Posted On 12 May 2017
The power-pop music of Onesie is led by Brooklyn-based songwriter Ben Haberland (formerly of The Isles) and Zack Fanelli (ex Man Without Plan). While Onesie has been around since 2013, Leos Consume is the band’s first full length release – full of vivid, hooky guitar pop anthems and scraps of British pop, American punk, and classic rock influences as the band explores the voyage toward modern adulthood.
The album was released TODAY! Check it all out here- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/onesie-exclusive-premiere-new-album-leos-consume_us_5910a89be4b056aa2363d7a0
The project began as a collection of power pop demos recorded solo in Haberland’s bedroom. In 2013, fellow scene survivor Fanelli came onboard to form a live band that would wield a visceral dynamic reminiscent of the pair’s early days in the DIY punk scene. After playing shows at Grand Victory, The Gutter, Subculture, Trash Bar, Glasslands, Matchless, The West, and Cake Shop, the group descended into Mollusk Studio in Bed-Stuy to record the songs what would become their debut album, Leos Consume. Basic tracks were recorded over a freezing February weekend. As Winter turned to Spring, Haberland and Fanelli continued overdubbing in spontaneous bursts; adding vocals, fine tuning guitars, and layering keyboards in their practice space. After returning to Mollusk to mix the following Summer, the record was mastered by Brooklyn whiz Josh Bonati, renowned for his work with Captured Tracks.
As they bounce from one style to another, Onesie’s allegiance to hooks, solid melodies, and momentum more often than not lands them firmly in POWER POP territory; from the lush telecaster sparkle of “Ballad Of The Boomerang” to the Fleetwood Mac meets Thin Lizzy stomp of “Husbands In Finance”, to the 80’s brit pop-influenced “Hotelekinesis” and “This Minstrel”. Haberland’s scatterbrained, poetic approach to lyrics might tempt one to categorize them as slacker rock, but Onesie maintains an utterly unironic dedication to the guitar rock dream, delivered from the guts of a handful of pasty dudes who simply won’t let it go.
Learn more about Onesie in the following All Access interview:
What are some words you would use to describe 2016 for you and your music? What were some of the highlights? What are you most excited about for this year?
Well, 2016 certainly had earned the rep of being the worst year in recent memory. We were pretty dormant as a live band and feeling that for the first half. By summer though we really dove back in with a vengeance; finishing the record, moving into a new practice space, getting a new drummer and getting our creative juices flowing again. This year we’re pumped to finally share these songs and play outside of our comfort zone (Brooklyn). As the band Staind once said, “It’s been awhile!”
Growing up, did you all always want to be musicians? Can you recall the moment you realized that you could really make music together and be a band? How did you all first meet each other?
My parents exposed me to the typical 60’s melange of Beatles, Stones, Dylan, Zep, etc but I somehow delayed actually purchasing a CD until I was maybe 12 or 13. Pretty far along! My first love was Aerosmith- they had a VHS video out documenting the making of Pump and I was fascinated by the dual guitar shredding and delicate band psychology. Around that time I finally got a guitar and really logged in a few years in the bedroom just playing along with records.
For this band, I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted Onesie to sound like and thus I think we got there quickly. I was itching to return to a little more raw, high energy format than I had done in the 2000s with The Isles. In Onesie we have a shared love for eccentric pop, fast/heavy punk music, and straight up wailing rock. I had met Zack through his partner back in 2007 or 2008, but I was a fan of the band he was playing in (Man Without Plan) since way back. 1998 or so. When I eventually decided I wanted to turn my bedroom demos into the basis for a band I sent the demos to Zack so we were up and running pretty quickly.
Was it hard to narrow down a band name? How did you finally decide? What other names were you considering?
Onesie was just the folder name I used for the demos I had been recording since 2007 or so. “Onesie” came from “One” since it was initially just me. When we actually formed the live band it stuck. We had considered other wacky combinations of words or puns. I kind of recall “Thunderstand” being in there. Not really sure what that means either, but if you’re reading this feel free to PayPal me $10 to use it for your own band.
Next month, you will be releasing your first full-length album, Leos Consume. Can you talk about what it was like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise about it all and the way it all happened for this band?
Well it’s a group of songs written and demoed between 2007 and 2014 so there’s a lot of history and ground covered. I was trying to write a catchy single with each tune just because that’s generally the mission statement when I pick up a guitar. As players, I think we all gravitate towards concise, tight arrangements but some of my favorite moments turned out to be ton the jams with more negative space like “Everything You Want And More”. As a writer I’ve learned that its very powerful to just be direct rather than slathering on fifty tracks of guitar and reverbed out vocals. Sequencing the record was interesting because you want to create a dynamic journey out of these songs that initially might seem unrelated. I’m still in love with the album format and I think we wound up with a stimulating listen from start to finish.
I’m curious why Leos Consume is the band’s first full-length collection when you have been together since 2013?
Great question! Though it’s cliched to say, it really is just a matter of schedules lining up and having the time in our lives to dedicate to making the band happen on a regular basis in NYC. We’ve all had or have careers, relationships, and other projects that can take precedence. That’s totally normal and at our age, we embrace it. Right now we’re hungry to get out there and “spread the funk” as it were.
What songs on this collection are you particularly excited to share with listeners? What was the inspiration for these songs? Do you think there is a central them to the album or are they all over the place?
“Karaoke Killers” is interesting because it’s one of the few love songs on there. I wrote that at the start of the relationship with my current partner and it’s a cool milemarker. Its always a fun melody to sing and we have a great time banging it out. “This Minstrel” is a fave for us- fun chorus harmonies with a classic brit pop guitar progression hammered out in garage band mode. “Pillow Sail” is a fun drop D crusher- riding the line between serene/dreamy waves and heavy bashing. It reminds me of Neil Young and Nirvana. The demo of that song is literally ten years old so I’m elated it’s finally out. Though it wasn’t planned, thematically the record is about attempting to age gracefully while realizing parts of yourself, particularly your desires, might never change. I try to reign in the bitterness so its not the only thing driving being creative, but I have a tendency to write lyrics as therapy when I’m roadblocked by something annoying.
How do you think being in other bands in the past have helped you be a better musician and member of Onesie?
It benefits in a few ways. Though it can be a land of absurd gentrification, one of the great aspects of living in Brooklyn is you have access to this community all living within blocks of each other. Creatively, you can stay as busy as your life allows. I love playing in friend’s projects and being part of that stew. Also, witnessing another songwriter’s creative process firsthand can refresh your own after you’ve run through your own process a million times.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Who would you all love to work with in the future? What would be a dream collaboration?
Since Onesie bounces around stylistically it’s pretty clear we’re drawing influences from all over the place. The humor and intelligence that someone like Stephen Malkmus brings to the table is very inspiring. He can play a country song, a fucked up noise song, or a straight up Thin Lizzy barn burner and it all sounds like its coming from the same soul. I’ve always love Graham Coxon’s (from Blur) guitar tone and approach to making weird hooks in a song. Lyrically I think everyone has been impressed by Father John Misty over the last few years. His brutally frank lyrics weirdly reminds me of a band like Born Against from the early 1990s NY hardcore scene. Just disturbing, bleak, and filled with bile but you’re drawn to their perspective because it’s instantly relatable.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people take away from your songs?
They’re just fun and occasionally fucked up pop songs, but In the broadest sense I feel like I’m writing for a lifelong outsider. If you ever felt rejected and needed an anthem or two to get you going in the morning, I think we might be able to help.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about this band or your music?
We’ll be doing some touring over the summer so look out for those dates and check out Leos Consume out on 5/12 on whatever platform you dig – it’s up for pre-order now on Bandcamp (here). Thanks for the rad questions!