MUSIC INTERVIEW: The Dirty Nil
Crammed into the stairwell of Camden’s hidden rock haunt The Black Heart with Dine Alone Records’ The Dirty Nil, it makes for a good Thursday night for Bring The Noise and what’s more, tonight is the Canadian trio’s first ever UK show. For a band that was founded just so that the musicians could practice their instruments, it’s quite an achievement! Their career kicked off when the boys released a 7” on NOFX’s label Fat Wreck Chords in 2011; now keen to shake off the punk stigma, they are sticking to bare-knuckle rock and roll basics with new EP, Higher Power.
Being an over 18 venue, not all of The Dirty Nil’s fans get to attend tonight’s gig, but, in true nice guy fashion, the band set up a Twitter rescue mission and invite anyone that had to miss out down for sound check. (All together…. Awwww!) We had a caught up with bassist, Dave Nardi and drummer, Kyle Fisher, to see how the impromptu mini-gig was and how they feel about playing their first UK show tonight….
We heard that sound check turned in to a mini- gig for all your under aged fans who sadly can’t come to the venue tonight, how was that?
Dave: It was super fun actually. We just wanted to do something so they didn’t miss the show you know?
It’s really nice of you guys to have done that! We’re sure as a fan, it must have been gutting to almost have missed out on your first ever UK performance. Speaking of which, how are you feeling about it?
Kyle: Yeah really good. I mean it’s free show and a good night out and people seem to be interested, we think (laughs).
D: Whenever you cross the border for a show the excitement just takes over and you don’t really care how many people are there. Our first show in America, there were maybe 16 people at the whole show, but we were still pretty excited and came off stage like, yeah we did it! (Both laugh). I think this show tonight will be better and hopefully no one walks out when we play this time!
It must feel pretty surreal to have started your band as a way to practice playing your instruments to now being signed and playing London?
K: I don’t know, we don’t really put much thought into it. I guess we’re just happy to be doing it. Being here in London for the first time, or when we go to the States is like a separate culture I guess, so after it’s good to be like “oh we did that again and it was awesome!” The only surreal part is getting used to the minor differences, like driving in the other side of the road and where to look whilst crossing the street (laughs). We’re just happy to be doing it all.
D: The fact that we are able to do this kind of thing and be here, it’s like “ah man that’s crazy!” The fact that being in any band can allow you to travel and be like a real job where you meet new people, always feels weird. It’s easy to forget how lucky we are. It’s hard to forget that we’re not back home bartending or working in a restaurant, it’s parts like that allow you to have really great fun on the road.
So what advice would you give new bands, trying to make it? Or to start-up UK bands that want to break borders and have their first show in Canada or the USA?
K: Do it now ’cause the dollar’s shit! (all laugh)
D: The big thing, is to do as much as you can on your own for as long as you can.
D: We worked so hard for so long putting out our own records and booking our own shows. It’s ok to accept help if you’re offered it. I think a lot of young bands try and set their sights on success and attention and you can lose sight of priorities. You know you must get a publicist and a manager etc but I think it’s important to spend as much time figuring out what you want to be as a band, rather than have someone tell you that.
K: Just test the waters. Just because someone comes up to you and says “I really like your band”, don’t just think “yeah, sick this guy” because they might not be the right people to help. (Jokingly) Don’t trust anybody, except your band.
So how are you finding being in London’s rock capital, Camden?
D: I can’t say I’ve been walking around this place feeling like it’s particularly rocky. I definitely get a sense that it once was and now it’s gone commercial.
K: Like you can buy the same shirt on like fifteen different stalls.
(Laugh) You guys hit the nail on the head there! How long are you guys here for?
K: This is our last night in London tonight, then we head to Brighton tomorrow and then Berlin. We’re pretty excited!
You’re originally from Hamilton, Canada, what’s the music scene like there?
D: It’s pretty diverse. Our town is not like tiny, but small compared to Toronto. We maintain that we love being around Hamilton because it’s easier to stand out. In Toronto there’s always like 3-4 bands doing whatever it is that you’re doing. There’s a real drive in the hardcore scene. There’s Hammer City Records owned by the same people that own a record label called Schizophrenic Records and they’re always putting out great 7 inches and re-issue a lot of great, old, Canadian hardcore stuff that would be lost otherwise. There is a lot of dance nights and DJ nights too, which isn’t really our thing.
Speaking of good 7 inches, you’re new LP, ‘Higher Power’ is released on the 25th of February, can you describe the sound in 1 or 2 words?
D: Anti- Epic
You’ve previously stated that with this new record you want to move away from the “punk” stigma that went with recording on NOFX’s label. Is this LP going to be more bare-knuckle rock and roll?
D: It’s not so much a new sound, we didn’t make that as a punk record and are now like “we are not making a punk record.” We make the music we make and just don’t want to be pigeon-holed with anything. With Fat Wreck, they have a very specific fan base. Fat Wreck fans are Fat Wreck fans and there are some crossovers, but it’s generally been the same crowd for a long time. So it was more knowing that we didn’t want to be in that crowd forever and not brand ourselves with anything and just make the music we make. If people think it sounds like Reggae, (it doesn’t at all) but that’s cool! (Laughs) The scene back home, the punk scene, can be very defensive about what it means. Like if you call yourself a punk band they can be like “woah woah we don’t accept you” and it’s all just a bit of a cluster fuck. We’re not trying to join any clubs that don’t want us. Whoever likes us we’ll take it!
We can’t stop watching your latest video, No Weaknesses, its pretty hilarious! Was it fun to film?
K: We were shooting for like 14 hours straight!
Wow it worth it just for the fight scene! Was there any actual pent up aggression between band members that made it seem so realistic?
(Both Look at each other and laugh)
D: Honestly it was like one of the hardest things in the world. The guy directing it, David Dunham, he was like “now just fight each other” and we had to be like “erm ok”. No one in the band are like real brawlers, so there’s a lot of picking each other up and spinning them around.
K: At one point he was like, “ok now choke him.” God I hated it (both laughing.) You just had to really trust that no one was gonna actually punch you in the face.
Well it certainly looks pretty brutal! What can Bring The Noise UK readers expect from the record, are any influences obvious?
D: There’s nothing that mirrors any one band. It’s quite reflective of anything loud in any times between the 60’s and the…
D: Hopefully they will like it!
We will be sure to let you know! What’s next for The Dirty Nil?
K: Right now, we have a record we’re trying to wrap up and just continue touring and selling the record.
Great guys well good luck with it all and enjoy the show tonight!
Get your hands on the good boys of rock’s new LP, Higher Power, which is set for release on the 25th February – and be sure to let us know what you think!
Written by: Charly Phillips