Essen, Germany's Kreator have spent 25 years waving the banner for German thrash metal. Possessing a punishing yet fiendishly catchy catalog, the band always provokes frantic headbanging with each successive collection of metal anthems. Their latest effort, 2009's Hordes of Chaos, contains just as much violent confrontation as the band's debut, 1985's Endless Pain. I sat down with vocalist and guitarist Millie Petrozza and learned a few thrash history lessons from a member of one of the genre's most important bands.
Mark Hensch of Thrashpit.com: First off, this interview is nothing short of an honor. Thank you very much for taking time off from your latest tour and talking with me today.
Millie Petrozza (vocals/guitars): You're very welcome.
Thrashpit.com: Congratulations on reaching your band's 25th anniversary. How would you say Kreator has evolved over the last 25 years?
Millie: Is it already 25 years? We're on our anniversary tour right now. Even though we don't really care about these anniversaries as we live in the here and now, it is probably a big one. For us, it is more about giving the fans the opportunity to see a setlist on this tour they haven't before. We had our fans vote on our homepage and come up with some different songs for the set. We added five songs we haven't played in a while.
Thrashpit.com: How has the band changed after all this time, if at all?
Millie: We just had this conversation today. I feel the same as I did when I started the band when I was like 15 or 16 years old. Of course you tour and grow up, but to be in the band and play this kind of music and go to places in front of crowds you have to keep your mind really focused on the music and attitude. It keeps you quite young. It gives you a lot of energy.
Personally I've changed. I used to party a lot. Now it is not so much. I have to really watch it as I have to sing 80 or 85 minutes every night. It's good as I feel a lot better and I have a lot more energy than ever before. This time and age represents the band much better then when we started.
Thrashpit.com: After all this time is there any moment or date which you think is a highlight of the band?
Millie: For us it has been like a rollercoaster ride. We got on it and it is still going. There are so many highlights. Picking one wouldn't be fair to the other highlights. We have the same kind of emotions and the same kind of feel no matter where we are. It doesn't matter if it is 300 to 400 people or 40,000 people. It is always a challenge getting people to react but we have to do it.
Thrashpit.com: Let's talk about the present. A little over a year has elapsed since the release of 2009's Hordes of Chaos. How do you feel about the album given some time has passed?
Millie: We played different songs from the album on the last tour than we are on this one. That really shows me the songs are high-quality. The fans react well to all the songs we've played live so far. That was the main idea behind writing the album. We go out and play the songs and they feel natural. It is real high for us.
Thrashpit.com: How did you and the rest of Kreator approach the recording of Hordes of Chaos?
Millie: We did two albums before which I think are great albums and I like them very much. We learned a lot about recording on digital equipment and utilizing the technology and all the possibilities we had. It has been amazing and we learned a lot from that.
When we went in for the writing of the last record, we asked what made our band different and how we could capture that. It is one thing bringing music to perfection with digital technology and getting the best performance that way with all kinds of technical tricks in there.
I'm a big fan of analog stuff. I really like old recordings like those by Black Sabbath and Priest. I think those kinds of recording give one a better idea of the human factor in a band, the people behind the music. We decided for our band to go into the studio and rehearse our songs ten times more often than for previous records and play on a live analog recording in the studio. It really brought out the character of the band. Having done that, there is not one moment I regret that decision. Hearing Hordes of Chaos now, I think it is how we sound as a band as of summer 2008. We're planning on going into the studio next year and doing the same thing.
Thrashpit.com: Where do you hope to go with the next record?
Millie: I think what we're going to do is come up with some material which is just as heavy but maybe not as technical. I think the next record may be more simple, more in-your-face. It will be more energetic in a different way. I have some ideas for songs and they are very traditional, very thrashy.
Thrashpit.com: Speaking of thrash, how do you feel about all the newer bands releasing albums in that style?
Millie: I like some of them but not all of them. I think some of them should do their homework on songwriting. A lot of them take the sound and don't write any real songs. A couple bands have great songs, like the band currently on our tour, Evile. Warbringer have great songs. I also like this band from Greece, Suicidal Angels.
Thrashpit.com: How did the current tour come together? It has a pretty stacked lineup.
Millie: I like it as well. The lineup is really cool as we picked most of the bands. We really wanted to play with Voivod and Evile. Those were the bands we really tried to get on this tour. Kataklysm is also a great band.
Thrashpit.com: What do you think the future holds for Kreator?
Millie: We're going man! To me, what I'm really looking forward to after the year-and-a-half of touring for this record is to go back to the studio and record again. It is not more fun but it is a different kind of fun.
Thrashpit.com: Thank you once again for your time! Best of luck to you and congratulations on 25 years of brutality!
Millie: Enjoy the show!