So again we are here in the deepest countryside of Finland beginning to create a follower for DPP. It`s just us guys for now, Anette will join the camp a bit later. We arrived yesterday and the reunion was celebrated with some water-skiing, bbq and Quilmes. I foresee the same trinity taking place more or less on a daily basis.
We just got the equipment and PA set up with the help of our legendary engineer / co-producer TeeCee Kinnunen and probably will start working with the songs in a couple of days. This campsite is so amazing we`ll let that sauna of a rehearsal room wait in silence for a while, and just concentrate on chilling out and catching up. And raising the official NW camp - flag high into the pole.
I have 12 songs completed now, but am still working with some lyrics. It`s been an immensely fruitful songwriting process, as well as very consuming and ponderous. But I feel more satisfied with the stuff than ever before. Don`t know if it`s a good sign or bad.
To me the album sounds like a rollercoaster ride in a theme park designed by Neil Gaiman, Tim Burton and Salvador Dali. That`s the best way I can put it at this point.
Like before, we will record a demo once the songs are arranged, to listen to and to perfect the material, and to give to Mr. Pip Williams so he can start with the orchestration process. The actual enter-the-studio-date is set for October 15th.
Again, the London orchestra and choir will be there, as well as Mr. Troy Donockley playing a slightly bigger part this time. And loads of new elements `n twists we haven`t tried before!
So things are finally rolling. We`ll keep you posted in written, as well as in visual form. Stay tuned for updates.
And thanks for sharing the journey once again!
You can find pictures from our summer-camp gallery -page!
TOP 5 / Week 28
1. Water sports
2. Dimebag Darrell biography
3. Alice In Wonderland dvd
4. Ihmebantu dvd
5. Amorphis: Tales From The Thousand Lakes
The first song put together ended up having one of the best choruses we`ve ever had and a classic Nightwishy c-part of heavy guitars, a massive string riff and everything louder than anything and everybody playing with full force at the same time.
Song # 2 is a twisted marriage of Van Halen, Pantera and madhouse vocals. And Quentin Tarantino - guitars in the bridge. We weren`t overly bananas over this one after the demo I made alone, but now it`s finally coming alive.
In between the distorted racket we sat down with Emppu to complete one acoustic piece. A nice journey back to the roots! Sounds like a Moomin Valley - Christmas carol.
Then another song back to the roots. Everyone`s surprise favorite at the moment. I dug up my inner Paradise Lost / My Dying Bride fanboy and this funeral march is the result.
Music for the last song rehearsed so far is written by Marco. A wonderfully catchy track with the chorus repeated 5 times.(!!) Must be some sort of a record for us. Nice acoustic themes and a d-part which doesn`t quite still fit in.
We`ll enter The Haunted Mansion tomorrow.
Will write more soon, all the best to everyone meanwhile!
Good times, Tuomas
TOP 5 / Week 2
1. New songs, old gang
3. Prestige - The movie
4. Hidden Rock, Quilmes & Cap`n Morgan
5. Winning all-in with 7-2
It`s 9 am. and I`m sipping my morning coffee while reading the latest NHL news and writing this down. When did I turn into a blog-writing computer-geek?
It`s been very hot, we`ve been struck by a never-seen-before heat wave for the past few weeks and I can`t recall when was the last time I wore socks or slept under sheets. No complaints, though, water sports and boating never felt so glorious as during the past days.
We got something done in the arranging - the - new - songs - front, too, even though the 35 C - rehearsal room isn`t the most alluring place just now.
The "Nukkumatti" song, as we call it, is among my top favorites of the new stuff, a pounding, twisted and chorusless ghost train ride is sure to bring a smile to your face. At least it has done so to everyone who has heard it. Danny Elfman goes humppa.
Then we took over a song which was more or less tailor-made for Troy. Loads of pipes to battle / to jam with Emppu and a raving c-part which was born after 10 pints of ale and loads of Old Toby. One of the cheerier tunes of the album, and a nice little cloudbuster.
Paddle faster, I hear banjos!
Song #8 takes us to whole new territories. Something completely different from anything we`ve ever done. All of us need to find new ways to play our instruments and use vocals for that piece. A terrificly challenging and mind-expanding song. I can`t wait to hear Anette and Marco sing that one.
On Sunday night the fellas from Northern Kings took over the campsite. We had agreed they can come and share our rehearsal facilities since they have a couple of shows coming up. Tony (Kakko) and Kai (Hahto) greeted me with 2 bottles of Yellow Tail which we enjoyed by a still lake at dusk. Finnish hippie-geezer-national-scenery - romanticism at its best!
Thanks guys for visiting, we`ll meet soon again.
Time to dive into Marco`s vocals today. And maybe for song #9. And that 5kg trout that`s been avoiding us for the past week.
Will write more soon (or somebody will), all best!
TOP 5 / Week 3
1. The weather
2. Longhaired hippies naked in the nearby forest
3. Solving the mystery of where the hell all the fishes are
4. Epcot`s Illuminations - soundtrack
5. Zombieland - the movie
Songs # 9 & #10 took shape last weekend. The #9 - one explores Zimmer-territories shamelessly with the chorus taking us back to our roots. Emppu`s favorite part of the whole album, I reckon. I`ve always had problems with short, simple - structured songs but this sounds very promising even to my cynical ears and heart.
Last song put together will be the last one on the album, an insanely ambitious piece. I assume it will be close to 20 minutes long. Uncle Walt`s spirit is already haunting in every note of this song. Still needs some arranging, though.
We have only one song left to practice after the monster song, an acoustic piece in the vein of "The Islander". Ennio Morricone meets Christy Moore. Emppu and me need loads of Guinness, some fine single malt and a windy day to bring this one alive. And Troy`s pipes & bodhran, of course.
Marco also sang demo vocals for almost all the songs so they start making more sense and so that Anette would be able to hear the vocal melodies and the pacing of the lyrics. I deeply enjoy this process of building the songs slowly together, weaving stories out of thin air, and it`s almost always the vocals that finally wake the songs up.
Yesterday I drove to Lappeenranta to play keys to Kotiteollisuus` new demo. Great stuff coming up from that front, too!
It`s about 3 weeks before we start recording the demo so now we have time to put final touches into the songs and perfect them the best we can. It`s fantastic not to be in any hurry for a change!
Which reminds me, time to go catch that trout.
Take good care everyone!
TOP 5 / Week 4
1. NW demo w / Marco`s guide vocals
2. Esko Valtaoja
3. Kitee - Sotkamo 2-0 / playoffs starting soon
4. Edward Scissorhands - the movie
5. Alfred J. Kwak
Last weekend Marco abandoned us three here to take care of his responsibilities with Tarot and Northern Kings. We decided to rehearse the last piece, a monster of a song and to go through parts of the other songs that we yet didn't feel 100% satisfied with. We came up with plenty of little tricks that bring some needed final edge to the songs; some overlong fills, little breaks and some little time signature changes. The last song turned out to be a great tune that would have enough parts for three full songs, but which still forms a tight entirety of fast riffing, slow, beautiful mood and heavy-duty-rhythm.
On Monday we took a day off and headed to the lake with a professional fishing team. You've probably already seen some of the catches from the picture section. It's encouraging to see that fishing is not just a matter of good luck. Knowledge and the gear has a big effect on the results. But of course, to catch a real big one you need a little blessing from above…
On Thursday we went to see a baseball match of KIPA-90, our local pride. The team played really well, but unfortunately the opponent was slightly better. It's already the end of the season and at the very moment of writing this diary the last game ended in defeat so for us the season is over. But the team showed great potential and hopefully next year we hold the cup.
On the weekend we had some friends coming over, including Sami Vänskä and we spent a weekend full of watersports, darts and laughter. The best activity being seated in a "doughnut"and going with full speed behind the boat. You know it's real good when fun and pure terror meet in a midway... I also finally got myself to try water skiing with just one water ski, and to everybody's surprise I nailed it on a first try! What a mighty feeling it was! JIHAA!!!
Now we are taking time off until Thursday. Once in a while it's good to take some distance to the songs to have a fresh view.
Take care now, bye bye then!
TOP 5 / Week 5
1. The mighty sportsman with just one ski!!!
2. Taking over the last song
3. Fishing trip with the pros
4. Feeding Harri "The camp spider"
5. Ruska - lingonberry wine - for exquisite taste!
Also since Marco is busy doing his own things until tomorrow and Anette not joining the camp until in 2 weeks, there wasn`t much else for us three to do than..
...To form a new band called The Myötähäpeä. This amazing group of mind-blowing virtuosity combined with a versatile repertoire includes such names as Heikki Kovalainen of F1 Lotus on the drums (http://www.facebook.com/Heikki.Kovalainen.Official.Fan.Page), and Mr. Toni Virtanen (http://www.apulanta.fi) on the vocals. Jukka took over the keys, whereas Emppu and me swapped between guitar and bass to make it a real challenge. Jamppa Lautamäki of the Nightwish website-fame filled the first open backing vocals - position, but there`s still room for more behind the mics.
Our setlist now consists of two classics of two bands we`ve been fans of forever (Sukset by Popeda & For Whom The Bell Tolls by Metallica) but with an intro & outro, Toni`s magnificent speaks in between the songs, a bass solo and fireworks we will be able to put up a fantastic full-lenth rock show anytime, anywhere.
Well, we still have that ballad to rehearse, there`s nothing like seeing a lighter-sea of 80000 people swaying gently to "Nothing Else Matters" or "Winds Of Change".
Check out the video of our first ever rehearsals below. Not quite on the level of the originals, but at least we had fun!
Heikki & the gang had to leave on Sunday morning but Toni stayed with us for another fishing- and poker-filled day. He fell in love with this place, and might be joining us later on for some songwriting sessions. Maybe the upcoming Apulanta - tunes will have their breeding here..?
After introducing Heikki to the decadent world of bandlife and rock `n roll it was his turn to throw us the bait. He had arranged a chance to try out KF2 & KF3 cart racing vehicles in the track of Ylämylly. A horrendously fantastic experience! A surprisingly physical sport, too. Jukka was by far the best driver of us, timing unbelievable lap times in pouring rain. Emppu and Toni also did ok but I was more of a yellow-bellied plug on the track, losing 20sec per lap to Jukka due to the imprisonment in my own survival instinct.
Anyway, it was a great day and a wonderful, new experience! A huge thanks goes to Heikki, Jani and Hästis for organizing this, and for the 2 mechanics, Mikko & Janne who took care of us on the track.
Back to the camp, diving back into the Nightwish songs with fresh fuel in our tanks. There`s been one song which has been giving us loads of trouble during the past weeks. I feel it has great potential but somehow it just doesn`t work as it should. On Tuesday morning we finally nailed it, giving it a whole new guitar / synth riff with a touch of Van Halen and that was the cure. I also rewrote and simplified the lyrics to the chorus.
A song / album is never fully ready, you just have to stop your journey at some scenic place and enjoy the view.
Autumn is here, enjoy the change & take care everyone!
Top 5 / Week 6
1. The Myötähäpeä
2. Cart Racing with those machines from hell
3. That one bad riff finally cured
4. Matti Ijäs: Katsastus (for the 100th time)
5. Timo Rautiainen: En oo keittäny enkä myyny
So, this week I finally came to the camp site to do some vocal recordings for our demo. Me, Johan and our baby arrived late Monday and it was a very long trip to get here from home. I didn´t want to fly with the little one so we drove up to Stockholm which takes 6 hours, then the ferry from Sweden to Finland for 17 hours and finally driving here in Finland for 6 hours. Puih, quite a trip but worth it;=)
When we came to the camp we were greeted by Emppu and Tuomas and it was so nice to see the guys again. It´s been a long time since we did the show in Hartwall where we met the last time. The other guys, Marco and Jukka, are in America so they were unfortunately already gone.
The first day here, Emppu recorded his last guitars and then he drove back home after being here 2 months and I just rested after the long journey and enjoying the beautiful place. The camp is deep in the forests and lying so incredibly beautiful with a big lake to look out over where the sunsets are just amazing. All the colours are there when the sun goes down - purple, yellow, white, blue, pink, orange... and now autumn is slowly coming so the trees are changing their leaves and it´s a perfect temperature for sitting out by the fire in the evenings. And we also have a little pet here, a tiny "house-mouse" to keep us company.
Wednesday morning we started my recordings and we have recorded 3 songs per day and 2 the last day. All in all 4 days to record all the songs. Ever since I got the very first instrumental demo Tuomas made I have felt that this album will be something very special. The songs and themes Tuomas has put together are really varied, interesting and there are elements that haven´t been used before. Still it´s Nightwish and also going back to some roots from earlier albums. Vocally for me it´s much more varied since I use my voice in more different aspects than in DPP. Tuomas for sure knows my voice and range now.
We have also done some barbecuing, the boys have been fishing, I have watched a good movie Tuomas recommended - The Martyrs. Disturbing and as usual I got so scared that I woke up a couple of times that night and heard sounds everywhere;=) We have also had friends visiting and the week has gone far too fast. Having my baby with me when being here has worked really well and he has been so kind and charming the whole time. Good boy!
Now I really long to hear how the album will come together with the orchestra, choirs etc, and already now I feel I long to do my actual vocal recordings which will be done in March next year.
Take good care everyone!