Credits: Francesco Desmaele
We were honored to chat with Karl Sanders, the guitarist of Nile. For those of you who live under a rock, Nile is an American technical death metal band from Greenvile, South Carolina formed in 1993. These death metal legends have 9 studio albums: Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren Ka (1998), Black Seeds of Vengeance (2000), In Their Darkened Shrines (2002), Annihilation of the Wicked (2004), Ithyphallic (2007), Those Whom the Gods Detest (2009), At The Gates of Sethu (2012), What Should Not Be Unearthed (2015) and Vile Nilotic Rites (2019). Karl Sanders also released two studio albums: Saurian Meditation (2004) and Saurian Exorcisms (2009).
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At the start of the interview, Karl Sanders talked about himself being a guitar teacher. He is doing guitar lessons on Thursdays and Saturdays. Karl said that he has "just enough students so that I can earn enough money to pay my bills but not so many students that I lose my mind and go crazy“. When asked about the new Nile album, he said: "Actually, we have started writing some songs....We’ve got some songs started. I can’t say titles or anything yet, it’s way too early to share that but yeah, we’ve got a few songs in the works. George, our drummer lives in Athens, so probably by mid-summer he will be able to travel again, so he will be able to come over and we will be able to do more I’m sure. We’re not essencially worried about it. It will be alright“.
However, he said that he is mostly working on a third Saurian album. "Hopefully that will get a release date soon. Because, a lot of people try to release records right now. It’s not as easy as it normally was.“ Karl Mentioned that his new solo album will have 10 new songs with some guest musicians on it: Rusty Cooly on the guitar, jazz guitarist Mathew Kay, Pete Hammoura, the original Nile drummer, Mike Breazeale on vocals (who sang on Saurian Mediatation and Saurian Exorcisms). Mustafa Stefan Dill, the oud player, George Kollias "playing some jazz drums“ and Jonathan A.D.D Garolfi on the drums.
Then, Karl Sanders discussed the lyrical concept of "Vile Nilotic Rites" and "Thus Sayeth the Parasites of the Mind“. Well, I think you’re right...There is a lot of stuff about propaganda, misleading people, mind control...There’s also a lot of stuff about the long, slow decline of civilization, and how I think, they saw it coming for a long time. And how this affected people.“ Karl also shared his appretiation towards the movie Idiocracy and called it "prophetic“. "You see stuff that happens nowadays and like, you immediately go: those m-fers were right! And we see it in our lifetime!“ After we commented that the humanity is going in a downward spiral, Karl stated: "I think it’s true, man. Even if you look at what’s going on in my silly country...It’s mindblowing“.
While discussing the song "Seven Horns of War“ Karl stated that he is a fan of Howard Shore’s Lord of The Rings soundtrack. Regarding to our question on which historical location would he love to play with Nile (in vein of Pink Floyd’s Live at Pompeii), he said: Well, Pompeii is not a bad place to make a great concert. The pyramids, that would be awesome. The Colosseum, the Acropolis...any of these places would be great. I don’t think it’s ever going to happen. Don’t think you’re gonna see a death metal show...They not gonna let us play there but it would be cool as long as we are smoking our pipe and going like hey! yeah... F*ck yeah it would be cool!
After that, Karl Sanders talked about the origins of the Call To Destruction lyrics and the video. When asked if Raymond Ibrahim’s article Call to Destroy Egypt’s Pyramids Begin he stated: "Well it’s definitely in there somewhere… Really, about that time that I was writing it in the news there were a lot of stories about the destruction of the artifacts going on. And also, I happened to see a Transformers movie where they’re destroying the pyramid and they are going to use it to harvest Energon by using the energy of the Sun…Anyway, there’s a line in there where they say: Engage the Destruction Machines! So I’m watching this Transformers movie and they’re saying this line, they’re doing this thing where they are ripping the insides of the pyramid out, destroying the top of it. I was like, this is a motherf*cking metal song! How is this not a metal song? That’s metal as f*ck. So I went like, you know, this is a Hollywood movie, they can’t be the first person to think about destroying the Pyramids. I wonder who else had this idea? So I googled it. What I googled, Destroy the Pyramids, I got all these f*cking articles, just a piles of them. That was one of them. The one you referenced. It was one of them. It wasn’t the only one but that had a lot of great quotes in it. I was like, man, this is a motherfu*king metal song. Are you kidding me? This is great!
Regarding the idea for the Call to Destruction video and who directed it, Karl said: "Actually, I don’t remember. It was actually the one of the Nuclear Blast guys. And they e-mailed me and said: so, Karl, what do you want to do with this video so I said, dude, what we need is like, all those newsreels where they were destroying artifacts and doing terrible violent things, blowing up temples, museums and ancient stuff. That’s what we need! That’s what we need in this! So they went, OK!“ Oddly enough, the Nile got comments that they did a "recruitment video for ISIS“, that Nile is "pro or anti islamic“... "It’s nuts ‘cause, where we are coming from, we’re just making metal. And that was a really cool idea for a metal song. But for us, that’s about it. We don’t want to destroy the pyramids. We think ISIS is probably pretty f*cking stupid! But we don’t hate anybody. We’re not anti-this or pro-that. We’re just dudes, playing f*cking guitar and playing drums and making metal songs“.
When asked who is singing on Nile’s song “To Dream of Ur”, he said that the guy singing it is Scott Wilson, one of his friends. “It was a lot of fun. Doing the vocals for that ‘cause Scott is not an experienced vocalist at all. So it was like probably the first time he ever recorded his voice. So it was a lot of fun“ (laughs). After that, Karl was talking about the lyrics for the song “Die Rache Krieg Lied der Assyriche”. When asked whether the lyrics have something to do with Morbid Angel’s "The Lord of All Fevers and Plagues“ he stated the following: Of course not. They come from the (H.P. Lovecraft's) Necronomicon. But if like every single band that you can think of that has Necronomicon...you know, it’s a lot of f*cking dudes, metal guys with the Necronomicon. It’s kinda like the Bible. The Bible for metal guys. So of course there’s gonna be similarities. They come from the same place.“
We also talked about Nile’s song "Masturbating the War God“ and Karl confirmed that that track is inspired by Led Zeppelin’s "Kashmir“. "Yeah, it’s kinda obvious. That’s probably not the only Zeppelin riff or idea that you are gonna come across in either our music or anybody else playing metal. It’s a pretty deep influence. Zeppelin. Super influential. I don’t think you can play any form of metal or hard rock and not just automatically be directly or indirectly influenced by the music of Led Zeppelin. It’s like trying to say that there is no The Beatles influence in modern music. Well, that’s insane!
Finally as the interview was coming to an end, we asked Karl Sanders if he is still in touch with Nader Sadek, the Egyptian death metal artist who invited Karl Sanders to play in Nader Sadek’s video The Serapeum Black Osiris. "Once in a while. He messages us. He is in jail. Not too happy about that.“ When asked if he knows why Nader Sadek is arrested, Karl said the following: "Well, I don’t have all the facts. So I hate to speculate on it. But pretty much I think that some of the other people in the Egyptian metal scene ratted him out. That’s why he got arrested right after his video of him singing in the Pyramids went public, that when he got arrested… He then continued to talk about what hardships Egyptian metal fans have to go through for simply listening to metal music: “It really says something when someone is willing to be metal even if they’re gonna go to jail..They still gonna be metal. It’s a far cry from what I see a lot of where I live"..."Well I’ll listen to Metallica if my sister plays it on Spotify. That’s not metal. You can’t call you a metal fan if the only time you listen to it is when your sister plays it on Spotify. That’s completely the opposite of the people in the metal scene in parts of the world where is very much frowned upon where it’s even illegal.“
Karl then talked about the lyrics for the song "In the Name of the Amun“ which deals with the conquests of Tuthmose III: "I’ve been reading up on Tuthmose III and I did a sh*tload of research. I had pages and pages of it. And basically on that song, I just took all the stuff I had, like all the stuff he did, all the stuff he said, all the stuff other people were saying about them. I just took all that and crossed out whatever I didn’t need. Whatever was left, that was the song“
In the last part, Karl Sanders talked about being an admin on Call of Duty and said that he still didn’t get into Assassin’s Creed Origins.
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00:39 Guitar Lessons
01:36 New Nile and Solo album
03:26 Vile Nilotic Rites
05:10 Seven Horns of War & Lord of the Rings
05:42 Pink Floyd - Live at Pompeii
06:26 Call to Destruction
11:23 To Dream of Ur
12:30 Die Rache Krieg Lied der Assyriche, H.P. Lovecraft's Necronomicon
13:26 Plague refferences in Nile songs
14:26 Led Zeppelin influence
15:37 Nader Sadek
17:37 In the Name of Amun & conquests of Tuthmose III
18:25 Video games
19:17 Last words
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