Vin Sinners Sign to Universal Music India

Dubai-based rockers land major-label deal in time for second LP release

UNIVERSALLY ACCEPTED: Nair (left) with Vin Sinners
Michael Kruger
By Adam Grundey
Mar 04, 2014

"There've been moments," admits Vin Nair, frontman of Dubai rockers Vin Sinners, “when I’ve thought ‘F*** this, I don’t want to do this anymore.’ Because it’s not what I bargained for.” The singer’s referring to the many lineup changes his band have been through since Nair launched Vin Sinners as a solo project back in 2009. “We’ve had 14 people in the band, including the guys who are there now,” he says. “That’s just how Dubai is. It’s very difficult.”

Fortunately for him, Nair stuck with it. His debut release, 2011’s An Element of Surprise (he’s the only surviving member from that initial band roster), became a surprise hit in India, Nair’s homeland. And a few weeks ago, Nair put his signature to a three-year deal with Universal Music India. “Not a distribution deal,” he stresses. “A record deal. And you know what that means to a rock & roll band.”

It’s some achievement. Labels are notoriously reluctant to shell out cash on English-language acts from the Middle East. “My dream was to get signed,” Nair says. “And people were like, ‘C’mon, you’re a Dubai band.’” He’s aware that the group will be under the spotlight when they next perform. “There’ll be a lot of speculation about ‘How good are these guys, really?’” he says. This month, people will have the chance to find out, with the launch of Vin Sinners’ sophomore album, A Mighty Black Box. (Nair admits he had a tear in his eye when he saw the artwork with the Universal logo on it – “It was, like, ‘F***ing hell man. It’s actually there. This is it.’”) Nair believes it’s a giant step forward from their debut effort. “It’s harder, it’s heavier, but it’s still melodic,” he says. “We’ve been inspired by classic rock – bands like Metallica, Dream Theater, Guns N’ Roses – but at the same time we draw on some new progressive styles, so it doesn’t sound dated. There’s an edginess to it.”

A Mighty Black Box got its name because “it’s really the essence of the band over the past two-and-a-half years,” Nair says. “When a plane crashes, everything around it gets destroyed, but the black box stays intact. It’s the real source of what really happened.”

After battling through numerous lineup changes, Nair says Vin Sinners now feels like a real band. “We’ve really come together.” It’s a lesson in perseverance. “One of my old bosses told me ‘Gold is found by digging deep in the same place,’” Nair says. “Dig deep. That’s worked for us. The guys who’ve stuck with the band are now Universal artists. We’ll be on their performance roster; on that list with some of the biggest names in music – names I grew up with.”