ESP Guitars Czech Republic/Slovakia recently conducted an interview with frontman Mille Petrozza of German thrash veterans KREATOR. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On how he developed his own playing style:
Mille: “I came up with my own technique. I was never a big fan of learning. When I was growing up in the late ’80s, a lot of people would go to the GIT [Guitar Institute Of Technology] in Los Angeles. There was a couple of guitar players from Germany who went there and they came back with a huge head. [Laughs] Saying ‘Man, I know all the tricks.’ I’m, like, ‘Yeah? Can you write a song?’ For me, the less I know, the more imagination [I have]. There’s a couple of songs where I was working with, I’ve always had great, great guitar players in my band, like Tommy Vetterli or Sami [Yli-Sirniö] now. He’s explaining to me what I’m doing when I’m writing songs. Like, ‘This is a chromatic jump from a b-minor five.’ I’m, like, ‘Okay, let’s just play.’ I think the more you know about theory and music, sometimes it kind of blocks your mind because you think somebody decided that it doesn’t work, then you and your mind come up with the idea that certain things don’t work. I’d rather keep that open. I know a lot of things about musical theory, but I don’t know so much that it blocks my imagination.”
On how KREATOR makes decisions as a band:
Mille: “We’re a team. We’re definitely a team. There’s certain things we have to… we agree on musical terms a lot. We know how metal should sound, I guess. There’s certain decisions that I sometimes make myself when, let’s say, the record is too long, somebody has to decide which songs to take off. It’s mostly me and my producer because the rest of the band is already at home, but those are minor decisions that we can all agree on.”
On how KREATOR approaches songwriting:
Mille: “I write all the songs at home. Then I record demos and bring it to the band. There is at least some writing sessions where I already have five to six or seven songs of the record written. As we go along, I have a friend at home who owns a studio and we will keep recording. Sometimes, we go into the rehearsal room and I bring a song and we arrange it together, but most of the time, I need to live with the songs for a little bit. That means we’re not a band that rehearses when we’re not on tour, only when we go into the studio we take a half year of rehearsal, three times a week. Very old-school.”
On whether he has begun work on the follow-up to 2017’s “Gods Of Violence”:
Mille: “I have a couple of riffs, but it’s too early. I try to collect themes, I try to collect cool topics to write songs about. At this point, I’m really busy touring.”
On whether he considers himself as someone who has helped shape thrash metal:
Mille: “Of course, I feel flattered and honored [that someone would think that.] To me, I do my thing. I’m happy if my music can touch and reach people. I’m happy when people get something out of it, which is a beautiful thing. I was the same way when I was growing up. There were my absolute favorite bands that I could relate to and there was a strong connection. I’m happy if I can be the communicator between my emotions and what people go through in their lives. That’s a gift. When I started, I went through a [phase] of old-school thrash metal, very old-school black metal, death metal, the roots of death metal, early hard rock stuff, so, I took from other bands and made it my own. That’s how people should see [it]. When you start your own band, you should never focus on sounding just like one band. You could be inspired by a lot of bands that you like and come up with your own style.”
On whether he ever reached a point in his career where he thought of quitting:
Mille: “See, the thing is once you submit your life to playing music, there’s certain things that you could have less of, like maybe less traveling. There’s certain things that could be — how can I put this? Music is always going to be a part of my life. I’m always going to imagine songs in my mind and put them on tape and put them out somehow. As a touring musician, sometimes, having to get up at four o’clock in the morning and drive to an airport, that’s hell on earth. There’s nothing glamorous about that. I don’t want to be whiny about it. I try to keep it straight and positive and see it as a part of the game, but it’s hard sometimes.”
KREATOR is currently on a co-headlining North American tour with SABATON. The 24-date trek kicked off February 8 at The Van Buren in Phoenix, Arizona and makes stops in Los Angeles, Montreal, and Philadelphia before concluding at Jannus Landing in Tampa, Florida on March 10.
KREATOR is continuing to tour in support of “Gods Of Violence”, which entered the official chart in Germany at position No. 1. The cover artwork for the album was created by renowned artist Jan Meininghaus, who also made the limited-edition artwork for KREATOR‘s previous effort, 2012’s “Phantom Antichrist”, and has lent his talents to bands like BOLT THROWER, ACCEPT and OVERKILL in the past.