Interview By Alison Booth
Highly regarded over many years for his work with bands such as NIGHTWISH, TAROT and NORTHERN KINGS, bassist and vocalist Marko Hietala is set to release his first solo album! The album, “Pyre Of The Black Heart” is due out on Friday 24th January via Nuclear Blast Records.
Fans have already had a taste of what is to come from Marko‘s album, with the singles ‘Stones’ and ‘The Voice Of My Father’. Metal Shock Finland Senior Manager, Alison Booth recently spoke to Marko in more detail about the album and more, for her radio show Blackdiamond’s Metal Mayhem on UK station TotalRock.
You can read a few excerpts from the chat below, with the full interview on the audio player:
Discussing the single ‘Stones’, before moving on to the album content, Marko stated:
“With ‘Stones’, I used my twelve string, which sounds a little bit Mediterranean and put in a traditional straight blues melody and therefore write also blues lyrics with repetition. And the riff combines a traditional folk melody, so yeah, that’s ‘Stones’.
I didn’t consciously go and do a mash up of different genres – when I was writing things, it seemed to fit. With a solo album I was pretty free to do whatever I want and at the time I didn’t know who was going to be playing on it. I did imagine a distorted fog with a symphony orchestra and if it sounds good, I could put it on – I didn’t do that though. But all of these things like I did Mediterranean guitar with blues vocals and Black Sabbath riff with a Finnish traditional chord melody, all ended up happening in the song ‘Stones’.
But there’s a lot of other stuff going on there as well and I guess the only thing, which I realised kind of on the way, was that I was doing a lot of traditional Finnish stuff in some melodies on purpose. But I would say the folk on this album is not as much Celtic as it is Finnish.”
Continuing about the music and the tour, Marko expressed:
“When we did the Finnish shows in the summer, it seemed to be capturing people and since the album is so varied, we definitely fall on the side of prog rock. That’s why the word play come to my head – ‘hard prog’, because there is a lot of old progressive rock and old hard rock moods on the album and then come back with more modern stuff and some more metallic songs and all that.”
What I’m looking for in the future is that the solo project kind of starts to grow up the band. We had a good time last summer doing the Finnish shows and we’re gonna be doing some more.
So actually the European tour first and possibly the last. Yeahh… first and possibly to be continued is now the opinion. We kinda picked up like ten suitably different things to work on for the album and we got more stuff. And now that I’ve been letting my brain go fallow for a couple of months, suddenly I’m coming up with new ideas. So yeah, we’ll see – I’d like to keep this going.”
A brief update on NIGHTWISH:
“It’s come from the master – I’ve been listening to it, I like what I hear. There’s some really nice vocal work there from all the three now and then. We put some efforts into doing some proper vocal harmonies. With the group we had, some of it went over the expectations.”