They Couldn't Dam This River...
CoC chats with Karl Sanders and Dallas Toller Wade of Nile
by: Paul Schwarz
At Glasgow's Cathouse, the evening's mostly underexposed line-up of extreme metal entertainment prepare themselves for the evening ahead. Local Glasgow acts Co-Exist (grind/hardcore nutters with a noted sense of humour, formed from ex-Confusion Corporation members) and Regorge (promising death/grinders with technicality, invention and brutality fairly proportioned, and a singer -obsessed- with Manowar) talk, laugh and soundcheck. Ex-Dearly Beheaded's Sleath are also present. Nile are the exceptions of the night. The band have gone from strength to strength since they came howling, desert-swept out of South Carolina with their second CD release, _Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka_ nearly three years ago [CoC #32]. Three years! On the one hand it feels like a longer time than Nile have been in my consciousness -- they still feel new, yet already they feel classic -- and on the other it is such a short time for a band to rise to the very top of death metal's hierarchy. In our last issue we voted the storming, creative, brutal monstrosity of _Black Seeds of Vengeance_ [CoC #50] the top of our writers' chart, and we were no exception. The response to their latest album has been phenomenal for a band so groundedly still death metal, yet not easy. And Nile still have a long way to go before they gain the notoriety and sales of a Morbid Angel or a Cannibal Corpse, but the point they have got to already -- and in such a short time -- is to be celebrated, not merely accepted. I put Nile's popularity and many other issues up for debate when I met up with Karl Sanders and Dallas Toller Wade backstage at the Cathouse. Here it is, in a pretty raw transcribed format. I hope it helps you understand more not only about Nile, but about the kind of people who make up the band.

CoC: It really looks like Nile are progressing onto a whole new level from _Black Seeds of Vengeance_. Where do you see things going? Did you ever see yourselves getting to such a point as this?

Karl Sanders: Well, the point is... <looks over at Dallas> that is exactly not the point.

Dallas Toller Wade: <nods in agreement> Exactly.

KS: We started this band and certainly when Dallas joined up with us, we were still a band that was lucky to get a gig and we were gonna be happy if -five- people heard our record. We would have been happy because this is the music that we've put all of the years into, all the blood and sweat, and we didn't care if it was... if it was whatever. We were just playing our music and that's the way I feel today. I think it's wonderful that some metal fans are getting the chance to hear it and, uh, maybe we're getting a little bit of, a small amount of, recognition: I think that's great and it certainly feels good and we've put a lot of hard work in over the years. But it's not the point, the point, the point is we love the music we make, that's why we're here and really, we still work day jobs. I mean, that's what we do, it's metal, you're not gonna be rich and famous if you play death metal. If you play death metal, you're playing it because you love metal, because that's what you believe in, that's what you wanna do, it's what you give your life to. And that's what we're about, despite enormous personal sacrifices we've done what it took to keep going with the band, just to fuckin' survive. And to us that's really the ultimate... reward. Just to keep goin', keep playin' our music, fuck, at this point I'm happy, I'll feel pretty comfortable if the record company'll let us make another record. And yes, y'know, fuck, I'm happy!

CoC: Doesn't pay to be over-optimistic, that's fair, but if Nile continues to grow and if Relapse as a label, as well, continues to grow, one of the things you'll be able to do is do more with the records, with money. For _Black Seeds..._, for example, you definitely seem to have put much more into it production wise and had more time to do it.

KS: Well, you know, it's not like we've got a budget fit for the out-of-state prince. We're still shaving corners wherever we have to just come in on the budget. We ran into a lot of trouble on this record and, yeah, budget was a problem. Certainly, we're trying to do some ambitious things and it would be nice to have a proper budget, but this is the real world, this is death metal and you know, you can only ask for so much with good reason, so I'm realistic about it.

CoC: Why did you choose ancient Egypt as a subject matter in the first place? I remember last time we talked [CoC #43] you were saying it was to do with hearing Middle Eastern music at Pete's house when you were younger.

KS: Yeah, sure. Well, here again, it really comes down to: when we started this band, what really mattered was, we're gonna play some music, we're gonna do what we like to do. So, I was interested in Egypt, Pete had an interest in that sort of thing, so... it's what we wanted to do! Since we didn't expect to be big, we expected that no-one would give a -fuck- what some guys from South Carolina were doing. So we just said: let's do what we wanna do, let's do what we like, fuck everyone else.

CoC: But for this record as well you did a hell of a lot of research. I think that was really cool, it definitely comes out on the album, it's far more well rounded than some other records, but would you say in any way you're trying to educate people as to, kind of, the ancient texts of Egypt?

KS: No. No, I think it's in the entertainment realm.

DTW: It's more of an inspirational tool for the songs than anything else.

CoC: Are you thinking of moving on in the history of Egypt? I've been studying ancient history at university, so it's quite curious to kind of come across the same stuff. For example, did you get the "Eternal Oceans of Sand" thing from an old inscription [actually a source from Arrian, I think -- Paul] on Alexander the Great where he goes to see the oracle of Amon, and it says that the sand makes some eternal ocean so you can't see the path and he gets led by two talking snakes?

KS: Yeah, I read that, y'know, but most of the song comes from an H.P. Lovecraft story called "The Outsider". "Beneath Eternal Oceans of Sand" was just... that's what it felt like when I played that acoustic riff. That's what that riff feels like to me: the eternal oceans of sand. I don't know, you stick it together, it might mean something or... or it might not.

CoC: But I think it's always been one of the things with Nile that the music does kind of gel with the subject matter. You can kind of feel the violence or feel whatever you're trying to express. I think that's something you've definitely managed to capture. What happened with Pete and with changing drummers? I've heard various different stories...

DTW: Well, uh, he tore his arm up really bad and he needed a lot of time to heal. That's pretty much all that needs to be said about it. He tore his arm up and we got Derrick in to do most of the record and got Tony to do the tours. But it's very unfortunate, the guy is 150% metal and it saddens us all, but even he wouldn't want to see us quit so...

CoC: Do you think his arm will recover?

KS: I don't think people ever get back to the level of physical endurance necessary to do this kind of music on a thirty or forty date tour. He could play one or two nights, I think, but I don't think that injury will ever heal to the point where he can sustain the endurance over a month-long tour.

CoC: That means that Pete, effectively, will have to leave the band.

KS: Like Dallas said, we're all very sad about it. Pete has been my best friend for twenty years. It feels like I've lost my brother. But, y'know, sometimes the metal gods are cruel. Pete Hammoura is one of the people that worked so fucking hard over the years, with a long-term commitment to this band. Without him I don't exactly think we would have done all the things that we did. He was one of the really key elements within the band. It's saddening for us all, but what are we supposed to do, just piss off?

CoC: Yeah, absolutely: you've gotta keep the band going. "That's what he would've wanted", I guess, would be the phrase.

DTW: Yeah.

CoC: With the subject matter again, do you think you're gonna just continue looking into ancient Egypt or do you think maybe that subject matter might get a bit old? [I never even realised at the time how silly that sounds -- Paul]

KS: Well, I've been asked that question before but when I get tired of it, y'know, I imagine the rest of the band will start getting tired of it. <suddenly loud and excited> But I don't think that that's happened yet, I think we've got a few more Nile albums!

CoC: Totally, I was curious whether you might branch out into the later history of Egypt: the Greeks taking over Egypt, the Romans taking over Egypt, what have you.

KS: Who knows, the new album is not finished yet. We're just kicking around a few song ideas so far. Who knows, we've gotta finish working this record a little more before we start making ultimate grandiose plans <puts on amusing, melodramatic low voice>.

CoC: Well, if you want some help, I'll be up for doing some research.

KS: Right on. I might call you... what's that gameshow where they ask if you wanna phone a friend?

CoC: "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?".

KS: Yeah, yeah. I'll call you up: "We're in the studio, I need some more lyrics!"

CoC: It was funny 'cause you remember those T-shirts you printed up with "Ithyphallic death metal"?

KS: Yeah.

CoC: I never realised what that meant until I read the Ithyphallic hymn from Ptolemy [Ithyphallic means "upright phallus"]. Would you be interested in maybe going through some of your favourite gods or rules from ancient Egypt for us?

KS: <laughs a lot> I don't know, that's kinda gay. That's like saying what's my favourite Barbie doll. <Karl and Dallas both laugh, as do I> At home I've got I couple of Annubis statues. I have a Set statue. I have a Sekhemet statue. I have an Annubis that's on like an altar. Some Ankhs, some papyri hanging. Dallas has a few things at his house.

DTW: I have a [vira, I think -- Paul] that I put candles around and stuff when I'm practising. Sets the mood a little bit.

CoC: So you guys really immerse yourselves in that stuff?

KS: I don't know...

DTW: It just kinda helps get into the spirit of it, it just kinda helps the inspiration.

KS: Yeah, that's it. It definitely helps 'cause I have all that stuff where I write my music. It helps, but we still live in the real world. <looks at Dallas and both chuckle knowingly>

DTW: You gotta find a way to escape every now and then, stay glued together. <chuckles again>

CoC: Yeah, I mean you guys haven't gone to the next level, the kind of Manowar level of wearing all the stuff on stage.

KS: <reverently and almost ominously> Be careful when we speak of Manowar.

CoC: <Dallas laughs as I defend my steel> I love Manowar. I had to decide between "Battle Hymns" or The Chasm today [that's which shirt I was to wear -- Paul].

KS: OK, alright.

CoC: I snowboarded down mountains with Manowar on, very proudly.

KS: Yeah?

DTW: Alright!

CoC: Me and my mate put them over our jackets. Wiped out to Manowar. <Dallas, Karl and myself, laugh heartily> So do you think you'd go to that next level, or do you think that's maybe a bit too kitsch for death metal?

DTW: We're just a bunch of guys, y'know. I mean, we kinda like to leave that to the music.

KS: Yeah, if your music doesn't say it, then no amount of posturing is going to do it for you. Death metal fans are not stupid. You can not fool a kid...

CoC: <I sit up and speak with mock-seriousness, feigning that I am offended> Are you saying Manowar fans are?

[Dallas laughs, as do I after a second or two. Karl is a little defensive, not instantly realising the joke]

KS: No, no, no, no, that's not what I mean. I mean, we couldn't dress up like ancient Egypt gods and take ourselves seriously.

CoC: Right.

KS: The music's got to do it. If the music doesn't do it, if the music is not getting there and doing it by itself, then it's... it's funville, it's Vegas.

CoC: I agree.

DTW: <nods firmly in agreement> It's really silly.

KS: Yeah, it's gay! <I laugh>

DTW: Yeah, and you know plus the fact too that even if we did ever decide we wanted to do something like that -- which we wouldn't -- you'd have a bunch of people saying that they thought it was cool and a bunch of other people saying we were a bunch of posers. 'Cause you've got some serious hardcore death metal fans that're just totally not into that and you got other people that are into that. That's cool and all but it's best to just keep it to music.

KS: I really like it -- just like you said -- keep it to the fucking music, 'cause you won't find any political messages in our music, you won't find any fascist, Nazi stuff. I mean, we just totally avoid all that 'cause we really don't care! The Satan/Christian argument? Well, who cares: we're writing about stuff that's before Christ, so it's irrelevant. You come to a Nile show, you don't have to deal with any of that crap. I mean, you can believe whatever you wanna believe, that's fine, you can still come to a Nile show. You know, you're not gonna get any opinion from us one way or the other. We're not concerned with those things.

CoC: Whatever your personal sentiments are, they're not part of the band.

DTW: Exactly.

KS: Exactly. We're just here, we love the music, that's why we're here!

CoC: I think that's always been a part of death metal, the whole appearance of death metal. It has moved into Satanic areas but essentially it seems to be a bit removed from that. On that note, where the extreme music scene's going these days, it does seem to me that the scene's split up, it has kind of fragmented in a good way -- as much as that can be a bad thing. Nowadays, Cryptopsy describe themselves as extreme metal rather than death metal 'cause death metal just doesn't fit them anymore. How would you say that fits into Nile? Would you say you're still -championing- death metal?

KS: We're waving the flag of death metal. We've always been metal, but really, no matter what tag you stick on it, it's -still, metal!-. We still feel a brotherhood with, say, Metal Church or Iron Maiden or Manowar or whoever you want: Slayer. All the way down the line, all the years back we feel all that is a part of our metal heritage and we're proud to be contributing to the world of metal. Even if what we have is that we're just a small little contribution, you know. I mean, how do you argue with Iron Maiden? They're an institution. Compared to an Iron Maiden we're just this little tiny blip on the screen, but we're proud to be that little fucking blip on the TV screen of metal.

DTW: Yeah, that's it.

CoC: I think that's really good and that's cool: I'm a metal fan and I've been a metal fan for years, but I also like various other styles of music. I like hardcore and things and the thing I find today in 2001 is that hardcore kids and metal kids, they enjoy the same things. I've a load of friends here today who're into Nile, Converge, old hardcore, new hardcore and all sorts of things. Would you say it even broadens out to beyond metal, to just kind of being "extreme music"? Or would you say Nile stick with the metal side of it?

DTW: It's what we like to do. I mean, hopefully people that are into all kinds of different styles will have an open mind, and like a little metal, and like a little hardcore, and not, you know, pick sides and start a fuckin' holy war. That would be ridiculous. It's just best to keep an open mind.

KS: Eventually, people will still like what they like anyway, so why separate it? I believe there's a lot of different elements of different sorts of metal within what we do. But you won't find any hip-hop or hardcore elements...

CoC: You're not gonna do rapping on the next album?

KS: No. No, you won't catch us doing that, but we sort of... we champion the cause of metal. Everywhere we go -- we're kinda new to this international thing, this is only our second European tour, but every country we go, metal is sort of the international language. Maybe other people already know this, but it's new to me. So, to me it really means something. We go somewhere and the kids all look the same, they look just like us, they wear boots and T-shirts and long hair and when we throw the goat horns <raises a two-pronged hand>, the metal horns, on stage, and the kids throw it back to us, it's like an international language of metal. I feel like we're part of an international solidarity of metal. It means something, some of them might not even speak the same fuckin' language you do, but they understand metal, they understand a powerchord. You know, you hit that fucking chord, it's like, you feel an instant communion, you know. It's a bonding. And I'm really a great believer in: metal should be a unifying force, not a destructive force. I don't like to see bands who go: "My metal is the only kind of metal that exists and all others suck". I don't believe that. I believe there's lots of different good things in different kinds of metal... except, you know, dance music that's -disguised- as metal. I know the difference. If you want a fucking disco beat and you have people going like this <mimics the hip-hop-a-like hands of Fred Durst> to heavy guitar and call it metal, it's -not fucking metal-! Real metal bands know what the fuck metal is, and that's a wide area.

CoC: What I think is great as well, what you were saying about the international language, is that not only are people understanding metal, I think what Nile and Cryptopsy have shown is that they also understand that metal can progress, that it can go in different areas without them rejecting it.

KS: Right on.

CoC: _Black Seeds..._, for example, is very symphonic in parts, it's very curious and I think it's good that kids have got into that.

DTW: I totally agree. Metal is like a vessel that brings unity throughout the entire world; it can travel, that vessel. And even though we might speak different languages, different cultures, we all understand the feeling that metal gives us. It's a very empowering thing.

KS: Yeah, man, when we were hangin' out with Krisiun, man, you talk to those guys, stand with 'em for five minutes, and you feel... you feel stronger, you can -feel- the metal. It's a thing that sends chills down my spine. You know, I've been asking myself a lot of questions lately, like: OK, why are the metal gods being kind to us? There's a lot of fucking bands that work fucking hard, a lot of bands that deserve to be heard, why us? Why are the metal gods being kind to us? And it's our responsibility, so I'm taking it seriously. I believe: there is a cause, there is a reason. Metal is a good thing, it's a worthwhile thing and it's a good feeling to have. When you go to a show and you reach people from, you know, wherever, all-over and you have something in common with them, you know. It's a good thing, it's a powerful thing and I believe that we owe a certain debt to the world of metal to stand up for what's right and play our music to champion the cause of metal.

CoC: I agree. I definitely think it's a positive thing. It was very cathartic for me when I was at school. I think it's a pity a lot of people don't see that and see it as a negative thing that kids have to get over.

KS: It's not! It's not: there's been times when I got fired from my job or whatever because I was doing <glances at Dallas> whatever. I'd stick in a Manowar CD, I'd feel the power and I'd have the courage to go: alright, I'm gonna go get another fuckin' job, fuck that motherfucker if he don't like my long hair, fuck 'im!

DTW: You're just too metal for 'im. <chuckles, as do I>

KS: Damn right! 'Cause, I know I'm a worthwhile human being and I know I've got something positive to contribute to this world and I've gotta work hard like anybody else: at my job, at my music, at whatever. You know, and sometimes, metal will carry you through. If you're feeling a little bit weak, you need a little inspiration from the metal gods...

DTW: Crank it up!

KS: Yeah! Crank it up, feel the power, let your brothers help you through.

CoC: And Manowar's pretty damn good for that one.

DTW: <slowly, savouring the sentiment> Oh yeah! <I laugh>

CoC: I got a lot of my friends who aren't even into metal into Manowar. It just has that spirit to it.

KS: Right on.

CoC: It must be a lot of work doing all these shows, right?

KS: Yeah, but touring Europe is a piece of cake compared to the States. Dude, in the States we travelled in a little van, loaded our gear ourselves and we get paid. Over here, we get treated like human beings, it's wonderful. Coping with the PAs is a challenge, but what're you gonna do, cry about it? No, you gotta deal with what the gods give you. The gods give you a chance, they say: OK, you've got this gig. They give it to us. What're we gonna do with it, cry about it or work with what we've got? No, we fucking work with what we've got. We were in Wakefield, first show of the tour, and the sound was bad, we lost power and my computer cut out. We had the choice, we could toss the show and walk away -- because the sound wasn't gonna be great -- just walk away. We'd already been paid for it, what the hell. But there were kids, lined up, for -three hours- outside. So, what're you gonna do? Those kids came here for metal.

[As sound-checking ensues, we cease talking, the noise around us stifling fluid conversation. I break the mini-silence by commenting on Dallas' Immolation T-shirt.]

CoC: Nice shirt man!

DTW: That new record is one of the greatest fuckin' records.

CoC: Fuckin' a!

DTW: That is one of the -baddest- fuckin' records ever, man. They're just so fuckin' heavy. _Close..._ is the best thing since _Here in After_.

CoC: I was very impressed.

DTW: Getting popular's not what they care about, they care about making the music that moves them as musicians, making themselves and the people that do listen to them happy. That's all that really matters.

[Another interruption of sound-checking ensues, then I decide to breach a particularly hot topic of the time with Nile]

CoC: Do you think Tony [Laureno] is going to take over as permanent drummer?

KS: Well... <exchanges looks with Dallas, silently deliberating what to say> That is one of those delicate questions which is best left to the band room.

DTW: We haven't sorted it out ourselves.

CoC: On a personal note, I'd say: technically, do it. Obviously how he works in the band is what matters.

KS: Well, he's a great guy. He's a great drummer, he's a nice guy to work with, he's certainly a solid individual. You can count on him when you're out on tour.

DTW: Yeah, he works hard. He's got a good work ethic.

KS: Yeah, we don't have many complaints.

CoC: But you just haven't made a decision yet?

DTW: Yeah.

CoC: There probably aren't many drummers out there who you could've got to do this tour, though.

KS: Well, don't say that to him, he might start asking for more money. <we all laugh>

CoC: I was quite worried when I heard about Pete [Hammoura] 'cause I didn't know who would take over and I could see some drummers not quite getting it right.

KS: I can see that too. It's a double-edged sword. Any time that you want to push harder, any time that you want to say to yourself: OK, I'm gonna push myself to the extreme limits of human endurance with these songs. You know, you set lofty goals for yourself like that, and not only do you have to, yourself, somehow achieve them, but you gotta get a fuckin' drummer that can do it, and that's no walk in the park.

DTW: Yeah, then [Derrick] Roddy just totally smoked the record.

KS: We've known Derrick for years 'cause he's from Columbia, South Carolina and he used to play in bands with Bob Moore, our producer. Derrick does most of his recordings with Bob Moore: they're old buddies. And every band that Derrick ever played in over the years recorded at the Soundlab.

[I bought Rebaelliun's _Bringer of War_ EP at the Nile gig; the next section of conversation led on from Karl and Dallas studying the CD]

CoC: D'you ever check out Rebaelliun?

KS: No.

CoC: From a similar vein to Krisiun. Pretty good band, actually.

KS: They covered "Day of Suffering", that's one of my favourite Morbid songs.

CoC: They covered it live, actually. They were on a great tour package with Vader and Vital Remains.

DTW: That's a wicked album cover.

CoC: It's a bit more sort of _Altars of Madness_ / Slayer tinged, but very similar to Krisiun.

KS: That's kinda the Brazil vibe.

CoC: Yeah, totally.

DTW: Yeah, just hold it to the floor as long as you can. It's the song of death.

CoC: I don't know how the fuck Krisiun manage it with three people.

KS: They're fuckin' brutal! They are the fuckin' brutallest metal band on this planet as far as I'm concerned: Krisiun. And one day, they will own the world. <I laugh>

DTW: Yeah, even if they have to take it over by force. Definitely, those guys are amazing live and amazing guys. They're the coolest guys you'll ever meet. They have the shreddingest damn guitar player I think I've ever seen in my life. God!

KS: We're pretty lucky. The entire Cannibal tour we had to share dressing rooms so every day while Dallas and I are sitting backstage practising, Moyses was back there and would pick up our guitars and go: <he imitates the noise of millions of notes being played and widdles his fingers in tandem>. Every day we got to witness this guy: up close and personal.

DTW: In the raw.

KS: We'd go: hey, uh, would you mind doing that again a little slower?

CoC: You'd have to put it in slow motion just to see what he was doing.

DTW: It would still blur.

KS: Yeah. Those guys are so true. You will not find a truer band. To me, it's kind of like the Vader story. Vader had to make their own guitars and Krisiun is pretty much the same story. They had to work their way up from difficult beginnings. To me, that is a whole lot more meaningful than say, in America where your parents will buy you instruments, they're readily available and all the kids have great guitars... but none of them bother to fuckin' practice! Then you see someone like Vader who had to work for every damn thing they got. Man, I respect that man, those guys...

CoC: From behind the iron curtain as well.

KS: Yeah, they have integrity. They have fuckin' integrity. <Karl flicks through a copy of Terrorizer and spots the cover to the "new" Narnia record> Look at this man, more Egypt stuff. Everywhere I look there's more Egypt stuff. Egypt stuff everywhere. There was a band with flyers on the wall yesterday called "Egypt".

DTW: There's another band in the states called Coffin Texts. I think they've been around as long as Nile has, so I think that may possibly have just been a coincidence.

KS: Yeah, it's a coincidence. <spies an advert for Nile's gig in London the day after which has Septic Flesh as support> Septic Flesh! Septic Flesh are gods! They're genius! I have nothing but respect for Septic Flesh: we should be opening for them. They are a great fuckin' band. I've got all their albums, well actually, my wife has all of them and I have listened to all of them 'cause she plays it incessantly. They're incredible. I feel very privileged to have been able to hear Septic Flesh 'cause in America they don't get so much press or hype or anything. But they're incredible! They're a fuckin' incredible band! Very, very amazing, the compositions are great, the musicianship is great, the orchestrations are great, the production is great, their fuckin' album artwork is great. Their fuckin' album cover is ten times better than ours. Is there a fucking cover even mentioned [in the Terrorizer readers poll] because it deserves to be?

CoC: No.

KS: No?

CoC: I don't think Septic Flesh made it into the readers poll anywhere.

KS: Well that's a fuckin' tragedy that needs to be fuckin' remedied, 'cause they're a great fuckin' band.

CoC: Where did you get that cover from? Was it made up by the graphic designers?

KS: Well, do you want the real story?

CoC: Yeah.

KS: Alright, we had our own ideas about what the album cover should be, and Relapse had theirs. And, um, well, when I look at the album cover now I really can appreciate the beauty of it, it's a great album cover. It's beautiful, I mean, what can I say, it's great. It wasn't exactly what we wanted but we've grown to like it.

DTW: Yeah, it grew on us. At first we were like ewwumm...

KS: Yeah, like: what!? Another mother fucking mummy. <I laugh loud>

DTW: Yeah.

KS: But I've grown to like it, appreciate it. It's a beautiful piece of work.

DTW: The colouring really set it off. And it looked better printed than it did on a computer screen too, so that led us to begin with.

KS: They sent us a JPEG all downsized and grainy and the colours were all weird and we were like: what the fuck is this?

DTW: You had to scroll it from side to side...

CoC: At first I didn't like that particular cover myself and when I saw it quite big in an advert it made an impact on me and I understood where it was coming from.

KS: Yeah, in the States we have nice big posters of it and it's a beautiful record.

CoC: Have you been contacted to do any soundtrack work on "The Mummy 2" ("The Mummy Returns")?

KS: You know, that pisses me off so much, 'cause I called up our management and said: look, listen, these fuckers are making a sequel and I want a chance, I want a chance to do some stuff. And they go: well, we'll send 'em an album but, you know, you're really not big enough for them to care about, because unless you're big enough to actually get more people to the movie, then they don't care.

CoC: This is a weird idea, but one way some bands get on soundtracks is one guy down the production company going: I love this band, let's stick 'em on. So, hopefully, if the right person gets it maybe someone will figure it out.

DTW: There are some pieces on the record that'd be perfect for it. What I'd really like to see is "Khetti Satha Shemsu" .

[Karl nods in agreement as they both make enthusiastic noises about the idea]

CoC: That would be fuckin' cool, when the thing rises from the fuckin' sarcophagus.

DTW: Yeah.

CoC: That would be excellent.

DTW: I think even people that were not into a death metal realm would still appreciate it because it is a very chanty piece.

KS: It has lots of feeling.

DTW: It has the spirit and it just so happens to be death metal growling, but it fits perfectly. You can see serpents rising.

[Karl laughs in a distinctly evil, pronounced way]

CoC: Do you know if The Rock is a fan of Nile, 'cause he's in that film? <we all laugh merrily>

CoC: He's like the bad guy in it or something.

DTW: Wow...

CoC: Can you smell what the Mummy is cooking? <we all laugh again>

[I mention a commercial for Film Suez, a company in Argentina, who had an advert which could have been the beginning to a Nile video]

CoC: Bands back in the day used to make videos, but MTV just aren't playing that shit anymore. There's no "Into the Pit" anymore.

DTW: You had to wait for the triple-thrash threat when "Headbangers Ball" was around even to see stuff then.

KS: "Into the Pit"...

DTW: Yeah, they totally took that out and "Headbangers Ball" was just totally wiped out.

CoC: In Europe at least, it was like three years ago that they took it away and they never brought it back. Even in Germany, there was Superock and there was fuck all metal on it. It's all Korn and Limp Bizkit. I can't believe it, a country full of metal, and there's no metal on MTV.

KS: It's gay, isn't it?

CoC: That is pretty gay, yeah.

DTW: That's OK because metal has always proven that it doesn't need a whole bunch of hype around it to exist.

KS: The fuckin' fans know what the deal is. The fans are everything, they don't need a fuckin' radio, they don't need a fuckin' TV, they go, they see it for themselves and if you can't convince 'em in the real world, in the real setting... You know, if you suck live the kids know, man. You can't fool 'em, you've got to deliver the goods. And I think the bands who deliver the goods, ultimately, through genuine hard work, eventually will do well, just because it's... death metal is a thing, I believe, founded on truth. There's a certain truth -- when you go see the band it's right there, there's no trickery involved in death metal. How you gonna hide? You got your drums: they're right there. You got the guitars: they're right there. Where you gonna hide? You can't hide, that's the truth. You got kids this far from you <holds hand at arms length from face>. They see it. They know because they see every other band. There's a foundation of truth: either you're good or you're not or whatever, but the kids fuckin' know. You need to deliver the real fuckin' thing. And television, radio or whatever, it's irrelevant to me.

CoC: I'd say, once you're in the realm of metal it is irrelevant. The thing I find is that when I got into metal I didn't get into Nile or whatever was underground at the time, I got into Pantera and Metallica...

KS: Yeah, and then you work your way...

DTW: ...and search for something heavier. Descend into hell.

CoC: And if those bands aren't even on MTV at all and if people are being pushed away from metal... I'm curious to see where Limp Bizkit and Korn takes people. I talked to Matt Jacobson the other day and he was saying that these kids -- because the jocks listen to that stuff now it's not cool anymore -- so he thinks they're gonna go underground from there, and possibly head towards more stuff like what Dillinger or Nile are doing or more of the stuff that's on the underground side of things.

DTW: Well, if that happens, whatever, but the people we care about -- that come to the shows -- are the true die-hard metal followers. Not the people that are gonna change genres because of who they're hangin' out with or blah blah blah. You either like the shit in your heart or you don't, and if you're there just 'cause you're trying to be trendy then you may as well just leave, 'cause that's not the people that we wanna play to.

KS: Right.

DTW: We wanna play to the true, metal followers.

KS: Those are the ones who cared about us when we were no-one. We're not gonna do a 'Cold' Lake or anything like that. Anybody you wanna name like that, we're not gonna do it, because frankly we're adults, we've been playing metal all of our lives, we played metal when no-one gave a fuck who we were, we played metal when we couldn't get paid for a gig, we played metal when we couldn't get a gig. So now that we've got a gig, what do I play? Metal! Dude, we're not gonna do anything except do what the fuck we do. And people that have been with us since the beginning, that liked us because of who we are and what we do, that's who we're playing it to, and if some new people wanna come and join in with that, that's nice, that's fucking cool, and maybe we can bring them to metal, but we're not going to dilute what we do, we're not going to cheese it. We care about metal, we care about the kid that pays his fuckin' twenty bucks a ticket, buys a T-shirt. When a kid buys a T-shirt you know where it goes? It goes in our fuckin' van for gas to go to the next fuckin' show. We care about those people because we are those people. When I'm at home, you know what I do? I have to pay to get into shows. I don't have any grand status or anything. I still have to work for a living. I still have to pay for my CDs just like everybody else. So I feel a certain fucking -common bond-. When I'm at a show -- and all of us too -- we go out and we talk to the people who come to our shows because they like us and they took enough care to make us feel welcome: to come to the show, to drive however long they have to drive -- sometimes in the States kids'll drive six, seven, eight hours, I 'm sure it's the same over here -- to come to our fucking show. Now, if somebody does that, just to come hear your music -- fuck, man, that means something.

DTW: That's a true metalhead right there.

KS: Damn right! That's who we care about.

DTW: That's who I feel that I am about metal. I can play to three people, I can play to three thousand, I don't care -- as long as it's metal, I'm gonna do it. I've been metal whether it was popular or not. It has never been difficult for me whatsoever to say that I like fuckin' metal. If people make comments about my CD collection or my hair, I'd just say: well, go listen to your shit, go get spoon-fed some more music. That's the ones I really respect too, the metalheads who've stayed metal all the years, they didn't switch over to something that was popular, they stayed metal all the time.

CoC: I got into death metal when it was at its least popular in 1995/6. I just got into the music. I never got to see Carcass live, they split up before I ever got time.

DTW: Yeah, that's how I felt about Suffocation.

CoC: I saw them once at Milwaukee 1998.

DTW: Awww, I hate you! <laughs>

CoC: That band has to reform someday.

DTW: I know. I think it would really do some good to the scene, I think there's a lot of people out there who are -starving- for some more Suffocation.

CoC: And the fucking respect they got out of _Despise the Sun_, I can't believe they never followed that up. That's one of the most brutal things ever.

DTW: I wish they would have written even some more tunes for that one.

[Note: This interview occurred before Chief Spires left Nile. I have no information on how this sits in the band apart from Relapse/Nile's official press statements.]

[I wish it to be noted that though I cannot speak for Karl, and had no occasion to ask him, the use of the word "gay" as a pejorative adjective by me is done purely out of habit and its unfortunate phonetic snugness, not through any prejudice whatsoever against homosexuality or homosexuals. -- Paul]

(article submitted 13/5/2001)

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8/12/2005 J Smit Nile: Blazing a Trail of Annihilation
10/12/1999 P Schwarz /
D Rocher
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7/15/2012 D Lake 7.5 Nile - At the Gate of Sethu
11/13/2009 J Smit 9.5 Nile - Those Whom Gods Detest
6/10/2007 J Smit 8.5 Nile - Ithyphallic
5/13/2005 J Smit 9.5 Nile - Annihilation of the Wicked
6/23/2003 J Smit 9 Nile - In Their Darkened Shrines
11/20/2000 P Schwarz 10 Nile - Black Seeds of Vengeance
8/12/2000 P Schwarz 8.5 Nile - In the Beginning
7/8/1998 P Schwarz 9.5 Nile - Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren Ka
12/26/2003 J Smit Deicide / Destruction / Nile / Akercocke / Dew-Scented / Graveworm / Misery Index Redemption at the Palace
5/13/2001 D Rocher Nile / The Haunted / Carnal Forge / The Forsaken At the Haunted Gates of Vengeance
3/13/2001 P Schwarz Nile / Sleath / Regorge / Co-Exist The Delta of Death Descends
8/12/1999 D Rocher Six Feet Under / Mayhem / Vader / Enslaved / Cryptopsy / Nile / Thyrfing / Darkseid Facing the Breton Storm Season
8/12/1999 M Noll Six Feet Under / Vader / Enslaved / Cryptopsy / Nile / Thyrfing Pig's Feet and All Things Yummy
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