In a new interview with Rock Sverige, NIGHTWISH keyboardist and main composer Tuomas Holopainen was asked if he has commenced work on the material for the follow-up to 2020's "Human. :II: Nature." album. He responded: "I've got all the songs done during the pandemic. I might as well use that time. We listened to the demos for the first time with the whole band about three weeks ago when we were in America. Things are rolling."
Tuomas went on to say that he spent "about a year" working on the music and lyrics for the next NIGHTWISH album, "and then we finished the demos about two months ago. We're hitting the studio next summer, so in about a year from now," he revealed. "Like I said, might as well use the time for something."
Asked if he got any kind of inspiration from the pandemic, Tuomas said: "Yeah, lyrically there's a couple of things that reflects the pandemic, but not in the way you would expect."
"Human. :II: Nature." was released in April 2020. The follow-up to 2015's "Endless Forms Most Beautiful" was a double album containing nine tracks on the main CD and one long track, divided into eight chapters, on CD 2.
In July 2021, NIGHTWISH played a special "secret" concert in Oulu, Finland as a warm-up for its festival appearances in Finland. The gig marked NIGHTWISH's first fan-attended show in more than two and a half years. It was also NIGHTWISH's first proper concert with session bassist Jukka Koskinen's (WINTERSUN),who stepped into the group as the replacement for longtime NIGHTWISH bassist/vocalist Marko "Marco" Hietala. Hietala announced his departure from the band in January 2021, explaining in a statement that he hadn't "been able to feel validated by this life for a quite a few years now."
Koskinen made his live debut with NIGHTWISH at the band's two interactive experiences in May 2021. The shows reportedly drew 150,000 viewers, setting the record for the largest paid virtual concert in Finland's history. Most of the viewers came from Europe and North America, but the performance was a truly global event, with fans in 108 countries purchasing tickets to the show and the box office gross exceeding one million euro.
In May 2021, Holopainen said that Hietala's decision to leave NIGHTWISH "came as a bit of a surprise." He told Finland's Kaaos TV: "Marko informed us in December [of 2020 that he was leaving the band]. And even though he has been very open about his state and problems during the past years, it still came as a bit of a surprise for us. So it was a really tough pill to swallow. And for a few days, I was actually quite confident that there's no coming back, that this is it. I remember talking to Emppu [Vuorinen], the guitar player, and we were, like, 'You think this is it?' 'Yeah, I think this is it.' I mean, enough is enough. So much has happened in the past. Something that broke the camel's back, as they say. Then, after some time had passed — a few days — we started to think that it's been such a ride of 25 years, with so many ups also, that this is not the way to end it."