With thrash metal back in the spotlight in recent years, legendary thrash metal band Kreator are one of the leaders of the pack, still chugging away with new albums like the criticially acclaimed "Phantom Antichrist" released last year and now with their latest live DVD/CD release "Dying Alive". We spoke to vocalist/guitarist Mille Petrozza about their latest effort and the recent resurgence of thrash metal.
Mille: Hi Andrew, How are you doing man?
Andrew: I'm good thanks, how are you doing?
Mille: Very good!
Andrew: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. I just found out that your new DVD (Dying Alive) has just cracked the top 10 in the German charts so congratulations, you must be happy about that.
Mille: Oh yeah very much. It's proof that metal is alive and well.
Andrew: Yeah definitely! How does it feel to be around as long as you have and still get major successes like that?
Mille: It feels great to be honest. I know it's hard work and has been for many years but I'm very happy that we still have people that support us and really care about our music after all this time. It definitely makes me feel good.
Andrew: Well let's talk about the new DVD "Dying Alive", how did the idea of this new DVD come about?
Mille: Basically it was the middle of the tour that we felt it went very well, we had many people at the shows and we knew it was a huge production and we wanted to give fans something back like the memory. We felt this was the perfect time after 10 years of our last official DVD release "Live Kreation". We felt it was about time to come out with a new live DVD/live record package and we talked to the record company about it and they supported us and went along. We got a team of 24 cameras into the Turbinenhalle in Oberhausen which is very close to where we live and we had full control over everything that happened to make sure that the quality was 100% guaranteed.
Andrew: Watching the live show on the DVD, there seems to be so many cameras around, you seemed to have captured every angle possible. Was that the band's idea or was that someone else's idea?
Mille: That was our idea, ours and the director. We talked about this for a long time and we definitely wanted to make sure that...I mean it's always different to when you are in a room and watch a band, it's a different feel than being in your living room and watching it from your sofa or whatever, so we wanted to make sure that we got an impression of what it's like to come to a Kreator show.
Andrew: There's a fair amount of tracks on the DVD from your last album "Phantom Antichrist" but there's obviously still a lot of the older stuff there as well. How did you guys choose a setlist?
Mille: That's a tough one man. It's not easy and it doesn't get any easier over the years. There's definitely certain songs that we have to play otherwise people will be disappointed and then there's certain songs that people always want to hear and they always complain about why you never play this song or never play this or that and that's my favorite song. It's hard man, we try to mix it up sometimes. On the last tour we decided to dig up some very old songs, obscure songs that we hadn't played in a while like "Riot Of Violence" and "Under The Guillotine" and put them back into the setlist. We mix it up here and there but then on the other hand, there's certain songs that we need to play and also we want to present our new record "Phantom Antichrist" so we played I think 6 off that record. That's a lot I think.
Andrew: Did you find that the new material fitted very well with the older stuff?
Mille: Oh yes, we made sure when we wrote the album that it would fit in. I think "Phantom Antichrist" was also a very successful album around the world and I think that the fans really dig the album. They really like it and they want to hear songs from "Phantom Antichrist" which we are very happy about. We are very privileged that the fans like the new stuff and the old stuff.
Andrew: As you said, the album has been received very well. How do you view that album compared to your older albums?
Mille: It's our newest album and it has a lot of heart and we put blood, sweat and tears into it. It's always the most recent one that we feel is the most strongest but of course I think it goes into the same direction, it kinda fits into everything we recorded since "Violent Revolution". It's a little bit of a step forward in my opinion. More melody, more dynamics and it's a more emotional record than say "Enemy Of God", it's definitley one of the albums that I'm very happy with.
Andrew: What was some of the inspirations for that album, musically and lyrically?
Mille: Basically our back catalogue and of course classic metal bands that we've grown up with like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden. It's very obvious in some parts and we don't deny our influences. We take all of these influences and mix it and make it sound like Kreator and I think we achieved that quite well.
Andrew: I ask this question with a few other thrash bands regarding the recent resurgence of thrash metal in general. Obviously the genre has never gone away but it seems to have crept back in a big way recently which we haven't seen in quite some time. What's your take on this new interest in the genre?
Mille: For me it never felt like it went away. It quietened in the 90's but that was metal in general but now it's stronger than ever because people have grown up. A lot of the bands that have been around back then that are still around are a little more controlled with how they handle things and they are more experienced. It comes down to the music, now they live by fans that have grown up with this kind of music. Back in the day neighbours were like strangers to this music and so the whole industry has changed. In my opinion it has a lot to do with self-confidence nowadays, it's a whole different deal. Nowadays we are more confident in what we do and I think I can speak for a lot of the bands, a lot of the old school thrash bands that nowadays when you get the feedback from the new generation of bands, it gives you a lot of energy.
Andrew: It's good to see thrash metal back back at the top again. It's my favorite genre so I'm happy that.
Mille: Alright, good!
Andrew: Obviously you did a bit of experimenting in the 90's and then came back to the thrash sound. Do you think you would ever try a different direction again or do you think you will stay in the thrash genre?
Mille: I think we experiment within our music. In the 90's we experimented on a whole album, nowadays we experiment within certain parts of certain songs but people don't see that experimenting as much as we did in the 90's. A lot of the elements like in "Phantom Antichrist" for example, is something that we took from that era and put it into our new music so it's always in motion. Our music always develops and we can look back on many, many hours that we have tried, riffs or melodies that we tried in the 90's and we still profit a lot from that. It was not for nothing, even though some of the 90's experimental album's weren't that well received by the audience, for us musically it made us grow.
Andrew: So you would see that as a success in your own way?
Mille: Oh yeah big time. It was one of the most important things that ever happened to the band. Like being able to do something that nobody would expect and just be a musician. Not only just in a certain genre but as a musician, it's important for you to grow as a person, as an individual and as a musician as well. I think a lot of bands miss that point and look back to what they did or shouldn't of split up like a lot of bands did in the 90's, they just gave up.
Andrew: Yeah that's right. Well you guys will be embarking on the Legends Of Thrash tour in North America soon with Warbringer and Overkill, how do you think that will go?
Mille: I think that will be a great tour, I'm looking forward to it. We've never done a whole tour with Overkill. We've done many shows with them on festivals, never an actual tour so I'm looking forward to it, it's going to be great! Also Warbringer are friends of ours, we've been friends forever, we like Overkill musically and we know the guys, they are friends of ours. I think it's going to be a good tour.
Andrew: Yeah you got a bit of the old and new there, Warbringer are an up and coming band and Overkill has been around for a long time so you got a bit of balance there. Any plans to come to Australia for a tour at all?
Mille: Yeah 2014.
Andrew: Oh next year?
Mille: Yeah that's definitely a good time to come to Australia.
Andrew: Ah great we definitley miss you down here, it's been a few years since the last time you were here, I think 2009 I believe?
Mille: Yeah there's no dates yet but we are definitely working on it. We are talking to a couple of agencies right now and it might be in the first half or the fall of 2014 that we come to Australia.
Andrew: Good to hear! A couple more questions before we wrap this up. If you could be a fly on the wall for the recording of any classic album in history what would it be?
Mille: Haha the first Black Sabbath album! Becuase I heard it was done in 2 days or something, it has to be that.
Andrew: Yeah that's one to be a fly on the wall definitely! And what is the meaning of life for you?
Mille: The meaning of life is to just have fun as much as possible. That's the reason why we are here.
Andrew: Sounds good! Thanks again for talking to us and as I said congratulations on the new DVD and hopefully we will see you in Australia next year.
Mille: Alright thank you man!
Andrew Schizodeluxe spoke to Mille September 11 2014