The Vancouver-Based Blues-Rock Band, NO SINNER, Discusses Their New Music, Biggest Inspiration and More!
Posted On 24 May 2016
No Sinner is a “raucous” blues rock band that CBC Radio called “one of the buzziest bands in Vancouver.”
Last week, they released their newest album, “Old Habits Die Hard.
No Sinner is the brainchild of Colleen Rennison, a former child actor whose powerful voice has been compared to Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, and Etta James – but that’s “such an easy comparison,” she complains, “I’m doing Robert Plant up there too.”
The band’s 2014 debut was an instant hit, leading to showcases at SXSW, tours with Bass Drum of Death, spotlights on BBC Radio, and features everywhere from Paste to Vice, who said Colleen’s “gritty blues-rock infused sound…oozes sex appeal.”
But in the ensuing years, No Sinner has become a fully realized rock n’ roll band. “It’s like the difference between your high school grad photo and your first mug shot,” Rennison explains. The new album is a bonafide rock album – heavier, rockier, and more true to the band’s live show. “It’s a lot more spontaneous,” she adds – “We’re just really excited to show everybody what we’ve been doing and who we really are.” The band is preparing for a national tour in support of the new album.
(All photography credited to Brendan Meadows and Lauren Barsky)
Learn more about No Sinner in the following All Access interview:
Thanks so much for your time today! How’s 2016 been treating you so far? What were some of the highlights for you and your music in 2015?
2016 has been better than 2015, that’s for sure… 2015 was a bit of a dark one. It was great to be able to finish the album in the summer, then I took off on my motorcycle to LA and flew to Mexico to visit my friend for Christmas which was pretty incredible. It wasn’t till the new year that things started to get moving for the new release, and that was a real game changer.
How did this band first form? How did you all meet each other? Why do you think the current line-up works so well together? What is difficult to come up with your band name?
I met the original line up through different friends in Vancouver at this intimate live music venue Guilt and Co in Vancouver’s Gastown. This new line up (Daniel Svienson – guitar, Cole George – drums, Joseph Lubinsky – bass and Nathan Shubert – keys) is pretty fun. We met through other players mostly. We’re all having a good time with the songs and getting together the show sets. Everyone is a killer player so that always helps… Its been awhile so I can’t wait to get on the road with these guys.
In just a few weeks, you will release your album, “Old Habits Die Hard.” What was the overall inspiration for this collection?
Life, love, lust, beauty and destruction.
What can you tell us about the formation of the album’s single, “All Woman”?
They label picked it as the first single because they thought it was going to make the most sense for radio. I didn’t expect it, being the only cover on the album and everything, but I like the song and think the subject applies to the album as a whole so it was alright with me.
Why do you think Mascot Label Group is the right label for your band today?
Well, Provogue has a lot of respected artists and Mascot, since we’ve been signed to them have really expanded their roster and it’s company we’re proud to be in. Its nice to have a European label because it creates a lot more opportunities that you don’t have in North America.
Colleen, how do you think your acting experience has influenced/affected you as a musician? Has it at all?
Acting and singing come come from a similar place, its just the execution that’s different. Its about story telling and empathizing with the character you’re playing, and that applies to songs and scripts. They’re so intertwined emotionally, its hard to have one without the other.
How do you think No Sinner has grown since your 2014 debut album? What has stayed the same?
No Sinner had changed a lot from the 2014 album before it was even released. We had put out the majority of it 2 years prior and in the 2 added tracks to the re-release (‘Devil on my Back’ and ‘September Moon’) you can hear where we’re going on this next record. “Boo Hoo Hoo” was written before there was a band, OHDH was written with a full band and that’s the main difference. That, and the overall experience of what its like to tour and fall on your face and get your heart destroyed… (Laughter)
Can you talk about your current tour? What have been some favorite venues and crowds? Where are you off to next? What do you think makes the perfect show for No Sinner?
We’re arranging some stuff around a few blues festivals in the united states this summer, The Prairie Dog Blues Festival in WI on the 31st of July and Rock the Fields in MB on the 30th. Nothing concrete other than those dates yet. It’s been so long since we released and the sound is kind of different so we’re waiting to see what comes up as we release new things, but we’re definitely planning on going back to Europe in the Fall which will be fun.
A perfect show is one in a local watering hole surrounded by friends and good bands, which is what our hometown (Vancouver) release show is gonna be like at The Cobalt on May 21st.
Who are some of your favorite artists? What musicians inspire you and No Sinner’s sound? Who would you love to work with in the future?
Its so hard to name your favorite artists, but off the top of my head I’ll say Aretha Franklin, ACDC (original lineup), Led Zeppelin, Nina Simone, Dusty Springfield, Chet Baker, Van Morrison…
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
I don’t know if there is any kind of message per say, but i hope that it makes people realize that they’re not alone. We just hope it feels good and gets you off.