Former NIGHTWISH bassist/vocalist Marko "Marco" Hietala says that he doesn't expect to be asked to return to the band any time soon.
The bassist/vocalist announced his departure from NIGHTWISH 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." He has since been replaced by session bassist Jukka Koskinen (WINTERSUN),who made his live debut with NIGHTWISH in May 2021 at the band's two interactive experiences.
In a new interview with Finland's Iltalehti, Hietala revealed that he went through a dark period in his life, which included depression, insomnia and anxiety.
“Sometimes I thought I would walk from my backyard to the icy lake and just disappear," Hietala said, according to Chaoszine, which translated his comments from Finnish.
Marko added that the canceled tours during the pandemic of 2020 brought peace to his life, which the musician was no longer ready to give up when it was time for NIGHTWISH to prepare to go on tour again.
"My head had gone to the point where I could no longer bear the thought of having to go out into the world for a month or a month and a half with the same conditions and troubles," Hietala recalled.
Hietala was also asked about a possible return to NIGHTWISH. However, he said that he does not believe that he will be approached about coming back to the band. "I’m not waiting for a call asking me to return or a meeting invitation," he said. "For many years, I would get pissed off practically every day at some point. Black thoughts would pop up as soon as there was an empty moment. Even though the gang knows there’s depression and medication and therapy, I can’t help being tired. I saw leaving as necessary for both me and them."
Hietala went on to say that he has not kept in touch with NIGHTWISH since his departure or followed the activities of his former band.
In May 2021, NIGHTWISH keyboardist and main songwriter Tuomas Holopainen said that Hietala's decision to leave the band "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."
Tuomas elaborated on NIGHTWISH's reasons for carrying on, saying: "I think we still have something to give, and that's the main point. The music is still there. We felt that there's still so much music that needs to come out from this band that, 'Okay, let's give it one more shot.' And then finding the new bass player was really easy."
He added: "It's not like we do this just because we need to do it and there's nothing else to do. On a personal level, I feel that there's still so many stories and melodies that I want to share with the world with one lineup or another, so that's why you want to continue and keep on going.
"I've said this a million times, that a lineup change is the ultimate energy vampire, and that's how it really felt and still feels."
In June 2021, NIGHTWISH singer Floor Jansen spoke about Hietala's exit from the band in an episode of her "Storytime" YouTube video series. She said: "That was a very sudden surprise that, of course, was not fun at all. But we understand — I understand — it was a necessary thing for him to do. And from there, we had to think of how to continue without him, and that also, in preparations towards the virtual show, that was a huge challenge."
She continued: "I'm very happy we found Jukka to play with us. And it was wonderful to get together, even though miss Marko, in April to start rehearsing for these virtual shows. Fortunately, we had a lot of time together, and it was very nice to go through the process of really not just knowing how to sing or play the songs but actually really feeling them, really communicating them, as you do with a show. We did that together. And then, of course, came the relatively unnatural setting of standing in a green bathroom [laughs] called the green screens all around us and cameras and people going for coffee instead of a real live audience. But that was really great. We had so much time that we could rehearse all of that and had a lot of fun doing that in the process."
NIGHTWISH is continuing to tour in support of its "Human. :II: Nature." album, which was released in April 2020. The follow-up to 2015's "Endless Forms Most Beautiful", "Human. :II: Nature." is a double album containing nine tracks on the main CD and one long track, divided into eight chapters, on CD 2.
In December 2020, Hietala was crowned the winner of the fall 2020 season of "Masked Singer Suomi" — the Finnish edition of the popular masked singing contest. He was disguised as Tohtori — the Doctor.