The New Nü Sensae
Published Aug 12, 2012"I don't want to talk about Brody joining the band and how it's changed us and how we're dealing with it."
Daniel Pitout, drummer for Vancouver punk trio Nü Sensae, is sick of talking about the same old things. Back in the MySpace days, the band jokingly referred to themselves as a "voodoo punk" band ― and that descriptor has appeared in most write-ups since. Another favourite angle for music media? The fact that Pitout and bassist/vocalist Andrea Lukic used to be a duo.
Sometime last year they recruited former Mutators axe-man Brody McKnight, and that's been the central topic of discussion. And sure, Nü Sensae have expanded their line-up, and thus their range of sounds, but they've remained exactly the same. The transition was so seamless, it just resulted in more Nü Sensae.
"More" means that volume ― already at heart palpitation levels ― has been upped significantly. "Our first show as a three-piece was at the Biltmore [in Vancouver], and we were told we were twice the volume that we were legally allowed to be," McKnight says.
Then again, maybe the Biltmore's neighbouring condo residents were converted into new fans. After all, thanks to a new deal with venerable Seattle imprint Suicide Squeeze and the arrival of their long-awaited sophomore full-length Sundowning, Nü Sensae are stretching out of their filthy basement comfort zone and beginning to play for crowds they've never reached before.
"On our last tour we played a lot of those awkward shows at 900 capacity venues with EMA, who are basically an indie band," Pitout recalls. "A lot of the fan base was like middle-aged people with communications degrees or something." It was a weird fit, to be sure, but the band was surprised at the amount of positive feedback they were getting for, well, their own wall of feedback.
The latest in Nü Sensae's weird venue adventures? Outdoor afternoon shows. The group recently completed a one-two punch of Seattle's Capitol Hill Block Party and Vancouver's Khatsalano, a festival in the yoga-pants adorned neighbourhood of Kitsilano.
"I liked that it was new and different, it felt exciting," Lukic recalls. "At the one in Vancouver my friends were still there but there were also weird yuppies in Kitsilano shopping, so it was kind of fun."
While they're certainly willing to try anything at this point, it's not like Nü Sensae have tamed their rumbling, at times terrifying concoction of earth-shattering sludge and timeless punk. This fact was hammered home when a Khatsalano patron approached the band during their recent set.
"This middle-aged woman left a note on the stage by Andrea," Pitout recalls. "It said 'You can't play, your singing sucks, stop.'"
"I thought it was cool," Lukic admits.