When a good-mooded, slightly late Tarja Turunen calls your mobile phone, your day can't really be a bad one. With her new album, "What Lies Beneath" to be released soon, I talked with the former Nightwish frontwoman and current solo artist about her new songs, private goals and her pending Tour with the Horror-bard Alice Cooper.

Tarja - "What Lies Beneath" is a very personal album. I hope that my fans can feel this.

Interviewer: Hello Tarja, thank you for taking the time. How are you at the moment?

Tarja: Hi Mathias, wonderful! I am again in BERLIIIIIIIIIIIN and I think it's great! [laughs]!

Interviewer: This sounds good! Let's go directly to the point: You have a new album, called "What Lies Beneath". I would be interested in knowing what lies beneath under your songs.

Tarja: Or under me. [laughs]

Interviewer: Yeah, that'd be interesting as well.

Tarja: No, really. This time it was a really long and especially personal journey. I needed two years to write new material. During this time I wrote over 30 songs, and I had to sort most of them, which was really hard for me. The title of the album was decided already two years ago.
"What Lies Beneath" is about the question, that an artist has to make out, what describes me as a person, as a woman. I wrote about the things that need a second look. As a small person it's often hard to emphasize and to understand other people. The title can also be about, for example, what les beneath the surface of the water, of the sea. I am a passionate diver and I love the underwater world. In a nutshell, it's a very personal album and I think and hope that the people can also feel this.

I: So if I understood right, you wrote all songs yourself?
Tarja: Either myself or sometimes together with others. For example "Little Lies" was written together with the guitarplayer Alex Scholpp. I have the huge honor of being able to work in a creative area, where everyone can get involved. Also the US-American Johnny Andrews, who has worked with Apocalyptica and The 69 Eyes worked with us, and he was a wonderful part of our team. I had heard of him and wanted to know who the guy was. At some point we met in Los Angeles and the chemistry worked perfectly. And this is how we composed some songs together. He is a really amazing person.

I: The different influences of songwriting crystalize a little on "What Lies Beneath" in my opinion. The album seems heavier, with a lot more rock than on "My Winter Storm". Am I right?

Tarja: The album is definitely more compact and clear. I wanted to have a red line somewhere, during the songwriting process but also the production. But you are right, WLB has some heavier moments that beat the previous album.

I: If you had to describe your music to other people, what would you say?

Tarja: It's a fusion of rock and cinematographtic, classical music. [laughs]
The bearing, musical elements haven't changed since the beginning. The groovy, heavy-metal-riffs are really important for my music, but they don't come out without the soundtrack elements, sometimes even visual factors. It's about the small details, that actually make the music basically right.

I: Was there a certain song during the production that lies really close to your heart?

Tarja: Oh no! [laughs] I can't answer that... [laughs more] Ahh, let me think: I am really happy about this album, but I think that "Dark Star" can really show what's important for me. it's a relatively heavy song, with a classical passage, and a wonderful melody. This song really moves me. So if I had to chose one title it would be "Dark Star".

I: Tarja, I read on your website that you will play some concerts in germany in the autumn as a support for Alice Cooper...

Tarja: ALICE COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPERRRRRRRRRRRRRRR [laughs]!! Oh, God, I was so happy to receive the answer to my request. This is a great opportunity for me to play some more gigs in Germany.
It will start in the beginning of October and I'll be on the road until the end of the year. In the beginning of next year I'll have a break and go to dive again. Man, I love the water! [laughs] Even though I'm happy about the break, I am in a state of emergency right now. New album, a Tour with Alice Cooper, I have so much energy!

I: How will your setlist for the next concerts be? Are there any certain songs that you will definitely play?

Tarja: Yes, of course. Actually I haven't really worked on this yet. Until now I was busy with finishing the album, and there wasn't enough time for anything else. Of course we will play new songs, as well as songs from "My Winter Storm". Also I plan to also perform a few Nightwish songs, what you probably wouldn't expect me to do, and there is of course another surprise. But I don't know anything exactly, other than this. The only thing that was decided was the visual aspect of the shows, everything will be about black and white, this dualism is very important for me.

I: I think I'm not wrong when I say that music is your life. What are your other interests?

Tarja: I have many different interests. I especially love movies a lot. Sport is also important, I have to keep my body and voice in shape by swimming, jogging and aerobic. Also I enjoy cooking and inviting my friends to a good meal. And I dive [laughs].. Have I already said this?

I: Nah, not that I know?! Let's go back in the past: from today's perspective, would you implement "My Winter Storm" completely once again?

Tarja: Yes and no. I can say today that I am damn proud of this album. "My Winter Storm" were my first steps in a new musical life, after I had played in a band. I had to trust people that I didn't know. It was hard for me to persuade people of my vision. In retrospect, I think that I succedded and the songs are exactly how they are on the album, amazing; the only problem was in the production. On "What Lies Beneath" I took this in my own hands. I made sure that all elements of the songs were implemented and produced in the right way, the way that I had imagined it. Unfortunately this wasn't like that since the first time..

I: Two personal questions: What kind of music do you enjoy listening to?

Tarja: Oh, that is very different. You should see my IPhone.. [laughs] I have orchestral music without lyrics, or also film music. When I want to refuel with energy I listen to rock or metal. I don't know why, but at the moment I am more attracted to American heavy metal, than to the European. Maybe it's because of the people I have been working with, but I enjoy listening to Slipknot, Disturbed or for example Avenged Sevenfold. They are great bands!

I: Does the name Tarja have a special meaning in Finland?

Tarja: I would love to be the queen of Finland [laughs].. No, unfortunately not, it doesn't mean anything, it's just old. [laughs]

I: How are your plans for the future?

Tarja: In the next time I wish to be healthy and fit and to tour the world with WLB. This could last up to two years. Of course it's my goal to make a new album, but that is too far away. It's the same with becoming a mother one day. These are dreams that, I hope, will come true sooner or later.

I: I am sure. And what about later today?

Tarja: You will laugh, but I have about 15 more interviews for today. It's like an interviewmarathon. [laughs]

I: Well, then I wish you a lot of fun today! Is there anything else you would want to say?

Tarja: Yes, I am happy about the gigs in Germany and I'd also love to come to Austria, as it's been a while since the last time I've been there. I hope that this will happen somehow, and I am very happy about my fans and I hope that they will like "What Lies Beneath"!

I: Tarja, thank you for your time. I wish you all the best.

Tarja: Mathias, same for you. Bye!


English translation: Arina