Metal Wani‘s Jake Patton conducted an interview with vocalist/guitarist Mille Petrozza of German thrash veterans KREATOR. You can listen to the full interview below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the reception to KREATOR‘s new album, “Gods Of Violence”:
Mille: “It couldn’t be better. To us, the way we measured the success of our record is ‘How do the fans react in the live situation to the songs we put in the setlist?’ For this tour, we’ve added, like, five or six new songs to the setlist. Reactions are just as good for, let’s say, ‘Extreme Aggression’ or one of the classic songs. To us, it’s mind-blowing. It shows us that we did something right.”
On how KREATOR maintains balance between brutality and melody:
Mille: “Music should never be a conscious decision if you know what I mean. [Laughs] When we write music, it’s something that we feel, really. Music comes from the heart. Of course, we go into the studio and maybe this answers the question better, once we have the rough ideas for a song, we go into the studio and try to add something, make it even more exciting, put more dimensions, more ideas, more creativity into one particular song. That’s where the melody might come in and the melodic parts. Some of the chorus parts, for example, have a lot of things happening in the background to make the listener’s experience even more exciting. I guess that’s how we write songs. We never sit down and go ‘Okay, we’ve done ‘Phantom Antichrist’‘ and follow up. It’s more like ‘Let’s come up with new songs that we feel are different than anything we’ve done before.’ Maybe we can explore some new feels in music, maybe we can learn something else, something new, maybe we can add some exciting new songs to the creative universe. That’s how we write songs, really. There’s never a masterplan or anything like that.”
On the lyrical approach for “Gods Of Violence”:
Mille: “[They’re] very much stream of consciousness style. You just start writing something down. Every time I have music or sometimes I have the lyrics first, sometimes I have the title first. A lot of times I have the title first, then I try to fill the title that I think sounds cool with a meaning. Sometimes I come up with a story that I try to fill with life. For example, the song ‘Death Becomes My Light’, I was reading a lot about near-death experiences. I wanted to write a song about somebody that experienced that and he comes back to life and he tries to tell all of his friends about it. He’s all excited to tell everyone that ‘You don’t have to be afraid.’ And nobody listens. That’s the frustration and the sadness is reflected in that song. ‘World War Now’, of course, is, for example, it’s been kind of based on the [2015 terrorist attack] at the Bataclan [Theatre in France], but not really. I don’t really like to write about current events too much because I want to write lyrics that still have the same meaning five years from now. I try to keep it pretty much timeless, so to speak.”
On how the word “violence” ends up being reflected positively in KREATOR‘s music:
Mille: “I think, to me, I’m…I don’t know if I’m a pacifist. I don’t want to categorize myself, but I believe in peace. I believe in the good in people. I always try to keep the ‘PMA’ [Positive Mental Attitude] and if I meet someone, I try to see the good things rather than the bad things first. I figure out there’s something evil in every one of us, but I try to mostly focus on the good things. I try to get that out of people and out of the band and out of music. I think that adds a lot more to music and makes it even stronger, especially since the titles are so graphic. You can think that we write about horrible things and we do, but it’s a reflection. It’s like ‘Look, this is how fucked-up the world is. Let’s come up with a solution and deal with it. At least deal with it and stick together to find a way of dealing without going insane.’ That’s how I see it. That’s the very short version of it. [Laughs]”
On whether he’s thought about writing a solo album:
Mille: “The thought popped up before in my mind. I have so many interests in music. I like so many different styles that I was thinking about doing a solo album, yes. But… to be honest, I’m the main songwriter in KREATOR and it’s a timing issue. I don’t have the time to write a solo album that I would be excited about, if you know what I mean. I’m not the kind of musician that just puts out something for the sake of putting out something. If I would write a solo album, it would occupy my time for at least a half year to a year. KREATOR is very busy. [Laughs]”
On whether he would consider writing an album again similar to KREATOR‘s ’90s output when the band experimented with goth and industrial sounds:
Mille: “I do write music like I did back in the ’90s. If you listen closely on ‘Gods Of Violence’, there is the song I mentioned earlier, ‘Death Becomes My Light’, [which] has a goth touch to it. There are certain parts that have goth touches and more strange PINK FLOYD-ish atmospheric parts. The ’90s, you have to understand that when the ’90s were happening, we were experiencing a change in technology, which was not normal. We were experiencing Pro Tools, we were experiencing sequencers and of course, as a musician you want to explore these things. You should go crazy with it. That’s what we did in the ’90s. Nowadays, these technologies are common and normal, so there’s no use in experimenting anymore; we use them differently. We use these technologies differently nowadays. On a musical level, I’m totally happy with what I can do with KREATOR nowadays. An album has ten to twelve songs and I can have ten to twelve different vibes going from total thrash metal to traditional heavy metal to kind of a goth vibe, punk rock, hardcore, all of my favorite kinds of music. Like I said, in the ’90s, I look at music sometimes as movies because I’m a movie nerd. I remember when I wrote the two albums ‘Outcast’ and ‘Endorama’. Those were my ‘Dogme’ albums. There was this director, there was a group of directors and [Danish director] Lars Von Trier was part of this group, they were putting out movies where they created the ‘Dogme’ for each movie. For example, you were not allowed to do certain edits and were only allowed to have a hand camera. We did that on ‘Outcast’. On ‘Outcast’, we were like ‘Okay, we don’t write a fast song. We only go to a certain beat.’ On ‘Endorama’, for example, we’re like ‘Okay, we’ll write the most dark album ever.’ That kind of thing we wanted to do. We don’t want to do that anymore.”
“Gods Of Violence” was released on January 27 via Nuclear Blast Records. The cover artwork for the disc was created by renowned artist Jan Meininghaus, who also made the limited-edition artwork for KREATOR‘s last album, 2012’s “Phantom Antichrist”, and has lent his talents to bands like BOLT THROWER, ACCEPT and OVERKILL in the past. The exclusive North American cover was created by renowned artist Marcelo Vasco, who has previously worked with SLAYER, MACHINE HEAD, SOULFLY and HATEBREED.