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The Nils

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The Nils
Origin Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Genres Punk
Years active 1978–Present
Labels Psyche Industry Records, Siefried Records, Rock Hotel / Profile, Mag Wheel Records
Members Carlos Soria
Phil 'Gravedigger' Psarakos
Mark Donato

The Nils was a Montreal punk rock band formed in 1978 by Alex Soria. They started to gain popularity in 1982 upon the release of a five song demo entitled Now.

In 1983, they played Montreal’s legendary venue The Spectrum; once with The Ramones and later with X. During this year, they were selected to showcase their song ″Scratches and Needles″ on an L.A. based BYO compilation entitled “Something to Believe In” before next being selected to feature ″Call of The Wild″ on the “Primitive Air Raid: Montreal ‘84” compilation.

The band acquired a significant following by extensively touring North America while still managing to release two influential EPs back to back: Sell Out Young (1985) and Paisley (1986). Their critica success and unmistakable sound caught the attention of executives of the now defunct NYC hip hop label Profile records.

The band signed a five year contract with Rock Hotel, a punk/rock sub-label of Profile and with the help of English songwriter Chris Spedding as producer and Phil Burnett as engineer, they released their first full length self-titled album. Upon its release, the album charted and was a critical success. Their ever increasing fanbase including legions of musicians in the genre began naming them as a direct influence: Goo Goo Dolls, Superchunk, Jawbox, Meat Puppets, Down By Law, Bob Mould (Sugar, Hüsker Dü) and many of the power-pop punk bands.

The band set off on their seventh North American tour and was slated to include Europe in support of the album. However, half way through the tour in Minneapolis, the band abruptly received notice that the rest of the tour was cancelled due to the bankruptcy of Profile. Devastated and broke as they were now unable to repay the label’s advance money, the band headed home to find work to clear the debt. Further exacerbating the situation, the band fell victim to their binding contract with Profile that would not allow them to release new material under The Nils name for another four years. With The Nils on a forced hiatus, Alex began working menial jobs and playing occasional solo shows around Montreal.

In 1992, now liberated from their contract with Profile, Alex Soria briefly reformed The Nils. During this time, Alex accepted an offer to release a Nils a retrospective compilation by Woody Whelan of Mag Wheel records. The release entitled “Green Fields in Daylight” proved to be a success for old and new Nils fans. Seeking a fresh start, Alex formed Chino featuring Mark Donato (currently of The Nils). They released Mala Leche, a collection of previously unrecorded Nils tracks and some new material. The record adorned the unmistakable songwriting structure that had distinctly set The Nils apart from other bands, though it never garnered the success of that of The Nils.

By 2003, Alex and Mark began playing again as The Nils and started the legwork on a follow up to their successful 1987 release. Then, tragically on December 13, 2004 the band and life for many around them came to a grinding halt when without warning Alex ended his life on a train track near his home. Months later, Carlos Soria, (Alex's brother) and fellow musicians including Chris Spedding, Ian Blurton (Change of Heart) and John Kastner (Doughboys, Asexuals) held a sold out benefit tribute concert in Alex’s name.

The Nils lay dormant for the years it took to recover from the greatest loss any of them, their families and fans had ever known. However, with encouragement and support of friends and fellow musicians Keith Morris (Black Flag/Circle Jerks/Off), Chris Spedding and John Kastner (Asexuals/Doughboys/All SystemsGo!), Carlos and Mark picked up once again as The Nils.

The band is now under the management of Peter Wark (Rickie Lee Jones, Joseph Arthur, Evan Dando)and as of today, are actively playing shows in support of new and old material. A much anticipated new full length album and supporting tour are in the works before the end of 2013.

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