One of my favorite parts about the Vans Warped Tour is discovering new music. When I initially saw the complete list of bands for this year, I had to do some deep research to find artists that fit the Go Punk Yourself bill. Luckily, I stumbled upon The Dirty Nil from Ontario, Canada. I gave a quick call up to our neighbors to the north and spoke to lead singer and guitarist Luke Bentham.
What did it feel like when you “got the call” to be on the Vans Warped Tour?
It was a huge surprise to us. We received a lot of love from the west coast of America which we never thought was possible. We met Kevin Lyman in 2014 during Canadian Music Week and when he asked us to be on Warped Tour, it was very flattering, I mean, a huge moment for us.
Wow, asked to be on Warped by the big man himself!
Yeah, I told some of my friends who have toured with the Warped Tour before and they just kinda shook their heads and chuckled, but that’s exciting to me. I’m really looking forward to the sorta “baptism by fire” experience. I love touring, but the whole traveling freak show is a bit of a wild card for me. I can’t wait to see what it’s all about, ya know? I’m definitely excited for the challenge.
What inspired you to go with the raw, grungy sound with your band?
When we first started 9 years ago, it was just me and our drummer, Kyle. We were really working on getting a grasp on our instruments by playing stuff like Black Sabbath riffs. At the time, I was really obsessed with [Weezer’s] “Pinkerton” album which played a huge role in teaching us melody, dissonance, and power.
When you’re hanging around Warped Tour camp, who is one band you want to catch?
I tell ya, I would love to have a beer with Riff Raff. I’m totally making that my goal for this tour at least once. I know PUP is playing a few shows, so I’ll be looking forward to seeing them. I really want to discover some of the diamonds in the rough. I know it seems like there’s one genre that’s being focused on this year, but regardless I want to get out and experience some new music.
It’ll be at least 105°F (or 40°C) when you roll through town with the tour. Thoughts?
Holy shit! Woooo! Well, I’ll be bringing plenty of sunscreen and a tent. I definitely want to give my pale ass some color though. I remember last time I was in Arizona last year, I think we were going through Tucson in July. I was walking in the Guitar Center parking lot going to our van and my shoes were melting into the pavement. I almost didn’t’ make it!
I think people drastically underestimate the heat here. Originally the tour was going to be here in August where it would have been much, much hotter than 40°C.
I’m really excited for the change of scenery. I live in Dundas, Ontario which is kinda like “the shire”. Even though the change of scenery will involve some horrific, ridiculously hot temperatures, I’m ready for it. Touring the country is awesome, then you go home and you’re like, man, I’m bored, and you can’t wait to get back out again.
What sort of luxurious transportation will you be traversing the country in?
Well, I’m glad you asked! We’re actually renting a BandWagon in Indiana so we’ll have bunks and a shower, which is very exciting. We’ve done our touring in stuff like a Grand Caravan so I’m pumped that we don’t have to worry about sleeping conditions. It makes that aspect of Warped Tour less daunting for sure.
What’s been spinning in your personal MP3 player lately?
We’ve all been listening to the new Pile album lately. They played this insane show at this DIY venue in Toronto called “Soybomb” which is basically just a halfpipe. Personally? I’ve been listening to a lot of Patrice O’Neal, some George Carlin, Bill Hicks, that kinda stuff. I like to listen to a lot of standup comedy, Waylon Jennings… oh and some Tom Connors. If you wanna hear some bad ass old school Canadian country, check out Stompin’ Tom Connors – Luke’s Guitar.
Without a doubt, you’ll pick up a lot of new fans during this tour. What’s one thing you hope they take away from watching The Dirty Nil’s set?
Canadians have this huge reputation for being polite. I challenge you to rethink that after you watch our set. (laughs)
Check out The Dirty Nil along with more than 70 bands at this year’s Vans Warped Tour on June 23rd at Quail Run Park. For more information on how you can get discounted tickets (while supplies last) through Zia Records and Journeys Footwear, click here. To purchase online, click here.