INTERVIEW WITH DEAN KOPRI / KIMAF 2016
Hi Dean! Welcome to Nightwish New Era. Your versions are very famous among Nightwish fans, but there are those who still don’t know you. Please tell us a little about yourself! (read in Portuguese here)
DEAN: It’s kind of awkward to write about myself (lol). But OK, lets see… In terms of my profession, I’m a musician with MA in music education, composer, piano player, and a music teacher in a music school. But in general, I’m a 29 years old guy from Croatia, who likes music, art, movies, video games, gym… and the list goes on and on.
NEW ERA: How was your first experience in Kitee? What did you feel?
DEAN: First time I’ve visited Kitee was back in 2014. I was sooo nervous and excited at the same time. I didn’t know anybody, felt insecure if I’ll fit in the project, what my responsibilities will be and definitely didn’t expect to meet Nightwish… 😉 But now, I’m a music director of the project, one of few piano players, music arranger, and a leader of the workshop with pretty clear vision of what has to be done 😀 Of course, this wouldn’t be possible without Mr. Plamen Dimov and his whole family, and people from Kitee who did their best so that I, and everybody else, feel really welcome!
NEW ERA: The project has a very large diversity of people, isn’t it? What is really cool! Why in addition to everyone there for the music, there is a huge exchange of cultural experiences. How is it for you?
DEAN: That’s right and it’s something I really enjoy to see – different people from different parts of the world brought together by the music of Nightwish. There’s a little joke about few of us that come from certain parts of Europe – calling us Balkan mafia (and designated for bringing different beverages, such as Rakija – really strong booze that can easily make you drunk). There are stereotypic opinions about different nations so it’s funny to see how, for example, one of my Finnish friends is more open and talk ative and more relaxed in our company with every year, and I guess you’ve heard how Finns are cold and don’t let people get to close to them!? Anyway, I’ve met some great people at KIMAF who I enjoy performing music with, but more important, I consider them being great friends!
NEW ERA: Many fans of Nightwish, know you by what you do versions of the band’s greatest hits. But, as was to present it directly to Tuomas?
DEAN: This is a good question because that’s definitely a highlight in my life. I remember that moments before our performance the whole group, symbolically named „Ocean souls“ – 6 wonderful girls / singers, girl with a violin, guy on a double bass, and me on piano – we were super hyped, a bit nervous but really happy. Before normal concerts I’m usually stressed out and nervous, but this was totally different. Of course I felt stage fright because there was lots of people, direct Facebook live streaming and Tuomas himself. But I was happy and happiness simply help me overcome the nervousness. I didn’t want to focus too much on watching piano keys and playing. I wanted to watch faces of my friends, to remember how exhilarated they were, to see how Tuomas reacts to my arrangement of his songs and our performance. Hearing Tuomas approving what we did that day, the performance, the arrangement, my playing and most important, how he noticed that we truly enjoy music is something special.
NEW ERA: What is coolest in this edition of the Nightwish Days in Kitee? Each edition will surpassing the previous one?
DEAN: The one thing that stood out this year is probably a workshop that I did with “Ocean souls” group. I’ve felt that festival needs to raise up a bar, and had an idea how to do it. I talked to Plamen a lot and told him about the idea, about list of singers and musicians that I would like to work with and that we have to make a lots of pre-work at home, before the festival starts. That’s why I started to write down music arrangements in August 2015, recording backing track for the singers so that they can practice at home and once when we come to Kitee we don’t use precious time on learning sheets, but just creating music. And it worked! But with each new person who joins the festival, the energy of the group changes a bit. It’s nice to see that we’re growing and growing. Also, we changed our name from “Nightwish days in Kitee” to more suitable “Kitee international music and art festival”, since different types of music and art revolves around the festival, and with this name we have an opportunity to do even more diverse things.
NEW ERA: Thank you very much for the interview Dean! It was great to know more about you,about your love of Nightwish and about KIMAF. Please leave a message for the fans of Nightwish here in Latin America.
DEAN: I know that Latin America has huuuuuge fan-base so I’m really happy for this opportunity, to write about festival, and work we do there. 😀 As fans, keep up the great work of spreading Nightwish music to new fans and congratulations on having such big community. I hope you’ll check out our KIMAF (Kitee International Music and Art Festival) YouTube channel of Facebook page (or my personal YouTube channel/FB page) where you can find lots of different Nightwish covers and live performances. Thank you once again!
CHECK OUT SOME OF DEAN’S PERFORMANCES:
KIMA Festival – Alpenglow (Nightwish cover)
Nightwish – Last ride of the day (tambura cover by Dean Kopri)
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