Tuomas Holopainen — the keyboardist and main songwriter of NIGHTWISH — has spent most of 2013 writing and producing his solo album based on a graphic novel called "The Life And Times Of Scrooge McDuck", written and illustrated by Don Rosa.
"Music Inspired By The Life And Times Of Scrooge - Written And Produced By Tuomas Holopainen" is scheduled for a release this spring via Nuclear Blast.
Holopainen comments: "This is my longtime dream come true, 14 years in the making. And a homage to one of the best storytellers of our time.
"Thank you for sharing this celebration of life and adventure!"
This 12-chapter book tells the life story of Scrooge, from his early years in the 19th century Scotland to his adventures all around the world until the 1950s. The story contains such immense depth, detail, wit and emotional power that the moment Tuomas read it nearly 20 years ago, it instantly became a story of profound personal interest and love for him. The initial spark of "coloring" this story with music, i.e. creating a kind of "soundtrack" for the book, came to him already in 1999, and has ever since haunted the back of his mind.
"Music Inspired By The Life And Times Of Scrooge - Written And Produced By Tuomas Holopainen" contains 10 songs, with total duration of approximately 60 minutes. The music is said to be in the soundtrack / classical / folk genre in the vein of Vaughan Williams, Michael Nyman, James Newton Howard and Enya.
Pip Williams did the orchestral arrangements for the "Life And Times Of Scrooge" disc, continuing his collaboration with Tuomas after the NIGHTWISH records "Once", "Dark Passion Play" and "Imaginaerum".
There are a number of guest musicians appearing on "Life And Times Of Scrooge", including the London Orchestra, The Metro Voices (a choir from London) and four lead vocalists: Alan Reid, Johanna Kurkela, Johanna Iivanainen and Tony Kakko. Other guest appearances include Troy Donockley (uilleann pipes, low whistles, bodhran), Mikko Iivanainen (guitars and banjo), Teho Majamäki (didgeridoo), Jon Burr (harmonica) and Dermot Crehan on the solo violin.
The recordings took place during August - October 2013, first at Angel Studios in London, then in various locations around Scotland and Finland.
The author of the book, Don Rosa, did the artwork for the album.
There will be a single release, for the track "A Lifetime Of Adventure", and a music video to go with it.
Holopainen recently spoke to Finland's YLE about "Music Inspired By The Life And Times Of Scrooge - Written And Produced By Tuomas Holopainen". Check out the report below.
Tuomas previously stated about how the idea for the project came about: "It was back in 1999, during the 'Oceanborn' tour, that I remember first having the idea of writing a 'soundtrack' to my all-time favorite piece of Disney comic, 'The Life And Times Of Scrooge McDuck', by Don Rosa, the apparent heir of the almighty Carl Barks. This book has had such an overwhelming effect on me throughout these years, and finally I have the means and the time to make that dream a reality.
"It all started with a story called 'Last Sled To Dawson', which was published in a Finnish Donald Duck magazine in the late '80s. It instantly became one of my favorite Scrooge/Donald stories and also introduced Mr. Don Rosa to my Disney universe. This story is not part of the actual 'Life And Times' opus, though, but 'a companion story,' set in between the chapters #8 and #9. Then when the massive 12-chapter piece was released in mid-'90s, I was completely and utterly hooked. It was similar to reading 'The Lord Of The Rings' as an 8-year-old, or seeing 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark' for the first time. Adventure, fun and the strangely familiar feeling of home.
"With Scrooge, there was also a much deeper level hidden between the stories and the gags.
"This is a book about life itself. What an unfathomable privilege it is, what are the things that truly matter during our existence. It's about the immense beauty of the world and its possibilities seen through the eyes of a very relentless, honest and complex character. It's about love and family, gain and loss, darkness and rebirth.
"And on top of that, well, it's just your good old-fashioned storytelling fun!"
"Music Inspired By The Life And Times Of Scrooge - Written And Produced By Tuomas Holopainen" track listing:
01. Glasgow 1877
02. Into The West
03. Duel & Cloudscapes
05. Cold Heart Of The Klondike
06. The Last Sled
07. Goodbye, Papa
08. To Be Rich
09. A Lifetime Of Adventure
FestivalBlog.be recently conducted an interview with keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen of Finnish symphonic metallers NIGHTWISH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
FestivalBlog.be: So about "Imaginaerum", how do you compare it to previous albums?
Tuomas: Well, it's special in a way that it included the movie. We kinda went for the movie first into the project, that was the main thing of the release. The album is kind of a soundtrack to the film, so that was really special. It is the most theatrical, most orchestral album that we have ever done, it felt like the right thing to do at the time. I don't really know what we're going to do next. I have a gut feeling that it is going to be something a bit more simple, a bit back in time.
FestivalBlog.be: So a bit back to the roots.
Tuomas: Yeah, a bit more like a band album, because we have kinda searched this orchestral, really varied spectrum to its maximum now; that's how I feel. But maybe, you never know how the mind works… But I have three new songs done already, it's again something a bit different.
FestivalBlog.be: Did you write those songs during the tour?
Tuomas: During the past month I'd say. Whenever I go back home I just write stuff and I have three new songs now.
FestivalBlog.be: What are the plans for the near future for NIGHTWISH?
Tuomas: Well, we all have our side projects. I have this solo album about Scrooge McDuck coming up, so the next two months I'm going to be busy with that one. Floor [Jansen, vocals] is going to go on with REVAMP, Marco [Hietala, bass/vocals] is going to do his own projects, Emppu [Vuorinen, guitar] has BROTHER FIRETRIBE. Maybe take some time off, spend time with the family. I'm going to have a little vacation in New Zealand next spring. So all this kinda stuff is going to load the batteries to write songs and be ready for next summer. The first of July, we will enter the rehearsal room.
FestivalBlog.be: From what I've heard, there are still no plans to officially continue with Floor as vocalist. Do you have any comment on this or can you tell me something about that?
Tuomas: Yeah, well… The thing is that we haven't really thought about it in a concrete way, because there is no need to… It's been such a mess once again, I feel I need a month or two just to not think about the vocal issue at all. Then by the end of this year, we have to make some decisions. But everyone realizes that she is on top of the list, naturally. But I don't want to do anything official, I don't want to make this decision just yet.
FestivalBlog.be: Of course, I understand.