We at Cairometal are very proud to finally publish our very first interview featuring our very first project: We approached Nader Sadek, the king of the metal scene in the Middle East and Africa as far as we’re concerned, with the idea of collaborating with epic tech-death, Egyptian-themed band Nile’s frontman, Karl Sanders. We were pleased that he got excited over the prospect, and his creative juices started flowing. He mentioned that a regular collaboration with Sanders wouldn’t do this idea justice: “We must bring him to Egypt, I hear he’s never been”. This resulted in a larger conversation. Sadek proposed to bring along some of his current collaborators, such as Derek Roddy and Mahmud Gecekusu, so they can write a song together in Egypt. Almost two years later, our collective dream became a reality, and we couldn’t be more excited about heading into the future. The idea was to take Sanders, Roddy, and Gecekusu on touristic trips in Cairo led by Sadek by day, and jam the song by night- to be inspired by Egypt’s magic and create the skeleton of the song. Once they’ve returned to their respective homes, they would start recording the song remotely. For the first of three parts of an interview series regarding this project, we interviewed Sanders, Derek and Gecekusu via email to find out how it all went and where it’s going.
CM: Is this your first time in Egypt?
Karl : Yes. It’s something I have wanted to do for many years; but it just hasn’t worked out properly till now. We tried many times with various promoters to schedule a Nile show in Egypt, but it never seemed to fully materialize. So when Nader approached me about this project, it seemed like a really sweet chance to make some metal, and see Egypt first hand.
Derek : Yes, it is.
Mahmud: No, I’ve been to Egypt several times over the years, I’ve played a couple of shows here as well. I also attended a show organized by Nader which was headlined by Aborted. My band (Perversion) played Egypt on two different occasions. Both experiences were great, our last show was with Inquisition in 2016 and was one of our best shows to date. We definitely look forward to doing more shows in Egypt.
CM: Tell us about your fascination with Egypt.
Karl: I always had a casual interest in Ancient Egypt , but it wasn’t until I found myself in a band called “Nile” that the interest reached its zenith. I felt that in order to do a decent job writing songs for a band called Nile, I should really dig in and do a whole lot of reading and research to do the topic justice. That in turn deepened my interest, and I came to really enjoy all the time spent on the subject matter.
Derek: From a biological perspective, to see where most of our known culture has originated is something I’ve always had an interest in. The evolution of our species and how our genetics have spilled out of the region (and Africa in general) is fascinating to me.
CM: Can you talk to us about your experience in Egypt?
Karl: Well, like they say, it’s one thing to read about it in books, it’s another thing entirely to see it first hand . We use words every day like “awesome” “amazing” “epic” “magnificent” all the time to describe fairly mundane day-to-day experiences. So when one stands in front of the Great Pyramids of Giza, and one realizes the sheer grand size and scale of the whole thing, it’s tough to find words that seem capable of conveying the Monumental Magnanimity of it all.
Derek: In general, was absolutely amazing. Not enough time in the world to express how cool it was to see everything we could here. But, I’ll be back to see, hear and taste more. haha. For sure.
Mahmud : It was such a great trip. I’ve seen a side of Egypt that I hadn’t experience before, being in the heart of such historical sites was overwhelmingly magically. Exploring old Cairo and roaming around the narrow alleys of the famous Khan El Khaleeli bazaar, checking out some traditional musical performances such as the “Zar” and “The whirling Dervishes” were some of my favorite experiences to date.
CM: How did you learn about Nader Sadek and what was your experience working with him?
Karl: I had met Nader many years ago. He had come to a Nile show in Upstate New York. Sometime after that, we exchanged many emails , and talked about maybe trying to find a way to do a project together.
Nader had also come to visit me on tour with Nile in the Netherlands and he seemed to me a very interesting, well-educated, artistic kind of person .
I had heard many conflicting stories regarding Nader – he seems to have garnered himself a reputation as somewhat of a controversial guy in the metal scene . But after spending ten days together with him, I can say with no hesitation that Nader is a gentleman, a first class host, and a really fun, nice sincere guy. I was half expecting him to be as “evil” in person as the music that he makes – cause ya never know about people until you actually work with them and spend time together. But Nader was easy to work with, and a genuine Metal Brother. I feel like we developed a genuine bond and friendship that I hope lasts for many, many years 🙂
Derek: Nader and I meet years ago when I was in Hate Eternal. He had reached out to me about helping with a project he had in college. I gave him information for the project, communicated a few times after then we lost touch. I didn’t hear from him again until 2014 I believe when he asked me to play a few shows with the Nader Sadek’s project line up here in the States. It was easy for me because I can’t devote full time to a band because of my businesses, etc. but rocking with Nader gives me a chance to do a few shows a year.
Mahmud: I first heard about Nader in 2010-2011 through a friend who also linked me to some of Nader’s tracks from the “In The Flesh” album and I totally dug it! We later became friends on Facebook and were in contact on regular basis. When Nader asked me if I would be interested in playing guitars for a couple of upcoming shows, I immediately loved the idea and knew that it will be the start of something new and fresh for me musically! Working with Nader has been going so smoothly since the chemistry is there, he would sometimes come up with riff ideas and concepts at random times! I recall walking around the streets of Cairo, and Nader starts humming this vocal pattern/riff, we get back to the studio the next day and turn it into a really cool riff! We also exchange lots of ideas online.
CM: To Karl and Derek, the two of you have worked together on the Nile album “Black Seeds of Vengeance”, how was it working together this time around?
Karl: It felt EXACTLY like we haven’t missed a single day. We picked up immediately with the camaraderie right where we had left off, and it was super natural and relaxed. We are both from South Carolina, so we go WAY back together and have many shared experiences as musicians in the early days of the metal scene.
Derek: Great, we had an awesome time and the experience of being in Egypt made it even better. Karl and I have known each other since the early 90s so…. It’s a given we’re gonna click and turn out some music in a quick fashion. Haha.
CM: To Mahmud, you’ve performed live with Derek Roddy with Nader Sadek’s extreme metal supergroup project; how was it working with him this time around in a studio setting?
Mahmud: Derek Roddy needs no introduction, he is hands down one of the most innovative drummers in metal today, and in my opinion one of the few metal drummers who’ve managed to establish his own distinguishable signature sound. I worked with him on three different occasions and it was an absolute pleasure, I find his approach to music very inspirational.
CM: Did you know of Mahmud Gecekusu before coming to Egypt, how was it working with him?
Karl: I had met Mahmud years ago in Dubai at a cd release party. Super easy to work with. He is an excellent guitarist, and it was really special getting to know him better over the course of the project. It felt very natural and organic to work together. In fact, “work” seems like totally the wrong word – the vibe was very relaxed, and uber-conducive to spontaneous creativity and music making.
Derek: Mahmud is the best. Great dude, killer player and great musical ideas. Nice to have him in the line up.
CM: Mahmud: Did you know of Karl and his music before coming to Egypt, how was it working with him?
Mahmud: Definitely! You can’t be a death metal fan/musician and not have heard of Karl and Nile! Absolutely humble and extremely professional, I was honored to share riffs and ideas with him.
CM: The four of you worked on a track together, how did it start, and what was the process for it?
Karl : Well, basically, Nader had recorded a beginning riff and an ending riff, just to get us started. But once we were all assembled in the room and set up the gear and tuned up, it was as easy and simple as Derek saying “You got any ideas for this song?” I had worked out a couple riffs back at home beforehand; and then Derek had some riffs, and Mahmud had some riffs, and Nader had some more riffs – and we just jammed on them until we had some stuff we liked. Derek did some arranging /structuring – and it all fell into place very organically. Speaking for myself- I really enjoyed just being part of a relaxed team effort, where there is no pressure, no labels , no deadlines, and no egos – just some guys having fun making metal because that’s what we each enjoy doing.
Derek: Yes, that was the idea for coming to Egypt in the first place. To get inspiration from our surroundings and put some tracks together. It will end up being more than the one song as well. I’ve already got most of one and believe Mahmud does as well. Should be a ripper release.
Mahmud: Indeed! I won’t deny the fact that I was a bit nervous at first, as I had no idea what to expect, but then we hit the rehearsal room, and get everything setup, and Karl throws in this riff…and BOOM! things just started flowing naturally! Derek would throw his ideas in, Nader and I too, and in just two jam session we were already jamming a song! I think we were all on the same wavelength or something!
CM: You had very limited time to make a song, are you happy with the result so far?
Karl: Absolutely. We worked on the song until we were all collectively happy and everybody got lot of input and brought something unique to the table. I think that’s the way it ought to be; but we all know how so many times in so many bands that isn’t always the case. I have to give credit to Nader for assembling a team that could work together so well and be productive so easily. The band dynamic is often elusive, and many times even dysfunctional when working with highly talented and creative artistic people; but Nader managed to bring us all together in a way that was fun, meaningful, and special.
Derek: Oh yeah, it’s a heavy one. lol. Should be interesting to hear the finished product. I’ll be recording some “guideline” drums for Karl and Mahmud to track guitars once I am home. So it should come together quickly.
Mahmud: Better than I expected for sure, we’ve managed to build a skeleton/structure for a song, which we could continue to layer and enhance during the recording process, and so far things are sounding so promising I tell ya!