Bryan Reesman of Attention Deficit Delirium recently conducted an interview with guitarist/vocalist Karl Sanders of South Carolina-based extreme technical death metallers NILE. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Attention Deficit Delirium: Given how tough everything is for bands nowadays, how is NILE holding up?
Sanders: Taking a beating. In the age of downloading, everyone thinks that all the money will be made on tour. Dude, that's also where we're getting hit really hard. Just the rising cost of transportation — the bus and the cost of diesel fuel — is our biggest fucking expense. That stuff has skyrocketed, yet we don't see an increase in the amount of money from the promoters. They might be charging higher ticket prices to kids, but that money is not really trickling down to us. We're getting it on all sides, man. Some of the larger cities are imposing higher and higher fees for selling your merch. Concert T-shirts are at a stupid[ly high] price now because you get taxed 40 to 45% right out of the gate, off the top. The band has to buy the shirts to start off with, and somebody is taking 40% of the gross in every city. It's no picnic out there.
Attention Deficit Delirium: Many musicians are now doing other things on the side to make more money.
Sanders: I'm giving guitar lessons, and I've got my side project, so that helps a little bit. But times are tough, man, and I don't see them getting any better.
Attention Deficit Delirium: As far as production, how much comes out of your pocket and how much comes out of their pocket?
Sanders: That's a funny one because today I got my balance sheet for the record budget, and in there is $900 worth of expenses that I turned in that I didn't get reimbursed for and had to eat. That's always a bone of contention there, and it's not going to get any better. CD sales are declining 35% each successive year, so in the next five years we're going to see bands have their budgets completely slashed. We have to take a budget cut as well.
Attention Deficit Delirium: That makes your career more expensive.
Sanders: Yeah, it means we take the hit. All record companies are going to go out of business in the next five years. So what does that mean? How does that translate down to us? That means that if we want to have a record deal, the amount of available record contracts will shrink. The amount of money the record companies can afford to pay you is going to shrink. But the costs to make these records is not going to shrink. Think about that. So that means a music career, making records, is not going to be easy in the foreseeable future. It's going to get tougher.
Attention Deficit Delirium: So what is the game plan for NILE?
Sanders: It boils down to how we are going to make money to counteract that. We're talking about expanding into new, emerging world markets, like India and China, where there is a middle class that has disposable income. People in China have jobs. There's work there. They have disposable income.
Read the entire interview from Attention Deficit Delirium.
Fan-filmed video footage of NILE's December 19, 2009 performance at the Eindhoven Metal Meeting in Eindhoven, The Netherlands can be viewed below (courtesy of "letthedeathmetalflow").