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NILE – Interview with Pete H.

NILE pressed 1500 copies of “Festivals of Atonement”. You had no deal with a record company then. How did you distribute them? How did people react?

I used my credit card and paid for everything. It took me 4 years to get my money back to pay the debt. I just contacted distributors and that is how I got the cd out there. I also sent to many zines to get the name out there and pretty soon Metal fans knew NILE. People like it.

“Ramses, Bringer of War” was first released on tape and only afterwards on mcd. NILE sold 500 tapes and 2000 mcds. Was it the intention to release a demo-tape and because of the good reaction you released it on mcd? What do you think of the fact that more and more demos appear on cd nowadays, whereas formerly demos were synonymous to tapes? What do you think is better for a band: a cheap tape with underground value or a demo-cd that has a slightly better sound but costs twice as much?

We recorded 3 songs for the Ramses Bringer of War demo with the intention of using it to shop a deal with a label. VISCERAL PRODUCTIONS liked it and they released it on cd. I do not see anything wrong with demos… I mean a demo is still a recorded performance by the band. Cd is the better way to go.

The full-cd was ready before Relapse signed NILE. How is your relationship with Relapse Records? How many did you sell of “Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka”?

We recorded Amongs the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka for VISCERAL but then they closed down and RELAPSE picked us up because they liked what they heard. Our relationship is very good with RELAPSE. I think Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka has sold around 30 thousand copies and still moving.

As an American band, why are the lyrics based on Egyptian mythology/history/folklore?

It was a very brutal time in history and the stories were made for Death Metal.

Do you regard the Necronomicon as a tribute to Mesopotamian mythology or as an abuse of it?


The lyrics are partly based on reality and partly fiction, if I am not mistaken. Why do you also include the fiction, whereas the reality is already fascinating enough?

Why not. Fiction is just as interesting as non-fiction.

Which books, films and documentaries about Egypt would you advise?

Any Lovecraft books…

What do you think of the Death Metal revival?

Death Metal has always been here… we just needed to realize it.

NILE managed to create a great own style. Many of the Egyptian sound effects are samples manipulated on your computer. Where did the idea come from to use all these mysterious samples? NILE also uses choirs, Tibetan monks, human skull (?!) drums, flutes, Turkish gongs. Who played all these instruments? Tell me more about this all.

The monks played a show in our town and Karl went to see them perform. He talked them into coming by the studio on their way to the next city. They came in, recorded a bunch of stuff and Karl saved it on the computer, so now he can pull it up whenever he needs it. We just had to make a donation to their temple and give them bus fare.

Egyptian Death Metal is NILE‘s trademark. But there will always be bands copying other bands. Are there any NILE-clones you know of?

I do not know of any right now.

New versions from all songs on “Ramses, Bringer of War” are included on “Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka”. Can we state that “Ramses, Bringer of War” defined the definitive NILE-style or does NILE tend to evolve in later songs.

All the songs that were recorded on Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka were being written around the time of Ramses Bringer of War so the songs went together on the cd. The new album will sound a little different, but I think you will be able to tell it is NILE.

I read in S.O.D. that NILE already had some new songs since “Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka”: “The Black Flame”, “Defiling the Gates of Ishtar”, “Multitude of Foes”, “M@sturbating the War God”. I suppose there are already newer songs than those I mentioned. Can you tell us more about them?

The recording of the new album is almost done as we speak. Some other titles are Black Seeds of Vengeance, Chapter for Transforming into a Snake.

Why the re-release of “Festivals of Atonement” and “Ramses Bringer of War”?

There was such a demand for these titles and at the same time we were contacted by HAMMERHEART RECORDS to release it, so we thought it would be a good idea… This way people can get it if they want it.

How do you compose a new song?

Karl writes everything… makes demos on his computer… then we learn the songs.

Can you easily rehearse? I mean, don’t you have problems with the rehearsal place, complaints of neighbours, distance of living between the different members?

We have been rehearsing at the same location for 7 years and have had no complaints.

Are you in touch with a label? Can we expect a cd in the near future?

We are on RELAPSE RECORDS and the new record should be out in September 2000. Black Seeds of Vengeance.

Who made NILE‘s website?

Steve Hoier.

Nice job! Do you use certain effects?

No vocal effects.

How did you prepare before you went to the studios?

Just practice… this time however I was injured and NILE could not wait for me to heal, so another drummer was hired for the studio. I did manage to play one song on the record… it was a slower song. I also did some vocals. Hopefully I will be better by the time touring starts… if not I guess I will be replaced.

Can you tell us what happened during the recording of the cd? How long did you have to play each day?

Studio days were about 12 to 14 hours.

How many gigs does NILE play a year?

A little over 200 shows.

How is life while touring?

Touring is great. It is the best part of being in a band.

Which bands you toured with did NILE get along with? Which band had a rockstar-attitude?

All of them… we have not run across any rock star attitudes.

In which club/country did NILE get the best response from the audience?

I think Holland.

Do you appreciate the average organisation before and during gigs? Could Nile count on sufficient advertisements? And do you ever have serious sound-technical problems during gigs due to bad organisation? Or does the NILE-“roadcrew” take care of the sound themselves?

We had some problems in Europe with the power going out. Other than that things run pretty smooth.

Did NILE play covers?


When touring, what is NILE leaving behind (jobs, families, school,…)? How do you solve this? How do you deal with it?

We leave behind everything. We have all made huge personal and financial sacrifices to do this.

What do you think of all these cds being released nowadays while formerly it already was a whole achievement to record a demo? What does this tell about quality? And about the importance of money?

I think it is too easy for someone who has been playing for a year to go make a record. Learn your instrument then record something worth while. Do not record sh!t.

How do you decide to buy a cd? What convinces you: a review, an advertisement, a gig, …?

A review maybe… word of mouth.

Are you involved in other Metal activities? Like a ‘zine, distro, compilation or a side-project? Do you have a job next to this? Or what are you studying?

I started a distro called CAUSTIC PRODUCTIONS.

What is your philosophy in life?

Do what makes you happy. If you are not happy leave it behind no matter what anyone says.

At what age did you start listening to Metal? What was the first Metal album you bought?

13 or 14… BLACK SABBATH.

What are the plans for the future?

Touring and more recording.

Some last words to the readers?

Thanks for the interview.

Thanks, Pete & NILE!