» Mille Petrozza - Kreator
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Interview conducted December 08 2010
Interview published January 02 2011

2010 has certainly been a fantastic year for all lovers of thrash metal. The gathering of the so-called 'Big Four' - Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax - for some shows together was a historic, unbelievable event. Other thrash titans such as Testament, Exodus and Kreator have also been busy entertaining thrash devotees in various parts of the world this year.

In Europe, 2010 was concluded in a most fulfilling manner with the mouth-watering Thrash Fest - boasting a line-up of the aforementioned Kreator and Exodus plus Death Angel and Suicidal Angels. Metal Covenant was happy to secure an interview with the headliners Kreator's frontman Mille Petrozza - a humble, affable and cheerful icon of the thrash scene.

Mozzy: How has the Thrash Fest tour been so far?

  • Mille: Very good, very good.

Mozzy: You've toured with Exodus before, haven't you?

  • Mille: Yeah. In the US, Japan, South America and now finally Europe.

I saw a clip on Youtube from the tour; there seems to be a great atmosphere, I guess you (the bands) know each other from way back?

  • Mille: Oh it's great, everything is cool. We've been friends for a long time.

Mozzy: It's quite a relentless tour schedule; you're playing every day. Does that bring some difficulties?

  • Mille: Oh, well we enjoy it's so much; it's a big rollercoaster ride in a way. For me, it goes by so quick; I would like this tour to be longer. I get bored on days off.

Mozzy: And what about your voice; any difficulties on tour in that sense?

  • Mille: Oh, not at all. When it comes to that, I don't abuse myself too much; I don't really drink, I don't really smoke.

Mozzy: Was there more of that before?

  • Mille: (laughs) I never really smoked cigarettes anyway. I used to smoke weed and I used to drink a lot when I was a kid. But that's a looong time ago (laughs).

Mozzy: I guess it would be more difficult to do that now?

  • Mille: Yeah. If I would do it now, still have that lifestyle, I wouldn't last. I'm not interested in that anymore.

Mozzy: The reason why I'm asking about your voice is also that as an outsider, your vocal style comes across as really intense; has that ever been a concern touring-wise?

  • Mille: No, I'm used to it. To me it's not intense. It might sound intense, but to me it's not, you know. Of course, if you try to sing like that or if you try to copy it, it might be difficult. But it's the only vocal style I know. I'm used to it.

(Fittingly, right here Death Angel singer Mark Osegueda, warming up at the other end of the room, lets off a blistering high-pitch, Rob Halford-esque metal scream)

  • Mille: I couldn't do that, for example (laughs).

Mozzy: No, I understand that (laughs). Offstage, you seem like a very laid-back, calm person…

  • Mille: Yeah.

...is it ever difficult to ´switch on' before you go onstage?

  • Mille: It's not a 'switch on', it's just the power of the music and… if I go onstage and I see the fans really digging the music, everyone's going wild and… I start to enjoy it, you know, and it's like: yeah, let's go!

Mozzy: That must be an awesome feeling.

  • Mille: It really is awesome. It's like, the whole thing, the whole vibe - the fans, and the music and the whole atmosphere. It's something you cannot… there's no such thing like it.

Mozzy: In 2006 I saw you at Summer Breeze; then you had quite a special stage set (sort of a 3-D set-up with ramps and platforms etc).

  • Mille: Oh, that was shit. We tried to have a set-up…. We have the perfect set-up on this tour but we couldn't put it on the stage today because it's a little too big. That Summer Breeze thing was… we tried but we failed. Or, we didn't fail but the fucking company that we worked with failed. It was definitely a good show though; it's not that we didn't enjoy that show, but we wanted it to be even more intense, you know. But as I said, we have it on this tour, although not as much. We have two stairways and some things behind the drum kit. It looks cool. But not tonight, as the stage is not deep enough. Maybe you can find it on YouTube, in some of the bigger shows.

Mozzy: Yeah, this stage is quite small, but it should be intimate and intense.

  • Mille: Yeah. I like this place better than the Klubben (another venue in Stockholm). It has a nicer vibe to it.

Mozzy: While you have a vast collection of great songs, do you think it's important to add some visual elements to the show?

  • Mille: It's always been a big part of Kreator's imagery. We started it in the eighties, when we worked with light effects and stuff like that as part of the show. On this tour a lot of the bands didn't have any special effects, but we do. To me, it's important to have not only the music but also the visual aspect. It makes the music even stronger.

Mozzy: Have you started to think about the next album?

  • Mille: I'm already writing some stuff. I'm collecting ideas, riffs and lyrics and stuff. It's getting hard but I know that we will top Hordes Of Chaos. Otherwise I wouldn't release an album (laughs).

Mozzy: Can you say something about the style?

  • Mille: It's going to be heavier. Hopefully… we'll see (laughs). At this stage, it's hard to tell. To me, it's important that it's Kreator but with new songs, exciting songs to keep up the energy level. You have to come up with new ideas; it can't be like a copy.

Mozzy: About the future approach; will you ever do some experimenting again like you did during the nineties?

  • Mille: Oh, our last three albums were full of experimental parts. So rather than writing a whole experimental album, we write one or two experimental songs for each record, to keep it interesting for us and for the listener. I think that's more effective than having one whole experimental album.

Mozzy: I think there were some really good melodies as well on the last albums, some great twin guitars for example.

  • Mille: Yeah, that is what we want to focus on. I have so many ideas for twin guitars, and many 'cliché', huge metal parts, you know.

Mozzy: At times it sounds a bit like classic metal - Maiden, Priest and so on.

  • Mille: Yeah, that's our legacy, what we grew up on. And Priest are going to split up, so we can use their melodies (laughs).

Mozzy: (laughs). That was sad though.

  • Mille: I think so too. But maybe it was about time, to be honest. Nostradamus, that wasn't a good album…

Mozzy: I thought it was good actually, as long as you take the time to really listen to it.

  • Mille: Really? But do you have the time? I was kind of disappointed, with the sound and so on. But I know what you mean though; for me it didn't really… maybe I should have taken the time to listen to it more.

Mozzy: Going back to melodies, has Sami (guitarist who joined in 2001) been instrumental in coming up with lots of those?

  • Mille: Oh yeah, he's more the guy that if I have an idea, he puts it to perfection. So he is a key member of the band.

Mozzy: He seems to be a really diverse, gifted musician.

  • Mille: Yeah, he's amazing. If you listen to his solo stuff there's all this different music.

Mozzy: He does not really come across as this hardcore metal dude…

  • Mille: He's more of a musician, simply put. He is not only metal, he likes everything. Same with me, really, but he's more… he's more into progressive, 70´s stuff. I'm more of a metal head with some other influences, but he's more of the open-minded metal head. He listens to strange stuff I couldn't listen to. So he is a strong influence, very important.

Mozzy: You guested on the latest Volbeat album, which was really cool. I thought that was the best track on the album.

  • Mille: Thank you. I think so too. Not that I don't like the other songs, but I think the fact that you had Michael Denner (legendary Mercyful Fate guitarist) and me on one song was like "fuuck, that was great!" Also, I think it's not like a typical Volbeat song; it's more of a metal song. They're great guys, I've known them since they opened for Hatesphere, so I've known the guys forever. And I like their music.

Mozzy: Do you get lots of offers to guest on people's albums?

  • Mille: All the time. Most of the time I say no… because if I would not then I would be on many, many records (laughs). I don't want that. Anything that I'm on, I want it to be a challenge. With Volbeat I thought, ok it's so much not Kreator; then I can do it, you know. I don't see the sense in doing a guest appearance on something that's thrash metal or death metal, if you know what I mean.

Mozzy: Totally. I guess your appearance on Edguy's Hellfire Club (on the song Mysteria), is a good example.

  • Mille: Exactly. If you have something that's totally different, then it makes sense.

Mozzy: By appearing on Volbeat's record, do you think there is a chance people might discover Kreator?

  • Mille: I don't think so. Volbeat has a very mainstream audience. But then again, maybe some people could be interested … maybe two (laughs). But to like this extreme music that we play, you have to be a real fan. It's not music for everyone; it's for people that have a certain taste. What we play is hard for some people to understand. And we want to focus on the people that do understand it.

Mozzy: The average person, one that doesn't understand metal at all, can usually be heard saying something like, "he's just screaming".

  • Mille: Yeah, but on the other hand they might listen to Slipknot, and he's screaming as much as I do (laughs).

Mozzy: (laughs) That's true. It has now been 25 years since the first Kreator album. What are your reflections about this?

  • Mille: It does not feel like it's been that long, to be honest. I don't feel any different than 25 years ago, you know. If I would, I would quit. If I wouldn't be into this anymore, I couldn't do it; I couldn't be convincing. If I would feel "this is it", then I would do like Priest - but I don't think it will happen.

Mozzy: Have you done something special this year to celebrate the anniversary?

  • Mille: Well, we did a thing with Rock Hard (renowned German metal magazine); they released a live album for free with the magazine, for the fans. It's a really good sounding album. And that show, at the Rock Hard festival, was really special.

Mozzy: Thank you, as a long-time Kreator fan it's been an honour. You have some real anthems that have been played at many parties!

  • Mille: (laughs) Thank you. I appreciate it.

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