After exchanging warm greetings to pave the way to the questions, we recalled one of the closest Nile experiences to the heart of the Middle Eastern fans, their performance in Dubai a few years ago.
This event witnessed the participation of two shining Arab metal bands: Nervcell and Scarab. Also, we asked him to evaluate his relationship with middle eastern bands and fans.
Kollias said: “It is great that we have been to many places I’d love to. But, of course, get to Egypt one day is an absolute dream for the Nile. We actually got some offers and everyone said yes. When we can make it; we will make it very special as there is a possibility of shooting video there. But, we have to find the correct time or the right time to do that; otherwise, it could be super expensive for us.” He added that there are many things that connect the Nile to Egypt so, “We won’t the opportunity to shoot a music video there to make it extra special.”
Then Kollias expressed that Nile’s Karl Sanders visited Egypt in 2019 to participate with an Egyptian metal artist (Nader Sadek). But, none of Nile’s other members had the chance to come to Egypt.
We back to our first topic again which is Dubai’s concert. He described: “I remember Dubai, we had a great time.” But he revealed that he isn’t very familiar with many names of Middle Eastern names.
Next, Kollias told us the music he is listening to nowadays. He explained: “The music I am checking and listening to now is more into rock, jazz, funk. So, I am missing a lot of new metal acts worldwide. I am fascinated by other styles I am listening to try to get in other styles, discover new things to add them to my music.” “I listen to metal since I was 7 years old, but nowadays, I am listening to less metal, but I am trying to find new music.”
He also reflected that he found various similarities between jazz and death metal. Then, we recalled the controversial words of Steven Wilson regarding the death of rock/metal music.
He answered: “I disagree,” adding, “Greta Van Fleet” consisted of young artists and they play the 70s rock music. “I really like this band because it gets me back to the 70s. I really like that part of rock music.”
After that, we moved to talk about the metal scene of Kollias’ homeland, Greece. Greece has various shining names in the metal industry currently. Rotting Crist and Septicflesh come on the top. Also, both bands are very popular for us in the region alongside Dimlight who performed many times in some Arab countries. But, we actually asked him about the scene during the COVID-19 crisis.
Kollias satirically replied: “Was there any metal scene during COVID-19?” He continued: “I know Rotting Crist did a show, I think, they played with people seated.”
The artist continued that everyone was free, there were no shows. Next, he added that he couldn’t travel anywhere, but now, the venues start to opening their doors once again so, there is somehow an activity in the scene.
So, we moved to talk about an important topic which is the new concept of online shows, paid online shows. Kollias reacted: “To be honest, I will vote NO. Because, I don’t really see the energy, It is a kind of a rehearsal. I saw many bands do these shows and I wasn’t impressed, but I was very impressed with Behemoth. Well, that is something defiantly worthy to pay. They had a big show. I was somehow surprised. It was massive! I would glad to pay for that.” “It wasn’t a rehearsal. They invested money and time to make it very big,” he continued.
“So, I will vote yes for something like this. But, if we were in a rehearsal space, in a practice room, and then we put a camera…That is a no. I have here eight cameras, I can go live anytime. It will be a rehearsal,” Kollias described.
Next, we asked him about his early career and his technique. He answered: “I am 100% self-taught as there was no drummer in the city I grew up in, even in Athens there was nobody shows you how to do that (extreme metal drumming). So I had to learn myself. It was more difficult than today. I mean, now you can go on Youtube and watch any drummer. So, if you can see any drummer playing, you are learning. You can see moves to understand what he does. But, back then, we do it by ear. Around 2000, I met my teacher and one of my best friends Yannis Stavropoulos. He really changed my drumming a lot, he got me jazz, funk, I am more open-minded now, I learn how to get influenced by everything. So, I can hear pop music and find something very cool. I am not a fan of pop music, but I do practice pop music a lot.”
The talk drove us to tackle a sensitive musical issue which is the current Greek music. Kollias actually praised Alkinoos Ioannidis. He described him as “A great composer and a great musician. He plays high-quality music.”
We go back to the core of our interview, and the following question was about his Nile journey. “It was the summer of 2004. All of sudden, I got an email from Karl, it was like “Do you want to join us?” I said: yes. That started when I met Derek Roddy. I am still a big fan of him. I gave him a demo CD of my extreme metal band back then, Sickening Horror, and he listened to the CD.
Then, he went back to the states. Then, Karl asked him as their drummer left, he said: “I know one guy can play Nile stuff, but he lives in Greece.”
So, they called me, and I went to the States. There wasn’t an audition. I went there to play, I had no idea. I went there and we played together. After a couple of rehearsals, they said: “We want you to join the band.” I said that’s cool. Then, they said, let’s start writing the new album.” Then we asked him about his fears regarding leaving his country and start a career with the Nile.
He revealed that there were a lot of questions in his head like his ability to play every day in tours, or joining the band for recording.
Kollias described his career with the Nile as “Amazing! We had good moments, and bad moments, we had easy times, and difficult times, but as a whole that is the journey of life, A lot of sacrifices we had to do for example when my kid was born, I arrived home 15 days before my kid arrived. So, if she was born earlier, I would be on tour. And, 20 days after my kid was born, I had to go on tour again. Also, when my father died, I was on a tour. It was hard and that’s the worst thing around touring, you can’t control situations like this.”
He continued: “The life of a musician is not easy. A lot of stress. It is a part of life. I like performing around the world, but that has a cost. Sometimes, it is tough, sometimes it’s ok.”
After that, we asked that if there is something else you want to achieve with the Nile. He said: “Playing in Egypt, I am super serious. I want to get there, and perform with my band, and have a lot of memories, shoot a video.”
After that, Kollias told us exclusive news regarding Nile’s upcoming album that the band started writing the new album, and one song is ready! The plan is to record drums around December.
PS: This interview was originally recorded on May 29.
Interviewed by: Rana Atef
Edited and Revised by: George Kollias