Nile's George Kollias Talks Of New Music, Touring in New Places, and Non-Stop Activity

Twenty years strong and much more to come for technical death metallers Nile. These guys have released loads of material and have so much more in-store as far as playing shows and releasing new material as well. Drummer George Kollias talks about the band's past, present, and future activity.

1. Let’s start by getting our readers up to date on what’s the latest happening with Nile?

We just finished our US headline tour for “At the Gate of Sethu” and we have a short break till September where we will be heading to Europe for another headline tour. There are also a few shows in Russia but not confirmed yet and right after that we are going to Australia and possibly to China as well. It’s been a very busy year for us with lots of great things happening so we are a little tired but very satisfied. The band is at it’s best right now, we have a blast touring the last year and we are also getting hungry to start writing new music...there are goals we set for the next album but all I can say for right now is that we are going to raise the bar big time! Really can’t wait for this!

2. For the tour you concluded this past April in Charlotte, NC you brought out a variety of Nile members for this showcase, what was that experience like?

George: It was one of the best times we had as a band! With a few ex-members joining us on stage, Pete Hammoura played drums for “Black Hand of Set” and I had a blast watching him kicking ass!!! Jon Vesano also join us for a few songs where he sang along and it was absolutely killer and Mike Breazeale join us for “Unas Slayer of the Gods” to do his part, this is something I was waiting for since I joined the band to be honest. We have a great relationship with most of the past members,we are really good friends and they are very supportive to us, although I wish we had all the past members on that show to celebrate Nile’s 20th anniversary; everybody contributed something in this band and we don’t forget that.

3. Do you ever seen the original Nile line-up to come back to life or is that time dead and gone?

George: Are you asking me if I wish any past drummer re-joins the band and I loose my job? Haha...No, I don’t really see something like that happening, whoever is still in this band sacrificed at least 10 years of his life so WE ARE NILE. I did 4 albums for this band, I didn't step in to record just an album or do a few tours, you know? Dallas also did the same and much more than me, he is the band forever and his contribution is as important as Nile’s success. And Karl, is Nile himself, that’s his baby to begin with and has done for this band more than any of us. Karl, Dallas and I are very close and we sacrificed a lot of things from our life for this band, we sleep and wake up having the band in our mind. Our newer bass player Todd also does an incredible job so far as well, he puts in the band exactly what we need and he fits the vibe pretty well, i think Todd will be with us for years.

4. Nile has been a band for 20 long years, while you came into the picture as of 2004, what's it like to be a part of the Nile experience let alone know that the band has been around for so long?

George: I don’t feel that 20 years, neither Karl or Dallas I think. We try to evolve and every album is a step up for the band. There were years before our first official release in 1999 that Karl put so much hard work with demos and tours, but you always remember the years that you started having more success and you gain a bigger crowd. All of us have a big respect for Karl for going through so many things to get Nile where it is now, but after so many years in the band, Dallas and I feel that we also added our part to the success of the band. How does it feel to play for a band with a 20 year history? It’s the best thing in the fucking world, not because of the years they have been around but for what they have accomplished with their music and their legacy itself. At the end of the day, it’s not really about how many years you are doing something but how dedicated you are and how much work you do, and Nile is the best example on what happens when you have a group of people with the same love for what they do.

5. How has Nile been celebrating it's 20 years together? Have you taken sometime for just yourselves to have your own private little party?

George: Hm, I think that happened on the last show in Charlotte, there was no time for party and stuff, we flew to South America right after the US tour finished and for these 3-4 days off we had we decided to spend them sleeping and resting cause we were playing a 2 hour set for a month with minor days off. We are not so much into partying and going crazy anyways, we take it easy and we focus on our playing. The fans who pay the ticket deserve the band to be on stage and giving 100% for them and that’s what we do, if we
wanted to party we would definitely not play for Nile...hahaha, that doesn't work.

6. Can you tell me about the clinic tour that took place in Germany, how did that go for you and what is this particular tour all about?

George: Yes, it was called “Loud & Fast 2” and it was for Modern Music School in Germany, I am a teacher at Modern Music School in Athens and also teach for the Professional Program in Idar Oberstein in Germany. It was 12 shows in Germany which I really love, I have a very strong connection with Germany and I am there playing a lot with the band or doing clinics, so it was a lot of fun but also a lot of work! All the schools I played for treated me with great hospitality, very nice people and very serious with the Schools, I also had great support from my drum companies, Pearl-Sabian-Vic Firth and Evans, so in a few words it was a very easy going clinic tour with a lot of success, we did some really good clinics and I had the chance too meet hundreds of fans! One funny thing maybe was, I did this whole clinic run by myself. So I was driving myself, load and re-load the gear, set up, play of course too....I chose to do that cause I (like the first time as well) wanted to see Germany more and get in their culture, I had a BLAST was amazing!...Total freedom and I love driving for hours anyways.

7. What is your opinion on the current state of metal?

George: I think it’s killer...I see tons of great new bands and great albums from older bands too! On the US tour we did we had local support bands and I gotta say some of them they were out of the chain! There are some really good bands coming up every day, all we have to do is search for them which is easy to do today with internet. Speaking for older bands with great new albums, last thing I bought was the new Rotting Christ album and it blew me away, totally!!!! And we are talking about a band with much bigger history than Nile, too many years doing great music and suddenly they are coming up with a new album, filled with fresh ideas, unique, inspiring...amazing! So, these things make me feel that metal is doing great today, metal never dies anyways.

8. How do you guys feel about the classifications in metal? like death metal, metalcore and other subgenres and how some get a negative rep.

George: We can’t avoid the stamps on what we do today, it doesn't really bother me, if people wanna call me extreme metal is ok, extreme death metal ok as well, Death Metal etc. As long as they dig my music I am fine with anything. And if you don’t dig my music that’s fine too, I tried...But you know what’s funny? Usually the metalhead who doesn't like what we do is usually the one with a lot of free time to go online and talk shit about us....hahahaha, I NEVER understood how someone will log in on YouTube to say something bad just because, or register on a forum to do the same, this is so stupid I can’t even understand it!!!!

9. What is your opinion on sites posting your guys material and other bands material?

George: It can be many things, it can be a great review that helps with promotion or a link to download our album illegally, so feelings vary a little here. I have to deal with all, also good and bad reviews. Feelings may vary here.... The truth about illegal downloads though is, I don’t give a shit anymore..... If I was getting stressed every time someone uploads our work online or stealing with any way I would be dead by now. My job is to make music and perform around the world, I’m not the internet police to spend my days online to protect my albums, we have a label who has specific people to do this job.

10. Does the band's name Nile have a story to tell on how it came into the picture.

George: Not that I know of, but I think the main story here is a man who wanted to play metal and didn't wanna talk about politics or Satan and he came up with this concept. And that man is Karl Sanders. Karl is very much inspired from the Egyptian culture, it’s a tool for him to write the songs he does and we all got into that culture too. Plus it’s something very unique, nobody did something similar before so it worked very nicely and gave more character to the band.

11. You guys of course released your seventh album to date, At the Gate of Sethu how does it make you feel to be on the band's seventh album and fourth album for you?

George: It feels good to know what have we done and how much hard work we put into it. Combined with a huge amount of fans following the band religiously I would say it’s the best feeling in the world. That’s what we were born to do, make music and play music, I feel extremely lucky I play for a band with response from so many’s a very simple thing to think of, though very hard to achieve, so I am very grateful for that! Still, we have a long way to go, we will work harder than ever for the future.

12. Do you guys have any new music in the works?

George: We have a lot of ideas and thoughts for the next album, although not complete songs yet. It’s too early, we want to focus on the tours we have coming up for fall and then we will start getting back on the writing mode. This is going to start early 2014 so I hope we will hit the studio around fall 2014. We work much faster now, we are more organized and each one of us has his home studio where we can work on a great pre-production etc.

13. What can the fans expect to see from Nile in the future?

They can expect better music and better shows, more shows and in many new places!!! Nile is about all or nothing, we are not gonna stay here writing shitty music just to survive...we will either raise the bar or stop playing music, and I guarantee you there is no way we will stop playing soon.

14. Not only are you a part of Nile, but you're involved with a variety of other bands i.e. Cerebrum, Sickening Horror, Nightfall, Extremity Obsession, Deus Infestus, ADE, Tyr, etc. ADE and Cerebrum released new albums, and Tyr has something in the works, what other "NEW" music can we expect from these side projects/bands?

George: What happens with all the bands I played with is, they are either ex-bands of mine or I was hired as a session musician to record their album(s). Sickening Horror, Nightfall and Extremity Obsession were my 3 other real bands along with Nile. For the rest it’s something in between doing a job, having fun and explore new music worlds. Ade is a killer band, I was very happy to get involved, they are out of control and I am proud to be a part of the “Spartacus” album. Cerebrum is some of the most crazy metal out there, good friends of mine and also very proud I have done both of their albums. Deus Infestus asked me to record their EP and I had so much fun as well, super talented band and super cool guys. Tyr was a surprise cause I am way out of their style and it actually worked VERY good, I tried to do my best for them and I had a lot of fun playing a very different style than most people know about me, like super fast or crazy technical. Their
new songs are also very good, I think this will be a GREAT album and like every session I did I feel also very proud for the time I spent there!

Like I said earlier, my goal is to get in the studio and record for different bands as a different drummer, I play for the music and not for myself, I wanna do the best I can for every band’s music and that’s a super fun game for me, very challenging! New projects? I have a funk project which I want to get more serious with it and hopefully do some shows soon, it’s a lot of fun and I love playing funk. Also my solo project, where I
write all the music myself and play all the instruments. These are my 2 new things I’m putting a lot of work and I have a lot of fun on the same time. My solo album will be finally ready this year and will be available as a free download through my official pages (website/facebook/forum). Tracking drums next week and then guitars/bass etc.

15. Would you ever consider bringing any of these other projects to play a show or do a tour alongside Nile?

George: I try not to tour with any other band except Nile cause Nile has a super busy touring schedule and aside from that I do hundreds of drum clinics around the world so it would be hard to tour with every band I play. I definitely wanna do a few shows with my funk project but that’s easy to do anywhere. As for my solo project, I play a lot of tunes through my clinics so fans have the opportunity to see them “live” anywhere and anytime.

16. Aside from your musician craftsmanship you are also a teacher, what's that role been like for you? Do you see bringing your teaching skills and your musician side together or are they separate?

George: My teaching desire came from the love I have for the instrument, one thing I can tell you for me is that, when I don’t play drums I teach or talk drums. Drumming is a lifestyle, almost each one of us has dedicate a life into it. I love teaching and i am very proud to belong to Modern Music School, with an incredible group of teachers and an absolutely amazing teaching system. I think playing and teaching is not always combined successfully, I would say it’s the opposite but I want to believe I do good enough on both sides. I give my students all my knowledge and i try to do something good for them, my touring experience helps them too cause they get information first hand, I mean there is nothing better to get lessons from a drummer that actually plays music (does what you want to do) for living and has some sort of success. You are learning the real thing, you know? I could teach even without a career in music but that would feel like I’m stealing their money cause I wouldn't be IN HERE and know the real thing. That’s just my opinion and this is the type of lessons I got as well when I was younger, I chose a GREAT player (Yannis Stavropoulos) which he could play great and also knew how things worked in the business. After a few days I discover his teaching ability was also excellent so there you life changed forever! THAT’S what I want to do with my students, which is not only in my School but with my 2 drum instructional DVDs who sold thousands copies so far, I want people to get positive things out of it.

17. Out of all of the drumming equipment in existence what would be your dream set-up?

George: I already have my dream set-up, I am with the best drum companies in the world and i play the gear I always wanted to! I had offers to play many companies, but I always sign up with the ones I know they have exactly what I want. Something I say many times to my students or on clinics is, if you support a company and you don’t like the product that much then you will have to go up there and lie about it...I can’t lie when it comes to gear, cause if I do then some fans might go and buy gear which is shit and throw away their money only cause I said it, and when I was young I had a very hard time buying gear so I wouldn't like that at all. So I make it simple, I was waiting to get with the best, I am with the best and I can talk
about Pearl, Sabian, Vic Firth, Evans, Axis and Extreme Headphones all day!!!!

18. Do you have any final words of wisdom?

George: To listeners: There is a lot of great music out there, find it, enjoy it, support it!!! To musicians: Be the best and enjoy the ride, learning while playing music is the best thing you will ever have... Thank you!

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