Interview: The Dirty Nil

Published: July 14, 2017

The Dirty Nil opened the main stage on an impressive night at Festival d'été de Québec last night.  The band was full of energy as lead singer Luke Bentham declared yesterday as "the best fucking day of his life". Sharing the stage with one of his biggest musical influences, The Who, on his birthday; Luke came out ready to rock with a bottle of wine in hand. The Dirty Nil have been known for their high powered club shows but yesterday they tore up a stage in front of a field of tens of thousands of people.

056 (2)  The Dirty Nil get the FEQ50 crowd ready for The Who. Photo By: Vithiya Murugadas

We caught up with Kyle Fisher just before their show to talk about touring, Minimum R&B and playing FEQ.

How's the tour going?
Touring has been a blast. We were really lucky with the last one, with The Flatliners, and Sam Coffey and The Iron Lungs. Both of those bands are full of awesome people and they play great music so we had a blast. I also like traveling and we are very lucky to experience the world this way.

How has the reception been in Europe?
It's growing there. I think the festivals will be fun. Every time we've gone there we've seen more and more people coming out to shows and we're doing a couple shows with Against Me! this time. I'm really excited to play a couple shows with them before we go on tour with them in the Fall.

What do you guys miss the most when you are on tour?
Sometimes depending where we are, it's just knowing where to get coffee. In Germany there are a lot of places that have really great coffee. But sometimes all you find are those automated machines and you order a coffee and they just put a cup under a machine and push a button and then you're like "aw fuck" and then they're like "4 euros" and you're like "ah shit". So that kind of thing gets annoying after a while and I get nit picky. Friends and family of course and how laid back Canadians can be. Even going to the States and you find stuff that would never really happen in Canada, like the feeling or vibe that you get in certain areas and from certain people. It happens everywhere in the world and you can see some funny things. But, I've never heard someone get shot in Canada.

Did you hear someone get shot?
oh yeah, we were in Hamburg and we heard someone get shot near our apartment. But we were in this kind of rowdy area. We found out that it was a drug dealer who shot another drug dealer. It was one of those moments when you're like... that was clearly a gun shot.

IMG_5615 (2) Kyle Fisher from The Dirty Nil at FEQ50. Photo by: Sabrina Spence

When did you start playing the drums?
When I was 13. But I wanted to play from a younger age after I played around with my friend's drum set in the 5th grade. He brought his drums to school and I saw him play and I was like, this is really cool. I was really interested in it and something about it grabbed my attention but then I didn't really try to push my parents to let me get one until I was 13 and playing drums in the school band in junior high.

What drummers have influenced your playing?
I started with John Bonham from Led Zeppelin, that was my first thing, and then Keith Moon. Both of them influenced me at the time because I thought their playing was so good. They're very different, John Bonham is not as flashy, he holds everything down really well and then he kinda has these perfect moments that if you know what you're listening for you're like "oh that was just a brilliant little trill to change the song" or just added a little flare for that moment. Keith Moon is just an animal all the time. I don't even think I can hear everything that he's doing all the time. As I got older and saw different people I liked them for different reasons. Zach Hill who played in Hella or Gerg Saunier from Dearhoof cause he showed me there's a lot you can do with little drums. I've never been a fan of drummers, except for Keith Moon, with massive drum sets.
You can sound good if you just hit all those drums. But what can you do with just a kick drum and a high hat?

Where do you find your influences lie when you are putting an album together?
I think it comes from all over the place. We all listen to different music all the time, Luke is listening to a lot of country music, especially right now. It's weird it doesn't really have any influence on how we sound but we just all listen to music that we like and then when it comes down to writing, I guess all of our different influences come out organically as we're putting the song together. I couldn't really pinpoint it one way or another. It's not like we just sit there and are like you know this song, in this part, we should do something like that. Luke will come in with his idea for a song, and a riff and then we'll just noodle around until it feels right. We don't think a song is done until we all like the song. If we can't like it, who else is going to like it?

IMG_5609 (2) Ross Miller from The Dirty Nil at FEQ50. Photo by: Sabrina Spence

Now that you are playing more festivals has that changed how you feel in your career and as a band?
I mean yes, certainly, anytime we play a show and there's enough - like any amount of people there that's are excited - like really want to see us play or are really into what we're doing, you can feel it from the stage. And that energy, it's weird you kind of feed off of it as a musician which is why post tour depression can be a thing for people when they get home. You ride this high all night long and that's why we do it. If all those people are having a good time, we feel it and then we're having a good time with them. But no matter what we're trying our best to put on a good show for everyone and that's kinda grown through the years as we've played more and more places we're seeing it. It's grown a lot here in Canada and now we're seeing it happen in other countries and it's very rewarding.

What was the thinking behind Minimum R&B and re-releasing the older songs after Higher Power?
It was interesting because it started off first as an old idea we had cause we had all these 7" and it was like if all these run out we don't want to re-press all these 7" cause it's going to cost a lot of money but if we did it all as one it would be a little cheaper. It was a really early conversation that went away for a while. Then when we started touring Higher Power and did more things across the world, we started to notice that more and more people just didn't know the older songs. Which we weren't used to right, because we've been playing those songs forever and most people started knowing us [for those songs]. We would assume they would have come from Fucking up Young, Smite or any of those older Eps. So once we realized people didn't know these other songs, we thought it was a good way to bridge the gap between new fans and old fans. So that any new fans that couldn't get access to that music anymore got a way to get all of our older material. Kind of like if you like Higher Power, this is how we got there.

Are you excited for FEQ?
It's going to be crazy, we started our European tour and then they were like you guys are going to open for The Who, and we were freaking out. And that's huge, because The Who have been a huge inspiration for both Luke and I especially and Ross who is playing with us now. We all love The Who and it's one of those things that we never ever thought would happen. Why would they ever give a shit about having us open for them? I know it's the festival organizing it but it's just an honour to get to do that and Luke's really excited, it's his birthday that day too.

IMG_5589 Luke Bentham from The Dirty Nil at FEQ50. Photo by: Sabrina Spence

The Dirty Nil continue their tour in the Fall with Against Me! and have scheduled dates in Canada in October.

Post by: Sabrina Spence

Interview: The Dirty Nil by Chart Attack | Chart Attack.

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