Biography

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1996

1996

1996

1996

Premises indicating what Nightwish would become can be found in Tuomas (Holopainen)’s childhood. Tuomas started playing music at the age of 7. He then learnt to play the clarinet, the piano and musical theory in a musical academy. At the age of 15, Tuomas went to Wichita, Kansas (U.S.A.) to live there for a year. There, he attended a Metallica concert. From then on, he felt much implicated in metal and considered that show as his favorite ever. He also visited Disney World in Florida to assuage his passion and nourish one of his future biggest influences.

At 16, he joined his first band (Dismal Silence) whose members were all close friends of his, and lived in Kitee (Finland, South East). That was the time when he left his piano for a keyboard. He got his first contract signed with a label in 1995, with the band Darkwood My Bethrothed. At the time, he was just a session keyboard player but it did not prevent him from composing his first track called “A New Heaven, A New Earth”. This was the first act of the last song on the album “Heirs of the Northern Star”. At the same time Tuomas joined another band – Teemu Kautonen’s project called Nattvindens Grat – and met Tapio Wilska. Teemu had problems singing the vocals so the sound engineer, Tuomo Valtonen, suggested calling Wilska. Two albums were then composed. At the time, Tuomas went from one band to the other but he did not think he would be allowed to compose. At first, he accepted the situation but he eventually felt frustrated and lost all motivation. Later, Tuomas also took part in the composition of a concept album by Furthest Shore, a sort of gothic epic band like Bathory, as he says.

During one night of July 1996, while he was on a wild island on the coast of Kitee with Nattvindens Grat, Tuomas eventually launched the idea of creating his own project. He still did not know how he would call the project but he already had the global concept: acoustic instruments playing moody and atmospheric music inspired by Third & the Mortal, Theatre of Tragedy or The Gathering. Tuomas then began his national service. He joined the army for nine months and half and played his last notes of clarinet during that period: he never played the instrument again. Right from the first months of his enlistment, he composed three songs (‘Nightwish’, ‘Forever Moments’ and ‘Etiäinen’) and then he recordedthem in Kitee Studios in December 1996. Tuomas surrounded himself with Jukka (Nevalaien) whom he had known for a long time, Emppu (Vuorinen) and Semppa – Nightwish’s (and Wizard’s) time to time bass player. Besides, he had known Tarja (Turunen) since the age of 13 since they were in the same music academy and played in the same jazz band. When they visited her in Kuopio for Christmas, she immediately accepted to take part of what was only a project called ‘Nightwish’- a name coming from one of the demos (even if Tuomas thought this name sounded like a cliché). There was no plan for shows or anything that serious.

Despite her studies at the Sibelius Academy, Tarja recorded three demos in two days. Tuomas composed new songs and the band recorded them in the Huvikeskus Studios in Kitee where they worked with Tero (Kinnunen). They had already met him before during the recording of older demos. The band greeted themselves Tero’s services and entered Caverock Studios for the first time. When Tuomas heard Tarja’s voice it was a huge surprise. They all expected to hear a young woman’s voice such as Kari Ruestatten - The third and the Mortal’s singer at the time. Yet it was far from what they thought. Tarja’s voice was powerful, classic and dramatic. That was absolutely unexpected and a fortunate coincidence! The three initial tracks were worked on acoustic guitar, flute, keyboards and Tarja’s voice. Nothing else was planed and that was what Nightwish was supposed to be.

The band then decided to let people know about them. At first, they sent the demo to Century Media, Massacre and Spinefarm without receiving any feedback. They also gave the material to Soundi Magazine, a Finnish demo’s columns magazine. Criticism was irrevocable: ‘no commercial potential, is that atmospheric music really up to its ambition?’. Yet, Finnish press was enthusiastic and dubbed the band "the finnish The Gathering". The day after the end of his national service, Tuomas met the band in studio - they recorded a 7 track demo which was going to be Angel Fall First ultra limited edition. Besides, it was the first demo with Jukka behind the drums. After that, Tuomas went on tour with Nattvindens Grat and two other bands (Wish and Babylon Whores).