KREATOR – En titt inn i sinnet til en Kreator
- by Andreas
- Posted on 23-04-2007
Kreator kan trolig sies å være Europas største Thrash Metal band, men Kreator er også så mye mer. Da ET møtte "Mastermind" Mille Petrozza ble det mange spørsmål, og særdeles interessante svar.
Mille Petrozza er et av mine store "idoler". Jeg har alltid blitt betatt av mannens evner som komponist og hans særegne vokal som han gjør med sterk innlevelse. For ikke å snakke om tekstene – Mille har tatt opp mange viktige temaer i sine tekster og han har en eksepsjonell evne til å formidle forskjellige stemninger gjennom både tekster og musikk. Det var med stor spenning jeg møtte Mille for et intervju på Betong. Han viste seg å være en veldig hyggelig og jordnær mann, og han bet ikke.
I start the interview by asking how the tour has been so far. Mille says it his been very good. I tell him I think it is a very special tour, and he agrees:
"It is a special tour – we have Celtic Frost with us, which were one of the bands who started in the 80's – they have been around before us even, and we toured with them in the 80's in England. It is almost like a reunion kind of thing, you know. School Reunion where everybody gets back together – It is fucking amazing and there is a really nice atmosphere on the tour."
Giggling inside, I ask if he will do the same thing with Sabbat and Tankard. I have seen the old video from 89 where the three bands share the stage to celebrate the fall of the Berlin wall.
"I do not think so. Celtic Frost is totally different, they are more focused. Nothing against Sabbat, but Andy is my producer and I would feel weird being on tour with the guy. "
I think that the lyrics are one of the best things about Kreator. It seems that on the first two albums the lyrics were more "childlike" in a way.
"Yeah, we were kids. I was pretty young when I did my first record, I was a teenager at school, I was 16 years old. What would you expect? The first song, Tormentor – I wrote that song when I was 14 years old. Of course it is childish lyrics, written by a child. But it is part of the history."
I tell Mille that I think he matured very quickly. On terrible certainty there was a different focus. He explains:
"That was the first time we had an international producer. He was from England, and he would go through the lyrics with me. The lyrics were all there, but he helped with some of the grammar. I kind of got into that, for some reason. It is not very hard for me to write lyrics in English and come up with some interesting stuff."
The way I see it, you have touched upon various social, political, environmental and even spiritual topics in your lyrics. Mille confirms. Do you feel that many people get the message?
"I don't know. The thing is, to be honest with you, I think what it really really is is that…" The multitalented man stops for a moment and continues: "When you play music and you are creative, you write the lyrics for yourself. Then, you hope that people understand what you are trying to say. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't; which is out of my hand, because I give them away (the lyrics). It is not that I'm keeping them for myself and read them to people I know, who I know would understand. Basically I give it out to the actual world where everybody can check it out for themselves. There are some people who have a sense for lyrics and art, lyrics in general, and there are some people who just don't care. I will not be so arrogant to say that everybody understands or everybody cares for the lyrics. Some people do not care, which is unfortunate, but it is the way it is. But – you should not… To me, you should write the lyrics a) for yourself, and b) for the people who tries to understand it, even if it is only a part of the audience. It is worth it.
Your lyrics are quite strong, they have a strong message. Have you considered taking this a bit further, i.e. by fronting an organization or something like that? Mille asks what I mean by organization, and as an example I say it could be an organization working for the preservation of the rainforest.
"Yeah, I was thinking about that. But then again – Yeah, I am doing some things in my private life, and I do not want to make it public. I think if you do something for charity, helping the rainforest… There are a few organizations, but I won't make it public. I have been thinking about taking this to a new level, but then again it would take up too much of my time, and there are already people who do that, and it kind of feels weird. Like Bono… I know that he means well, but it is a little too much. If you do not do it private and you go out and share it – for me it gives a strange aftertaste. Who are you promoting? Are you promoting your charity or are you promoting your personality? It is on the edge. I think Bono means well, I think he really means what he is doing, but then again – I don't know. It could also be creating an aura and telling people that he is a good person." Mille laughs, and I tell him I get his point; it is a difficult thing.
I spoke with Jason Netherton of Misery Index recently about the lyrics he wrote as a member of Dying Fetus. It is quite violent and aggressive stuff. He said that he believes violence is the primal response to injustice and suffering.
"No, it is not, I disagree. I think violence is just a natural thing, it is there. Look at the animal world, there is violence all around. There is the hunter and the hunted. I think we are animals. That is why there is violence. And we kind of oppress it. But it is still there. So it is not only a reaction but it is part of the nature. It could be a reaction, but…"
Yeah, it could be, that is what he meant.
"It can be, but it does not have to be…"
In relation to these kinds of lyrics – That was how he explained why he wrote the lyrics.
"Yeah, maybe that is the source, where it comes from."
In your lyrics I sometimes see what could be understood, or misunderstood, as a glorification of violence…
Mille says "No!" and I clarify: I say misunderstood… But other times you are clearly against the violence, injustice and suffering.
"It is so hard to say; of course I am against violence. Physical violence takes us back to the caveman, that age. It is not an option, it is not a solution. It is unnecessary. But then again – it is only me, I am living in a… I am a privileged. I live in a wealthy country, Germany, I am well off. I am a very laidback person, because I can do what I want, I do not have to do an 8-5 job which I hate. I do not have to deal with fucking neighbours because I have a nice house. So I am privileged. I can talk about violence from an outside point of view. But I know there are tons of people, the majority of the human population, which lives in circumstances which are not as good. And, for them violence is necessary because it is the only way for them to survive. It is survival of the fittest. If you go to some suburban ghetto or something, and you are a kid and there is 10 guys who wants to beat you up… If you do not beat the first one who comes up to you the first time he tries to beat you up – if you do not hit him back, you will always be the one they will beat up. So it is very hard for me to answer that question. In general I am anti-violence, but I think the world has to change to make that a reality. War in general can not disappear from this planet as long as there are people. It will always be there, conflicts and… People think that war is necessary, not only on the level of extremist groups, but also on a global level where you have the capitalist society using war for their own interest.
Escape and low self-esteem
In violent revolution it is said in the lyrics "When all I see is repulsion and hate, violence becomes my only friend, my saving grace". The person in the lyric merges with what he dislikes.
"Yeah, it is an escape, especially for self-confidence. Some people have very low self-esteem and they think the only way they can be accepted is by using violence. Some people are strong, it is all they have, maybe they have a lower brain capacity but they are strong, it is all they can do. This particular lyric is about frustration, there are so many people who are frustrated. Like I said, I am using these metaphors to create a certain vibe in the music. I think the music and the lyrics fit well together. So I do not necessarily feel that this is a call to arms" (Laughs)
I see the same in Extreme Aggression, i.e., it seems like the person is alienated from society, and at the same time he becomes part of what he dislikes.
"Yeah, it is kind of like that. Extreme aggression is actually about a guy who does cocaine and becomes aggressive, I guess (Laughs)"
The magic of your own imagination
I did not actually get the cocaine part from reading the lyrics…
"The thing is, that is why I try to avoid explanations for my lyrics, because I think that if you explain too much it takes away the magic and your own imagination, and the room for your own interpretation. It is more important to leave things open and you make your own version of what you feel the lyrics are about. It is more interesting."
And then it is not intellectual, but more emotional and personal.
"Yeah definitely, it's nothing intellectual at all. I use some phrases – maybe – which makes it look more intellectual. I think the power of the words is something you can use for yourself to capture people's imagination and make it even stronger. Using certain words or phrases which may sound a little "out there", but they are not, if you get the meaning and you try to explore the real meaning of the word I am saying. Then you get a lot more out of it, it becomes another dimension and it adds to the whole picture. So to me, the lyrics – the words that I write, is just as important as the music.
Forest demon and God
I read in an interview that you said the word Kreator is taken from German Folklore. Is that true?
"Yeah, it is. It is a forest Demon."
But the word Kreator also means creature in German?
"No, that would be with a u (Kreatur). Kreator for me has almost a triple meaning. It is the creator, the guy who creates – God or whatever – it can also be the demon. So it is the polarity of things, combined in one word. I think it is very strong, even when I was a kid I thought it was."
Inspired by modernist writers
I ask if it is ok with Mille that I ask more about the lyrics. He says yeah, and I continue. In Some Pain Will Last, there is "A whole generation born just to die". It reminds me of the feeling in modernist literature from the early 20th century. Do you know what I mean?
"Yeah, it is definitely inspired by that stuff. I was, not to sound depressed or anything, but I was a big Kafka-fan, and also reading Dostoyevsky and Kamu (right spelling?)"
I do not know this guy…
"He was later, in the 1940s or something. Existentialist, thinking the world is just the world; there is nothing else, no spirituality. (Laughs) And that is what my lyrics sometimes are inspired by. I am not like that. I could not say "This is my philosophy", it is too complex, but I think it is an interesting thought. We have all these religions and all this spirituality, and by the end of the day maybe it is all just physics and common sense. For some people that makes it harder to be alive, because then we are not important. (Laughs). We are only like… We are going to disappear, and we are turning into food for worms, that is what we are going to be when we die. That is why there is religion, people are expecting getting to paradise or hell or something after they die, but then there is nothing. That would be perfect.
I talk to so many people who are against religion. I think it is such a cliché. I think that whatever captures your imagination is fine. If you think there is God, and you are interested in all these mythology creatures, demons and gods, whatever – That is great, it captures your imagination, and it is just like me watching a movie. If that is what you like, go ahead. But, I think that if we would all consider the thought that maybe there is nothing, maybe we would enjoy life a lot more, because then we would only think of life as 70 or 80 years, and we would not expect something else after we die. Maybe that would make the world a better place, nobody would say "I hate my life but when I die…That is why I go to church everyday, when I am dead I am going to be in heaven, so that is why I can be miserable all my life and treat other people like shit, steal from them…" – like the pope. (Laughs)
It is interesting. I agree with you pretty much, there is this kind of duality about that. Religion can be a good thing, but also a bad thing.
"Yeah, that is why I think there is no… Of course, religion causes wars etc, there are some bad things in religion, but there are also good things in religion. Some people cannot live without religion, they would be lost. It gives them something to focus on. Who am I to say religion is bad? It is bad for me, maybe, but not for those people. I am not putting myself in a position where I am judging these people; I think that is just arrogant.
Back to the modernist issue; Stream Of Consciousness is a technique used by the modernist writers…
"Yeah, it is like a style of writing; just writing whatever comes to your mind. I thought that was a good title. Actually the song is a spiritual song. Inspired by this book I read at the time. (Laughs) I would not read such stuff nowadays, it was called "Seth – the duality of the soul", or something like that."
A so-called channelled book?
"Yeah, it was a medium that was able to speak with the dead. I used to believe this (laughs). Whatever, I was 18 when I wrote this song, I think. I like the idea, I am happy when people use this stuff to entertain others. That is what it is to me. I did not take it seriously when I read all this esoteric/spiritual books. I always had the feeling that "ok, this is a possibility, but it is only based on speculation, not on reality". It is still cool, because it does something to me. When you read it you feel "oh yeah, that is an interesting thought". So, I do not blame people when they write things and sell it to people as a reality even though they do not know whether it is a reality or not."
"In the stream of consciousness you cannot see the truth, play your role so perfectly no matter which life you choose" – it brings to my mind the whole eastern approach or philosophy, that we get lost in our thoughts, that it is an illusion, that we believe that our thoughts are reality. Did you think about this when you wrote the lyric?
"It is an interesting point. I think it was more like… There is one line "Emotional chaos is confusing our minds" – I think that is what it is, basically that is the main line. Most of my lyrics – even the spiritual lyrics I wrote – have a connection with mass media and the society which we live in. We are influenced by internet, tv, newspapers – things that we think are real, some of the things we read we think "it has to be the truth". But who knows? We are being manipulated, there is a filter, and there are people who control the media. So all we get is filtered information. This is a part of what is real and what is really happening. I think the main message is, if there is one, the main meaning of this song is that if you think things are real, "this is the truth", you could be wrong. There is no such thing. It is an individual look on things. Like I said, we live in a privileged society. Norway is a wealthy country, Germany is a wealthy country. People have different problems. In Africa there are people suffering from aids, those people do not think about these things. We can, because we are well off, we do not have to think about "where do I get food?" So it is like, there can not be one philosophy or one truth for everybody, because the circumstances people live in are so different on this planet. There is not just one truth, but a lot of different things which are true for the people who live in certain circumstances.
But then it is not eternal truths, it is circumstantial.
"Yeah, exactly, that is what I think."
The process of writing lyrics
You talked about the modernist idea that everything is physics and there is no meaning, but I also see a lot of spiritual search in your lyrics….
"Yeah, like I said, I could be wrong. I am just exploring, looking at things, absorbing. I read constantly, I get my information from the same sources you can get your information from, so I am just putting things together like a puzzle. It is what artists are doing, or people who are creative in any form. If you are a painter, you paint how you see reality. That is what I do in my lyrics and my music. It creates a certain vibe, a certain aura. Like I said, it is only taking parts from the information/input and putting it back out and giving it to people, filtered from my mind. It is such a complex process to write lyrics. They do not only have to make sense, they also have to fit the music and a certain meter of the rhythm patterns have to be…. Sometimes you have a great sentence, but you have to butcher it because it does not fit the music pattern. I have some versions of my original lyrics which are a lot longer sometimes, but they had to be shortened, which makes them more direct and maybe not so complex. Sometimes some things are lost, so it is always a compromise."
The four "brave" albums
The four albums Renewal, Cause for Conflict, Outcast and Endorama is to me very good albums, maybe even brave albums, if you know what I mean. You were trying different things…
"I think those albums were necessary for us as individual musicians. The thing is we never had time to grow up as musicians. Most musicians start recording albums when they are in their 20-s. We started as teenagers. We never had the time to try different things. We started as one of the most extreme bands, and we had to be the most extreme band for the rest of our lives, because that is how people got to know us. Of course it causes some confusion in the soul of an artist, because you want to express yourself at different levels. It leads to a one way street because there is only so much you can do as an extreme band. Then you start exploring other forms of music, and you want to do things a little differently and your audience is like "Fuck off!" (Laughs) "It is not Kreator anymore". Yeah, but it is the same people, and it is just an album that we wanted to do, what is wrong with this? But then again, I know there is always a certain expectation when it comes to band names. When I was a kid I was a big Kiss fan, and when they released The Elder I did not understand what they were trying to say. Nowadays I think it is probably one of their best albums. I always look at the different angles of things. An album like Endorama may for some people seem like a very selfish album; "we just wanted to do it for ourselves, we did not care what the audience was thinking". Maybe it would have been a good idea to have had that released under a different name, because people have expectations about the band.
If you look at Bathory, they did the same thing, maybe on a different level. They started off as one of the most extreme bands, and then suddenly released a Viking album. It was great, but different though. When you have a 20 year career you definitely do something that people think… It would have been so boring to just piss people off with medium quality releases rather than different styles, which is more interesting. Instead of Endorama we could have released a Thrash album, fast and brutal, but we did not feel that way at the time. It was more honest, but people think it is not."
I think it is good!
"Yeah, some people do. Some people understand, people who try to really get deeper, they understand. But some people always only scratch the surface; you cannot get to those people."
I thank Mille for the conversation, and later the same day he goes crazy on stage. He orders the crowd to scream "fucking hate". Entertaining, but there is certainly more to this man than "fucking hate". I hope he will continue to enlighten us with great art for many years to come!
This interview is a co-operation between Imhotep and Eternal Terror and is published on the same day on the English site www.imhotep.no.