One of the heaviest band’s in the modern metal scene, South Carolina trio Nile is gearing up for another highly anticipated tour of Australia. On the eve of their visit, Greece native and arguably the man with fastest feet in death metal – George Kollias was kind enough to chat with Killyourstereo about music, touring and the current state of ‘heavy’ music.
Could you please state your name, role in the band, and your favourite record of last year?
I am George Kollias and I play drums for Nile. My favourite album in 2009 or one of them at least would be Marduk’s ‘Wormwood’. I am just really into the band and I really like what they do. Marduk is a true metal band, period!
Nile is gearing up for another headline Australian tour. How are things going with the band at the moment?
This is one of the best periods Nile (has) ever had, we got a brand new album and we did many shows for it already. We feel pretty confident with the new material but yet hungry to deliver more metal out there.
Last time you were here with Decapitated (in 2007) and on this Australian run, you are bringing along two notable death metal acts – Abigail Williams and Hate Eternal. What can we expect from Nile this time around?
We had some great moments with Decapitated, actually, that was the last time I saw my friend Vitek (drummer) before he passed away so I keep some really important memories from that tour. This time we are coming with Hate Eternal, which I am a sworn fan of them for years. We know the guys and we are really good friends. It is going to be a blast and people will really dig the shows. All the bands are really excited about this tour.
Prominent producer Neil Kernon (Cannibal Corpse, Nevermore) has produced the band’s last three albums. With music as abrasive and intense as death metal, finding continuity in the sound, and subsequently someone to produce this must be of high importance. Can you tell us what it is like working with him?
Working with Neil…definitely it is not what you expect knowing who he is. At first, I was almost scared working with a legend like Neil. But pretty soon we became friends and he is a truly awesome guy to work with. Really down to earth and super funny. We always had a lot of fun. Neil pushed the band a lot. He cares about Nile. He is more than a producer and this is the reason we worked 3 times with him already. We feel Neil is a part of our band and he definitely has a big part of each album’s success, and I am not referring to the production only but (also) to the music.
Often lyrics and musical themes are seen as secondary or an afterthought to the music itself. However, Nile has a strong emphasis on Egyptian influences in the song writing. When it comes time to record/write an album, what is the balance like? Is the music written first and then the lyrics added or sometimes will the music fit around the ideas you have in mind?
That is a funny question because when I first joined the band and saw how the guys worked I was amazed. Karl is writing the lyrics down first and then he and Dallas are getting to writing the music. The funny thing is, they read the lyrics and get inspired, it is like the lyrics bring those riffs together which I find amazing.
In a recent interview with Australia’s Blunt Magazine, you guys stated the worst current metal trends are “the hordes of copycat metalcore bands with tight pants and silly haircuts”. What is your take on the current metal scene? Do you feel these bands are detrimental to metal as a whole, or do you feel they force groups to lift their game – to try to create music that is original and fresh, so it is not seen as derivative?
Well these were not my words but I would agree on that. Lately metal has turned into the more mainstream side – and has, as a result; many “shitty” bands as well. But I will be honest, I don’t really give a damn. I don’t even know these bands, they just don’t exist to me. All I care (about) is the good music, wherever I can find it and it really does not need to be metal only, it just needs to be good. Hell, I know some jazz bands that are a lot more metal than most of the metal bands today, if you get what I am saying.
The current Nile line-up seems the most stable it has ever been. In what ways do you feel this will have a positive effect on the band’s music in the future?
Well, that is positive for sure. We get to know each other more, so we can communicate a lot better on stage or in the studio. The term band for me is all about this, and if you have stable members in the circle, (it) makes things a lot easier.
Metal fans can be fickle and often despise when bands they like listen to music that is not associated with all things heavy. However, musical variety should always be seen as a good thing. What are some bands/albums you have been digging lately that are not necessarily metal releases?
I’m mostly listening to non metal music, probably because I play too much metal (laughs). Recently I’ve been listening to Alex Machacek and Jo Jo Mayer’s band ‘The Nerve’, both are some of my favourite musicians and their music is very inspiring for me. Some people really need to open their eyes and look further; if music is good then it is good whatever the hell it is.
Many bands are commonly asked what their best touring experience has been. However, sometimes the unfortunate instances make for the best reading. With that said, what has been the worst experience you have had as a band in your seventeen-year tenure as a group?
Too many things to mention – we had broken tour buses in the middle of the desert, we had lost trailers somewhere in the highway, we also had people getting killed where we were playing. Whatever you can imagine it probably happened (laughs).
What are some new bands that people should keep an eye out for in 2010?
New bands? I don’t know? Please tell me when you know because I really need some good metal these days. Check out Mass Infection from Greece, not a new band for sure but they just recorded a new CD and they kick ass!
Any final words?
Thank you for your support and I wish you the best. See you in Australia in a few days.
Thanks for the interview George, look forward to the upcoming tour.