FROM A NINE ROOMMATE HOUSE TO 604 RECORDS, LOCAL FUZZ-ROCKERS ARE BECOMING THE FACE OF VANCOUVER MODERN-ALTERNATIVE.
Written by James Scott
The Jins are Vancouver local fuzz rock favourites. Still riding the success of their latest EP, Death Wish, the Jins performed at Vancouver’s Rocket From Russia Fest to a playfully drunken mosh pit. Between joking about changing their band name to Spider Threesome and having difficulties keeping a crash cymbal intact, the band showed that they take their music seriously, but not themselves. Even the band name is an inside joke between frontman Ben Larsen and bassist Hudson Partridge. It referenced the number of pigeons in Vancouver. The bird was something Calgary native Larsen felt mirrored the lifestyle of a musician living in Vancouver. Larsen recalls doing a report on ghosts for a sixth grade class project.
“When I was a kid I was really obsessed with ghosts because they’re the ultimate horror icon," he says. "They’re so intangible. They’re supernatural. They used to scare the shit out of me. I don’t believe in anything anymore. I grew up I guess. Became boring.”
Larsen and his fellow bandmates are anything but boring though. The history of the band is equally as crazy as the members themselves. The Jins started when Larsen and drummer Jamie Warnock met as roommates, sharing a house with seven other people.
“There were nine of us. We got a drum set. I’m sure all my roommates appreciated that when we started practicing every day," Larsen says. "We decided that our first gig should be a house party. So we put up a Facebook event for a Halloween house party. I don’t think people were even showing up to see us play. But they saw us. I don’t know if we sounded that great.”
Trying to hold onto a single bass player proved to be difficult for Larsen and Warnock. With Larsen having been in Vancouver for less than a year most of the people he knew were animation colleagues from his job, not musicians.
“2015 is when Hudson joined the band," the frontman explains. "We had a lot of different bassists before Hudson, he had seen us go through all of them. Hudson’s my best friend so I asked him if he wanted me to teach him how to play bass. It’s really not that hard. He picked it up right away.”
From having to throw their own house party to get people to listen to their music all the way playing the Rickshaw, the Jins have shown that they can grow their sound without ever losing the sense that they’re just a group of friends goofing off. And with that goofy sincerity comes an energy of a forgotten era.
“I think we are just figuring out what our audience is," Larsen says. "We like playing heavier music of course. With this last EP especially, it was a love letter to the 90’s alternative. There’s lots of great rock music nowadays, but when I was a kid, growing up in the early 2000s, that stuff was everywhere. I don’t think kids these days are exposed to that kind of music. So I wanted to inject that back. That kind of energy.”