MARCO HIETALA Says His 'Hard Prog' Solo Debut Isn't As 'Symphonically Flamboyant' As NIGHTWISH

May 11, 2019

NIGHTWISH bassist/vocalist Marco Hietala (a.k.a. Marko Hietala) recently spoke with Tuonela magazine about his debut solo album, "Mustan Sydämen Rovio". The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On going solo:

Marco: "At first, it's kind of scary, because so far, it's the first and only solo album I've ever done. I'm taking the responsibility and the pressure and everything, so I had a little bit of [shakes hand] before this was starting. Now, it's starting to be quite okay... With NIGHTWISH, it's nicer, because I've been writing music and even lyrical stuff within the latest years for NIGHTWISH, and no matter how much I write, if people don't like it, it's Tuomas [Holopainen] who's going to get shit. It's not fair, I know. [Laughs]"

On the album's musical direction:

Marco: "I'm known for being in these metal groups and all that, and there is that, but there is also a lot of that acoustic and prog side of things that I've been going through. I actually came up with the term [for] what this music is — it's hard prog... There's a lot of elements — a lot of different moods and varieties and atmospheres and all that. It sounds sort of like I'm talking about a NIGHTWISH album. [Laughs] I just like the variety, and as my musical past, history or whatever, I think this one has the elements of [what] nailed a nine-year-old boy's ears to the speaker with BLACK SABBATH in the '70s. There are elements that come straight from there, and then everything that I've collected in between, from prog rock, Kate Bush, Tori Amos, pop bands, rock bands, metal bands, and also those Celtic/folk, acoustic songs and all that — there are those elements [too]. A couple of them have slipped on to NIGHTWISH albums, but this is a different combination of things. This is not as symphonically flamboyant, but we did record some strings too. But it was only a quartet. [Laughs]"

On branching out beyond the bass guitar:

Marco: "When we go do these live, I will be playing bass mostly, but there is a couple of acoustic [guitar] things that I have to do. As a guitar player, I've always been into acoustics. I'm a really bad-ass rhythm player [on] electric, but I just hate the idea of playing solos, because it seems to be the thing that drove a few generations of guitar players mad already."

On translating the album's lyrics from Finnish for a future English-language release:

Marco: "I've done the translations already. I cannot tell you the exact ratio of how many I wrote in English [and] how many in Finnish, but I would say about 50 [percent]... I just tried starting to translate them criss-cross whenever I had time at home or sitting on some airplane. I was doing quite a lot of translations last year when we were doing shows with NIGHTWISH [and I was] sitting on airplanes.... Of course, I have to change a lot of lyrical stuff. It's definitely not word-for-word. I also like to use a lot of contrast between soft music and hard things to say, even though I sing softly, and metaphors. They can be switched in quite a lot of ways. When you just keep your goal — that this is [what] the story is about, this is the attitude, this is the vibe, bring that from point A to B, which is the end and climax. Then it will all be right."

On why he chose to pursue the English-language release:

Marco: "Of course, I'm ambitious about the music itself, but that was something that I figured, 'This is where I can make my personal mark,' because I've got good language skills. I've been reading and writing and whatever with both languages for decades. I realized that I can make my stories and I can translate them, and that's not something that everybody else can do. I figured, 'This is how I make this a little bit even more personal.'"

On performing the album's material live:

Marco: "[I will play] around 10 festival shows for the summer. We are going to do them with the same lineup that did the album... I guess we're going to be playing all the way through the album. The album is somewhere around 52, 53 minutes, and if we do an hour or hour-and-fifteen shows, we can come up with a couple of nice fillers too. I don't want to be touching NIGHTWISH stuff, because the band is alive and will start moving also pretty soon. TAROT stuff, I wouldn't do either, because there are still guys who might come around and we might do them one day... For this thing, I think we need to go and start singing some old favorites, if we can find something nice and suitable — '70s stuff, hard rock/prog stuff which we could bring on to this group, to this day and this soundscape."

"Mustan Sydämen Rovio" will be released on May 24 via Savonian Rooster.

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