By Andrew Catania
When I saw The Dark Element was going to be fronted by Anette Olzon (Nightwish) and guitarist Jani Liimatainen (Sonata Arctica), I was excited to listen to what they’ve created. The Dark Element is Olzon’s first record since her solo album, Shine in 2014. She’s been mostly quiet since exciting Nightwish in 2012. With Olzon’s voice and Liimatainen’s guitar skills, The Dark Element is undoubtedly a powerhouse of an album. I spoke with Anette about her new project.
When Frontiers asked you to sing for this project, you said you were apprehensive about it. What changed your mind?
AO: Yes, I was a bit hesitant mainly due to that I didn’t know what the songs would sound like or the style and so on. But my husband and I talked it over, and he said it could be fun for me to do an album again, and I was missing to sing, Now I feel it was a great thing to say yes for sure.
How would you describe working with Jani on this project?
AO: Very easy and smooth. He´s a very good songwriter and musician, and therefore nothing was hard. I got to set the keys to the songs, and he just changed them to fit me. He never disapproved of anything I sang, and how I interpreted the melodies neither all the harmonies I arraigned, so it was a very free and beautiful thing to record the album with him.
Did you have any input in the music? Or, was it all written when you came aboard?
AO: He wrote the songs for me and sent the demos to me one at a time. I could choose the keys and had some things I said regarding some stuff in the songs and changed some things but not much. I didn’t feel I had to change so much since the songs fitted me and were good and also the lyrics suited me well.
What’s your favorite song from the album?
AO: I love all of them, but I have to say Last good day is my favorite, The melody and most of all the lyrics are just so important to me and how I feel when it comes to life. To live every day as it could be your last good day. We don’t know what happens and therefore we should always try and act as its the last day. We should say the things we want to say to the ones we love (or hate) and not dwell on much about those annoying things in life.
Are there any plans for touring?
AO: There will be news very soon so stay tuned.
What was different from this project with previous ones?
AO: First of all that the songs are written for me and mainly that I could interpret them as I wanted without Jani standing over me telling me how to sing. And that I could choose the key to the songs, so they fit my voice and range, that’s very different from before.
Do you have any rituals you do before taking the stage to perform? Do you do any exercises with your voice?
AO: I do warm-ups with my vocals for about 30 minutes, then just before I go on stage I say a prayer and see myself and the gig and that I do a super performance. Some mental training since I have stage fright and its always hard for me cause I am so nervous.
Who are some of your influences?
AO: I love Sting, he´s such a fantastic artist and singer. I have also always loved singers with a special voice like Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, David Bowie and Björk.
Do you have any plans for a solo album in the future?
AO: I have started to feel a lust to do another one so yeah if I can get some inspiration and also a good record label to support the album and give me the freedom to do it as I want and not as they wish.
What are your plans for 2018?
AO: I have quite an open book at the moment. I am soon done with the studies, and there are some music next year with some gigs and therefore its hard for me to take a full-time job, but I still have to get some salary. But hopefully there will be more music and maybe some other projects I can do to make a living. I hope to do mainly music if possible.
Check out more about The Dark Element @ https://www.facebook.com/TheDarkElement/
For Anette Olzon @ https://www.facebook.com/anetteolzonofficial/