Dirty Nil Q&A | Shore Fire Media

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31 July, 2018Print

Dirty Nil Q&A

Name: Kyle Fisher

Age: 28

Hometown: Dundas, Ontario, Canada

 

1.    What are your top 5 albums of all time? The greatest album, ever? Same for bands/artists.

This is way too hard to narrow down for me. I change my mind every day depending on what I'm listening to at the moment.

Albums:

Pinkerton -  Weezer

Madvillainy - Madvillain (MF Doom/ Mad Lib)

Room On Fire - The Strokes

Peach - Culture Abuse

Live at Leeds - The Who

Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) - Wu-Tang Clan

 

Artists/Bands:

MF Doom

The Who

Deerhoof

The Melvins

Hella

 

 

2.    What were the top 10 songs that inspired ‘Master Volume’ / the making of the album?

Surrender - Cheap Trick

So Busted - Culture Abuse

Hit The Lights - Metallica

Black Me Out - Against Me!

Humble - Kendrick Lamar

I'm Broken - Pantera 

Mouth Breather - Jesus Lizard

Money - Single Mothers

Sweet Revenge - John Prine

Dope Smoker - Sleep

 

 

3.    Who are your musical heroes and why?

John Bonham and Keith Moon were my two biggest musical influences when I was young. They taught me how to hit drums hard and play like a maniac. John Bonham has impeccable style and groove while Keith is a maniac. I like to think I meet them somewhere in the middle. Pat Wilson from Weezer also had a huge impact on my playing. I know how to play Pinkerton front to back, hit for hit.

Atom Willard is a recent influence after getting to watch him play every night on tour with Against Me! He is a machine and hits fucking hard. Watching him made me want to be better and I feel like I learned so much just by being around him for a few months.

 

 

4.    What were the non-musical influences that you were consuming most while recording the album, and how did they make their way onto the tracks? Movies, TV, comedians, books, video games, visual art, places?

We were watching a lot of Metallica documentaries. Listened to a lot of Tom Segura's comedy as well. The biggest outside influencer on the album would probably have to be the podcast Casefile. We listen to a lot of podcasts on the road but that is number one. It profiles murders/serial killing cases from all over the world. The host does excellent research on each case and the way he speaks really pulls you into the show. Marc Maron, and Bill Burr's podcasts are also popular in the van.

 

 

5.    Can you tell about any personal experiences/anecdotes/struggles that made their way onto the album, and exactly where (which songs)?

I know that Luke referenced my gambling habits on Please, Please Me. I developed a little knack for gambling on warped tour because everyone on the tour just rolls dice the whole time. I made it out of that tour with money though so it all worked out.

 

 

6.    What is the significance of the album title?

We are the masters of volume. We are louder than all the other bands.

 

 

7.    What was the writing process of this album like, and who handles what when you create new music?

Luke creates most of the body of the songs (chords, melody, lyrics) while Ross and I dress it and help arrange parts. We rehearse quite often and just hammer away at ideas until they've been chiseled down into their final form. 

 

 

8.    A lot of the songs on the album relate to cars and car crashes- I know you mentioned you’ve witnessed “your share of carnage travelling in the Southern States.” What were the real-life accidents or near-death experiences that inspired your sardonic outlook and lyrics? 

I can't speak for Luke but I know we have seen several bad accidents all over the world ranging from 5 car piles ups to a car fully engulfed in flames on the side of the road. When you drive often and long enough you see destruction everywhere.

 

9. What is the difference between The Dirty Nil in-real-life, and the bombastic The Dirty Nil on the album? Did you create any “characters” that appeared on the album or that appear on stage?

I like to go on stage wearing all white and then instantly changing into all black after the set. It’s a fun yin and yang thing I only recently noticed. I guess you could say it formed subconsciously. People don't recognize me after but that’s ok because then I can just hang out! 

 

 

10. Luke and Kyle, you started recording music together when you were quite young. Can you tell us about how you came together to form The Dirty Nil and how you got hooked up with Ross?

Well Ross moved into the house right around the time we were trying people out. We had known him for 8 years at that point because he had played in a million bands in the area. He came to the first try out we had with a different bass player and later said he knew in that moment that he should be in the band. He asked and we tried him out. We figured out Always High that day. He was the piece we'd been missing all along.

 

11. What job(s) did you have before you started touring full-time? Where did you go to school?

I have worked in many different places. Favourite jobs I had were cutting the grass at a golf course in Dundas and driving a delivery truck. I also bartend often. My favourite bar that I used to work out closed last year though. RIP Baltimore House.

I went to McMaster University in Hamilton, ON for Multimedia.

 

12. What are some of your wildest tour stories? Were there any wild things that happened during the creation of the album?

A lot of drunken nights and absurd situations to run though in my head lets see...

We heard gunshots go off in Hamburg once around the corner from where we were staying. We were pretty stoned and all got on the ground and turned the lights of in our apartment. Pretty freaky but we were fine. It was apparently a drug deal gone south. 

At a Christmas market in Hamburg’s infamous Reeperbahn I convinced Luke to get up on the stage at a strip club that was set up in the market, he proceeded to try and strip. He was chased out of the market by security and our friend Mike was running behind him with his clothes. 

There’s always more but that’s what first comes to mind. 

 

13. Who are the live acts you’ve most modeled yourself after or would most compare yourself to? What was a show that changed your life?

Definitely one of the biggest impacts on how we perform comes from watching old Who videos. For me personally, watching Keith Moon bob around and whirlwind behind the kit was imperative to how I play drums now. 

 

14. What have you done to stay sane while playing 350+ shows over the last few years? Any specific touring rituals or things you always keep on in the van?

I started getting into photography on the road. Its the thing that keeps me active and sane. I looked forward to walking around everyday and finding something new and interesting to shoot. Thankfully touring provides me with new options each and everyday. I also read a lot and keep a journal. I hit up book stores constantly on the road.

 

15. What gear do you use and what is the make of your instruments?

I currently use YC Drums, which is my friend’s company based out of Waterloo, ON. For the snare I use a Ludwig supraphonic because it’s the best and all my heroes used one. I try and use Zildjian A series cymbals when I can afford them. Sweet Rides especially I love. Promark 5Bs all that way for sticks. DW Hardware would be my choice for that too.

 

16. How would you describe your personal style- do you have any style icons? Who are some of your favorite clothing brands/designers?

Hmmm tough question. I wouldn't say I have any style icons but I try not to always get trapped wearing just jeans and band shirts (though I love it). I like Levi's for all my jeans. 511s all the way. As far as clothing brands go thats all I could say off the top of my head. If I think it looks good I'll wear it. I love Adidas shoes (Sambas and Hamburgs) and Reebok Classics as well.

 

---

Name: Ross Miller

Age: 28

Hometown: Welland, ON

 

1.    What are your top 5 albums of all time? The greatest album, ever? Same for bands/artists.

Minor Threat- Complete Discography 

AC/DC- Back in Black

Sloan- Twice Removed

The Band- Big Pink

Tom Petty- Wildflowers

 

2.    What were the top 10 songs that inspired ‘Master Volume’ / the making of the album?

Culture Abuse- So Busted

Motorhead-Ace of Spades

The Band- The Weight

Sloan- Underwhelmed

The Eagles- Life in the Fast Lane

Oasis - Rock and Roll Star

Oasis - Morning Glory

Oasis- Stand By Me

The Band- Don’t Do it

Tom Petty- You Wreck Me 

I didn’t really reference any songs while working on the record, but these are songs I learned for particular reasons and probably stole from

 

3.    Who are your musical heroes and why?

My musical heroes are musicians who work hard and tend to have strong characters. Who are also genuine nice people (from my perspective) 

Levon Helm, Dave Grohl, Lemmy, Tom Petty, Liam Gallagher 

 

4.    What were the non-musical influences that you were consuming most while recording the album, and how did they make their way onto the tracks? Movies, TV, comedians, books, video games, visual art, places?

I am always influenced by art, I do remember looking at a lot of Andrew Savages art from Parquet Courts and was influenced by his work ethic and perspective. I should probably read more.

 

5.    Can you tell about any personal experiences/anecdotes/struggles that made their way onto the album, and exactly where (which songs)?

 The harmony in “super 8” is probably the highest note I can hit and it’s always a bit of struggle within my body. 

 

6.    What is the significance of the album title?

I am the Master of my own personal Volume

 

7.    What was the writing process of this album like, and who handles what when you create new music?

It was a different record to make, since it was the first record of us 3 as a band. It was surprisingly not that hard considering how good the record is. 

Luke- Writes all the lyrics, melodies, guitar pars

Kyle- Writes his drums and contributes to rhythms within the group

Ross- I write my bass parts, harmonies with luke and also contribute to how all the rhythms work within the band to make it all gel together.

 

8.    A lot of the songs on the album relate to cars and car crashes- I know you mentioned you’ve witnessed “your share of carnage travelling in the Southern States.” What were the real-life accidents or near-death experiences that inspired your sardonic outlook and lyrics? 

Every time I see a phone in the drivers hand I laugh in horror of my potential death.  Cars have always equalled rock in roll to me, I am sure it does the same for my friend Luke the lyric writer. 

 

9.    Aside from the car-crash motif, are there any over-arching connections or motifs between the songs on the album? Is there an overarching story behind it?

From my perspective all the lyrics are all written about things that happened in Luke’s life or are from his  perspective. We are in our late 20s and other then the band we live pretty normal lives. Relationships, friends growing part, etc.  

 

10. There’s a lot of anxiety in the songs- touring through the US and Europe in 2018 but being from Canada, are there any specific political perspectives/messages that you have developed? If so, how do these make their way into your music/into the band?

I always try to have a Positive Attitude. I can also be Emotional. I hope it comes through with my playing and how it relates to everyone else’s playing.

 

11. There are a lot of strong, nostalgic, 80s-rock-star-video visuals in your lyrics (and in the “Bathed in Light” video). Are there any music videos that have been particularly influential on the new music?

I always enjoyed The Who - Who Are You music video, anything by the Ramones, Sex Pistols, Nirvana. Anything with the band in it. It’s important for the video to really embrace the character of the band. I have a strong dislike for videos that don’t show any personality of the band for the sake of “art"

 

12. What is the difference between The Dirty Nil in-real-life, and the bombastic The Dirty Nil on the album? Did you create any “characters” that appeared on the album or that appear on stage?

I am more myself on stage/record then off of stage/record. the rest of the time is hibernation. 

 

13. Luke and Kyle, you started recording music together when you were quite young. Can you tell us about how you came together to form The Dirty Nil and how you got hooked up with Ross?

Funny you asked. I was walking alone on the streets of hamilton and I was stunned by a soft cry that hit my left ear. When I looked behind me it was my soon to be bandmates Luke and Kyle. They were looking for the Rock and Roll bass player of their dreams. I was also in fact looking for a new rock and roll vessel to call my home.  Once I finished my cigarette and ice cream we hastily hit the jam space. It was magic. We were the band each of us have always wanted. The rest is history, or the future?

 

14. Can you explain the band name, The Dirty Nil?

Is it filthy or is it nothing?

 

15. What job(s) did you have before you started touring full-time? Where did you go to school?

I was a country bass player, I was a semi popular rapper in Ontario, I was a voice for a pumpkin dinosaur, I was a water salesman. I barely graduated high school. BUT I DID!

 

16. What are some of your wildest tour stories? Were there any wild things that happened during the creation of the album?

Every time we hit the stage of rock it gets pretty wild. After every tour we would come back stronger and ready to write. It would be impossible to say what would have happened if we didn’t juggle touring and writing the record at the same but I strongly feel touring during the process made the end result better.

 

17. Who are the live acts you’ve most modeled yourself after or would most compare yourself to? What was a show that changed your life?

I don’t think many bands have the live show we do. I am always influenced by different aspects of a show. Mainly drummers. I am fantasied by a good drummers musicianship but also how they can put on a show by only sitting in one spot. I also like bands like sloan have perfect harmonies, but I  also love hardcore bands like Turnstile that create a party/carefree environment as soon as the start playing.  Very inspirational. 

 

18. What is your touring set-up and how would you describe your live style in five words?

When we can we try to bring the biggest amps we own, kyles drum set with the “NIL” kick drum, and our Gibson instruments. 

5 Words – Obliterating, Motivating, Exciting, Inspirational, Human

 

19. What have you done to stay sane while playing 350+ shows over the last few years? Any specific touring rituals or things you always keep on in the van?

I need to work out on tour and play guitar by myself as much as possible. 

 

20. What gear do you use and what is the make of your instruments?

I used a 70s Gibson Ripper, Orange Ad 200 and Orange 8x10.

 

21. How would you describe your personal style- do you have any style icons? Who are some of your favorite clothing brands/designers?

I always like to jump around with it. I am always influenced by anyone with good style. Tom Petty, Liam Gallagher, David Bowie, The Band, Bob Dylan, Flying Burrito Brothers, Hank Williams, Beastie Boys, etc.

 

22. What are some brands- clothes, gear, shoes, accessories, electronics, foods, anything- that you love and would want to associate/partner with?

Adidas, Nintendo, Organic Raw Kombucha 

 

23. Any causes/non-profits you work with or feel particularly strongly about?

I am always down to help anyone in need. 

---

 

 

Name: Luke Bentham

Age: 27

Hometown: Dundas, Ontario 

 

1.    What are your top 5 albums of all time? The greatest album, ever? Same for bands/artists.

Iggy and the Stooges - Raw power, Iggy’s 1997 remaster though

John Prine - sweet revenge 

Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison 

Culture Abuse - Peach

Replacements - Let It Be 

Greatest album is Big Star - Radio City 

 

2.    What were the top 10 songs that inspired ‘Master Volume’ / the making of the album?

Real Thing by Turnstile

Heavy Love by Culture Abuse

American Trilogy by Elvis Presley 

Gimme Gimme Gimme by Black Flag 

Left of the Dial by The Replacements 

Moonlight Mile by The Rolling Stones

Broke by Modest Mouse 

Life’s Been Good by Joe Walsh 

Work It by Missy Elliot 

Sandstorm by Darude
 

3.    Who are your musical heroes and why?

Link Wray- master of the guitar, survived having a lung removed and invented guitar distortion. ‘Rumble’ is one of the best songs of all time.

Josh Homme - this man never stops working. I think that he has created a lot of interesting guitar music and has been able to maintain a position at the forefront of pop music, against recent musical trends. He is one person I would love to meet.

Paul Westerberg- one of my favourite songwriters of all time. I love his voice and his guitar playing. Though by all accounts he is a prickly man, I would die to shake his hand. 

Ian Mackaye- minor threat is one of my favourite bands, and Ian is a truly great human being. A balance of artist and philosopher, he is about as noble as they come. Also a very nice man who was kind enough to have us over at his house, tell stories and re create the minor threat album cover with us on his front step. 

 

4.    What were the non-musical influences that you were consuming most while recording the album, and how did they make their way onto the tracks? Movies, TV, comedians, books, video games, visual art, places?

Christopher hitchens - the greatest orator of my time. A true hero and champion of free speech. He was the intellectual Keith Richards who could dismantle anyone in debate. No one’s words have spoken to me the way his has. He had more wit and charm than any human being before himself. I think of him everyday with great reverence. 

Carl Sagan - his polemic “pale blue dot” solidified my gratitude for life and my ability to understand how fleeting it is. All the lyrics about death on the new album (that’s what heaven feels like, i don’t want that phone call, bathed in light, etc..) all have some root in the feeling that his pale blue dot poem delivers me. 

Destroyed in seconds - this trash television show captivates my primitive male mind. It’s largely vehicles being vaporized and traffic accidents of an extreme nature, they surely influenced the lyrics of this album. 

 

5.    Can you tell about any personal experiences/anecdotes/struggles that made their way onto the album, and exactly where (which songs)?

Touring and the fractured relationships that have come along with it is certainly the focus of super 8 as well as smoking is magic. Watching my childhood friends disintegrate due to drugs and alcohol is what made me write always high, i don’t want that phone call and auf wiedersehen. 

 

6.    What is the significance of the album title?

It’s the greatest album title ever. Though it could be objectively viewed as the function of a certain amplifier knob, I feel it’s more subjective than that. I think it represents an ominous, slightly nefarious power. Master Volume, the owner of your soul 

 

7.    What was the writing process of this album like, and who handles what when you create new music?

We do a lot of practicing to make the songs work. By design, I write all the lyrics, melodies and chords which I bring to the band and we make it all work. We focus on simplicity, dynamics and of course, power. Ross was especially excellent at drawing songs out of me when I wasn’t confident in them, as well as encouraging me even when I might have been tepid about the material I was bringing. It’s a full team effort with a lot of chemistry and reacting off each other, there are no slouches in our band. 

 

8.    A lot of the songs on the album relate to cars and car crashes- I know you mentioned you’ve witnessed “your share of carnage travelling in the Southern States.” What were the real-life accidents or near-death experiences that inspired your sardonic outlook and lyrics? 

To be honest, they are hard to remember specifically because of their frequency, but my experiences and view is from a voyeuristic perspective, driving past the carnage after it has happened. Flipped over trucks on fire, ripped open transports with jagged metal gently waving in the sun as if it were paper, compressed vehicles that have been compressed from both the front and rear, fires and smashed glass glistening in the sun. I dunno, it’s captivating. 
 

9.    Aside from the car-crash motif, are there any over-arching connections or motifs between the songs on the album? Is there an overarching story behind it?

There is certainly a general warning to those in my life who can’t slow down their intake of whatever they are doing. There is also a more light hearted flirting grin on some of the songs. However this is a darker album than higher power. It’s bleaker, generally speaking, with more apathy for the darker things in life. It’s about experience, and less about fantasy. It’s about failed relationships and the fragility of life, though I feel the overall message is one of optimism. Life is fucking sweet, in the words of one of my greatest friends “luke, it can ALWAYS be worse.” The music makes me very happy, I think the melodies are on point, though the lyrics might be a bit more serrated than previous releases. 


 

10. There’s a lot of anxiety in the songs- touring through the US and Europe in 2018 but being from Canada, are there any specific political perspectives/messages that you have developed? If so, how do these make their way into your music/into the band?

We’re largely an apolitical band. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have our own political opinions and positions, but we deliberately abstain, generally speaking, from delving into that territory because we view our music as a release from that constant dialogue. We want people to be able to come to the show and escape the zeitgeist. That being said, if you are racist, homophobic, xenophobic, transphobic, or sexist, you can go fuck yourself. Do not come to our shows. Our political platform is simple: “don’t be an asshole” 


11. There are a lot of strong, nostalgic, 80s-rock-star-video visuals in your lyrics (and in the “Bathed in Light” video). Are there any music videos that have been particularly influential on the new music?

Certainly sugar ray and cheap trick. Go big or go home. Enough low rent shitty videos. The internet is so full of awful content, please no more low quality music/videos. That’s not to say you can’t make good videos very cheaply, we’ve done it. But there’s so much noise out there, try and make things that are quality. 
 

12. What is the difference between The Dirty Nil in-real-life, and the bombastic The Dirty Nil on the album? Did you create any “characters” that appeared on the album or that appear on stage?

Literally nothing other than a few decibels and a shirt change. This is who we are. Obviously, we extend certain traits but nothing is fabricated. 
 

13. Luke and Kyle, you started recording music together when you were quite young. Can you tell us about how you came together to form The Dirty Nil and how you got hooked up with Ross?

We began as a two piece in 2006. Ross, we met in 2009, and always respected and admired his natural and versatile musicality. There was no other choice after we first plugged in together, it was a perfect fit. 

 

14. Can you explain the band name, The Dirty Nil? 

I came up with it walking around the suburbs one Sunday in 2006. It’s a combination of two artists’ names, but it’s ours. Kyle’s mom hated it so I knew we had the perfect name. 
 

15. What job(s) did you have before you started touring full-time? Where did you go to school?

Hardware store, deck builder, assistant butcher, Starbucks ‘barista’, camp councillor, limousine cleaner (lost that job by crashing an Escalade limo), bartender, line cook, psychology honours BA from Wilfred Laurier University. 

 

16. What are some of your wildest tour stories? Were there any wild things that happened during the creation of the album?

All I can say is that my autobiography is gonna be, as the children say, lit AF. 
 

17. Who are the live acts you’ve most modeled yourself after or would most compare yourself to? What was a show that changed your life?

MC5, The Who. The show that changed my life was Turnstile earlier this year. 

 

18. What is your touring set-up and how would you describe your live style in five words?

Guitar, bass, drums, 2 straight Stand microphones. 

5 words: 

1. The

2. Best

3. Living 

4. Live 

5. Band 

 

19. What have you done to stay sane while playing 350+ shows over the last few years? Any specific touring rituals or things you always keep on in the van?

I exercise almost every day on tour. I run, skip, do planks and pushups and take care of myself. However, I do go with the flow and remain open to the opportunities of the road. ‘Wanna go to an absinthe bar and meet my acrobat friends?’ FUCK YES I DO. One of the best parts of touring is getting to live a life that most people only dream of. But it only counts if you say yes. I am extremely fortunate and try not to miss any opportunities for a unique experience. That being said, I have a lot of self discipline which is paramount to my health on the road. I write, read and exercise a lot in order to stay sharp and happy. 

 

20. What gear do you use and what is the make of your instruments?

I use top quality, simple gear and have not changed my setup in 5 years. Most of the components I had decided on when I was a teenager, it just took me a while to acquire them:

Guitars –
2 Gibson Les Paul custom guitars , 1 white and 1 black. Both heavily modified to my specs, with dimarzio super distortion pickups and replacement knobs from a fender twin reverb amp. Simply my favourite instruments in the world. They are big, powerful and the most elegantly menacing guitars. I still see them in my dreams. A Gibson deal is something that I would kill for. 

Dan Armstrong lucite guitar. This guitar is from 1971 and tough as nails. It’s space age design and flashy looks made it something I wanted for a while. Plus it’s association to Keith Richards and Greg Ginn, I needed it. I only play it for our open tuning songs.

Amps –

2 1959 Marshall 100 watt super lead amplifier heads. The original 100 watt head. Once I plugged in the first time, I lost interest in any other amp for live purposes. For speakers I use an old and rare Marshall 1990 model cabinet. It was built in 1973 and has 8 x 10 inch speakers. It is gigantic and sounds perfect. 

Effects –

I use 2 vintage Proco ratt pedals for distortion. 1 is on all the time and the second I engage as a boost, in addition to the 1st one. Again, once I plugged in the first time, I never looked for anything else. 

1978 electro harmonix deluxe memory man pedal. Even though this is a coveted and classic delay pedal, I only use it to make noise between songs while I’m switching guitars. It sounds different every time I play it and has a mind of its own. I like that. 

Peterson strob-o-stomp tuner. You could fire a bullet at it and it wouldn’t make a dent. It’s extremely fast and accurate. And pleasant to look at, never thought I would be stoked on a tuner. 

Ernie ball power slinky strings exclusively, 0.73 mm guitar picks. 

 

21. How would you describe your personal style- do you have any style icons? Who are some of your favorite clothing brands/designers?

I generally dislike band t shirts, I prefer button ups and dark pants with PF flyer shoes. On stage I almost exclusively wear star pattern shirts that I have custom made. 

 

22. What are some brands- clothes, gear, shoes, accessories, electronics, foods, anything- that you love and would want to associate/partner with?

Clothes:

Levi’s (especially Levi’s vintage clothing)

Naked and Famous jeans

Topman 

PF flyer shoes

SCHOTT leather jackets (would fucking die for a jacket from them) 

 

Gear:

Lifelong goal is to get a Gibson Guitars deal. 

Supro amps

Hiwatt amps 

 

Electronics, etc:

Bose

Apple (gotta say I love their stuff)

Tesla (love Elon musk even more)

GoodLife fitness

 

Foods:

Whole Foods (free samples have sustained this band a long time)

Chipotle

Second Cup Coffee

Soylent Drink (I love this stuff)

Clif Bar

Mission Bar

Perrier

La Croix

Zico and Vita Coco Coconut Waters

Hubba Bubba Original Bubble Gum (the brand I chew onstage)

 

23. Any causes/non-profits you work with or feel particularly strongly about?
Substance abuse recovery programs, MS research, women’s/trans/refugee rights, animal rights. Interested in helping most noble causes in any way we can.