South Carolina-based technical death metal band NILE will enter Mana Recording Studios in St. Petersburg, Florida on Thursday, June 11 to begin recording its new album for a late 2009 release via Nuclear Blast Records. Guitarist/songwriter Karl Sanders gives us a glimpse into what NILE is doing to ensure upcoming recording sessions with Erik Rutan (CANNIBAL CORPSE, MORBID ANGEL) and Neil Kernon (CANNIBAL CORPSE, NEVERMORE, DEICIDE) are crisis-free:
"George [Kollias, drums] is notorious for drumming himself into ill-health during pre-production. He maniacally, slavishly, works at his craft — extreme metal drumming — like a fiend 8 or 10 hours every single day with no breaks for weeks, all the while attempting to subsist on a diet consisting solely of long periods of self-imposed starvation and only occasionally interrupted by coffee, doughnuts, chocolate bars and bargain drive-thru cheeseburgers. So, inevitably (no surprise here), over the course of the pre-production rehearsals, he runs his health completely into the ground every time. Exhaustion, fatigue, and injuries seem to plague him on every album. So what Dallas and I always have to do is just refuse to allow George to rehearse anymore, force-rest him, and nearly tie him down in order to force feed him some steaks, veggies and potatoes.
"I suppose though, that I really appreciate a serious workaholic attitude like George displays — he gives 500% of himself to metal. He's dedicated, ready, willing and able to work hard, sacrifice and do whatever it takes to play the demanding NILE material. I wouldn't trade him for anybody."
Producer Neil Kernon adds: "The more preparation you do prior to recording the better, so as soon as the recording starts, things go smoothly and keep on the schedule you've set. The more thoroughly everyone involved knows what they have to do, the less chance there is of the ball being dropped once we're under way.
"NILE's work ethic is fantastic. They are one of the hardest-working bands I know, and each member of the band is constantly pushing the others to excel in what they do, and to try new things. That attitude keeps everyone striving to do better each time around. This new stuff is absolutely the most intense and challenging material they have thrown at me yet, and I'm loving it!
"Doing pre-production in the same room together really helps gel the project. We have discussions about drum heads, drum sticks, and guitar and bass strings — making sure we have plenty of all the right types etc. We also get the amps re-tubed if necessary, and the guitars go off to the shop to be cleaned up so that everything is in perfect running order so we hit the ground running.
"Me learning the material is a very important issue. I like to be as prepared as I can possibly be. It gives everyone an opportunity to go over the material over and over again 'off the clock' to make any tweaks or adjustments before we get into the studio itself — that way there's no loss of momentum. Any changes made to the songs are worked in, absorbed and executed with confidence and without uncertainly. I like to feel the momentum pick up when rehearsals are wrapping up, the vans are loaded up, and we all head off on the road trip to the studio. It's like a battalion going off to war, and is a really exciting feeling."
From Mana Recording Studios, Erik Rutan checks in with an update on new equipment purchased specifically to record the new NILE CD: "An album is like a canvas, and you only have so much space to fit everything. By using various mic pres with different characteristics, you can create more space and have each individual instrument have more of its own vibe and distinct tone.
"After talking to George and Neil and finding out that George likes to have only acoustic toms rather than sampled toms, I decided to buy a Vintech 473 mic pre, which has four channels. This way I would be able to track all six of George's toms through all six of these incredible mic pres.
"I love the way they sound for toms and guitars. Very warm and rich. I also recently purchased a Great River MP2NV, which sounds amazing for ride and hats, or for overheads.
"Various mic pres have different colors — so to speak — so everything has its own organic sound and vibe.
"We'll be using my Amek Mozart console for the recording, but the biggest assets will be from Neil and myself. I have been playing death metal for 20 years and have been producing for 10 years. Neil has worked on over 500 records and has a great relationship with NILE. This massive amount of collective experience and understanding of the music will really help decipher what exactly Karl, Dallas, and George want out of this album. Their professionalism and talent is impeccable, so there will be a great chemistry in the studio, for sure. It is our job to get the best performances out of them, to bring out their vision of what they perceive their album to be, to bring to light their dream of a massive and devastating album with all the nuances that they imagine, to capture the magic that they create. Music lasts for an eternity so it is our goal to make it stand up to the test of time. I feel that all together we are going to make an album that is something very special, brutal, and dynamic!"
Sanders told Revolver magazine earlier in the year that the band's sixth full-length album will likely be NILE's most eclectic offering to date. "We're going to some very unexpected places," he said. "I've been listening to some oud music [the oud is a Middle Eastern lute — Ed.], Iranian music, and some Hindu stuff, and that stuff's definitely rubbing off on the new songs."
Karl Sanders's second solo album, "Saurian Exorcisms", was released on April 14 via The End Records. The CD — which was recorded at Serpent Headed Studios, mixed by Bob Moore at the Soundlab in Columbia, South Carolina, and mastered by Juan Punchy Gonzalez at D.O.W. Studios in Tampa, Florida — contains nine carefully constructed dark cinematic songs that work in harmony to create a uniquely moving emotional experience.
NILE's fifth studio album, "Ithyphallic", came out on July 17, 2007 via Nuclear Blast. Engineered by Bob Moore and produced by Neil Kernon, the CD was recorded at Sound Lab Studios in Columbia, South Carolina.