By Callum Doig
Canadian trio The Dirty Nil have been rolling around for a while in their country’s scene. But only recently have they’ve been gaining more recognition, with many opportunities to tour the world. This soon to include Australia, where they will make their debut at Unify in 2017, plus they will play alongside their Canadian post-hardcore superheroes Alexisonfire on a handful of sideshows in support of the festival. Chatting to guitarist and vocalist Luke Bentham about the three-piece’s first ever visit Down Under, he and the other members of The Dirty Nil can’t help but feel super enthusiastic about touring our nation for the first time.
“We could not be more excited,” he says. “No one in our band has been anywhere that far away from home, and to be playing at such a great festival and to be on tour with Alexisonfire is a dream come true. I think it’s a really fantastic opportunity for us. And what better way to see the country than with one of our country’s biggest exports?”
Seeing as The Dirty Nil will be experiencing the Australian audience through the festival program, Luke states that he’s interested to see how the Aussie crowds will be reacting to their upcoming performances in January.
“We’ve spent a lot of time in Europe for the first time ever, and it’s interesting to know the differences between North America and Germany,” Bentham speculates, “we hung out with some Australian bands on the Warped Tour last year and made good friends with them.
“The first time we went to Europe, we supported a Finnish band called Hard Action and it was really good. There were fifty people there every night and it took us a while to generate that kind of thing compared to the United States and Canadian crowds. Then we went by ourselves on a headliner and played to at least 200 people a night. It was a pretty mind-blowing experience.”
According to Bentham, he and The Dirty Nil haven’t had a look at the Unify lineup just yet. However, he’s fully aware of one particular Aussie group that he’s keen to see again, and speaks of the time they spent hanging out with them during the Warped Tour.
“I haven’t taken a thorough look at the poster,” he admits, “but I’m familiar with Trophy Eyes. We hung out with them on the Warped Tour, and they’re a bunch of great guys. The Warped Tour was a musical, traveling prison, so you have all the time to go check out the bands, because you’re not allowed to go anywhere else. I always enjoyed watching Trophy Eyes, and John Floreani’s a fantastic frontman. We shared a few beers a few times, and he’s a great chap!”
So, while The Dirty Nil have their spot secured for Unify, they’ll be heading out on a national tour, simultaneously with Alexisonfire. Asking Luke about whether he prefers regular headline or support shows, or festivals, he chose the hectic, yet more exciting option he seems to be happily accustomed with.
“They have their appeals, but even though it’s more chaotic, I like the festival situation,” he opines, “you never know who you’re gonna play in front of, and it’s usually gonna be some new people. Usually, a lot of stuff goes wrong because you’re using backline gear, but I feel that there’s a kind of a desperate and nervous energy that you can muster there.”
All of the touring aside, Luke has heard from other people he knew in his country about their experiences in Australia. One of which was a local that told him about Melbourne. The Dirty Nil also hope that they’ll have the opportunity to do the famous tourist attraction for every international guest – hugging one of our koalas.
“I used to work in a butcher’s shop, and there was this guy from Australia that worked there and who’s a fan of our band and used to tell us to go to Melbourne, and told us it was the music center. And as standard and basic as it sounds, I really wanna get one of those pictures with a koala hugging ya. I know it’s a basic touristy thing, but goddamn, I’m looking forward to that and making some new friends and see what the different cities have to offer!”
With their debut album Higher Power hitting the shelves just this year, the band feels that, because of the record being so well accepted in their homeland and across the globe, it’s given them a better perspective on the world, and also assisted them in attaining better international tours.
“It’s really improved our touring circumstances in America, which we’ve worked on for a couple of years,” he states, “In Canada, we’ve done headlining shows across the country and they’ve all been great, even though we haven’t really tended to those markets regularly, but that full-length we did really put a flag in the hill for us. It opened up the international touring for us, and we’ll be playing for a few people overseas, which we think, will be a walk-in crowd.
“Visions Magazine and some other German publications checked out our record and we had a fantastic red carpet rolled out for us from them, as well when we toured England.”
Alexisonfire/The Dirty Nil Australian Tour Dates 2017
Tickets are on-sale to the general public, Monday 15th August at 9am local time.
Wednesday, 11th January
HBF Stadium, Perth
Friday, 13th January
Adelaide Entertainment Centre Theatre, Adelaide
Tuesday, 17th January
Festival Hall, Melbourne
Thursday, 19th January
Hordern Pavilion, Sydney
Saturday 21st January
Also performing at Unify Gathering 2017.