"I would hope it's a combination of '90s NYHC, late '80s thrash metal, and the Loud Records catalog," answers musician Darren Nanos when i ask him to describe his latest band, Born Sinner. That's quite a mix right there, but while only his first two musical comparisons are spot-on, the third comes through in gritty attitude found on the NYC outfit's brand-new 4-track demo.
Darren plays bass in Born Sinner, but he's a multi-instrumentalist who has also been a member of such outfits as Brain Slug, Hotheads, and NYC Headhunters. So, how did his latest project get off the ground in the first place? "Well, starting off, I moved into in a new space in Long Island City I dubbed 'The Locker Room' because, you know, it's under an ice rink [laughs[. I set up my recording gear in there, so you can walk right in and multi track a song right on the spot. As a test run, I started putting these five songs together which all turned out having more metal feel than some of my other bands."
Darren offeers up some info about the other musicians joining him in Born Sinner. "I currently play in Outskirts with [guitarist] Kathi [Ko] and she is such a casual shredder! She keeps it under wraps sometimes, but she'll effortlessly do a Kirk Hammett solo just to warm up. Anyway, after we tracked our demo a few years back, she asked me if I would help her record a thrash side project, cause it was something she always wanted to do. I'm like 'of course and I'll do you one better, I'll play drums on it!' We ended up jamming our combined songs and [singer] Bryan [Valdivia] —who I play in Super Natural Psycho with—got wind of all this and slid up all like, 'Yo, would you mind if I wrote lyrics to these?' His approach made me laugh my ass off, but I knew it'd be mad fun to do it with him.
"[Guitarist] Conor [Hickey], who played in Brain Slug with me, heard we got it going too and basically said, 'When I move back from LA, there is no way I am not playing in that band.' He is definitely my most 'metal' friend, so I couldn't say no. So, we all jammed but I wasn't feeling drums in yet another band, so Conor got his friend and former work bud Jason [Bolen] to sit in. He was immediately a perfect fit for us... being from Texas originally I think thrash must run in his veins."
Darren has played in so many bands, so what would he say is different about what he's doing in Born Sinner? "This is a different vibe musically than a lot of my other shit but I would also say that our approach, as a band, is much more laid back. There's no pressure and everyone is just trying to enjoy themselves. Sometimes people in bands have very specific goals or places they wanna get with projects and with this group of people we're just chillin'. We all work regular jobs pretty heavily and have other stuff happening in our lives. When we get together we appreciate taking a break from that, keeping the conversation on the funny side, and nerding out about the mutual tastes we have in music, movies, or whatever else. No one is stressing to go get out and play every weekend or anything like that."
I also asked Darren for his take on the current NYC music scene. "New York is cool but I think it's always so divided. There's like scenes within scenes, if that makes sense. Like the hardcore crowd is one thing, they only like this stuff and the punks only like that. Then there's the bigger fest/reunion type shows at big venues or whatever. These all attract slightly different fans and rarely do these people ever cross paths. I know historically it's always been like this but I grew up a '90s LIHC kid. There I was getting equally thrashed around by liberty-spiked punks, Youth Crew kids, and 300-pound skins in some crowded VFW all at the same time.
"As far as new New York bands go, I missed their last show, but I like Stigmatism a lot. I also like Sub Space, Twisted Thing, and Junta. Also shouts to The Lion's Cage, The Fight, and Limit."
In closing, what’s the plan for Born Sinner now that the first batch of songs is out? "First put those out on something other than digital, not sure what quite yet. And right now we are honing the live side of things. Hopefully this fall we can play our first few gigs, maybe do some weekends when the mood strikes. We're already writing a batch of new tracks as well, so we'll see what that turns into, maybe another follow-up release when we get another 4 or 5."
Born Sinner's debut demo can be heard in its entirety on Bandcamp.