Originally out of Ireland, ONOFF have been playing together since they were 15 years old, and moved to the States in 2013. I got the chance to chat with them and find out exactly why they headed to California after getting their start on the other side of the pond. Their sound is somewhere between Foo Fighters, Green Day, and your favorite punk rock, all with an Irish accent.
If you’re looking for vocals that slip and slide from gorgeous to gritty, straight up shredding Gretsch guitar, a tasty bass line you want to nibble on, and a drum that you can set your watch to, look no further. Mark my words, after their new album Reborn last year, 2018 is going to be all about flippin’ the switch with ONOFF.
Let me introduce you to your new favorite rock band…
First off, how’d you get the name?
Stevie 10 Bears: We used to be called The Mo-Fo’s and two days before our first album was going to print we received a lawyer’s letter from a band in the U.S.
So after coming up with a load of really shit names I flipped mofo backwards which is OFOM. Then OFFON sounded a little better, but ONOFF sorta sounded even better than that. It was best name we could come up in the time we had.
What made you head to the California coast from Ireland?
Paulie: We toured so much of Europe, five years straight I think… 12 different countries. It was crazy, but it was time to change it up. We basically got offered a move to Berlin to record our next album, or move to America and press the reset button. Fast forward a couple of years and here we are. Our new album Reborn was recorded in San Jose and it’s our first American release.
Would you consider yourself musical purists? It sounds like if you can’t recreate it on stage, you don’t put it on an album.
Paulie: Depends really. I do normally gravitate to bands that can only recreate it live, but I love electronic music too, so whatever floats your boat. If it makes you happy then dance like nobody is watching.
Dave: I think all bands, but especially trios, like to think of themselves as purists. It’s a term that’s thrown around quite a lot with bands these days. I hear it all the time. It’s like the less gear and gadgets you have to use to make your sound/show a reality, the better a band you are for doing so. I’ve never gotten the notion. For us it’s about getting the right sound for the songs whether that means using a lot of effects or using none at all.
You’ve opened for a few massive groups like Fall Out Boy, Bad Religion, and Reel Big Fish, who was your favorite group to work with or who’s your dream band to play with?
Paulie: Loved “working” [laughs] with The Real McKenzies. We got fucked up around Europe with those cats a few times. GOOD TIMES.
Dave: I would have to say Muse. They’d be a band we’d love to play with.
Stevie 10 Bears: I would have to say playing with Bad Religion because I grew up listening to them for so long and to be able to watch them from side stage was amazing. But to hang out after and drink copious amounts of Guinness after was even more special.
Dream band? I’m in it.
Would you say you have more fans in Europe or the U.S. and do you see any differences in the two?
Paulie: We don’t really know those exact figures to be honest, but ONOFF has fans from all over the world. They write us online, send us stuff too. Incredible considering we are just this wee band from Ireland.
If you could only have three records to listen to for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Paulie: Too hard to answer [laughs], I love so much music. My record collection is huge. I would have to sneak vinyl into the cardboard sleeves of the three I pick and cheat.
Dave: Queen: A Night at the Opera, The Police: Every Breath You Take (the singles), and U2: War. Such a hard question to answer it’s almost impossible to answer.
Stevie 10 Bears: If I was stuck on a desert island, I would probably take anything by The Living End, Now That’s What I Call ’80s Rock Ballads Volumes 1-100, and I would probably kidnap Stevie Wonder and take him to keep my spirits up.
What’s your favorite venue to play at and favorite venue to see shows at?
Paulie: Bottom of the Hill in SF to perform at. Best burger in California too.
Slim’s is an incredible venue to see a show though. All ages too.
Dave: Hmmm, favorite venue to play at would be Slim’s, great atmosphere, crew, and crowd, plus it’s in one of the greatest cities in the world, San Francisco.
Favorite to go see a show at would be the O2 back home in Dublin, Ireland.
Stevie 10 Bears: The Melkweg in Amsterdam was most memorable for me, I have to say.
You just put out Reborn last year, what’s each of your favorite songs on it and why?
Paulie: “Time To Let It Go.” It’s the last track. It’s the end of the crazy journey that is Reborn. But all the songs are my favorite [laughs], I wrote them. Of course I have to say that.
Dave: Love ’em all [laughs], but for me that’d have to be “Keep That Fire Burning.” It’s the title track from Reborn and is a true rock belter. Everything you want from a rock tune is in that song, great vocals, a kick-ass guitar riff, heavy drums, and driving bass. There’s also a music video for it on our YouTube channel ONOFFmusicTV.
Stevie 10 Bears: I like them all equally. They are like children. I have no favorites [laughs].
How do you find out about new music?
Paulie: Well that’s a very precise question [laughs]. Social media is the easiest way to connect nowadays, and speaking of that, you can find out more about us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, blah blah blah. I’d just buy the record and come to a show.
Connect with ONOFF across the net:
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