It all started Halloween 2014. With a house party on the horizon, and a dearth of live entertainment to along with it, roommates-turned-bandmates Jamie Warnock and Ben Larsen took it upon themselves to rehearse a set for the occasion. After purchasing a budget drum kit for Warnock and enlisting a friend to play bass, The Jins, in its earliest iteration, was formed. So warm was the response to Warnock and Larsen’s performance (barring the neighbour’s noise complaints) that they continued playing beyond their first Halloween show, slowly swapping Strokes covers with a repertoire of their own, and eventually roping in their newest housemate, Hudson Partridge, to act as the band’s permanent bassist.
Fast-forward three years and The Jins have proven themselves to be much more than a house band for holiday parties. With over fifty shows under their belt, including a very D.I.Y. tour through British Columbia and Alberta, the group has become equally notorious for their raucous live sets and affable attitudes. The trio’s connectedness on stage and off may be the result of their unavoidable proximity. Unlike a lot of the band they’ve performed with, The Jins have shared a living space for years, allowing their relationships as musicians to inform and become a part of daily life.
Speaking to their living situation, Larsen says, “It’s way easier to get together as a three-piece that lives together than a five or six-piece crazy band that lives across the city from one another.”
“Rather than building a relationship twice a week like some bands, we see each other every day,” Partridge continues. “I think it’s just made us tighter; it’s been a positive.”
The Jins also credit much of their success to the relationships they’ve formed with Vancouver’s younger, underground scene. On any given weekend, it’s almost impossible not to find The Jins performing at one clandestine venue or another. For Warnock, it’s not a matter of where they’re playing “so much as finding where the people will come out to watch the music.”
The Jins started to come into their own once they found more individuals who were excited by the prospect of putting on music in the same way they were. As Larsen notes, “The band really kicked off when we met Mati [Cormier] and James [Andrews] from Trash City and House Shows.”
Andrews in particular has been a long time cohort of The Jins, not only setting up and promoting shows for them within Vancouver, but arranging and accompanying the band on their first tour. It has been an amicable partnership for both sides, and one that will continue as Andrews helps plan The Jins’ cross-Canada tour slated for this summer. Despite some hiccups the first time around (Warnock recounts getting stuck outside of Red Deer, Alberta, and having to play multiple shows on the same night as definite lows), Larsen is optimistic about their upcoming sojourn.
“I think we’re going to take more time in general with the tour, and give each other more space,” he says. “I think we have a better handle on things this time around.”
While The Jins have made a name for themselves through a slew of live performances, their efforts in the studio have been fewer and far between. In between shows and the doldrums of daily life, the band found time to piece together their first full-length album, The Jins, which they released online in early March. The objective for their debut was simple: to catalogue as many of their best songs as they could manage and put them to tape — a hallmark of The Jins’ early work.
With that milestone out of the way, the band is back in proper form, playing a host of shows over the coming weeks in support of the album, and in preparation for what will be by far their biggest tour yet. The trio is characteristically unfazed by their stacked schedule, of course.
“We like to keep our options open; we like meeting all sorts of new people. Whoever is enthusiastic and wants to work with us, then obviously we’re down,” Larsen states.
If their circle of devotees at home is anything to go by, The Jins won’t have a hard time finding fans across the country.
Listen to The Jins’ debut album on Bandcamp and check out their upcoming show at the SBC on March 31.