Prior to NILE's November 4 performance in New York City, guitarist Karl Sanders spoke with Alex Haber of Heavy New York. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the group's new album, "Vile Nilotic Rites":
Karl: "We spent a long time on this one. From the time we started writing until the time we delivered it, it's been about two years. That's the longest we've ever spent. We toured [2015's 'What Should Not Be Unearthed'] for two and a half, almost three years before we started writing the new one... I don't think it's a follow-up. I think this is more of a renovation, a rebirth, a reinvigoration, a re-envisioning. It's definitely a NILE record. It's probably the best-produced NILE record that we've ever achieved, but mostly, it's about the spirit that went into it. There's a lot of renewed energy going on... There was plenty of forethought, but we let the creativity flow on its own. What we focused on was the team dynamic — getting everybody working together, being on the same page. That right there was so helpful to us this time. It's just amazing what you can do when you've got four guys that are actually working together."
On performing live:
Karl: "It's a totally different mindframe. For me, the live show is about bringing the band and the fans together to participate together in the music. Writing and recording, that's a whole different animal. To me, the energy that goes back and forth and is shared with the band [and] the audience, that's, like, its own thing. It's a special thing. Writing and recording the record, that's a whole different thing, because you're putting it together and you're — at least for us — being meticulous about the craft, the craftsmanship, the building on the song. It's two totally different things. To me, they really don't mix. I can't do one while I'm doing the other. They've got to be separate."
On winning over crowds:
Karl: "Nowadays, people know who we are, so no matter who we're playing with, there's still some NILE fans there. That's familiar ground; that's familiar territory. There was a time when we didn't have an audience. The audience could be radically different depending on which other band [we were playing with]. We toured with NEUROSIS once. Certainly, touring with NEUROSIS was a different experience than touring with a MORBID ANGEL or a CANNIBAL CORPSE. [There was] a whole different energy in the room. But nowadays, people know who we are. They kind of know what to expect."
On his approach to playing guitar:
Karl: "I wouldn't necessarily call the recorded work improvised, but it's not necessarily set that it has to follow this particular scale or this particular mode. I think when you think in those terms, you're putting your creativity in a box. Sometimes, you've got to let it be free. You can understand the theory, but that's not everything. Music is more than just the sheer mathematics and the calculus or the periodic chart of elements. There's more to it than that. There's the intangible, the stuff that comes from your soul, the personal expression. You can't write those things down, but they exist. They're real, and they're a part of any kind of music."
On breaking out of South Carolina:
Karl: "The music scene that we had in the Carolinas at that time wasn't metal. It's not a state known for its metal, but nowadays, there are more metal bands, like OLKOTH, LECHEROUS NOCTURNE. They're from our hometown. Completely brutal, but that's now. When we started, we were in a desert, so the goal definitely was, 'Let's get out of South Carolina,' because there was nothing for us in our home state. We could play a few local shows, but you know what? What's a death metal band doing in South Carolina? No one cared. On the one hand, though, that also gave us complete liberty to do whatever the fuck we wanted, because no one cared or gave a fuck what we were doing. It gave us a totally free hand to do whatever the fuck we wanted to."
NILE's ninth album, "Vile Nilotic Rites", was released on November 1 via Nuclear Blast.