Mille Petrozza of Kreator
Interview, live and interview pictures by Luxi Lahtinen
Nummirock Festival, located basically in the middle of forests, near by one small lake (or more commonly put, located in the middle of nowhere which most of you want me to say anyway, ha!), celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. The organizers of the festival had booked a bunch of interesting metal acts to the bill of this 2-day festival, off which bands like Kreator, Deicide, Hypocrisy, Amorphis, Samael, Marduk, Tarot and Korpiklaani surely gave metalheads a good enough reason to invest their hard-earned savings in for this particular summer happening. Only one negative setback was announced at the very last minutes as Deicide had to pull out from the festival due to some ?ugly? financial issues with the gig booking agency, being responsible for their tour in the European ground (which sadly resulted in the cancellation of the whole European tour for Deicide). That was already the second attempt from Deicide to play in Finland for the very first time, but every time they have had to cancel their shows. Well, that time will come for them eventually for sure when they will finally get a chance to play in front of their very supportive Finnish metal maniacs… ;o)
One of the finest German Thrash Metal combos ever, Kreator, luckily didn?t have to cancel their live appearance at the Nummirock Festival this year though. The band proved to be in a fine, energetic strike in a live situation at the festival, and the support from the crowd was upliftingly enormous toward Kreator. The band has always been greatly welcomed by the Finnish metalheads – no matter where they have played in Finland.
Metal-Rules.com caught up with Mille from Kreator at the backstage area right before the band was about to get confronted with their fanatical (mostly) Finnish audience, and basically asked about what?s going on in the Kreator -camp; when to expect new material from the band, Mille?s endorsement deal with the Moser guitars, etc. – and what Mille actually did on Saturday evening on 20th, May 2006…
You are doing a bunch of festival shows right now, including this Nummirock festival here in Finland. How do you overall feel about playing only festival gigs for bigger audiences without doing any club gigs in a more intimate environment?
It?s different – y?know, it?s a different thing. I mean, when you play at festivals, there?s always some people that come to these festivals to see bands, but also some a bunch of people that may not know about us, or have not heard from us in the first place at all. And when we play, we may sometimes surprise, or even convince them by our performance, so it?s all cool because you can always make new fans for the band. But when you play your own headlining tour, most of those people that are coming to your shows because they already know you, and then like what you do, y?know.
This was your very 1st time to play at Nummirock Festival. How do you like the general atmosphere here, playing basically in the middle of forests?
I thought we have played here before…
You have played here before? When was that?
I think it was either 1992 or something, I don?t know. I heard (!) we played here before, but I cannot be that sure. I remember a place like this… Oh yeah, I think we indeed did play here earlier during the summer time. The night never gets really dark during mid-summer here, right?
Then we have played here before. It?s a long time ago though (?? Mille must surely have mixed up Nummirock with some other Finnish mid-summer festival as according to the official history of Nummirock, there?s no mention Kreator would have played at the festival before ? L u x i).
How do you overall like the atmosphere here? Nummirock is actually kind of a small festival, arranged in the middle of forests and that beautiful lake behind us right there…
I love it here… this is just great! I like this festival a lot. It?s ? like I said, sometimes these a bit smaller festivals, they are a lot of fun to do. It?s somehow always easy to like kick ass in front of like 20.000 people as a festival bill usually contains a number of other metal bands. But then again, sometimes if there?s like 3000-4000 people in one festival only, you gotta get them going, y?know, in order to enjoy yourself onstage as well. It?s a bit harder work, but it?s still fun. It?s a challange for us, too.
WORLD INVASION OF GOD?S TEUTONIC ENEMIES
After these festival dates here in Europe, you?ll also do at least 4 gigs in Australia in the end of this August. Is it the first time for you to play there? What kind of expectations do you already have in advance about playing in Australia?
Well, it?s our 2nd time to play in Australia, and I think even if we have been there before, it still feels like the first time for me to go there again. I suppose we are gonna have a great time in Australia. I mean, when we played there last time in 19…, hmm… it was 19-something, it really was one of the best tours for us we had ever done. The only thing I don?t really like is that we have to fly from one gig to another, but you get used to it eventually and that?s ok. But anyway, people over there are overall so friendly, and I know that there?s one of the best metal audiences in the whole world, so in that sense I?m really looking forward to going there. Those people can go really really wild at gigs which I can tell you by my own experience. I think it?s even Ventor?s favorite country to go, and to play gigs there even if he has only been there once so far, ha-ha!!
I have heard that you indeed do have a pretty good fanbase in that country…
Yeah, we do, and that?s of course nice.
Do you already have any idea about the support bands while being in Australia? Will they be some locals?
I honestly don?t know at all. I hope we get like a support band that?s like… good! (laughs) But, I have no idea yet which band – or which bands are going to support us on this Australian tour. It?s our headlining tour and we?ll play about hour and half, I think.
How would you sum up your ?Enemy of God? tour so far? You did the 2nd part of this tour in the States, but also a couple of dates in Canada as well?
Yeah, we are still like a halfway through it. We might go to another tour this year ? and in the end of the year we?ll play like 4-5 shows in Germany with Edguy. Those gigs will be arranged at some bigger concert halls there in Germany, and it?s gonna be like a double headlining thing that we are gonna do with Edguy. Those shows have been well selected at what venues we will be playing them, and they are gonna be the last shows of the year for us. These shows will kind of sum up our really successful tour this year.
GIGANTOUR – PART TWO… AND RUMORS AROUND IT
What about doing a "Gigantour 2"? I hear this rumor that Kreator might be involved with it, too?
Where did you hear that rumor from?
It was on the Kreator?s official forum. Someone had posted something on that forum, based on some rumors that Dave Mustaine would love to see Kreator being a part of it, too.
It would be great! I?d love to be a part of this tour, of course! If that happened, that would be just awesome, I think. If this will actually happen, I mean, Megadeth is definitely one of my favorite bands, y?know. It would be a big honor for me to open up for them on this Gigantour. I think Gigantour is, unlike other festivals in the States, not about like trends, or like money. It?s about a good music basically. That?s why I?d like to be a part of it.
Dave seems to be like a fan of Kreator…
I have met him on a couple of different occasions, but I didn?t know that he?s a fan of our band. If that really is so, then that?s great because I?m a Megadeth ?fan, y?know. It?s a real honor if he says something good about us – it?s great, of course! Like I told you before, if this Gigantour will happen for us, I?ll be the first one to do anything for this tour, that?s for sure.
I wish you all the best of luck so that you could get your spot on it, too…
Thanks, man – appreciated!
RETURNING BACK TO THE STUDIO, AS PRODUCER
Talking about working in a studio environment a little bit up next, you were co-producing the German so-called ?graverockers? The Spook?s next album for a while ago. What kind of experience was it to be in the studio with them, but this time behind the mixing desk instead of churning out your own material for your next release?
I gotta say that it was a cool experience; it wasn?t actually my first production. I have done another production on some other label before. It?s of course a very different thing to be as a role of a producer. You tend to think things like a producer does in general; you somehow strangely tend to think it could be less work than doing your own album, but it?s still the same load of work. You really have to go in there, and focus on the music, like, y?know, long hours every day ? like 10 hours in a day or something, and really concentrate on doing your part. But the thing with The Spook is, those guys are so good musicians, and in that sense there wasn?t much to do for me because they really knew their stuff, and we have been talking about this production for almost over a year now. And we?ve been back and forth, y?know, brainstorming and so on. I?m really excited about the fact that… well, like I said I?ve done another production, but that was more like an underground release. Well, actually it really wasn?t like an underground thing, but it was just a different kind of music, nothing to do with the mainstream music at all. So, I?m really happy that for the first ?Grave Rock Metal? – whatever name you wanna call it, album, it?s The Spook because they are such a great band, and I think a lot of people will be really surprised when they will hear the album. It?s really good. I mean, like I said already if people like this kind of music, this album is supposed to be one of the highlights of the year for them for sure.
I happen to know that they do have a very strong following in Germany, but are they any popular outside of their home country as well, like on the rest of the European soil, for example?
I think they have done like a couple of tours in Europe. They have been around for so long, and they have been on big festivals, doing big tours – and they are just a great live band. But like I said, I?m a big fan of the band and I was like a mind-blowing thing for me that they asked me to produce their record. It was great to work with them – they indeed are a great band.
Now when we are talking about being in a recording studio, have you set any plans for the band when you will possibly record the next Kreator album?
Well, just when I have some time to write those new songs again, ha-ha!! Right now I?m like back and forth, y?know. Before there?s gonna be a new album out from us, we are going to release a special edition of ENEMY OF GOD (re-titled ENEMY OF GOD ? REVISITED) as a Dolby 5.1 mix, together with our entire performance at the Wacken Open Air we did last year as a DVD. That Wacken show will be like 1-hour live-DVD. It will be sold like a regular priced CD. However, that project still needs some time and work because we have all the footage available for it, but we should need to work with that live footage a bit because we wanna achieve that certain look to our videos. We also arranged sort of a video competition where we asked some of our fans to do videos for us. Then we selected the best one out of all that material, and it?s gonna be on that release, too. We also have two professional videos; one of the guys from Rammstein actually did the ?Enemy of God? video, and there?s gonna be an extended version of that video on that release because there?s a lot of more extreme scenes on that one, including more like violent stuff. Then we have an ?Enemy? -making video and some special tracks from a TV show we did sometime ago already. So, there?s gonna be a lot of stuff on that DVD ?part, but it?s not like THAT official release; it?s like… well, let me put it this way: It?s a new DVD from us in which you will get our last album as a bonus or something like that, ha-ha!! Anyway, the Wacken show on the DVD was one of the highlights of our ?Enemy of God? ?tour, and to us ? I mean, nearly everyone has done ?Live at Wacken? ?thing, but y?know, that particular show was just so special for us. Besides that we didn?t want release like ?Kreator ? Live at Wacken? only. But then again we had like the most perfect settings at that night; we had a very good fan reaction and the light show was really impressive altogether at that particular night. Also, there was something about in the sky, and the overall vibe on that night because it was raining and the sky was filled up with many beautiful colors because of this rain. The whole thing looked like the world could have been coming to its end, so there was really something magical about in that show, ha-ha!! So, we needed to get this show released.
When we actually started doing this DVD -project, we were thinking about like doing it with completely different producers, like people that we really look up to when I was really into the underground movies. People like Richard Kearn, Derrick Wright and several others, but there was a lot of organization, a lot of like timing problems, so when we got this Wacken ?thing, we were like ?Let?s just do this…?, y?know, because there?s also something that the fans really want from us ? something like ?Kreator ? Live? because I think that when we play live, we are at our strongest.
NEW MATERIAL IN THE WORKS
How has the new Kreator material started coming together anyway? Have you been able to write any stuff while you have been touring?
Well, I have one tape that has like, let me think… 40-50 minutes of riffs, and I have got a couple of song titles in my mind – and even a couple of lyrics, but that?s basically all as far as the new Kreator ?stuff is concerned. To me it?s always very important that I have like a general concept ready for our next album – and to be honest with you, right now I don?t feel very inspired to write new stuff for the next Kreator album simply because, y?know, writing stuff always takes a lot of time, and right now I don?t have it. As I see it, every new Kreator album is something very special for me personally. And I don?t wanna release something from us just for the sake of releasing something. I rather wait, and want to do everything carefully for our next record without rushing things for it too much. I believe the next Kreator album will be released in 2008… maybe?
And there?s not gonna be any pressure from your label?s side either that you should release a new Kreator album a bit earlier than in 2008?
I think when you have an album out, people are like one should release another album almost right away after just getting an album out, y?know. But rather take your time because people still know you are there; people know you are around – they remember you, they have got a good impression about you and I wanna keep it that way. Y?know, to me every album that we put out, should be a step forward, and our last two albums have been very strong, and I still feel like we should top them, too. There?s no reason for us to put out another album that is not like at least as brutal and as intense as ENEMY OF GOD. So we need time; time for finding inspirations – and just wait for the right moment before we start seriously working with our next album.
It always should be very challenging to top yourself and your upcoming albums each time. I mean, if you have done a couple of very strong albums behind you earlier, so obviously the challenge is always there automatically, lurking behind your mind…
Yeah, you could say so – and I wanna keep it that way. Like I said, a lot of musicians forget about this. A lot of musicians forget about the fact you have to become inspired. There has to be a certain point in time when you feel the urge to express yourself again. And if you just go on, and just like… well, let me put it this way. This music is art in itself in my opinion. This is not about going to work, it?s not about going to office and do your routine and regular 8 hours in work each fuckin? day. This is about something that lasts even when I?m gone, when I?m dead – then there?s gonna be our music only, so I have to make sure it?s gonna be something good, y?know, ha-ha!! We are not Mot?ad or anything, y?know, Mot?ad can do that. They can write an album every year or every two years if they want to, so there?s a great difference between us and them. We work much differently with our albums than they do, for example. Like I said before, we take our song writing seriously, although I?m not saying Mot?ad wouldn?t do the same. They just have a very different approach to their music cmpared to ours.
HIGHLIGHTS OF MILLE?S CAREER
When you are looking back in your life as a member of Kreator, could you name one or two brightest highlights out of your whole, long-lasting career with this band?
Uh, there?s been so many, but I think it?s always great to recollect little things what have happened during your whole career. I mean, if you have recently read any interviews by some other bands from Germany, some singers of theose bands have said that: ?We inspired him to be an anti-nazi when he saw us onstage with anti-Nazism shirts on?. It inspired him to fight against racism and Nazism, y?know. So to me things like these are important and are giving something to the next generations. That is something to me what really matters, y?know, like keeping the spirit alive and giving it to the next generation; to have other bands come out with a great stuff because they are inspired by young music, and this something like you cannot take away from them. You can be like the biggest band on the world, and you can sell like 2 million records in the States and be like a fuckin? whatever, y?know, the best selling act of the week, but there?s something that nobody can like, replace. This is something really special, and I?d rather have like a strong influence on people than becoming like a multi-millionaire because I write a shitty music that is only meant for the most commercial radio channels basically. That?s not Kreator – y?know, Kreator has a deeper impact on people. That?s always like something like a highlight for me when I really feel like that we kind of get the respect from other musicians, and get the respect from our fans.
Now when you mentioned specifically about getting respect from other musicians, I assume you have also noticed how much Kreator has influenced many new Thrash Metal bands according to f.ex. some certain interviews, thanks lists, etc. of several bands that you obviously have seen every once in while…
Yeah, yeah… That?s great, I think. And I can say that it?s your comment is taking my mind back to the past times of Kreator. Namely when we started out, my favorite bands were like Venom, Slayer, Metallica and so on – all the good so-called old school Thrash stuff. Possessed, Exodus, Dark Angel, etc. – all those bands, and nowadays we are playing at the same festivals with some of those bands which is just great! And we also get to meet all those people that used to be influences for Kreator in the past. It?s like, this is great, y?know. It?s really paying us off these days; it?s worth of all the fuckin? work, all the fuckin? waiting at the airports, ha-ha!!
BOOTLEGGING ALLOWED BY PERMISSION OF MILLE
What do you think of all those Kreator bootlegs (CDs, vinyls, concert videos, etc.) that have been floating in the music markets for years? From a perspective of a die-hard Kreator ?fan, they obviously are cool items to collect and to have in your music collection, but it?s of course unfortunate that someone is cashing in by putting them out?
Well, actually that?s fine. Y?know, the thing is I?d never complain about that fact as there have always been floating bootlegs around. Actually you should be happy that people are so interested in your band that they put out bootlegs of your band, y?know. If that wasn?t be the case, then there would be something wrong with the band, ha-ha! I?m honestly happy about the fact that there are some bootlegs around from us. However, I?m not really interested in them personally, but we have some friends that record great quality DVDs. Every time when we go to play to Canada, they film and then edit our concert videos, and they are just for them, y?know. They don?t make any bootlegs out of them that they could sell around and make some money out of them for their own pockets. Therefore we give them a permission to film our shows, and in return they send us back very good quality DVDs from those shows, just to give us something to remember for, y?know. If people go to a Kreator show, and want to film our shows and keep them as memories from our shows, that?s really fine by me. And even if they would sell them, I just don?t care, y?know. I mean, they hardly sell bootlegs from us like millions of copies. I think it?s more like an underground thing anyway, so there?s no harm for Kreator really. Let me tell you this, too. I?m coming from the tape trading scene, so when I started out, the first stuff I heard from bands like Mercyful Fate, was live recordings. And that was great back then, y?know. I mean, so maybe if that spirit gets still alive, and people keeps on doing these bootlegs of Kreator, fine.
Do you own any Kreator bootlegs then?
I don?t have any. I used to have some, but I gave them to our merchandise guy Tony. He?s collecting all this stuff… He?s got like a whole Kreator museum full of Kreator stuff. I just don?t have anything; I?m always giving stuff away to him.
BACK IN THE DAY…
As we are still in this topic about bootlegs, when I was like almost 20 years younger, heavily involved with the tape trading scene just like you were, I got this VHS ?tape that included ?Kreator – Live in Studio? ?thing that was obviously recorded from some German cable channel. I must warn you, but my German skills aren?t on a very flattering level at all, but anyway there was this guy who was interviewing you in German in that show, and when he asked your favorite bands, all I understood was when you mentioned Slayer at least three times in that short interview, like answering this way to the following question: ?So Mille, would you tell what have influenced Kreator?" And you went like: ?Slayer… und Slayer… und Slayer?. Still remember that thing?
Ha-ha-ha… of course I remember that. I was quite funny thing to do. You can tell that I was quite a big Slayer ?fan back then. I mean, I think everyone that liked Thrash Metal back then, in the early eighties when Slayer came out, they were the best band around for many just like for me. For me, when they came out, it was like a mixture of my two favorite bands at that time: Metallica and Venom. Therefore Slayer sounded such a special band for me – and I still like them a lot.
You are one of the first endorsees of Moser guitars, along with Brian Hoffman (ex-Deicide), Rob Cohen and Clammy (Exciter) and Tracii Guns (Brides of Destruction). What do you think of those ?weapons of mass destruction? based on your own experience with them? How do they compare to the other guitar models you have used in the past?
I like this guitar model very much. I talked to the Moser ?people to make me like one custome shop, and next time I wanna set this up. Also, I?m still like waiting for people from Jackson to call me to give me an endorsement, y?know. However, I do like both guitar models; I like Moser as well as Jackson. As for the Moser guitars, they look cool; they have a great design. As for Jackson, they have kind of become a part of your body, y?know. The Vs are like I don?t even feel them when playing with them. They are just great! But like I said, I do like both of them.
A REVOLUTIONARY EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 2006 & LORDI
Ok, since my time is running up so fast, I have one last question for you: Did you watch Eurovision Song Contest this year, and what did you think of the winner of that particular contest this year, Lordi?
I voted for Lordi…
You did?! Wow…!
How did you like the song itself, by the way?
Well, first off, I must say that I didn?t take the contest seriously. I?m not that big fan of the band, but I think we should respect them a bit what they did. They showed the whole fuckin? European music world that with Heavy Rock or Metal music you can also do well and success. But then again, you gotta admit it wasn?t that big surprise that they won the whole thing and beat everyone there. The song is actually pretty good, and as I?m a horror fan, y?know, I found them quite appealing to myself. However, like I said I don?t take them that seriously – and I don?t think they take their own thing that seriously either (well, actually you are wrong Mille, they do – even very seriously!). But the fact they look like monsters, they really got all my sympathy, ha-ha!!
You even think they opened new doors for a heavier type of music in general as far as the future of that (pathetic) contest is concerned?
I doubt it. Also, I gotta tell you that I?m not too enthusiastic about the contest itself. I gave my vote for Lordi just for fun because I was simply too bored at that time – on that particular Saturday night. I was drinking a night before, and I was just at my home, having simply nothing to do, feeling bored and thought myself: ?Ok, I?m gonna give my vote for Lordi…?. And so I did. I didn?t think in advance my vote would have had any impact for anything at all, but like all of a sudden everyone in Europe seemed to vote for them. But I also have to say without any intention to put anyone down that, but the fuckin? competition against Lordi was shit. All the other bands or whatever groups were so far behind Lordi both musically and of course visually, and their songs were, to put it simply, worst of the whole world you can possibly think of. The fact is Lordi?s song was the only decent song out of the whole pile in my opinion.
I gotta agree with you. Besides Lordi?s visual side was so much different compared to the rest of the groups in that contest that looked like, eh… (at this point Mille interrupts and nails it down somewhat perfectly in a true Heavy Metal vocabulary fashion…)
… shit! … SHIT!! However, I wouldn?t go as far as saying like this was some sort of victory for Heavy Metal or anything. To me it was just the best song out of all the other candidates there and that?s all basically. Lordi won the contest because they deserved it by the best song that was on offer on that contest.
MILLE IS NO NOSTREDAMUS
Back to Kreator for one more question: Where do you think Kreator will be in 2010?
How far away is that? 3 years? 4 years? Huh, it?s gonna be a very hard to predict where we will be in 2010, but thinking realistically we will have another new album out, I guess – and we?ll be on tour for sure, playing again at some festivals like this one here, but that?s as far as my lousy predicting skills go, ha-ha!! To be honest, I never wanna plan or predict anything for Kreator in advance because to me it?s always like this very moment – and maybe the next week. I already know that we are gonna play at the With Full Force festival next week – and we are really looking forward to it. We are gonna play there together with Celtic Frost, Soulfly, etc., so it?s gonna be great, it?s gonna be all good. And that?s how I look at things in general. I never think like what I?m gonna do like 3 years away from this very moment simply because I have just no clue, ha-ha!!
You are no Nostredamus, I can tell…
Ha-ha-ha… you got that right.
Thank you Mille. It was my pleasure to talk with you again!
Thanks to yourself. See ya after the gig or something…
KREATOR?S OFFICIAL TERRORZONE:
commentsKreator, Mille Petrozza