Heart of Steel: Interviews

Kreator-pic1.jpg (6093 bytes)
Mille Petrozza of Kreator
Interviewed by EvilG

As you probably can guess thereīs a lot of people who are big fans of your early material and from those guys and from myself I guess we have to say "thank you" for the new album VIOLENT REVOLUTION...

You like it?

Oh, big time! So were the style similarities between say EXTREME AGGRESSION and the new album deliberate?

I guess what we were trying to do was we didnīt want to repeat ourselves. We wanted to come up with an album thatīs relevant for now. Something thatīs exciting in the year 2001. Something that we can identify with rather than repeating ourselves and just do what weīve done in the eighties. I guess we managed to get the vibe of the eighties and transport it into the year 2001. We did it with very moderate production and that is the whole intention behind VIOLENT REVOLUTION. We wanted to keep our integrity and the quality of the music and take some influence from our early days.


Iīve read that youīve said your albums reflect the mood that youīre in at the time when they are written. So with this return to a more aggressive feel, can we assume that your mood is pretty rotten?

Yeah.. (laughing) It is definitely more, Iīm more focused, Iīm more organized now. Basically I am a happier person than from two years ago with ENDORAMA. I felt very miserable and I was in a very bad state of mind but now Iīm out of this. I think that reflects in VIOLENT REVOLUTION quite well because the record is full of naive energy. We were writing new riffs again and then the complex stuff and the melodic stuff and without being too melodic and too soft. To write aggressive music you need to be in a certain mood and when we wrote ENDORMA we just werenīt in the mood.


The two previous albums like you mentioned ENDORMA and OUTCAST were, I guess shall we say, a little more experimental for KREATOR so what was it that caused you to decide to return to more of a Thrash Metal kind of aggressive album?

Like I said now we thought it was time to do that since weīve done these two other records before. There was two options: either we go further into the experimental which we didnīt want to do because we donīt think that KREATOR only stands for experimentation, we definitely also stand for aggression. So what we did with VIOLENT REVOLUTION was keeping this style, the aggressive style and adding some of the experience that weīve made while recording those records. I guess we found a really nice mix between these two extremes.


It seems pretty hard these days for a band who have quite a few years under their belt to keep their early fans happy, I guess you can relate to that. So what I was wondering: do you plan to continue to venture into new territory with say your next album or maybe the one after that or do you think youīve found a niché now and you plan to stick to this kind of style maybe?

We have to wait and see, you never know what the future brings. I donīt know. Itīs possible that we keep this in a way, weīre always going to be KREATOR no matter what and itīs very hard for me to make any predictions now.


Something about the cover art regarding the creature on the cover of VIOLENT REVOLUTION. He also obviously graces the cover of COMA OF SOULS and more discretely on CAUSE FOR CONFLICT, I was wondering if you could speak a little about who he is supposed to be or what he represents? Is he a band mascot maybe?

Yeah, in a way. He definitely stands for, you know, every time you see that demon you know itīs somewhere linked to the band KREATOR so itīs like a trademark I would say.

Right. Did you have any creative involvement for the album cover art for VIOLENT REVOLUTION or do you pass that along to someone else to interpret from your music?

No, what I did was I was talking to two different artists for this record. The one that is responsible for the front cover art and the final product will have four different artworks, you know. We have four different vibes on the record and the lyrics deal with four different topics so thereīs four different chapters. The record is not a concept record but we have a link to four different cover artworks. The first artwork is kind of related to becoming aware that you are unhappy with your situation so frustration would be the major thing that we deal with in the first part. The second part would be the decision to change something about your situation, the uncomfortable situation you are in. The third part would be the death of your old self and the fourth part would be the birth of something else, something new out of the old so I guess thatīs pretty much sums it up with what we were trying to do. The link between the cover art and the lyrics.


Since weīre on the topic of lyrics, one thing about your band that I have always appreciated as much as the music is the lyrics actually. I find myself relating to many of the things you talk about. One such thing which you have always seemed to have strong opinions about is religion. What is it about this topic that keeps inspiring or should I say angering you to write about?

I think that religion is always causing a lot of confusion among all different kinds of cultures. Thereīs a lot of people following a religion without questioning it and that causes wars and aggression and itīs something that is very present even though modern technology with all the computer relation and with the mass media thereīs still the religious backgrounds to anything there is. Itīs still really strong. I think the conflict between modern day technology and ancient religious rituals and beliefs is still very present in today's reality.


So what are your views on religion in general? Do you think there is any good to be found or is it just a means of control over something and is all negative?

I donīt think it is all negative. Thereīs people who do need religion. If it helps you, if you have to follow a religion to define yourself then thatīs your thing. Whatever youīre happy with Iīm just saying that I question everything. I would never say that religion is bad because that would be too much. There are some good things about religion but itīs very hard to see the good parts because itīs caused a lot of bad things. Iīd say that religion definitely has to do with control but if you have a strong personality you can get something good out of religion which I donīt see because Iīm thinking differently. I donīt want to judge people who follow a religion because I think thatīs their thing. If they think thatīs what makes them happy then ok thatīs find with me.


Do you view the, I guess what youīd call, "satanic religion", if you want to call it a religion, do you place that in the same thought as you would the fanatics of Christianity?

If you take the satanic religion in itīs purest form itīs a religion of freedom but if you see what people made out of it with all the human sacrifices and stuff itīs bad. Itīs just as much confusion involved as with the Christian religion. I donīt know about that either. I would say thatīs just an alternative to Christianity because itīs just as bad. Itīs very hard for me to, like I said, I think in my opinion thereīs just a certain view. I take the best, the most, I try to always look behind the concept of a religion and add it to my own philosophy of life. I think that the individual is the most important thing. That is a lot stronger than following a religion if you find your personality and point. Your place in life, where do you want to go with your life and what you want to do and how you contribute to other people's lives. What good you do to other people and how your relationship is to other people. That is a lot more important than religion.


Another topic that has come up in your lyrics a number of times is I guess kind of the viewpoint where you  make the point that society or mankind itself is almost like a plague. I donīt know if that is what you were trying to say in some of the songs, but thatīs what I get out of it anyway. I was wondering, if this is true, if you could travel to any point in the past to change something in history to make the world a better place what would you do if it was possible?

Hmmmm...first of all, of course it wouldnīt be possible. I donīt think that would change much because human nature is based on experience. A lot of things in the history of human, of mankind went wrong but then again the wrong thing there is always something good that you can take out of a bad experience. I think mankind needed to make certain experiences to become what it is now. I think that right now itīs stagnant a little bit. I donīt think that there is no real hope for me to see anything to drastically changing in the way people think. Nowadays it is only capitalism, only propaganda and only a lot of like materialism going on. I donīt know if I could change something from going to the past I think people would just turn out the way they are anyway.


So, do you think the music and the message that you contain therein...do you think that kind of thing can change anything at all?

A little bit. Like not really change but maybe make people aware and start questioning things more often. Some people read lyrics, I take my inspiration mostly from talking to people and communication is very important. The other important thing is literature and art and you can take a lot out of this. By just seeing the world through other people's eyes and listening to what they have to say and then you contribute something to them, give them something back. Its always like a giving and taking, give and take and I guess that's the key like communication and listening to other people. I donīt know if I could change the world with my lyrics man, but at least people who read the lyrics can see my point of view about things. I think thatīs something quite ok for my part.


So one last question pertaining to lyrics, perhaps you can pick out a couple songs from the new album and just give a brief idea of what the song is about or the message you are talking about within the song?

The 'Violent Revolution' song is, itīs pretty much a very angry song about how things are at the moment. Thereīs a line called "Beauty is no more, itīs all gone and utopia will not come". That means to me thereīs no hope which doesnīt mean that I donīt believe my trust or my vision. Itīs always very hard so I am exaggerating a little bit sometimes with my lyrics. I am going to extreme negative to see the positive things in life. And... what else is there... thereīs a song called 'Unity' which is about forming a union. It can be very good or can be very bad. You can have a family and this is a union which is very positive because you can help each other out. And then there is a union of people with very strange views or sick views that can be very negative energy. The general topic of VIOLENT REVOLUTION is always on human beings within society, as part of society losing integrity and the personal soul itself. Most of the lyrics deal with that. To really become aware of certain things and to not drown in society.


Ok, one other song I really liked on there if you could just give a quick word on it is 'Servant in Heaven, King In Hell'. I really like that song. I really like the chorus thing, the echo on the "hell" (imitates the echo: "Hell, hell" while laughing) Cool! Itīs the simple things that sometimes amuse us... (laughter)

The title says it all. I mean you probably know what I try to say with this right? [Yeah] Itīs youīd rather be a king in hell than a servant in heaven. Youīd rather take whatīs there and make the best out of it than submit to material wealth or the system. Meaning you would rather form your own little alternatives to that, this little life where you decide and not let the other people decide for you. Youīll never be in their so called "heaven" but youīre going to be happy in your hell, what they consider to be hell. Thatīs kind of like a philosophy for me.


A couple quick questions regarding some line up changes: first why did Tommy leave KREATOR?

He didnīt really leave KREATOR. It was more like we both agreed on the fact that it was better for him not to play with KREATOR anymore. He has his own studio and heīs interested in doing different things. Heīs involved in a lot of studio projects and he doesnīt find the time to give one hundred percent input. We would rather work with people who are enthusiastic than with people whoīs minds are somewhere else.


And the other question, Iīm sure youīve been asked this before and that is regarding Ventor - seems like heīs an in and out kind of member, why does he continue to...?

Heīs always a KREATOR member even when heīs not a member of KREATOR. Thatīs a long story, weīve known each other for so long itīs like an old couple kind of.


Iīm sure a lot of people who read this are guitar players maybe and they might want to know if you can give them a quick run down on the gear you use such as the types of guitars you prefer, pick ups, amps and maybe even effects?

Mostly we prefer stuff like the Mesa Boogie stuff. Dual Rectifiers and I have a 5150 amp. Then we have, I have Jackson guitars and Les Pauls and I use EMG pick ups.

Do you use many effects?

No, I donīt use any affects at all.

So you just plug in straight in through your amp basically? [Yeah]
I see on your website that you guys are going to be touring with DESTRUCTION and SODOM. [Oh yeah] I know a lot of people have been hoping and praying for this event for awhile. The dates so far, only a few have been listed, I donīt know if you can give further detail?

Thereīs going to be more. Weīre also going to try and get this tour to the States.

Yeah, thatīs what I was going to ask, is it going to get over to North America?

I hope it will. Weīre working on it, I promise you.

Iīm sure a lot of people would really love that.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. We definitely want to come back to the States. Weīll see what happens but Iīm very positive that we will make it there this time.


Cool. Regarding the live playing have you guys considered doing a live album or even better a live DVD from this tour?

Thatīs what we were going to do with the next tour.

With the next tour? Not this one?

Well, with this one, the one coming up. We definitely are planning on doing this. We talked with our record company about it already and itīs going to happen.

So would it be an album or would you prefer the DVD format concert thing?

Both. DVD and the album.


Ok great. A general question here, what do you think the future holds for KREATOR or do you have any longer term plans beyond finishing this tour now or anything youīd like to let people know about that you are planning on doing?

First of all we want to go on tour. Other than that we are working on a good live performance. We want to bring a huge light show and stuff like the stage set up like our cover artwork, itīs going to be all red and stuff. Itīs going to be interesting.


Is there any other thing happening with the band that you would like me to let people know about?

Not really. I think, no.


I noticed that some of the tour dates coming up are with some Death Metal bands like CANNIBAL CORPSE?

Old friends of ours. I am really looking forward to that. I think they're a very good band, one of the best Death Metal bands around.

Theyīre the band to give as an example when someone says "whatīs death metal?".

Oh yeah!


It seems like over there in what I guess we refer to as German Thrash scene, the three big bands are you guys, SODOM and DESTRUCTION. You are all still playing and touring yet you look the other side the thrash scene that was once so big in the Bay Area, thereīs not many of those guys left. They did reunite for that Thrash Of The Titans thing there in August though but most of the bands have fallen apart or have changed into something you wouldnīt even call Thrash Metal these days.

True, true. I think thereīs still hope for the future though. I heard that EXODUS was back together. I hope we inspire a lot of bands with our new record to try to keep this music alive.

Yeah, definitely. That would be a shame if Thrash Metal really did die.

No, it will not, I promise you that.


So one last question: will you be doing any videos from the VIOLENT REVOLUTION album?

Fifty percent yes, fifty percent no. Weīre just discussing it today. Weīll see, we might do one.


The last video that was ever aired over here that I seen on TV was for 'Betrayer'.

Oh that was a long time ago!

I know! So has there been a video that youīve done since then that just hasnīt been aired?

For every record we did at least one video. For the last, ENDORAMA, we did two, but it never made it to the States, huh?

Youīve got to put that on the DVD [Yeah we will definitely!!] because video is the way I actually first heard KREATOR. I saw the video for 'Toxic Trace' back when it came out and said "Holy shit!" (laughter). That video still is pretty special so hopefully thatīll wind up on the DVD too. Well thatīs all the questions I had man, so Iīd like to thank you for your time and all the best of luck with the album coming out.

Official Kreator Website

Transcription kindly provided by Skyklad from
The Metal Gospel!!!!!!!