The Dirty Nil

So far, 2016 has been pretty busy for Canadian three-piece The Dirty Nil. January saw them play their debut UK show at a packed Black Heart in London. In February they released their ferocious debut album Higher Power. The band are headed to Austin, TX for SXSW and then out on a UK/European tour this April and May. Oh, and they’ve just released the (very) homemade video for ‘Wrestle Yü to Husker Dü’ too.

VultureHound managed to catch singer and guitarist Luke Bentham during some well deserved down time to get some insight into their current tour, meeting Ian MacKaye and the effects of eating bootleg Mexican candy.

You’ve just released the new video for ‘Wrestle Yü to Hüsker Dü’ (in full VHS glory). The shot of the setlist at the beginning of the video suggests it’s old footage, but how old? And who’s wedding video did you have to record over?

Good eye! The footage is actually from our 2014 Smite EP release shows. The darker footage was shot at the Spice Factory in Hamilton, Ontario. The lighter footage was shot the next day in the basement of Dr. Disc Records. Not sure who’s wedding that was. We ended up taping over a lot of home videos, this one was too good to omit from the final cut.

You played your first ever UK gigs back in January and have just announced plans to come back again in April/May. How was your UK debut? Excited to come back?

Our UK debut was everything I could have dreamed it would be. To fly across the ocean and walk into a club, packed full of new faces was a significant moment of achievement. Now, having our record out, I couldn’t be more excited to follow up on our preliminary successes in the beautiful UK.

So what’s up next before you come back to Europe?

I’m currently sitting in Hamilton, Ontario, very excited to leave for the United States tomorrow morning. We’re heading down to Texas for SXSW and doing a pretty thorough tour of the eastern states before we fly across the pond again.

What’s been the best (and worst) tour moment so far?

Hard to really distill it down to two polar moments. Tumbling through the streets of Amsterdam was certainly fun, while experiencing an allergic reaction to bootleg Mexican candy in Los Angeles, was significantly less fun. My eyes felt like they were going to burst out of my head before the swelling finally subsided. My advice, stay away from chipotle mango treats with homemade packaging.

What’s the response to Higher Power been like both from fans and press?

It’s been overwhelmingly positive from what I’ve seen. Our fans are ecstatic that we’ve finally put out a full-length record and the reviews have been very generous. It feels great to finally have it out in the world.

It would be hard to label you guys as exclusively punk, yet you released music on Fat-Wreck Chords and played Warped Tour, two entities synonymous with that scene. How did that come about, and what was the response like?

Fat Mike heard our band from a mutual friend, he got in touch with us and really wanted to work together. We threw together a 7” and used it to promote our first major tour of America. As for the Warped Tour, Kevin Lyman (its curator and founder) saw us play in Toronto and extended an invitation to play the whole 2015 tour, which we accepted. It’s hard to sum up the response to these efforts but they have both contributed significantly to our stature in America.

You also recently met Ian MacKaye in Virginia, what was his take on your cover of Fugazi track ‘Provisional’? And has he had a chance to hear the album yet?

We didn’t ask Ian what he thought of our version, but he was enthusiastic about the fact that we had covered his music. He took the time to show us demo recordings of the song and tell us stories about touring with Minor Threat and Fugazi. Not sure if he’s the record but we’re mailing him a package this week.

And while on tour do any of you manage to keep up the grueling training regime we see you doing in the video for No Weaknesses?

Skipping to ‘Ride the Lightning’ is my tour regiment.

Before the album came out there was a steady stream of 7-inches and EPs. Are there any plans for some bonus releases during the rest of 2016?

Almost certainly, but nothing I can speak of at this juncture. Stay tuned.

You can catch Luke and The Dirty Nil on their UK tour during April and May at the following venues:

Apr 30th    Nottingham   – Hey Hey Hey @ Rock City
May 3rd     London  –  Old Blue Last
May 4th     Guildford  –  Boileroom
May 5th     Manchester  –  Sound Control
May 6th     Newcastle  –  Jumping Jacks
May 7th     Birmingham  –  The Sunflower Lounge

By Daniel W.

Vulture Hound Music Co-Editor. New music and doughnuts on the South Coast of England.