Guitarist/vocalist Mille Petrozza of German thrash metal veterans KREATOR was interviewed on the January 27-29 edition of Full Metal Jackie's nationally syndicated radio show. You can now listen to the chat using the Podbean widget below. A few excerpts follow.
Full Metal Jackie: The new [KREATOR] record is called "Gods Of Violence" and it comes quite a few years since the last KREATOR album. What's the best thing and the hardest thing in making new music?
Mille: "It's essential to take your time. Otherwise, if you're not inspired, you'd rather not record any new music. In my world, if there's nothing new coming out of me creatively, it's like there's no sense in making a new record. So, we did a lot of touring for 'Phantom Antichrist', and, of course, I'm not the kind of musician that writes on the road, so I needed some time off. In 2015 and 2016, we didn't tour much — we only played a couple of festivals in Europe and that was it. We took a lot of time for writing the new album. I think it's worth it, because this is our fourteenth album and we've written many songs and many riffs and we don't wanna repeat ourselves. And we also wanna keep it exciting and keep it fresh, and in order to achieve that, you need to take some time, reflect on the music and on your history and become a musician again, become a creative person again. I think when you're on the road, it's more, like, of course, you're also a musician and it's great to be out there to play for the fans, but, basically, it's not very creative — what you do is you play your old songs. So, getting into that mindset and start writing new music, it takes some time."
Full Metal Jackie: I'm glad you took your time. I think that's the best way to be — only come out and say something when you've got something to say.
Mille: "Absolutely. Even though four and a half years, almost five years, is a little long. I would rather come up with a new album earlier than that, because the touring takes a lot of energy from you. Still, I think two and a half, three years is enough waiting for the fans. We'll try to hurry up with the next one. [Laughs]"
Full Metal Jackie: ["Gods Of Violence"] started with the idea that Greek mythology is linked to current events. What made you realize that connection and why did you write about it?
Mille: "It's human characteristics. In the Greek mythology, there was a God for every human characteristic. Nowadays, since we're living in very chaotic times with terror attacks all over Europe and a lot of turmoil, political right-wing movements, all this negative energy, I figured that… I was reflecting about the situation that we live in in this day and age, and I came to the conclusion that there was never a time when there was world peace. So going way back to the Greek mythology, the link, to me, to what's happening nowadays is… I guess it's in the human DNA to go to war, be violent… There's something that just doesn't work, living in peace globally. Peace on earth is a nice utopia, but it was never there and it never happened, and it probably never will, so we have to kind of deal with it."
Full Metal Jackie: Well, the one good thing that comes out of terrible times is great music.
Mille: "It's a good source of inspiration, but I could also use… I think the inspiration that comes from it, of course, it gives you energy to write angry music, but there could be different sources, better sources and more positive. But, on the other hand, that's a good way of dealing with these things — with negative energy — turning it into something positive."
Full Metal Jackie: The new album features full orchestration and some different musical elements for KREATOR. What appeals to you about trying things not usually done in metal?
Mille: "I don't know. Are they not usually done in metal, orchestration? There's a lot of bands that have [used it]."
Full Metal Jackie: There's been, but it's definitely not super common.
Mille: "No, it's not super common. Like I said earlier, this is our fourteenth album, and for us, in order to keep it fresh for us, ourselves as musicians, we like to do some experimentation within the sound of KREATOR. Rather than, where in the past, in the '90s, we did a lot of albums that had a whole concept where we would experiment throughout the length of a whole record. Nowadays we just add little bits and pieces to make the music even more epic. And whatever the song demands, we'll add to it. For example, the intro to the new album, 'Apocalypticon', was something [where] I had only the guitar melody and the drums. And in my mind, there was already an orchestra of doom playing, the soundtrack to the end of the world, so to speak, because the first song is called 'World War Now'. I'm not so good with orchestration of classical instruments, so my producer, Jens Bogren, he knew about this band from Italy called FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE, so we got them into the picture and they came up with this amazing orchestral arrangement. And, so, to come back to your original question that you asked, we do whatever the song demands. The basic idea is there's never anything where I would go, 'Okay, this needs an orchestral part,' or, 'This needs this kind of instrument.' It just happens — by accident sometimes. Except for the intro — the intro, I already had that in mind."
Full Metal Jackie: KREATOR is a band with a long, respected history in the community. What's the one thing that you really hope people will get out of listening to KREATOR?
Mille: "Joy. They should enjoy the music. It's as simple as that. We try to… Like I said, to me, a positive mental attitude is very important. So, metal, to me, is something that really has that. It's positive energy. There's nothing better than going to a metal show and the band kicks in and everyone goes berserk. That's how we see KREATOR, that's how I see… That's the purpose to play live. It's the exchange of energy, the excitement and the enthusiasm for the music. I think that's what people should get out of the band, if anything. Honest aggression and honest… a celebration of metal music. [Laughs]"
Full Metal Jackie: KREATOR and OBITUARY are going to be touring here in the U.S. for the sixth annual Decibel Magazine Tour along with the bands MIDNIGHT and HORRENDOUS. KREATOR and OBITUARY together definitely is gonna be a great tour. What's the biggest difference between touring now and being on tour during the band's earlier years?
Mille: "Oh, the earlier years were a lot more chaotic. We were distracted by a lot of other things that didn't have anything to do with music. Nowadays we're more focused and more disciplined, which is a good thing, because… Not that we were not concentrating on what's essential for us — the music; the music was always there naturally — but once you get to a certain age, you should take it easy on drinking and partying too much on tour, and that's what we don't do anymore. So, going on tour now is more like… The highlight of the night is always the music and the concert itself, the show, whereas in the past, it was everything around it. [Laughs] So, yeah, that has changed."
Full Metal Jackie: KREATOR and OBITUARY is a great lineup. Have you toured a lot with OBITUARY?
Mille: "Not at all. We only played a couple of festivals with them, but we've been friends forever. I think we even knew them from way [back]… When they just started, we already knew them somehow. And, of course, Terry Butler [OBITUARY bassist] is in the band now, and I've gone way back with him as well. He used to play with DEATH. So, yeah, we're friends, and it's gonna be a good tour."
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Full Metal Jackie also hosts "Whiplash", which airs every Sunday night from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on the Los Angeles radio station 95.5 KLOS. The show can be heard on the KLOS web site at 955klos.com or you can listen in on the KLOS channel on iHeartRadio.
North American cover (by Marcelo Vasco):
International cover (by Jan Meininghaus):