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Metallica’s Robert Trujillo + James Hetfield Talk Orion Music + More Festival at Press Conference

Photo by Anne Erickson

Metallica‘s Orion Music + More festival takes place at Detroit’s Belle Isle this coming weekend (June 8 + 9), and frontman James Hetfield and bass player Robert Trujillo are already in town, taking in the Motor City. Yesterday (June 6), the singer and bass player joined Kyle “Gumby” Gunter and Hiran Deraniyagala of Detroit-based metal band Battlecross and others at a press conference in advance of the event.

Loudwire was in attendance at the press conference, and the Metallica members talked about what they plan to play out at the festival (although they’re keeping it spontaneous), what they hope to accomplish from this year’s Orion fest (admitting it’s not making them any money) and how Hetfield’s kids are getting him into electronic music. Read their answers below:

On what to expect from Metallica’s set at the 2013 Orion Music + More festival:

Hetfield: There’s always an anniversary of some album, so everyone’s expecting some anniversary; some album in its entirety. I think this year, ‘Kill ‘Em All’ [30 years] there’s the 10 year anniversary of ‘St. Anger,’ and something with ‘And Justice for All’ [25 years]. So, who knows what’s going to happen? I think we’ll find out when Sunday rolls around. That’s what we love doing. We’ve rehearsed, of course, some obscure, rare things, which we obviously love to do — to challenge people with some of our deep album tracks and also play some of the big fun stuff.

Trujillo: It’s always kind of an edge-of-your-seat existence when you’re in Metallica. Even for us, as band members, it’s like, half the time, we don’t even know what we’re going to play, until a half hour before show time! So, we’ll see how it goes and what we’re feeling. It’s pretty exciting for all of us.

On why Metallica chose Detroit for this year’s Orion Music + More:

Hetfield: We’re trying to find a home for Orion, and hopefully this will be the one. Having so much more to just us wanting to have a festival, there’s so much that goes into it that we had no idea about, and logistics is one. Getting people in and out of a place. An airport. People being able to stay places. We’re testing it out, and this site is amazing. It’s beautiful. So far, we love it here. We love it here. So far, it’s going great.

Detroit metal band Battlecross on if they ever imagined they’d be playing a festival with Metallica:

Kyle “Gumby” Gunter: No way, never in a million years. It’s honor to be the home guys at the festival. It’s an honor to be in Detroit and be honored as the home guys, so that’s awesome. We have an awesome history of music, and, Go Lions!

On the move to book a crop of electronic artists at Orion:

Hetfield: I think the music, itself. There are some pretty heavy-hitters. It’s heavy. I think, at Outside Lands in San Francisco, my kids – who are turning me onto this stuff, as well – went to go see Skrillex, and it was unbelievable. My senses were scrambled. It was a new, cool experience, and it was extremely heavy. So, we like heavy music, so it made some sense to get some of that in here, and to represent all kinds of music.

On booking a collection of up-and-coming bands for Orion:

Trujillo: Hopefully this is going to be the launching pad in the future for a lot of new, upcoming talent and bands. It’s exciting for us to help propel people’s careers and art. It means a lot to us.

On getting up-close with the fans:

Trujillo: Last year, we had a decent turnout, but I thought it was great to connect with the people. I, myself, I enjoy the interaction. A lot of times, we fly right into a festival, and we fly right out. We get there, we get onstage, we do what we do, and we have to do. So, obviously, James and I are here early, and we’re enjoying Detroit, and we’re trying to get the spirit of this thing kicking off.

On what they’re hoping to accomplish at Orion this year:

Hetfield: Well, hopefully we see some smiles. We’re not expecting this thing to break even for a while, really. It’s a long-term investment, and as a band that’s done lots of things over 30 years, this is another adventure, and we’re trying to make a stamp on our music history. Bringing bands who haven’t had the chance to play in front of a lot of people or haven’t had a chance to play in front of people that maybe aren’t their biggest fans. There’s a lot of character-building going on here with the audience and the bands. There’s quite a mixture of different genres of music. Having them get along like some type of European festival is part of the goal, as well. Bands that are playing in front of fans that aren’t necessarily theirs is always a good lesson. We’re representing the local foods and getting the local economies going is part of the goal. But at the end of the day, it’s not about us making money, at all. It’s really about making a mark in history. After, who knows, 18 years, if things start breaking even, then that will put a little more of a smile on our face, and it’ll be as much as a personal investment.

Watch the Orion Music + More Press Conference Here:

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