Soooooo, NILE has a new record coming out called What Should Not Be Unearthed on August 28 via Nuclear Blast Records. The wait is over and the guys have delivered one tasty piece of Death Metal. I had a chat by phone with guitarist/vocalist and founding member Karl Sanders recently and he talked about how good it is to be back, his martial arts studies, and more. Check it:
Amps: before we start with questions I wanted to tell you that “Evil to Cast Out Evil” is far and away my favorite song on this disc. Simply crushing!!
Karl: You’re not in the minority. I think a lot of people are really enjoying that song. Which is not a surprise. We knew as soon as Dallas (Toler-Wade, vocals/guitars) brought that one in that it was gonna be a pretty popular tune.
Amps: Three long years have passed since At the Gate of Sethu…how’s it feel knowing the fans can finally stop chewing their arms off waiting for this new album?
Karl: I for one am counting the days until it gets out there and people can fuckin’ hear it. We spent all this time and hard work making it so now it’s time for people to hear it.
Amps: How’s (new bassist) Brad Parris working out?
Karl: He’s doing a great job, and we’re really happy with Brad. He’s got a youthful enthusiasm that’s very refreshing. I think music should be fun, it shouldn’t be like going to work. It should be something that’s your joy. I love metal and I love playing metal. Sometimes you can have people in a band that sap all the joy out of it.
Amps: What’s different this time around, but what’s the same NILE we all know and love?
Karl: Well, that’s a good question. It’s definitely NILE in that you’ll recognize all the trademarks. It’s fast, furious, and brutal death metal. And the subject matter is very much in keeping with NILE traditions. What’s different I think about this record is that it’s less focused on technicality and more focused on writing songs that are fun to play and fun to listen to. I think there’s times that technical death metal bands get a little TOO technical for their own good, and it becomes difficult to listen to. This record we really put our focus on songwriting and putting the listener first.
Amps: As someone who is a newer fan of the band, tell me about the writing process/order/hierarchy in the group.
Karl: Usually I’ll write the lyrics first and then either Dallas or I will write music using those lyrics as a starting point. Somewhere along the way if we come up with something worth pursuing we’ll make a demo and really map out the whole song. Then everyone in the band will listen and figure out how to make their own contributions and we put it all together finally in the band room. Everybody hopefully contributes to the development of the song. That’s more or less how it goes.
Amps: Any plans on a third solo album, and will it be in the same “Saurian” title family?
Karl: Yes there will be, and yes it will have “Saurian” in the title. I can’t give you the rest of it because I haven’t made the record yet. A lot of people have been asking me for it and it’s something I really want to do. Obviously right now NILE is the priority; NILE consumes a large amount of my time.
Amps: When can we expect to see you touring the U.S.?
Karl: The tour starts next year in January and we’ll be touring all around the States. This time we even have a hometown show at the end of the tour. We haven’t played our hometown in ten fuckin’ years. We haven’t played Greenville, South Carolina in Ten. Years.
Amps: That’s criminal, why is that?
Karl: Well yes, it is fucking criminal, but it has more to do with the pathetic music scene in our town than anything else. We would lose more money than it’s worth to bring the bus here to our hometown than going to Atlanta or Charlotte. Therefore Greenville doesn’t get to see us, because we lose money. But this time we managed to get a hometown show at the end of the tour. The bus has to come here anyway to bring us fucking home, so we might as well play a fucking show here.
Amps: What about when you’re not in the studio and you’re not on the road…what does Karl Sanders do to relax, or turn down the world?
Karl: I do martial arts, which I think has been a key component in my sanity in recent years. Especially after making the At the Gate of Sethu album; I was very mentally unhealthy after that. There’s just something wonderfully therapeutic about beating the shit out of your fellow classmates and them beating the shit out of you that I really love. The particular style is Sen-I-Jutsu, and it’s a very brutal physical style with a lot of hard contact. It’s very soul-liberating when someone’s punching you and kicking you in the head all other concerns seem to fade into insignificance (laughs).
Amps: Dallas has been with you a long time. George (Kollias, drums) has been with you a long time. It’s 2015…in a time where bands rotate members like crazy, why do you think you’ve kept this core together for over a decade?
Amps: Well, that’s a great question. Certainly every relationship has its ups and downs. But I like to think because we are experienced musicians we try to have a professional outlook on things and put the needs of the band before the needs of the individual. It’s a brotherhood.
Amps: I’m excited to see you live because the Gods only know what you have in store for us.
Karl: (Laughing) well, some metal for sure! Metal will take place, my friend.
Amps: What are you listening to in your car or at home?
Karl: Nothing beats some good old IMMOLATION; they’re one of my favorite metal bands ever. EXODUS is another one. But I also like other stuff like Al Green and EARTH, WIND, AND FIRE. I also like rock and metal made before the age of computers. Old, old, old stuff like THIN LIZZY.
Amps: OK, real quick…Favorite movie, favorite book, favorite quote?
Karl: Favorite book? The Book of the Dead. Favorite movie? I have to say Re-Animator. It’s hard to pick just one favorite quote. I guess the one I try to live by is one my friend said to me once: “Let’s just shut up and train.”
Amps: Are there any songs that fire you up more than others in the NILE discography as far as playing live?
Karl: I feel like when we’re performing live my mind is just focused on the job at hand. I’ve got to play guitar and hit my vocal cues, and try to do it with feeling. It’s kind of like a football player; you better play your ass off all four quarters.
Amps: Say something to all the NILE fans out there.
I really had a lot of fun talking with Karl Sanders. The guy is very grounded, and he’s pretty damn funny once you get him going. We laughed quite a bit over some things not printed here because that was just for us during the conversation, and A&GS isn’t that kind of site. We’re not clickbait, nor will we ever be. Do yourselves a favor and pick up What Should Not Be Unearthed on August 28. Your ears will thank you!