Kreator: Guitar players have no money!

Wacken Open Air in Germany – a possibility to meet many musicians from all over the world. STALKER uses this chance to interview Sami Yli-Sirniö, guitar player of the German Thrash Titans Kreator, about new album, the Finnish Metal scene and his own musical socialization!

Sami, you are playing the WOA very often with Kreator. Is this only business for you or do you find also time to enjoy other bands, too?
I certainly have also some free time here. I was a bit annoyed that couldn`t be here yesterday already because I really wanted to see Judas Priest. Maybe I find some time after our show today to watch Eläkeläiset, because they never play in Finland, haha!
I enjoy staying here every time. When we played here in 2005, we enjoyed it that much that we decided to release the entire show in our “Enemy of God – Revisited“ release. Three years ago we played here the last time. It was an awful show with a big party as well, haha!

Which bands did you like most in the last years?
Unfortunately we arrive here often the day we play here. So I do not find so much time to watch other bands. Maybe next time…

In the last years, Thrash Metal has a big revival. Interestingly, it began with your “Violent Revolution“ release in 2001. Do you think that this could have a positive effect on this revival?
That is really difficult to say. (thinking some time about it) The record was really great, definitely. But there were many other bands that released great albums that year. So it was a result of all of those releases. (thinking again) Difficult to say, I don`t know… But I am really happy that many new bands came up in the past years which play faithful music. To me, Thrash Metal is really faithful because the popularity which you can get with Thrash Metal is really limited.

With the release of “Endorama“ Kreator hit a commercial low. Since the release of “Violent Revolution“ times for Kreator became better as well…
Do you think that the following releases were too similar in its style?

They were at least really similar in terms of quality. Some releases before weren`t.
Well, we always try to bring some new elements into our sound. “Hordes of Chaos“ for instance, was recorded live in the studio. When recording our new album we will try something new again and change our producer once again. It will be Jens Borgren. I hope that he will find a new edge in our sound.

How far can you influence the songwriting process?
Well, Mille is the main songwriter. But we arrange the songs all together in the studio. Also smaller parts like the vocal melodies are done by us all. Mille writes the lyrics and we all are working on the riffs until everybody is happy, haha!

“Enemy of God“ was recorded with Andi Sneap, a typical metal producer, while “Hordes of Chaos“ was recorded by Moses Schneider who never recorded a Metal album before. What are the differences between their ways to work?
Moses Schneider recorded all songs live in the studio, all of us in one room. Andi Sneap would never do something like that. Andi gives you real good sound, really heavy. But the problem is that all of his productions sound really similar, just like Testament and Exodus. Andi works really well, but we just wanted something different. Now we want to try something new again and therefore we chose Jens Borgren as our new producer.

Let us stick to this topic: What can you tell us about your new record?
Five songs are more or less finished. The music should be complete, but the lyrics shouldn`t, as far as I know. But some things can still change. We will record it in Örebrö in Sweden next January. I always wanted to leave Finland in the winter because it is too cold there, but now it will become even worse, haha! But the good thing is that there is nothing that takes your focus from the music away. Nothing disturbs you.

Let´s talk about you. You used to play in some Finish bands, now you play in a German band. But where is your home?
I have been living in Helsinki for 10 years now, really close to downtown. I also play some music with my guys in Finland. Right now I play in a band called Barren Earth. I play with some guys from Amorphis and Swallow the Sun and we play progressive Death Metal. But my absolute priority in the past 10 years were Kreator.

But how do you manage all those rehearsals with Kreator?
We have our rehearsal room in the basement of Zeche Carl in Essen (Germany). My last stay there was in June. When I am there, we try to make rehearsals every day. Otherwise the guys do it once or twice a week. Next time I will be there in September. Then our new producer will also come and check our new songs.

Where do you stay in Germany? Do you book a hotel room or does Mille have a guest room?
Mille has a guest room indeed, but mostly I take a hotel next to Zeche Carl. It is not so beautiful, but it is ok.

What are the differences between the German and the Finnish Metal scene?
In Finland, everybody plays in 10.000 different bands. So you always see the same faces when you visit concerts. In Germany it is different, I don`t know why. But basically the scenes are quite similar.

We heard that the Heavy Metal is very popular in Scandinavia in general and especially in Finland. But I wonder that there are almost no big Metal festivals.
We have the Tuska Festival in Helsinki, but the biggest festivals play all styles of music. There are also Metal bands, Slayer for instance. But actually we do not have enough people to get as huge festivals like Wacken Open Air, haha!

What do Finnish people say about your engagement in a German band?
To answer this question you have to ask other people. In my presence, nobody says anything about that.

How did you get into Metal music?
That was in my teen time. When I was 12, I began playing guitar. I started with classic guitar, but when you are interested in guitars you come to Metal sooner or later. Basically because the guitar is the main instrument in this genre. And I still like playing the guitar, although I am almost 40 years old.

Do you have any advices how young guitar players can improve their playing?
It is always helpful to learn some theory. But actually it is a bad decision to become a guitar player, because you do not get much money for it, haha!

I understand. Are there any final words you would like to say to our readers?
The new album will be released in May!

Timo Pässler - reports, reviews, photos - - - Favorite genres? - - - Power, Speed, Melodic, Symphonic and Thrash Metal, sometimes also Black and Death Metal, when I am in mood for it - - - Favorite bands? - - - Blind Guardian, In Flames, Children of Bodom, Powerwolf, Kreator, Vader, Avantasia, Iced Earth, Amon Amarth and many more! - - - Other interests? - - - Music (listening + playing), sports, acting and scouts