Nile - Lust for Immortality

By Dr. Abner Mality

Quite a story lurks behind this particular interview. I had originally intended to talk to Nile mainman Karl Sanders when the band played Forest Hills Lodge on August 13,2007. Well, I wound up getting beaten by over-zealous cops and sent to jail instead. I guess now my career as a journalist is complete. With jacked up jocks manning the police force and rude, ignorant fucks working the Lodge security detail, it was only a matter of time. All for asking if I could get in a little early to do the interview...

Needless to say, I did not speak to Karl, which was most disappointing, but I pursued the interview and was lucky enough to get a hold of Nile's piledriving drummer George Kollias via email a couple of weeks later. Presented for your edification are the results of that interview.

It's safe to say Nile is riding pretty high right now. They've got a very strong new record "Ithyphallic" out on new label Nuclear Blast and they were the heaviest band on the "free" 2007 edition of Ozzfest...a trek which no doubt garnered them their widest exposure ever. So George and I certainly had enough to talk about... maybe even enough to make my miserable experience at the Lodge worth it.

Here, then, is the transcription of our discourse...

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Now that your first tour with Ozzfest is done, what's your assessment of the experience?

GEORGE KOLLIAS: It was much better than what I was expecting to be honest. I had my doubts at the beginning since
we belong to the extreme side of the scene and I didn’t believe the crowd was ready to accept our music. But it was the opposite, we had such a great crowd every day, they were screaming our name almost every time we were walking on stage! We feel really great that we were a part of this huge festival. We also had the opportunity to meet all the kids at our signing session we had every day which is something really amazing!

WC: Were you able to "convert" some new fans to extreme metal? Was it kind of a "crusade" for you guys?

GK: Yes, I am sure we made many new Nile fans, many people came and talked to us saying they had never heard our music but now they had the chance and they loved it. I never saw Ozzfest as a “crusade” but it surely has a similar purpose. I mean, Ozzfest is such a big festival and all the bands there are challenged to survive between the masses of different fans. we definitely tried to deliver our best and I believe we did a good job.

WC: "Ithyphallic" is the first Nile record for Nuclear Blast. How has the association with them been so far?

GK: It’s great, we are very impressed with what they did so far for Nile, they are on our side on every step we are doing and I can tell they really love the music we make. It’s very important for a band to have a label that really likes what the band does and doesn't see them as just an investment. We know Nuclear Blast believes in us and we believe in them too. Also, the promotion they did for Ithyphallic so far was huge too, that was something we really needed for this album and after all these years.

WC: I always considered your partnership with Relapse to be ideal. Why did it come to an end?

GK: We never had any problems with Relapse that forced us to leave the label. It just came to the point that Nile had better offers than Relapse’s so it is very natural for the band to want to step up. Nuclear Blast’s plans for us were the best so we decided to go there.

WC: You play the drums in such a fast, punishing style. I would imagine a long tour takes a toll. How do you keep your energy up?

GK: Thanks for the compliment. The energy is in the music, we love what we do and that’s the only reason we can pull of everything live, which is very hard when it comes to a long tour. Extreme Drumming is something that you have to love... otherwise you will not be able to keep doing what you are doing no matter how great your technique is. That’s what makes it true and brutal as well… Same goes for guitars and everything in extreme music, it’s all about passion for metal but of course there's lots of practice time at the same time.

WC: The song "Even the Gods Must Die" on the surface is about the end of the Egyptian Gods, but could it also refer to the end of our society?

GK: It is an epic song and we wanted it to sound like the end of the world... heavy, huge! It is the last song in the album as well so it’s the perfect ending in my opinion. The lyrics fit perfectly..., it’s not the end of the Gods or our society, it’s the end of everything!!

WC: Do you think our technological society has lost the sense of awe and mystery that the ancient Egyptians had?

GK: That era is so long ago and that’s what makes history great. It is so different from what we live right now... not better or worse, just different and that’s where mystery comes from. It’s so great when you read about it but nobody would accept it right now. In Greece there are a few people who believe in the Greek ancient gods and most of the people cannot get it. So, I think everybody gets something by reading about it but how many people would like to go back to those days if they could?

WC: Does Nile consider themselves educators about ancient Egypt as much as a metal band? I know Karl takes it extremely seriously.

GK: Karl loves the Egyptian culture, he reads a lot about it and he writes music about it because that’s what he wants to express. He studied all their musical scales and he writes amazing lyrics which complete this great concept, which is so much different than what most bands have today. He has the gift to write great lyrics and he does it for something he loves a lot, but he doesn’t want to educate anybody, even though he knows A LOT about history and I can guarantee you that…he does it cause he loves it. Karl and each one of us are very much into this concept, we get inspired from it and our music/lyrics are a result of it.

WC: Have you ever been to Egypt and if not, do you plan on going there someday?

GK: We've never been there yet, but we will definitely do it soon. We were talking about doing maybe a video there one day, or a big show. We would like to do something really special there for sure!

WC: Were you into Egypt and mythology before joining Nile or is that mostly Karl's thing?

GK: Yes, I studied about it when I was in school for many years and from a very young age. Egypt and ancient Greece have so much history, very similar in many ways, so people here are very much into it, it’s a part of our education. Karl started this concept in Nile, but like I said, everybody in the band is into it, it’s a part of our inspiration. I saw Karl and Dallas many times reading the lyrics before they write riffs so they can get inspired and I do the same as well... not by reading the lyrics but just imagining the whole huge concept that each song carries.

WC: Have you heard the band Melechesh and if so, what's your opinion of them?

GK: I've never heard them yet. I should check them out soon.

WC: Will Nile be adding any new twists or ideas to keep themselves fresh or do you think you've reached the perfect sound on "Ithyphallic"?

GK: Of course we will, but it has nothing to do with achieving any “perfect” sound.I believe Ithyphallic is the best album we've done so far but that’s because it’s our latest album and shows our progress as a band. We will do the same with our next album, each one will sound better and better as long as Nile exists, this is our goal as a band and that’s why we keep pushing ourselves by practicing and playing more and more. I guarantee you, Nile is one these bands that will never release something less than the best!

WC: Tell me about your band Sickening Horror. Is this something you are still fully involved with and do they have anything coming out soon?

GK: Sickening was my band for the last 5 years but I quit them in February due to some personal problems we had in the band. We have recorded 1 full album which just came out but I don’t know what they are doing right now.

WC: What was the last CD you listened to just for your own pleasure?

GK: Right now I have been listening a lot to The Collins/Wardingham Project, their new album is called “Interactive” and it’s such a great album, one of the best albums I've ever heard. The musicianship is a big inspiration to me. I listen to many things from different styles all the time, I am trying to get inspiration from anything that sounds good to my ears.

WC: What was the last concert you checked out just because you wanted to?

GK: Wow, I don’t even remember…. You know, we tour so much so I have the chance to see hundreds of bands live every day, I am always checking out every band, but when I am home ,I am pretty much in my studio playing drums. I am not going out so much. Plus the fact there are not many shows going on in Greece or at least ones I would like to go and watch. And when some great bands are coming here ,I am on Tour, ha ha ha…

WC: Is there any "Spinal Tap" moment you've experienced with Nile that you'd like to share with our readers?

We had some funny happenings but some scary ones as well… I remember when we lost our trailer in Europe while the bus was moving…this could be a funny story, but I guarantee you, it wasn’t at that moment! We were ready to hit the bed after a show when suddenly I heard some guys from the crew screaming about the trailer but I knew we had it when we left so…it just got off while the bus was moving and for about an hour or so, we believed that we had lost all our gear! When our bus driver saw this, we turned back looking for a trailer that could be anywhere but we found it sitting in the middle of the highway….next to 3-4 police cars…..

WC: Any last words or messages?

GK: Thank you so much for this interview and my greetings to your readers, I hope to see everybody on our upcoming tours!!! Cheers all!

George Kollias' official Website

Nile's Official Website