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
INTERVIEW Nightwish Marco Hietala Australia November 2013









Mark: Hi, Marco, how are you? We last spoke in January, before you came out for the Australian tour, how did you enjoy those shows, this time round?


Marco: I’m good, thank you. Yes we were there in January/February, and then after that we did a few shows in Japan, and we also did a few summer festivals in Europe also.


Mark: So, you are enjoying some time off at the moment?


Marco: Yeah, I am, I’ve been sitting down on my couch quite a lot!! But, I’ve also been doing some smaller projects, that don’t take up too much time.


Mark: Yeah, I saw a few of those. You did the Heavy Christmas project, I checked that out the other day, and it sounded quite interesting.


Marco: Yeah, the shows are going to start this week, I’m not doing the first two shows, but I’m going to join the guys next week, and I’ll be doing those for three to four weeks. It’s kind of an annual, collective, the band and the guys are singing, so it’s nice for me to get together, and say to everybody, “how was your year?”



Mark: We actually got a copy of the DVD through yesterday, and I have been watching it all night, it’s astonishing. The live DVD from Wacken is amazing, the documentary is really interesting. The last question I asked you, the last time we spoke, was when would Floor become permanent, can you tell me how that decision was made?


Marco: Actually, after the Australia tour, we had done the US tour, South America with her, and then the Australia tour with her. At the start of May we did some rehearsals, and we were about to go to Japan, and we actually started over again. I think we have actually enjoyed going around the world with this bunch of people, and we thought should we make this permanent? We told everyone we wouldn’t make any decisions until 2014, because we are consciously trying to avoid it, we were a bit traumatised, but we also thought we have something really good going now, as everyone who went to the shows probably noticed. So, at the start of the summer we actually asked Troy and Floor, do you want this to be a permanent set up, and they both said yes. So then we just had to figure out when we are going to publish this, so we thought we’ll do the summer shows, and then we’ll think about the release of the DVD and all that. We figure it’s not really nice to circle around the issue, when we start to do promos and interviews, so we thought lets publish before that, and that’s how it came to be.


Mark: It’s great to see, and good to see Troy in there as well. He has a bit of a look of Lars Ulrich, don’t you think??
Marco: You are not the first person to say that!


Mark: I was looking at the video, with some of the sections with him in, and I thought it could be Lars, but with more hair!!


Marco: Yes, he has a similar face and reminds me of him as well!





Mark: When did you decide that the live video was going to be at Wacken?


Marco: We had already got the documentary in the works, and the Nuclear Blast guys asked us, and said it would be really nice to have a live show, would you want to shoot one at one of the summer festivals, and we were like, oh, we have only 2 months left. But in the end we thought it was a good idea, Wacken was the obvious choice for us, it was the second to last weekend that we were doing shows, so it gave us time to get the whole thing set up. Also it’s one of the biggest metal festivals in Europe, it has a large audience and you have chance to use the really big screens and light set up and they also have their own camera crew which we hired, so we would have as many angles as possible. So, that was why Wacken was singled out from the choices.


Mark: Yes, it’s a stunning film, and the whole European tour was a huge undertaking! Watching the documentary, 4 trucks and 55 people, and all the gear! It must be a refreshing change, touring around Australia with I imagine considerably less gear!


Marco: Yeah, the smaller places are a lot less of a technical headache, and we can see more of the people up front, and people see more of the band, it’s more personal, and I really like those situations, but of course we can’t really do that anymore in Europe, the band is too big for that. If we tried to book ourselves a club tour, we’d have to book the same club for five nights, and that’s not really logistical sense.


Mark: Just going back to the documentary, it begins in Denver, so, I imagine you had to do a lot of re editing, with Annette leaving, and presuming you started the filming at the start of the US tour.


Marco: Yeah, there were cameras all the way through from America, Europe etc. It took some editing, but the director, did a hell of a job after the split, to put it all together. One funny coincidence was that when he was coming over to America to shoot parts from the American tour, it was right on that particular day in Denver, and we said you have arrived in the middle of a situation!!


Mark: There are some amazing scenes in there; I love the part where the girls from Kamelot step in at very short notice. The tag line that you have on there is “Please learn the set list in 48 hours”! It’s unbelievable that Floor could learn all that in such a short space of time, the atmosphere must have been incredible on that first night in Seattle!!


Marco: Yeah, it was weird, and pretty hard to believe that I saw it all happen! We have known Floor since 2002 when she was in After Forever, and they supported Nightwish in Europe. She was pretty much the first person to come to mind, as someone who could pull this off so we could continue the tour. We called her, and immediately booked the flight, and sent her the songs, so she could learn them on the way to America! I think her professionalism, her attitude and her will power are really exceptional.


Mark: Yes, it’s amazing, especially when you watch the documentary. I’m about half way through watching it, and the visuals, the pyrotechnics, and the whole artistic nature of the stage show is fantastic! Were you really pleased with how it all came out?



Marco: I was, I was the main man responsible for the sound, the audio, me and my mate did the main mix, and the director was editing the main footage in Sweden, and we were swapping files through the internet all the time and seeing how they fit together. I thought, wow, we are really going to make something good out of this!
Mark: What was your favourite part of the show?


Marco: Have you seen ‘Bless the Child’ from the footage yet?


Mark: I’m not quite up to that bit yet! I shall look out for that.


Marco: ‘Bless the Child’ is probably my favourite from the whole live DVD because we haven’t played that song for a while, so hearing and seeing it again, I didn’t remember it to be so heavy! And also the whole lighting system with the big reds and everything, the whole audio and the video, I was really impressed about that.


Mark: It is one of the best live DVD’s I’ve seen. Now that the “Imaginaerum” tour is over, what is the next step for Nightwish?


Marco: Well, we’ll be putting out the live DVD, and during the winter time probably write music and lyrics, and when Emppu gets back from his holidays, we’ll start swapping notes and see whatever comes from that and then we’ll be working on the album for the next year. Then we’ll set times with Tuomas to arrange and work on the new songs and that’s the plan basically.


Mark: How did the mission to get the Nightwish wine on board go?


Marco: I heard it’s pretty good, but I haven’t tasted it myself as I have been off the alcohol for three and a half years!!


Mark: I asked you about the vodka last time, so I think I’m asking the wrong man!!


Marco: If I did go back to the drink, I would still be a vodka and beer man!!


Mark: Just a couple of questions again about the DVD, and the decision to get Floor on board permanently, now that you can put everything in context, and now time has passed, was there really any other option? It was a huge tour that you had planned, was it at any point an option to cancel the tour?


Marco: Well we avoided that option as far as we could, and we didn’t have to do that. But, of course it was in the air, it was kind of a shadow hanging over everyone, we might have to pack up and go home. But none of us wanted to do it, we wanted to do the shows and not let all those people down, or ourselves. With Floor staying, we didn’t want to make any decisions, and we didn’t know if it would stay this way. But she liked her surroundings, and the crew and everybody and I think she really enjoyed herself.


Mark: There did seem to be that instant chemistry on the documentary, and there was almost an instant reaction from the crowds there as well, that they were happy to see her and happy to have her on board. Often when someone leaves a band there’s a little bit of backlash in the air, but there didn’t seem to be that with Floor, people obviously knew her from her previous music, and realised what a great asset she’d be to you guys. We all saw what a great presence she is on stage, she is a wonderful fit. And if she can spend that long on a tour bus with you!!
Marco: Yeah, I’m really happy too. I like what you said about the people’s reaction, and it is what you said, she has the stage presence and the voice, all the weapons you need for that kind of confrontation we have from the stage to the audience! So everything you wish for is there.


Mark: Let’s hope it continues! Let’s just talk for a second about your other projects, you are also on the new Ayreon album, “The Theory of Everything” how did you become involved in that?


Marco: Well I have actually been in correspondence with Arjen Lucassen for many years now, and he said he had a new album in the works and had a role that might fit me, I’m a big fan of his works, and he likes a lot of the stuff I have done with Tarot and Nightwish. So I said send me some demos and lyrics, and I’ll work with that, let’s make it happen! I really like that outrageous way of totally stepping out of mainstream and doing one of those long, thought out Prog albums, without any commercial considerations!! I really hope he sells enough of the records to make some more in the future.


Mark: Yes, it must be so liberating as a musician to be able to do that. Thank you for talking to us.


Mark: It was lovely to speak to you again; a real pleasure, and hopefully we’ll catch up again soon. Take care.
Marco: Thank you. You too.





Marco spoke to Mark Diggins November 14 2013





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