05/11/2010 – Interview Marco Hietala

Friday 6 pm

We got into the backstage where we found Marco lying on a sofa. He greeted us with a smile and asked us to wait 2 more minutes, cause first he had to kill a worm with is iPad. Marco led us to this small room, which appeared to be his dressing room, moved his stuff a bit around and then we were ready to go!

How are you?
I’m fine! Thanks!

How is the tour going so far?
The tour is been going quite good. We could always use a little bit more population during the gigs, but Tarot isn’t a band as big as Nightwish. In general, the shows have been really good and we’ve met already some really nice people during the tour. We managed to kick ass, so to speak.

When starting with a new album, in this case Gravity of Light. Do you start with a certain plan or is it more like go with the flow?
With Tarot it’s more like going with the flow, but we’ve some definitions in mind that we use quite often. We try to keep this 70’s groove of a live band but we dress it up like ‘2000 metal’ sound wise, then we fill it up with everything in between and things we come up with. Whatever sounds good to us mostly ends up on the album.

How is the new album, Gravity of Light, doing so far?
I honestly don’t know. I don’t really follow this kind of things at the moment. Well, of course I followed the charts in the beginning when the album came out in Finland, we had the 2nd place. But now I really don’t know, time just goes by.

Do you read reviews of the album? What about bad reviews?
Occasionally, I read some reviews. When I read a bad review, I’m probably going to look for a good review and usually I find one (laughs).

What do you think about people downloading music illegal? What do you think about artist that offer their music for free on the internet?
If artist want to put their own music on the internet for free, then what the hell, just do it. I also have some digital books here and they’re products of the mind and I do pay for whatever I download. If somebody puts their own stuff on the internet for free, it’s a good stunt to get your stuff read or listened. But in these days, we sell less because of all the downloading and that’s a big cut in our income. The guys here in the band all have jobs and kids and it should be right and honest that they get paid for their work of their own minds. So, of course I’m against illegal downloading.

Next year Tarot shall exist for 25 years. Are you planning something special?
Actually, we already exist a little bit longer but it’s the anniversary of our first album. We are planning to do something special for our 25th anniversary. We’ve already been talking about all kinds of stuff, but we’re going to do the things that are realistic and what we can do.

Did you expect that Tarot would last that long?
No, I didn’t even think about it in this way. There have been times that we haven’t really done things for years, but somehow we always end up together doing some stuff.

In 25 years the Finnish metal scene evolved a lot and is now often called as the best metal in the world. What reason do you think is behind it?
The only reason that I can come up with is that Finnish people and the people I know of are persistent people. They really want to produce their visions in the way they want to and also want to go far with that. They are persistent people and in a way I’ve seen it, this has been going on since the 80’s. When we started, we took our examples from the outside of Finland. More specifically from the metal scene of England. Now the young new bands that come on the scene took all those influences, and the whole thing kind of snowballed. It’s something we all feel kind of proud of. If you look at the history, you can see that all these things have been proven to be phases. I have no doubt that at one point it will probably end, but so far as long as the ride goes, I’ll enjoy it.

What do you like the most: touring or the studio?
I like playing live shows, club shows and festival shows. I really love doing that. Working in the studio is of course more relaxed and you tend to take your time. During the summer camp with Nightwish, we recorded our demo in a very relaxed way. Some people had the impression that we were only having fun and were not seriously working on the album. Actually, we thought about many things. I recorded vocals and bass for the demo and we put some effort in to that. Off course, when you are staying in that kind of place and that kind of a summer, it would be mad not to enjoy it.

What are doing in your spare time when you’re not on tour?
Basically just relaxing, staying with the family, reading books, watching movies and whatever people do when they’re at home. Occasionally, I also do some other things like producing some vocals for Amorphis. Amorphis manager, Joni, knows me and he knows that I have done a lot of studio work like producing vocals and all that stuff. I actually did some producing for his band when I was younger. Now, he asked me again if I would be interested in a payment per day. Thus, I got involved and now I’ve been producing the vocals for 3 albums.

Do you like working for other bands?
It depends of the band and the music. I definitely won’t do anything where I’m not interested in. I would like to work with other bands when the music sounds good to me and where I know at least some people from so I know we get along. I used to do studio engineering as a job when I was younger and there is nothing worse than to be stuck in a studio for two weeks with a band that you absolutely hate and people you absolutely hate. That sucks big time and I won’t do that anymore.

Is it difficult that you’re in one band with you brother? What about conflicts?
We’ve been together for quite a while now, so there’s an honest situation in the band. If something is bothering someone, we talk about it and that’s the politest thing to do. Off course me and Zac founded the band when we were younger. When we were close to our 20’s there was some rivalry for the supreme leadership, but those times are in the past.

So, you never conspire with brother?
Not anymore, now I conspire against my brother.

You don’t listen to him because he’s older than him?
No, not really. Occasionally, he is boring and then I don’t listen. Well, he can say the same of me off course.

Does the schedule of Tarot depends on the schedule of Nightwish?
For a few albums it’s been like: when one band is active, the other one is resting. I pretty much know when it’s time to switch camps. Off course it helps that we have the same booking agency and management. Sometimes the guys know better than me where I should be at that time.

What are the other band members doing when you’re busy with Nightwish?
Janne (Keyboard) has a small studio an plays in Turmion Katilot, a popular industrial metal band in Finland. He does also some studio work for some other bands. Tommi (Vocals & Sampler) and Zac (Guitar) are youth workers.

Which band gives you the most satisfaction Nightwish or Tarot?
I don’t really know. Off course I write a lot of the lyrics and music of Tarot. In Nightwish I think that the part and music I contribute depends of what kind of album we’re going to make and what kind of groove it has in the bottom line. It’s meaningful in both way, but slightly in a different way. With Nightwish you tend to think more about the whole idea and a little bit more thoroughly because the whole ambition between the albums is just way higher. With Tarot we try to concentrate to get the most rock and roll album we can.

With which band would you really like to tour with?
It would have been nice to do that with Heaven & Hell when Dio was still alive, but that won’t happen anymore. There are still some bands that I would like to see live. I really like the new Danko Jones album, it’s really good. I’ve been to a few festivals where he’s been playing but our schedules never really matched. So I never had the chance to see them live. They’ve been so well spoken of, about the live performances, so it would be nice to do a few shows with them.

Who chooses the songs in the Northern Kings?
We all make song suggestions for the Northern Kings. Some of these songs end up on the album, some don’t. One of the songs I suggested was ‘In the Air Tonight’ by Phil Collins and the guys went for it. I also really enjoyed ‘Creep’ by Kylie Minogue performed by JP. **Starts singing the intro of the song.** That was great and it was really perverse. In the end we leave the song choice to Erkka Korhonen, the guitarplayer, who’s responsible for everything.

Can you tell us something more about some pictures that showed up from you and Tuomas showing clothes in a shop in Helsinki (Kamppi) ?
Tuomas and me have been buying there quite a lot of stuff. We also know the guy who makes these clothes. One day he asked us if we would like to shoot some pictures with the clothes in change for some free stuff. We thought: what the fuck, let’s do it!

Maybe you can start a model career šŸ˜‰
Probably not, I’m not ready for the catwalk and all that shit. Although Kate Moss might have some really great powders to sniff on.

If you were the organizer of a festival, which bands would you invite to play your festival?
I’m such an old school guy, so probably I would invite Heaven & Hell with Dio, Led Zeppelin with John Bonham and Pantera with Dimebag Darrell. And when the people must be alive, I should choose for Danko Jones and Metallica, but with Cliff Burton. If you think about it, with all those dead guys, we could really have a powerful band there already.

Describe the new Nightwish album in one word
One word: theatrical.
I’m really pleased with the demo. Off course I have to say that, but let’s say that I’m even more confident than with the last album.

We read in the blog that there is going to be a new song of 20 minutes?
We’ll see how long that song will be, but it’s definitely going to be a long song. The length will depend, because it also needed to be edited and all of that.

And with this question we ended our interview with Marco. We both were relieved and satisfied that it went so smooth. Gave him a bottle of our finest Belgian beer (Duvel) to thank him, took some pictures and went out.

Few hours later Tarot finally got on stage and started a very good show! Afterwards the band came out to greet the audience and this was the end of a successful evening.

Sleep In The Dark
I Walk Forever
Satan Is Dead
Crows Fly Back
Calling Down The Rain
Hell Knows
Veteran Of The Psychic Wars
Pyre Of Gods
Rider Of The Last Day

Interview by Hanne & Silver_Wings

Thanks go to Tarot & FEDEROCK Events

Ā© Wish Upon A Star – NightwishBelgium