Kreator’s Mille Petrozza Details Experimentation on ‘Gods of Violence’ + Positivity in Metal
Kreator vocalist / guitarist Mille Petrozza was the guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. With the band's new album, 'Gods of Violence,' just released, he discussed the lengthy gap between records, inspiration from the Greeks, musical experimentation and how life on the road has changed over the course of more than 30 years. Check out the chat below:
The new 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?
Its 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, its 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 did a couple of festivals in Europe and that was it. It took a lot of time for writing the new album. I think its worth it because coming out this is our 14th album. We’ve written many songs and many riffs and we don't want to repeat ourselves and we also want to keep it exciting and keep it fresh.
In order to achieve that, you need to take some time, reflect on the music, on your history and become a musician again, become a creative person again. I think when you're on the road, its more like of course you're also a musician and it's great to be out there to play for the fans but, basically its 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.
I'm glad you took your time. I think that's the best way to be, is to only come out to say something when you have something to say.
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. But, still, I think two-and-a-half, three years is enough waiting for fans. We'll try to hurry up with the next one. [laughs]
It 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?
It's the human characteristics. In Greek mythology, there was a God for every human characteristic. Nowadays, since we're living in very chaotic times with heretics all over Europe and a lot of turmoil, political right-wing movements, all of this negative energy, I figured that I was reflecting about the situation that we live in in this day and age.
I came to the conclusion that there's never a time when there was world peace. Going way back to the Greek mythology, it's still the link to me, to what’s happening nowadays. I guess its 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 would never happen, probably never will, so we have to deal with it.
Well, the one good thing that comes out of terrible times is great music.
Its a good source of inspiration. I think the inspiration that comes from it gives you energy to write angry music but there could be different sources, more positive. On the other hand, that’s a way of dealing with these things, with negative energy, turning it into something positive.
Absolutely. 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?
I don't know. Are they not usually done in metal, orchestration? There’s a lot of bands that have.
There's been, but not super common.
No, it's not super common. Like I said earlier, this is our 14th 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 the ‘90s, we did an album that had a whole concept where we 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 done the guitar melody and the drums. 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, “This needs an orchestral part. This needs this kind of instrument.” It just happens by accident sometimes. Except for the intro, the intro, I already had that in mind.
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?
Joy. They should enjoy the music. Simple as that. We try to — to me a positive mental attitude is very important. So metal to me is something that has a positive energy. There's nothing better than to go to a metal show. A band can play and everyone goes berserk. That's how we see Kreator, that's how I see — that's the purpose to play live. The exchange of energy and the excitement and enthusiasm of the music. I think that's what people should get out of it, if anything. Honest aggression and honest celebration of metal [laughs].
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 going to be a great tour. What's the biggest difference between touring now and being on tour during the band's earlier years?
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 disciplined, which is a good thing. Not that we were not concentrating on what's essential for us, the music, the music was always there naturally. 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. Going on tour now is more like — it's almost the highlight of the night is always the music and the concert itself. Whereas in the past it was everything after or around it. [laughs] So yeah — that has changed.
See the band on this tour, the Decibel Magazine tour. Kreator and Obituary, which is a great lineup. Have you toured a lot with Obituary?
Not at all. We only played a few 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. It was Terry Butler who's in the band now, I've gone way back with him as well. He used to play with Death. Yeah, we're friends and it's going to be a good tour.
I think it's going to be a fun time for everyone, the bands and us fans. So definitely see the Decibel Magazine tour and pick up the new Kreator record. Always a pleasure, thank you so much.
Thanks to Mille Petrozza for the interview, Grab your copy of Kreator's 'Gods of Violence' at Amazon or digitally through iTunes and keep up with the band by following their Facebook page. Get a list of all tour stops at our 2017 Guide to Rock + Metal Tours and find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show at this location.
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