Thank you for Troy in being super quick in sending us the answers.
“What a splendid bunch of questions from a splendid bunch of people! Interviews with journalists can be very tedious. Trust the fans to restore my interest and give me a bloody good laugh into the bargain….
“If you could live in another era, which one will it be?”
I would like to live in the seventies and eighties. An Era of no mobile phones; people talking to each other rather than staring into their “Black Mirror” and tapping time away. Pubs were so much more fun with no flat screen TV’s distracting us with the horrors of football. Plus, all the best bands were in full flight.
- “It's remarkable that you're a multinstrumentalist, but what was your first instrument? And what is your favorite?": First instrument was guitar but I love them all.
- “You came to Nightwish as a temporary musician and now you're a key part of their sound, what made you stay?": It was impossible to walk away from Nightwish. The possibilities were too great and besides, we have too much fun.
- “If you could play an old NW song you haven't played, what would be it?”: “Ghost Love Score” arranged for just Tin Whistle and Banjo.
- “Do you have any recurrent dreams?": No, I seldom dream. Mind you, my life is such a Kaleidoscope it’s difficult to tell the difference.
- “What was your first remarkable foreign experience?": I went travelling in India when I was 21 years old and that was formative to say the least.
- “Your Pink Floyd-ish melodic guitar has been an AMAZING addition to the band sound, and a total surprise too! Did you come up with it? What inspired the new solos?": Well thank you kindly Ahasverus. I’m glad you like it (I’ll buy you a pint next time I see you!). It’s always been waiting to show itself. I figured this particular guitar sound which I’ve cultivated over these years would fit the atmosphere of Nightwish perfectly. So we initially tried it in ‘Nemo’ and it seemed to give the song a rich, new, fiery ‘lift’. And as ‘Sahara’ is now showing, it’s opening up lots of opportunities for harmony guitar parts in future. The more variety of paint for our palette the more colourful the picture as it were.
- “You're love for Wuthering Highs is well documented, but it's quite the unusual song, what was your first reaction to it?": Shock! It seemed completely ‘other worldly’ and it was and still is. I met Kate a few years ago backstage at the Royal Festival Hall but I was a gibbering ‘fanboy’ with knees of jelly so was of no use to anyone.
- “What was your favorite Christmas gift?": I love Christmas and all gifts. I can’t say what is best without sounding drippy and mawkish.
- “Would you like to compose the music for a NW song?": I naturally do get involved, but I think Tuomas does just fine….
- “Your hair is great, what is your hair care routine?”: Oh yes! I’m glad you picked up on this because it’s something I am very serious about – firstly, I wash it in cheap hotel shampoo but, and here’s the secret, before it dries, Floor drags me feet-first through a nearby bush, and then massages ground up biscuit crumbs into my scalp with a teaspoon of salt. Voila! The Troy Donockley Hairdo. Do feel free to try it.
- “Would you ever shave your head bald?” Of course! Who wouldn’t? Actually, I intend to for the next tour; just turn up at rehearsals shining bald. Anything for a laugh…
- “Have you ever wanted to pee in the middle of a gig, in fact, in the middle of a song?”: Weirdly, whenever Emppu does his marvellous ‘dive bombing Harmonic’ toward the end of “Last Ride” I ALWAYS wet my pants.
- “Which bands do you consider overrated? Which ones underrated?”: I think Coldplay are massively overrated. Loads of relatively underrated.
- “What was your favorite tv show as a child?”: Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men and Fawlty Towers.
- “What was your favorite film as a child? Which one is your favorite film?”: ‘Jaws’. Saw it 6 times in its first week of release. I’m a serious film buff so it’s impossible to choose one over the rest… Criminal behaviour.
- “You recorded for the score of "Robin Hood", did you get to meet Ridley Scott?”: I did! A very nice guy but I suffered the ‘Kate Bush Effect’ and the sound of my knees knocking drowned out any chance of conversation.
- “Who is your favorite superhero?”: Troy Tempest from “Stingray”
- “You also recorded for Ayreon's latest album, how was the experience?": Arjen is a splendid chap so all is good.
- “What are your views on religion?”: Without quoting Karl Marx, I’d say I appreciate and understand the need to believe in God but we should actively self-analyse the reasons for that need – cultural, historical and biological.
- “Are you acquainted with the philosophy of Anton LaVey?”: I’m not, and I’m not going to google him and pretend that I am! I will investigate later though…
- “What are your tastes concerning literature?”: ‘Classic’ mainly. The archaic language and evolving expression excites me and reminds me of how much we have lost. I love words. I do resent losing some of our best adjectives to the modern monsters of the meaningless – the word ‘Awesome’ for instance: The Grand Canyon IS, a ‘Big Mac with extra cheese’ IS NOT!!
- “What was the first Nightwish song you listened to? What were your first thoughts about the band's music?”: “Dark Chest of Wonders”. I loved the title and was intrigued by the direction and romance of it. And for that reason it’s a bit of a favourite.
“How would you react if life was found in another planet?”
Same as you – crack open some fine wine and dance down the street in my underpants while blowing kisses at the sky. To paraphrase ‘The Universe Song’ by Monty Python “I hope there’s intelligent life up there because there’s bugger all down here on earth”.
- “Can we expect more of you exploring other instruments and sounds in addition to the folk style on the upcoming album?”: Absolutely. I have a lot of instrumentation at my disposal so we might as well use it!
- “What is your favourite place in the world to perform a concert and why?”: Oh I really can’t say…I love everywhere and wherever I happen to be. Honest.
- “What is your favourite Richard Dawkins' documentary and what kind of similar material would you suggest to me?”: His DVD ‘Box Set’ is excellent. And have you read ‘Demon Haunted World’ by Carl Sagan yet? No?? Why not??!
- “What is the vision of the band about songs like The Carpenter, Gethsemane and The Poet and the Pendulum, that somehow relate to the existence of a god or even refers to Jesus Christ?”: In the light of today, it’s all metaphorical my dear…
- “What is your favourite TV show, game and book?”: Difficult! Changing all the time.
“ I wonder at which point - in what specific occasion or anecdote that you can recall - did you find yourself realizing that this was no ordinary gig?
Similarly, when and what made you start feeling like a band member rather than just a lucky session guy on a really good gig?”
Thanks for your lovely greeting!
In answer to your questions, they can be seen as one - I found myself being quickly pulled toward the band. The wonderful ‘tractor beam’ of the like-minded. Everything, every element, the musically adventurous and courageous indifference to the desires of the music business appealed to me, massively so. Also, my natural insouciance seemed to fit with the dream of Nightwish so here we are!
- “What's the weirdest question a fan/interviewer has asked you?”: See the splendid first question from SYMPHONIKER.
- “Playing which NW-song gives you the most satisfaction musically wise?”: At the moment it’s ‘Sahara’. Brilliant atmosphere and Hard and furious as anything!
“Would you like to sing the songs from Angels Fall First in which Tuomas sings?”
Aaaah! Whitelagoon is an Oracle!
- “Who inspires you in your life?”: Noble people. Honest People. Fearless People. Lovely People.
- “What was the moment in your life that changed everyting?”: When I was pulled, terrified and exhilarated from out of my wonderful mother and into this swirling magical world.
“What was your first impression when you were asked to play flute and pipes on a metal band? How did you face it?”
Madrid any day now! I think my answer to SOME_DUDE covers these completely…
- “I remember vaguely that you were practicing the magic trick of walking on water some years ago, did you learn to do that?”: I sort of did but I was ruining too many jackets falling into mossy ponds!
- “Why did you participate in the Openly Secular campaign?”: Oh it’s a campaign well worth supporting; to help encourage people to think a bit deeper and with freedom. I was very pleased with our video and it got a brilliant endorsement from our pal, the one and only Richard Dawkins. Did you notice I said ‘Pal’? Ha ha!
“Your opinion on Brexit?"
Love the three headed squirrel!
On Brexit? Well, I think it’s important to realise that Europe is NOT a political entity; it’s a Continent, and the UK is a part of that and always will be. There is a strong ‘hard-wired’ allegiance to the principle of Democracy in Britain, and I feel this was a major issue. A lot of people see the EU as anti- democratic. Unfortunately, what was a great idea appears to have been ruined, and I can’t see its survival. The EU seems to be too ossified and obtuse. Anyway, I voted to leave the Solar System…
“Is there any instruments you would like to learn to play?"
There’s too many already. Don’t encourage me!
- “If you weren't a musician, how would you make your living?”: Probably a Baker. I bake all our bread and I even have a ‘proving cabinet’ which excites me no end. I take it very seriously and can talk at length on yeast strains and the pros and cons of stonegrinding. Exciting eh?
- “Would you like to live in Finland?”: I find myself living there more often than not.
- “Do you have plans of releasing more solo albums?”: Yes! I have started work and intend to record it in our year off (2017)
- “Most complicated NW song to play live?”: Greatest Show on Earth ( full version)
“Are there any instruments you have tried to introduce to Nightwish, but you (and the band) came to conclude they don´t really fit? If so, which ones and why didn´t they fit?"
Strangely, that hasn’t happened yet. Let’s see what happens when we attempt GLS with the Banjo…
- “If you could be an animal for a day (different from the human animal you already are), which one would you choose?”: Great question! I reckon it would have to be a fruit bat. Hanging about upside down only breaking the tedium by flying around looking for fruit. A bit like my human touring life really…
- “ How many sets of uilleann pipes and whistles do you have?”: Only one set of pipes as they are rare and irreplaceable. I have around 28 whistles of varying size.
- “Have you ever picked the wrong whistle and only realised doing so while playing?”: I have! And recently. I picked up my ‘C’ whistle rather than ‘Bb’ during “Islander” it was pure avant-garde Jazz.
- “Have you tried using a microphone on the outside of the pipes (attached with a clip on the chanter or something)? Wouldn't that give a much livelier and natural sound than an internal mic?": Yes and microphones just don’t work because of the pipes being omni-directional. Plus you can never get enough level to compete with a band. I always record them acoustically though.
THEY CROWNED THE SUN:
- “I know that you're a secularist, but did you ever have an experience that you couldn't rationally explain”: Indeed I have. A few. My favourite was walking through a park and hearing my sister say my name really loud, clearly, and close in my left ear. I turned around but nobody there. I then noticed, in the distance, the figure of my sister waving at me!
- “Do you think it might be possible to reconcile science and religion/spirituality via some sort of "secular spirituality", such as explored by Sam Harris in his 2014 book "Waking Up”?”: I can think of nothing more spiritual than the discoveries of Science so, a resounding yes. In the present tense.
- “Do you have experience with meditation?”: I did meddle with it in my late teens while going through the process of trying to find meaning in old ideas, but I soon realised that I was playing a game with myself and creating more distracting illusions.
SPIRIT OF WHITERUN:
1) “Do you have any funny/memorable stories from working with Adrian Edmondson?”: We are going out again next festival season simply because we have Big Fun together. Funny stories? Countless. I love how he doesn’t suffer fools gladly (I unfortunately do most of the time) so him taking on and ejecting idiots from venues is always a great laugh.
2) “ Would you ever consider doing the male vocals on Once Upon a Troubadour?”: Me doing male vocals on old Nightwish songs? That isn’t as outlandish as it seems. In fact….
“What do you usually do backstage when band performs songs you are not involved in?"
Now here’s yet another great question. I usually watch the audience and revel in the ecstasy of it all. I have a little routine with Antti who looks after me and Emppu – just before GLS or PATP he cracks open a nice cold beer for me. Then another before LROTD. He also entertains me with his brilliant dancing.
And a very fond greeting to the Hungarian fans. A lovely lot!
- “What was the funniest moment you will never forget?": Well as usual there are too many too private to relate, but me and Tuomas in Peru trying to catch lit Cigars, propelled off a fork handle, into our mouths while our very drunk mates cheered us on was pretty good.
- “What was the worst food You have eaten in your life?”: It was a pizza in Germany – Red paint and Cat vomit on a baked face flannel.
- “Is there any housework you hate ...and have you got any what you like?”: I don’t like washing dishes but I do like vacuum cleaning.
- “Is there a place you have never played, but you would to? (for example top of a hill, church, valley…)”: The international Space Station would be good. Or the Jennings Brewery in Cumbria.
- “Do You have an object (in Your life) you insist on?": A deck of Playing Cards.
- “What is your favorite home furnishing?”: Brilliant! It’s Lamp Shades.
- “Do you have moments, imaginations or pictures flashing in your mind after a show, when you are on your own?”: Yes, it’s impossible to ‘switch off’ after the adrenaline burst of a show so its difficult to get to sleep sometimes with the constant bombardment of the experience. So relaxation and quiet is the only hope.
- “What kind of thing or situation can make you cry?”: Onions. And being in a restaurant or lift with bad Muzak.
- “Do you have an idol from the history of your nation?”: There are so many. I am lucky to have grown up on a little island with such a rich and extraordinary history but I would go for Charles Darwin or maybe the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams ( who are, amazingly, related)
- “What would you ask us”: Have you wondered why you, and most of the other Nightwish Fans across the world, are so polite, enthusiastic and kind?
“Imagine Tuomas goes crazy and starts writing rubbish, would you try to mutiny and take control of the band or would you just run away?”
Thank you for your very lovely compliments! Now, onto your completely superb question – I did try to take control once and I shall tell you what happened: It was back in 1892… Tuomas brought to us a new song called “Bongo, Bongo, Hey! Hey!” It had a distinctly ‘Hawaiian Flavour’ with steel guitar and baritone sax which I felt to be the wrong direction for Nightwish. When I mentioned our feelings, he flew into a blind rage and demanded we all wear Tropical coloured Shirts and ‘Hula Skirts’ for the rest of the tour. So I felt I had no option but to take action. But unfortunately, when I tried to start a rebellion to crown myself King of the Band, he made me drink 5 bottles of very fine vintage wine with him in a superb restaurant, after which, it was impossible for me to run away. So there you have it. The song will be on the next album,
- “Do you like Salmiakki?”: I LOVE Salmiakki and I am a bit of an evangelist in the UK. Turned a lot of people onto its dark power.
- “Do you listen death metal?”: I like Death Metal but I can’t listen to it.
- “Why don't you dye your hair red? Like Tuomas 2002 maybe?”: Excellent! Well my natural hair colour is Reddy-Gingery-Brown but I dye it grey in honour of my Heroes – Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Beethoven, Vaughan Williams etc.
- “Does the age have an impact on your playing and touring?”: I don’t really know what it is. I mean, I understand the soft machine slowing down a bit as everything does in time, but to quote my friend Maddy Prior (The High Priestess of English Folk Music) – “Fine games in the clouds, a pirouette and dance, pure fun and glee. To fall on air, without a care, joyfully flying free. I drop, I swoop, I loop the loop, tumbling above the trees…” That’s what I think of age.
- “On the EMFB episode 21 named "Troy", you play some tune at the beginning. Is that the Beauty and the beast by Nightwish or just practising?”: Oooooh I have no idea!
- “Why don't you compose for Nightwish? What do you think about your creativity in making music?”: I am a very serious composer myself. It’s something I am utterly devoted to and compelled by, so I look forward to all the impending free time. I also enjoy co-writing which is something I am yet to do in Nightwish but in a way I am reluctant; I am very, very happy to contribute musical directions and ideas to Nightwish, but I think Tuomas has it covered, and I like it that way. I mean, it’s worked splendidly for 20 years has it not?
- “Can you tell me what is your Top 5 guilty pleasures (music, movies, habits etc..)?”: Just like your gender, I’m not telling….
- “How do you cope with the morning hangover? Any secret to share?”: Now, age certainly has an impact with this! No secrets or advice apart from stop having so much fun. But why would I recommend such a dull and treacherous course?
- “Are you feel fed up from touring now, after one and a half year of doing it?”: Nah…even the very early formative stuff has its charm.
- “Do you feel like a metal dude?”: Well as my friends in the delightfully hard-rocking band ‘Battle Beast’ put it – “I’m a bad motherfucker I’m a metal man, I’ve got a heart of steel, I’m not afraid to die”. They wrote that song about me. Obviously.
- “Why don't you do some magic trick on the stage and maybe cut Tuomas body in half like in Imaginaerum movie?”: Watch this space.
- “Why do you keep your nails long?”: So they ‘click’ when I play the piano.
“Which brand do you prefer for tin and low whistles?”
My whistles were made by Bernard Overton, the inventor of the modern low whistle but sadly he died and his instruments are difficult to find. However, I can recommend Tony Dixon for Low Whistles. For High ‘Tin’ whistles the very best are made by Chris Backhouse of CB Whistles. I use his high C ‘Elan’ Whistle live and it’s superb. Named after a certain song…
Hi Las L. A lovely letter. (#31)
A subject too large to answer here (maybe on a nice beach in Florida with a Pina Colada) but briefly - I suspect our world view to be similar. I am very optimistic of the future. History shows that every generation or era is riddled with violence and self-destructive fear, and yet our social evolution has always been progressive and liberating. The beauty of science as an eclipse to the irrational has been a triumph for us; and technology is a psychologically chaotic but beautiful whirlwind. As a species we are born with a strong will to survive, so I look to a sparkling future!
Cheers Spectre, you’re very kind.
- “Any chance that we see you in a more present role as a (second) guitarist in Nightwish in future”: I’m really delighted with the fan response to my guitar adventures, especially as it’s evident that nobody feels I’m stepping on Emppu’s toes. Perish the thought! To us it’s a new voice to add to our wide musical lexicon so yes, I will be doing more in future and playing some saucy duets with our Mighty Emppu; surely one of the most underrated guitarists in the world…
- “Did you get to write new music for your solo album during the EFMB tour as intended”: I wanted to but it’s just impossible to grab the motivation. Another good intention washed down the drain of airports and backstage areas.
- “Will we ever get to hear a flute duet between you and Floor?”: Now there’s a thought…leave it with me!
- “Is it true that you cured Tuomas from stage fright by hypnosis?”: Where did you hear that??!! But yes, rather than cured I would say “Helped clear the attic”. I have studied Hypnosis and it’s a fascinating and very effective tool for self-awareness. It worked for me and for Tuomas.
“What album by any band would you say is your most listened to album?”
It would be Pink Floyd ‘Wish You Were Here’ simply because I can’t remember ever being without it. In fact, I listened to it on the plane to Poland last week. I discovered ‘Dark Side’ when I was about 11 or 12 (which rearranged my tiny brain) but when I heard the opening to ‘Shine on you Crazy Diamond’ with that eloquent, melancholic guitar against that beautiful atmospheric background?....it changed everything.