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Tarot
Interview mit Marco Hietala [Tarot], 14.04.2011, phoner



Marco Hietala ist ein vielbeschäftigter Mann. Er ist nicht nur Vocal Producer, Teil des Metal-Projekts Northern Kings und Mitglied von Nightwish, sondern stemmt auch noch seine eigene Band Tarot. Diese hat mittlerweile 25 Jahre auf dem Buckel und feiert dieses Jubiläum mit einer ganz besonderen Veröffentlichung: dem Re-Release des allerersten Tarot-Longplayers "The Spell Of Iron". Im Interview verriet Marco mir die Hintergründe.

Marco, just last year you have published the album "Gravity Of Light". Now you will re-release your very first album "Spell Of Iron". What has been the idea behind it?

Marco: The idea was to make it work in a totally different way. We didn`t want to create a one-to-one copy of the original version. We wanted to re-arrange the whole stuff of 1986.

To what extend is the new version different from the original album?

Marco: The song "Wings Of Darkness" is maybe the most faithful referring to its old version. But some of the new songs have really changed: There are a lot of tempo changes, we put different new elements into the songs and there are different keys. Also we went over and over the songs to arrange them for the keyboard which we didn´t have in the band 25 years ago. So there are pretty clearly differences between old and new version. I also rewrote the lyrics and added some perspectives of these days. The re-arranging was a really good time for every one of us.

What do you especially refer to the first Tarot-album?

Marco: If I think about the first album, it was kind of a time in scene when there wasn`t really any other hard rock band here – only a couple of inspiring groups. In Finland our first album has the status of being a ground breaking pioneer work. That is something everybody in the band is proud of.

Is Tarot a democratic band?

Marco: More or less democratic as this kind of a piece can be. This time the arranging was pretty much lead by me, Pecu the drummer and Janne the keyboard player. Of course our keyboard player had a lot of things to do and Pecu went over and over the rhythm sections. Then we played the demo versions to Zach and Tommi. They went over the stuff, replaced things or added new ideas.

How much right to say in a matter has your brother Zachary as he is co-founder of the band?

Marco: Every time we`re doing a studio album, he is writing music as well – also for the new one. But he had a lot of work to do and couldn`t participate in the arranging sections that much. Anyway, everybody has a say. In the end when we had recorded some alternate tapes and different versions, we decided together which versions are the best to end up being on the album.

Which anecdotes can you tell us about the recording sessions?


Marco: Mmm, I think everything was so fluid when we were doing it. Okay, there was also a lot of joking and laughing and we played really weird stuff in between. But still we created a serious heavy metal album.

Any special producer you worked together with or did you re-record the first album all by yourself?

Marco: This album is pretty much handmade – just by us guys in the band. I did all the recordings for vocals and guitars. Janne did all the recordings for drums and keyboards. And while I was still doing some vocals and recording them with Tommi, Janne already mixed the songs that were ready at that time. He also mastered the whole CD in the end. So everything was pretty much made just by the band and we also didn`t use any outside background vocalists. Everything is sung by Tommi and me.

What`s your personal highlight of the new album version?

Marco: I think the title song changed pretty much referring to the original version. And on my opinion this new version works very well. It has some nice melodies and harmonies into it now which we didn`t have on the original. And also the keyboard gives the songs a nice background atmosphere – especially during the verses. So that’s why the title song is one of my favorites now.

You already mentioned the song "Wings Of Darkness" which you had published as a first single in 1986. Recently you shot a new video for this song. How did this idea come about?

Marco: It was just a funny idea to shoot it in the same kind of surroundings with just the band and a few requisites. The only thing that is different referring to the original video clip: Now there are more wrinkles and hairs on the faces.

How did the band sound like 25 years ago?

Marco: …like a vein of British new wave of heavy metal. I think, it pretty much sounded like that. Especially with the double guitar you can hear some influences from Priest and Maiden.

If you look back to 25 years of band history: Which phase has especially been important for you and why?

Marco: Of course the starting point of a band is important. It was great being able to sign the first record deal and recording albums in a professional studio. That are kind of memories you never forget. It has also been the first time we could live in the hotel and somebody else paid the bill, we were travelling naked in the elevator in the middle of the night and all that. That was a funny time… But then again I think that also in the 90ies we had a really good time. After that it was a bit silent around us. But in 2003 we released "Suffer Our Pleasures" and started touring again. So I don`t know which phase was the best… There is a lot of history!

To what extent has Tarot influenced the Finnish metal scene?

Marco: I can`t say for sure, but there are lots of people here in the scene, younger guys, who bought the albums and some even got into heavy metal because of our stuff. Yeah, we had some influences, but I can`t define to what extend…

Has your acting in Nightwish influenced the development of Tarot?


Marco: Of course it had affected things. There are a lot of people more who knows what I´m doing because of my role in the band Nightwish. But in the end, I think, there are some people having a lower threshold for checking the band out. They still gonna like the band, the music and the albums and they come to our shows. That`s where the music speaks for itself.

Nightwish is very successful – also over the boarders of Finland. But how do the foreign countries react to Tarot? You have just been on tour out there…

Marco: We played shows in really small clubs, but we usually managed to put a grin onto human`s faces no matter how hard we punched them. Tarot is a band being able to put some move on peoples` feet, I guess. We also played a few shows in Southern America and people really seemed to like it. I had already been there with Nightwish and the shows have always been great. But the guys in Tarot have never been there before. They loved the place…

How did it come about that The Man-Eating Tree joined you on tour?

Marco: I don`t know all the details about how it came to be… I guess, they also signed to King Foo Entertainment who are booking our shows and doing our management. I enjoyed the company of these guys and the lady.

Are you also still part of Northern Kings by the way?

Marco: As much as a part as every one of us. That`s kind of a project that always surfaces when we`ve got time to do something together. Of course there have been talks about doing an album again. But we all have bands we already work with. So it´s sometimes hard to get together.

Tarot, Nightwish, Northern Kings – How do you handle all these bands, especially at the moment as there are a lot of album productions etc.?

Marco: For Nightwish I have already done all my studio work – recorded all the bass and vocal stuff. For my part I´m just waiting for the guys to start with the mixing process in order to check out what comes from there. This gives me some free time for touring with Tarot…

How did it come about that Amorphis engaged you as a vocal producer for their latest albums?


Marco: It`s now my fourth with them. Jouni Markkanen, who also works at King Foo, is managing Amorphis. And he is my friend for already a few years. We used to live in the same town and when he still was singing in different bands, I recorded some of his stuff in the studio. I´ve been doing this kind of vocal producing for quite a lot of different younger bands. Jouni kind of suggested that I should do that for Amorphis as well as the guys had a new singer – Tommi – joining the band. I knew some of the guys already. I like them, I like their music and the band itself. Tommi turned out to be a really diverse vocalist in the studio. He`s doing good work!

If you had the choice, bass guitar or voice, what would you choose?

Marco: Doing the vocal works is probably the one thing that defines me more personal than bass playing. If I had to choose, I´d probably try to be more a vocalist. But I don`t mind being a bass player, because I enjoy it as well.

One last question: How would you continue the sentence "Music is…"?

Marco: …nice. [laughs loudly] Well, music is nice – even if it`s shitty.



Interview: Lea S.
Foto 1: taken & (c) by Jarkko Tiitinen / taken from wingsofdarkness.net
Website Band: www.wingsofdarkness.net


(c) Zillo Musikmagazin / Ausgabe 06/11 / www.zillo.de
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