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The Jins: three misfits and their quest to world domination | Lost Highway

If you thought rock was dead, you clearly haven’t heard The Jins. The Vancouver based grunge/indie trio have been making waves across social media platforms such as TikTok, where they have been showing off their musical chops and gathering quite a dedicated fanbase. After playing together for several years, the group recently signed onto 604 Records where they recorded their most recent EP, Death Wish. To learn more about the band, their EP, and their rock ‘n’ roll dreams, read on.

Leandra Purvis – Lea

Jamie Warnock – Jamie

Ben Larsen – Ben

Hudson Partridge – Hudson

Lea

Hello, everyone, welcome to the Blue Shift. Today we are in conjunction with Lost Highway. We have some special guests joining us. We are joined by the self described “grindie” band from Vancouver, the Jins. So with that, I’d like to introduce you all and welcome the guys to the show.

All

Hey, hey. [laughter]

Lea

So, if each of y’all want to introduce yourselves and say what to do in the band.

Jamie

Hey, I’m Jamie. And I play drums and sing backing vocals.

Ben

Hi, I’m Ben and I whip these boys into shape. I’m the front man and I’m their leader. And basically, you can describe me as the leader of the band.

Jamie

The TikTok god.

Hudson

[pause] Hey, I’m Hudson and I play the bass, and I write all the songs.

Ben

This guy’s unreal! [laughing]

Lea

Okay, great. So for a lot of our listeners and readers out there, they maybe haven’t heard of you guys before, or haven’t seen your TikToks. So if you could, please summarize what you guys are about for everyone — how would you put that into words?

Ben

Maybe, it’s just music for people who forgot about rock music? We’re just trying to bring it back to basics and just, you know, kind of reminding people of what makes rock good.

Jamie

We think it’s cool to actually play instruments.

Ben

Yeah. That’s a diss to all those rappers out there! [laughter]. Just kidding, we love hip hop.

Hudson

Yeah, we got into it just playing shows a lot. And yeah, we just like to play shows.

Ben

Basically, playing music was really boring until we started playing shows. And then after that, it’s become straight up addicting. It’s just something we can’t even stop if we tried.

Jamie

Actually, you know, COVID stopped us. [laughter]

Ben

We haven’t played a show in a year!

Lea

Yeah, let’s talk about that more. A lot of artists today start off much more so as recording artists versus performing artists. Were you guys more so drawn to the performing aspect of it first, rather than the recording aspect?

Ben

Yeah, I’d say so. All of our early stuff is just basically self recorded, which you know, — that’s, that’s what a lot of people do in rock music like Mac DeMarco and Ty Segall, Fidlar. They’re all pretty much self produced. And that’s what we’re doing. But, I think the focus of the band in the early days is [sic] definitely more playing rowdy shows and who could get the biggest audience at their shows. I don’t even know what I’m talking about, it was just super fun.

Yeah, so we could have recorded a lot more, but I think in a way, we were kind of waiting for opportunities and then we use those recordings to find the opportunities. So that’s how we got ahold of 604 Records. They heard our early stuff, and that’s how we started working with them.

Lea

So then talking more about this live aspect of the music, you guys started playing in Vancouver. What is the scene like there? Where do you all fit into that kind of scene?

Ben

Oh, we don’t fit in at all. We don’t fit into it anywhere. We’re like outcasts in every corner. Like, you know, there’s like the Mac DeMarco scene and there’s like —

Jamie

— the heavy metal scene —

Ben

— and then there’s like the post-punk, hipster scene and they all just hate us because they’re like —

Hudson

– But we’ve played with them all. The scene is very fluid here. Like, I think we’ve been playing shows for like five years here. I don’t know, there hasn’t been a steady scene; it’s like, things are always changing and stuff.

Ben

We’re the self-proclaimed misfits of the Vancouver scene.

Lea

That’s great to hear; we need more of those!

Ben

There is a really cool grunge scene. Yeah, but they’re also too cool for us. We’re not even cool enough for the grunge scene. I think it’s because we’re trying to do too many things at once.

Lea

I don’t know, I loved your EP though. Actually, I found it really interesting — your EP — because a lot of newer grunge indie bands that I hear try to get that older sound, and it just becomes very muddied and dirty and very lo-fi. But, I really love the clean production on your records; I thought it was great.

What made you go more in that direction versus going for the lo-fi grunge feel that a lot of the other bands go for now?

Jamie

It was mostly practice. We practiced for probably two months straight before we went in to even do the drum recordings or bass or anything so we were tight as a band going into the studio.

Ben

Not only that, it’s that a lot of these sludgy, grunge-y bands are just self-produced, right? Like on the EP, we had a lot of help from this guy Dave Genn who’s our producer. He used to play Matthew Good Band and he plays in a band 54-40 now. He’s just a great guy. He’s like a punk, a Vancouver punk old-head, just super cranky. [laughter] He’s got a huge beer belly. He’s always screaming at us.

Jamie

If Dave hears this, he’s gonna whoop your ass!

Ben

Okay, so yeah, we got a lot of help on the EP and — well, they didn’t play the instruments for us. But you know, they were definitely grinding us down, and we played those songs like 1000 times. You know, I think it’s cool to have a lo-fi sludgy, tape fidelity sound. I really dig that, but it’s interesting because, you’re right, a lot of people are more interested in sounding lo-fi these days in the rock community that it’s neat to turn things on their head a little.

Jamie

Or, they just can’t figure out how to get it clean.

Ben

Yeah.

Hudson

I think we did have to be convinced a little bit. When we first started working with our producer Dave, we did have to be convinced a little bit to not record live off the floor — we always really liked that sound.

Ben

Yeah, we really want it to sound live, but then, all of the recordings that we have before the Death Wish EP are just live takes.

“She Said” — Death Wish

Lea

Going off of that, who are your guys’ major inspirations? What’s your Muse?

Ben

The band started when… I don’t even know how it started. Hudson and I met back in 2013 when we were going to animation — we went to this animation college to study 2D character animation together. And Hudson is from Connecticut, like east coast, which over there, I guess The Strokes are a way bigger deal than where I’m from in Calgary. So, he showed me The Strokes, and basically that really–

Jamie

— Set something off.

Ben

Yeah, that basically set the tone for the band’s early years for sure. I was always trying to sing like Julian, and it was this weird thing where Jamie was always playing crazy blink-182 drumming. Then I was like ‘No, no, you got to play like Fab in The Strokes and just sound like a drum machine.’ And he’s like ‘No!’ and he’d play these crazy drum rolls. So, at first it was kind of like a combination of those things.

Then I guess over time we got pegged as a grunge band just because of how we look — we’re not trying to dress like The Strokes or anything, we just basically dressed like poor people. [laughter] I mean, yeah, we are very influenced by the ‘90s too, for sure, but I don’t know. What do you guys think? I think right here…

Hudson

I mean yeah. The Strokes seem like the main influence up until now even. They’ve always been a band we have admired.

Ben

I’d say they’re a good starting point; they definitely were a huge influence on us all throughout. But then, obviously, the whole grunge influences like Nirvana came. [pause] I think the more people compared us to Nirvana, the more we started playing like them live, and then that subconsciously influenced our songwriting too. Then next thing you know, we’re just writing these Nirvana songs and we were like, ‘fuck, we’re not The Strokes anymore, guys.’ But, I still try to sing like Julian so I guess we still have that angle. I’m trying to rip off these two legends at the same time and this is basically where we’re at right now.

Lea

Actually, I do want to dive into the Nirvana thing a bit. I found you guys from TikTok from one of your introduction videos — your band I think had just passed 10,000 listeners on Spotify — and I was looking in the comments where everyone was like, ‘Oh, Kurt Cobain’s back from the dead.’ And I thought, ‘Okay. Interesting.’ Do you feel like that’s something that may pigeonhole you? Or are you just rolling with the clout that that’s given you so far?

Ben

Oh, yeah. I mean, I’m definitely not going to make a video anytime soon denouncing my own marketing campaign; this is the only angle I have! [laughter] Like if I didn’t look like this, who knows if people would listen to us, honestly. That’s the sad part. But to us, we’ve been playing for five years —

Jamie

— six years now. It’ll be seven years this year.

Ben

Yeah, TikTok — this is a very recent thing. So, with or without people recognizing me on TikTok as looking like Kurt, we would still be playing music.

Jamie

Yeah. Up until last October, we only had like, 3000 followers.

Ben

So we definitely think it is a good thing. And, you know, the vast majority of people might just write us off. But if it’s gonna help us gain new followers that actually appreciate our music, and it’s helping them — you know, they listen to our music and it might help them with their issues in life or whatever — if it’s gonna help someone in some way and we’re able to reach people, even if it’s through this really shameless thing on TikTok, I don’t care. That’s my take away.

Lea

Yeah, I mean you know what they say: ‘all publicity is good publicity.’

Ben

Exactly.

Lea

What do you guys think then about TikTok? Recently, a lot of industry professionals have been saying ‘Oh, TikTok is a new place to find artists. It’s a new place where bands are communicating with each other and finding each other too, creating this community on there.’ What do you guys think about that and how it’s affecting the music scene or the musical landscape as a whole?

Jamie

It’s just slowly moved from social media platform to social media platform. It’s all still the same people that are just on TikTok now instead of Instagram.

Ben

It all started with MySpace and, like, SoundCloud had its heyday. Maybe Jamie’s right and TikTok just the next big thing. It’s like birds migrating. [laughter] We’ll go on to Amazon when they have a social media of their own and we’ll all get free Prime membership if we sign up.

Lea

I want to talk also more about your touring. So before COVID struck, you did your first cross country US tour. Is that correct?

Ben

Yeah. Before we did a cross-country tour in Canada — which is a massive distance, though basically the same distance across as America. The second time we did it, we didn’t just do Canada, we also went into America, and that’s where we did the majority of our shows. So yeah, we’ve done two cross-country tours.

Lea

Oh, crazy. So what was that like? How did you deal with that as a band? Because, I think that’s probably a different dynamic than playing shows like nightly or weekly or whatever, just in your town.

Jamie

Oh, yeah. We used to live together so we know how to live with each other. We’ve learned that we got to give each other space when we’re on the road. So when we pull into a new town, it’s like you just go out and get a coffee by yourself and say, ‘Hey, we’re gonna meet here at this time.’

Ben

We’re like Band of Brothers. We’re like marching the war together.

Jamie

Yeah, sonic war.

Ben

World War Sonic. [laughter]

Lea

What were your favorite cities across the US or Canada?

Ben

I’ve always loved Montreal because it’s, you know, part of Canada and just Canadian pride to have such a crazy awesome city, a part of our country and…

Jamie

L.A. was fun.

Ben

L.A. is really cool, too. Yeah, aside from Montreal, there was L.A. & New York. Those are obvious ones. What do you guys think? We went to Hudson’s hometown: Farmington, Connecticut. That was a real doozy.

Jamie

We saw the place where that haunting in Connecticut happened. I don’t know, what else? Texas. Yeah, in Texas, there’s a couple of cities that were fun.

Ben

Fort Stockton, That was pretty fun.

Jamie

[laughter] It’s like 8,000 people that live there. It’s tiny.

Ben

The thing is, so many of these shows, were just — it was more the bar we were in, you know. Like, we didn’t even have time to see the cities at all; it was mostly just personal interactions. We did a bit of touristy stuff. When we got to New York, we were there for a couple of days. And we were camping in Alabama. And, you know, we’re doing all sorts of crazy stuff. But all the shows in general were pretty fun. Yeah, regular bar shows.

Lea

Yeah, no, that sounds awesome. So then, after COVID ends, are you guys looking to get back on the road first or put out an album? What are your next steps?

Jamie

Well, we have a record that’s waiting to be put out. And as soon as we can tour, that record will probably come out and then we’ll go out on the road to promote it.

Ben

It’ll all happen at once in a crazy rush of Jin’s media. It’s when Plan: World Domination will begin.

Lea

No, it’s great. I love it. So then, going off of world domination, what are your guys’ goals or wishes for the future as a band, or just as artists in general making music?

Jamie

Just keep making music and have it support our lives.

Ben

I want to come out with as many records as possible. I think that we’re definitely like —

Jamie

— gonna beat AC/DC records.

Ben

Yeah, we’re coming out with records really slow now. But I feel like, hopefully in the future, we’ll be able to come out with more and just basically continue to grow as a band and see how far we can get. It’s all just about having fun and positive interactions with people, and building and supporting an underground community. That’s [sic] really means a lot to all three of us.

Lea

Yeah, no, that’s really wonderful. Yeah, I love this idea of supporting smaller artists across the world — I mean, honestly in general — because the billboard charting ones just aren’t really doing it for me, you know?

Jamie

No, they don’t play instruments!

Ben

Ed Sheeran plays guitar.

Jamie

Yeah, that’s the only one.

Ben

He’s good. [laughter]

Lea

Okay, two things left. one: essential albums that you think all of our listeners and readers need to listen to. We’ll do one from each of you guys.

Ben

Okay, well, you guys can’t just say these obvious records that everybody already knows. Just don’t say Nevermind!

Jamie

Almost Free by Fidlar.

Hudson

Am by Ovlov.

Ben

Okay, I’ll do Who Will Cut Our Hair When [We’re Gone] by The Unicorns.

Lea

All right, there we go.

Ben

Yeah, the greatest record of all time!

Lea

And then lastly, any last messages for our listeners, anything you want to get out there and say to fans, or possible new fans that are listening?

Jamie

We hope you enjoy the music.

Ben

Thanks. Yeah, thanks for supporting thanks for putting up with us, you know, through the epic highs and lows of stardom. Rock stardom. I’m sure for all of you vicariously living through us that it’s just as exhausting. So thanks for sticking it out. And the new record is on its way so expect it to be huge — big.

Lea

Okay, any social media you want to promote or anything before we sign off?

Jamie

TikTok, Instagram, it’s all just @thejinsband,

Ben

Yeah, just check us out @thejinsband on Instagram and Tiktok.

You can find The Jins on Spotify, Apple Music, and BandCamp