Holland's FaceCulture recently conducted an interview with NIGHTWISH frontwoman Floor Jansen about NORTHWARD, her hard rock project with PAGAN'S MIND guitarist Jørn Viggo Lofstad. You can watch the entire interview below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the origins of NORTHWARD, which date back to an all-star jam at the 2007 ProgPower USA festival:
Floor: "We played music together and it felt really good. I had the idea to spend the year off in 2008 and start writing a rock album. I wanted to do something else other than melodic metal after more than ten years of AFTER FOREVER. I thought it would be nice to sidestep into rock. I had that in my mind. While playing some different kind of songs with PAGAN'S MIND, which is his band and seeing him play a lot of different styles, I figured he's a very good guitar player, very diverse. I heard he played and wrote music for Jorn Lande, which is one of my favorite rock singers. I asked him if he would be interested to write music with me, to which he said yeah. The vibe was really good, but you don't know if you could write together yet."
On why she wanted to venture into rock music territory:
Floor: "I like rock, that would be an obvious one and to do something other than metal. I didn't like progressive jazz or anything. Rock was something I like to listen to. That's something else, something I hadn't explored yet, so it was something I wanted to do."
On why it took ten years for NORTHWARD to release their debut album after it was recorded:
Floor: "All the songs were written ten years ago and we already recorded the drums back then. As we were ready to record the whole album, we were in the final phase of a record deal, but then AFTER FOREVER stopped, so the sabbatical was not just a sabbatical. The whole band stopped, so that brought the project into a different daylight. The contract was cancelled. I didn't want a rock side project to be my next thing, so we put it on hold for the time being, so I could start a new band, which I did, that was REVAMP. After a successful first album and tour, I, unfortunately, got sick. By the time I was back on my feet and ready to record a second album with REVAMP, my band today, NIGHTWISH, called me in 2012. I was in two bands until that was not possible anymore. I simply had no time until NIGHTWISH was planning to take 2017 off entirely. For me, that was a perfect moment to see if we could finish the project. So, I contacted Jørn Viggo back in 2016, 'Hey, I'm going to have a year off again from my band. How about we pick this up?' There was another big thing, which was having children. That comes first, but it would be great if we would have time, which we did. Not finish everything we recorded, we mixed and mastered it, but everything else, promotion, pictures, video, getting everything set up, that took a little while longer and extra long because I was already back on the road with NIGHTWISH. Hence, the fact that it became the 19th of October this year, exactly ten years after writing."
On AFTER FOREVER, which dissolved in 2009:
Floor: "I think it was a very special time. We made great music, which ended way too fast. I'm still sad that it was not able to continue, but I think it was amazing what we did with our young years and yeah, I'm still extremely proud of what we made and still listen to the music with great joy and memories."
On whether she thinks AFTER FOREVER could have accomplished more:
Floor: "Yes, I do. I was not too pleased with stopping. I did not think it was a good idea. I think there was [more to do]."
On how much joining NIGHTWISH changed her life:
Floor: "Who on earth would expect a band such as NIGHTWISH, to give you, of all people, the phone call, 'Hey, can you come and join us now?' Yeah, that turned everything upside down. That put REVAMP in a different daylight. My relationship at the time didn't survive it. I eventually immigrated twice. [Laughs] So, if I look back at my life the last six years, there is almost nothing the same. [Laughs]"
On what she's learned so far from being in NIGHTWISH:
Floor: "I think the biggest importance in general is the chemistry between people, especially when you want to make a step up and everything becomes a bit bigger. The chemistry between people needs to be good and that has been very good since the get-go with me and the guys. It has only become stronger, so in that sense, the pressure doesn't always feel like this kind of pressure because we're very comfortable with each other and what we do. I'm glad for all the experiences I've got to have throughout the years to be more comfortable with myself with what I can and can't do. I think we have a natural way of triggering each other's talents, whether it comes to stage performances or recordings. Of course, the writing is in the hands of Tuomas Holopainen, our keyboard player. For me, to work on songs I haven't written was a huge challenge and to take the freedom to take them into my hands and give it back to him and say 'What do you think?' was great. You don't do that if you don't feel comfortable. Also, that whole experience was lifting everything indeed to the next level, but not with a feeling of 'Oh, now I need to do extra well.' I always feel I need to do well regardless of the level of the band."
NORTHWARD's self-titled debut album was released on October 19 via Nuclear Blast. The cover artwork for the album was created by Hannes Van Dahl and Chris Rörland.