Chemistry is what makes a band great. A group of individuals whose combined effort results in a sound that appeals to the masses. However, not every great union lasts forever. People and attitudes change. Sometimes ‘new blood’ can do some good. New additions can be vitalizing, especially if that new participant is both skilled and creative.
If you follow metal, I’m sure you’ve heard about Dallas Toller-Wade’s decision to leave death metal juggernauts Nile. His absence is a tricky one because his contribution was significant. Dallas provided guitars, vocals and lyrics. Nile utilizes three different vocalists in their attack and Dallas’ voice was the most prominent. He had been with the band since 2000.
Needless to say I was curious as to how Nile planned on filling this gap. Press releases announcing his exit happened to coincide with the Nile tour with Overkill. Questions were starting to grow. I had the opportunity to interview Nile and I took it.
I learned just prior to my interview that I’d be speaking with George Kollias, drummer extraordinaire but to my surprise when George led me inside the tour bus I found new Nile member Brian Kingsland waiting and he planned on sitting in on the interview! Please enjoy some excerpts of my 2/17/17 interview with George Kollias and Brian Kingsland of Nile where we discuss Brian’s new role, touring with Overkill and their upcoming date at Wacken!
David Halbe: It’s clear from reading your press release that there are no hard feelings between Nile and Dallas but what I would like to know is was his leaving unexpected?
George Kollias: We kind of expected it. It had to happen you know? That’s it. He wanted to focus on Narcotic Wasteland, his own band. There are definitely no bad feelings, it is what it is.
George introduces me to Brian Kingsland.
George: We have Brian now and he’s very good. We are satisfied and happy to have him.
Dave: How long did you guys practice together before this tour?
Brian Kingsland: I practiced with Karl (Karl Sanders) for about three months.
Dave: Holy shit, ok.
Brian: So we practiced like that and then George flew in, about two weeks ago?
Brian: So about two weeks ago we started rehearsing every day but yeah it was a couple of months, it took me awhile to get the set list down.
George: The way we usually do things is I practice a lot back home, I listen to the bass and guitar tracks. Basically the tracks without drums. The rest of the band does the opposite with just my drum tracks.
Dave: So you guys are practicing before you even get together?
Brian: By the time he gets here, it’s like we’ve already been playing.
George: That’s because I live in Greece, just to clarify.
Dave: Did you add/omit any songs?
George: We are basically playing all the songs you’d expect. I will say with Brian in the band now there are a few songs we’d like to play and we wanted to give it a shot.
Dave: Can you tell me what any of those are?
Brian: Yes, one is called “The Thieves Who Come to Steal the Magic of the Deceased”.
Dave: I know that track, awesome! (At The Gate of Sethu – 2012)
George: That’s one new song. Like I said before, now that we have Brian in the band, we want to try some new things. It opens many doors and it [has] brought a fresh vibe to the band. We are very excited.
Dave: Agreed. When can we expect a follow up to What Should Not Be Unearthed?
George: The plan is sometime after these dates. After this tour we have South America and we’re playing some festivals in Europe over the summer.
Dave: That’s really gonna tighten you guys up.
George: For sure. It’s gonna be cool, we’re planning on visiting some new countries as well, like Bolivia and El Salvador, we hope we are able to play those dates. By then we will have at least four songs ready so maybe the plan will be to have something ready by early next year.
Dave: Sounds like you guys are really excited about playing these dates then getting into the studio to see what he (Brian) can do.
George: Yes, totally.
Brian: I’m pretty excited myself man.
Dave: So you guys have been working on some new stuff together already if you’re talking about having four songs?
George: Yes, we’ve got a couple songs we are working on. One is very complete.
Brian: The others are in the form of ideas. I’ve submitted a few things as a way of passing the test so to speak. You know, it’s the way to show your value. If you wanna be part of a band I think you ought to be able to write.
Dave: I agree totally.
Brian: I want to make sure whatever I write is Nile worthy, you know?
Dave (To Brian): Absolutely. Can you give me a bit of your background? I’d never heard of the band you played in before, what’s it called?
Brian: Well, I play in a band back home (South Carolina) called Enthean.
Brian: It’s blackened technical death metal type of stuff, that’s kind of how I landed this gig in a way because Brad (Brad Parris) had come to a lot of our shows. So I was already friends with Brad and I was acquainted with Karl (Karl Sanders) because we had met a couple of times. Some people would say South Carolina is a small place.
Brian: Everybody knows everybody in the scene, all you gotta do is go to shows. When the opportunity came up Brad recommended me and I sent in an audition tape.
Dave: The rest is history, here you are. Has it been a tough adjustment?
Brian: You know, I’ve had a bit of touring experience so I know the etiquette of personal space and stuff like that.
Dave: Ever been out of the country touring before?
Dave: You’ve got to be excited about that then?
Brian: Fuck yeah!
Dave: Dude, it’s got to be cool knowing you got George to show you the ropes.
Brian: For sure.
George: Let me add something really quick, with Brian one of the reasons we were super excited is because this is the first time after many years we are able to split the vocals even more.
Dave: Oh fuck yeah!
George: You know, from Annihilation (Annihilation of the Wicked – 2005) and later it’s seemed like Karl and Brad’s vocals became less and less. I think the way they did it before, with all the voices, sounded more powerful actually.
Dave: So you are trying to get back to those kind of arrangements now?
George: Yes, the vocals are going to be spread out more equally.
Dave: What will we see tonight, will there be a new rendition of those arrangements?
George: Yes, absolutely. We had to rearrange all of the songs now that we have three strong people in the front.
Dave: Kick ass! I can’t wait to see it. I’ve got to be honest, after hearing all the news and now meeting Brian, I can’t wait.
Dave: You only have a couple lyric videos out for this album “Call to Destruction” & “Evil to Cast Out”. Has anything else been planned, a live performance offering perhaps?
George: Actually, I think we may do that. We do have some cameras with us to put something out to give to the fans.
Dave: These are nice big venues you are playing in right now.
George: Outside of the States they will not know Brian, it might be a good way to introduce him to the fans.
Dave: Hell yeah, I totally agree. So how did you guys hook up with Overkill?
George: We just got this offer to join the tour. We are fans of Overkill. They are super cool guys. They are a big band so we thought it would be a really good opportunity for us to go out and maybe get some new fans.
Dave: Some different exposure?
George: Exactly, I mean, most of these guys I think they may know Nile but I’m not sure if a person who’s really dedicated to thrash would go to a Nile show.
Dave: They might after this. I think you’re going to take a lot of them by surprise.
George: That is the point.
Dave: Are you excited about playing Wacken this year?
Brian: Fuck yeah!
Dave: That’s going to be good.
Brian: So many great bands. Emperor is one of my absolute favorite bands and they’re supposed to be there. So yeah, who wouldn’t be excited to play Wacken?
Dave: It’s like the Mecca of Metal right? A great thing to get under your belt.
Brian: Fuck yeah!
George: Nile played there actually back in 2003. It was one year before I joined the band.
Dave: Ought to be good to get out there again.
George: It’s a legendary festival, although there are a lot of great festivals around with that kind of pedigree now.
Dave: Are there any other upcoming dates you’d like to mention?
George: You know we are playing a date in Israel, it will be the first time for Nile in Israel.
Dave: Wow! That sounds like a show. That will be a unique experience.
George: We will probably also visit Cyprus.
Dave: That’s awesome. That’s like coming home for you George, ought to be a good crowd.
George: Yes, we will probably do a show in Greece as well.
Dave: Well damn, sounds like you’ve got this year booked up. Thanks a lot for your time today guys. Good luck tonight and with the rest of your touring!
Brian: No problem. Thank you!
George: Thank you, take care.