laughs).”
For background information, pictures and updates from the project go to Holopainen’s official website here.