THE DARK ELEMENT
So, there it was. The confirmation that I could Skype with Anette Olzon. I was a bit nervous, because Anette is one of the reasons I’ve ever started to like metal. The first Nightwish album I listened to was actually Dark Passion Play, and it was my favorite for a long time. (Until Imaginaerum came out, concept albums over anything else!) But anyway, I was going to call with someone I looked up to for most of my teenage years, who has helped me through some very dark times without even knowing it. I was already so excited that Frontiers Music Srl had accepted my request to review The Dark Element before the release date, the interview with Anette was the cherry on top!
‘’Thank you so much for taking time for us, it feels really special, Anette!’’
‘’Yeah of course, it took sometime for me to answer and I also had some interviews with big magazines in America and that took up a lot of time. It’s very difficult with the time difference, so I mostly do email interviews. I can’t stay up a whole night because I have my internship again in the morning, I have to sleep as well!''
''You can have your dark sides that no one knows...''
‘’How does it feel to back in the music scene?’’
‘’It feels really nice, it feels like a new start which is really pleasant. Of course when we started this project over one and a half year ago, I didn’t know what the album would sound like, but now all the review start to come in and it’s all really positive. It’s nice to be back!
‘’How did you get involved with The Dark Element? How did it all take shape?’’
‘’I hadn’t worked with the record label (Frontiers Music) before but they asked me a few months earlier to do guest vocals on a song for Secret Sphere, and then after that they contacted me in the summer of that year; if I would like to sing on an album that Jani (Liimatainen) would write and produce.’’
‘’So that is how you came to Frontiers as a fairly new project?’’
‘’What I’ve heard from Jani is that he had sent them some songs, and they liked it. They asked Jani if he would like to produce a new album and who he would like as singer. Jani said that he had only worked with male singers before. I know that Frontiers have liked me a lot before with Alyson Avenue, and everything. So maybe they just thought ‘’Maybe we should call Anette’’ and they did. I am very happy with that!’’
‘’Does that mean that Jani wrote all songs or did you help with that as well?’’
‘’No, Jani wrote all songs. I could want if I wanted to but I am very busy with my school. I have been studying for three years now, so I have been very occupied. When he send the songs, I didn’t feel like I wanted to change anything in the songs. He has written very nice lyrics for me to sing, and if everything is good I don’t see reason to change it.’’
‘’Do you perhaps know what his main inspiration was?’’
‘’I know that he wrote the songs a bit for me, I don’t know if he has done that on purpose but they fit me very well. Some songs are actually written from a woman's perspective, he has done it very well! I don’t know what his main inspiration was, but he likes to write songs in a metaphorical way. Only Jani knows the true meaning.’’
‘’So there are some hidden messages here and there?’’
‘’I mean, we haven’t talked about it. Some of those lyrics could have been written by me, they could have been from my heart. But Jani wrote them, about his own life or fantasies, I don’t know actually! The songs are a lot about life, love and sorrow, heartache and happiness. It’s all very relatable to a lot of people.’’
‘’How does that connect to the name ‘’The Dark Element’’?’’
‘’How I see that song, and I hope Jani meant this too, is that we all have this darker place inside of us. That we have sorrows or are depressed, the worry and anxiety. II think that is where The Dark Element comes from, you can have your dark sides that no one knows.’’
‘’That is such a beautiful meaning!’’
‘’For me it is true. I have always loved clowns. I have always seen myself as some sort of a clown. I want to make people happy. I don’t want to make them sad or uncomfortable. I always try to look happy and positive, but they don’t see me when I am sad, anxious, or when I have a panic attack. I’m a very emotional person, but I believe that is how I can create music. When I write I take all the negative energy out and put that in a song.’’
''Talking about our solo career, your last EP came out in 2016, are you working on second full length album?”
‘’It’s not like I have any concrete songs ready because I do not really have the time, but now that I am back with doing music I feel like I have to. It has been a lot in my thoughts, I have been playing a lot of piano but I do not have anything recorded yet. I have to focus now on The Dark Element, but I would really like to make a second full length solo album.''
‘’How do you combine your studies with your music career?''
‘’When I started with the studies, I believed that I could combine it really well. I thought that I could be a part-time or even full time singer and do my studies on the side. Halfway the first semester I moved to Finland, so I missed a lot of school. I had to start over again. It was very unwise, but I had to decide which one I wanted. I was selling a lot of albums at the time, but I felt like I also needed to have an education. So I haven’t done a lot of music these past years, I’ve done a few guest vocals here and there but the rest of the music career is basically on ice. Studying in university is very hard, and I am very lazy!’’ Anette laughs, ‘’Sometimes I need to make exams over again, because I’m not very good at making a learning schedule. Of course it’s also not easy to study with small children around.’’
‘’Is that why there is no tour planned yet for The Dark Element? Because of your studies?''
‘’Well we have gotten really good offers that I hope we will take. The ball is rolling how it works out. It’s a bit difficult because the others have their own projects as well. I hope to visit Amsterdam as well, hopefully one time in April, when the tulips bloom!’’
‘’What is your favorite song from the album?’’
‘’It’s so hard to choose! Just like on every album, there are song that you don’t like as well. I like ‘’Last Good Day’’ a lot, the lyrics touched me a lot. I try to live in the moment, you don’t know when it is going to be your last day. I tell my children every day how much I love them. It’s a very special song due to the lyrics.’’
At this moment the conversation somehow flipped from very serious to very joyful. We talked about flowers (especially orchids and tulips) and cats! Anette has had cats all her life, just like me. It was a nice ‘’break’’ from the serious album talk, and I hope Anette experienced this the same way. I realized that we actually have a lot in common! In good ways, but also in unfortunate ways, we both have a lot of worries and anxiety.
‘’How do you stay so calm?’’
‘’I meditate and exercise a lot! It also helps that my husband is very relaxed and knows how to calm me down as well. I have this kind of faith that everything will be okay in the end. If I didn’t have him and the children I would be going crazy! I like sports where I really have to push myself, for example cross fit. I also like spinning as well, just listen to loud music, close your eyes and go for it! I can’t do yoga, I tried a lot, but it is just so boring to me. I need to be tired from sports.’’
Anette asked me if I was still in school and I said yes. Then she gave me some amazing advice: ‘’I’ve always been told that I need to know what I want to do, but the only thing I knew was ‘’I am going to be a singer, I’m going to be a star!’’. But just like you, I am still trying to find out what I really want to be, of course I am going to be a nurse, but I just want to learn so much! Life should be about learning things, and get better and better! Just follow your heart, that is the most important thing!’’
‘’How is it going with your vintage shop on Instagram?’’
‘’Well I have been very lazy, haha! I actually sold some stuff a few months ago, but it takes a lot of time, that little shop! You have to iron and steam the clothes, take the pictures at the right moment for the light. And when they are sold you have to answer people and get the payment, so it takes up a lot of time indeed. I really need to sell some more clothes, I don’t have enough place in my closet! I have actually sold almost all of my old stage clothes, but not all. I have kept everything I have good memories too, and I also ‘’recycle’’ old items and reuse them for new looks. Of course not everything is reused, because The Dark Element is a new project I kind of want to give it a whole new image.’’
I asked Anette if she was nervous for the release day, and she replied by saying that she was. ‘’The worst thing is, I don’t even have my own copy yet! So I hope tomorrow after the internship I have it in my mailbox.’’ At this point I was out of questions so I told Anette that, and she said that she really liked our interview, ‘’You had some of the usual questions, but you also had some different ones about the shop and the internship. And we talked about the cats and the flowers! It nice to have a change when it comes to the questions.’’ I absolutely loved that Anette appreciated that!
I want to thank Anette from the bottom of my heart for this special interview! I feel so honoured and I have learned a lot. If the tour comes through Amsterdam I really hope to meet her in person once!
Interview done on 9/11/2017
Published on 16/11/2017