Speaking exclusively to Metal Hammer, the keyboard player says that the follow-up to 2020’s Human. :II: Nature would complete a trilogy that began with 2015’s Endless Forms Most Beautiful.
“I immediately knew after getting that album [Endless Forms Most Beautiful] done that, ‘Okay, we have to do more songs about this, because there's so much more to explore and tell the world. We're not done with this’,” he says. “And the same thing happened after Human. :II: Nature, we’re still not done. So let's do one more. At least one more.
“In a way, [the next album] is the third part of a trilogy, which started with Endless Forms… and then Human. :II: Nature There are some major surprises there again, but it feels like a natural continuation to Human. :II: Nature.”
While Holopainen remains cagey as what these “surprises” would involve, he revealed that the band have already demoed the new album.
“The wonderful thing is that we have had the demo done since last spring. So it's been done for six months now. We really have all the time in the world to go through it all, and we have had a such great time with the band, just listening to the demo in our hotel rooms – me singing the lyrics and the melodies to Floor [Jansen, singer], she's recording them and then she's seeing them and throwing ideas to each other.”
He also added that he thought Nightwish was finished when bassist Marko Hietala left the band in January 2021, citing depression and disillusionment with the music industry.
“That was devastating,” says Holopainen. “We knew about his problems, but it still was a huge shock to us all. For about 48 hours I was convinced that that was the end of the band. I remember calling Emppu [Vuorinen, guitar] like, ‘Can you believe what happened again?’ We laughed: ‘You think this is the end? Yeah.’
“Then some time passed, our management called me, saying 'think about it again, you have had 26 years of…quite the ride, you want it to end like that?' And I was like ‘That’s a really good point. If we go out, let’s go out and stylishly’. I mean, we have survived bad things in the past as well. So maybe we can survive this as well.
“Then a few weeks later, things started to look a bit more bright. I felt, ‘Yeah, let's try it once more’, then Jukka [Koskinen, bass] came along. The stars have been out of line so many times, it's nice to have them aligned now."
Nightwish singer Floor Jansen recently revealed that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She subsequently underwent surgery and has since said she is now “cancer-free”.