Nile: These Aren’t Lullabies….

“I open my closet and in there is over forty black t-shirts and about the same amount of ‘Camo’ pants”

Nile is a technical death metal band with a vast distinction; the band are the purveyors of a particular form of death metal inspired by Ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern mysticism. This style illuminates the bands stand point with fans and critics alike. Metal As Fuck had the pleasure this morning in catching up with vocalist Karl Sanders to discuss soup, the ithyphallic depiction and the bands triumphant offering At The Gate of Sethu.


How has 2012 treated you so far? “Well so far, up and down, we have been working hard recording and mixing the new album, plus tours with the Black Dahlia Murder through the States, urgh abysmal travelling through Asia, I got sick in Asia, not the best, but that’s life hey, ups and downs”.


The bands 2007 release; but also the music of Nile is self described as ithyphallic metal – can you elaborate on this description for us? [Laughs] “Ok, you asked for it……. ithyphallic refers to the ancient practice of the gods of war and the gods of fertility and the statues of which resemble massive erectness”. Flabbergasted and with a silent phone connection I quickly stumble together; Right, I had read something similar but thought I better double check ha-ha.


What sets Nile apart from the run of the mill death metal band? “I had hoped for something, in the beginning and I guess some might say the fact that we use historical material, it’s not necessarily everyday you know. I like to think we have developed our own sound over the years, done things our own way, it was always the goal to produce a high level of artistic expression and songwriting, I mean Nile can never be accused of slapping together a song”.


At the Gate of Sethu: I have had a sneak preview, extremely aggressive; the drums are very evident in this album and from memory more evident than ever, like the sky was shitting double kick. What do you see as the Nile trademarks on this album? “Definitely the song writing approach, the song structures. Bringing that crazy, brutal, exotic music with the drums and guitars - that only Nile does”.


Considering that the lyrics are generally based on ancient Egyptian themes: have you ever felt limited when writing lyrics, because of this ongoing subject or has it been the complete opposite? “Yeah I’d have to say the complete opposite, its liberating you know, like I compare it to my closet. I open my closet and in there is over forty black t-shirts and about the same amount of ‘Camo’ pants, so when I go to my closet each morning I don’t ever get confused or stressed as to what direction I want to go or what wear each day, it’s all so simple”.


Possibly the best explanation ever, so what initially attracted the band towards the Egyptian themes and imagery? "Well at the first point of the formative period of the band, you know before we knew our identity and direction I asked myself two questions, if I were a listener of a band called Nile, what would I want to hear? What would I expect from a death metal band called Nile anyway? These two questions took to quite an undertaking for the band, finding that reason and objective. The use of ancient stories and texts, I think, has always been an inspiration to the music of Nile; I will always write the lyrics first as a guide to introduce the music”.


So in saying that, what is the full process of preparing the material for a new release? “It’s pretty challenging, once the lyrics are written, Dallas [Toler-Wade] and I record all the songs as demos, map it all out and over several months we beat the songs to fucking death, rehearse it out once we think its beaten enough and complete another honing stage together in the rehearsal room ready for recording, this whole process is time consuming yet it’s the best approach for the music in our opinion”.


So having such an arduous process for writing/recording, what would have been the biggest challenge recording At The Gate of Sethu do you think? Karl blows some raspberries down the phone line “That’s a tough one, I think I would have to say that the time consuming process that’s involved, you know the perseverance, the stress it all builds up, the mentally draining sessions, the self-doubt, is it going to be any good, all that rubbish during that period I would have to say is the most challenging, just being able to see past all the stress and knock something out that you know you’re proud of and that you have spent a lot of hard work on”.

With saying that, would you change your recording methods to avoid the amount of time used? "[Laughs] no actually, it is the most productive way to do things at camp Nile. I mean I’ve been in bands before where we all just show up at rehearsal and no one has any idea where the music is going, it just goes, and more often than not it doesn’t make for a listenable piece of music. It’s like making soup yet you fail to tell anyone what ingredients to bring”. [Laughs again]  

You've quite an extensive and impressive catalogue; guitars, bass, keyboards, and any additional instrument you have used in the past - what brought you to death metal? “The challenge of it all you know, I was taken by it. Back in the late 80’s early 90’s death metal was an evolving art form, it wasn’t noise, it was artistic expression, and I wanted to do it right, these aren’t lullabies by any stretch of the imagination – the music is challenging, demanding and taxing work”. So what tours are in place to promote the latest offering? Any visits to Australia? Maybe, pretty please? “Yeah you know it Australia! Yeah we love Soundworks and Dysie, they are a great bunch to work with and Australian fans have always been really good to us, I can say without doubt we will be in Australia and it will be METAL AS FUCK!”.