Old Sins All Over The Map

The Old Sins create songs like a steady heartbeat of solid influences and eclectic sounds.

The Old Sins
LP Release Party
Friday, May 20,
DV8 (8307-99th St.)

Ben Olson had kind of given up looking for a long-term relationship  — it seemed like everyone interesting was already taken. But there were still some things he wanted to do that he couldn’t do alone, so they got together a couple of times as a casual kind of thing and suddenly, things just clicked. In fact, they didn’t even have to talk about it, aside from choosing a name — it was obvious, the Old Sins were meant to be a band.

The birth of the Old Sins was backwards like that, says Olson, who does lead vocals and plays guitar for the group. “Usually you get together with friends, like, ‘We’re gonna start a band, yeah!’ And this was the
total opposite: all of a sudden, a band appeared. It was weird.”

As a member of now-defunct local hardcore group On The Brink, Olson had been collecting songs that didn’t really fit into that band’s style for some time. When On The Brink dissolved in 2008, Olson tried to find a band to play these accumulated songs with but ultimately realized he’d have to do it on his own. He began playing solo midway through that year, hitting the road on tour a few times before it was time to record an album.

In early 2010, Olson began recruiting friends, “almost as session musicians,” to lay down some material for his record. “I didn’t really have a direction. The songs were done as far as I had written them and I had performed them acoustically, and then I just wanted to record them with a band,” he says. “We started jamming and the songs just really started to gel a lot better than I was expecting. All of a sudden the ideas were getting thrown out there. The light bulb kind of clicked, and I scrapped the solo idea altogether; there was no
way this was not going to be my band.”

Like A Steady Heart Beat is the result of three months’ frenzied practicing with Justin Shaw (lead guitar), Ed Trela (bass), and Dan Lilley (drums on the album — he has since been succeeded by Drew Lefebvre) in preparation for recording at Eat Shit and Die Studios. The 12-song LP, released on Trela’s own Method Records, is, for the most part, down-to-earth, country-tinged, gravelly-voiced punk rock in the vein of Social Distortion with tons of great hooks. But as Olson explains, in the Old Sins there are no rules. “Creatively, it’s been great because there are no boundaries. It’s definitely the funnest band to write in.”

For four musicians used to working within the confines of a particular style (members’ other projects have included the Johnsons and E-Town Beatdown), the Old Sins seems to be the perfect outlet.

“All these guys come from different backgrounds where their main focus is something but they all listen to so much other stuff,” says Olson. “Ed listens to just as much hip hop as he does hardcore, and Justin listens to just as much Bruce Springsteen as he does Guns N’ Roses. Dan listens to acid jazz, you know? He’s all over the map. And I listen to all sorts of stuff; Tom Waits and the Dead Boys could be on my iPod, follow each other one after another,” Olson says. “This is a chance to do whatever we want to do.”


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