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"In Sweden, I don't need to be the singer of Nightwish 24/7 when I'm not touring or when I want to go to the supermarket in my comfy pants."

Interview with Floor Jansen (NIGHTWISH)

Due to the new security measures, we finally get inside Bercy Arena a lot later than we were supposed to. For this second interview with Nightwish during the french leg of their european tour, we are very pleased to speak with Floor Jansen, since we never had the occasion back when she was in After Forever or Revamp.

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Interview done by Nicolas, Guillaume, Sabrina et Elise in Paris, the 25th of November 2015, and transcribed by Elise.

Vous pouvez également lire notre interview en français

Nicolas: How is the tour going so far?

Floor: Very good actually! Just in our camp, it's been very good. We're with a massive team but the core is formed by the same band members and same crew members. So we're one big happy family, nowadays. It's great to see such a massive production, taking shape and everybody finding their place in it for shows that are literally breathtaking. This is one step up! We've done some big shows in the festivals, we've played in Joensuu and Tempere for our Finnish shows, but to do this every day is "wow!". It's been going really, really well. And then, of course, what happened here put a heavy weight on us: "should we continue or not", "And if we do, how"... We've been through quite some security check-ups. That's a direct result, of course, of what happened. And it daily reminds you that it is something that we mentally deal with: because we don't want to get scared, we don't want to be intimidated, but there's always a little demon on the shoulder that says: "yeah, but what if...?". It seems like the amount of security is apparently necessary, but we won't let that affect our shows in any way. Especially tonight, we will not be intimidated, we will not be stopped by this senseless and completely useless violence.

Floor Jansen on stage at La Halle Tony Garnier, in Lyon, the 23rd of november, 2015

Nicolas: How do you get busy on the road?

(Showing the weights on the floor) Well, working out. (laughs) I'm studying Swedish because I just moved there. We play poker dice, it's like poker with dice, literally. The days kind of shift, you know. You don't get up at ten in the morning, or six, or seven... Or eight... Well, maybe ten! (laughs) You eat some, you wait some, read some.

Elise: You mentioned the events. We first wanted to thank you for the words that you said onstage in Lyon on Monday. Apart from the security checks, did you get any particular recommendation as a band?

No, not really. In a practical sense, we don't really know, but during the daytime, they go through the whole venue with bomb dogs. You're standing here in your sport outfits and you need to stop because there is a guy coming with a dog to sniff out everything. They don't check our luggage but I think they might have checked upstairs when I wasn't there, they did that in Amsterdam. That doesn't feel too comfortable.

Guillaume: You were opening for Nightwish with After Forever at the Elysée Montmartre in Paris in 2002. Now, you're Nightwish's singer and tonight you will play at Bercy Arena in Paris. How does it feel?

I've come a long way, I guess! (laughs) With good ups and downs, but I'm extremely proud. I'm very happy and fortunate to be in this team on all levels. We really have a great time together, we're a great group, we have fun together. I feel at home with these guys. Of course, you need that to make music and to spend all the hours together. You asked: "What do you do on a day". Well, you're in that together, you see each other every day so you need to get along to make it fun, and we have a lot of fun. Now, when you've been in the band for three years you get used to the position, in a sense. I don't think about it every day like: "Oh my God, I'm the singer of Nightwish!" (laughs) But there are moments like it or during a massive tour like this: "Fucking hell, this is amazing stuff!". I feel very fortunate.

Guillaume: In its statement Contra says that Bercy was the biggest european venue Nightwish played in 2012 with 12000 people, did you know that?

No, but unfortunately I don't think it's the case on this tour. Our communication statement said there would be 9500 people here today. In London, we'll have 12000, we had 11 000 in Oberhausen... It's not the biggest but I don't think it matters, it's massive anyway. (laughs)

Floor Jansen during our interview in Paris, the 25th of november, 2015

Elise: You mentioned it earlier: the show is a big production with the screens, the pyro etc... Is the smoke and fire okay for your voice?

Yes, we did two shows in smaller venues that had a capacity of between 3000 and 3500 people, in Sweden and in Copenhagen, in Denmark. There, the place is smaller, so the smoke can't get out. That was challenging. I don't think I would be able to do that in a healthy sense throughout the whole tour. But in a place like this, it goes away pretty fast. There are moments I breathe in the smoke but it's not so much. I'm really blessed with a healthy set of pipes, they won't so easily break. (laughs)

Elise: Is there a song that you don't play on stage right now but that you would like to one day?

It really varies a lot actually because we have a couple of songs that we move. We have a different setlist today than we had in Lyon and there is always stuff we've never done before, with me in it anyway. The majority of my favorites is already on, there but... Yes, I can't really think of one that pops to mind.

Nicolas: And on the contrary, is there any song by Nightwish that you don't like a lot and that you would try not to sing on stage?

(laughs) No, actually. The only song I never really got a thing for was "Over the Hills and Far Away", but that's Gary Moore, anyway. It was not my thing. (laughs)

Nicolas: What it a hardest song you have to sing on the current setlist?

I find the opera part in "The Greatest Show on Earth" challenging. Just to get it right. Because it's not like I would sing out of tune but to get the feeling of it, not too operatic and not too light. The opera sometimes becomes incomprehensible. German and French are much more suitable for this type of singing than English because there are a lot of vowels and the "r" are in the back of your mouth, while with opera everything is very much in the front because it really needs the space. So to get it right, really right, I find challenging.

Nicolas: Your additional vocal parts at the end of "Ghost Love Score" are one of the highest moments of the show. How did you come up with this part and how did you suggest it to the band? How did the band react the first time they heard it?

It kind of went gradually, I would say. It was not like an epiphany from one day to the other. As soon as I started to feel artistic freedom in how to sing the parts, maybe at a soundcheck, I wouldn't do it just live and see if the rest would like it. When I sang along with the song, before I became the singer, I never sang the end part like on the album. I always missed something in it, (laughs) arrogantly perhaps, but that was just how I heard it. So when I sang it one time the guys liked it very much and gave me the freedom to do it live and I never really thought it would be such a blast, and people would love it so much. But it's always good to see (laughs).

High Hopes by Nightwish on the End Of An Era DVD (2005)

Sabrina: At some point, Nightwish used to perform a cover from another artist during every tour. Is there one you would like to do?

No, it's not something that would pop to mind. I wished we would do "High Hopes" by Pink Floyd again. That was such an awesome version. That I still remember, that blew me away entirely. But with a songwriter as Tuomas and with the way that we are as a team, making songs the way they are today, I'd rather work on more new stuff than think of how to cover songs, actually.

Sabrina: Do you have any funny anecdotes from the tour to share with us?

Listen to Floor's answer

Well... I don't know when that started but whenever there are ice cubes nearby, I take one and I try to put it down Troy's shirt. (laughs) Only with Troy! At first, it was much easier because he didn't see me coming at all, he didn't expect it. But now, he knows that I'm coming so it's harder. He runs away or he puts his hands in front of it, so I can't shove it down. And then he gets really mad. He says he'll get me for it but I've been doing it for a year now, or more, and nothing happened yet. Maybe he'll turn me into a frog one day because he's a great magician. (laughs)

Sabrina: What are your plans after the tour? Do you plan on working on another Revamp album?

I don't know, I still don't know. For the last years, I've been doing one album after another, tour after tour, and I already had a burnout once and I'm surely not planning on having another one. I can imagine that once this world tour is over I do not want to make another album immediately. But since the break time will be that crazy long, I really have to check also with the rest of the guys. There are a lot of things you can do in life and I'm really looking into what I want to do with the time I have so I don't know yet.

Sabrina: Since you started your musical career, you've always been in one band (or now two) and you never released a solo album. Is that something you ever thought about or do you always prefer to be with a band and other people?

Yeah. Revamp started because I didn't have a band anymore. I wrote a rock album with a Norwegian guitar player that was supposed to be a little bit more like a solo album kind of project. It was ready: we wrote the album and started recording it when After Forever decided to stop. And I didn't want it to be the next new thing because I was afraid people might think of it as a new band or something I would want to continue with, while it was intended to be just a one off thing. So I put it away for the time being and started a new band. But that album is still there. After this tour, maybe that would be cool to pick up if I don't find the energy for Revamp. I only do things a 100%, that is also always why I don't do it at the same time because there is only one hundred percent and not two. If I feel that it's simply not possible, I don't want anyone to sit around waiting for me to maybe have this feeling and it's not fair either. I know that I need to make a decision pretty soon so I will. But for now... So many things to do, so many things to want. The solo album is sort of there already. It just need some time.

Sabrina: It will be a metal album?

It's rock, actually. I would love to also do something completely un-heavy, but I'm 34, I still have a couple of years to mellow down, I guess. (laughs)

Nicolas: You don't use your operatic voice a lot on the new album. Would you like to use it more in the future or don't you feel the need to do so?

I don't, no. I like when it's there, but I really like the diversity. Already for many years, has the operatic side been going back to the background in my own music. And after Tarja, there just hasn't been that much need for it, and since I came in, there is more need of course than there has been in the Anette time. So we use it when it musically fits, only then. And it's just not so often. But I think once it's there it's nice and refreshing. But personally I wouldn't need to do it more, no.

Nicolas: And what about grunts?

(laughs) Hey, yeah! Another thing I wouldn't do too often but I like it when it's there. Of course it's never been used in Nightwish before. I liked and still like the surprise effect of it. (laughs)

Floor Jansen's interview by MTV Finland in february of 2015

Guillaume: We watched several of your interviews broadcast on Finnish TV. You were describing your new life in Finland, the cold climate, the learning of the language... To your opinion, what was the most difficult thing concerning the way of life to adopt in Finland?

The darkness in the winter. You can learn to understand people, you can wear thicker clothes if it's cold but I found the darkness really difficult. Everybody reacts to it: you don't see anybody, it's completely deserted on the streets. The light only comes between 10AM or 11AM and then it gets dark again between 3PM and 4PM, that I found very difficult. But I met a Swedish man, not Finnish. So the whole Finnish learning became really harder because I never speak Finnish at home. And since neither of us were from North-East Finland we decided to move to Sweden. Now I'm learning Swedish, great ! (laughs)

Guillaume: Since you became the singer of Nightwish, did you come across unexpected things, good or bad?

No, not really, not unexpected. Leaving in Finland as a singer of Nightwish, I'm used to having people around me all the time that know who I am. In the Netherlands, people never really knew, or cared, or whatever. In Finland, when I just moved there it was okay, but then we released the album and everybody knew. That is something I don't miss in Sweden, let's put it that way. I don't need to be the singer of Nightwish 24/7 when I'm not touring or when I want to go to the supermarket in my comfy pants. (laughs) Haters in general are not unexpected but are definitely a negative element to this. I can't please anybody and I don't pretend to do so but they exist, they come with this. And the rest is all positive, really.