Coleen Rennison Giving Voice To
BD: Big thank you for taking time out of your busy life to chat with Bluesdoodles.
CR: Thank you for taking an interest it will be fun talking about music and stuff.
BD: What were your first musical influences growing up in Vancouver?
CR: Laughing, My Girl, from The Temptations, it was how the song is sung at the end had a big effect on me as did all the Motown sound. I was obsessed so was in a 1960’s cover girl group. Other major influences were the songs of Grease and American Graffetti. Then there was the early rock n roll which I have always loved like Chuck Berry.
BD: Tell us a little bit about the band No Sinner and how you work with the other members and the making of Old Habits Die Hard which has a different sound from Boo Hoo Hoo.
CR: This album [Old Habits Die Hard] was written with the full band it was a band enterprise, very different from making Boo Hoo Hoo (Laughing). With Boo Hoo Hoo the material was basically written and fixed in place before the group had been created. So the exciting part of Old Habits Die Hard, is that it has an organic feel. It was created with lots of input from many rather than from my own personal life. The music came about in different ways, on our latest album sometimes evolving from a jam, sometimes the lyrics created the melody. Or we had a great melody and the lyrics came out of the tune.
The band is a new line-up the problems after Boo Hoo Hoo have faded and we are excited about the music we have produced together. This album connects with us all. Keys from Nathan Shubert add an extra dimension that wasn’t present on Boo Hoo Hoo. This album is more grown up and rounded.
BD: Old Habits Die Hard is a fantastic follow-up album to Boo Hoo Hoo Bluesdoodles loves it. Tell us about working with Executive Producer Ben Kaplan.
CR: Everyone says the second album is difficult. This is so different it is like starting over again. Boo Hoo Hoo all that material was there two years ago it was what we did. Ben Kaplan looked at the pile of stuff that had accumulated over the time we have been thinking about the album. Ben, then organized it and made sense out of the material. This gives that album shape and a finished album that has a purpose. All the rest of the process was the bands, it is in reality self-produced it is truly a band project. We engineered it and I did all the executive decision making. Ben Kaplan’s role was and outsider casting organizational ear over the project.
BD: AS a singer with a powerful voice how do you ensure that it is rested and stays in top form?
CR: Nothing special, older I get the harder to recover and easier to lose your voice, I do try to use warm up exercises, the real strain is smoking, and talking about the music afterwards with fans. I love that part but does put further strain on the vocal chords (laughing loudly)
BD: Do the tracks have personal meaning and have you a favourite Track?
CR: Hollow, or Let Slip they are both great songs. Love songs mean different things to different people and depending on their experiences they are relatable.
BD: I have always been interested in the lyrics of a song. Where do you get your inspiration for your songwriting?
CR: Lyrics are the centre of songwriting for me. Life, the crazy nature. Experiences on the road. Things that happen, relationships and people. Lyrics form, it is always (laughing) a bit crazy.
BD: Tell us a bit about being a woman in the 21st century music scene, misogyny and the constant comparisons to women of the past including Etta James and Janis Joplin?
CR: Well, Janis people go to the most obvious there are not as many women in the pool to choose from as it is smaller. Feminism I see that as a sexist term, it is what is set in equal rights. It is all fucked up and not equal, I am anti separate catergories. The important factor is how men and women are treated and react to each other. As a woman you get privileges that men do not and other occasions it is vice-versa. I get treated as someone in the bands girlfriend and the reaction when they realise I am the leader of the band is priceless. (chuckling away at the memories).
BD I am sure you have many plans for 2016 and beyond for No Sinner – hope you are going to do a more extensive tour of UK.
CR: With a new album we are planning to get on the road and rev up the music live on stages across USA and of course Canada. We are planning Europe in the fall and planning some UK dates and hope to come out of London It is all so expensive touring with a band.
BD: When not playing your own music who do you listen to?
CR: I listen to lots of music, rock n’ roll, Led Zeppelin Van Morrison, The Who and Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone. I love discovering new music.
BD: How do you relax, do you have a particular hobby to take time out from music to rejuvenate your creativity
CR: The open road on my motorcycle. And Yoga. I have just come back from a road trip from Vancouver to LA and back, the only thing that didn’t go to plan was breaking down just outside Seattle. So had to leave the bike. In fact just got back from getting the bike back home. The Pan American Highway is awesome, fuels creativity gives me thinking time. Freedom to get outside of my head, when on stage or on my bike I have to be there in the moment in a meditative state.
BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing
CR: Mmmm… now that is interesting and difficult. Not a musical nerd, just listen and sing. I just know singers. Now Daniel Sveinson, our guitarist would give a good answer.
Thank you for your time, the laughs and insights.