With Finland's The Dark Element, Frontiers Music forged the union of ex-Nightwish vocalist Anette Olzon and Jani Liimatainen (Cain's Offering/ex-Sonata Arctica). With Liimatainen's stellar songwriting, the debut release features a sound that combines best of Olzon era Nightwish along with pop-infused numbers that breathed new life into the typical stale symphonic metal formula (CROM reviewed the album over at this location)
CROM was in touch with Olzon for a quick rapid fire interview on the band and album:
CROM: Congratulations on the debut album, it is really fantastic. So how did Jani Liimatainen lure you into the project, or was it the other way around?
Anette Olzon: Thanks so much so happy you like it. Well, it was actually Frontiers who asked me so I guess it's them who lured me into doing it and then they told Jani I was gonna be the singer.
CROM: How did you decide on the name for the project?
Anette Olzon: Well the project name is actually mine and Jani's name but somehow the album name has gotten to be our name now. Don't know how, but I am ok with that name too.
CROM: You and Jani brought some friends from Cain’s Offering to fill out the band – with Jani Hurula and Jonas Kuhlberg. Did you feel a bit like you were in the middle of recording the next Cain’s Offering
Anette Olzon: I have only done my vocals so Jani decided upon the music and with that he used those guys which is quite understandable if they are friends and band mates from before. I like them both so doesn't bother me at all.
CROM: Without getting into the whole Nightwish situation, I just want to make it clear that I adored the material that you were part of and particularly your vocal performances. So the biggest thing I noticed in listening to the Dark Element album is that it draws a ton of stylistic elements from that material. There are times where I can hear “Storytime” in the melodies – especially in “My Sweet Mystery.” Was the goal to capture some of that magic and expanding it out?
Anette Olzon: This is actually something you need to ask jani since he has written all the songs and
knows what he was thinking in the vain of the sound and so on.
CROM: What I love about The Dark Element is a variety of styles at work, especially hard rock and pop elements that make the perfect union with the metallic side. Breaking up the punchy numbers like “Here’s to You” with tremendous power ballads like “Someone You Used to Know” brings great balance to the songwriting. Tell me a bit about the influences both you and Jani bring to this union.
Anette Olzon: I believe we both have experiences in different music styles such as metal, melodic rock, aor, progressive metal, pop and so on and these backgrounds can be heard in the album which in my opinion gives it a nice variation and more fun to listen to.
CROM: You also had a few special guests that appear on the album – most notably Niilo Sevänen of Insomnium on “Dead to Me.” Can you talk a little about the guests and what they brought to the album?
Anette Olzon: Yeah we had him mainly and also a piano player and I can't say so much about them since I've never met them but they contributed with great growling and playing and it gave an extra touch to those songs.
CROM: The album is brilliantly produced by Jani and the great Jacob Hansen. Can you describe a little bit about the writing and recording process and what it was like to work with Jani and Jacob?
Anette Olzon: Jani started to write the songs after he heard I was going to sing and I got the first song some months later. Then he sent me songs during the coming weeks, I decided what key I felt comfortable singing them in and after he changed the music I went to the studio and recorded every song one at a time. I did every songs lead vocals for some weeks and then I started to record all the harmonies I felt like doing. Jani didn't say what I should sing so it was a great easy and with much freedom kinda way to interpret and arrange the vocals my way. Then he did all the rest on the songs like guitar solos, keys and of course adding some male harmonies on top. When all was recorded the files were sent to Jacob who mixed them all to get that final amazing sound you can hear in the final album.
CROM: Are there any plans to bring The Dark Element to the stage?
Anette Olzon: We have gotten some offers so we talk about this at the moment so let's hope so.
"The Dark Element" is available now through Frontiers Music Srl. Pick up a copy at this location.