We are two months away from the incredible Sofia Solid show with Amon Amarth / Kreator / Bleed From Within in Sofia on June 29th.

While a large number of fans eagerly await this event, we were able to speak with Kreator’s guitarist, Sami Yli-Sirniö, who is currently on tour with the band in South America. Here’s what he had to say to Rock The Night:

  • What’s more important for you: going after your own development, your own style or creating what the fans want?

All the three mentioned above are important.

Development in music is very important for me. If there isn’t any I don’t see any point in continuing. I think with every Kreator album we always aim for just that and refrain from repeating ourselves.

My own style has developed through the years and keeps on doing so I hope. It is a mixture of influences and realizations and understanding. The beauty of music is that there is always something new to learn and discover.

With Kreator we do keep a little bit in mind what our audience expects from us but always want to add something new even with the risk of our listeners not liking it. It is a part of that development mentioned above.

Kreator @ Tuska Festival, 2022 (Photo: Stanimir Stanchev)
  • Give us one song that sums up everything about your band.

“Hate über Alles” might be a fine example.

  • What comes out first – the lyrics or the melodies?

Riffs tend to come first as a guitarist. The feeling that a riff conveys might give a direction for a song title or a story.

Sometimes a title comes first too as an example ”Satan is Real” by Mille.

So the answer is both.

Kreator in Sofia, 2016
  • As music taste evolves over the years, can you share bands that have been your favourites through the years and what is your current music obsession?

Growing up in 80’s and 90’s they were Iron Maiden, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Purple or Pink Floyd to mention a few. I tend to go through phases in my music listening. I’ve gone through many of them. My 70’s prog phase or Classical music during the time I studied at the Helsinki Conservatory. Opera phase happened during the performances of ”Evankeliumi” at the Helsinki Opera house around the turn of the Millenium with my former band Waltari, Death Metal phase while recording Barren Earth. The Thrash metal phase started in the 80’s and doesn’t seem to stop for some reason.

  • Outside of being in a band, what is the best concert you’ve been to?

There are so many, the most memorable ones probably happened sometime around the tender ages of 15 to let’s say 24 or so being Dio, Maiden, Metallica and others. While I lived in Berlin I remember shows of Robert Fripp or Jeff Buckley leaving an impact. Still to this day I love going to concerts and fantastic gig experiences keep on happening all the time!

Kreator @ Hellfest, 2022
  • If you’re sentenced to death and you have the right to listen to one last song – which one?

It would have to be a very long song so let’s say ”Thick as a Brick” by Jethro Tull.

  • Mental illness has been a big thing, especially within the last few years. What do you do to keep yourself sane during the tours, how do you distract yourselves and relax?

By taking walks in solitude. Touring gives a fine opportunity for that being in a different town daily. A game of chess, a movie or a book, swimming or anything that distracts.

Rather something that doesn’t involve a screen. In fact Being on tour also keeps me sane especially after being deprived from working during the pandemic. I’m happy to be able to do this again. Our tour in South America at the moment is going great.

Kreator @ Tuska Festival, 2022 (Photo: Stanimir Stanchev)
  • Is there a topic that inspires you and you would wish to write music about it but haven’t been able to yet?

I am not much of a lyricist. In Kreator we leave all of that to Mille in order to have some kind of red line.

Human interaction, world events, unfair issues in society, death and simply observing the world are often inspiration for melodies and chord progressions in my case.

  • A lot of your lyrics involve religion as a topic. What do you think about religion and the values of it nowadays?

I think divinity, good and evil and intuition lives in our minds and trying to acknowledge that helps to keep us in our right mind. In many ways there is magic in life, music being a fine example and proof of this. Therefore I couldn’t define myself as a complete atheist. Religion can give people hope of a better tomorrow and reason for living but I seriously doubt that I would ever take part in any activities of any organised religion since so many bad things have been done in the name of religion. I went to a Catholic school and I noticed at a very young age that all of that is not meant for me.

  • If you can use your experience as a musician now but go back to when you started as a band – what would you do differently? Would you change anything?

I don’t think I would. Some business decisions perhaps.

When I started recording and doing shows the whole structure off that all was very different. Sometimes it is difficult to follow. For me I have always gone with the music first and for good or bad never given too much thought to anything else around it.