INTERVIEW WITH NILE
Questions answered by: Karl Sanders
Interview took place on 21/12/2001 on X-mass festival in Vienna's Arena, Austria
Interview was done in cold winter night (but in a warm room) after the show, which was great by the way. Unfortunately we didn't have enough time for all the questions, but next time... I would like to thank Karl for doing this interview once again and good luck to Nile - continue with flooding the scene with great music.
So, how are you feeling now after the show? Was it OK tonight?
I thought it was a fine show. Lots of strong metal fans. I'm a little bit sick. I have a sinus infection... been sick the whole tour.
But how was doing this tour so far?
Fabulous! This has been a great tour.
So that shows in almost every city. I think the only one wasn't so, that was Berlin.
And is the merchandise also selling good?
It's doing OK.
Yeah, I cannot retire yet. Still a lot to go...
I know, I know... still things to be done, yeah. Now I wanna ask you, did you really produce "Ramses Bringer Of War" for just 5 bucks? (here we go with this silly question, I just had to ask even though it sounds stupid)
5 bucks? No! It was 300 dollars. For us to record it and... yeah. 5 dollars... ha! That's funny.
Yeah, I mean that's what I read in one 'zine from California.
Aaa... Perhaps that is a misquote.
I would say so, yeah. So, how was it to work with Tibetan Buddhists on your first album?
Well, that was kinda naughty. Actually, when they get their stuff, we were not allowed in the studio with them. They came, they get their thing, we recorded it, we paid them, gave them some bus fare and some American beer...
Yeah, yeah, Budweiser... ha ha. (he looked at me kinda astonished)
You are very well read.
So, it was a little weird, but we were grateful that they at least showed up and did their thing.
That was really great. In my opinion I mean.
Ha ha ha ha... It really helped. I still use those recordings from then, even now.
Are there any recordings left for the third album also?
Ehmmmm... there's... I dunno. I might manipulate some stuff on the computer, you know from the old stuff. We'll see.
Now, I know OK, this is a bit personal question, but still. What's with the custody for your son now?
I have custody.
Aha, so now it's OK.
I won the court case. It took a year and a half in the court and a lot of alimony. About 70.000 US dollars. Well, it pretty much ruined my family financially. But I have custody now and my child is happy and I have a new mother for him. Beautiful French girl.
Are you married now or...?
Yeah, I am married again.
Well, thank you.
Ha ha ha ha....
But are you still pissed at your ex wife?
Ehmmm.... yeah. I hate her. She is an "incept" (he says something like that, though I am not sure what it was). She does not deserve to share this beautiful planet with the rest of us.
OK, let's left her to rot, ha ha.
Ha ha ha...
What's with Pete's Anubis Records nowadays? Was that just for the release of the old stuff or will he be doing some new stuff with other bands now or...?
He has a distro. Now, whether or not he is going to do anything with Anubis, I don't know what's Pete gonna do. Since he hurt his shoulder, he's not playing death metal anymore. He's very business like kinda guy, so I would not be surprised if perhaps he decides to take on a few new bands. I dunno. I talked to him a couple days ago. I called him from France and wished him Merry Christmas and all that and he's doing fine. His shoulder is healed and he's happy, got a new job, playing music on weekend.
And what's his status within Nile now?
Pete left... on good terms.
So it's permanent?
Yeah. We love Pete very much, but you know... Death metal for him... I don't think he is gonna play any more death. It's very demanding, if you like... say when you're out on the tour, you have to play 30 nights in a row. You know, that's... that's what killed him the first time. I am sad that Pete's not with us, he was my best friend for 20 years.
But you're still in contact with him right?
Yeah, I'm on a good terms with Pete.
OK, now this (I kinda start to smile). Do you have any horror or bad dreams about Ramses or being entombed alive or any shit like that? Did you ever had anything like that? Never?
No. The worst bad dreams I've had lately... We share a bus of the English labelist tour with 2 Polish bands. Behemoth, excellent band and another band called April Ethereal. Now these guys, they drink a lot of vodka...
Ha ha, yeah I know...
A lot of vodka. And I usually go to bed early, 'cause I'm used to getting up early. So, I would be in my bunk and trying to get a sleep and as I would be falling asleep, I would hear them. You know, drinking vodka and laughing, joking in Polish. I would go to sleep listening to it and I would have dreams that I would be in Nazi occupied Poland back in the war and there's all these Polish guys and you know... Really scary dreams.
Ha ha... So those guys provoked those dreams.
Yeah (and he burst laughing - Poli), 'cause I fell asleep while listening to them carried out in Polish.
Now I know about your research in ancient Egypt. Do you believe that ancient Egyptians had something like a TV and that they knew how to fly? (here we go again with silly questions, ha ha)
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha...
I mean, I have actually read this stuff so I had to ask...
Wow... had TV. I find that difficult to believe. I am not a person who believes in like you know, aliens built the pyramids or blah blah blah...
What about the occult knowledge about ancient Egypt or Mesopotamia?
Emmmm... What occult knowledge do I have, is that what you're asking? I am not sure of the question.
Well, this is what I read in some occult books about Egypt, that they knew how to fly and that they had something like a TV. But... (I know, a stupid thing to ask- must have been the alcohol in my blood)
Yeah, yeah, yeah...
Ha ha ha... But they definitely knew a lot about astrology and...
Science, medicine, astrology... yeah. Did they have flying crafts- I don't think so.
Do you believe in Atlantidean and Lemurian...
Lemuria? Sure, why not.
... that the knowledge was not lost, but that only a little group of people carried this knowledge? Do you believe stuff like that?
I believe that. I also believe very strongly when the Romans burned Alexandria, there was a library there. And I believe that A LOT of knowledge was kept there.
And they burned it. And probably whatever the Romans didn't destroy then, couple hundred years later the Christians probably finished off whatever else was left of the ancient knowledge. Just got rid of it, killed people. When Egypt completely felt from power after the end of the Romans and the Christians came in, took over and Coptic Christians were controlling Egypt and the priesthood was destroyed. I think they probably wiped out a whole lot of knowledge that was kept. The entire scribe class and priesthood class...
Well, I heard that there were more books in Alexandria back then than in whole Europe in the middle ages.
I believe it.
Yeah. Well, that's Christianity... can't help it. Oh, was it your idea to use all those people in Khetti Satha Shemsu? Because I think it's great.
Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah... Actually, they were on tour and came through town and I invited them you know, to go for dinner. As I came over and while we were eating, I told Ross (Ross Dolan from Immolation) that this is what I wanted to do. So we went in the back room - you know, I have a whole bunch of recording stuff at my home - and I recorded them. Then we took those files off the computers, carried them in the studio and I mixed him in with all the other people.
Because I think that the result is great, yeah.
Ha ha ha...
It's like a great outro for the great album.
We have a lot of fun. We do it live too.
Yeah, I saw it tonight. Because the last time when you played in Slovenia, like 1 year and a half ago, you didn't have enough time to play all the songs.
Yeah, we were late to get in there and everybody had to play short. I was very sad about that.
Aha, you played only 15 minutes.
Yeah. Very sad. Very sad. So, we would be playing and there would be people singing the songs to us. You know, it was like "WOW! This is a really metal place." People really knew our music. This first time we ever, EVER been in that area. Hopefully we will be allowed to come back.
Is there really a demo called "Nile" from 1994?
Did you ever record something like that?
Yeah... yeah. (he said this uneasy) It's a... There is a demo and... I personally don't think it's all that hot...
To be re-released nowadays?
No, I'm not gonna to re-release it. It's too early, too "formative". We weren't really sure what we were doing with the band yet.
But were those songs the same as on "Festivals..." or some others?
No, different songs.
... that you are not playing anymore. So, forgotten songs.
Yeah well, people in our home town do not let us forget some of those songs. They torment me. Everyday. "Why don't you play it, why don't you play this one, why don't you play this one, why don't you play it..." There's one song in particular. They drive me nuts with that.
What's it called?
It's called Worship The Animal. (here comes a moment of silence) Yeah, there was a... one of those you know, where the people in the crowd sing along. I'm glad we are not to play it anymore.
You know, one of those that you played just a billion times and you can't stand it anymore.
So, it's off now... he he.
What happened with that soundtrack for Fulci? Did it ever happen?
Yeah. That came out on the CD. A bunch of bands contributed. I don't know if it is actually they used it in a film or not. I think they just kept our contribution to the CD version. But it's available, I've seen it in stores.
Would you say that you're a fan of Fulci's movies? Not really?
Not a big fan. I mean, they're cool to watch. You know, it's Saturday night, you're seeing with your girlfriend, there's nothing else to do "Oh, let's go watch a Fulci's movie, what the fuck."
What about this, do you think that one day you will be able to play under the Sphinx? Do you think that's possible?
I don't think that will be permitted. Metal is frowned upon in Egypt and Israel. We had an offer to go to Israel and they would provide everything, but I wasn't too sure about the promoter
Was this last year or this year? (interview was made in December 2001)
That was last year.
So, before all these...?
Before all this crazy fucking shit. I imagine there are parts of the world where simply because I am an American I would be not welcome or whatsoever.
So, what do you think about all this...? I mean, the whole situation in the World, happening now after September 11th?
Well... I think it's really bad. It's kinda like a polarizing kind of thing, where people that didn't necessarily care, all the sudden now they take sides. I heard many times "Well, America deserved it, America had it coming, it's about time America took it up then ass!" Well, you know... I live in America and all my life is pretty simple. I get up in the morning, I go to work you know, I make sure my kid goes to school, I pay my taxes, I try to feed my family, keep the roof over my head, I try to make music. What the fuck makes me such a "imofuckingperson" that you know, my country deserves this!? I have no fucking idea! I have no clue. People who think that... I dunno. I don't understand that...
Maybe because of the policy of your government?
OK, can I ask you this, but you don't have to answer. For whom did you vote on the last elections?
Well, I am not allowed to vote. I have a criminal past...
Oh, I'm all ears. :)
So I am not allowed to vote.
Do you think that Bush is the right president for this situation now or not?
Well, I imagine that anybody of Muslim or Islam heritage probably says "No!". But everyone in America, no matter who they are or what they're like, pretty much understands something had to be done. Some action had to take place. You can not allow people to steal airplanes and crash them into fucking buildings. That's stupid, you cannot allow it. Something had to be done. And even though I'm sure it takes a lot of criticism in a lot of places in the world... that's kinda the price, I think it must be paid. Not everyone is gonna like you. Like in death metal. Once you decided that you're going to play death metal music, you've already understood you're doing something not everyone is gonna like. But I think you have to make a stand in life. Decide who you are, what you mean, what you believe and even if some people gonna naanaanaanaaanaaa..., you still gotta try and stay true.
OK. Let's go to something different now. Did you hear that they've found another tomb under the ground and that it's lying in front of the Sphinx?
No kidding? No, I've been around on tours...
They have discovered it few years ago.
Well, I heard about... (here he said something, but I couldn't figure out what it was) is very deep and there's a pool down there and some other stuff. It's very big. Yeah.
And they said that there might be a Black Box in that tomb. The trapeze...
Right, right... They show it as a trapezohedron.
That's what they said.
Yeah. I have also heard that said that that could possibly be in the tomb of Osiris. Who knows. I dunno, I've been very busy lately. I don't have a lot time to keep up with stuff.
So you are not researching these...
Ehhh, not right now.
... so much as before?
Not as much as I was before, right. I don't have a lot time. I work, I try to make music, I've been writing songs. I don't have time for a lot of research lately.
I've heard about these old traditional burials that are deep in the desert (in Egypt I mean). They put the deceased deep in the ground while chanting and nowadays they even use speakers, so it's real spooky.
I mean, it's like you have the silence of the desert at night on one side and the chantings on the other side, so it's really creepy and spooky. Do you think that you could record something like that and use it on your next albums?
That's a fucking cool idea. Yeah. I would like to hear that.
I heard it's real spooky. (a friend interrupted me here to tell me that his car was taken by a tow-truck, coz it was parked where it shouldn't be and that it wasn't stolen)
Yeah, that's genious. I would love to hear that.
In one of the old interviews around "...Nephren-Ka" era, you also mentioned some of the songs that will be on "Black Seeds Of Vengeance" album. And among them you mentioned Onward To Kadesh. What happened with that song? Was it just re-titled or you decided not to use it?
That was changed, the name of it to Multitude Of Foes.
Oh, that's Multitude Of Foes nowadays, OK. Emmm... how did you choose Tony?
How did we use Tony?
No, no, CHOOSE.
After Pete's broken...
Well... Actually, he was the first person we called, when we would finish album.
Did you have an audition or just...?
He was your first pick?
Yeah, he was our first pick. But he didn't answer his phone. So we called... And Derek Roddy came and he did the thing and you know, words saying "What the fuck are we gonna do?" And Derek goes "Well hey, give Tony a call." ha ha. So we called him and he answered his phone this time.
And I know that you've played many gigs with Dark Moon before.
So was Jon Versano your first decision or did you have an audition for another bass player?
He was my first choice. We took a few auditions just, you know... because. But Jon was our first pick.
And what's with dark Moon nowadays?
Dark Moon has a new MCD out. It's a 4 song. It's called "308 Antichrist". Pretty Cool.
Because I never heard their music. So can you give us some background, like are their lyrics along yours or...?
No, not at all. They're sorta like a modern American black/death kind of thing. Very war like. It's very war like. They sing a lot about war.
Now, I've heard about ancient ritual opening of the mouth before. But your version is really fascinating. So what's with that sodomy in your lyrics?
Well, that ehhh.... When there was comparing different versions of the opening of the mouth and comparing what the myth of dismemberment and mutilation of Osiris by his brother Seth, there was a lot of phallic symbolism in it. So we sort of approached it from more of a Sethian, not Seth like- temple of Seth, but from like the Seth point of view you know. Instead of Osiris having the proper opening of the mouth, which he did not... You know, he was mutilated and dismembered so (he claps with his hands here)... there you go.
But how did you connect it with sodomy?
Well, there was a lot of phallic symbolism. You know, a touch... (some people came by and talked with Karl) I hope I'm not gonna be left... Just that there was a lot of phallic symbolism. Touching with the odds to the eyes and mouth and the nose and... It seemed phallic to me.
But the opening of the mouth is basically just about letting the KA rise from the dead body, right?
In the awakening of the senses, to allow you know, the deceased to be able to see and taste and hear and smell in the afterlife.
Have you ever played some songs from "Festivals Of Atonement"?
Yes. We played on our headlining segment, when we were in England, we were playing The Black Hand Of Set.
Aha. That was this year?
But on this tour you are not playing any...
Well, they only gave us so much time. So we have to try and pick which ones. You know, somebody is gonna get mad that they don't get to hear the song they want sooner or later. I wish I could play all of them for everyone. But you know...
So tell me some info about the new songs from your next album and what will be with Nile in the future.
Well, I'm going to record the new album in February with 10 songs finished. The song titles: The Blessed Dead, Sarcophagus, Execration Text, In Their Darkened Shrines, Kheftiu Asar Butchiu (actually, I had to check the name of this one later on their site :), River God- that's one Dallas has been working on... and a few more.
Is there any really fascinating tale behind any of these songs?
Well, the fascinating tale behind these songs is... Dallas and I are just really happy, we work together, writing songs without some of the troubles that were given to us by past members.
Aha. Because I wanted to ask you what happened with Chief actually, what was the reason for his departure?
He wanted to quit.
He wanted to quit?
He wanted to quit. He never came to practice anymore.
So he wasn't dedicated as much as he was before? Or...
Yeah... Back in the old days with "Festivals Of Atonement" you know, it was the three of us. We worked very hard together and later on he started becoming, you know more... in his own mind very famous. Now he doesn't want to play death metal anymore. He wants to play some music that will sell lots of records. So, we had a meeting and I said "I'm gonna play death metal. I don't care if it's sell 5 records or 10 records or whatever, I don't give a fuck. I'm happy playing death metal. And I'm gonna keep playing death metal." So... he quit. I mean, it wasn't a bad split. He just wanted to do something other than what we wanted to do. So we are both happier now.
So what do you think he will be doing now? Something... what? Heh he, definitely not death metal, right?
I dunno. Yeah, he got invited to do a side project with some of the guys from Cannibal and Angelcorpse. To lay some vocals. But... we'll have to see.
You're in your 30's today, so when did you start to play guitar and how did you get into the metal scene?
I played guitar since I was in the 4th grade, I was playing in bands since I was 16 and I am 38 now.
So why did it took so long you know... to become let 'say famous, well recognized or to really make a hit with Nile?
I dunno... ehhh... I don't know.
Was it the right people or just...
The right people...
I guess so. Everything has to fall in place and metal gods did not give things to me when I was young. They gave it to me later on. I appreciated it now more. I know how easy it is to be a failure. And back in those days I was just a fuckin' animal. Fuckin' drinking, doing drugs all night, staying up for days, party fucking'... yeah. I've spent just as much time fuckin' partying as we did playing music. So it wasn't until later on, until after I stopped all that and got serious about my stuff. You know, no more drinking, no more drugs, not so many women. So maybe that's why.
So would you say that your life is different nowadays?
Yes. Much different.
OK, that's good. Because that's what is important in life. OK, I would like to thank you for the interview...
Well, thank you my friend, it was my pleasure.
...and good luck in the future.
Yeah, I really enjoyed talking with you.
And I also hope that you will come back to Slovenia. Maybe... some other time...
I would love to come back to Slovenia.
... in the next couple of years.
Slovenia is metal.
Heh he, yeah definitely.
Ha ha ha...
OK, good luck again.