On October 7th, 2005, death metal veterans Nile visited Linköping, Sweden, for a show together with In-Quest and Visceral Bleeding. Chief editor Vincent Eldefors had a chat with band founder Karl Sanders a few hours prior to stage time, discussing everything from the band's early days to label issues and hair care.

You've been touring Europe since late August now, are you longing to get back home?

You are? You're getting tired of Europe?
No, I mean, it's been such a long tour.

How has the tour been going?
It has been a great tour.

One of the better you've done?
Eh..., it has been pretty good.

Do you have any specific memories or exciting events to tell us about from this tour?
[Long silence.] I think hanging out with Behemoth. We got to spend a lot of time with them, that was good.

I noticed that you were accused of cancelling your show in Belgrade for no reason, what really happened there?
We couldn't get across the border. I think that is a pretty good reason, if you can't get there then you can't play the fucking show. They said we had too much gear, it was worth too much money, so the promoter told us to lie. If we would lie we would get across the border but lying is bad. They already knew what we had. If we tried to tell the guy next to him that we had something different, you know, that's fucking stupid. The promoter that's been bad mouthing us, saying that we cancelled for no reason, he's a fucking liar. He's a fucking cocksucker.

How is it different playing in Europe compared to the US?
I don't know..., here in Europe we play in a different country every day. People are a little different but it's like an adventure. You have some things that I like, Japan have some things that I like, every place has its own charm.

What is the biggest crowd you have played in front of? Wacken?
Yeah, that would be the Wacken show.

Nile began in 1993 but in the late 80s you were in a band called Morriah together with Pete Hammoura and Chief Spires, could you tell me something about that? Was it your first real band? You even played a show with Morbid Angel once I believe?
You knew about that? Wow! That was about ten years, on and off. We played with Morbid Angel and Queensr˙che and Danzig, Metal Church...., some others. The music was very different [from Nile]. Sometimes it was Slayer but it had really good guitar solos. The vocals were kind of Queensr˙che-ish so it was kind of a weird band, a little bit ahead of its time. Nevermore now was kind of what we sounded like back then.

Why did you quit?
It was really hard to get anywhere, no-one gave a fuck about what we were doing. I think there was a show we were going to play about two hours from home and the singer says: "I don't want to do it, I'm really tired today". We were fed up, we went there and played the show and Chief and I did the vocals. We were like: "Wait a minute, why were we taking abuse from this motherfucker if we could do the vocals ourselves. Fuck this.". The we changed over and started becoming Nile. It took a little while to figure out what we were doing.

How did you first become so fascinated with ancient Egypt? Was it before Nile?
I don't know, it started when I was a kid.

Was finding a unique image for the band the main reason?
Well, we didn't know what we were going to call ourselves. A friend said to us: "You guys like Middle Eastern music and play a little of that so why don't you call yourselves Nile?". We said, why not? The idea started growing. It was music that we liked anyway so it kind of evolved itself.

Do you read a lot about Egypt these days as well?
I've got lots of books, always liked them. And statues.

Do you collect?
Yeah, I've got four new ones with me on the bus right now that I will try to carry on to the airplane.

Was it always a musician you wanted to become?
Yeah, it was always music. When I was a child my parents always said: "What are you going to do? What are you going to do? ..." I said I wanted to play the guitar and they said it's not realistic. "You must have a real job." but this is what I wanted to do.

"Metal Hammer" has referred to you as the "Iron Maiden of death metal", what do you think they mean by that and do you agree with them?
I don't know what the fuck they mean. The fucking English press they say lots of nice words but I don't think it means anything.

What do you think about bands such as Behemoth and Melechesh who have somewhat of a similar lyrical approach as you?
I happen to like both those bands, I don't have any problems with them.

Earlier this year you were joined by a young bassist called Joe Payne, where did you find him? What has he been doing in the past?
Under a rock. [Shouts at Dallas - Where did we find out bass player Joe Payne? Under a rock. Dallas and Joe start laughing.] He played in Lecherous Nocturne, Lust Of Decay and he's got his own band going on. Dominion..., what the fuck is the name of the band? [Shouts at Joe.] Domination Through Impurity, that's it.

Jon Vesano parted with the band since he didn't want to give up his day job. Is playing with Nile a full-time commitment today? Are you able to make a living from the band only?
Yeah, it takes your time as a full-time job but it doesn't necessarily pay like a full-time job. It pays enough for me, maybe not enough for Jon. We're doing alright, we're not rich but we're happy.

Another rather new face in Nile is drummer George Kollias, how come you drafted a Greek drummer? Did you know of him from before? I suppose he has relocated to the USA now?
Derek Roddy recommended him. We had already heard him as well. His band Sickening Horror opened up for us when we played in Athens, Greece, so we had already seen George. When Derek recommended him me and Dallas watched some videos and listened to his work and we believed that he is the right guy.

Has he relocated to the US?
He just comes when we need him like rehearsals, practice for the tour, whatever...

Was Tony Laureano never interested in joining the band on a more permanent basis?
I don't want to comment on Tony, who knows what the fuck he is thinking.

It has soon been half a year since the release of "Annihilation Of The Wicked", have the sales been what you expected or wished for?
Yeah. I think we have had a pretty good response, we're really happy with the record. We're happy with the recording, the songs work very well live, life's good.

You have stayed loyal to Relapse Records for a long time now, you must be very satisfied with their support? Are you still under contract?
Well, we have a deal with Relapse. [Giggles a little] When you have signed a paper I don't know if you can call it being loyal to your label. Our contract is done.

So you've been thinking about other options?
Who knows? Who can tell? It's a big world.

What do the nearest plans for Nile look like except for touring?
More touring.

No other plans? A DVD maybe?
No DVD plans. We are going to work this album and then think about recording something new in fall time.

[Here's where I made the embarassing mistake about asking about Karl's "upcoming" solo album which I for some reason believed were going to be released this year when it was actually issued last year. Karl begins talking about plans for the next solo outing.]
We're going to finish touring with Nile first but I have some ideas. I don't like to write things when I'm on tour. I like to just tour when I'm on tour and when I'm writing, just writing, keeping them separate.

It will not be for Relapse?

You mean the solo? I already did that album, it was released last November. When i log in to your website I will read this questions and see if it's the truth [laughs].
Oh, sorry about that [slightly embarassed laughter].

But you're going to release another?
Next year, maybe, it depends on the Nile schedule. Nile comes first.

And now a question from a female friend of mine - do you have any haircare tips for metallers?
Do I have any haircare tips? [Shouts it out loud; "Head 'n Shoulders" some crew guy walking by suggests].

Beer and metal.
Beer and metal, sure. You know, sometimes you can wash your hair in beer. You know this? It really works.

You've tried it?
I've done it. When you haven't got shampoo on tour.

Ok, thank you very much for this interview and good luck with the show tonight.
Thank you.

Links of interest:

Relapse Records