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George Kollias (Nile)

Interview with George Kollias from Nile
by Yiannis Doukas at 28 July 2007, 10:55 AM

As we descend into the forgotten catacombs of a lost pyramid placed in the center of a desert, our minds keep thinking. What are we thinking? How this band manages to unleash - every time - an album better than the previous one? NILE is a phenomenon for several reasons, but also is a great band for this one: they become better and better, from the songs they compose to their performance and skill abilities with their instrumentation. Drummer George Kollias tells us how all these can be achieved.

George, can you tell me the news of the band after the release of Annihilation Of The Wicked , and the tour supporting it?

Yes, we returned home after the last gig in Milan. We had vacation for two months (vacation means ’studying music’) and then before Christmas I went again to USA. After Christmas and the relax from holidays I moved again there for three months and then we started the recordings of our new album.

So, tell us a few things about the recordings.

I think we started during April/May. I went first into the studio for the drums. In this recording I had a bigger drum kit and it was more comfortable. All these happened at Soundlab Studios, we had Neil Kernon for the engineering and Bob Moore for the production. After the drums came the guitars, bass etc.

OK. Let’s talk a little about you. You came into a great band, many people’s opinion is that NILE this present time maybe is the best Death Metal band. What changes happened to your life?

I incorporated with NILE after In Their Darkened Shrines. You know ,NILE was a big band then but I think the big step forward was with Annihilation Of The Wicked. NILE was one of my favorite groups.

So, you knew them before.

Yes!!! I liked them very much ‘cause of the instruments playing. Technically, I believe that NILE is one of the top (bands). Many other bands are good but NILE is something different.

I agree absolutely. Basically, one the few bands that I can compare you to is IMMOLATION.

Yes, you are right, but basically on the ’guitars’ point of view and not so much on the drums. It’s not that I don’t like their drums - I love them - but they don’t have the speed that NILE has. Anyway, I went to USA, it was a little difficult that, you know many travels but not something special, and now I have been totally embodied with  NILE. It is my band ,I belong 100% to them and I don’t think anything else beyond that.

I suppose there were some difficulties with the drum parts. I mean NILE always had good drummers.

Yes, sure. Look, we study continually music and in the last albums in this part (technically) we had improved ourselves more. We also work very hard. I personally play in rehearsals for 10 hours. We study a lot.

By the way. How are your rehearsals? They must be exhausting.

Look, before any tour I will go to USA for a week or 10 days (it depends) and we will rehearse for 2, 3 or 4 hours per day. The rest of hours I will be practicing alone in studio as the others do. Generally, there is a lot of practice when I am there.

Are you still enjoy this thing? Or maybe the whole situation has become just a routine?

You can’t imagine how much we enjoy it. The other guys are incredible guitar players. The whole practice is necessary if you want to remain at the level you are, and it’s also necessary if you want the next album to be better.

I wonder: was there any pressure from the record company for something more simple or straight? I mean, your music is so extreme and difficult for understanding.

No, nothing at all, either from thecompany or our management. We are very satisfied. The only thing that Nuclear Blast has done is to keep and do all the promises of the ex-contract era. We have the Ozzfest and the whole collaboration goes well. They want from the band to go on with the personal style it has, which is something of course we want too.

The truth is that now you have achieved a new level in fact that a company has work to do, than Relapse had.

Yes, Nuclear Blast is much more organized. With Relapse we didn’t have any problem but now things are better for us.

Ithyphallic? What title is that?

Ha ha! Well, there has been a lot of fuss with the title. It started at a forum. Ithyphallic is something close to the Hellenic satyr but Egyptian. There is some depth in that but Karl can tell you more things and enlight you better. Well, how the title came? Many fans in our forum had written that we are playing ’ithyphallic’ Metal. If we have a translation to this, it means music capable for excitement, with power and…you understand eh? (ed. note: Phallus is men’s genetic part of body when it’s ready for action!!!)

Ha ha, I see. What about Ozzfest?

We are the first Death Metal band that will play there, and BEHEMOTH in Black (Metal). It’s a big step for the band. New people will see us. Of course, this has the good and the bad things. Some of our fans are disappointed with this, they say that we have been commercial, what are we going to do there etc.

(Interrupting) Yes, sure, with a new album like this you are the definition of commercial music (laughs)!

I don’t understand why this happens. Is there anyone who wants his band always in underground? We will go there and we will play as good as possible. Yes, there will be some audience that will not understand us, but does it care us? Ha ha!

By the way, what is your opinion about Ozzy?

Since I was a little kid I was a fan of him, but I don’t have the last albums. OK, it’s many things people say for him, that he is like that, like this etc, but all these for me are bullshit. It’s a great honor, very great to be there.

As I face towards your new album I have been surprised by the slow parts. They are very dark, abyssious like inside an Erebus, and they touch me instantly. How is it in your live gigs? Does all this reflect anything?

I’m very glad for what you said. First of all I must tell you that in older days NILE didn’t work as a team but as units. Each one had written something and then they gave it to the drummer. Now, they had the drummer there (me) ,we wrote the songs from the beginning, we rehearsed them every day and we had a better idea for them before we entered for the recordings. But the ’feel’ is very important for me and the other guys.

We were talking for hours about tempos. When we played the songs from Annihilation Of The Wicked (and the other albums of course) live we have been trying to play faster the high speed parts and more slow the slower ones. We had agreed to work much more with the slow parts. Despite what many others could say, for me, in Death Metal there is both ’feel’ and groove.

As I said before, many believe that NILE is ’the top’ in Death Metal. The question is: what groups do you think that are ’hopes’ for future and which are your favorites, except from your band?

My favorites are all classic old-school bands. For example, I saw OBITUARY in some gigs and I have to tell you that they still have it. There are some new bands like PSYCROPTIC. I had heard their CDs and I was surprised by the drum parts. I didn’t believe that they could play their music live. Not only did I see them, we had also a tour together in Europe and every night they were incredible. There are not many bands like them.BEHEMOTH also, of course isn’t a new group, but every time they played I was so excited as it was when I saw them for first time.

With the other bands/projects you have been involved (NIGHTFALL, SICKENING HORROR etc), are you in any now?

No,no, I have gone. I am only with NILE now. You know, the whole program is heavy and I don’t have time for anything else except my personal drum CD, and this one will take three months for sure.

For the end, can you tell me few words about EXTREMITY OBSESSION? Does this name bring anything to your memory?

Yeah! Ha ha! EXTREMITY OBSESSION was my first band. I was there since 12 or 13 years old. It was also my brother there in guitars, Aggelos…We played Thrash like SLAYER, DEATH. Of course in Korinthos (ed. note: a little province city near Athens, Greece) there wasn’t an opportunitiy for something more. We made two demos, and then came the army. We had more stuff but…

George, thank you for the interview! Good luck in Ozzfest and the other gigs.

Thank you very much, hope to talk soon again!


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