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Interview: Karl Sanders of NILE!

Apr. 06, 2012

April 5th, 2012- The Cobra Metal Crew had the opportunity to sit down with Karl Sanders of Nile before their show on Thursday at the House of Blues in Hollywood, CA to catch up and to talk about what’s next for the band.

COBRA: Karl! How are you doing man?

KARL: Great to meet you Andrew! I’m doing great. It’s a beautiful day here in LA!

COBRA: Fuck Yeah! You guys are about 2 weeks into the tour, how have the shows been?

Karl: So far so good!

COBRA: Right on. You guys have been playing a new song “Supreme Humanism of Megalomania” and as you said, people have been blown away by it.

KARL: Yeah man, it was quite interesting looking out and seeing all the different expressions on people’s faces. Like I was saying earlier, I haven’t seen that since the days we were opening for Morbid Angel back in 97-98 when no one knew who we were or what to make of us.

COBRA: Speaking of the new record, you guys are going to be releasing “At The Gates of Sethu.” When did writing begin and what was the process like?

KARL: Well, we started in May of last year (2011) after we finished our European Tour. We worked on that fucking record for 10 months straight, to the exclusion of all else. (Laughs) Long hours, every day.

COBRA: With each new NILE release, you guys always seem to push the boundaries of what you can do both technically and musically. Do you feel that this new album is a reflection of that statement?

KARL: I certainly do. Someone said to me last night, it was a fan standing outside of Slims in San Francisco, basically it amounted to: If you want to achieve anything, doesn’t matter what it is, you’re gonna have to work at it. You put the time and the effort and the sacrifice into it. That’s what we did when we approached creating this new record.

COBRA: As far as the concept of the new record is concerned, what can you tell us?

KARL: It’s in similar territory to other NILE records in that a lot of it stems from Ancient Egyptology and sort of has underlying modern themes tied in. We haven’t abandoned our identity and I don’t believe you should fuck over your fans. If your fans like what you do, and you change too much of what you do, fans don’t like it. What matters to me is when I’m out on tour and I meet the ACTUAL fans and they share their thoughts…those are the people that I listen to. There’s a lot of new ideas within the realm of what we do that we tried to incorporate. We studied real hard on the guitar and have lots of new riffs and musical ideas. There are a lot of surprises on the record.

COBRA: Can we expect any guest appearances on this new record?

KARL: Jon Vesano is all over this record. (Our Former Singer and Bass Guitarist who we’re still good friends with) Jon did some guest vocals on “Those Whom The Gods Detest” and it made us realize all over again all the things we really liked about Jon’s vocals. We wanted to incorporate some of his insanity. (laughs) He’s wicked man. He knows how to channel that inner possession. He finds a way to summon it. It’s great stuff.

COBRA: When is it scheduled to be released?

KARL: Who the fuck knows! (laughs) I’m guessing late May or early June. Just in time for summer.

COBRA: As far as touring goes, are you planning on touring in support of the new album and if so, when can we expect to see you out here again?

KARL: Of course. We’re going to do everything we can to support that record. We put our lives into it.

COBRA: 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of NILE as a band. Are you planning on doing anything special to mark the occasion?

KARL: You’re the first person to bring that up. Holy shit! We’ll be touring like dogs through the rest of this year and into this year. I guess it’ll be like when I had my 40th birthday. We were on tour in Berlin and we stayed up all night, had fun drinking with some German Bands.

COBRA: What’s one of the most memorable moments in NILE history for you guys?

KARL: Probably the Wacken Open Air Fest in 2004. We lucked up and we were right before Slayer so yeah, you couldn’t ask to draw a better slot. When they brought the lights up and you could see the crowd, you could literally feel the tangible human electricity of all the excited metal fans just ready to rock!  (laughs) Another great moment would be when me and Dallas were driving home from Chicago after mixing “Annihilation of The Wicked” and up until that point we had never heard the record in its completed form. We had just heard songs. We were spinning the record and it started dawning on us that the heaviness and power of that record was a bar raising moment for the band.

COBRA: Have you been experimenting with any new instruments?

KARL: Well, there’s quite a bit of Glissentar on this record and there’s some North African percussion. Not so much new…just the usual assortment of Egyptian type instruments.

COBRA: You guys just recently recruited Todd Ellis on Bass Guitar. How’s the chemistry been with him?

KARL: Todd is working hard and trying to do a good job. He seems to be playing the songs pretty well. We scrutinize him pretty hard but he’s playing the songs and he’s doing a pretty good job.

COBRA: To wrap this up: What do you like to do with your free time when you aren’t touring or in the studio?

KARL: I practice guitar. (laughs) Or do Martial Arts. Or be a parent. I have a teenage boy who’s a handful.

Nile is currently on tour with The Black Dahlia Murder, Skeletonwitch, and Hour of Penance.

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