Loppen, Copenhagen, DEN - 24/3
author EW date 01/09/12
In the league of death metal, it would be fair to say only Decapitated and Behemoth could rival Nile in terms of relevance over the past decade. The South Carolinians are a formidable force on record and live and with this years “At the Gates of Sethu”, continue to release their own brand of inimitably intricate and brutal death metal. Not just this, but having had the following chat with guitarist/vocalist/mainman Karl Sanders at Bloodstock I can confirm they also possess one of the nicest guys you could meet in the genre. Read on to see what he has to say about inspiration, song-writing and The Mummy movies.
RF.net: So you joined the band called Nile? I thought it was your band from the start…
Karl: Well it was, but we weren’t always called Nile. In fact for a while we had no name at all and a friend of mine said, "well you guys like that Middle Eastern stuff, why don’t you call yourselves Nile?” and we all thought it’s a simple name, probably make a logo, easily read, different… why not?
RF.net: Ah, ok. I didn’t know it came that way around. I thought maybe that was built to fit around the lyrical themes…
RF.net: It’s a start. You said as well you had a childhood interest…
RF.net: So was it the grandeur, the history of it…
Karl: I don’t have a degree in it, so you know it’s just a casual interest.
RF.net: You’ve taken that casual interest quite far by releasing 7 albums around it!
Karl: Well you know actually the casual interest, the more I research the lyrics the more I became even more interested. It’s like the more you learn, the more there is for you to learn.
RF.net: Do you set any boundaries on what your lyrical themes must be - must it be Egyptian themed?
Karl: No not necessarily. There are other themes that you wouldn’t necessarily talk about so much, like on the new record there is a song called "The Natural Liberation of Fear Through the Ritual Deception of Death", which comes from ‘The Book of the Dead’. There’s always been Lovecraft ideas we’ve worked with and sometimes ancient Babylonian/Sumerian. So it’s not exclusively ancient Egypt, but there is certainly a mountain of it.
RF.net: So there is no lack of material or inspiration for future Nile albums.
Karl: Absolutely not! There’s a huge deep wellspring to draw from so I’m not worried right now about losing inspiration.
RF.net: I did question it but he’s a big Nile fan so I thought I’d trust him on this but I’ll tell he’s wrong then.
Karl: He must be younger, cause that’s like on the first album and second album, so if he is young enough and…
Karl: Ehh…(Karl judges for a moment on this one…). Old enough I s’pose!
RF.net: I tell him Karl has told him off!
RF.net: That’s a good starting point, interesting you put it that way.
RF.net: Just from my point of view I had a feeling that’d be the case. So when you’re writing the new songs and you’re pushing the boundaries of technicality and extremity in death metal, how do you keep an oversight on pushing yourself while still writing memorable songs? Do you consider that at all times?
Karl: That’s the balance, isn’t it? It’s always a balance. Ultimately you have to trust yourself, because each audience member perceives music in a slightly different way. Everyone has a little bit different background, so everyone comes to it from a different place. So how do you find that right balance? I don’t know. I strike the balance that’s good for me and in that respect it’s honest and true.
RF.net: You’re still very relevant today as well which is saying something…
RF.net: Did you ever take it out on the road?
Karl: I don’t really think I’m going to. A – it’s not really meant for the live setting and b, I have a wife and child. If I were to tour with 2 bands it would be very unfair to them. They stood by me with all the Nile touring being gone for half the year, every year, to take on a second touring band I feel would be a little unfair.
RF.net: Maybe you could play as your own support act!
Karl: Who knows…
RF.net: Ok and finally if you had to do a duet with someone outside metal who would you choose and why?
Karl: No - if they are not metal fuck ‘em!!
RF.net: Nicely said! That’s all I’ve got, thank you very much.
Karl: Thank you, it was a lot of fun!
In the subsequent conversation I had Karl also revealed that the tour featuring Nile, Morbid Angel, Kreator and Fueled by Fire later this year will be heading to the UK (as yet not announced) so watch this space for more!