Kreator is always making something new
By Naughty Mickie
Photos Courtesy of www.kreator-terrorzone.de
Kreator, Mille Petrozza (vocals, guitar), Sami Yli-Sirnio (guitar), Christian Giesler (bass) and Ventor (drums), has been putting out albums consistently since their debut effort, ``Endless Pain'' in 1985. Their most recent release (2001) is ``Violent Revolution'' on SPV. From Germany, Kreator has toured and sold albums in Europe, South America, Japan and North America. Over the years, the band's sound has continued to evolve, exploring the all aspects of heavy metal, including thrash, progressive, and more.
I had the opportunity to speak with Petrozza from his hotel room during their latest tour. In true rock star form, he had just emerged from his ``morning'' shower at 1 p.m., yet seemed clear-headed and excited to discuss his life's passion.
``How did Kreator begin?'' I ask.
``It was in a school band,'' Petrozza recalls. ``We've known each other since we were little kids and Kreator came out of a band called Tormentor which was more like a metal band from 1984. So members of that band formed the band Kreator.''
``Did your parents surround you with music while growing up?'' I wonder.
``Yeah, yeah,'' replies Petrozza. ``My father's Italian so he listens to all the big voices from Italy. I was always surrounded by music as a child.''
He tells me that both of his parents sing too, but it wasn't until he was 14 when Petrozza first got interested in music for himself. Was the spark singing or guitar playing?
``I did both at the same time,'' says Petrozza. ``I always interested in the songwriting aspect of things, so I needed to learn how to play the guitar to write songs. And I tried singing. It's like some natural progression in a way. I needed to know how to play the guitar to write songs.''
``I went to high school and it's the equivalent to high school that you have there, we have a different program than you,'' Petrozza continues. ``While I was in high school, I was learning how to play the guitar, mostly for myself. I had a guitar teacher for a while, like a year or something, but other than that, I did it all by myself.''
He went straight from high school into band.
``I went to a business school afterward (high school), but it didn't work out because I was already touring with the band so I didn't have the time to finish that,'' Petrozza explains.
``Did you work before going into the band?'' I prod.
``No, never. I was always very dedicated,'' states Petrozza. ``For me, it's always all or nothing, I can't do one thing if I do another.''
Off stage Petrozza is like most people.
``(I do) basically normal things, going to the movies, reading books, very very normal stuff.'' Petrozza goes on, ``Basically I read a lot of German authors, also Irish authors. Also some American stuff.''
Throughout my history as a music journalist, I have learned that most successful European bands wrote their lyrics in English from the start. I ask if this is the case with Kreator.
``Yeah, yeah,'' asserts Petrozza. ``Because I think it's more, I want people from all over the world to understand what I'm talking about and English is the world language. I couldn't write in German because then only people that understand German could understand what I'm saying. So I think English is more global.''
And his approach to writing.
``Mostly music first,'' Petrozza says. ``Mostly music and then the lyrics. Sometimes it's a line for some song and I write the music around it. It's different from song to song.''
I note that Kreator's current music seems very orchestrated when compared to today's usual fare.
``I think we try to listen to a lot of different styles and absorb things,'' Petrozza explains. ``When I started playing metal, it was more of the traditional stuff. Nowadays it's a mix between traditional metal music and modern stuff. Basically, I'm not trying to be too influenced by other bands, otherwise you get too influenced by what we hear, so I listen to a large variety of music.''
So what does Petrozza think of the music scene?
``It's still very interesting and still very exciting,'' says Petrozza. ``There's a lot of stuff coming out that's really cool and then there's some stuff coming out that I'm not interested in, as always. There's a place for every kind of music.''
I remark that metal has been coming back in a big way in America and ask the world traveler how it's doing elsewhere.
``The thing is in other parts of the world, it's never been gone, it's always been there,'' Petrozza tells me. ``We just finished our South American tour, where metal has always been strong and it seems it always will be strong because people there are very dedicated. Here in the States, it seemed for a while, after the grunge scene, that people were jumping on the grunge thing and after that they were jumping on different styles every week. I'm happy to hear that, that metal's coming back. I thought that it cannot just have been luck, otherwise it would have seemed as just a trend in the '80s. It just wasn't. It's a very interesting form of music and it shouldn't go away.''
Petrozza and Kreator are very involved in the Internet and their Web site.
``It's very important nowadays for a band to promote their stuff, we have a homepage,'' says Petrozza. ``For us, it's very important to be able to communicate with people all over the world and the Internet is very easy. Also, when we play a show, we have opinions on our Web site, so it's a direct communication with the audience which is always good. It's inspiring. That's what a band's Web site should be there for, to really be able to know what people really think.''
Kreator normally toured Europe and the U.S. every time they released an album. But after 1996, they had two more efforts out before stepping back on American soil.
``We had some problems with our record company, distribution,'' Petrozza explains. ``It's very hard for bands from Germany. When you're not from the United States it's very hard, since you have to tour here every month or something. We could spend a lifetime touring in the states, but we're touring all over the world and we're based in Germany, so that makes things a little harder for us.''
Petrozza credits the band's staying power to doing what they love best and devoting themselves to their music.
``We just do it, we don't think about it,'' says Petrozza. `I think that's the key. We just keep going
without thinking about it.''
After touring the states, Kreator has set their sights on performances in Russia and Japan and, hopefully, Australia. They also plan to release a live DVD recorded in Holland.
``We have a lot of work to do,'' Petrozza laughs.
And with that, I bid him adieu and let him get back to it.
For more information on Kreator, visit www.kreator-terrorzone.de and www.spv.de
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