Mille Petrozza of Kreator

Mille Petrozza of Kreator
What do you say when you get a chance to talk to German thrash metal legends Kreator? Well, nothing, until you manage to get your two phone lines connected (which, shockingly, in my case took a label guy, a band guy, two hotel front-desk receptionists, a patient German thrasher and a flustered Canadian journalist). Then, when it's just you and soft-spoken Mille Petrozza, vocalist/guitarist of Kreator, it's almost hard to not sound like a fanboy. But there is a job to do, namely to discuss the band's Canadian and American tour with fellow thrash legends Exodus in tow, Kreator's most recent disc, the shredding Hordes of Chaos, and how the state of the world seeps into his lyrics. (And veganism, but that didn't really go anywhere.) This is a band with a 25-year career that is somehow just getting better and better; thankfully, longhairs 'round the world can rejoice in knowing they're showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

You must be pretty excited to get out with Exodus.
We're having a great time with Exodus and all the other bands on tour. It's a cool tour. It's great. Exodus have been one of the reasons why we even started the band and of course they have been a huge influence on Kreator. Now playing with them, it's of course like a dream come true in a way; when I was a little metalhead I would have never imagined that. It's really cool.

You're coming back to Canada and doing some touring up here.
The Canadian shows have been really, really good and the upcoming Canadian shows are going to be even better, I think. So be prepared, it's going to be a lot of fun.

I'm going to be perfectly frank: I loved Hordes of Chaos. How are you feeling about it?
I think it's one of our most intense records. It's shorter than the previous two. That was one of the things we had in mind when we were writing the songs - we wanted to keep it shorter and more to the point, make it more intense that way. There were two more songs that we were working on, but they weren't there yet so we decided to just do ten songs that really kick people in the face rather than having 12 songs and have the last two drag on a bit.

And you recorded it pretty much live in the studio?
The basic tracks are recorded live. I overdubbed the vocals and lead guitar parts and some acoustic parts. But the basic tracks are recorded live. The reason why was because we wanted to have more of a loose feel to the songs and get more of the character of the band across on the record. Rather than having perfection, have more character, less perfection.

People say that the best aggressive music is written during times of political or social turmoil. Do you agree?
Probably yes, depending on what situation you're in. But if you watch the world and just keep your eyes open you can find things you can criticize in your lyrics even in times where there's no political turmoil whatsoever. I think extreme music has always been there and it definitely makes it easier; it gives a little more inspiration for topics for songs. I think having political turmoil and the financial crisis, all the horror news that you hear every day, it's definitely inspirational.

Do you feel everything happening in the world today is influencing your music?
It always has been influencing us. Since Extreme Aggression and Terrible Certainty we've been writing about what we see rather than coming up with fantasy stories. And definitely from '88 or something when we started to have a more realistic aspect in our lyrics, that's when it started. And from then on, it's always had an influence.

So what would you write about if all the world's problems were solved?
That will never happen.

You've been doing this a long time. When does the day come when you're just too old to be playing thrash metal?
I don't know; I never think about these things. We're all in very good shape... I would never even think about quitting; as long as I have something to say I'll continue writing music. I don't see a reason why I shouldn't think about these things [to sing about]. Look at fucking Heaven and Hell, Motörhead, Black Sabbath... they're all in their 60s and still doing it.

You're a vegan; that's not something I see too often in the world of metal.
Yeah. That's personal, that's nothing I want to push on people. It's just a personal choice.

Do you find it hard while touring to keep that up?
No. Not at all.

If the band were to break up today would you be happy and content with what you've done?

Of course. I'm a positive-thinking person. I've seen a lot of places I probably wouldn't have seen by being in this band. It's been a huge part of my life and everything we have achieved is a bonus to us. We never even thought about a career when we started this band. So we're still excited about how far we've come.

Where do you hope to bring it in the future?
Even further. We just got an offer in to play India. That, to me, is amazing. It's going to be great. A metal band playing in India is very rare. We'll keep touring and keep doing this as long as we enjoy doing it. It's still exciting to convince new people through your music and there are still a lot of people who have never heard about us. It's a constant fight, but it's a lot of fun [laughs].