Mille Petrozza doesn’t like to get bored. Not on one album, not from one album to the other – hence a constant search for diversity and, without going so far as spectacular renewal, novelty on Kreator’s records. All the more so since Kreator is Mille’s only outlet. However, don’t think this all stems from a grand conceptualization of music: Mill insists that the band doesn’t overthink their albums, but rather do what the song demands.
We asked him about the band’s new album, Phantom Antichrist, a powerful, diverse, melodic and epic thrash record, which even offers a few Gothic moments in the spirit of Endorama. Among other subjects, we also asked him his opinion on the financial crisis and, on a more musical level, his relation with the Big Four.
Radio Metal : What can you tell us about the recent collaboration you started with Nuclear Blast?
Mille Petrozza (vocals) : Being on Nuclear Blast really makes things easier for us. The people who work there are real professionals. We’ve known these people for years, even before they worked for Nuclear Blast! It’s great to be on that label.
On this new album, we can hear some gothic-like moments in the middle of a couple of thrash metal songs. Like in the beginning of “Your Heaven My Hell”, towards the end of “The Few, The Proud, The Broken” or in the middle of “From Blood Into Fire”. Theses moments are very reminiscent of the album Endorama. Are you kind of nostalgic of that creative period in your career?
I think one of the great things about being in Kreator nowadays is that we have a great catalog. It’s very diverse. We have albums like Endorama, albums like Extreme Agression and Violent Revolution, that we can be inspired by. Every time I write new music, I listen to the older stuff. Sometimes a song demands a slow part. It’s not like we put it in there because we’re nostalgic of whatever we’ve done in the past. It’s just because the song demands it, you know what I mean?
Do you think that including those gothic moments in an otherwise purely thrash metal album is what the band needed to make this album easier to listen to from beginning to end?
It’s just for variety. That’s the key word. Sometimes I miss bands being brave enough to try out new things. Kreator has always tried new things, and I think that, by doing so, we keep things interesting for us and for our fans. It keeps things exciting and fresh. I think this is the most important thing, rather than thinking about what we’re doing. The parts you’ve mentioned, they’re here for a reason. Most of the songs and most of their parts are only supporting the lyrics.
You’ve declared about this album that this is the most epic one that you’ve made. Do you think that this because you’ve managed to put all the aspects of Kreator’s music in this record – the gothic parts, the thrash parts, etc.?
I think so, yeah. Like you said, it features a lot of surprises. It’s like an emotional roller-coaster, of you know what I mean! You can expect the unexpected when you put the record on – which I think is cool!
There are some kind of percussions on “Civilization Collapse” giving a tribal feeling to the song. Is it important for you to try out new things, bring some new elements to your music?
In a way, yes. I think that’s what makes the whole thing interesting. We want to keep things fresh and exciting for ourselves, that’s our main goal. The main reason we want to make music is to express ourselves. Having the opportunity to work with these elements is, for us, very challenging and exciting at the same time.
Can we say you get bored very easily, and that’s why you need to try out new things on every album?
We’re just being musicians, you know. We’re being creative!
You haven’t experimented with your music so much since Endorama. Is it because you feel restrained by what people expect from Kreator or is it because you didn’t feel the need to experiment to that extent since then?
We don’t really think about these things. If I write music, it’s all about the song. I never really think about it. We have a huge fanbase, and a lot of fans are expecting our albums to be very… How can I put this? Very brutal. They expect every Kreator trademark on one album. As for ourselves, we expect to not get bored! So it’s always a nice mix. Being in Kreator in very exciting, because we can do whatever we want.
You once said that you’re not the kind of person who puts out a solo project and that everything you do, you release under the name Kreator. You said this to justify the Endorama and Outcast albums. Can you explain what, according to you, is wrong with releasing a solo album?
(sighs and laughs) Good question! I know what you mean. If I had the time, I would definitely consider it. But I really don’t have the time, because I’m the main songwriter in Kreator. I have a friend, Tobi [Sammett] from Edguy, who’s got two bands: Edguy and Avantasia. Sometimes I wonder how he does it. He’s doing so many things at the same time, and I can’t do that. I try, but… It’s not that I’m too lazy, but I just put everything I have into Kreator.
You’ve actually sang on an Edguy song. I once asked Tobias if it would be possible for him to sing on a Kreator song, but he said Kreator fans would hate it! What is your opinion on that?
I don’t know if the fans would like it, but then again, I don’t know if Tobi’s fans liked the fact that I appeared on his album! I don’t know, it’d have to fit. I love Tobi, he’s a good friend – and it’s actually a good idea! Maybe we’ll do it one day! (laughs)
You’ve always been cynical towards humanity and you’re also known for your left-wing political orientation. I guess what’s going on right now in the world and especially in Europe must easily feed the lyrical content. I’m thinking for example about a song like “Civilization Collapse”…
Yeah, that song was inspired by what we see in Greece right now. Greece is going through a financial crisis, but it could hit any European country. There were a lot of journalists in Germany that would look down on Greece, talk about a broken country and make fun of them instead of being supportive. I think the whole idea of the European Union was to help out one another. Like you said, this time and age give me a lot of inspiration for songs.
Our politics in France often points out the success of Germany in resisting the crisis. Being German and interested in politics, what do you think about that? Do you think Germany is a good example to follow?
No way! What you see from a foreign point of view is totally different from the reality in Germany. It’s all propaganda, don’t buy this! It’s not true. There are a lot of people in Germany who work for one euro an hour. So don’t buy this. Unemployment is very big in Germany. They say we don’t have much unemployment, because people get to work for one euro per hour, and those are very educated people. For that matter, you shouldn’t buy the propaganda.
What can you tell us about the “Phantom Antichrist” video that will make its online debut on May 3rd (NDLR : Interview conducted on april, 20th)?
It’s a very apocalyptic video, done by the people from Grupa 13, a very nice and creative group of people. They’ve helped us realize our vision of a dying world. It’s quite an interesting video, I think you’ll like it.
You’ve made a cover of Iron Maiden’s “The Number Of The Beast”, which is a song that everyone on Earth has already covered. Why the hell did you choose this particular song?!
(laughs) We’ve had exactly the same discussion within the band. I was like: “Why are we playing this song? What’s wrong with us? Why do we do this?” We recorded the basics in the studio, then we started recording the guitars, and we thought it didn’t sound that bad. We were very insecure about recording this song, I’ll tell you this much. But I think we’ve managed to come up with a version that sounds like Kreator playing an Iron Maiden song without trying to be Iron Maiden, if you know what I mean. That’s what makes it interesting. There’s nothing worse than trying to copy the original, that just doesn’t work.
We’ve been talking a lot about the Big Four lately. Are you kind of mad that we don’t talk that much about the Big Three of German thrash metal?
(laughs) No, not at all! Like you said, I’m very cynical sometimes, but I only feel very happy for the people who had the opportunity to see the Big Four. I didn’t, because I wasn’t in my hometown when they played there. Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax and Megadeth – those are legends. Without those bands, Kreator wouldn’t be here, if you know what I mean. What I said about us blowing away everything the Big Four has done over the years was pure provocation.
The Big Three of German thrash metal are probably equally important in the history of thrash metal. Would you consider organizing shows with those three bands one day?
Hopefully, one day, yes. I’d love to. But it’s always a matter of finding the time. Three different bands, three different managements, three different egos… But it’s mostly a schedule thing. We’ve talked about this so many times, and hopefully we’ll make it happen one day.
Interview conducted by Metal’O Phil on april, 20th, 2012 by phone.
Questions : Spaceman & Metal’O Phil
Transcription : Saff’
Kreator’s website : kreator-terrorzone.de
Album : Phantom Antichrist, out on june, 1st, 2012 via Nuclear Blast Records
This post is also available in: French