After spending the weekend performing around NYC for the CMJ Music Marathon, The Dirty Nil boys graced us with their rock and roll in the WHUS music library back in October. Wearing all black (still not sure if they planned that or not) they were a pleasure to have in the studio. Needless to say heads were rocking to their catchy riffs and reckless energy. The three piece comes from Ontario, Canada but spends much of their time touring. As January commences, they will be starting a tour across Europe. To check out their tunes, you can find The Dirty Nil on BandCamp or Facebook. These questions were answered by the whole band, Luke (guitar/vocals), Kyle (drums) and Dave (bass).
Onna: Do you have a story of how and when you guys met and decided to play music together?
Luke: Well, our band kind of came together in some kind of proto, kind of primitive state 9 years ago. It was our first attempt at writing music together, and that was pretty much the purpose of the band. We had kind of played in a bunch of cover bands and stuff and we wanted to start writing music, so that was the first attempt…. And it has lasted quite a long time.
Onna: How did you come up with the name ‘The Dirty Nil’?
Luke: (Laughs) Ummmm, well, I didn’t really put too much thought into it. We needed a name and it just kind of just rolled off my 16 year old tongue and here we are. No name changes, here we are.
Onna: Interesting, so tell us about the songwriting process for the band.
Luke: It’s pretty different from song to song, but all of our best songs start with a jam. All three of us contributing ideas and things are constantly changing in the way we go about creating songs. In general, I write the vocal melodies and come up with lyrics at the very last minute and record them. Dave also brings ideas in regarding vocals. The band comes together to flesh out ideas to create songs. Probably very similar to most rock bands but I mean that we, everythings kind of different depending on the song. Every song goes through a different process, some come together very quickly and some take years, but we take our time to make sure that our arrangements are tight and there is not any fat on them.
Onna: Do you guys have any transformed songs from 9 years ago when you first came together?
Kyle: No, not really. There’s probably old riffs that Luke has created that have made it to a point where finally they got on the record. Especially one or two songs on the upcoming record have some ancient things that have never came together and finally did.
Onna: That’s an interesting style to incorporate the old with the new. Can you tell us about some of your musical influences?
Kyle: I mean, we all come from a classic rock background when we were growing up in high school. Led Zeppelin, the Who, Stooges, things like that. Now I personally listen to a lot of hip-hop at the moment.
Onna: Hip-hop? Like who?
Kyle: The new Vin Staples record, Danny Brown. I listen to Death Grips here and there. MF Doom & Wu Tang Clan. MF Doom is probably my favorite right now.
Luke: I like rock and roll. Mostly old, some new. I like punk music, country music. I mean, I like a lot of different kinds of music. It’s hard to nail it down. There’s some albums that I always go back to when I’m looking for inspiration.
Dave: I listen to all sorts of stuff. Lots of new stuff that I like but generally I revert to older things, like 80s & 90s alternative. Older hardcore and weird post-punk industrial stuff. I just like lots of different things, I’m always just kind of trying to connect the dots through the past and find interesting things that I may have missed and try to explore a bit.
Onna: What are some of the challenges that you run into as a band?
Kyle: You know, there’s the usual stuff like the question of where we are going to sleep at night, is the person we are staying with a murderer? What is on Netflix that we can all agree on?
Luke: I think it’s kind of corny but the song “It’s a Long Way to the Top” by ACDC gives you a pretty accurate description of what it’s like to be a touring band in 2015.
Onna: Rough and mean! So, what do you guys usually do when figuring out where to stay at night? Do you plan or is it spontaneous?
Kyle: It depends. Sometimes the bands that we are playing with will offer us a place. That’s how some of our better friends that we’ve made in the US have come out of. They were really excited to meet us and play with us, and we usually connect to them and it works out. Other times, we have to dig. Sometimes someone will regretfully offer us a place to stay and then other times there is just nothing. Sometimes people will be like, “Ahh you know, yeah you can stay if you can’t find anyone else.” And we can’t find anyone else and they say, “Actually, you know nevermind.” Then we’ll just get a motel.
Onna: Any exciting future plans for the Dirty Nil?
Luke: We’ve got a record coming out in February and lots and lots and lots of touring.
Onna: Are you planning on staying in Canada or are you guys looking to relocate?
Luke: It’s nice to live in Canada so probably not, but it’s fantastic to spend majority of our time now in the United States because it’s fun traveling and playing rock and roll.
Onna: Here’s just a random scenario. If you couldn’t be musicians anymore for some strange reason, what would you all do?
Dave: I’d probably be raising fancy dogs.
Luke: I’d probably like, lead a cult. One that I could get a lot of money from. I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that though.
Kyle: I’d probably just go to a hippie commune and spend my life there.