Marco Hietala and Pecu Cinnari of Tarot interviewed
I didn’t suspect that the universe of Tarot is at least as complex (if not more complex) that the universe of Nightwish. I always thought of the former as an appendix of the soprano band which is selling records all over the world. Even if I could see the musical differences, I thought there’s little life after nightwish. I was wrong; and the proof is in the chat with the diplomat Marko Hietala and the very straightforward Pecu Cinnari. A sort of Brad Pitt, respectively Clint Eastwood of the Tarot band.
Metalfan: Let’s start with the warm-up question. It’s so generic that I’m very curious to see what your answer will be, hehe! How are you doing these days?
Pecu: We’ve been doing this s**t for 25 years, so we are fine.
Marko: Yes, it’s very good to have a routine. I don’t have to worry about Alzheimer anymore, I can play with my spine, haha!
Metalfan: I understand, haha! You’re going through a very intense period, at least concert-wise.
Pecu (having a huge sip of beer): It seems [like it] to me, too, haha!
Metalfan: Ok… I was wondering: how do you manage to play gigs and still be fresh every night? Marko: We weren’t so fresh last night, but we did the show, anyway…
Metalfan: Are you very organized and you know exactly what you are going to do or is it the energy boost on stage?
Marko: Organised is definitely not the word. We’re not organized, we’re chaotic, hehe…
Metalfan: They say chaos has its own logic…
Marko: Yes, it’s true, I mean… The guys do the songs, but you never know what’s going to happen. And that’s all the fun part, to have the element of surprise and to have the humous (a really dark and dirty one). And that’s how we do things, we like this s**t.
Pecu: Absolutely, we are crazy mother f***ers.
Marko: At least you are. I try to stay sane… without success.
Metalfan: The positioning of this festival is that of a cultural event. It’s a status stuff here…
Marko: Yes, I saw the banners with “Capital of European Culture”. This is more of an official thing, right?
Metalfan: It’s the coolest official thing there is, a rock festival, hehe.
Marko: Yes, we haven’t got to see the city that much, we arrived just half an hour before starting the show. We were a bit late because of the planes and driving through Finland. But what I’ve seen from the city looks really nice, because I like this medieval thing, all the stone buildings and the rocks and everything.
Pecu (another huge sip): Yes, medieval, that’s the word, medieval.
Metalfan: A more general question… something about the public. Have you noticed any particular tendency, a particular characteristic of the public last night? With The Gathering, for instance, it seemed to me that the girls were more energized than the boys [at least where I was standing – note].
Marko: Yes? I would think that Anneke would draw some boys, ‘cause she’s pretty hot, haha! We draw a little bit more male audience, on the wilder side of things; besides, we are old and ugly bastards, so it’s no wonder...
Pecu: Yes, we are f***ers!
Metalfan: Did you have any time to get friends with the bands in the festival? Well, I heard that you had some beers with the guys from Within Temptation and you probably damaged their livers, haha...
Marko: Possibly, because Finnish have their way of drinking which isn’t very popular around the world, unless you’re Irish or Australian – they can hold their stuff.
Pecu: Or British...
Marko: British are pretty weak. [From them] only irish are good, they can hold their stuff.
Metalfan: Anathema are good ambassadors for the alcohol appetite of the British, right?
Marko: Of course there are exceptions in every country, hehe...
Metalfan: Ok, let’s move on. You said in the press conference that you’re very influenced, you’re very connected to the 80’s stuff.
Marko: It’s not about influences, we basically grew up from them. We started doing music in the 80’s, it’s where we come from. These days we try to stay on the level with the things we like, for instance the 90’s Pantera was really great. If we get to the topic of what’s great now, I don’t know... I watched a Slipknow DVD a few times, when I was touring in the States with Nightwish and that was pretty f***ing impressive. So we try to stay on the level with things, we try to stay pretty hard and update the sound, but our roots are in the 70’s and the 80’s, which probably gives the music a little more atmosphere, a little more melodic depth.
Pecu: And I still listen only to the 80’s music: Rainbow, Judas Priest, Van Hallen, bands like these.
Metalfan: You left Spinefarm for King Foo. Apart from the very funny name, what does King Foo have as an extra, hehe?
Marko: The difference is that with Spinefarm it was a good deal at the start and they did a really good job [for us] in Finland. But they sold their majority to Universal, which meant basically that with Suffer Our Pleasures we really got screwed with the international publishing. Because they had to go through Universal to their daughter companies and connections and everything... for instance, Germany is the best metal market these days, probabily, and [there] we just got into a catalogue of some small companies. With king Foo we have more strings in our own hands. They have the connections and they already sold the album and the publishing to Nuclear Blast. And they probably sold 10 times more albums than we did before.
Metalfan: Some time ago I had an interview with Waltari and they tended to see the positive side of globalization; you suffered because of the globalization, haha... With Spinefarm being acquired by Universal.
Pecu (another sip): I can’t follow you because of this Romanian accent...
Marko: Hahaha! (translates for Pecu)... Well, it’s a double-edged sword... The country boundaries become more and more blurry. And these days i think we are ruled more by companies than by nations. And to me that’s a little bit scarry, because I think there are people scarrier people than George Bush leading the companies, because he is a puppet for the companies. It’s about people deciding: “we want to make this much money out of these people”. For me that’s scarry. I don’t mind people traveling, meeting – from different faces, different countries, different races – that is good. But that’s a strict point of view. And with these company thing that we are heading into, I think that many people will just be used.
Metalfan: It’s interesting that you say that. Isn’t this true also for the music companies?
Marko: that’s very true. There are some companies who are actively trying to take over everything.
Metalfan: Speaking of which... You said in the press conference that downloading cuts from the salaries of innocent people – the middlemen: the ones burning CD’s and printing covers etc. Now I’m telling you: [...] what if we cut out the middlemen and we buy everything via Internet?
Marko: Yes... Some people have done that, some people are trying that. But then you need the energy to look for the new thing. For instance, Steven King has done that, publishing bits and pieces from the “Green Mile”. Or stuff like Marillion did – publishing an album on the internet, no printed edition, no hard copies.
Pecu: Yeas, but I don’t understand that...
Marko: Yes, but you don’t know about computers, except for the porn, haha!
Pecu: Well, that’s a fact!
Marko: I don’t know that much either... [...] but I think this would work if everybody was honest. You see on the internet something that you like, use you f***ing credit card, don’t f***ing download it!
Pecu: And this is quite a new world for us, the internet. I mean it’s [incredible] that a guy from Australia reached us on the internet. It’s...
Marko: But I have like this basic honesty trick... hehe; (avoiding cheesiness)... ehem... Anyway, I think that everybody deserves a cut from their work. If people like your work, you should be paid. It’s like, if I go to an office job and I got to be paid, someone comes to me and says: Look, you have 100 euros in your pocket, I’ll take 10 or 12, ok?”. It’s like that.
Metalfan: If you could turn back time, is there anything that you would do different? With this Tarot project, I mean. Marko: Of course that, starting from sctratch, as a 18-year old horny guy starting out a band, I would definitely do something different. But I have no regrets, I mean... we are who we are; and all the history that you have makes you [be] you.
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