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Sami Yli-Sirnio (Kreator)

Interview with Sami Yli-Sirnio from Kreator
by Karila Shannis at 21 June 2012, 3:29 PM

Greetings, Metal minions.  Summer is just around the corner, and it always seems that this is the prime time for Metal, from kick-ass festivals to new releases. One of these awesome releases is “Phantom Antichrist”, the newest release from KREATOR was out June 1 (Europe) and June 5 (NA).

Sami is on the phone line now, how are you today?

Oh, I'm doing just fine, it's nice to be here!

You're gearing up for some metal festivals in Europe now, how are preparations coming along?

Preparations are going just fine.  We have a bigger production this year than we usually do for Kreator.  We've got a sort of 3D show that comes up on stage when we play, which is of course based on the album cover, it should be pretty neat.

Are we going to need 3-D glasses for that? I'm so excited!

\[laughs] Well, no, but usually at all the festivals we'll have something visual in the background like a music video while we play our songs.  This time we are doing something 3-D, I guess…but when we go to the States, I don't know that we are going to put up the pictures of the dead horse while we play.

Oh come on! That's going to look so metal up on the US stages!

\[laughs] We will see!  We're gonna just put on a good show either way, and this September is when we make our way to the US with another German thrash band called Accept and also the Finnish band Swallow the Sun.

Since Kreator has toured worldwide for quite some time, which setting do you prefer to tour in: the European festival lineup or the American tour style?

Well, we have more time to party when we play festivals!  But festivals only happen once a year.  Touring the States is also great, but it feels more like work because you have to leave straight after the show to get to the next place.  It's just different, but I'd tour both equally, for sure!

Like you were mentioning, Sami, you guys will soon be playing the North American Teutonic Thrash Tour, which kicks off on September 5 in Washington D.C.  What are some places that you especially enjoy visiting while playing in the US?

It's always fun to be touring the US…of course, we've been doing this for years and years, so we have friends over there.  We love the special places like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle.  But it's always fun for us, I don't think I could name any other particular favorites.

As a band, what sort of vision were you trying to create for the new album?

It felt like spent a lot of time on this album for sure.  Compared to the last album "Hordes of Chaos."  which was more like a live, in-studio session, we just put a lot more time in this one.  We had a great time recording it; for the majority of the time we were in the middle of the forests of Sweden,…we also worked on this production with Jens Bogren.

Oh yes, Bogren has worked on albums with Opeth, Katatonia, Amon Amarth, and Symphony X.  Did working with him have any sort of new influence on this album?

He has been with us since the release of our demos almost a year ago.  He helped us decide which ideas we should run with musically and which ones we shouldn't.  We chose him as a producer not only because of his work with all the bands that you mentioned but also because he knows his individual bands and is willing to work with us to develop our own sound.

The title track "Phantom Antichrist" was released before the release date on a 7" vinyl, and you shot an awesome music video for this track too.  You've got a killer solo part in the vid where the wind is blowing in your face as you're jamming on the guitar.  What was that experience like?  Sounds pretty epic to me!  

Yeah, I think so too!  We did the video with the Polish production company Grupa 13, who did a great job creating an apocalyptic world that was really coherent to our music.  Unfortunately, these days there's not a lot of TV shows that would show metal videos.  Grupa 13 is one of the last music video production companies that actually exists here in Europe.  We had seen the Behemoth video "Lucifer" and that's when we decided we needed to work with this group!

What sort of concepts are contained in your music video?

When we were first coming up with plans for the video, I thought the meaning was going to be kind of superficial like risen-from-the-grave but it turned out to have some deeper meaning than that.  I mean, there's messages about how international agencies and the mass media tend to make entertainment out of things like terrorism.  Phantom Antichrist is kind of a metaphor for that.  And the end of the world theme is just always fitting for a metal band anyway.

The Phantom Antichrist vinyl's B-side contains an incredible cover of "Number of the Beast."  I find it rather fitting, given the context of your album, but why did you all choose to put this song on the vinyl?

Well, actually, we didn't really have a choice! \[laughs] The magazine Metal Hammer Germany wanted to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the "Number of the Beast" album.  It's similar to what happened when Metallica's Black Album was celebrating 20 or something years and they had different bands cover each song off the album.   We were nervous at first because "Number of the Beast" is one of those songs you just DON'T cover, you know? Like "Highway to Hell," there's just no covering that.  But we decided to give it a try in the studio, and it actually sounded OK!  And we got to put it on our vinyl!  But it's not on the album unfortunately.  But I'm sure everyone will get their fill on Youtube or something!

Sami, that had to be one of the most fun interviews I've ever had, thank you for joining us here on metal-temple!

Rock on everyone!  Catch us on tour, we're gonna be everywhere!

Now, this is not completely related to the content of your album, but I saw that one of your songs "Phobia" was combined with the pop song "Whip Your Hair" by Willow Smith to make a three minute mash-up.  What do you think about this concept of collaboration of these incredibly different songs?

Wow.  I haven't heard of this!  I'm going to have to go find this on Youtube!  As far as the concept, in general I don't really mind this mish-mash of genres.  It breaks some traditional senses of music, which seems rather interesting to me.


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Edited 28 March 2023

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