Huge thanks to Floor for taking time out of her busy schedule and answering some of our questions:
1: When you headbang, do you feel dizzy immediately afterwards? If so, does it interfere with your singing?
Floor: singing goes before all other things for me. Moving around is important of course to make it into a show but it shouldn’t interfere with singing. I don’t get dizzy from headbanging but when it’s really hot I sometimes do get a bit lightheaded, just like when you get out of your seat too fast. It’s important that I keep my breathing under control no matter what I do. So also with headbanging ☺
2: I would like to know if it was very difficult to start singing. It must be very hard be your own instrument. Any advice for new singers?
Floor: why would starting to sing be difficult? It might become something more when you connect ambitions (and so expectations) to it. But what happened to just singing? That’s what I did ☺ I just enjoyed it and wanted to do it more often after I got a taste of it. A while later I wanted more and learned you can go to the conservatorium if you are good enough and willing to devote your life to it. I was so young, all I could do was follow my heart. That’s what I did. Starting to sing is never difficult! Expectations you or others around you attach to it might be though. But I truly believe that singing should be fun. Regardless of ambitions or/and talent: fun first!
3: I found your vlogs about your move to Finland and your progress in Finnish to be very interesting. As a fellow Dutch person intending to learn Finnish one day, is there any advice you could give me?
Floor: Finnish is one of the most difficult languages in the world. That sounds dramatic but it’s just a fact. You do not casually pick up a word here and there and downloading an app on your phone to get it won’t do much more than you knowing how to say kiitos (thanks) ☺ It’s not like any language you know and the book- Finnish (offical Finnish) is only used by official speakers and newspapers. There is a big difference with spoken Finnish…not to mention the dialects that are varied enough to make you doubt ones again whether you understood something or not. It’s surely not impossible to learn however. But I think (opinion, no fact) that you will only do when you move there and live and breath the language 24/7. I moved and got a good start, getting slightly frustrated here and there with ‘still’ not being able to do more than kid language after 1,5 year of studying (from abroad, not living there yet). But then I met my Swedish man. Hard to learn this language when you don’t speak it at home, even harder when yet other language comes on your path. So for me things changed. But if you have the dream, go to Finland! To get the language, the people, the culture, be there, live there. I loved it! It’s a huge change to leave your home country to live somewhere else but it for me was eye opening and one of the best things I ever did! I live in Sweden now for I could never leave ‘the north’ anymore. Love at first sight for me.
4: Do you enjoy other cultures' mythology? If so, is there any culture's that you would consider your favourite?
Floor: I have recently been introduced to the Nordic mythology. Beautiful stories of how the earth came to be (accordingly to these stories that is ☺). Of what god did this and what god that. Always having human like struggles and emotions. Just like all gods in all mythologies. I always wonder who decided that one book is mythology (suggesting it’s not true, just a myth) and one the truth (a bible, koran, etc.). To me they all are good stories with lessons in right and wrong. I love to lose myself in fantasy stories so myths are right up my alley. They bring a bigger knowledge of the countries they’re from too, something I really appreciate as well.
5: Has the fan documentary changed your views upon your place in the world and your cultural and social input?
Floor: It didn’t change my views but maybe made some things more clear. My place in the world is looked at differently by everybody. The love for Nightwish felt differently by everybody too. My input in this all regarded and experienced differently by everybody. That was made clear ones again and I think that makes this all so wonderful. I can only be me and however that rubs off on someone else is in the eye of the beholder.
6: What is your vocal range?
Floor: When I started singing I had 3 octaves to play with. Lower was my problem, not my higher. The sky was the limit seemingly and I experimented with high/higher/highest and loud/louder/loudest ☺ Singing high in different styles and using various dynamics never occurred to me until I started studying and exploring my sound further and further. Singing lower? Why? ☺ until I found my lower and warmer register and learned to play with this too. How about singing with a raw edge, or even growl? No, I have no idea how to do this, doesn’t come naturally on me. Until I started to do it live with After Forever. I just had no idea what it was I did and couldn’t do it off stage. I ran into a new (at the time) vocal method from the Danish Catherine Sadolin called ‘Complete Vocal Technique’. This was after I graduated. First vocal method that made any real sense to me…and it included a explanation and exercises of this distorted singing and growling (and many other effects, anything a human voice can do basically). Great, now I can try this. I love vocal techniques. I consider myself quite a geek when it comes to this and a new challenge was welcome. I started feeling it and soon found the key to my vocal cords. So what is my vocal range now? 4 octaves. But what does this say really about a voice? Nothing…it has no quality label ☺
7: You probably receive lot of gifts from fans all over the world, what kind of gifts they give to you, what was the weirdest, the most beautiful, etc?
Floor: We indeed get many sweet gifts. All of them come with a personal touch. They come from the country we’re in and/or it’s handmade. That makes every gift special and I would never favor one above the other. Some people get a sudden impulse to give me something and they give me something they have on them that moment. A piece of jewelry or clothing even. Some kids spend hours and hours to draw me something and the proud parent and the often shy kid comes to give it. Some adults do the same and have the child in them in their eyes as they present their handy work. What’s not weird and beautiful and absolutely wonderful about all of this? I am truly grateful for all the love that I get!
8: Why do you guys downtune the pre-Century Child songs (She Is My Sin)?
All older songs are played a note down because the later material is written en recorded in D and the older stuff in E. To avoid extra guitars and bass guitars in both tunings and changes on the keyboard we play the old stuff lower.
9: Which are your favourite makeup products/nail polish and brands?
Floor: Any brand that doesn’t test on animals. I have no real favorites, whatever looks good and stays on my face also when it’s hot as hell and I’m headbanging for 2 hours straight. I like make-up but love to not use it. It was liberating to discover my ‘naked’ face actually is beautiful too and doesn’t need anything to look pretty. We all look absolutely stunning without! That it’s fun to use it, yes! But I don’t like the label that woman can only be pretty with a layer of cosmetics…
10: Do you have any favourite fashion designers, or stores, or do you get inspiration from other things for custom pieces?
Floor: No favorites. I find fashion an exhausting concept…it changes like the wind. Young people feel forced to conform to the madness, especially young girls get indoctrinated with it. Look thin, wear this, have your make-up like that and your hair should be like this…pfff…Photoshopped images of women who spend their life on looking good give off all kinds of messages that have nothing to do with a pair of pants or a nice t-shirt. So fashion, whatever fits with YOU ☺
As for my stage outfits: it needs to fit with me. On my body, with it’s good and not so good sides. It needs to be comfortable enough to move around in, I need to be able to breath. It needs to be feminine and cool. It can be in any color, made of any fabric. And it will change throughout the years for I do too ☺
11: Is there any advice someone gave you that stuck with you and helped you a lot?
Floor: My dear parents gave me many advises that stuck with me and I am forever grateful for their parential guidance. And the man who mixed our second After Forever album, Oscar Holleman gave me one I shall never forget either. He told me we can only shine as humans and as creative spirits, if we work with the right people. We need to surround us with them to build a safety net around ourselves as we go through life. By feeling safe we remain open, fragile, real, raw. By feeling safe we can remain to be artists forever. Without it we lose our shine and burn out. As I ones did I knew this was the truth. I found myself after a while, after finding my ‘safety net’ of fantastic people whom I love and trust. I will never forget his metaphor, he is so right!
12: Would you like to write a book yourself one day? What about/genre, if so?
Floor: Nice question ☺ I would love to and always had it in the back of my head. I love to read and always admire a well-written book. It’s an amazing art I have no idea about but have interest in. Maybe one day I will write a fantasy book. I have a vivid imagination haha. I also played with the thought of a biography. But let’s think about this again when I am curled up in my chair at the age of 85 and I really have a story to tell ☺
13: Have you ever changed places with your sister for anything? You look very similar to each other
Floor: Irene and I can seem alike at a first glance indeed. But if you look twice you will see we are as different as we are alike and so no, we never changed places. We are also two very different personalities and you will soon know who is who even when you don’t see us. Ever noticed I have blue eyes and Irene brown? That she is taller than me? That my hair is about 25cm longer and hers curl up a bit? Oh, and has a completely different color ☺ Our voices also are different but alike, like our appearance. They sound so good together, it’s a lot of fun to sing together!
14: When you're not on tour for a while, do you tend to take a break from doing any singing, or do you always keep practising?
Floor: Singing is not something I do, it’s more what I am. I breath, I eat, I sing ☺ Practicing I sometimes do, the rest of the time I just sing. For fun and because I need to, just like I need to eat.
15: Do you have more challenges as a singer that you wish to achieve?
Floor: I have no set goal but believe that I am always learning and growing, changing as I grow older. My real ambition is to do that and to be able to sing until my last breath.
16: How much (in %) of a good performance is due to talent and how much is training?
Floor: There is no truth to be found in this answer, no facts. It’s pure perception. With a very talented person you need no training, but experience will make a good show super. The less talent, the more training will help. But training without talent will never make anybody good.
17: Can we expect to take out your flute in near future at a gig? Maybe a duet with Troy?
Floor: With Troy playing so many instruments on such an amazing level I don’t see the need for me to add a flute just because I can.
18: What Dutch things do you miss most now that you're living abroad?
Floor: Dutch things? No things, but people. I miss my family and friends and my dog… And sometimes I wish all countries were as small as the Netherlands for we know no long distances. Then again, the traffic with 17 million in such a small country is something I will never miss. Hello Sweden (and Finland) with your country roads and calm traffic (and calm drivers!)
19: I recently started taking lessons in classical singing and i love it, but I m afraid that it may lead me to sing everything in a classical way. What would you advice me to do in order to have the flexibility to switch my voice according to different music genres?
Floor: Find yourself a teacher who has studied ‘Complete Vocal Technique’. The only vocal method I think is any good in offering a more diverse schooling of the voice. And try stuff yourself. It’s YOUR voice and it won’t break if you experiment and go out of your comfort zone ☺
20: What's the worst joke about your name that you heard so far?
Floor: they’re all a bit the same since it means only two things in English (level of a building and a…well….a wooden floor or whatever). I remember one moment in the States when I checked into a hotel and the lady who checked me in raised an eyebrow above some twinkling eyes and asked me: ‘Floor? So that’s your real name?’. I answered with yes, and that I realize the international failure of this name ☺ She smiled and said: ‘Floor….I will remember this name’. Nothing special, but the way she said it and the way she looked was just hilarious. Then again, it’s just a Dutch name. Normal. There are many names that only work in the country you are from and I like this. It has its charm to have a typical name from where you are from. Especially now I travel so much and live in another country these things matter more to me. It gives you a uniqueness.
21: I'm studying to become an animal attendant (or animal caretaker, whatever the right word is) and in that job I need to be in a good physical shape. I think you're a good example of a strong and healthy-looking person. So, my question is, how do you work on your muscles? And do you exercise regularly or more like when you're in the mood? And if you have any good little tips for exercising, I'm interested!
Floor: everyone needs their body one way or another and everyone should train their body. That doesn’t mean that I think we all need to look like Arnold S ☺ What I mean is that it keeps your general health better, you have more energy, you can take a beating better (illness, accident, not a real beating ☺) and aging comes with less complications. Is it fun? For some… I like it! But it’s a fact that your entire wellbeing goes up. Good food and a regular work-out schedule, and enough sleep is the key. And some occasional bad food and too many drinks moments too if you want, because that will make the other more strict moments easier and you need your fun…
I cannot tell you what works for you. Go to a gym and find out…. Good guidance helps to prevent sport injury. I have an app on my phone I like to use for a varied training program. It’s called Nike training. For me it’s important I can work out anywhere. I also love yoga and firm walks in the woods ☺ I used to run but found out I have no runners body. Fine; plenty of other things to do. Good luck! And remember: better 10 minutes every day then ones a week 2 hours!
22: Could you ever consider selling that long jacket of yours, the one you used for example at Wembley? It's so cool! I'd pay anything to get a jacket like that! (ok I'm a student so I have my limits haha!)
Floor: actually yes… I have been thinking of selling ‘old’ stage clothes and accessories to raise money for a good cause. I need some time to set this up and to find the ultimate good cause. There are so many great ones. Maybe there will be multiple ones. Budget is something I wish I could consider ☺ Any ideas for a good cause?
23: Is there something about science that you feel particularly attracted to?
Floor: the thing that fascinated me most is that science is all around us. It’s an integrated part of our daily lives. To see it, realize it, to embrace it was mindblowing. I sort of took it for granted.
This, and the fact it’s in full development. Every day bright minds discover amazing things. The scientists are the ones who bring good news to the world. We found a better this, a cure that, a new etc. I just wish the regular news would report more of these miracles. It would be a refreshing positive change to news that only wants to report about human failure in wars, crimes, etc.
24: What's exactly going on in "The Greatest Show On Earth" when you sing "The cosmic law of gravity..." part? I'm so used to see you so full of energy on stage that it always caught my attention seeing you frozen or numb when you sing that part live.
Floor: haha well…I use this monotone robot voice. It’s not ‘me’. It’s the voice of the cosmos. To visualize this I would feel weird to run around wildly while making eye contact with the band and the fans in front of me.
Floor: no. And the only reason I am answering this question is because all of us are SO fed up with this childish bullshit going on and on about the band and Tarja. The band wished Tarja and me well and send her their regards actually. Like normal, grown-up people do.
26: It seems like the singers debate will endure forever.. are you hoping for it to end, or you just have learned to live with it?
Floor: we live with it because everybody is entitled to their opinion and feelings must be ventilated. Yet again, the internet became such a dreadful place because of it. We are already moving on, have been so years. Why waste your breath still? End it, stop reacting to others, take a breath (again…?!) and join us in the here and the now ☺
Some quick fun ones to end ☺
27: How many 'caution wet floor' boards do you have? Did you have one in Chinese?
Floor: haha many! No Chinese one, maybe I should get one next time I’m there ☺
28: Tea or coffee?
Floor: coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon and evening.
29: Are you a morning person or a night person?
30: Sweet or spicy food?
31: Are you more planning or spontaneous?
32: In the winter: would you rather go skiing or stay inside with a good book?
Floor: I’d rather do both.
33: Cats or dogs?
Floor: dogs. But if I don’t have to chose maybe both is great too ☺
34: Flats or heels?
Floor: flats. I used to love heels but I grew out of them. With my 1,81m tallness I don’t need heels anyway, I just think they’re beautiful. The feet and body however doesn’t agree to this fashion thing ☺
35: What is your opinion on Marco's beard?
Floor: ah, an important question haha ☺ Well…If I would have been blond…and a man…I would be SO envious! But I am a woman. So I spend hours fixing my make-up and my hair. Then Marco comes along, a rubs through his beard and puts on a bass and he’s good to go…Looking cool as hell! Damn!