Heart of Steel: Interviews

KREATOR interview

24.1.2002 Club Nosturi, Helsinki, Finland
Interview and pics by Luxi Lahtinen & Marko Syrjälä

"Hell Comes to Your Town - part II"; featuring German´s ultimate Thrash trio Kreator, Destruction and Sodom was something that we, the noble Finnish Metal-Rules.com trio were enthusiastically looking forward to see in HELL-sinki (or Helsinki) - and of course we were more than well prepared for that forth-coming event beforehand and had our own tiny stratagem ready especially for Mille of Kreator as we were dying to hear straight from him how our fellow Finnish dude Sami Yli-Sirniö was doing in Kreator - and whether he had already taught some vulgar Finnish words ("Perkele", "Vittu", "Hirven kyrpä" and so on…) to his new band mates; and many other things were revealed, too, while our conversation with Mille kept on proceeding just 3 hours before the trio conquered the stage one after another, one by one…


This is your last concert of this tour. How has this "Teutonic-triple-Thrash" tour been going for you so far and how are your feelings now when it's time of little break?

That's a little sad because we got along very well with each other and have been on tour for two months now, so I'm little exhausted to tell you the truth. I feel like I'm not a human being anymore, but other than that, I mean, I could get going maybe a couple of weeks more, you know. Actually we will be doing two more shows in Greece two weeks from now. Then we are planning to go out to South America and in-between of April, we are going to do a second leg of this tour. We are going to Spain, France, etc. - places that we didn't hit in the first leg of this tour. We played there by ourselves with Cannibal Corpse, but Sodom and Destruction did not, so we really wanna take this package as many places as possible.


What are your expectations as far as tonight's gig here in Helsinki is concerned? Lots of hard thrashing and partying or...?

I think it should be good because we haven't been here in a while, so it should be okay, I guess.


When was your last time in here? 1991?

No, I think it was 1993 on "Renewal" tour we were here last time...


You played at Tavastia club…?

Yeah, it was Tavastia…


In the past you've played here several times. Do you have any special memories from Finland? I mean, for example in 1991 you played at the "Intiaanirock" festival during Midsummer fest in Finland…

Yeah… I remember that. I saw lots of drunken people there … heh! We like Finland a lot. We have a Finnish guitar player now… I mean, we really do like it here - and there´s no doubt it´s something special to be here again because like I said, we haven't been here for a while for some reason. And it's just good to be back, y´know.


Whom/or whose original idea was to make this tour happen in the first place with probably all-time best and classic German Thrash Metal line-up - all 3 great Thrash bands on the very same tour? Was it Schmier´s (Destruction) idea as last time I talked to him here in the very same place, he was talking about this ultimate tour with his hopes running pretty high towards it indeed...? Was he the main sparkling fire behind this all really?

I guess that it was Schmier. He kept calling me and convinced me after calling me about two hundred times… (he-he…) - and this definitely is something what the fans want to see so… that's why we did it.

Millie - Live In Finland (2002)

You recently cancelled the rest of the shows on "X-Mass Metal Meetings" tour with Cannibal Corpse. What actually caused all that why you had to cancel the last shows of that tour?

Well, people who were supposed to organize the last shows of this tour, waited just too late. I mean, we did the first leg with Cannibal Corpse and for us that was okay cause there were just only us and Cannibal Corpse. Sometimes we would get on the show eight o´clock at night when people were already in and it wasn't any problem with three bands. But with seven bands it was, y´know, kind of a big problem. For us it was fuckin' unprofessional and we don't need that shit anymore. I mean, it was so awfully organized and…maybe for three bands it makes sense but not for us that much, however. It was… well, I just felt sorry because we became very good friends with the guys of Cannibal Corpse and we just left the tour without saying anything. That was because we were very pissed at the crew.


Some question of you new album VIOLENT REVOLUTION... Namely now when you´ve been playing some of these songs off your new album, I was just wondering how has your audience liked them; how have their reactions been towards them?

It's funny because the last couple of years when we've played new songs off our certain albums, people haven't reacted that much at all. Sometimes, especially when ENDORAMA came out, a lot of people were…, I mean, the songs on ENDORAMA are very slow - and it was very different from our old stuff. When we played a song like "Endorama" - and right after that, for example "Pleasure To Kill", there is a big difference, so it was always a bit of challenge to play these new songs live. But now with this record people seem to already know the songs and they seems to like those new ones, too. There is not so big difference between the old and new songs on VIOLENT REVOLUTION which only proves for us that we've done something right this time. The audience likes the new record and of course it's very important for us.


Now on this tour, how often do you change songs from one gig to another? Do you have a list of so-called "floating songs" that you may add and drop out of your set list sometimes, depending on where you play or just depending on what you feel like playing at the time?

We do change the songs from time to time. In the beginning of the tour we played "Awakening of the Gods" and even "Leave This World Behind". And now we added "Betrayer" and sometimes we do "Under the Guillotine" as well… just for a change, y´know.


Does it depend on some particular country how do you pick songs up for your set? I mean, some songs may arouse volumes more than some others in some particular country whereas in some other countries your audience may have just the totally opposite favorites of their own…

Yeah, exactly. Sometimes you feel that there is a lot of people who want listen to the ancient Kreator stuff; the old stuff and during those night we are playing "Under the Guillotine" which actually is a good song for a live situation. It's strange because the further we get up to North the more aggressive people seem to be… take Norway for example where people can get really crazy on our gigs.


The glorious Black Metal scene of Norway… hmmm, maybe that explains some of it…?

It always depends on the night. Our friends in Spain are very familiar with all new material because we constantly tour there. There is no problem with new songs to get them into liking them ´coz like I already told you here, we are no stranger to our Spanish audience due to all those gigs we have played in that country.


I heard that you are going to release a DVD and a live album later this year. Can you tell more about those releases? Have you already recorded or filmed any shows for those things?

We recorded some shows for that up´n´coming live album. We did twenty shows that we cut on this tour and we want to record a show in Sarajevo since we think that the concept of the last record and the situation in Sarajevo were kind of similar, you know. It's like a country that has been in war and now rebuilding slowly. We will go there… and we want to make a half documentary of how people live there and how the metal scene works there. And we want to record a live show there because the facts I just told you here. So we have everything set up for April, for the second leg of the tour. We take Sodom and Destruction with us as well.


SamiUp next we have a couple of question of your new guitar player Sami Yli-Sirniö...

How did you pronounce his name…??

It's Sa-mi Yli-sir-niö...

Really? Shit, I´m always pronouncing his name wrong…

How do you spell it then?

Sjami Sjylisrno… (or something) (-laughs!!)

How did you actually find him anyway…?

He used to live in Germany for a while and we just knew him. We knew that he is a good guitar player.

He used to play in Waltari before… ( ed. note: Actually he plays with Waltari again now!)

Not only in that band. In Germany he had a band called In Rags and he helped us out once when Tommy had something in his arm and he couldn't play some of our shows. We knew him and we get along very well with him on a personal level that is always very important. Sami is very easy to get along with and he has his own personality.


Can you still remember how your very first rehearsal with him was?

Yeah, he was drowned into a cold water because he had to learn all the songs in three days since otherwise we would have had to cancel the tour. The tour was coming up and we didn't know that Tommy wasn't able to play, so within three days he had to learn 10 or twelve songs that showed us that he is a very talented musician.


What could you say about his qualities as a guitar player?

I think he is sometimes a better lead guitarist than I am. He adds a lot of his own ideas into our music and since I've become pretty damn lazy when it comes to playing leads and sometimes, y´know, I'm just not that interested in doing them, so I let Sami do them instead. I always wanted a player who likes playing leads; who likes coming up with a strange stuff. I'm more responsible for the general performance of the songs and the way the songs are structured - writing the songs and coming up with atmospheric parts and stuff like that. He is more like a salt for the songs. I mean, the good tastes good, but it tastes much better with a little salt in it, you know.


What kind of bands do you listen to by yourself?

In general I listen to a lot of old punk, mainly 80's Punk Rock.

What ´bout some Finnish bands; do you listen to any of them?

Well, there is that one band that sings in German…

Sings in German…?!

Yeah. And they are VERY bad at that, I can tell…

I can imagine that… was the band called "Eläkeläiset"?

No, no… I know them but...

You mean Timo Rautiainen ja Trio Niskalaukaus...?!

Yes!!! They are just….. sooo BAAAD in German language - really AWFUL indeed!!! But it's very funny to listen to them. I collect bad records..hehhe! And Finntroll is actually a very good band. I like them a lot.


What about other players you've had in you earlier line-ups like Frank Blackfire and Tritze? Are you still following what they are up to these days? Let´s take for example Tritze; are you still in touch with him?

No, unfortunately. I know that he is still alive and that's basically all I know. It's very hard for me to keep in contact with people that I'm disappointed with. I'm just not interested. I have so many... I mean, none of those musicians I have worked with… well, they turned out that they were not really my friends; otherwise they would still be around me and as soon as someone leaves the band, it seems like that I lost contact. Michael Wulf died in a motorcycle accident, so I lost my contact with him. The rest of the guys… .who else was there?

Frank Blackfire who is living in Sao Paulo nowadays…

Sao Paulo?!

I heard from a Finnish contact of mine that he is living in Sao Paulo these days, giving guitar lessons and teaching both German and English to people.

Yeah, something like that. I lost my contact with him as well for a long time ago. And who else we had… Tommy! He didn't show up. We just played in Switzerland right around where he lives, but he didn't even show up!!

You also lost contact with Ventor sometimes…

That's true, but it's a long story. I've known that guy too long. I mean, it's like an old couple almost. We get along very well with each other and sometimes we don't. Now we have found a balance where we can work together on some level and he has changed a lot on a personal level, too. There were a couple of things that he cleared up in his life and I guess he´s back on his track now as far as all these aspects are concerned.


You´ve once said (Blackthorn # 8/1989) in the past that the use of two lead singers made Kreator special from other Thrash bands - namely your drummer Ventor also used to sing some songs in the past like "Riot of Violence", f.ex.? Does he still do occasionally some of those songs spontaneously when you wanna remind your audience of those so-called ´good´n´old´n´bold(!)" times of Kreator?

Every night. He is singing that song every night.


How about some other songs?

Other than that, no. He is not interested of singing anymore. I think it wouldn't make sense nowadays ´cause he is more of a drummer than a singer. Back then it was something that we had to do because we had not a singer and I was like: "I won't sing…" and he was like: "I would not sing either…", so we shared the vocals back then. But it's better now when I have learnt a little bit how to pronounce things and set things in a right place, so for me it's better to do all the vocals now.


How is your relationship with the internet these days as way of communication with other people?

We have our own web page now that is kind of neat, I think. There is that guy who is doing that. He is pretty okay even if some things are not right, but I think that having an internet page means that you can get in contact with your fans directly and can read their opinions which is sometimes devastating, but it's okay. You are able to send me information like this and that and you are able to receive and find information from the internet as well. It has become very important tool to communicate and collect information. Like I myself get a half of my information from the internet nowadays.


It is also a good way to spread promotional stuff like videos…

Yeah, that´s the only way for us really these days; the only way to get some airplay for Kreator for some reason or the other. We did a promo video for this new album, but only got some airplay for it from countries like Poland and countries like that.


During the times of TERRIBLE CERTAINTY you started bringing different aspects into your own lyric writing; like you once said (Blackthorn # 8/1989) that philosophy was that area which you were inspired quite heavily by reading such books as "Seth Speaks" and "Psychic Politics". You were saying that those kind of books really opened a lot of new doors for your own psychic evolution and thought that it is very important to look for your own answers in yourself - and NOT accepting any answers from somebody else? I mean, do you still stand behind all this what you have said in the past? And have you personally found some of those answers what you may have been looking for in the past according to the very topic?

I don't live that shit anymore. It's like a process, you know. When you start reading, first you read like stuff that is like pseudo of philosophy, pseudo  sciences that is more or less a rip off. Like books as "Seth Speaks", I wouldn't touch it nowadays. I would throw it away in five minutes because it's crap. But I was influenced by all that back then and I was much younger and now I read about some real stuff like business and that kind of books.


Well, our time for this interview is really running out so quickly, so we just have to stop here and thank you for the time you shared with us. Thank you again…

Thank you guys & prepare yourselves for tonight´s gig ´coz we surely won´t let you down…

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