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Marko Hietala


Fugazi

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Marko has performed a number of shows with Northern Kings this summer, and I have now managed to catch up on some of those performances. He's doing great on stage with them, he looks like he's having fun. I like the way they're adapting 80's classics for a metal crowd, it works well IMO.

Take On Me (A-Ha) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwSZ-A0u6BI

A View To A Kill (Duran Duran) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvkY5i7S0tk

Kiss From A Rose (Seal) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQwplqaD444

We Don't Need Another Hero (Tina Turner) -

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Interview with Marko in Ilta-Sanomat, it's a good read and perhaps the best insight so far into Marko's state of mind during the last few years.

 

Marko Hietala reveals what made him leave Nightwish - behind the darkest years of his life

Singer-bassist Marko Hietala, 56, returns to the limelight with the Hard Christmas tour. The departure from Nightwish, a sick leave and a move abroad have shaken fans. Soon he will be a father.

Niina Enqvist, 7 Oct 2022

https://www.is.fi/viihde/art-2000009109574.html

 

Musician Marko Hietala, 56, retired from the public eye in the spring of 2021 when he announced that he was leaving the band Nightwish. Hietala, known as the band's singer-bassist, cleared his gig calendar, silenced his social media account and decided to focus on something completely different than music. He announced to his fans that he would put his music career on hiatus for the time being.

Hietala answers a video call at home in Spain, where he and his wife Camila bought a home last fall.

- I'm fine! In three weeks, I should become the father of a little daughter, Hietala muses.

If you had asked Marko Hietala about a year and a half ago what was going on with him, the answer would have been completely different than it is now. Hietala says frankly that at that time we were in such deep depressions and anxiety that it seemed impossible to get out.

- I had lost all joy in life, all interest had died. I had the impression that I would never come back to the music side, says Hietala.

Hietala says she has struggled with depression and anxiety for years. For so long that sometimes it has been difficult to imagine what everyday life would be like without the constant feeling of inadequacy. However, a lot has happened in the last year and a half. There has been a move, happy family news, making new music, rest and therapy.

- I was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder this year. It was started to be medicated and a balance was found. Anxiety and worry are gone from daily life.

- The diagnosis might explain some things a little, such as why I was already the spaceman in the group as a little boy who told strange stories. I've always been driven by my imagination, for better or for worse.

Now Hietala is ready to return to the stage when the Hard Christmas tour starts in November. Or return and return, because Hietala visited already in the summer to get a feel for performing with his solo band and the Northern Kings.

- We took a little training. I didn't tell anyone about the gigs in advance. It was a test of how it feels to be back on stage. Hietala tells.

He describes the summer gigs as having strengthened the feeling that the blood still draws to the stage. It wasn't quite obvious, because while touring the world with Nightwish, Hietala had been through the bottom mud with his own endurance.

- Getting on stage was a fence that had to be crossed. It wasn't like before that the hands were shaking. I got the feeling that maybe I still belong here, he says.

Hietala says that therapy and medication have helped with depression. Now, when he leaves for the Hard Christmas tour, his condition is completely different from last year, when he had to withdraw from concerts for health reasons.

Heavy Christmas is a favorite project for Hietala, because the creative team is familiar and the audience is always fully involved at the concerts.

- Going on the Heavy Christmas tour feels a bit weird. The gig pace is tight, there aren't very many days off. However, I don't have the pressure of being a soloist when there are always four or five other guys singing at the same gig, he says.

- The team is familiar and I trust them one hundred percent. This is like a kind of annual meeting run. It's good to go on a tour.

When the Hard Christmas gigs start, Hietala and Cami's spouse have a newborn baby. The musician says that without his wife's support, he wouldn't be able to go on tour.

- Cami said just go to the gigs. The mother-in-law comes to help with childcare for a month. The wife is aware that the rundi is a commercial success and it will decide what we do for next year. After Christmas, I can stay at home with the little one for a longer time and play new songs on the computer.

It's hard to talk about Hietala's career without Nightwish, whose lineup he was part of since 2002. For fans, Hietala's departure from the band came as a news bomb in January 2021. He had spoken openly about his problems to the band members.

According to Hietala, the reasons for leaving Nightwish are not clear-cut, but the sum of several factors. Creating an international career and mental health problems are not an easy equation.

- If bad things had happened in personal relationships, and there is a so-called congenital susceptibility to feelings of worthlessness and anxiety, then the result is bad, Hietala describes.

- At the same time, when you are out in the world, there are quite a lot of worries inside your head. There's simply not always room for them on tour, and you can't take them down. It was far from where the head and heart rest.

The corona year was a turning point in Hietala's life. Nightwish's world tour was postponed to the distant future, and when the rest of the world was upset about the corona restrictions, Hietala was grateful for the respite.

- For me, the corona year was welcome. Staying at home forced me to sit on things and I realized that I was afraid to go out into the world. The next question was why I'm afraid of it. I didn't want to go out into the world because I was suffering.

He understood that the pace had to be slowed down and there would be no going back.

- The therapists' remote receptions were not possible before the corona and I would have needed them in the rund. When Nightwish's tour got postponed and I stayed home, I saw my chance and went to therapy. It has continued to this day.

The respite also made it possible to move abroad, which he and his spouse had been talking about for a long time. He says they both needed a change of scenery.

- At first, everything in Finland seemed exotic to Cam, but he quickly noticed that although the snow is beautiful, it is also damn cold. Living in Savo by the lake is great in the summer, but the social circles were small. There is not the same social circle for those from Brazil as, for example, in the stadium.

When a friend suggested a Finnish real estate agency operating in Spain, the couple got excited.

- I can't say whether this is our permanent home, but the house is starting to feel like home. Here, lamps have been painted, curtains have been hung and furniture has been piled up. Usually, after moving, things are left lying in corners for a long time, but now I had to get the house ready before my daughter was born. There is a nice spark in the birth of a child, Hietala smiles.

After Hietala's departure, Nightwish fans have been constantly asking if he will return to the band's ranks. Hietala says frankly that he does not see it as possible, at least at the moment.

- In Nightwish, we go in such a size class that I no longer take such business obligations on my neck. I don't expect anything either. I'm such an old dog that I have no illusions about my own worth or my artistic gift to the world, he laughs.

It is certain that new music is coming, but Hietala does not dare to promise what kind of schedule yet.

- I have both English and Finnish rough songs for a solo band. We had a strong plan to release a single and maybe a video in the winter, but due to the addition of a family, the release will be later next year.

For now, fans will have to wait a little longer for new music. Right now, Hietala is enjoying being able to make songs without pressure and perform when he wants to.

- Family is priority number one. We were thinking of leaving by car with the family in May to push slowly towards Finland. Summer in Finland would free you up to do festivals and you could do a club or concert hall tour, Hietala thinks.

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  • 1 month later...
On 7/24/2022 at 1:21 AM, Fugazi said:

Marko Hietala’s return to Nightwish seems uncertain: “I’m not waiting for a call back”

https://chaoszine.net/marko-hietalas-return-to-nightwish-seems-uncertain-im-not-waiting-for-a-call-back/

Samuel Järvinen - 15.7.2022

---

The original article is behind a paywall.

https://www.iltalehti.fi/viihdeuutiset/a/18014cf0-6dc3-4fe9-9c11-3b32714cbb11

On the Nightdreamers Reacticide discord server, I found a complete translation of the original interview. It's an interesting read, and deserves reposting.

Quote

Notes:
The original Finnish article was taken from Iltalehti.
Thank you to Adasme from the Reacticide Discord server for posting the contents of said article. Without it, this translation wouldn’t have been made.
Thank you to my partner as well for helping me with parts I had difficulty wording.
Finally, thank you to KayKay from the Discord server for helping with the last few untranslated lines and for proofreading the whole translation.
Link to the original publication (hard paywall):
https://www.iltalehti.fi/viihdeuutiset/a/18014cf0-6dc3-4fe9-9c11-3b32714cbb11

Originally done through Google Translate and shared among those in the Discord server, the translation was serviceable and got the main ideas across, but lacked polish and did not read as well as it could. This version aims to iron out and restructure the translation to make it an easier, clearer read while aiming to preserve the ideas and nuance present in the original writing.
Considering the subject matter and information present in this interview, I’d say it’s important enough to warrant a more coherent rewrite. (Due to not having direct access to the full article, I cannot be entirely sure whether certain sentences are Marko’s words and which are not. Take quoted lines with a grain of salt as
well.) Lastly, this is by no means a professional translation. It’s just a few fans doing their best.
Take care,
Andie

The article contains recounts pertaining to depression, anxiety, and suicide. Discretion is advised.

 

All Joy Was Lost
Sanna Salo, Italehti 15.7.2022

 

Even when all hope was lost, Marko Hietala has managed to climb out of the pits of depression. Light now shines upon his life with the help of a new diagnosis and the coming of a third child.

“It was December 2021. The Raskasta Joulua (Hard Christmas) Tour has arrived in Oulu. My heart was pounding. Sweat was pouring out. The anxiety was suffocating.”

“Had a breakdown, gone on sick leave. It wasn’t the right time yet.”

The interview request came at just the right time. Moments ago, Marko Hietala would not have been able to talk about that dark period in his life. For the first time since his departure, he gives an account of the events that led to his separation from Nightwish and his withdrawal from the public eye, and most importantly, what he has been up to recently.

We will meet at Hietala's Tuska festival. Earlier in the day, the man had pulled an energetic performance within the ranks of the Northern Kings. Hietala, cheerful and laughing, warmly welcomes us and sits down for an interview.

“It’s been a long time,” he sighs.

Hietala was referring to performing at festivals, but that statement also applies here. At the beginning of 2021, Hietala announced that he was leaving Nightwish after almost two decades of being a member. During the past year and a half, Hietala has hardly been seen in public. In that time, he has not been on tour or undergone any interviews.

Instead, he was going through the darkest time of his life.

“The other battle has been deep depression and anxiety. The struggle inside my head got so bad that the thoughts started to turn suicidal.”

“Sometimes I thought about walking from the backyard into the frozen lake and just disappearing”,

Hietala recalls. Hietala shows how his hands start to shake as he begins telling his story.

“Depression and anxiety have been my companions for years. Nightmares always woke me up in the morning. At the same time, I needed to work really hard in a career with the world's biggest Finnish band. Those mental health problems have also left their mark on the relationships within the band.”

Hietala cannot name just one low point – there were several.

“Of course, you learn to live with it in some way, to resist them harder and harder. At some point, forcing it won’t be enough. The longer these problems are neglected, the more toxic and heavy they become.”

In 2019, Nightwish recorded their latest album Human. :II: Nature. At the same time, Hietala's solo career was in full swing. When the English version of Mustan sydämen rovio (Pyre of the Black Heart) was recorded, guitarist Tuomas Wäinölä almost had to force Hietala into the recording studio.

“Everything that could have possibly brought joy was lost,” Hietala describes.

Prioritising Survival

The pandemic hit, and the world tour was postponed to the distant future. Hietala sat on the couch at home and went to therapy. In the fall of 2020, he competed and won as Tohtori (the Doctor) in the Masked Singer. The show was the highlight of the year: no one in the production was aware enough to be careful around a chronically depressed colleague.

When the ongoing situation of the world started to ease and Nightwish started their machines again, Hietala realised that there was no going back to the way things were.

“It was necessary to continue a more peaceful lifestyle, if you wanted to get into clear waters.”

“My mind 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 sorrows.”

“I realised that I have dark things I have to work on. It became a priority. If I had decided to do gigs at that point, I probably would have brought nothing but trouble, to others and to myself.”

When Hietala announced to Nightwish that he was leaving, the band was not surprised. Hietala had always been open about his problems.

“My condition must have scared the band members for a long time,” he states.

A New Diagnosis

During the year and a half of radio silence, Hietala visited numerous therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists. A home was also bought in Spain for the dark winter
months: The darkness has always worsened the symptoms of depression.

Along with the already existing mental health problems, a new diagnosis was made: ADHD.

“There is no full-spectrum ADHD, but some degree of attention deficit disorder,” Hietala explains.

Hietala had already taken medication for both depression and anxiety, but only the ADHD medication made a big difference. After three weeks, Hietala noticed that he was calmer and more determined.

“Old resentments no longer screamed in my head in the middle of the night.”

Hietala was finally able to sleep until morning.

“From the accusatory voices since the divorce in 2015 and even before that, all the darkness of the past has subsided. I now know how to look ahead and live with a positive outlook,” says Hietala.

In addition to the new medication, two things have helped in Hietala's recovery: his wife and their dog Nadia, who was brought to the family from Lithuania two years ago.

“My wife has shown an absurd amount of patience. I've been flipping so much that at times things may have flown off the tables. She has had an absolutely insane belief in me that I am a good man inside.”

Hietala adds that he himself had always believed in his own goodness. Faith in the rest of the world, on the other hand, had been lost.

It was Cami, 35, who had pushed Hietala into therapy once more, when Hietala could no longer believe in their effectiveness a few years back.

A New Baby and Grandchild

As of late, a very special thing has brought joy to their lives: a new baby is expected to be born into the family in October.

Hietala, 56, already has adult twin boys from his previous union. Hietala joined Nightwish at the end of 2001, when the first two children had just been born.

Even though the musician had time to spend time at home with his children, it is much easier now that he no longer has to maintain an international career at the same time – especially with a third child on the way.

“The situation is different now. I have had time to create a career – there are gigs and a secure livelihood. Since there will be a new member in the family, I will stay a little longer to watch over them too,” Hietala plans.

The future child will be the first for Hietala's Brazilian wife. Her own baby has been a long-time dream of Cami.

“Yes, I look at that happiness with great joy myself,” Hietala says about his wife.

Hietala also remembers what his sons were like when they were little.

“Children are great. Especially when they're little, when there's an immediate readiness for whimsy and strange things. Maybe for a person with an attention deficit disorder, a kids’ club sounds about right,” he laughs.

The future child is not the only newcomer in the Hietala family. The musician also became a grandfather for the first time last summer, when one of the twin boys had a baby with his girlfriend.

“They have a hilarious little friend,” Hietala says warmly about his one-year-old grandchild.

A Return to Nightwish?

After the announcement of his departure, Nightwish fans have feverishly wondered whether Hietala has left the band for good, or if the return of the beloved singer-bassist is still possible.

When Hietala was asked about it, he did not have a clear answer. The core of Nightwish’s activities, music, albums and gigs have always been a source of pride for Hietala and will continue to be, however.

The problems lie elsewhere. Business is demanding for a group the size of Nightwish: several people on top take their share of the profit, and those who wrote the song suffer the most. Long discussions with their management would be required.

“I'm not waiting for a return request or a meeting invite. For years, I would get pissed off practically every day at some point. Dark thoughts came as soon as the opportunity presented itself.”

“Even though the gang knows that there is depression, medication and therapy, I can't help getting tired. I saw it as necessary for both me and them to leave.“

If the band members would want to discuss things, Hietala would be ready for it, now that he is feeling better.

“But it requires that those things really be discussed.”

Above all, Hietala would now have the chance to thoroughly explain how he ended up in such deep waters. That's a story for another time, otherwise the interview would take the rest of the day.

However, that conversation has to be had if Hietala were to ever go and participate in a project, either with new or old faces.

Hietala has not been in contact with Nightwish since his departure nor followed their activities – The band has spectacularly returned to the stage and is currently on world tour. It is still too difficult for Hietala to look at the situation from an outsider’s perspective.

Hietala does not know of Nightwish's current bassist, Jukka Koskinen. From the looks of things, however, the band has found a competent person for a demanding job.

“I don't feel bitter that someone else is there. On the contrary, I feel relieved.” [Note: Koskinen became the official base player about one month after this interview was published]

To Whoever

If the reader were to remember one thing after reading this story, Hietala would like it to be the following:

“One should not misunderstand a person who has been under too much pressure for too long. Depression is an illness that affects the behaviour of the sufferer. The old parable is true: you can't force someone with an amputated leg to walk or someone who is depressed to cheer up. Mental illness does not show on the outside.”

One of the hardest things for Hietala to realise was how wrong someone may have interpreted his eagerness and darkness.

“I had friends who took my depression and pain into consideration to the point where I became a dick about it, that the piss has gone to my head. When complaining about such things, one can’t help but feel even more worthless and inferior afterwards.”

Hietala emphasises the word was.

The moments when another person realises that something isn’t right are immeasurably valuable. Once on tour, Nightwish guitarist Emppu Vuorinen had offered Hietala a cigarette and asked how he was doing. The depression that had long accumulated erupted and Hietala crumbled.

“I have good memories of people like that, where someone says that things are going to shit.”

Hietala reminds that anyone may have a person in their workplace who is constantly gloomy and eager. It is not necessarily a permanent character trait, but something they live with.

Another Disappearance?

Hietala's summer continues with gigs in both his solo band and the Northern Kings.

Last December, Hietala was supposed to participate in the traditional Raskasta Joulua (Heavy Christmas) tour. After the first concert, however, Hietala stated that he was not yet ready to perform. Social media then announced the singer's condition and wished him a speedy recovery.

When Hietala went on stage for the first time in the summer after such a long disappearance, he was anxious. Little by little, performing started to feel like it did before: natural and fun.

“In the future, I plan to focus on my solo career. On a smaller scale, it's easier to create your own rules and keep the strings in your hands.”

When Hietala was asked if he may disappear from the public again at some point, he did not dare promise anything.

Nevertheless, he hasn’t felt better in a long time.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Marko posted for the first time in almost 2 years on his Facebook page, along with photos with his dog. It's actually his first post since the NW resignation letter.

https://www.facebook.com/markohietalaofficial/posts/pfbid0t3Jq2grUaPNigv4sYYsMbR2wL4Rf5JsHYbvjJfwrH7LtEQvThSV6WouYiKdqpvUjl

Quote
I’m back!!!
Here’s Marko. I’ve had a relaxing year and some. I already started doing gigs last summer. And at the moment I’m doing shows in “Raskasta Joulua” Xmas tour.
This tour started with the main promoter going bankrupt and quite a few shows got cancelled. The agent of ours (the band and the vocalists) managed to renegotiate about the half of the shows back in line. Time was short and the mission was crazy. Hooray for mr. Kari Penttinen!!!
So here’s the official poster with the list of dates and shows that are still happening. If you had doubts about going to a show, this is the real deal. These dates will happen. If you show up, we’ll rock the balls off your tree!
Merry Xmas from Marko and Nadia
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  • 2 weeks later...

Marko warns about impersonators! 👀

https://www.facebook.com/markohietalaofficial/posts/pfbid0UN76JQ8dAs7uPHKoEuaL5kff8pCWmWeEmyjPTMSRbSoZAQrDgKTyjgqicpxHCn5al

Quote
Dear people,
There has been some incidents. Mostly with ladies who are romantically inclined in the wrong place. And they’ve been fed with some very sad bu11$h1t.
I am happily married. I do not answer or communicate with people, fans or anyone through these pages. I haven’t and I will not personally contact anyone anywhere through messenger or anything in the net. If someone does contact you personally as Marko Hietala, then that someone is fake and posing as me. Don’t be fooled!
If I write something, it’ll be for everyone who wants to read it. I don’t pick up company from the network. And it’s naive to believe I would. Use of common sense is allowed here. Take care of yourself ladies.
Useless w@nk3rs in need of a company are everywhere. Avoid them.
Thank you!
Marko Hietala
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  • 3 months later...
MARKO HIETALA AND THE UPCOMING “SPRINGTIME OF THE BLACK HEART” TOUR
 
Hi everyone!
 
Me & and a few talented friends of mine have a bunch of shows coming up in April. Marko Hietala’s “Springtime of the Black Heart” tour is happening in Finland from April 15th to April 30th. More of that by the end, but here’s a little recap.
 
Last summer I returned to the life I’ve known and started doing shows again. It was a tremendous relief and a pleasure to climb on stage and connect once more with both the music and the people, the band and the crowd. The shows of my own and the shows I did with Northern Kings were all the confirmation I had needed.
 
2022 turned out to be a great year in terms of self search, discovery and recovery. I am way better now. Still looney and hopefully even more “out there”, of course: it’s just more capable me at the pilot’s seat.
 
I’m sorry I didn’t write anything after the Christmas shows with “Raskasta Joulua”, but I was already feeling physically low and I got sick with covid returning home. Then the holidays were on already. Year changed. Life happened.
 
I can honestly assure you that I had an absolutely great time doing those shows too. The same thing again. When the music and the people connect. Thanks to the audiences and Captain Erkka and everyone in that huge happy crowd project! Be seeing you at the end of this year too.
 
On to our main subject.
 
April 2023 we will return to do the ”Springtime of the Black Heart” tour in Finland with Marko Hietala solo group. We’ll be performing our load of goodies to prog, rock & metal lovers in quite a few places:
 
Apr 15, 2023 – Hyvinkää Hall, Hyvinkää (FIN)
Apr 16, 2023 – Cultural Centre Virta, Imatra (FIN)
Apr 18, 2023 – Tampere Hall (Small auditorium), Tampere (FIN)
Apr 19, 2023 – Suisto, Hämeenlinna (FIN)
Apr 21, 2023 – Mikaeli, Mikkeli (FIN)
Apr 22, 2023 – The Circus, Kuopio (FIN)
Apr 23, 2023 – Madetoja Hall, Oulu (FIN)
Apr 26, 2023 – Monikkosali, Klaukkala (FIN)
Apr 27, 2023 – Sello Hall, Espoo (FIN)
Apr 28, 2023 – Carelia Hall, Joensuu (FIN)
Apr 29, 2023 – Tuiskula, Nivala (FIN)
Apr 30, 2023 – Korundi, Rovaniemi (FIN)
 
Marko Hietala – vocals & bass
Tuomas Wäinölä – guitars & background vocals
Vili Ollila – keyboards
Anssi Nykänen – drums & percussion
 
The tickets to all the shows can be found here: https://linktr.ee/markohietala
 
See you out there!
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  • 5 months later...

Here's a long interview with Marko on the Bleeding Metal Podcast. He covers a lot of ground about his origins, his inspiration and his views on the music industry. Nothing specific about Nightwish though.

Some notes:

  • Getting a diagnosis and treating ADHD 1,5 years ago helped Marko take control of his anxiety.
  • Marko is working on a second solo album.
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In case you're missing The Islander -- it's probably not going to retire anytime soon! 😁

Marko is opening for Tarja in South America and curiously he sings mostly covers (Black Sabbath, Dio, Ozzy Osbourne...) but very few of his own songs. I wonder why. Later he joins Tarja and they sing either Tarja or Nightwish songs.

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