Australia's Keen Eye 4 Concerts recently conducted an interview with NIGHTWISH bassist/vocalist Marco Hietala (a.k.a. Marko Hietala). You can listen to the entire chat via the SoundCloud widget below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On whether the forthcoming English version of his "Pyre Of The Black Heart" solo album has a common thread lyrically:
Marco: "Nope. It's not a theme. It's a bunch of stories and I've been writing them for quite a few years, some in Finnish, some in English. Lots of music, and then all this started to come together a couple of years back when NIGHTWISH started to have a 'sabbatical,' I called it. A couple of friends of mine started to see what kind of structures and arrangements they might be able to help me with. They helped me a lot. Then they ended up playing on the album. Mr. Tuomas Wäinölä on guitar and Mr. Vili Ollila on keyboards were my main partners in crime. Tuomas actually got so into that he ended up recording the most of the album and producing it. I had a bunch of good people there."
On whether some of the songs for "Pyre Of The Black Heart" were determined not to be a good fit for a NIGHTWISH studio album:
Marco: "Some of it is definitely that. I think some of the things I did on the solo album could have gone over to NIGHTWISH, maybe, but in the end, this was a bunch of songs that I came up with by myself. There's always a continuation as time goes and when you do something with your situation at the moment, then you tend to use your resources for that. So, this is a bunch of songs that I did, and of course, when you're doing a solo album, there is a chance to go to totally different soundscapes and vibes and outcomes, but I didn't have to think about the band. When you write about the band, it is just right and proper to think about the strengths of the people that you play with. With NIGHTWISH, it's been a very open-minded situation with writing. Anything that we write, we use. Of course, then you tend to see that maybe we shouldn't do some 'shockabilly.' That might be too much different. I don't know if it is. We did some jazz on 'Imaginaerum'."
On the musical direction of "Pyre Of The Black Heart":
Marco: "I'd say that it falls into the genre of prog rock. Not because of the infamous side of prog — the thematic over an artistic thing that doesn't really hold your interest until you're really into that side yourself. We wanted to do something that would be different and sound-wise, this is probably a prog album because there's so many things incorporated to basic rock, there are machinery rhythms and easy stuff and strings and whatever. Like you said, it's a versatile album. Therefore, it probably falls into the prog rock category. Then, when we were doing the songs and putting down the demo versions, Tuomas and Ville dug in — the guitar player and the keyboard player. We paid attention that these songs that we working on would have an identity of their own, that they would stand as one piece as a song, and also as part of the album. We were looking for an identity for each and every song was also why it probably became so versatile."
On what has been the biggest highlight and achievement for him since joining NIGHTWISH in 2001:
Marco: "I think the greatest achievement at this moment is the age of the group. Since Finnish metal started to come out to the world in the '90s, we've been the ones that are still alive. So, we've done something right. Of course, there are highlights that, at the moment, sound like the world is ours, like the first time ever Tarja [Turunen] was in the band, for instance, the first show we pulled over ten thousand people with just us. That was a great moment, playing in front of eighty thousand people at Wacken or Rock In Rio has been great. Rock In Rio, because it's been such an iconic festival throughout a few decades now, so it's nice to go there. These kinds of things. They are all highlights. I don't know which one I could put as number one ahead of everything else."
The English version of "Pyre Of The Black Heart" will arrive on January 24 via Nuclear Blast. The album was issued in Finland last May under the title "Mustan Sydämen Rovio".