Interview with The Dirty Nil

What's the meanest thing you've ever been told after playing a show? 
Dave: That we sound like Thornley.
Luke: Nah that wasn't after a show though, that was when we were teenagers. No man, we gotta go with the one when we watched The Black Magic Movement, it was like this Battle of the Bands that we won when we were like 19 and the band that lost thought that they had been robbed.
Dave: Yeah and they told us so.
Luke: Yeah they told us they had been robbed and that we weren't supposed to win.
Dave: Yeah they were like 'you guys are good and all but let's be honest, we were robbed!'
Luke: I'd do an impression of his voice but it would not be good! But yeah nobody has ever really hit us with venom, just some harsh undertones..
Dave: People have been indifferent though, we played a show with Sparta which was a big deal for us cause it's Jim Ward from At The Drive-In and we talked to Jim after the show and he kinda like looked at us all, nodded, and was just like 'well, good song, keep it up'.
Luke: Yeah, with his hands like in his pockets looking at the ground, doing that thing..
Dave: You know when you're like talking to a kid and you're like 'you know what, you keep at it, you'll get there one day'.. it was kinda like that.
Kyle: We probably had the worst songs.
Dave: It wasn't necessarily negative but.. it wasn't overwhelmingly positive.
Luke: It left an impact though!

How long ago was this? 
Luke: Last year?
Dave: Not too long ago
Luke: We haven't gotten much better!

Did Fat Mike really call you?
Luke: Yep!

Out of nowhere? 
Luke: Yeah, he sent me a text first and then he called me!

How'd he get your number?
Luke: Through the director of our "Nicotine" video, his brother is like a friend of a friend.

Can you tell me anything that's happening with that?
Luke: Ummm we talk to Fat Mike on the phone sometimes! That's pretty much all that has happened so far!
Dave: Yeah there's not really anything happening he just kinda calls us and says that he likes us and has kinda talked to us on the internet and it's been nice! We saw some sales on Fuckin' Up Young for that but there's not really anything else other than that.
Luke: Nothing to talk about right now..

Luke, I know you've said before that it's hard to catch the vibe of a live show vocally when you're in the studio, but with SMITE it really sounds like you caught it and nailed it, is there anything you did differently when you were recording this time? 
Luke: Hmmm well I don't know, I definitely feel more confident with singing and recording my vocals now, I think that's it. I just feel better doing that.

Is there anything you do to keep your vocals so fucked, smoke a pack of cigs before recording/performing or anything like that? 
Luke: Haha, no I don't smoke, I try not to drink too much beforehand actually, but not it's mostly just a confidence thing. I remember we played once when we were really young with Alexisonfire and I just asked George the same question and he said 'just don't think about it, just do it'. It's not really a thing you can be told though, it just comes with playing a lot of shows and doing a bunch of recordings and you just start to find what it is that you in particular have to do so you don't get psyched out. You just gotta do your job basically!

You guys have gotten a smudge heavier with SMITE, should we expect more of that from the next EP or whatever you guys release? 
Luke: Yeah our next release is probably following the same path, it's definitely going to be a little bit different but I mean, that batch of songs they all just kinda came out heavier. We had a couple things written going in but we did a lot of jamming and that happened.
Dave: Yeah there wasn't any conscious effort to make one record a heavy record and then go back to a not heavy record or whatever, those are just the songs we're writing, it's what they're sounding like now. I don't feel any distinct change or shift.
Luke: Yeah as for the things I write, I've just definitely become more comfortable with singing and screaming more intensely so that's what I bring to the band now to work on and it kinda went from there basically.
Dave: Now that we've gotten more powerful as a live band it's kinda been a natural progression, and as we kept buying bigger and bigger amps we're like well we might as well turn them up as loud as they can go! and it just kinda happened!
Kyle: And I just try to keep up!

Do you have any plans for an actual full length soon? 
Kyle: Well we have a lot of material right now and we're definitely kinda planning out our next year but we're not really in a position to give any details regarding any releases right now, but there is lots of new music coming at some point though!

What's the craziest show you've ever played? 
Kyle: I think the Magpie show was for me one of the most fucked up shows just cause we played that in the summer on like the hottest day and it's a really small bar with no ventilation and we all thought we were going to die just from pure overheating, like I thought my head was going to explode.
Luke: And also the first time we played all the songs from SMITE in our set with the rest of our songs, that was pretty *inaudible - i really have no idea what he said here cause a band was doing soundcheck, so instead of guessing and getting it wrong i'll leave it for readers to guess and get wrong themselves, it'll be like a game* but we're getting better and better at playing them all mixed in with the other songs. So yeah that one definitely stands out. But um, we've played shows and stuff with like really rowdy stuff, getting mics knocked into our teeth and getting shocked a lot...
Kyle: There was that one when our friend got dropped on her head..
Dave: Yeah a girl got dropped on her head once.

Didn't somebody get stabbed once or something too? 
Luke: Oh yeah, we played in Montreal one time and somebody got stabbed around the corner from the show and we saw it, it was awful!

Other than you guys, what does Hamilton have to offer right now? 
Luke: Well no longer Murph's Submarine!
Kyle: Born Wrong, TV Freaks, WTCHS, lots of great bands right now in the Hamilton area. Lots of different styles too but they're all really good. I'd say probably the best band in Hamilton right now is Born Wrong, I think we all can agree.
Dave: Yeah, we all agree on that. And there's Black Baron, Snake Charmer.
Luke: Sensei
Dave: Yeah Sensei's a great band, we're playing with them next week in Hamilton, yeah there's lots of great stuff happening in Hamilton.

Why do you think Hamilton breeds so many awesome bands? 
Dave: I don't think there's anything necessarily different about Hamilton, I don't look at Hamilton and think 'oh man Hamilton is so much better than all these other cities' I just like the bands in Hamilton because I get to see them all the time. I get to see Born Wrong once a month so I think they're the best, like I don't necessarily think like oh 'Hamilton's got this working class ethic' I think it's stupid to say that kind of shit.
Kyle: Yeah a lot of people tack that kind of shit on to Hamilton
Dave: Yeah 'they're steel-collar, blue-collar, and they work hard!'
Kyle: There's a lot of great bands in Toronto too!
Dave: There's a lot of great bands everywhere if you look hard enough!
Luke: One thing that is great about Hamilton is the size of it permits all the bands to pretty much have enough people coming out to the venues, there's a solid amount of people going to live shows but also there's a number of bands that can get decent attention, it's not so clogged that it's impossible to get any shine. It's a good sized city to have a band, that's the one thing I can honestly say about Hamilton. There's lot of great venues too but in terms of like what Dave said about the working class shit, that's all bullshit. It's just a good city.
Dave: Yeah it's easy to play a show and have it be the only thing that is going on that night. Like our Toronto shows are always great but every time it's like 'oh man this other bands is playing tonight too, our friends are playing tonight' like in Hamilton it's pretty rare that someone that draws a similar crowd is playing the same night. A lot of times it's like well I want to be going to this show so I'm not going to have my own show that night. Because of the size of it that stuff travels around quicker, you hear about other shows before you plan your show.

Your video for "Nicotine" is pretty much my favourite thing ever, did you guys have any creative input or was it all the director? 
Luke: No Lee just had it all, he had a couple other ideas before that were like even more spaced out, but that one was the one we were like yeah that sounds great and he just basically told us what to do. We had a great time, it was a really fun day, I was kinda like dreading the day we had to do it because we'd never shot a video with any actual money ever pretty much ... but you get what you pay for, it was awesome!! Lee is a very talented guy, he's very serious about what he does.

That said, what's your favourite video that you've done?
Luke: Oh that one, "Nicotine", for sure.
Dave: "Fuckin' Up Young" was good but that's only because we were drunk the whole time.
Kyle: Yeah "Nicotine" was fun, that was my favourite one. The "Fuckin' Up Young" one was like fucking 14 hours trying to convince drunk people to do shit. It was exhausting!

We you guys drunk when you filmed "Nicotine"? 
Kyle: Nope, not at all. Not a drop!
Luke: And put that on the record!

Can you tell me anything about what you just recorded at Candle Studio? 
Luke: Welllll we got lots of guitar tracks... and we're excited about it!! And it will probably be released in the next.. ten years. Probably. But no guarantee! That's everything I can tell you, I've probably given away too much actually!

What else is coming up for you guys? 
Dave: Our new record club release will be coming out soon, it'll probably be coming out in like April or May or something like that.. a new 7" single. Other than that there's not really any releases lined up, we do have one CMW show lined up already, got some shows with friends in America and stuff!

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