The idea of Nightwish was "born" in July 1996 at
midnight when Tuomas was spending a night with his friends around a
campfire. The first three songs, which were acoustic mood music, were
recorded between October and December 1996. At that time the band had
three members: Tuomas, Tarja and Emppu..
wanted to try what the music would sound like if drums were added (Jukka
came to the band) and an electric guitar was used instead of an acoustic
one. After a couple of weeks of training we went to studio in April 1997.
At that time we recorded seven songs which can be found on the limited
edition of the album Angels Fall First.
In May 1997 Nightwish signed a recording contract with
Spinefarm for two records. In August Nightwish went to the studio and
recorded four new songs. Before the release of Angels Fall First, a single
called The Carpenter was released and at its best it was number eight on
the official singles chart in Finland. Angels fall first was released in
early November and it was at its best number 31 on the official album
chart in Finland.
Nightwish played their first gig in Kitee on the 31st
December 1997. After that Nightwish played only seven gigs in the
following winter because Jukka and Emppu were in the army and Tarja was
busy with her studies. Nightwish and Spinefarm extended the contract to
include three records instead of two.
In April 1998 the filming of the first video, The Carpenter, started. It was
ready in early May and was played in Jyrki. Tuomas and Tarja were also
interviewed in that show (this happened in late May). In the following
summer the bassist Sami Vänskä
joined the band. During the summer songs for the new record were rehearsed
and the band went to studio in early August. The recordings were finished
in late October. On November 13th, Nightwish played a gig in Kitee of
which a video for Sacrament of Wilderness was filmed. A single of that
song was released on November 26th and the new record called Oceanborn was
released on December 7th.
Everybody was surprised by the success of Oceanborn. It
went up to fifth place on the official Finnish album chart and the single
Sacrament of Wilderness was the number one on singles chart for weeks. In
winter 1999 Nightwish played a lot of gigs all around the country for
three months and played also in the Lista chart show program. In spring
Oceanborn was released outside of Finland. In May the band started to play
gigs again and toured the country for two and a half months playing in
almost all of the big rock festivals. At the same time the single Sleeping
Sun was recorded, which was written for the eclipse in Germany. In august
the single was released in Germany and it also included the songs Walking
in the Air, Swanheart and Angels Fall First. In Germany alone the single
sold 15.000 copies in one month. In august Nightwish learned that
Oceanborn and Sacrament of Wilderness had sold gold. At the same time it
was confirmed that Nightwish would do a European tour of 26 gigs with a
German band called Rage.
In early 2000 the band entered the studio again for the
recordings of our third album. A welcome interruption to the repetitive
studio work came when we took part in the Finnish qualification for the
Eurovision Song Contest with the song Sleepwalker. Nightwish cleared the
first round of the qualification but the final position was second despite
an overwhelming win in the public televoting.
The new album, Wishmaster, was released in May and the Wishmaster Tour started from Kitee, the home town of the band. After the show the band received
gold discs for the album Oceanborn and the singles Sacrament of
Wilderness, Walking in the Air and Sleeping Sun. Wishmaster went straight
to number 1 on the Finnish album charts and stayed on the pole position
for three weeks. In those three weeks it also reached the gold disc mark.
Wishmaster was approved by both the fans and the media and it was named
the album of the month by the German magazine Rock Hard in their issue
6/2000, past the long-awaited new releases by Bon Jovi and Iron Maiden.
Wishmaster also debuted in the national German charts
at No. 21 and No. 66 in France! The "Wishmaster World Tour", which started
from Kitee, continued first to the big festivals in Finland and then to
South America in July 2000. The three-week tour in Brazil, Chile,
Argentina, Panama & Mexico turned out to be one of the band's greatest
experiences so far. This was followed by successful shows at Wacken Open
Air, Biebop Metal Fest and the first headliner European tour with Sinergy
& Eternal Tears Of Sorrow. In November Nightwish also played two shows
in Montreal, Canada.
The next project of Nightwish included the making of a full-length concert DVD & VHS with a limited live album (only for Finland). The concert was
performed in Tampere on the 29th of December 2000. The material was
released in April 2001 in Finland and worldwide during the summer of 2001.
At the end of the show Nightwish were given platinum discs for
"Wishmaster" and gold discs for the single "Deep Silent Complete"!!!
Before making their next full-length, the band decided to release a Mini-CD called "Over the Hills And Far Away" which quickly sold platinum in Finland. This one includes cover of Gary Moore`s classic "Over The Hills And Far Away", 2 new songs and a remake of Angels Fall First's "Astral
Romance". The Finnish release for this EP was in June 2001. The german
(Drakkar) version of "Over The Hills And Far Away" includes 6 live tracks
in addition to the 4 unreleased songs.
After the "Over the Hills and Far Away" -EP the band immediately started working on their 4th full-length studio album "Century Child". At that time Nightwish was also touring and going through changes in the line-up. The bassist since "Oceanborn", Sami Vänskä was replaced by Marco Hietala, also known from Tarot and Sinergy.
The rehearsals and arrangement process took place in October-November 2001 and the next month the band entered the studio to record a demo of the finished songs. The actual recordings with drums started at Finnvox Studios in January 2002. After this the process continued with the recordings of guitars, basses and keyboards in their home town, Kitee. In March 2002 the band went back to Finnvox to record the vocal parts, choirs and percussions, continuing with the mixing process.
The album also includes 5 songs with a live orchestra, performed by the Joensuu City Orchestra, recorded in Joensuu at the end of March. "Century Child" is not a concept album, even though there`s a certain theme which runs through the songs. The musical and lyrical style takes a step forward from "Wishmaster", some new elements being the use of the live orchestra, live choir and male voice (by the new bass player Marco Hietala).
The album release will be followed by a massive three-month tour, entitled "Century Child World Tour 2002" and after the tour the band will have a well-deserved break for the whole year of 2003.