No Sinner are a new rock band from Vancouver who made their UK concert debut at the Black Heart in Camden on Monday November 25th. Their debut album Boo Hoo Hoo is due for release in the UK on January 20th, 2014 via Provogue Records (Joe Bonamassa, Leslie West, Beth Hart). After touring Canada the band are touring Germany and the Netherlands over the coming month with this one off show in London.
Sara Jenkins sat down with lead singer Colleen Rennison and guitarist Eric Campbell to talk about their tour and their new album ahead of its January 2014 release.
Is this your first time playing in London, and the UK?
C: Yes. I came here when I was a little girl when I was about 8 years old so its nice to be able to come back and have a drink here…(laughs) I don’t think you can really experience a city until you have had a drink in them.
Are you looking forward to playing tonight?
C: Yeah, its going to be really fun. We’ve heard really good things about the venue so this is one of the places on the tour we were really looking forward to playing.
After here you are off to the Netherlands and Germany. The album just came out this week in Germany is that right?..
C: Yeah on the 20th I think it was. It came out and we were traveling, it happened so fast we didn’t really mention it until today online I think, we hadn’t really said anything about it.
Is it going to be different to play to a crowd over in Germany compared to playing a lot in Canada? Is the atmosphere going to be different?
C: I don’t know, probably.
E: Probably, yeah I think we are all pretty excited. Its going to be a different energy, hopefully that comes through.
C: We’ve been so busy too I haven’t really been able to experience London, and what better way to experience it than at a bar, with rock and roll and people that have come to see some music.
Do you think the music scene is different in Canada compared to the UK? Does that make a difference to how the album will sell?
C: I am pretty sure it has some big differences, but with the internet and the way the world seems so small now that what used to mean European doesn’t really have the same meaning by the way we share music and information. But yeah, I’m expecting some differences, maybe some different opinions.
When your going on tour is there any specific music you’ll listen to that gets you pumped?
C: Its before show and I’m not trying to get pumped up I’m trying to calm down, I get so excited and so wound up. I was actually listening to, believe it or not, I met a little girl on the streets of Vancouver who looked like she was from Big Love like a Mormon compound and she had a acapella CD of her and her family singing that she was handing out, and I took one and she tried to convert me, we had a nice little conversation with her, she was really sweet but that’s what I was listening to today, yeah like religious songs by a bunch of puritans
E: That’s good.
C: Its a good way to get pumped for a rock show.
E: Appellant Hymnals, and also Christmas carols and the soundtrack to Hanukkah.
C: Our manager Eli, he brings the good stuff.
How did the band get together?
E: We met at a bar. We got together at a bar.
C: I was playing, it was a really good opportunity, my first ever payed gig I was playing this sort of Russian roulette jam night every Thursday at a bar in Vancouver called Guilt and Company and that’s how I met Ian (Browne) who’s our drummer and he heard me sing and he told his friend about me and that him and I should write together and I ended up meeting Parker and we ended up writing together and then while we were playing Eric was one of the bullets that they put into that Russian Roulette night and after he left we had so much fun..
E: It was a bloody show.
C: He bled all over the stage, he busted his finger and bled all over the stage but our chemistry was so awesome I didn’t even remember his name, which is kind of how those nights seem to end…
E: I just left straight after. I remember walking off stage and then I was actually drunk and I was underage.
C: He was 18 at the time, and when he left they said he is not allowed to come back here, we will never have him back again. And I said ‘that kid is going to be in my band’. So I ended up tracking him down and the rest is history.
Do you all write the songs together?
E: More or less.
C:We don’t really have a formula, he will come with an idea sometimes its just lyrics. Sometimes i’ll come with an idea, I wish I could tell you but I have no idea, it seems to happen though.
And how long did the album take to make, how long were you working on the album?
E: Two years.
C: We released an EP a while ago and then rearranged and added some more songs to this new one for release and thickened it up a bit.
E: Its a masterpiece of both new and old…(laughs).
You also have some covers on the album
C: Yeah just the one.
E: There’s one, called Work Song. That was Colleens idea, Nina Simone sings it and I guess we all like Nina Simone, it sounds a lot different but we didn’t change too much, we just took it out of a swing time and put it in regular rock and roll time and then I added The Stooges song T.V. Eye to the very end of it so I guess its kid of two covers in one. We like doing covers
C: There are so many amazing songs out there its like we will write a song but there are so much good music out there I could spend the rest of my life just singing other peoples songs.
Are there any songs you all enjoy playing more than others live?
C: I really like playing Work Song.
E: Yeah work song is pretty good. We also do a Jimmy Reed cover and its just slow blues but I really like to get into that one.
C: We play one called Saturday Night which is a bit of a pumper.
E: That song makes me bleed. Something happens during that song, sometimes we leave it out because we know something will happen. But I bought a new pack of strings and my fingers all sewed up so I think conditions are good.
Your music has been classed as blues/rock. Is that how you would describe your music?
E: I don’t know, that’s probably the hardest question.
C: Its Soul, its rock, there’s a little bit of Country. Blues rock is something I often will associate with kind of ‘Dad bar rock’ and that’s not what we are doing, there’s also some psychedelic aspects to some of our stuff. Eric can get kind of punk rock with it sometimes and I have a major Motown/soul background so that always comes through and Ian is originally a jazz drummer and Parker has been playing in rock bands since he was 6. We all come from different backgrounds so its like a melting pot.
E: Psychedelic soul.
C: Psychedelic blues/soul explosion. I don’t know, but you always go back to blues/rock because that’s the simplest way to explain it.
Colleen you have also been compared to Janice Joplin as well…
C: Yeah, and you know its funny we were singing in the back of a cab and even the cab driver says ‘you remind me of Janice Joplin’. I guess there’s the lifestyle aspect to being a white girl singing predominantly sort of black associated music and its cool, I am flattered by the association but I don’t think we sound much alike. I think there’s the raspiness but I always take it as a compliment. Its a really big comparison to live up to. I don’t set out to emulate her at all.
Where did the name of the band come from?
C: It’s my last name backwards. I thought it was funny, I didn’t know that was my last name backwards for most of my life. I was playing with names for the band and all the good names have been taken.
E: We have a few good ones up our sleeve.
C: The best game ever is trying to pick out funny band names. Everything is taken and if it wasn’t for the internet you wouldn’t even know. Its a little bit ironic, there’s a religious background to the name and it spells No Sinner backwards it seems sort of eery.
Thank you for talking to me
C: Sure, we are really excited to be here and cant wait to play later. We will see you later at the show.
Sara Jenkins for Rockshot on Monday 25th November.