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Feature
Interview with Dallas Toler-Wade of Nile
July 20, 2007 @ The Galaxy Theater / Santa Ana, CA
by: DJ Azrael

KUCI: Although it's pretty early in your tour so far, how's it been? Cuz I know this is like the seventh stop I think?

Dallas Toler-Wade: Yeah. It's been great...it's been great. We've been getting some good responses on Ozzfest and a good response on our headlining off shows as well, so we're pretty excited.

KUCI: Very cool. How's the crowd been receiving your particular brand of death metal, since it is different than the norm?

DTW: Um, actually, quite well. We've been getting, you know, the chant at the end when we get through playing. The whole place... well, not the whole place, but a lot of people are going like "NILE! NILE!" you know, after we've finished. So we're real excited about the response that we've been getting. You know, part of the last [Ozzfest] show, even though we're playing 20 minutes, we try to uh...we always want the crowd to feel included. We really want 'em to be right there, and we do whatever we can to make that happen. So, you know, everybody can enjoy it. It's entertainment, man! (laughs)

KUCI: Excellent. How's it been touring with such a diverse [off show] bill like Chthonic and Daath?

DTW: I think it's really cool. I think it's really good that in the past we've always had different styles of bands and not necessarily just had straight brutal. Know what I mean? It's just that too much of the same thing is just that. That's one of the things that might be cool about Ozzfest, too, is that it isn't the same stuff. There's a lot of variety, there's a lot of different stuff, there's a lot of stuff for different people. So everybody's kind of getting exposed to something they weren't normally used to hearing.

KUCI: The new album [Ithyphallic] sounds awesome, by the way. I was curious if there were any noticable differences in the production this time around as opposed to Annihilation [of the Wicked] previously?

DTW: Well, we wanted the drums to be louder, you know. We wanted a little more percussive sound this time. Annhilation turned out to be a bit on the guitar heavy side, which is cool, but we really wanted to hear the drums a little more and more "attack" in the whole sound. There's still plenty of guitar there. We wanted bigger drums this time, and I think we definitely achieved it. We worked with producer Neil Kernon again. He did Annihilation. Everybody kind of had the same idea and was on the same page about what the new album was going to be like.

KUCI: I know that you guys were working with Relapse [Records] previously, but now you're with Nuclear Blast [Records]. Aside from the [Relapse] contract running out in terms of obligations, is there any particular reason why you decided to pick Nuclear Blast as the new place to go?

DTW: Well, they had a really great offer for us. They're really taking care of us. So far so good, you know. I think it is definitely a step in the right direction. Relapse was also helping us out quite a bit also, but we definitely wanted to step it up a bit and Nuclear Blast are the right guys to do it.

KUCI: Good. I'm glad to hear good things about that relationship. What can fans expect to hear from the new album that's different from previous releases?

DTW: Um, well none of our albums are exactly the same. We always want to definitely have a definitive Nile album, but not the same every time. So, I would say this time a little bit more orchestration than last time, a little bit more atmosphere going on. I would say in a lot of ways that this album is more "dark," where Annihilation was a bit more "savage." This one's a little more dark and creepy. There are things about it that even remind me of Black Seeds [of Vengence] at times. We always try to do that. I think we achieved that on all fronts this time. I think the songwriting is a bit more focused. Working with [drummer] George [Kollias] for the second time around and jamming with him for almost four years now. We've all definitely increased in our tightness as far as playing with each other. So we're happy. (laughs)

KUCI: Very cool. Aside from the Egyptian themes in general, does there seem to be any particular emphasis on either historical activity or overall themes in that aspect of things?

DTW: Not so much this time around. Actually, Karl was a little bit more into Lovecraft this time around and the Necronomicon and stuff like that, so the album became a little darker.

KUCI: That's cool. What are things like performing as a three piece this time around, particularly in the studio, and whatever happened to [bassist] Joe Payne? Cuz I know that he was with you guys for a while, but he doesn't seem to be present at this particular point.

DTW: You know, some stuff happened. I can't go into it because I don't roll like that. Other people may do that, and we've already caught a little...there's already some shit going on. I'd like to diffuse it as quick as possible. You know for whatever reason it just didn't work out. We're actually pretty happy with the guy we have now. His name is Chris Lollis, and he's actually the guitar player for a band called Lecherous Nocturne. I played drums and produced their last release and stuff like that. I pretty much knew that the Lecherous guys could handle the material no problem, because the guitar is pretty sick on the Lecherous stuff. You know, originally before Joe Payne we actually asked the other guitar player Krieshloff. He was actually my first choice anyway, because Joe was young. But we're really happy with Chris Lollis man. He's doing a great job! He's got cool sounding vocals, and they're kind of unique. He sounds like he kind of swallowed a f*ckin' thorn bush or something. (laughs) So we're happy about that. Still maintaining kind of the triple vocal threat live and on the CD. He did some guest vocals on "Eat of the Dead." Yeah, we're happy.

KUCI: Do you have any idea what the fan following is like in Egypt right now?

DTW: We actually...I think we get a couple letters from there. Who knows? There probably is a metal community there. But I'm not going to play there any time soon. Not without the damn U.S. army or something. (laughs) It's just dangerous over there right now. We'd love to just go over there and visit and see and tour the sights. See everything. That would be one step. Playing there...that would just be amazing. But that would also be pretty scary at this point and day in time.

KUCI: What can you tell me about the upcoming release of Legacy of the Catacombs [on Relapse Records] and does it include a DVD? I heard some rumors about that.

Dallas: Um, all I can say to that...like I said, I'm not really one to sling any shit, but, you know, to clarify anything that's being posted because we've already seen some odd responses from all this...is that it was the Relapse thing to do.

KUCI: (laughs) Okay.

DTW: (laughs) They want to cash in on the cow one more f*ckin' time alright. We had nothing to do with that. At least they asked us about the artwork. So we were like, "oh cool." Yeah, but there was really nothing we could do about it. Cuz you know, when we started we were like (sarcastically) "Oh yeah! We're going to make a video one day, yeah!" or (sarcastically) "Oh yeah! We're going to have a Best Of CD one day!" We didn't think this. We didn't think that at all. We figured we'd get to do maybe a little bit of regional touring and work our f*ckin' jobs and that's it. We didn't expect this. Ever.

KUCI: Gotcha. What's been your favorite touring experience with Nile up to now? Is there any particular touring experience that just stands out as something that was particularly phenomenal for you guys?

DTW: I really enjoyed the last headlining U.S. tour a lot for Annihilation of the Wicked. We did The Pound in San Francisco, and Anthrax's tour met up with our tour. So our package opened for their package, you know what I mean? And that was an awesome show, man! That was an awesome show. And actually that whole tour was really...that one and the last European tour, even though it was very grueling on us all. As far as live performance, the band was really tight. Really tight. You know, actually, it's improved since then as well, but some aspects of the new songs are still a bit difficult. But that's what happens. We tour this stuff for two or three tours here and a couple tours in Europe and then it's like nothing [to play]. Then it's time to (whistles) step it up another notch! (laughs)

KUCI: Aside from Karl's solo instrumental stuff, are any of you guys participating in any other musical projects aside from Nile?

DTW: Um, yeah, I've been working on some stuff on and off. Definitely 100% devoted to Nile. You know, George had the Sickening Horror thing that he was doing, which is really sick like really technical, jazzy Death kind of stuff. Very drum heavy, very drum busy with lots of cool stuff. Of course, I did the Lecherous Nocturne thing. You know, those guys needed some help. It was an opportunity for me to play an instrument I hadn't played in a few years. And Karl's got the Saurian [Meditations] thing. Yeah. So I've got a little kind of metal project that I've been kind of working on for the past year or so. Pretty much the same as Karl with the Saurian thing - Nile comes first. We do this in our free time when we just want to have some fun or whatever.

KUCI: Very cool. Where do you look to for inspiration musically? Is there any band or any kind of artist or anything like that if you really want to get inspired aside from just jamming with these guys? Is there anything you look towards to help inspire you musically?

DTW: Well, definitely uh...Karl and I both found a lot of stuff in movie soundtracks, actually. Stuff like that. You know, the big epic ones. The Ten Commandments. Ben Hur. Big epic compositions. That's always been a part of us. But really anything from like classic rock to the heaviest of death metal. A very wide range of influences.

KUCI: What can you tell the fans about the equipment set up that you use?

DTW: Well, pretty simple set up, really, for the guitar signals. We use Marshall heads and Marshall cabs, and we use something in line to boost the signal to get more distortion. It's a pretty simple set up.

KUCI: Cool, cool. How much further do you think the extreme metal scene can sort of push itself, because there are obvious limitations on human speed and that kind of thing from where it is now.

DTW: I think that the only limitations in music and metal in general are in the mind. Speed is not our most important priority, even though hearing some of our songs you wouldn't think that. I think it's all about better composition, more variety, and being able to achieve goosebumps on people's arms and chills up their spine. Or make them want to punch somebody in the face or make 'em want to cry. Tapping into that is what music should be about, and quite frankly I think there has been too much emphasis lately on how well someone can play. Of course we think that is important, and we want a good balance of everything. We want to be able to have some velocity sometimes in some of the songs. But there's too much emphasis on that lately, and people are really kind of...kind of ruining metal, because they worry too much about how technical it is or whatever. And it kind of just loses the whole reason, which is the metal spirit. You know, something that's going to make you want to bang your f*ckin' head. That's what it's about, man.

KUCI: For vocal performance duties, is there any particular sort of routine that you perform or anything else to just keep your voice in line?

DTW: People killing me while driving down the street on their cell phones. It's like (screams) F*CK!!!! You know, every five minutes. (laughs) I've been doing it a long time, you know. I've been doing it...I've always been the guitar player that was looking for the singer, and it just never worked out. So I just got stuck with the job. So I've been singing as long as I've been playing. That's just kind of how that happens. You've just gotta do it, you know? You've gotta do it, and you've gotta take care of yourself. You can't be a party animal. You've gotta drink plenty of f*ckin' water. You've gotta take care, man. (laughs)

KUCI: Well that's about it for this particular interview. Was there anything else that you wanted to say to the fans or the listeners out there for KUCI?

DTW: Hope you enjoy the new album, and thanks for keeping it true and keeping it real. All this flavor of the week sh*t will come and go, but metal will always be here!



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