The Gauntlet caught up with Kreator founding member Mille Petrozza recently to discuss the new Kreator album, upcoming tour, and world events.
The Gauntlet: Phantom Antichrist comes out June 5th in the U.S. and is the band's first album since signing to Nuclear Blast Records.
Mille: Yes, we were with Steamhammer before and they had some problems and we decided to split company. I have a really good feeling now how things are going.
The Gauntlet: Does this mean we will see a Kreator tour in the U.S. more than once every five years?
Mille: Yeah, exactly. Tour support wasn't the only thing we looked for in a record deal. We really wanted to see all the American fans have access to getting all the cool limited edition releases and bonus material. Nuclear Blast are very much fans of coming up with cool presentations for the music and we are happy to have that. They will also be released at the same time which is also really nice as fans will have a choice. We have a DVD from a show for a bonus DVD. I think we also have two bonus tracks that didn’t make it on the album. They aren't leftover material as they are really strong songs. They just didn't fit the album.
The Gauntlet: Was the live bonus DVD shot for this album?
Mille: In a way yes. We knew we wanted to release it as bonus material. We shot it and edited it like it was a DVD we could release on its' own. It has the same quality of a release on its own.
The Gauntlet: When did you first start working on what was to become "Phantom Antichrist"?
Millie: I think I started writing the first riffs in the beginning of September 2010. I started to demo the album for the band by May of 2011 when we met up. I would say start to finish it took about one and a half years. We took time off in 2011 to work on it. We only played a couple of festivals as we needed to rehearse and arrange the songs for the album. It was a great productive and creative time. We were getting together about three times a week to work on it.
The Gauntlet: How long was the recording process?
Mille: Overall, we spent six weeks recording and two weeks mixing.
The Gauntlet: Is that normal for you guys to rehearse an album three times a week? Typically only newer bands with all the members in the same general location rehearse that much, but Kreator has some of the band spread out a bit now.
Mille: We have three members that still live in Germany and not terribly far from each other. We use the latest technology to make things easier over distance also. As soon as I have demoes, I will send them to the guys via emails which helps with the production. A band is like a kind of organism. It is vibrant the way four people can come together and play music. With all the technology, you still need to come together and play in the same room for this organism to remain alive.
The Gauntlet: You also have the newly announced tour with Accept.
Mille: Yes, we last toured with Accept in '94 so it is due. When we started Kreator back in the early 80's, we were first called Tormentor and our main influence was Accept. We have always wanted to get back and tour with them. We ran into them again at an awards show and talked about it. After a while we got some emails from their management and we wanted to make it a reality. The circumstances were right and it is going to be three hours of mayhem as both bands will play headlining shows. We have only done small shows and festivals with them, not big tours. It is going to be intense. It will be great for the fans. A lot of fans have wanted to see these two main German metal bands together on one bill. It will be fun.
The Gauntlet: You mentioned that you were influenced by Accept early on. Did you make it to any of their local live shows?
Mille: Yes. They opened up for Judas Priest on the Screaming for Vengeance tour. That was the first time I saw Accept live.
The Gauntlet: It seems like with Phantom Antichrist, the band is fading away from the political lyrics of the passed and getting a little more into the anti-religion topics.
Mille: Ummm yes...maybe. I wouldn't say anti-religion. I would say politics and religion are so intertwined at this point. I also think that those issues make for great song lyrics. I don't think that Phantom Antichrist is an anti-religious concept though. In a perfect world, religion would be obsolete. There are many many problems and conflicts that come from religion and politics in the world we live in. In the time we live in, many of the problems come from manipulation and not the religion itself. The song "Your Heaven, My Hell" touches on this. It is about a guy who grows up and seeks redemption against all religion for the wrongs they have done. The album is kind of based on reality as in there is no fictional stories. There are nine songs with nine different topics.
The Gauntlet: I love the track "Your Heaven, My Hell." I can already hear the crowd singing that one back at you live.
Mille: Thank you. We do keep that stuff in mind while writing. When we are playing live, we want the fans to be fully involved. We want to give 150% to the fans live. First and foremost, we have to enjoy the songs the most. If we don't enjoy playing them live, then the fans won't enjoy hearing them.
The Gauntlet: Are you always writing new Kreator songs or do you go into that writing zone and bang out a bunch of stuff?
Mille: I think I am one of those writers that write when the time is right. I think you need to live your life for a while and experience things. If you are always writing, you get to a point where you aren't participating and that is important to writing. I just write when I feel the urge to write.
The Gauntlet: It seems like right now in Europe, an entire Kreator album is being played out before our eyes.
Mille: [laughs] Yes. I did pull some of the lyrics on the new album out of the crisis in Europe, Greece mainly. There is a lot of heavy stuff going on in Europe. There are a lot of problems with the European union and out in the streets.
The Gauntlet: Were Kreator the first band to play Berlin following German reunification?
Mille: We were the first metal band to play in East Germany after the reunification in 1990. It was great as there were 10,000 fans. When we played, there was a huge anticipation as the system didn't allow the East Germans to listen to metal, punk rock or underground music. This made people very hungry for bands like us and it was a great night. Before the reunification there was the wall and restrictions that prevented West German bands from playing over there.
The Gauntlet: Did the East Germans even know kreators music? Metal wasn't allowed in East Germany before the wall came down.
Mille: They [fans] found ways to get the records. Older people were allowed to travel outside of East Germany in the later years. A lot of kids would have their grandparents or grandmas bring in metal albums from West Germany. That was how it worked. There was an underground trading scene that developed once the albums were brought in. Our music was extensively known by the East Germans from this. They were adventurous times back then for getting metal. I am happy that the wall finally came down. It was an unnecessary part of Germany's history.
Kreator will release its new album Phantom Antichrist on June 5th via Nuclear Blast Records. Click here to pick it up along with the limited edition release.