Ellie O’Neill Talks To Onions
The majority of bands formed at University will emerge from their time there with little more to show from their creative indulgence other than a substantial overdraft and a formidable tolerance for marijuana. The only evidence of their efforts will be an abandoned myspace page where their dreams have been laid to rot along with countless others. For one band however, this is not the case.
Onions was formed four years ago by Salford University students Jim Brown, Chris Vaughton, and Martin Sherwood. What started out as a University project has, through dedication to gigging as often as possible, seen them dubbed Manchester’s hardest working band into a solid, creative, much cited and influential band in Manchester’s sprawling music industry. Rather than just writing music, the threesome are also recording and producing their own records, their limited edition vinyl is on sale in Manchester’s top music stores.
The three will be playing at ‘A Carefully Planned Christmas Party’ at Saki Bar, Rusholme, from 8pm on Saturday (19th) alongside an eclectic selection of 19 other bands starting from 3pm. We catch up with Onions to find out how they have managed to stand out from the city’s myspace memory boards.
EO - Having spent four years together as a band, how do you think your music has grown in this time?
As a band we have got a lot more focused on writing, rehearsals, recording and gigging. Instrumentally we are always progressing…well we hope! With regard to sound I think we are getting it together a lot more, but that will always arrive with longevity for any group of musicians. We always have our ears open for new and old music, so if we like it is of course going to influence the way we play.
EO - Refreshingly, you often sing of unusual but every day subjects such as beards and onion allergies rather than love and heartbreak. How is it you have been able to escape being boxed in by musical stereotypes of the typical indie band?
Chris – The easiest way is not to listen to them. They turned “indie” into fashion and ruined it. You can spot those bands coming a mile off, £$^%^&% *(&^%$£”.
EO - What inspires you?
Good bands and bad bands really, we hear their music and either think we really want to make music which people enjoy or we hear awful stuff and think god we really need to get a move on to give people an alternative to this tosh.
EO - Do you find it difficult trying to fit your art around working full time hours?
Yeah, it is really difficult. Jim and Martin work at the hospital and are saving lives every day. It is such a shame that there isn’t more support for the arts and people who are just trying to produce something wonderful for all, especially in the time of a recession where people turn to art and music so much more for a bit of a lift which just won’t be there if the government continues to leave artists in the gutter unless they have a trust fund.
EO - How do you get on as a band, does living together ignite or throw sand on your creative flames?
It ignites it I’d say, in a temper of fury and shower time induced rage!
EO - What bands around today are the three of you most impressed by?
Of Montreal who I hear Beyonce is trying to duet with and Dengue Fever who are definitely one to watch. God help the Girl album by Stewart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian is pretty awesome as well.
EO - Who are you most looking forwards to working with at the festival?
Run Toto Run, should be good. We met Rachel who plays with them through Channel M. It is a shame they had to pull that show; it was awesome and meant we got to be on TV.
EO - What are you guys working on at the moment?
A collection of 23 tracks, some of which may or may not be making it into our album. We have been doing lots of recording recently and got it into our heads that we are able to produce a decent album between the three of us. We have had help from a good friend, super Steve, who has been more than generous towards us, but when it comes to setting it all up, playing and recording, packing down and mixing it up, it is all going to be down to us. I think we might even have a go at packaging and make a limited run. With cold and flu’s a plenty in the Onions camp we are hoping to be seeing it sometime in spring next year. But as soon as it is done we will let you know. Keep your ears to the ground and your toes out the door as we may be dropping a few sneak peeks on our facebook and myspace pages respectively.
EO - Will you be showcasing any new songs at the festival?
Yes, one we played this morning for radio show All FM called Louise Louise.
EO - You released a vinyl earlier this year which you produced yourselves along with Cloud Sounds radio station and Generalissimos, what made you go that extra mile?
Although we had no qualms about the fact that it was going to be a potentially loss making project we really wanted to get our music out there and with nobody else putting their hands in their pockets to fund it, we collected together our pennies and the result can be seen in Piccadilly Records shop now. We also really loved the idea of having our music on vinyl; we are all old school romantics when it comes to production.
EO - Who do you think your music most appeals to?
Martin – People who do not like to leave the house by the looks of our audience.
EO - Who are you supporting for Christmas No 1?
Rage against the Machine, keeping our toes tightly crossed.
EO – Fav Christmas song and who you want to sing it to?
Jim – Pipes of Peace played for Martin and Chris wants Blue Christmas sung for Martin and James.
EO - All I want for Christmas is….
James – A 300+ score for scrabble.