Marco Hietala (Nightwish): „Music is my muse, my friend and my passion”

Author: Alexandra Furnea

Finnish metal music is doing very well at the moment and the longevity of one of its iconic bands, Nightwish, is the best proof one can ask for.

Ever since 1996, and in spite of all of the challenges set out on the road toward greatness, the band has always wrapped us up tight in the charm of the far North, by weaving stories sewn together with an almost magical thread. Even though more than 20 years have passed since the group first took to the stage, Nightwish shows no signs of weakness and the belief in its craft is stronger than ever.

We are not just saying these things. Marco Hietala himself, bassist, vocalist, songwriter, and a real force of nature, confirmed our „speculation” in our new interview. The musician joined Nightwish in 2001 and quickly became one of the engines of the Finnish giants, leaving his mark on the band’s sound.

We have spoken to Marco about „Decades”, the group’s latest release, but also about a future record. The band plans to start rehearsing for a new album sometime in 2019. Find out more by reading the interview below.

Your career spans over 20 years and I think it is safe to say that the band has experienced it all: style and line-up changes, award ceremonies, crazy fan-stories and everything in between. What do you think is next?

Music-wise, it’s always cool to find new inspiration, and new things to do but I’m pretty content with just playing in a band with ambitious and nice people in it, people who make music that others find worthwhile. For me, this is more than a goal, it’s a lifestyle that can sustain itself as long as it feels good. And so far, it has. Of course that there are going to be new things like touring, shows and a new album.

Regarding this new album that you mentioned, can you tell us something about it? Maybe give us a little teaser?

While rehearsing for the new tour we have ahead, I was talking to Tuomas (Holopainen/ keyboards and songwriting), and was happy to hear that he has some bits and pieces of new music. As a matter of fact, so do I, I told him! When we get there, we’re going to start working on that material, but all in due time. We will probably start rehearsing and putting things together for the new record sometime in 2019.

Tell us about the tour following your most recent release, the best-of compilation „Decades”, which came out March 9th 2018.

On this tour, we are going to be playing a lot of the older stuff. I have to confess that I occasionally follow what people are saying about us on the internet, and I read a lot of comments from fans that have been wanting to hear live renditions of work from our past for quite some time. So far, while touring, we always previously had put an album out, and that ties your hands somehow, because you simply have to play the new songs to present the record to the audience. We don’t have to do this now, with „Decades”, which gives us the chance to deliver our older music.

Did you imagine, back when you started out with the band in 2001, that you would, at some point, release a best-of collection?

To be honest, I never thought about it. As a music listener, I very rarely get those best-of records. If I love a band, I collect all of its records, to get the good with the bad, so to say. Often, it is those obscure songs, which get lost on the album, that are the best, and my favorites. The hits that you hear all the time are usually the easier songs. It’s only when you delve into the full material that you discover these big musical pieces that radios or TVs will never play. Those are the best. I joined the band in 2001, so some of the early thoughts that crossed the minds of its members never really got to me. The band already had three albums out, with plenty of hits on them, when I came by.

What has been inspiring you to write new music?

Books, music and everyday life. These are all very good sources of inspiration. You just have to stay open to it. It has always been like that for me. Sometimes, you get inspired just by playing, by fooling around with your musical instrument. You find these great melodies by sheer luck, and then that thing itself, of discovering such an amazing thing by chance, gets you going enough that you finish a whole song!

Your colleagues and compatriots from HIM have decided to give up their musical career. Did you ever consider quitting? What would make you hang the hat one day and say: there is no more to give to the world with this band.

I am really, really enthusiastic about music. It has been my muse, my friend and my passion for all the life that I can remember. As long as there’s a group of nice people out there, and I have the chance to play with them, I will keep doing this for as long as possible. In Nightwish, we are all ambitious and very talented people, so I see no reason to quit…Of course I’ve had my hard times, when I was depressed and I was asking myself if it is really worth it, but we managed to solve the problems we had. That says a lot about our drive for making music. There have been some very serious issues along the way but we worked them out, and we continued to do what we do best. That takes persistence and a lot of passion for your art.

Which would you say was your most beautiful moment with Nightwish.

This is a really hard question because there have been plenty of great moments, and plenty of hard ones. I’d have to say that the great shows we’ve played so far were truly amazing things. Like playing Wacken Festival for the first time with all of our idols, or playing Rock In Rio with all of these other bands that we admired. Getting to see all these places. There are simply too many amazing memories to just pick out one.

And now an equally difficult question to answer: what is your favorite song with this band? If you got abducted by aliens one day, and they made you play one Nightwish song to save the planet, which would it be, and why?

I am tempted to be ironic and say „Scaretale”! It is not necessarily my favorite, or the most iconic of them, but it would be so fun to offer it to these aliens!

Are we going to see you in Romania soon?

We already have some tour dates booked, but many are still pending. We are definitely going to be heading out to the States in March, so I don’t really know what to tell you. We certainly want to come to Romania because each and every single show there has been a blast. I guess time will tell!

Photo credits: Ville Akseli Juurikkala & Timo Isoaho

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