Tag Archives: Morbid Angel

Interview with Rami Mustafa of Nervecell

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One of the first extreme metal bands to emerge from Dubai, U.A.E. Nervecell has supported legendary bands such as Metallica, Anthrax, Morbid Angel and Suffocation are the torchbearers for a Middle Eastern wave of metal. WTS got the chance to interact with Rami Mustafa, the guitarist of Nervecell and here’s what he had to say about the band and their experiences… 

WTS: Nervecell has shared the stage with a bunch of international acts such as Metallica, Sepultura, Machinehead etc. How was the experience?

RM: Oh it was great! We are old fans of these bands, since we were kids, everyone one of us in the band grew up listening to Metallica, Sepultura, Machinehead and for us to get a chance to open for them, not only was it a great experience for us as a band, it was also a dream come true. Meeting our idols, the bands that made us get into music in the first place, and getting the chance to share the same stage with them, it is a feeling that we cannot describe. Especially with Metallica because Metallica is one of the biggest, if not the biggest metal band and to get a chance to open for them exclusively is a big honor for us.

WTS: Just watching a Metallica concert can be quite an experience so we can imagine what you guys felt opening for them! Did you get to hang out with the band, any cool backstage stories?

RM: Metallica is a very busy band so to actually get a chance to meet them was crazy! Because they have their own fan club with thousands of fans all over the world and they spent an hour and a half signing autographs backstage for these fans. We were lucky to meet them for five minutes after our set. When we finished our set they were actually jamming backstage – they have a small room where they practice before they go on stage. So all of us were listening to them playing ‘Creeping Death’ before they hit the stage and it was a privilege to hear them perform because none of us in the band had seen Metallica before. So they came out from the room and James Hetfield and Lars and us hung out. They were really cool. They told us that they liked our sound. It was a really quick chat because they had to go on stage. It was exactly 5 minutes before their stage time and we had only that much time to meet them. We were lucky and it was a really good experience to shake hands and take pictures with them. It was really great, they’re great guys!

WTS: So did Metallica influence Nervecell’s sound? What are the other bands that have influenced your music?

RM: We play a mix of thrash and death metal, the thrash metal sections are definitely Metallica, Slayer, Sepultura and Pantera influenced. For sure Metallica did influence us in one way or the other, the riffing obviously we’re heavier than Metallica and our style is heavier. The death metal section is influenced by Death, Morbid Angel and Cannibal Corpse. Basically old school death metal bands influenced us. We grew up listening to late 90’s death and thrash metal era. So these are the bands that affected our playing and influenced us.

WTS: Growing up in Qatar, did you guys have easy access to underground music and death metal in particular?

RM: When I was a kid, I was in Qatar that rarely had anything – the only access for me was TV you know, the only channels I used to watch were Channel V, MTV. This is where I first heard metal and before that I used to listen to rock music. Bands like GnR… I can’t really recall what other bands but the first metal bands were Megadeth, Metallica.

WTS: …Headbangers Ball!

RM: Headbangers Ball, exactly! I was six-seven years old and it was definitely not easy to find tapes or CDs and definitely no downloading, there was no access. My friends used to come from nearby countries like Turkey, Syria, Jordan and they used to have pirated music tapes from European countries. And whoever went to the States or Europe used to get me albums. Same with the other guys, Barney grew up in Dubai and he had the same experience. Dubai is more commercial but then again it wasn’t easy for Barney. Whatever metal music we had was through TV and magazines. As we grew older we subscribed to magazines like Metal Hammer and Rock Hard and we used to get music and compilation CDs and stuff. As we got older we started getting access slowly. But metal in general, when it came to finding CDs in stores, you’d never find death metal or thrash metal; you’d only find the commercial stuff like Metallica and maybe Slayer – nothing more than that. Nowadays you find everything. I think its getting better, man. It was a bit of a struggle then, it definitely wasn’t easy.

WTS: So now that there is easier access to underground metal, is there more reception to Nervecell’s music?

RM: Of course! When we started in 2001, the scene in Dubai was bad. But 2001 to 2005 it was really good. There were a lot of bands and a lot of underground gigs but people didn’t know too much about metal. They used to come to our shows and learn and realize – this is metal, this is death metal, this is thrash metal. We used to talk with everyone. We used to go out after our show to our friends and fans and have a chat and talk about bands and sometimes trade albums. It was a learning process. So yeah, for the past 3-4 years, I think the internet and YouTube and technology have helped the younger generation to learn about metal really faster than before, in a shorter span of time. Nowadays I find that musicians that can play a guitar lesson on YouTube! (laughs) It’s not a bad thing at all you know!

WTS: The Middle East is seen generally as a very conservative society, has there been any sort of opposition to your music and your lyrical themes?

RM: No, not at all! A lot of people get confused by countries like Dubai and Qatar, these countries are really modern, very globalized so it’s not a problem. What we sing about is really about humanitarian issues and personal issues, nothing extreme lyrically. So we’ve never had these problems. As kids, growing up in the society we learned that we have to respect traditions and morals no matter what. For me, it was purely about the music and then the lyrics. We were fine you know. Other countries have issues with metal at gigs and concerts. We’d have had some problems playing there but we’ve never been to these countries. We try to avoid trouble and we were very careful so there has been no problem.

WTS: So did growing up in the Middle East influence your music in any way?

RM: Yeah of course! The thing is James, he writes the lyrics, its a self-expressive kind of music and doesn’t necessarily have to be negative. A lot of it is about reality, it could be about what’s happening around us and it could be about things between close friends or could be about what’s happening in the world in general. We don’t really have topics that pinpoint and they are mostly general. What’s happening in the world does affect us but we don’t really take it to the level where it’s concentrated to the lyrics. We always concentrate on the music first.

WTS: Your second album Psychogenocide was released in 2011 and you guys received rave reviews for it. Could you tell us more about it?

RM: This is our second full-length album and it’s on Lifeforce Records and we had little time to work on it compared to our last album because we were touring. We had a lot of tours in Europe and a lot of festivals between the writing process for the album. Compared to our last release it’s more of a dark album and a heavier album… more death-metal oriented than our last album Preaching Venom, which was was thrashier and more melodic. Psychogenocide was a bit of both – heavy and dark. Some songs were very melodic and other songs were plain brutal. We really didn’t plan it. When we write – me and Barney on guitars, we both write the music fully. We concentrate on the guitar riffs and then put it into songs. The composition is very guitar-driven. When the songs form, we decide – this song is going to be death, more brutal…let’s continue, lets keep it up the same way we want to do it. The album has a bit of everything and is musically heavier than our earlier releases. And of course we toured everywhere – Middle East, Far East. We went on a South Asian tour, out first Asian tour. Went to the Philippines, Sri Lanka, came back to India when we were promoting it. We also did a European tour with Morbid Angel, which was a very big tour for us. Morbid Angel is a very influential band and a big name in death metal so we were busy for this album. We’re still busy!

WTS: Are you guys recording or writing the third album?

RM: The official writing process is going to be sometime soon but you know I write riffs, Barney writes riffs and we sit together and we compose. The writing process sure is going to happen soon, definitely this year. The new album should be out this year.

WTS: Is it a challenge to translate the energy of your live act into your studio album or vice versa? Psychogenocide is heavy, brutal and technical in parts. Is it challenging to play it live?

RM: Of course! When we write, we keep the live aspect in our minds. We always want to know if this is going to be a lively song or this will be a song that we can’t play live. Whenever we go as far as we do and even if we have complex parts we practice it a lot in the jam room and make sure we pull it off and a lot of our riffs are pretty groove-oriented so naturally it works out fine. Luckily! (laughs) It is a challenge but in time we got used to it and we became better, we matured and started learning more and more. We did a lot of touring with a lot of live appearances. We started feeling off, like this pack of riffs or this pack of songs is going to be more studio songs so we don’t really play it live. We do the songs that we feel would drag the crowds. It’s a bit of both. We never really sit and plan like this will be cool riff-wise. It doesn’t work like that. But luckily, we’re very fortunate that it works out, it starts to come out naturally. We’re very happy about this.

WTS: So what have you been listening to lately? Are there any current bands that you are fans of?

RM: Yeah, for me it depends on my mood. I listen to metal all the time. I’ve been listening to experimental bands and I’m a progressive metal fan. Also old bands like Camel and Rush. I listen to these bands all the time. Sometimes I’m in the mood to listen to some brutal, extreme stuff. Of the newer bands I really like The Faceless, they’re a really cool band. I’ve been listening to this new band called The Haarp Machine and these guys are killer! Really cool technical, progressive stuff. Really depends on my mood, I don’t really have a playlist all the time. It changes…I was just listening to Slayer couple of hours ago – totally random!

WTS: It was great chatting with you Rami. Thank you for your time!

RM: No problem! My pleasure. Thanks for your time. I’ve actually seen quite a few articles on ‘What’s the Scene?’ We’re really looking forward to playing in India soon. It’s been a while since we’ve come back to India and we love the fans there. The crowds interact with us really well, we feel like we’re neighbours and feel connected in a way. All our past experiences in India were great so really looking forward to it!

Sohan Maheshwar

Jack of all tirades, total shirk-off. Follow Sohan on twitter! @soganmageshwar

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Metal Wave at Xtreme Sports Bar, Hyderabad

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For all the headbangers in Hyderabad, Metal Wave at Xtreme Sports Bar brought an evening of metal music which made for a perfect Saturday on the 19th of May 2012. Xtreme Sports Bar along with MetamorphiK and Tooth & Nail Productions had the stage set for metal bands from Hyderabad and this time around, there were new bands formed by the coming together of seasoned musicians sharing the platform with one of Hyderabad’s most popular bands and the headliners for the event – Skrypt.

Metal Wave at Xtreme Sports Bar, Hyderabad

Four Clover, a group of experienced musicians, who have played for accomplished bands like Sacred Groove and REALMS, came together with the objective to show that music is something that each and every individual can relate to. With progressive influences from bands like Pagan’s Mind, Pain Of Salvation and Hard Rock influences from bands like Blackstone Cherry and Alter Bridge, Four Clover kicked started the show with the groovy ‘Cochise’ by Audioslave. With Vocals by Ashok, Eddie on the guitars, Praveen on the bass and Rohit on the drums their music has progressive and hard rock elements along with some groovy tones. ‘Linoleum’ by Pain Of Salvation followed next and Ashok got the crowd into the groove. Four Clover gave its own touch to Alter Bridge’s ‘Before Tomorrow Comes’ with a bass intro. The entire band pulled the crowd in with Foo Fighters’ ‘My Hero’. The final was their first composition – ‘Dawn of Day’. The clean vocals, classic guitar tones, crazy bass and drums, and the fact that it was Four Clover’s first major gig made it just the right start for the evening.

Metal Wave at Xtreme Sports Bar, Hyderabad

Perpetual Void formed in February 2012 is a 5-piece thrash death metal band, the line-up of which includes Swaroop (Ex-Cerebral Assassins) on the drums, Roshan (Ex-Cerebral Assassins) and Chaitanya on the guitars, Kenneth on the bass and vocals by Pranav. They opened with ‘F**king Hostile’ originally by Pantera, which is one of the favourite bands of most heads. The rest of the set list included their original ‘Ministry of Death’, Opeth’s ‘Leper Affinity’, Lamb of God’s ‘Walk with Me in Hell’ and concluded with another original ‘Apostasy’. Their compositions were good with heavy riffs and lot of double bass drumming, and growls that reminded me of Underoath.

Metal Wave at Xtreme Sports Bar, Hyderabad

For all the fans of Shock Therapy, Insidious might turn out to be their next favourite since the band was formed by Jay (Shock Therapy), Aniketh (Shock Therapy) and Sumeet (MetamorphiK Productions). With vocals by Rahul(Shock Therapy), Jay and Santhosh (Cadent Slaves)on guitars, Sumeet on bass, and Aniketh on the drums these guys are influenced by bands like Slayer, Testament, Death, Motorhead, Judas Priest, Morbid Angel and Kataklysm. This was Insidious’ debut gig and they played a rather short set with Motorhead’s ‘The Game’, Slayer’s ‘Seasons in the Abyss’ and Kataklysm’s ‘Blood in Heaven’. With unusually deep growls, and influences ranging from heavy metal to death metal, their musical style is a mix of various subgenres.

Metal Wave at Xtreme Sports Bar, Hyderabad

This gig was the first of its kind for Skrypt especially because this time the lineup featured a few guests. Due to an unfortunate accident in which he fractured his forearms, the current lead guitarist, Joel, was unable to play. However, the show did go on with ex-guitarist of the band Ramya back on the lead. The rest of the lineup had Scenic on vocals, Ravi on the guitars, Abbas on the bass, and Rajiv on the drums, coupled with Alan (Pandora’s Box) as a guest guitarist and Ananth (Ex-Negator) as a guest vocalist.

Artifice’ from their EP Discord was their opening piece that was followed by other originals like ‘Constructing the Absolute’, ‘Anathema’ and ‘Supremacy’ also from their EP Discord. Their compositions are mostly thrash metal with elements of progressive and death metal. Their covers included Gojira’s ‘Clone’, Pantera’s ‘Mouth for War’, Slayer’s ‘Raining Blood’ and, on popular demand, Pantera’s ‘Cowboys from Hell’. While playing ‘Clone’, the band pulled up a guy onto the stage to headbang with them, who later dived back into the crowd. For ‘Mouth of War’, Alan played the guitars and for ‘Raining Blood’ and ‘Cowboys from Hell’, the vocals were handled by both Scenic and Ananth. As always, this was yet another entertaining performance by Skrypt.

Metal Wave at Xtreme Sports Bar, Hyderabad

There were quite a few glitches with the sound especially when Insidious played and a few slips here and there with the other bands. However, that did not stop people from enjoying the concert. The crowd went wild head banging, moshing, and diving from the stage into the crowd. All the four bands kept the enthusiasm of the crowd on a high throughout the concert.

Four Clover’s groovy musical style attracted the crowd, moving on to heavier music by Perpetual Void and Insidious and on to Skrypt – the perfect transition for an evening of metal leaving everyone with high spirits and a stiff neck caused by some extreme head banging!

Vini Lilian

Vini works with an ad agency. She's a metalhead who can't play metal so she writes about it. She loves tattoos!

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Interview with George Kollias

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George Kollias is a world renowned and much accomplished drummer from Greece. He is best known as the drummer of the American Death Metal band, Nile. He is also a very sought-after drum teacher and conducts power packed drum clinics all over the world. WTS caught up with him for a tête-à-tête, where he spoke at length about his drumming style and techniques and his inspirations. Read on to find out where India lies in Nile’s and George’s future plans…

WTS: Expression in drumming has to do with dynamics and the idea of ‘playing with feel.’ How do you incorporate this into your drumming style?

George: For death metal, there’s not enough dynamics, you’ve to be very solid and as less dynamic as possible. For other styles of music, of course you need dynamics, you know, it’s a big point of the expression. For example, if you are playing jazz music or folk music, you gotta have lots of dynamics always. For death metal, not so much. It’s a different style, we need more speed and stamina instead of dynamics. And I always try to approach any style I’m playing in the best possible way.

WTS: A lot of drummers want to know why you use one pedal to play blast-beats when there are double bass pedals available.

George: Well, umm, the main reason is, because of some of my favorite drummers when I started playing. Like Pete Sandoval from Morbid Angel, he was doing wonderful blasts. The truth is, where I grew up, in a small town about an hour from Athens, there were no metal drummers. I didn’t actually know two feet blasts, so I had to do one foot blasts. When I learned the easier way, it was too late, because I was too fast already! (laughs)

WTS: We’ve noticed that you use your wrists instead of swiveling the sticks in your fingers when playing quick. Is there any particular reason for approaching speed-drumming this way?

George: Yeah, that’s another reason, you know I was looking upto old school drummers, like Pete Sandoval, Dave Lombardo, Igor Cavalera. I grew up (listening) to these guys, and back in the day everyone was mostly using wrists. So till today, you have these drummers who are using mostly wrists for speed. And its again too late cos, you know, I can go as fast as I can with wrists and there’s no reason to change anything right now. But the main reason again, like the one foot blast, is that I didn’t know the other way! (laughs) I just wanted to play traditional metal.

Interview with George Kollias

WTS: Have you ever drummed using wrong techniques and incurred injuries because of it?

George: Umm, never. I got few injuries here and there because of playing too much or not warming up. You know, we go on tours so much and I have to warm up everyday and somewhere in the middle of the tour it gets a little bit boring, there is no room to warm up. So, I’m like “You know what, let’s go without warming up.” That’s quite wrong for metal. Yeah, so, I’ve had few minor problems here and there and that’s only because I didn’t warm up.

WTS: So, your advice to prevent any such injuries is to warm up before playing?

George: Yeah, these days I’ve a personal doctor and what he suggests, and which I always do, and I don’t have a single problem since, is to stretch. So, he gave me a couple of stretching exercises and everything works so much better, you know. For death metal, you have to warm up and stretch a little bit, and it’s a different kind of music, you know. If I were playing a jazz gig or something, I would never warm up – it’s just different for metal.

WTS: So, do you play at jazz gigs as well?

George: Not gigs, but I practice, I practice a lot. I actually have a trio, but we don’t play so often and we have no plans for shows. It’s for fun and, you know, to develop a better technique, become a better drummer. That’s basically for fun and for myself.

WTS: You’ve learnt from the great Yannis Stavropoulos. What is it that you can share as the crux of your learning? There are a lot of drummers out there who envy your technique and style!

George: We did some rock drumming and we did some jazz drumming. When I started the lessons with Yannis – it was just a year, you know – when I started the lessons, I was already a well-known drummer here and I was fast to play in any band. So, what he basically did was, open my mind to new drumming techniques, new drumming approaches, different styles- jazz drumming or, you know, funk music and also, he helped me so much in how to become a teacher, how to understand what I’m doing and how to explain how I came up with my own exercises and stuff. He was also a huge part of my DVD. We were watching my exercises and he was giving different names (to them), suggesting different things. So, basically, he’s my older brother right now, he’s my mentor. We always hang out, talk drums. Today this is actually what I need. He always helps me out, man, always.

Interview with George Kollias

WTS: About your drum kit – would it be right to say that it’s built for a rather ambidextrous approach?

George: Yeah, yeah, it’s an extreme metal drum kit, a big one. You know what’s interesting – lately I’ve been interested in the smaller drum kits. So, to me when I wanna have fun, I’m usually practicing on my small kit, which is like one tom, one floor tom, right cymbal, high-hat, that’s it. Very very simple. But for metal I’ve to play this big drum set. When you tour, there are too many things to worry about, too many cymbals, we’ve to carry too much of gear all the time. You gonna have atleast two drumsets if you’re going to have some serious practice.

WTS: Can you tell us more about your drumkit?

George: I use three floor toms, that’s two on the right side and one on the left. I use two snares – one 14 inch, my main snare, and one 12 inch snare. Two kicks 22/18. That’s it for drums. It’s all Pearl. I have a Pearl Masters Premium and I’ve my main kit which is Pearl Masterworks, that’s custom made drums. These days I’m expecting my new Pearl Reference Pure. This is the brand new model from Pearl based on the old successful Reference series, but I think the new one is better and more versatile to other styles of music as well. Like I said everything is from Pearl! I play Sabian Cymbals, Evans drumheads, and I play Axis pedals. I also use Extreme headphones and have been playing Vic Firth drumsticks for 22 years or so! (laughs) And right now, right next to me I’ve my new signature drumsticks, which, you know, we’re working on new prototypes at Vic Firth. So, my personal signature drumstick is one the way right now and I think it will be ready in about a month and released. Something, I’m really really proud and really really happy.

WTS: Will you be bringing those to your next show in India?

George: I don’t know if they are gonna be ready, but I got some prototype here. We’ve got 3 different models which I checked and we develop my own signature model, but the stick I was using in the past, and I still use, is the Vic Firth 55A, which, of course, has my signature on. But, I don’t know whether my signature model will be ready by then.

Interview with George Kollias

WTS: While looking at the picture of your drumkit, we see a lot of Sabian AAX and HHX series cymbals. What is it about these series that draws you to them?

George: Well, the AAX are studio cymbals. They’re versatile and you can play any style with these cymbals. So, that was my first approach. The HHX series, they are more smooth and dark, (which I use for) more dynamical purposes. Like I said, I use stuff I would use for other gigs as well. So, my drumkit looks metal, but it’s not only for metal. You can play rock music, you can play, not jazz music, but many different styles on it and this is what I do also. Last two months I did some recording sessions for some really weird different bands, like I played for a punk band, I played for a band – they were progressive like Porcupine Tree stuff. So, all the time I was using (the same cymbals) for more sound options and that’s the reason I don’t use AAX metal crashes, because they’re only for metal. So, my crashes are (the ones on which) you can play different styles. Cymbals are never enough, never enough. You can have 50 cymbals and you will need more, that’s for sure.

WTS: Who among the current crop of extreme metal drummers do you follow and admire?

George: Extreme metal drummers? To be honest, nobody. I kinda lost interest for extreme metal drummers, because we do so much, we talk about this so much – I teach extreme metal class and all these clinics all over the world. So, what I really need is different drummers. Do you understand what I’m saying? I mean there are many great extreme metal drummers – one is Dave Haley from Psycroptic from Australia. I really like Jade Simonetto from Hate Eternal – this guy’s a monster. Romain Goulon from France – these would be my favorite extreme metal drummers. But, what I really need for my playing is to approach different drummers. For example, the last year I practiced a lot with Benny Greb, Chris Coleman. So, these are the drummers I’m watching and and trying to get into the sounds they do, mostly and not so much about extreme metal drummers anymore.

Interview with George Kollias

WTS: You started out playing music at a pretty young age. What got you into music? Was your family into music?

George: No, no, not at all. What happened was I started listening to metal when I was seven. So, it was very natural for me to pick up an instrument a few years later.And what I did was I picked the guitar when I was 10. I still play the guitar, you know, I own three guitars here and I write music all the time. I always wanted to start drumming as well cos, I don’t know, it was cool? I don’t know. I always had the rhythm inside me, I wanted to get involved with drums. But, it was the money issue mostly and I couldn’t get the money to get my first drumkit, which I finally did when I was twelve and from that day I’m just a drummer. The main reason was I wanted to play metal, that’s it. Now there are more, but back in the day I just wanted to play Metallica, Sepultura, Slayer songs, that’s it.

WTS: So, what are your earliest memories of metal?

George: Yeah, it was a guy from Canada. He was a lot older than me and older than my brother. I remember then he had just moved to Greece and, this is a small town, in Korinthos. And, I remember me and my brother were at his home listening to music. He was into metal and we were learning and we were listening to Judas Priest. And we were like, “Oh my God, this is so fucking cool. We gotta follow this style, we gotta listen to this music.” And, next week or so, my brother and I bought AC/DC’s Flick Of The Switch album. That’s pretty much the beginning for me and then Iron Maiden and Metallica and everything.

Interview with George Kollias

WTS: Having handled drumming duties on three albums so far with Nile, what is it about Nile, as a band, that keeps you going with them?

George: When I joined the band, the band was big enough, but not as big as we are today. To me, it was my favorite extreme metal band. So, to start with, I joined the band because it was my favorite band. That’s it. And why we keep going on? Because we fit together, we communicate very easily, we have fun, we are friends. You know, I think it’s the whole package, it’s what we do, we have the chemistry. I think that’s the most important thing. No matter how great a musician you are, if the chemistry is not there, it doesn’t really work and, thankfully, with Nile I found some good chemistry.

WTS: Is Nile recording any new material right now?

George: Right now, we are working on the new Nile album. We will probably get into the studio around November, December or January. That would be my fourth album with Nile.

WTS: From a drummer’s perspective, what is it that you think forms the primary component in Nile’s music? If someone was asked to drum for Nile, what attributes do you think he/she needs to have?

George: Nile is traditional death metal, so you gotta be able to play all these wonderful blasts. You gotta be able to play double bass drumming to a certain level, to a certain beats per minute. You gotta be able to play ‘cruiser’ extreme metal beats, you know. For example, no matter how fast are your beats, you gotta be able to keep it going, so you gotta have great stamina. There are so many fills, there are so many odd signature meters, you know. In ‘What Can Be Safely Written’, there’s a time signature that’s very weird, like a 30/16 on a breakdown and what I do is I follow the 30/16 and I break it down to groups of 3s. So, there are some rhythmic illusions going on in Nile’s music. So, in a few words, you gotta be able to play fast, you gotta have a good technique. Some drummers are faster, some are more creative, it depends. Nile has a little bit of everything. This why I really like the music.

WTS: Any plans for Nile to come to this part of the world?

George: We already tried three times to get to India and we failed three times. Right now, I’ve managed to come there myself. Everybody in the band is really happy atleast I made it. We actually agreed for a short tour very soon, that would be definitely within the next year – to come and do Singapore and all together, and maybe we will be able to come to India as well. Because, the last time we weren’t able to come to India was because the cost was too much for the band to fly to India – they were asking about $30000, you know. So, that’s too much money, but if we are touring in Singapore – very close to India – then it will cost us 1/3rd the amount to come to India and we can make it, and we will make it. We really want to get there. We have so many fans in India, we get so many mails. You know, this is something we talk about so many times. So, in a way, I’m happy it is happening, in a way atleast, with this drum clinic.

WTS: You started teaching drumming quite early – how has this worked in tandem with touring and gigging?

George: Well, I started teaching drums way before I joined the band. And then I joined Modern Music School and, now I’m drum instructor in Modern Music School in Athens – actually, worldwide, because our school is pretty big, we have like 70-something schools worldwide. So, sometimes we teach in different places. Last week I was in Germany teaching for the professional program of our school. It’s pretty tough with always touring and sometimes my students have to wait. But there is another way, they are lucky to have a touring drummer as a teacher instead of just having a teacher. Because, I tour different parts of the world and I can advise in different aspects and I think they like it even though it’s hard on everybody.

Interview with George Kollias

WTS: We see that you’re actively driving learning in metal drumming – what prompted you to make the instructional DVD Intense Metal Drumming?

George: The only reason I did was because of my love for music and for drummers. I wanted to share what I have and this is what I was doing online with my forum, this is what I was doing when I met fans – always talk drums, always share what I have. So, I wanted to be little more professional and little more serious, and release a DVD, which I did, and which, thankfully, went very well. And, right now, actually, I’m getting ready to shoot the new DVD to be out in January 2012.

WTS: Any other activities or ventures that your fans normally don’t know about?

George: These days I’m really busy. I did 4 albums for different bands. Actually, most of them were guest albums, like one song or three songs or whatever. I’ll be doing the new Cerebrum album – it’s a band from Greece, very technical metal. I’m working on the Nile songs and working on my solo project, which I think will be released early next year as well.

WTS: Give us some info about your solo project.

George: I got eight songs so far, everything is metal, black metal, it’s groovy in a way, it’s pretty fast as well. The music is almost ready. I’m working on the lyrics when I’ve the time. I don’t know when I’ll be able to record, but the sure thing is Eric Rutan from Hate Eternal wants to do the mix. So, Eric’s gonna be a big part of this CD. And, I’m gonna have many other guests – guitar players to play the solos. Everything is gonna be me, I’m gonna sing, I’m gonna play everything, I’m gonna write everything, except the guitar solo which I’m gonna leave to some guest guitarists.

WTS: Is this your first trip to India?

George: Yes.

WTS: Do you have any idea about the metal scene here in India?

George: I do have an idea because we have many fans there and I heard about a crazy crowd, the huge metal scene, and I’m very excited and I can’t wait to come there and play for you guys. I think it’s going to be a great clinic.

Interview with George Kollias

WTS: Give us a bit of info on the drum clinics you do. What can we expect in the drum clinic?

George: Well, I’m gonna be playing Nile songs for sure. It will be kinda like a show. I’ll present a few Nile songs, maybe a new song, let’s see. I’m gonna play some of my songs, maybe a few solos -depends on the time we have and the feedback we have from the crowd. And, of course, I’m gonna share some exercises and tips for the drummers. And, the main thing – and this is actually why we do the clinics – is for the drummers and fans to be able to communicate, come see and talk to you. In general, we’re gonna have a great great time.

WTS: What would be your advice to young budding drummers – the most important message you would like to give?

George: Get a teacher and get serious. That’s it. It is simple because most of the metal drummers are lazy, nobody is going for a teacher. I see with my students. When I was on my forum online everyone was like “Oh I wanna study with George, I wanna study with George.” And when I launch my online lessons I’ve only 20 people. So, yeah, I would like to see serious drummers. No matter where you are, there is always a great teacher. You gotta go there, you gotta pay him, of course. Because, you know, he will spend his time for you. If you wanna do it, do it the right way – find a teacher, open your mind to different styles of music, you know, be a drummer in general – not just blast beats, you know. That would be my message.

WTS: Anything else you would like to say?

George: Well, just looking forward to getting to India. I’m really excited. I’ve talked with many people, I get so many emails. So, I think it’s going to be a crazy day there. I’m really excited to see your beautiful country, and I’m really really looking forward to come there. I’ll be here this time for just one and a half days because there are many clinics before and after the one in India. I wish I had more days, but, unfortunately, I’ve to stay for one and a half days only. But, you know, it’s enough for me. I just wanna say to everyone, try and come for the clinics, meet me there, let’s have some fun, let’s talk all things drums. I’ll do my best to deliver one of the best shows you ever saw.

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