In 2013 a new era has started – Nightwish announced Floor Jansen as an official member of the band. My life completely changed, when I saw their live show in Budapest, back in 2015 – they stole my heart, however, I became a Nightwish fan around 2005, when I first saw Nemo on MTV.
After 3 years, the legendary Finnish band returned to Budapest – before their fantastic show, we had an opportunity to do an interview with the voice of Nightwish, Floor Jansen.
But let’s go back in time. Floor used to work as a voice teacher. However, she had as successful bands as After Forever and ReVamp, but – surprisingly – she had time for that. “I think a lot of people do that” – she explained. “Well, I mean every period comes with different use of the time, so when you make an album, for example, there’s more time left for teaching. When I had After Forever, we didn’t play as much as we do now with Nightwish and with ReVamp even lass.
So, a couple of years back, I had way more time for teaching, and the emphasis was even more on teaching than on live playing. But nowadays, I don’t have any time left actually.
But that doesn’t mean that I’m completely stopped. I mean – I have been doing masterclasses throughout the years and still do that, even though my last masterclasses also been a while but… I don’t feel like I stopped teaching, just on a day to day basis it’s not happening anymore. If I would have the chance to do masterclass again, I’d like to! Because it’s still something that I find really satisfying to do.”
Floor was also duetting with her sister, Irene – she is featured on a Northward song, called “Drifting Islands”. “We are just happy sisters” – replied Floor, when we asked her about their relationship. She told us: they support but – in singing techniques – they do not educate each other. “Yeah, I mean we support each other’s music for sure, but the thing is, that even though we both sing, it’s my career. I studied music and I studied singing – my sister didn’t. So even though she has got a great voice, she’s not as trained as I am, and she has a different profession. That’s the difference between what we do. So, she’s not a professional singer. That changes the level of communication prospect, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t sing together – and we do.”
In a recent interview Floor said, that in a band democracy can’t really work – so, who is the boss in Northward then? “Yeah, I still hold the thought that within a band it doesn’t work, but a project with two people – that’s something else. Because there are only two people. That brings the social levels on a different balance and with us, it’s really fifty-fifty.”
Well, it’s a fact that Floor’s stage presence is extraordinary. We were curious: does she style her own looks, or does she work with someone? “A little bit both. Nowadays I have an outfit, black with copper – that was already designed. And still the design just made for me, but usually I – on the beginning of the process of thinking – I work with a designer to tell what I have in mind, and together come to something. So, all the previous outfits have been done like that, just with different people.
So, I decide what I wear. And then I find a makeup that matches.”
Well, Floor is one of the fittest and sportiest singers out there – a question rises up: does she have any favorite sports? And how does she prepare herself for the shows? “Not really favorites. I mean, I like the mix of it and it’s also depending if I’m at home or not. I don’t go to gyms, I don’t like that anymore. But I have an app – a lot of gyms have their programs, all kind of different things, like body combat, body attack and body balance.
So, they offer different kinds of workouts, but since I have been doing that at gyms for years, now I can follow the instructions on the videos. And then, you know, it’s on my phone so I can bring it anywhere, ’cause I travel so much and – yeah, there are not perfect gym circumstances, so still, just work out that’s something that I find important. And do a lot on my own body weight, because you don’t always drag around, mess with weights. So yeah, that works for me, together with two hours shows as we do, so… That’s pretty a workout by itself.”
Floor is actually a vegetarian for 4 (or even 5) years now. “Well, in Nightwish there are a few vegetarian and Troy is vegan. And so I learned more from them about why – and that starts to effect slowly how you think. And then I saw pictures, not even a film. It was just pictures of horses that have been transported from Western to Eastern Europe. If you would see those pictures I think you will never gonna eat any meat anymore.
Because you know that, that’s would happen – it was sickening. Apparently, it’s just cheaper to slaughter horses in Eastern Europe then it is in Western Europe, so they put sick and wounded, old horses into a train to Eastern Europe and they treat them like shit, and break their leg or whatever… The torture is horrible and there are so many things in the meat industry that are like that. We breed animals purely to eat them and then we treat them like shit.
And they all feel, and they all think, and they would play if they could, and they would have a nice life if we would let them live.
But no, we feed them with hormones and we let them grow fast and then we kill them and then we eat them. And we poison our planet in the process – I don’t really see any argument on this side, it’s not normal for me. However, I do eat wild meat sometimes. Like wild deer, wild moose. I live in a country, where there’s too much of that, so that it’s not really into the industry. There are too many. They die of a bullet by a hunter – that’s instant death, and they are trained to kill as the fastest as possible. Still death, but death would have come anyway. If there are too many, they would have starved to death in the winter.
I do believe that works – that’s a touchy subject – an innocence hunt – but as a vegetarian and as somebody, who is very socially aware, I didn’t think that hunt would be something that I would ever embrace. But since I’ve moved to a country where hunt is necessary to preserve the wildlife, and has been doing that so successful, and all species have been thriving since they introduce this – that it starts to make sense and then I can be the part of the natural circle again.”
Well, the Nightwish guys are not really into social media, but Floor does a pretty good job at it. “I only post when I have something to say. I see other people just post something two or three times a day regardless of happening. I can’t find the strength and need to do that – I do need have something to tell. But yeah, I don’t know why they haven’t (refers to why the guys don’t really use social media – the editor), I think they never needed it. I think that’s it. And I did.
Well, I use it when I have something to say. And sometimes to interact, but mostly that’s why it’s not social for my part at all, it’s me communicating to the world. It’s not very often, but it’s very hard to interact with people who write things, and then I get so many messages and it’s impossible to reply to all of them. It’s me posting things and sometimes I find time to read things and reply but yeah… Social? Hmm… Media? Yes.”
And it was a time to ask a strange question: we asked her to imagine that she could be a superhero for one day – what would be the first thing she would do? “Oh, God! If I would be a superhero…? Yeah, I would be nature superhero, in that case,
I’d just fish out all these plastic soup shit from the Oceans and wherever it got into, into the sand and into everything basically. Then I would balance out the CO2 levels. Yeah, that would be a good start.”
Well, that’s a fact that many people think that Floor is one of the best female singers in the metal scene. Is it a pressure on her, or does it give her some confidence? “I don’t know, maybe both” – she replied. “I mean you naturally grow in life you get better in something.
So, I get more confident in what I do, and I feel very loved and supported by the Nightwish fans – so, that’s fantastic!
When it comes to the best, I think that’s a super subjective thing and for my personal feelings, not the most important, because I don’t really see the difference between men and women anyway.
That’s something that somebody else thought of. ‘Okay, that’s a female fronted and that’s a male-fronted band’ and all the focus, if you’re in a female fronted band, is that you always need to be in the group of other females, while there’s a whole another world out there, where are fantastic male singers that are equally interesting to me, in most cases more interesting.
So, if there’s anything that I’d really like to see is that, if we could finally forget about „yeah, who’s the best female singer?”. It doesn’t really matter.
Who’s the best singer? Or who is the most loved singer? Because the best is so subjective – what is best, what qualifies best? Those who can sing highest? Those who can sing most emotional? It’s not so important. (whispers) Not to me.
“Yes, I do believe that women are equal to men. And if that means that I’m a feminist then yes, I am!”
– replied Floor when we asked: does she consider herself as a feminist? “But I come from a country where I took it for granted. There are still women on this planet who get murdered, because they got raped. There are still little girls, that get raped, and the men get away with it. So yes, in that sense I’m a feminist! If that what that means, that’s very-very unfair to say at least.”
Interview: Afrodite Szeleczky
Copy editor: Alexandra Égi
Photos: Péter Tepliczky