INTERVIEW: Karl Sanders (Nile)
Levi: The last time I saw you guys play was back in 2007 with Decapitated, Do you remember much from that tour?
Karl: I sure do I’ll never forget that tour. Ever. Ever in the history of my life. Not only was it a kick-ass metal tour, but I got injured on the flight over. I was in coach class. Sitting in the middle of two football players. I was so scrunched up, it actually took two of my vertebrates completely out of place. By the time I landed in Australia 20 hours later I had no use of my left arm. Two of my fingers were paralysed. I had to play that tour on painkillers unable to use two fingers in my left hand. I’ve seen videos of it afterwards and I still don’t know how I did it.
Levi: I remember seeing a guy at one of yours shows get quite injured jumping off the stage at one of your shows. Do injuries occur often at your concerts?
Karl: I think every metal bands have a few tales like that. I really think, that if you go to a show, a metal show, I think you should have a reasonably good expectation that you can go to the show and enjoy the show and come home with all your limbs intact. As much as I love people having fun with head banging and moshing, I don’t like seeing anyone get hurt.
Levi: Do people jump on your stage often?
Karl: Well of course it has over the years, countless times. I try to discourage people from getting up on the stage as much as I can. When I see they coming up and you can tell who’s coming up usually. Unless they wait for you to look the other way. I just give them a gentle combat boot to help them realize they should abandon that foolish notion of trying to climb on the stage. We’ve got a lot of sensitive gear on stage, that if it were to be broken… it’s kind of a show ending, not only for the show that day, but until we can get our stuff fixed it’s the rest of the days on the tour. One ridiculous act can have all kinds of unforeseen consequences. Especially if you are on tour in say… Slovakia, or anywhere you don’t have access to get your gear fixed. It means everyone that has bought a ticket for the show following the incident is fucked.
Levi: Where did the inspiration come to do a more relaxed sound for your solo albums? Can we expect another one?
Karl: A lot of people have been asking me “when are you going to put out a follow up to that project? It is something I’d like to do, Nile keeps me incredibly busy, and so far I just haven’t had the necessary time. But it’s something I really want to do because that music if very relaxing, not only to listen to but to create as well.
Levi: Where did Egyptian influence come from?
Karl: It’s something I’ve always had an interest in. One day I woke up and realised I was playing in a band called Nile, and I thought “as a listener, what would I expect to hear?” Answering that question kind of led me to decide that if I write for a band called Nile then I should probably start doing some research. Figuring out what kind of topics to use, that made me embark on learning all kind of stuff. The more I learned and did research for the songs, the more I started digging in and enjoying it. It has turned into quite a hobby for me.
Levi: Some of your songs are incredibly fast, even clocking in at 275bpm. How do you do a show without burning your fingers out?
Karl: It takes quite a bit of stamina. To play music like that for an hour and half. There is a sort of conditioning, it’s not the same conditioning as long distance runner would have, and because you’re playing music it’s a little bit different. But it’s very similar, you got to do it enough, to where you build up the stamina to be able to do it. To be able to get your breath when you’re trying to sing that stuff, knowing how to pace yourself, in some ways it’s very relative to an athletic sort of experience. Sometimes on the first week of the tour my wrists will be very sore when I wake up the next day. But after a few weeks on tours, you build up and get back into it.
Levi: How do you go about writing such erratic guitar solos?
Karl: I believe it needs to sound chaotic, it needs to sound from the heart. I hear a lot of guitar hero guys playing solos that sound perfect and wonderful and incredible but you know they’ve been pieced together in Pro-Tools. I like to do something a little more real and try capture the actual vibe and the spirit. They’re not always completely worked out, I have strong ideas of where they should go but it’s not always necessarily the same scales or anything. The scales, melodies and arpeggios you use are kind of dependant on what is going on underneath them. That may or may not allow you to open up the door and give you enough creative liberty to find something interesting.
Listen to the full interview...
Don't forget to buy the new album What Should Not Be Unearthed. Available here: http://www.nuclearblast.de/en/label/music/band/shop/71047.nile.html