An Interview with The Dirty Nil

I spent the better party of the Bucketlist Christmas party explaining to fellow reviewer Jason Greenberg that I just can’t seem to get into music with clean vocals. Crust or bust, baby. Unless it sounds like you swallowed glass or are attempting to hit a demonic brown note, my attention tends to wander. This isn’t a value judgement; there exists plenty of very excellent music with melodious voice work, it just very rarely rustles my particular set of jimmies. The Dirty Nil, a three-piece hailing from Dundas, Ontario that play an infectious blend of low-fi grungy noise rock and power pop, are one of these rare groups. This is some seriously catchy shit; Lead singer and guitarist Luke Bentham oscillates between throaty howls and dulcet croon while throwing down  addictive riffage. The rhythm section, helmed by drummer Kyle Fisher and bassist Dave Nardi, lend the tunes a satisfying weight while inspiring those in attendance to dust off off their dancing shoes. In anticipation of their show this Friday with The Flatliners, we caught up with the guys via e-mail.

Like many bands from smaller towns, I’m sure you’re asked frequently what keeps you from pulling up stakes and heading to Toronto. What makes the Hamilton / Dundas area so rad?

Toronto is an awesome city and a lot of our good friends live there, but Hamilton has always provided us with everything we need to grow and sustain the band. We’ve all grown up here and the city’s been good to us, so we have no plans of leaving. Dundas specifically has been an important part of the band. Other than the wildlife, its a pretty boring little town which has definitely helped us to focus on playing.

Your Newest EP “Cinnamon / Guided by Vices” is being released by Fat Wreck Chords. Can you talk about how you connected with the label and what it’s been like to work with them on this EP? 

After a show which was almost cancelled due to food poisoning, we sold a 7″ which eventually found its way to Fat Mike. Mike reached out with an interest in working together and although unexpected, it was a great opportunity to do a one-off single. That 7″ has been nothing but awesome for us and they were very easy to work with.

To date, you guys have released your music exclusively in EP format and have said a full length is currently not in the plans. Can you explain your preference for shorter recordings?

The 7″ releases were definitely a momentum building strategy as well as an aesthetic choice. We believe the LP format is slightly sacred and not to be deployed prematurely. We have however, been building toward a substantial release.

It’s clear from your music videos that your all very serious people. Have you considered trying to lighten up?

Absolutely not.

The band has been active since 2006. Can you talk about your musical influences when you guys started playing in high school and if they have changed much over the course of time?

Our original influences were Black Sabbath and The Who, specifically “Live at Leeds”. We learned our instruments by trying to play “War Pigs” for two hours a day. The list of influences has  expanded innumerably but definitely still includes all of the 70’s rock bands we formed around.

What album dominates the vehicle stereo system when you are on the road? Is your tour playlist fairly democratic or is one of you a driving music dictator? 

Protomartyr‘s “Under Colour of Official Right” was by a landslide, the most played album of the American summer tour. Theres never any disputes because we pretty much listen to one album.

You’ve had the opportunity to share the stage with bands like The Flatliners, Fucked Up,  and The Offspring. Which other groups / performers are on your bucket list? 

Too many to count! But we’d love to play with Protomartyr again. Theres a lot of bands we’d be incredibly stoked to share the stage with: The Men, OFF!, Constantines, METZ just to name a few. Or, any band with John Reis would pretty much be the best show ever.

Written and Compiled by Jesse Gainer

About Jesse Gainer 108 Articles
Jesse is a staple in the Montreal music scene, most well-known for being the drummer of the local band, Talk-Sick. Not only is he one of the city’s hottest drummers, he studied a double major at McGill University in Economics and Political Science. According to him, the bands that you need to be listening to right now are: NAILS, Dead in the Dirt, Baptists, Oi Polloi, Tragedy, Nomads, Ben Caplan and the Casual Smokers, BIIPIIGWAN, Eagle Twin, Animals as Leaders, Lumbar, and any other band signed to either Southern Lord Records or A389 Recordings. The first concert that Jesse ever attended was Vanilla Ice, accompanied by his parents.

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