A couple of days ago, I had the opportunity to have chat with the rather interesting fellow that is Sami from Barren Earth and, more famously, Kreator. Having an almost Willy Wonka style look and being just as wacky, we sat down inside the bus to have a discussion on melody, the new album and his various musical projects. Read on for the full transcription…
How have the shows been so far?
They’ve been amazing. Just two days ago, we played in the Bataclan in Paris which was thankfully reopened. The shows in Scandinavia, in particular Helsinki and Tampere were really good. We’ve had quite a few sold shows as well, so so far it’s been really good.
Very good! We topped the German charts for the first time but it still doesn’t mean the same thing as it did twenty years ago though! That of course affects how many come to the gigs but it’s been well received. Overwhelming shall we say!
The songs on this album ended up being a little more melodic than last time. Did this happen by coincidence or was it intentional?
I mean, the songwriting process is very long as we started back in 2013. Guitar wise, I always try and play what the songs needs and we used the same producer as well.
Isn’t there melody in everything though? If it would just be one note it would be kinda boring. Even Napalm Death have melody! It’s several notes in different pitches and it makes a melody!
Slight tangent here, but I gather that you’ll be recording the new Barren Earth album soon.
Oh yes, we will be recording with this guy who plays guitar in Triptykon. It’s somewhere in south Germany and the songs are ready so we’ll see how it goes!
I’ll be going in to record lead guitars after Jón (Aldará), has sung but he knows what I’m going to do. It’ll give him a bit more freedom to do some cool stuff so we’ll see how that comes out.
Back on topic, you’ll be touring across the States soon as well. Are you looking forward to that?
I’m really looking forward to it as I love Obituary. They had that one album back in the 90’s with no lyrics which I thought was awesome!
But no, I’m looking forward to it as we’re playing quite a few House Of Blues venues. They always treat you well as a musician and they’re really nice to play. In the past with Kreator, we’ve done a lot of US tours which have been a bit crappy but it’s gotten better and now that we have the Decibel thing and new management it should hopefully be a good run.
Another tangent now, but is much happening with Waltari these days?
Hahahaha! Well, we did something last October as a 30th anniversary thing in the House of Culture in Helsinki. The singer has a solo career in Finland so that keeps him busy these days. Who knows though, we might do something!
I’m not with the current live lineup though. It’s kind of like a reggae collective thing though and if I’m free I’ll come and play. It’s not that serious of a thing these days, and music should never be serious! Except for when you are recording and arranging things but otherwise it should be fun.
What sort of equipment are you using these days?
I get support from this guitar company, you might have heard of them, they’re called Ibanez. They gave me a L.A custom shop model which I’m quite happy with and I’ll be keeping on working with them in the future.
We used a lot of amps on this album as well, mainly the new 5150 from Fender and a couple of Mesa’s and Marshall’s. We also used a lot of vintage gear, in particular a chorus that they used on Dark Side of The Moon. Jen’s studio is like a guitarists heaven as it has all kinda fun items!
For live stuff, I use Kempers to keep it simple. Originally Kempers were planned to be used as studio equipment but everyone uses them live!
Is there any advice you’d give to a new band?
Aside from don’t?!
Erm, play as many as shows as you can. There’s so many bands out there these days and to cut through the crap and to get your stuff heard is hard. I like to try out new lineups quite a few times and sometimes I’ll learn something from them.
But no, if you’re really good and you get signed and get to go on some good tours then consider it a massive blessing.
Sum up the band and then yourself in 3 words.
[Thinks for a bit]
The band is, Ancient, Energetic and Persistent.
For myself also, Ancient, Persistent and erm looking forward to playing Manchester! I know that’s not one word but hey.