"With this record I want to give people my heart, interest and passion."
When Tarja calls me she is in Karlsruhe, on the campus where she studied some years ago. She sounds as sweet as always and full of energy. Rapidly she asks how I am. When I remark that it must been a busy time for her, she says:
"Yes it was a long way to record ‘ My Winter Storm.’ Like an old saying ‘ when you plan carefully half the work is done.’ I needed one year to plan everything and work it out.”
You worked with many different writers, have you met them all?
"Last year in the end of the summer, begin of the fall there were hundred composers sending songs to me. I used four of those songs and some I met to discuss with them and work it out. Only the writers from ‘ My Little Phoenix’ I haven’t met.”
It was the first time you wrote and composed songs, Wasn’t it hard to make a start?
"It took a lot of courage. People told me ‘ you have such a talent, be brave.’ Now I am so happy and it is really good. It sounds weird, because the album is just finished.. but I have already new melodies for the next album. Something new is happening. I am so happy with my new band: it is such a positive and warm atmosphere!”
You worked with some very divers musicians. How was it too mix all those different backgrounds? "There were different styles, opposites from each other. I could understand that you have an open minded view as such an artist.”
Her band is Ear Harvin on drums (Seal), Doug Wimbish on bass (Madonna, Rolling Stones), Alex Scholpp on guitar (Farmer Boys) en Torsten Stensel on keyboard (Tina Turner).
"We had the time to discuss and become friends. We had a lucky start, there were no problems. Also the film people were very kind. Very special how they put the arrangements on a normal album.”
You worked with a team well-known from film music like Hans Zimmer (Gladiator) and flew to America, weren’t you nerves to meet such a professional team?
"It was so nice to be there, but yes I was very nerves to go to LA. It is an amazing studio. No windows because the big stars don’t want to be recognized. The people were very warm hearted. I realized not to be afraid, because they were really interested to work with me. That gave me a lot of self-confidence. I wanted to do something new, totally different things than before. To give people my heart, interest and passion. To find the courage and get help and support from all those people.”
‘My Winter Storm’ is a very diverse album with classical melodies, but also heavy parts.
"Yes the diversity is big, but the spirit is there: that is the red line. It is emotional and that is a good thing.”
You wrote ‘ Oasis’ the music and the lyrics. It is a fragile song in Finnish.
"I’ve been writing melodies a lot. I have to find the right mood, try the choirs on the piano and sing. I always do the melody with my voice. Than I record the basic lines and add the harmony and rhythm section. I have learned some techniques, but it takes so much time to find it out. Once I made such a mistake that I lost five hours of working.”
When do you decide that the song is finished and good enough?
"Many times we not get back to the remake. We had a production from 3,5 months. The preproduction was so well and when I went to the studio the spirit was captured. I still hear some little mistakes, but it is emotional. And that is music! You can do it different, always, but is it necessary? You can make it perfect technically, but I want to hear the emotion. That is how far you can go.”
How was it to work with producer Daniel Presly (Jewel, Faith No More)?
"He really understand me very well. I gave the direction and he described it to the musicians. Always discussed things first with me. That gave such a good atmosphere, really a challenge also."
The single ‘ Walk Alone’ have some characters in the video. the Ice Queen, the Dead Boy, the Doll and the Phoenix return also on the album. Have you created them?
Tarja starts to laugh, saying ‘ It is such a weird story.’
"When I received all those songs I noticed that some themes came back. A bit scary, because without knowing each other there were some common things. I started to appear characters in the songs and started to play with that. To make a story to create more music. That helped me to build-up the album and write the songs.
It is not a concept album, the characters are not really telling a story. It is just a way to play around and make a connection. It is a fantasy and I had fun with them. The connection is that I made them and they come back in an other way. The video producer Jorn gave me the story and I thought it would be nice to use the characters in the video. We filmed two days in Berlin and it went very well: it became a real story.”
Tarja reveils something: "I have written a lot of songs. 14 of them came on he record. In the middle of the process I even considered to make a double album. Those other songs are not recorded. It became a compact album. The songs are not that long, so I managed to get them together.”
One of the heaviest songs on the album is the cover Poison from Alice Cooper.
"I wanted to do a cover on the album, but it was difficult, we had a trouble time to find the right one. I like the cello solo and it had to fit in with the rest of the songs. I found the song, because I was driving in Finland and it was five times on the radio that day. I started to work around it and thinking how it would fit in my style. I like the new direction we choose and still have that ’80 feeling. It was a real challenge for me to do this.”
Tarja did already two shows and in December a long tour truth Europe is planned. She will play on 13th December in Amsterdam, Melkweg as well. To perform the songs live is different that in the studio, was it each to translate that on stage?
"I can’t believe that I feel so good about it. It was so beautiful! I like the musicians personalities and also they are very professional. In Budapest and Berlin we had such a warm atmosphere. People were really listening and I was in the center of the attention. I was a bit scary for that, but it was not what I expected. There was so much love, beautiful. Even tough it were two shows and the rehearsing, we expected a disaster but the people were very happy. It was a good beginning and I have a good feeling about it.”
Tarja sounds very happy and sweet, she is full energy and she repeats it once more: "I get to know more about myself and I am surrounded by people with positive energy, that feels so good. I really look forward to be in Amsterdam again. Take care Silvia and get better soon!”
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