The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world



On the first date of their 2013 Australian tour - we talk to


about what the band will be doing whilst they are down under and all the latest Nighwish news...



In our first interview of the year we catch up with Marco Hietala one of the founder members of Nightwish who have just arrived in Australia for a tour that begins tonight at the Arena in Brisbane and closes with the show we will see at Metros in Fremantle, Western Australia on 20th January.


Mark: Hi, Marco, how are you?


Marco: I’m doing quite well, actually, thank you.


Mark: How was your trip over?


Marco: Long and boring!


Mark: How do you deal with all the travel that you guys must do? Do you play music, video games?


Marco: Well, yes, they are a couple of the most interesting things there. I have my I-pad, so I have music, movies, games, and some e-books and stuff like that.


Mark: Well, welcome to Australia, it’s great to have you back. How’s the tour going so far? We have read some great things from South America.


Marco: The trip was really good, and most of the shows sold out, and the audience there is flammable, so, it’s really nice to do shows in South America, we also did a few in new countries, we had a chance to play in Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico.


Mark: That’s great; everything seems to be getting bigger and stronger for Nightwish. Each time we have seen you in Australia, you also have had a different singer, all good,  all with individual sounds, is it something about us, over here!?


Marco: This Summer it was just something that had to be done for all of us. We have all agreed not to go in to this too much, and keep it a little bit private.


Mark: That is understandable, and we can certainly respect that. The one thing that did intrigue me, that won’t really infringe on that, is, you said the changes were made because of the direction of the band, presumably, that is the future direction?
Marco: No. not really about the direction of the band, I guess it was really, a personal issue thing. We have always been pleased with the musical direction and the vocalists, but again it’s more personal, and something we agreed not to talk about.


Mark: Ok, we’ll leave that one. How is Floor, settling in? She is a great singer, and we love After Forever.


Marco: Yes, she is. I have known her for ten years. We went and saw After Forever in 2002, and so we have known them for quite a long while. We thought she would be able to handle the stuff we do, and so we called her up and said ‘we have a slight emergency’!


Mark: Is she an official member of the band yet?


Marco: No, we intend just to do the tour, and then think about the continuation afterwards. We now have the luxury of having somebody there to do it for us, and have the luxury of getting to know each other on the tour, before making any permanent decisions.


Mark: “Imaginaerum”, the new album, has gone down really well over here in Australia, which of the new songs are going down well live?


Marco: We haven’t been doing much of them! And I haven’t checked up on the set-list for Australia, but I imagine you’ll get to hear, “Storytime” and let’s see what else, obviously, “The Crow”, “Last Ride of the Day” and there are bound to be some other songs that we play too.


Mark: Happy Birthday, in advance for the 14th!


Marco: Yes, I will be enjoying the night life of Australia!


Mark: You will be on stage in Melbourne, I think.


Marco: That will be a nice way to celebrate it. Also, the weather is pretty much warmer there too than in Finland!


Mark: I think that’s a certainty! Reading through your bio, there are some interesting things in there. I was aware you were in a band called “Tarot” which is still going, and of your involvement  in production. But one of the things that intrigued me was that you not only played in a classic metal band, but you played guitar and sang vocals in a nine piece Soul and 60’s rock band.


Marco: Yeah, I have been playing guitar, especially acoustic, for all the years that I’ve been playing bass. I actually started playing my father’s acoustic that has been with me through all the years and I enjoy it, it’s more versatile when you are playing round with ideas by yourself. What was the question again, I already forgot!!


Mark; No, that’s fine. I was trying to make the point that your music comes from a number of angles, and that you are a pretty open and versatile as a musician, and the fact that you love all kinds of music. Not everyone might expect that sort of thing, when they see a band like Nightwish.


Marco: That’s true. Everyone thinks I am a straight forward metal guy, and I am, but I am a lot of other things also. I got a lot of influence from my father, he had a lot of Irish folk song albums and all that kind of stuff and I was also, earlier on, listening to bands like Jethro Tull.  The variety of music when I was growing up was pretty rich, we had jazz and classical albums, and stuff from The Beatles and Elvis. But, it was the guitars that took hold of me when I was a young boy.


Mark: You are actually spending quite a bit of time in Australia between shows, have you got any specific plans while you are here?


Marco: Yes, I do know that the promotion company, have plans to take us to some places that I’d really like to see, like New Zealand and the archipelago’s, is that how you say it?


Mark: It is, that will be amazing I’m sure and maybe even a bit like home; it’s always good to have a bit of time to see things in the country where you are staying.


Marco: Yes, it’s a luxury that we have a band, so well established, that we can do shows and have days off. We once had a couple of days off, and went to Machu Picchu, and it was one of the most impressive things I have ever seen, and I have seen The Great Wall of China, and the Pyramids in Mexico City. But, Machu Picchu, was amazing, how they could have built that sort of thing in that kind of scenery. I can honestly say it is the best place I have seen.


Mark: You have a big break after the Australian shows, before the European festivals kick in around June. Are you planning more shows for then, or having a bit of a break?


Marco: We are having a bit of a break. I think maybe in May, we have plans to go over to Japan and maybe Thailand, so we have from February to May, for a break. I will concentrate on putting some ideas together in my home studio, and just see if I can sit on my couch, so long that I will sink to the centre of the earth!! For me that is a real serious plan!!


Mark: Nightwish wine came out last year as well. Tell us a little bit about that.


Marco: Well, I haven’t been drinking any alcohol for the past three years, so the other guys from the band said that was enough, so I haven’t even tasted the wine at all, but the other guys say it is good. Back in the day I wasn’t particularly a friend of red wine so I don’t really care (laughs). I did have a slogan for it but for some reason they didn’t want to use it. It went something like ‘alcohol made by alcoholics for alcoholics, so that the alcoholics can get more money for the alcohol.’


Mark: Yes, I can probably see why they didn’t want to run with that one.


Marco: Maybe a little bit too long?


Mark: Yeah, that all though! (we both laugh)


Mark: We loved the video you put out a while back, for “I Want My Tears Back”


Marco: That was a lucky thing for us, because we didn’t actually plan to record that, but the exterior sound they recorded through a mixing console was good enough for us to put out, and we had a friend who shoots video stuff out here, and who could put it all together and edit it.


Mark: We only have a few minutes left, so we’ve a couple of questions we ask everyone. If you could have been a fly on the wall for the recording of an album or piece of music, at any point in time, what would it have been and why?


Marco: Oh, Man!!  Well if it’s true Led Zeppelin had lots of floors booked in a hotel for everyone at the time they did “Houses of the Holy”, and John Bonham was driving through the corridors on his Harley, I think that would be it!


Mark: Yes, that would be pretty memorable! Our other question is what is the meaning of life?


Marco: Wow! That is a pretty wide spectrum there!! I think it is a privilege to be here in this universe, with all these possibilities, and to see and experience things, so we should just do that as much as possible.


Mark: Nightwish has been a band that has been with us for a long time now, and we love just about everything you do, what do you see as the next phase for the band? Where are you heading next?


Marco: To be honest we haven’t really thought about that kind of thing, what the next phase is. Whenever there is time for the album, we get together, we check demo’s over, if I have ideas for songs, it gets incorporated, and Tuomas writes a lot of music himself, we get together rehearse it and put out the album. That’s how these things come to be, and of course, every time you do that, at the time it reflects on what you have seen, heard and experienced, and so far we have been lucky enough to have a permanent direction and without planning it, that’s what keeps the band alive.


Mark: I love the movie concept, this time round, reading one of the press releases I loved the description as it having a Burton-Gaiman-Dali theme, which I loved the sound of as a ‘look’ for the theme park that was used there. It is quite “Dark” but also seems to have a certain dark humour.


Marco: Yes, that is what we have as well; the movie, we are going to be showing at The Berlin Movie Festival, which is in February. It has premiered, and to be honest I haven’t really followed up how the movie is doing because we have been touring. I think that the movie in Finland has had kind of mixed reviews but of course it’s hard when it’s your home country as you come under different scrutiny.  I’ll just wait for the movie to be released outside of Finland, and then read the reviews from the guys that aren’t quite as close to home.


Mark: It is always hard when it’s your hometown. Well, it’s been a pleasure speaking to you, Marco, thank you very much; I appreciate how tired you must be. I am looking forward to catching up with you on your last date, here in Perth.


Marco: Thank you, take care, I will see you there.




Marco was interviewed by Mark Diggins 4th January 2013





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