Wednesday, 1 August 2012

INTERVIEW - Dallas Toler-Wade

Dallas Toler-Wade is an American guitarist and vocalist who currently plays for the death metal band Nile, of which he has been a member of since 1997. He has also been involved with bands Lecherous Nocturne and Teratosis. Dallas was kind enough to take time out to answer some questions for Chamber Of Ages.

COA: How did you start out playing music and who inspired you when you were younger?

DTW: I got started on the drums when I was about seven years old. When I was fourteen I started playing the guitar. Just about everyone in my family plays an instrument, so it was just a way of life for me. I was really into Rush and I think that was the band that motivated me to learn. I still listen to them from time to time. At first I did not even take Death Metal seriously at all. I thought it was sloppy speed metal. Later on it grew on me.

COA: What are you currently playing and what is your favourite guitar to use on tour overall?

DTW: We now have a Dean guitar endorsement. Those things are sounding and playing great. We’re really happy with that. I’ve been a Flying V player since way back, and being able to get Flying V’s at an affordable price that are just as good… you look at the wood, everything. The wood is good quality wood. I play a ‘79 series, which is a reissue of the Dean Flying V from ’79. We actually got to meet the founder in Chicago. Karl had ordered a custom guitar and he hand-delivered it to the show. They’re a great company to work with. Anything to make our lives easier is great. I’m also using the Marshall 9100 Dual Mono-bloc power amp, which is 100 watts per side. I’m also using Metal’s best kept secret which is a Peavey Rockmaster tube preamp.

COA: Is it difficult to come up with new riffs and leads that fit in with Nile's Egyptian themes?

DTW: Well, it’s pretty simple really. I took music theory when I was younger in high school. That really helped me put together what the guitar neck was really about and where all the notes were. I have a pretty decent memory with that type of thing. I just know the scales. I know the modes. Harmonic Minor and Phrygian are about as Egyptian as it gets. We use a lot of that. We use a lot of more diminished type stuff, too, which is more towards the Death Metal side of guitar. That’s pretty much it. When I started jamming with Karl, we kind of had the same ideas when it came to how we looked at the guitar. It kind of fit.

COA: The general consensus up to this point is that 'In Their Darkened Shrines' is considered Nile's best album. What was the writing process for that record like?

DTW: Most of the songwriting process involved Karl Sanders and I recording stuff at home. We’ll demo out stuff and let the guys listen to it and see what they think. We work on it together from that point on. Most of the arrangements are done with me and Karl together or separate. Even when we’re on the road it’s like, “Hey, I’ve got this riff idea.” It’s a lot of teamwork and keeping up with each other as far as what goes on in our heads and what not. That’s basically the songwriting process. It starts from a lyrical point of view. The songs are lyric-based. For instance, one of the songs I wrote for the album, “Execration Text,” Karl said, “I’ve got this set of lyrics, check it out.” He gave it to me, and a week later I had a song for it. It’s all about teamwork. That’s basically the process. It’s real casual.

COA: Would you say European audiences are more appreciative than when you play to US audiences?

DTW: I like it all. I like touring Europe. The people there are not trendy at all. It’s like 100% Metal. It’s not flavor of the week for them. I like touring here, though, just because it’s home. There’s no communication barrier. I just love this damn country. It’s nice to see it. Now we’re touring in buses, but before we could afford that, we were touring in a van and able to see everything. That’s very cool. It’s strenuous touring in a van, but it has its ups, too, because you get to see the country.

COA: I know that Nile was on Relapse Records previously, but now you're with Nuclear Blast. What led to the switch in label?

DTW: Well, they had a really great offer for us. They're really taking care of us. So far so good, you know. I think it is definitely a step in the right direction. Relapse was also helping us out quite a bit also, but we definitely wanted to step it up a bit and Nuclear Blast are the right guys to do it.

COA: What's it like working with (producer) Neil Kernon?

DTW: We love Neil, and since we have done three albums with him we felt we knew what we wanted with the Sethu stuff. Things just keep getting better working with Neil, so we really wanted to work with him again. He is a great inspiring person. He is a team player and he wants the best for any project he works on. My two favorite Neil Kernon mixes are Macabre albums Dahmer and Murder Metal. Those are brutal records.

COA: Do you have any side-projects going on at all or any music that you set aside from Nile?

DTW: I've been working on some stuff on and off. Definitely 100% devoted to Nile. You know, George had the Sickening Horror thing that he was doing, which is really sick like really technical, jazzy Death kind of stuff. Very drum heavy, very drum busy with lots of cool stuff. Of course, I did the Lecherous Nocturne thing. You know, those guys needed some help. It was an opportunity for me to play an instrument I hadn't played in a few years. And Karl's got the Saurian [Meditations] thing. Yeah. So I've got a little kind of metal project that I've been kind of working on for the past year or so. Pretty much the same as Karl with the Saurian thing - Nile comes first. We do this in our free time when we just want to have some fun or whatever.

COA: Any final words or messages you'd like to put out there?

DTW: I would just like to say thanks to all the fans of real metal for supporting it, and we hope to see you at the shows!

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