Finnish weekly news magazine Suomen Kuvalehti has published a brand-new interview with NIGHTWISH mastermind Tuomas Holopainen regarding the band's decision to part ways with their longtime singer Tarja Turunen. The brief question-and-answer session follows (translated from Finnish):
Q: Tarja Turunen has described the way you handled this whole affair as "cruel." Do you regret the way it was done?
Tuomas: "Not for a second. The decision has been a long time coming — since last January — and all points of view were thoroughly considered before we went ahead and took this step. Even though I am the person in the band who had to do the firing, the decision to part ways with Tarja was made jointly by all bandmembers."
Q: How did you end up using an open letter to let the world know of your decision? Wouldn't the usual "artistic differences" explanation have been sufficient as far as the public is concerned?
Tuomas: "If we had announced our decision in two sentences, it would not have not painted the right picture of us, and it would have resulted in me having to spend the next two months sitting on the phone explaining why we had to do what we did. I do not think our letter contained any details that were too personal."
Q: What kind of response did you expect from Tarja?
Tuomas: "I heard that she was shocked and she has accused us of lying, but every single sentence in the letter is the absolute truth. The way she has treated us for the past year has been at least as cruel as the way she claims we have been by making this letter public."
Q: How were you able to keep things together for so long even though there was so much tension within the band?
Tuomas: "I survived because the other people in the band are so awesome and we all share the same goals. There were obviously two separate camps in the band — Tarja and her manager/husband Marcelo on one side, and the rest of the group, the road crew and the band's manager on the other."
Q: What were the things that you had disagreements with Tarja about?
Tuomas: "We are on completely different planets when it comes to working morals and spiritual attitudes. I do not want to have any person in the band who tells me that she doesn't need the band for her career anymore."
Q: Why did you go ahead and announce your deal with the Finnish bank Sampo to have a new bank card issued with a picture of NIGHTWISH on it when you knew that the next day you would be firing your singer?
Tuomas: "The deal with Sampo was worked out in January and it was arranged by our manager. I had completely forgotten about it and was only reminded about it in the week prior to the announcement. The Sampo bank representatives took it very well."
Q: So Turunen's image won't be removed from the cards then?
Q: Your fans have been shocked to learn of your decision to part ways with Tarja. How will this affect your popularity in the future?
Tuomas: "If our next CD is of the same quality as the previous albums, I don't believe there will be a problem. If the CD sells 100,000 copies instead of a million, we will still be satisfied. Having huge commercial success is not our main concern."
Q: Is it possible that Turunen could block your upcoming book from being published or prevent band-related products from being sold based on legal issues?
Tuomas: "I really don't know much about this, but I asked our label and our manager if the split would result in legal problems and the response was that there wouldn't be any."
Q: Will your new singer be Finnish?
Tuomas: "I will not comment on this right now. I can only tell you that no decisions have yet been made on this issue."
Q: Do you foresee a scenario where Tarja Turunen could return to the band at some point in the future?
Tuomas: "At the moment, it is very hard to imagine. I wish her all the best."