[Interview] George Kollias (NILE)

Spätestens seit George Kollias mit seinem Einstieg bei den US-Deathern NILE bekannt wurde, ist er in der (Metal)Drummer Welt in aller Munde. Mit einer Doublebassgeschwindigkeit die weltweit ihres gleichen sucht, und einer einzigartigen Technik hat Kollias das Metaldrumming perfektioniert und neu definiert. Zahlreiche Clinics auf der ganzen Welt, mit denen George seine Fähigkeiten an junge Drummer weitergeben will, sprechen für sich. Viel Spass beim Lesen! - Ein Videointerview mit George findet ihr ebenfalls auf unserer Seite.

Thyrm: Hey George! How’s it going? Soon you release your “Intense Metal Drumming” DVD with a lot of stuff to practise. Would you advise that DVD only people with Drum experience or is it a help for beginners too?

G.Kollias: Everything is cool here, I finally get some time to rest before we start this short festival run with Nile, I am looking forward to do some shows actually!
Yeah, Intense Metal Drumming finally comes out this week, and I am very excited about it. I would say it’s about all levels, beginners or more advanced drummers will have the chance to find very interesting stuff to practice; there is over 3 hours of material there so I am pretty sure they will. What I basically went for was things that everybody needs first, no matter what’s their level drummers SHOULD KNOW basic things and HOW to become better.

Thyrm: Ok, let’s talk a little about your Drumming. How long did you practise to handle the drums so fast and safely? Did you learn that by yourself or with a teacher?

G. Kollias: I started really young -12 years old- with no teacher and after 6 months or so I was covering pretty much everything from my favourite bands like Sepultura, Slayer etc. I learned to work by ear, back in those days I couldn’t find help from other drummers or the internet like today so that was the only way to go. I wouldn’t say I was practicing cause I never did it those years, just play every day and all day…
I started getting lessons from Yannis Stavropoulos around 1999, I had the chance to study with someone and I just grabbed the opportunity…The results were insanely good, Yannis changed my life 100 %, he is even the reason I am teaching now and for years. The lessons last for 6 months the most, but I feel so lucky I got lessons from THIS guy and not any teacher. After that he is always my “mentor” kind of thing, this guy inspires me so much and I always listen to his opinion most than anybody’s else’s.

Thyrm: As many People know, you have a very special Double bass technique. You learned that by yourself over the years of practise or had you idols where you “copy” that technique?

G.Kollias: Well, I wouldn’t say I have a “special” technique, the opposite; I play the pedals like every drummer should. Same with Blast Beats, that’s the traditional blast so that’s what I got. Nobody helped me to develop my foot technique, you know I grew up in a city/country that I NEVER saw a REAL death metal drummer on stage until 12 years later, so I had developed everything since then, and thankfully I had a good thing by then. The thing I have to mention is that, especially when I started teaching, I was trying to think and figure out everything about my technique and motion a lot more than in the past so that probably helped me out too.
Off course I had favourite drummers that always inspired me to go for more, but nobody was playing over 210bpm to make me start thinking for more. When I heard the first “super fast” drummers I was almost at 240 myself, so it was a matter of months to break the 250bpm barrier and starting pushing more and more.

Thyrm: In the autumn of 2008 Nile starts the big Ithyphallic Tour. You don’t get tired if you give every day
100 per cent behind the Drumkit or you don’t get any muscle pain during long tours like that?

G.Kollias: Well, some of these shows were painful or one of us was sick/tired/not in a good mood so these shows weren’t THE best we could but this is happening to every band and musician out there. To us it’s a little different cause we are actually pushing a lot more, we play “extreme” Extreme Music…When I don’t feel good then I might hurt myself off course, so in days like these I’m more careful, trying to make it as good as I can but definitely not push it.
Like everybody I had some accidents on the road so I think I learned a lot from these. On the other hand, we really love music so even on bad days we can give a little more than any other professional musician. Metal is like this, artists and fans have a very special relationship with MUSIC itself. This will always helping us out to get energy for the show…
Touring is a very serious moment, like I said many times, you really have to like what you do to be able make it through and this is something you have to think twice before you join a Touring band and take all these responsibilities.

Thyrm: Can you explain what you feel when you sit behind the drums, or what is the Spirit of Drumming for you?

G.Kollias: No….ha ha ha, I just get nuts that’s all, I always loved drumming but playing live –especially for a band like Nile with thousands of fans- it’s just gets out of control….I am very grateful that I have the chance to live moments like that.
Drumming is a part of my life; I started really young it was always my No1 thing in life. I was always dead serious about becoming a good drummer but I never thought to become a professional musician. Even when one day I stop drumming, drumming will be always a part of me.

Thyrm: You had anyone who influenced your Drumming as a child or today?

G.Kollias: Many drummers, hundreds…Depends on the age I was and my music preferences I always had drummers that inspired me to play better. Just to name a few, Richard Christy, Paul Bostaph, Dave Lombardo, Igor Cavalera, Gene Hoglan…Later on, and still loving all my past influences, my taste expanded to very different drummers than the ones we play similar, I listened a lot of Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Weckl, Steve Gadd, Thomas Lang, Yannis Stavropoulos, Mike Mangini and so on. I now listen to anything that sounds good to my eras, I have stopped listening to music by style, there is only one music, you just have to search and find the good one…

Thyrm: You worked a lot for your upcoming DVD, but what’s up with a Live DVD of Nile? Is anything in planning?

G.Kollias: Yes, we do talk about this and I am sure it will happen sometime soon but I can’t tell you exactly when. I think it’s about time to move on and make a DVD, I would love the idea of giving to people a kick ass performance and behind the music videos just for our fans to meet the band better.

Thyrm: You are very active on the Internet, you have an own Drum site with Experiences, videos and so on, and your own Forum where you help other drummers. Why is the Internet so important for you?

G.Kollias: It’s not, at all….By saying this I mean, I don’t spend time online EXCEPT if it has to do with Nile or my personal music activities. I never chat with people cause I just don’t have time, I don’t have MySpace or Facebook etc. and I am not on any other Forums except mine.So pretty much, I have my official website and my new personal Forum JUST for drummers…I really like giving to everybody what I never had the chance when I was younger so I am just trying to be there for them and so far it goes great. Look at it this way, I can’t just sit home and just play for a band whenever we have to tour…I am super active every time and I enjoy being busy promoting my band, teaching drums, doing drum clinics…I mean THIS is awesome!!

Thyrm: Ok George, thanks for answering our Questions, and good look for your upcoming DVD! The last words are yours.

G.Kollias: Thanks for the nice chat, best luck to you and everybody. To all drummers: Check out my DVD and visit my Forum to share some music knowledge with us there! Take care all!

George Kollias