In the classic rock “mockumentary” film ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ there is an notorious scene where guitarist Nigel Tufnel explains to the filmmaker that his amps go to eleven. “One louder” Tufnel clarifies and from hearing The Dirty Nil’s debut album, ‘Higher Power’, “One louder” has become their way of life as it is thirty minutes of loud, riotous rock and roll.
Formed 10 years ago in their native Dundas, Ontario, Canada, the trio made up of Vocalist/Guitarist Luke Bentham, Bassist Dave Nardi and Drummer Kyle Fisher, have spent the last decade learning their instruments whilst simultaneously honing a raw brand of anthemic and snotty rock.
‘Higher Power’ is a thrilling ride with songs like ‘No Weaknesses’ and ‘Friends In The Sky’ containing big choruses to match their musical strength. The album is carried by the bands unrelentless energy, yet they’ll be the first to tell you they’re not a punk band. In an industry where everything is labelled in some form or another, it is refreshing for a band like The Dirty Nil to stick to their guns and strip rock back to origins; loud, rebellious and brilliant.
With the release of ‘Higher Power’ fast approaching, we grabbed a word with Kyle Fisher. The drummer commented on not being labelled, the bands rock and roll influences, their recent London headline show and more.
AH: You’ve been playing together since high school, releasing various EP’s along the way. How important have those EP’s been towards helping the band development?
Kyle: Those singles and EPs are extremely important to the development of this band. We actually set out to record a record pretty early on but when we consulted with some other people we realized that we didn’t quite have a proper album there. That’s where ‘Fuckin’ Up Young’ (2011 EP) came from anyways, then we kept up with the small releases as a way to test the waters and see who we are as a band. Without those kind of baby steps, we wouldn’t have been able to create our identity and most certainly wouldn’t have made the record we have now.
AH: You’ve gone on record saying you don’t call yourself a punk band. Do you think some people can get too tied up labelling bands?
Kyle: Absolutely. The problem I find is that genre labels have become so bloated and disproportionate that they don’t mean anything anymore. Like what are the terms “alternative” and “indie” mean anymore? And when you try to get specific you end up with some garbage like “acousmatic-hobocore” or “post post-rock revival grunge” or some bullshit like that. If you like a band or a song, then you just like it. It doesn’t necessarily require a label.
AH: Throughout ‘Higher Power’ there is a strong classic rock and roll tone. I get the impression that bands from the past are a heavy influence?
Kyle: We were all classic rock kids back in high school and we started playing music because of bands like Led Zeppelin and the Who so those influences are burned into our soul. So no matter what new influences we’ve developed over the years we definitely end up approaching at it from a somewhat old school rock and roll angle. If you spend most of your teenage years stoned watching the Led Zeppelin live at the Royal Albert Hall or the Who Live at the Isle of Wight its going to stay with you.
AH: From hearing the album, it seems you took care in the sequencing of the record? How important is sequencing to an album especially in the digital age?
Kyle: That’s tough to say. I don’t know how many people listen to albums front to back anymore. We definitely put some effort into the sequencing. This is our first full-length and we wanted to make sure it is the best it could be.
AH: ‘Higher Power’ was recorded live in the studio. Do you think that was a requirement to contain the energy the songs require?
Kyle: I wouldn’t say it was a requirement, it was just the way we wanted to do it. We wanted to capture that flash in the pan as best we could. To represent ourselves as the band we are in a live setting.
AH: You recently played your debut UK show in London at The Black Heart. How was it?
Kyle: It was great. We had a lot of people make it out and it was my first trip to London so I was just excited to be there and experiencing a new place with new people.
AH: Can we expect to see you back here soon?
Kyle: We are hoping to be back in a few months. Nothing is set in stone yet but that’s the plan for now.
AH: How would you advise people to listen to ‘Higher Power’? As loud as possible?
Kyle: Listening at maximum volume is the only way to listen to anything. However, if you want to go all the way with it you could drop some acid and get yourself into one of the sensory deprivation tanks. Hopefully, you would survive.
‘Higher Power’ by The Dirty Nil is released on February 26th on Dine Alone Records.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)