Guitar.com: How did it feel to have an orchestra playing selections from your entire back-catalog?
Kirk Hammett: There were times when it was just incredible. To have a 100-plus instruments backing you up with every riff and every note was an amazing feeling. It took our songs to a completely different level. The songs were literally morphed into symphonic pieces. The symphony would play either the exact same line or unison complimentary lines to my solos, and to have that kind of interaction with musicians onstage was electrifying, exhilarating, orgasmic!
Guitar.com: How important was Kamen to the entire process? Can you explain exactly what he did?
Hammett: He supported the weight of both us and the orchestra superbly. It was through him that the orchestra took up what we were doing. He was the middle man, the guy who took it all on his shoulders. We just did our thing and he took on the rest. Walking off those two shows I really felt we had hit a high mark, a milestone. Every time I hear strings now, it catches my ear, and I'm sure that's happened with the other guys.
Guitar.com: You obviously respect Kamen a great deal.
Hammett: Michael Kamen is one of the greatest musicians I've had the pleasure of working with. His attitude and his whole way of going about music is so infectious. He's the walking example of the potential a musician has. He's simply inspirational.
Guitar.com: Can you give us some brief details about the film production company you have put together with Primus bassist Les Claypool?
Hammett: We both wanted a company where people could come up to the Bay Area and make movies, commercials whatever, and where there would be a team of people in house, producers and directors. The idea is to give the Bay Area somewhere for its film talent to go so as they wouldn't have to go down to LA. I'm looking for something that I can express myself in through non-musical terms, I love movies, Les does too, so we have a lot of things lined up at the moment and we'll see how it all turns out.
Guitar.com: Kamen works on a lot of soundtrack material. You love film. Have the two of you had any conversations regarding a collaboration?
Hammett: Yeah, as a matter of fact we have spoken about doing some stuff in the future. I mean he does something like 15 soundtracks a month. I told him if he ever needs someone like me to play guitar, even for 15 seconds, I'm there. He made me say it again. And then he thanked me! That would be a great thing.
Guitar.com: You seem a much happier person since the Load era. Can you credit that to the refocus everyone went through between the 'Black' album tour and ‘Load'?
Hammett: I just remember thinking around ‘94, "Fuck it, I'm tired of this stock heavy metal image it doesn't work for me anymore." I felt miserable being that, which meant I became physically tired of it. And when you get tired of something, hopefully you have the guts to change. The catalyst for all of it was three years of touring followed by a whole year off.
Guitar.com: Do you have any ideas as to where the next Metallica material might take the band?
Hammett: There's no telling right now, but personally speaking I think we'll start to embrace technology a little more. It makes no sense for us to be on the cutting edge of it, finding the newest samples and tools and all that stuff because we thrive on a classic formula that in my opinion, will never die, and that is good ol' hard rock and heavy metal. But we're constantly looking for things that will open our sound up more, that's just us. But before anyone asks, no, it won't be electronic.
Guitar.com: Are you ever concerned about the old-school Metallica fans who don't appreciate your efforts to progress and evolve?
Hammett: I don't really care what people think. These are our songs, and that's the reality of it. You can either take it or leave it, and if people don't like it, they have every right not to. We've never catered to anything ever in our lives, and why should we start now. Like all good bands, we definitely believe in moving forward and we believe in not trying to rekindle any former flames. You just end up going in circles when you do that.