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Mille Petrozza (Kreator)

Interview with Mille Petrozza from Kreator
by Panagiotis Koutsompogeras at 03 February 2005, 8:33 AM

Some bands were made to play - some bands were made to fill in your free time while you're cookin' some abomination for dinner - some bands are like a one night stand because they're out today but nobody gives a damn about 'em  tomorrow - Kreator was made for Thrashing you, baby! In December 2004, Metal Temple Magazine interviewed one of Metal's most significant personalities for the second time! The one and only Mille Petrozza (guitars & vocals) spoke to us about their new killer album, Enemy Of God and about more interesting issues than you could imagine!

Orpheus: OK Mille my first question would be – since we are an international online magazine – what is your relationship with the Internet, what is Internet to you in terms of music?

To me it’s like anarchy. You know, anyone can do anything, which is good and bad. And you know what I’m talking about - I’m talking about the fact that it’s good for the Metal community, because you get to communicate from people all over the world very easily – you know just turn on your computer and write an e-mail, it’s everything there! Everything runs at light-speed. On the other hand there are certain things which are not so great, such as illegal downloading of course, which takes away a lot of the mystic of a new album.

Orpheus: Are the sales going down?

No, I don’t think that the sales go down, especially in Metal music because they are quite solid due to the fact that Metal fans want to have the real thing – it’s just that we want to be in control as to when the fans will hear the new album first – and I think this is out of our hands now.

Orpheus: I think that the only band who managed to do that right was Judas Priest. There is not one person who can claim he has the new album. \[And that was the case by the time we took this interview]

Yeah but you know, what they do, they do it differently, they just invite the press one day and they don’t send away promotional copies – which when you are a band like Judas Priest you can do this but for a band like Kreator we need the air-play and the Metal magazines to write about the record before it comes out. I mean we talked about doing this but we thought it would be a little unfair for the magazines that have promoted us for so long – I mean we would trust the people from the Metal magazines so the record company sent out 3000 promotional copies of the new album and it’s been in the Net now for about a month. But it’s OK. I think that it could have been worse, if it didn’t get in the Net it would mean that people didn’t care about it. So it’s good and bad.

Orpheus: You mean, it’s a two faced thing.

Exactly! Listen, I’ve been a Metal fan for a long time and I always had a demo of the new album before it came out – but I would still go on and buy the record.

Orpheus: Because you liked it!

Exactly.

Orpheus: If you like something you can buy it.

Yeah, right!

I think the most important thing is that Metal fans and generally Rock fans have a different attitude. They really like to take in advance the music and hear it but in the end they will eventually go and buy the record, because they have a different approach towards the music.

And also they collect music. Where it really hurts though, is Pop music. They used to have sales like 20 million copies and now they have fallen to one or half a million, and you know so many of the bubble-gum Pop stuff is mostly affected. But now you don’t need it anymore. Most kids aren’t related to the scene or the artist or anything – it’s enough for them to be accepted in their so called community or their friends. It’s like ’I’ve heard the new Eminem (I mean the artist has an integrity) but there are so many shitty stuff, that kids won’t go buy the record, since there is only maybe one good track in the record.

Panagiotis: So what would you say about the general acceptance of your record? How did your record company react when they first heard it, did they enjoy it?

Yeah, most of the time. A lot of fans were saying that they did like the stuff and we are happy with the music that’s the most important thing.

Panagiotis: Would you like to change anything now, now that everything is finished concerning the record?

No! The thing is that we worked very hard on the songs. We had a lot of time preparing them, so the songs developed for a long time and we changed stuff around a lot.

Panagiotis: Mille do you feel you wanted to go back into the band’s past – sound-wise speaking? I noticed there was a Coma Of Souls approach!

Yeah, when we did this production, me and Andy - who also did Violent Revolution – we liked that big sound he gave us. For this album a more live – raw sound. I told Andy that I like the old productions of Rick Rubin – you know the Danzig stuff, the Slayer stuff, all that stuff – the very dry production.

Panagiotis: Do you feel it’s a more straightforward kind of sound?

Yeah, and Andy really liked the Coma Of Souls production – it has elements from this era.

Panagiotis: I think that your approach towards the lyrics has a political meaning – I mean you enjoy and find interest in politics and stuff like that. You have a very strong concern about things which go on now, you are not just a bunch of long haired people but you’re quite thoughtful musicians.

I think it’s quite hard to define a political statement. Making no statements is also a statement and I think many Metal bands don’t care about politics – which is OK – I mean if they they think that Metal should be only entertainmnet, that’s fine! But nowadays I think that these two things cannot mix. You can listen to Kreator’s album and don’t think about politics but if you want to, you can read the lyrics and then discover more. You know the title of Enemy of God is a statement, a very powerful statement.

Orpheus: It kind of reminds me of nowadays.

Well, you can either see it like this or ask yourself what does the guy mean with Enemy of God. I am not saying anything anti-Christian, I am saying that nowadays politics use biblical relations.

Panagiotis: I see what you mean. Do you think there is a turning back to the Middle ages?

Yeah, I mean it seems that we are going backwards. And you know, this is what is really scary. I mean the main religion nowadays is capitalism in my opinion – and the whole thing is based on capitalism. It’s a disguise for religion and they use it to justify the actions of certain leaders by just satisfying capitalistic ideologies. It’s a mix of all that.

Panagiotis: You know the strange thing is that if you listened to Slayer or Kreator songs talking about war or stuff like that ten years ago you would say Oh come on get real!. But nowadays, in a way, these song sound like an omen.

Yeah! \[laughs]

Panagiotis: And they seem very real too! So how did you find your cooperation with Michael Ammot (Arch Enemy), I think he contributed to a lead part.

It was not as dramatic as people thought it would be. To be honest with you I was in the studio and it was this one solo for Murder Fantasies that I could not think of anything. When it comes to solos and lead parts it is hard to get them out of me because I am mostly into riffs, so Andy was pushing it back and we couldn’t find anything great so I ran out of ideas.

Panagiotis: I think you are lying! \[laughs]

Yeah \[laughs]! So we said let’s call Michael and have him play. We sent him the tape, he sent it back and that was it.

I think this subject was a bit over exaggerated. Maybe there was too much publicity on it. So which other musicians would you describe as your main influences, generally and especially on the guitar?

To me it’s people like Neil Young, Johny Cash.

Panagiotis: Do you like Blues and generally stuff like that?

No, no! I like songwriters like Nick Cave and those kind of people. Because their songs do something. I like their approach. It doesn’t have to do anything with Metal or Thrash. Of course I am influenced by what we have done in the past and my way of writing songs should always be meaningful. To bring more emotion, I can.

Panagiotis: Would you consider guitarists like Joe Satriani or Steve Vai to have songs or do they just play complicated stuff?

I think they have songs and I love some of them too. I like some of their stuff and it’s not that I am against that kind of music but they don’t touch me.

Orpheus: Since we are talking about guitarists, did you know Dimebag Darrel (Pantera / Damageplan guitarist, R.I.P.)?

Yeah I knew him. He came to one of our shows, we talked about music and he was a very nice guy. Very nice attitude, down to earth, he asked me questions about the slow Kreator parts and what happened was a fucking tragedy.

Orpheus: Do you think that things won’t be the same anymore?

No, I don’t think so. We played a couple of shows after that event.

Orpheus: Are you afraid about your own safety?

No I am not .

Orpheus: Do you think there could be any imitators?

No. Do you think that they are going to be any imitators? This guy was crazy, there was a shock in the Metal world and if anything there is going to be more security. I think that one thing we should always keep in mind is that here in Europe it is still illegal to have a gun. So it’s hard to get a gun and even harder to shoot somebody. It’s different cultures but I still think that this guy was fucked up. But it is a very sad event.

Panagiotis: Just to lighten things up, I read that some of your main interest is reading books, so has it ever crossed your mind that you could write a concept album?

Yeah I have considered doing this. There was a book called The Necromancer and I was trying to do this but it did not work. It is very hard!

Panagiotis: You mentioned Rick Rubin when you mentioned Danzig. How would you find the idea if somebody invited you to play some small role in a movie, like Danzig did in Fallen Angel I think, would you find it interesting?

Oh yeah. I was in a movie, a very very long time ago! It was Pleasure To kill Time and it was a German movie.  Nobody heard about this but it was a gang movie and I was there!

Panagiotis: What was your role?

I was just a gang member but it was a long time ago!

Panagiotis: Were you a nominee for an Oscar at that time?

Ha ha ha! \[Laughing] No, it was like more fun to do with it! They needed kids to be part of a gang, so I would generally like to do what you asked me! Anything interesting!

Panagiotis: A movie tribute to Dimebag Darrel maybe.

Yes.

I think we have found a nice title for one of your next songs. It will be called Thrash Circle, and I will explain why. Have you ever felt tired with this constant Thrash circle in your life, I mean doing reherseals, going to the studio then on tour – I mean you will definitely have a good time and inspiration will always flow free – but when you are always doing that don’t you ever feel that you want to go home?

Yeah, it’s really strange, because every time I’m on the road I wanna go back home, and when I’m home I wanna go back on the road! It’s almost schizophrenic but I would not complain about this. I mean I have so much respect for people who get up in the morning and go to jobs they don’t really like and I am doing the job that I like – even though it’s stressful sometimes – you know staying away from my home …

Orpheus: …but you do it for your fans.

Exactly! So you get so much back. When you are on tour you wait everyday for 12 hours, not knowing what to do, you are in a different place, you don’t know anyone, you don’t know where to go and it’s hard to find a clean toilet! But on the other hand when you go on stage for an hour and a half, this makes it up for the whole thing! These hours make it all worth it!

Panagiotis: So afterwards when you go to bed you feel very relieved about whatever happened that day!

But the only thing that I don’t like is that when you go on stage, play the concert – you get so much adrenaline – and afterwards you wanna party or hang out with people but everybody’s gone! \[Laughs]

Panagiotis: I mean the majority thinks Oh man you play in a band so you must have visited every capital in the world, had a great time and after the concert you must have been partying but it’s not always like that.

Oh yeah! You are in a hotel room all by yourself.

Orpheus: The one moment you are surrounded by fans trying to grab you and the next moment you are all alone! It’s so controversial!

Yeah! \[Laughs] I mean there is nothing to complain about it; it could be worse! \[Laughs]

Panagiotis: So let’s go to the past  – I especially like the lyrics of your Leave This World Behind song from the Outcast album. I find it in a way very optimistic, let’s say your life is fucked up, you got problems but when you finally find the inner strength to cope with them you say Let’s Fly Away , Fly with me!. It’s very nice, I mean many people didn’t notice that but I found it very interesting and it spoke to my inner soul!

Thank you very much!

Panagiotis: No I have to thank you very much! The Outcast album doesn’t have many solos – it was done on purpose by you I think, you had something in mind – but the songs sound so very full of energy.

A lot of people did not get that record because it’s a too basic form of Kreator. We simplified the sound of the band we had more straightforward songs.

Panagiotis: More muscle to the sound?

Yeah, I like the record too. I think there are some very good songs in it.

Panagiotis: You know if you go out in Athens to a Rock club, everywhere, they play Phobia – we have heard it a million times – as well as People Pf The Lie, so it must be your own Paranoid or your own Smoke On The Water!

Yeah!

Orpheus: Are there any special parties which are going to be held for the album in Germany?

Yes there is going to be a release party and then parties all over Germany.

Orpheus: Are you going to be attending all of them?

No, not all of them. We will do a small tour of signing sessions the weekend before the record comes out and there will parties with stickers and stuff like that.

Orpheus: Any major festivals this upcoming summer?

Not yet, we don’t want to concentrate on festivals, the most important thing for us is to do a headlining tour, ’cause we get so many complains from the audience because they see us for a shorter period of time than usual, at the festivals.

Orpheus: But on the other hand this year with all the Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Megadeth coming through Europe this summer there will be a big vibe of Metal fans.

Oh yeah, we’ll be on some festivals but for now we don’t want to confirm anything before we play our own tour.

Orpheus: So basically your tour will start from Germany and then hopefully will go on through Europe and America?

Yeah, we have scheduled the whole thing and we have shows until May. We will start from Europe and then go to South America and then to North America.

Orpheus: There is a song in your new album called Suicide Terrorist. Aren’t you concerned about the situation over at the United States and the connection with your album? For example Chris Caffery’s last album was called Faces and God Damn War was its bonus CD which had to change int Damn War.

Why?

Orpheus: Because of the word God in the title. Aren’t you concerned about the different culture in the U.S. (compared to Europe), the mentality of some people?

You ’ve got to see it this way. A lot of people here in Europe think that America is very conservative and very strict but it’s not like that. You know the audience in America is the same as here. The audience there feels like the European one.

Orpheus: Yeah but there is difference between the two audiences. Different political issues or different music…like Rammstein; they have a song called Amerika (on Reise, Reise, 2004) and I am sure that you have heard the song and listened to the lyrics too.

Yeah but it was very clever, very ironic and they will not get it. Anyway, anything that I wanna do in my lyrics I just do it. I will not start to censor myself because certain people don’t want me to touch certain topics.

So aren’t you concerned that there may be some small reaction when they see a title like Suicide Terrorist?

With Suicide Terrorist I was trying to talk about this issue. A big part about this whole September 11th thing was a Suicide Terrorist or a couple of them. I think it makes more sense about writing how tragic and sad this event was. There was a lot of horror and terror for me. Of course it was tragic and shocking but it makes no sense and it is not interesting to talk about it because it sucks. Everybody was mourning about the people who died on September 11th but with this song I tried to figure out what the guy thought when he did it. He knew the hour and day of his death.

Panagiotis: OK one more last question. We know that tomorrow is your birthday…

Oh really? \[Laughs]

Panagiotis: So happy birthday man!

Thanks! But don’t handshake me today because it’s bad luck! \[Laughs]

Panagiotis: OK, thank you Mille! We really are very proud of talking to you. The last and more important question is this one. We know that you generally don’t fancy beer and bitter drinks but you mostly fancy wine. So how come a true German guy like you doesn’t like beer? I mean it’s like going to a strip tease show or a porno film and there all the girls have their bra on! \[Laughter]

Ha ha \[Major Laughter]! Well first of all I am not only German, I am half Italian!

Orpheus: Would you like to send out a message to all your fans?

Thanks to all of you for supporting Kreator all of these years. We will give you a very energetic show on next tour and… Oh I am falling into cliches here! \[Laughs]

Panagiotis: OK, it was very nice meeting you! Thanks and see you!

Thanks!



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