An Interview With : Dallas Toler-Wade (Nile)
19th April 2016, 08:00
Posted by Tristan
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Consistency within Death Metal is often a word that get thrown around. Used freely without a true sense of merit the word can often be diffuse of its meaning. However after the release of their Imhotep conjuring words of caution What Should Not Be Unearthed last year, its fair to say Nile wholly deserve this accolade. Having previously spoken to Nile guitarist Karl Sanders on their previous first heat of the UK we were able to once again sit down with the band outside Tufnell Park’s The Dome. Speaking this time with the vocal demon that is Dallas Toler Wade we found out what the singer / shredder’s  experience of creating the new record was like, that the man is a huge fan of Zelda and some VERY interesting news regarding this years Summer Slaughter tour in the US.

Listen to the full, unedited interview below or if you’re somewhere where you can’t like work read the transcript underneath that!

Today I have Dallas with me from the mighty Nile! How are you?

Good!

How have things been going, the boring question, how has the tour been going?

Tour has been going great so far! We’re excited about tonight, obviously.

How does it feel to be back in London?

London, I love it! Its great, its a cool place. Its our second time here in this particular place from what I remember (The Dome) the venue changes a lot for London but its gonna be good!

You were here fairly recently, what inspired you to come back again?

The touring company that we work with, they gave us the offer for the tour and we said yeah, this particular leg we went to Norway and Sweden and Finland which we didn’t do on the last tour. We’re kind of going to some other places that we didn’t catch last time.

Any uncharted territory?

Not really, we’ve been to all the places that we have gone but we just hadn’t done it on this album cycle.

What have you been up to since the beginning of the year? A lot of touring?

Yeah, we did an American tour and it was really successful and other than that just practicing at home and hanging out with the family.

Like playing Zelda haha!

Playing lots of Zelda haha!

Previously we spoke to Karl about the writing process of What Should Not Be Unearthed but what was it like for you?

Well it was pretty much the normal routine. I wrote three songs for the record as the music, its the usual thing where we get all the lyrics going and then Karl was like check this one out. I said I really like this one, particularly “Evil To Cast Out Evil” I really related to the whole idea behind the lyrics.

Yeah it was pretty much the same thing, this time we didn’t have Neil Kernon there for the actual engineering and recording process. Me and Karl did that ourselves and he just mixed. Usually he is there telling us to do it again and get in tune, stop drinking! So this time it was mostly engineered by us.

Do you think that gave you a bit more freedom to do exactly what you wanted to do?

Well it definitely gave us a lot less time constraints but we wanted to get it done. We were really excited about the material so we worked our asses off until we got it finished haha!

I’ve often wondered some of the stuff that you play in Nile is ridiculously technical, how do you sing over it?

I’ve been doing it for years. My very first band I tried to find a singer so that we could be a five piece and this was back in the eighties when there was actual singing. I could never find anybody to do it or if they could do it even though I wasn’t the greatest singer in the world, they couldn’t do it as good as I could anyways. Thats just kind of how that ended up and it is challenge at first but you just rehearse it and the guitar part and the vocals become one thing together after a while.

Obviously when you first started out it was hard but now you are totally used to it?

Yeah, I mean new songs always bring new challenges. When we’re tracking the vocals in the studio or arranging the vocals we don’t have the guitar in our hand so its always a surprise to find out what you’re going to have to do. For the most part we can get it one hundred percent like the album but maybe now and again a syllable will have to change where it is, something like that but thats part of being live.

That’s what keeps it interesting! Is it quite a democratic process, the songwriting process?

Yeah I would say pretty much! From my angle, if I write something and the guys don’t like it I’m not going to get upset about it I’ll just try to come up with something else. That has never happened but you know I’m always prepared for that! Not all the ideas that we have will work in this band. Its always a possibility but so far so good haha!

Whats a personal favourite track of yours off the new album?

It would be really hard to say actually, I really like “To Walk Forth From Flames” and I really like “Evil To Cast Out Evil” its just got these big hooks and its just memorable. While we do have some technical stuff going on we still like to have some good parts that connect to the listener. Yeah, I would say those two. Its hard to say though because “Call To Destruction” is also one of my favourites. I would say definitely those three!

Extend it to three haha!

Yeah haha,

Did you have it in the your mind that when you were playing these songs live it was going to be more organic?

Sometimes when you come up with something, you be like oh wow that can really go over well live! Theres a possibility for some crowd interaction and stuff like that we don’t always think about that kind of thing. Sometimes we just put our heads down and get crazy haha

Way back in the beginning, what made you want to be a part of this niche Egyptian themed Death Metal?

When I joined the band back in 1997, my previous project, one of which was talking about Greek mythology, that wasn’t necessarily the reason why I was interested in Nile. I thought the guitar work and the music was something really special. I heard of two different bands to try out for in the area and I didn’t even bother going to the other band. When I started jamming with Karl it just kind of seemed to work.

And its worked ever since!

Uh hmm!

Why have you guys always been a three piece then? I know live its a four piece but classically its always been a three piece…

We have had a lot of difficulty finding the right guy for the bass guitar but now we are actually a four piece! Brad is an official member. He’s in the photos all that stuff, he’s an official member and most likely as long as he doesn’t do anything stupid, he will be on the next record!

What have been some of your influences both as a vocalist and guitarist?

Thats a pretty wide range of stuff! For Death Metal I always really liked Immolation, for both the guitar and the vocals. They’re probably up there with my favourites. They’re probably my favourite Death Metal band actually. The really dark passage in the guitar work and I love the guttural sound of Ross’ voice. That would be one, there’s too many to say! There’s also Krisiun, OK those are my two favourites right there.

I remember you toured with Krisiun and I think Grave? This was ages ago back in the Scala, what are the plans for this year, you’re on tour what’s the next step?

The next thing we got is Summer Slaughter in the States, we’re opening for Cannibal Corpse and so far that’s it. We were gonna do European festivals later in the year but decided to do Summer Slaughter instead so far the books are pretty open! We’ve been really busy since the release of the album we did the tour in Europe and UK last year with Suffocation. That went over very well, we went to Australia did four shows there and we did our American tour, we’re just staying busy like always!

Do you think that What Should Not Be Unearthed is probably not necessarily just critically but with fans one of the most well received records that you have put out?

Its definitely more well received than the last one! The last one a lot of people didn’t like the production on it. It is super, super clean its one of those things where its like well it sounds kind of good on a cell phone. You know what I mean? But this time we wanted to get back to the more bigger kind of weighty Nile sound that a lot of people wanted. I think its well received for that reason, it sounds a lot more like sonically like Annihilation or Those Whom The Gods Detest I look at Sethu as our Thrash Metal album kind of haha!

You say a weighty sound, normally theres instrumentals but there were hardly any instrumentals I noticed on the new record…

It just is what it is! We just do what we want to do and sometimes there will be more of that, sometimes there will be less of it. It just depends on what Karl wants to do with that.

You said that a lot of people didn’t like the production, was that something that made you want to engineer it yourself this time?

No, not really! We trusted Neil on the mixing but we kind of know the process of elimination and we know a lot more about recording now. Its always a learning experience, even before this band I was making records. Now its all these years later and we have learned a lot and we’ve got a good little collection of gear!

Do you think its helped with technology and all of the advances there, has that shaped your sound to a certain extent?

Absolutely! I wouldn’t say it necessarily say it shaped the sound but it does help us achieve what we want to achieve sonically without spending, ten, fifteen hundered thousand dollars. You hear some of these records from the eighties, sonically they still stand up to today’s standards but they were spending five hundred thousand dollars to make that sound. Back then they didn’t the technology, now with computers and stuff even though we still have a lot of analogue things that we use it does definitely keep the cost down and make things sound good!

What about lyrics, is it solely Karl that writes the lyrics?

Pretty much, I haven’t written any lyrics for the band since Shrines haha! I really love working with his stuff for the songs that I write. Its kind of easy to have that there its almost like a road map. This could be a pretty cool chorus here, thats a great verse, we can take this line right here and make it a big chant or something like that. Its just helps with the song writing process to already know what you are going to be talking about. What direction things are going to go.

So you’re more about the delivery, is that your sort of area?

It just depends on the song. Its pretty much like I said its just a good direction. You get an idea in your head, one of the things we always wanted to do was for the music to paint like a picture. You can see, you can read along with the lyrics and there is like this connection and you can almost see it in your mind. Thats kind of what we go for.

I think you’ve pretty much achieved that! Every time I turn a Nile album on I’m like “wow I’m back in ancient Egypt”

Haha good, good!

Finally what’s been a record that you have been listening to over the last year or the last six months? Something that has grabbed your attention.

Does it have to be new? Haha! Actually I have been listening to a lot of Stoner/Doom Metal kind of stuff lately. I’ve been really getting into The Sword, I discovered actually Brad, our bass player turned me onto it and I have been listening to the Warp Riders album.

I think its a great album, I like all of their stuff but that one particularly I think is good. I’ve been listening to old Trouble and stuff like that. Getting into that sort of thing, on the Death Metal end I have been listening to Hideous Divinity.

I think they’re on tour with Cannibal Corpse right now! I think they’re doing a European tour, I think Krisiun is on that tour too. Cannibal Corpse, Krisiun and Hideous Divinity. Its gonna be a ripper! I actually did some backing vocals for them, for Hideous Divinity on one of the tracks for the last one that came out Cobra Verde.

The one with all the green cobra’s haha!

Yeah haha!

Well thank you ever so much for chatting with us!

Nile’s brand new album What Should Not Be Unearthed is out now via Nuclear Blast.