The Dirty Nil are not a Warped Tour kind of band, but for the majority of summer 2015, the Canadian trio were touring with and playing alongside the likes of Asking Alexandria, Black Veil Brides, Escape The Fate, Attila and Miss May I.
While those giants of the Warped scene were playing the main stage each day to a packed crowd, The Dirty Nil – guitarist/vocalist Luke Bentham, bassist/vocalist Dave Nardi and drummer Kyle Fisher – were deploying their aggressive and acerbic noise-punk to much smaller crowds on one of the smaller stages. It might have been a disheartening, demoralising and depressing experience at times, but it’s not one that the band would change.
“Most of the wounds have healed,” chuckles Bentham, “although the psychological ones will be there for a lifetime! I think I’ve got most of the dirt off, finally, and enough time has passed that I can view the entire experience very fondly, though in that rosy recollection, sometimes I’ll have a violent memory just jump in that I’ve completely repressed since experiencing it. But it general it was fantastic. I can’t complain. It was like being forged in the fire of Hell, but you felt like a real band when you got to the outside of it.”
Back then, the three-piece, only had a handful of EPs and 7 inches to their name, and didn’t even have a record label. Now, they not only have a label, but also a debut full-length, Higher Power, which came out last week and which captures perfectly the frenzied energy and angry angst that they’ve been honing since getting together.
“Today was actually the first day that I physically held the 12 inch in the cellophane wrap with the title sticker and everything,” says Bentham. “It kind of seals out the entire experience of making it. There was something very final and satisfying about holding it today. It was very important to us that we made the record exactly the way we wanted to make it, paying no real heed to rational advice and just doing whatever the hell we wanted to do, and I’m very proud of the results.”
That’s exactly what the band have been doing since 2006, when Bentham and Fisher first started playing together. Nardi joined a few years later, and the band put out their first 7 inch, Fuckin’ Up Young, in 2011.
“This record is the accumulation of almost 10 years together,” says Bentham, “although that’s a loose definition of ‘together’. We assembled ten years, but at that point we were just barely learning our instruments, playing the same Black Sabbath riffs over and over again for 45 minutes, and being very satisfied with that achievement!”
Fiercely intelligent and highly visceral – both in terms of the music they make and the who they are as people – the band have, of course, since moved the goalposts in terms of their aims, but remain down-to-earth about their ultimate ambitions.
“The most tangible field that I desire success in,” says Bentham, “is just being able to play for more people and being able to sleep on less floors. That’s one of my goals, as well, though I do like sleeping on some people’s floors. But really, it’s just getting to do what we do. We made this record largely as a flyer for our live show – that’s really what we do. So if we can continue to make that a more comfortable experience and more fun for other people, that’s my main aspiration at this point.”
The Dirty Nil’s Higher Power album is out now on Dine Alone.