Kreator recently released their fifteenth studio album, Hate Über Alles, via Nuclear Blast Records. Metal Contraband’s Scott Sommer recently had the chance to speak with frontman Mille Petrozza about the album. Check it out below.
Scott: Your sound has always been shifting and evolving in ways that keep every album feeling refreshed. Do you guys actively seek new ways to challenge yourselves or does it come naturally?
Mille: Well I wish we would. First and foremost there is no formula to anything. I am constantly writing songs. When it comes to album production, I always have at least a bunch of songs that potentially can end up on the record. For this album I had 20 songs where 10 made it on the album. Being enthusiastic and loving what we do and still having the passion since day one in 1985, every time we come up with a new album we question ourselves if it is necessary or if we should just keep touring. I love what I do, so in the end it is just the love for the music.
On the new album Hate Über Alles, the track Midnight Sun which features upcoming pop artist Sofia Portanet. How did that collaboration come about?
When the lockdown came in 2020, I discovered Sophia’s music. She put out an album and I was listening to it and it was dark and we were not able to go out when the world was in lockdown. I listened to this album a lot and I followed her on Instagram and then I followed her and we contacted each other. We then met up in Berlin to see if we could collaborate on some music. We then went to the studio and tried some stuff with some of her lyrics. When I wrote “Midnight Sun”, which is based on that movie Midsommar and the main character is a very strong female character and then I thought maybe I can have Sophia do that part and incorporate what I saw in the movie into that song. That morning when she came to the studio, the song was there but she also really helped with the arrangement with the bridge and the chorus. Unlike any other Kreator song, it is the first time we featured and the fans really seemed to like it.
Are you a fan of horror movies in general or just that specific movie?
All my life I have been into those horror movies. Drowning up that was my life’s passion, more so than even playing live music. I am always up for new stuff and new directors and strange new ideas and cool concepts.
The title track “Hate Über Alles”. It is a power house of a track and such an important message. Are you concerned how this culture of hate has crept back up into society?
I think it has always been there. There are certain times that seems that they were at peace but that was never the case. There is always a war or crime or violence. I think it is human nature. We are not supposed to live in peace together. We are always in a state of conflict. We need to overcome hate but it is hard. It is one of the strongest emotions. It is the Yin-Yang thing. There is always love and hate.
How do you cope living with the extensive dread of human times and do you think we could ever overcome these times?
That is a good question. I don’t think that we ever will completely. But we are at a point in a history of mankind where there could be a spiritual awakening and hatred and war and terror and all these negative things can become obsolete. Since the world is so diverse and so many different places and cultures having to live on one planet, we are not a point where we as a species understand ourselves as humanity. We are still thinking borders and that this country and that country and politics. We should get rid of all of that but that is a utopian thought, and might be naive too, because there needs to be some rules and control to make sure everyone is living a peaceful life as much as possible. It is a challenge. I sometime dream of this world where there is enough for everyone on this beautiful planet but it is a human species and that is the way.
Let’s talk about Pleasure to Kill. I know it is a couple of years away, but is there any chance we can get a 40th Anniversary Celebration?
I wouldn’t say never, but at this point we are so busy playing shows with new material. I would love to play an album in its entirety at some point that doesn’t necessarily have to be an anniversary, and maybe just do a special show. It can be something we do in America or London, or somewhere in Europe and play some songs we haven’t played in a while from Endless Pain onwards, but we are so busy doing other things that I never think about this. A lot of people asked me to do it and I know a lot of bands do it and it is cool. If we were to do it, we should do it sooner.
You are considered to be in the big 4 of German Thrash along with Sodom, Destruction and Tankard. All 4 bands have been around for 40+ years and still putting out killer music. Have you guys considered doing an epic Big 4 Tour?
We have talked about it and there was always scheduling that got in the way. We came very close to a tour like that before the pandemic and it fell apart but as you said we are all still alive and kicking so let’s hope it can happen one day.
There has been a pop culture trend that has embraced the outsider world of heavy metal and challenging those who attempt to vilify us unjustly as we’ve seen in Sound Of Metal and Metal Lords and Stranger Things. Are the tides starting to turn or is this just a passing trend?
I think it has to do with nostalgia. I totally like the way it is being portrayed like in Stranger Things. I also really loved Lords of Chaos and portraying the lifestyle. It is definitely a step in the right direction, showing that metalheads from the 80s weren’t always drunk or stupid like people portrayed us. There are all kinds of metalheads, some who were drinking and some are just enjoying the music. I like how it is being portrayed in a more realistic way.
Where do you see heavy metal going and do you have any advice for upcoming or aspiring metal bands?
First I say it is not only hard to break a band in metal, it is hard to break music in any genre. I grew up back in the 80s and music in general was bigger back in the day. Nowadays there are a lot of other distractions such as social media that makes it harder for new bands to get the recognition that they deserve. My advice is that if you believe in what you do, you need to be very patient, more so than back in the day. But I can tell you that if you are in a band and have great songs, the metal community is very supportive and they will recognize that you have something unique, powerful and good and don’t give up if you don’t succeed right away.
What is the plan for Kreator?
Since the world has opened back up again, we are mainly focused on touring. We are coming back to North America in October.
Metal Contraband thanks Mille Petrozza for the interview. Questions by Scott Sommer.