9 April 2021
Last February New-York based indie rookers ONISM E
released their debut album, titled SURVIVORS.
After a couple of spins Turn Up the Volume knew that this is
one of the best records you’ll hear all year and wrote…
“Gusto, high-spiritedness and anxiety are the keywords here. This warm-blooded LP
is a heart-rending reflection of the group’s state of 2021 mind. A galvanizing collection
of cohesive poignant emo songs influenced by the disturbing way our troubled world
is handling human issues, once-in-a-lifetime dramas, and the personal turmoil
of frontwoman Chavez.”
Big heart, big soul, big voice, big album.
Enough reasons for an interview. So, thanks to Eline for chatting with us.
But first, as usual, a piece of music with the album’s outstanding opener STAY…
What’s the story behind the band’s name and
when did the musical journey start, Eline?
“Onism is the knowledge that you are stuck in one body and will only
get to see so much of the world. The frustration in that thought is me
in a nutshell. I have been fortunate enough to travel a good bit.
I know I will never see all of it, and that makes me a little sad.
The band started it in 2017 with another guitarist. He left after we released
our first EP, and I kept the name and kept working on my own. This Onism E
lineup started in late 2019 in preparation for a music festival in Austin, TX.
We never got to play because then the pandemic hit.
Instead of just waiting it out, I decided to reach out to CeeRod
to play a bass line. The rest is history, as they say.”
Which track would you play to introduce yourself
to people who never heard of you?
“Oh, good question. It depends on the day. Ha. Today I
would probably play them, Survivors.”
One of my favorite tracks is MY AMERICA and the video is both gripping and painful to watch. How do you see the future now that American idiot Trump is dumped?
I am hopeful but we have done so much damage to each other. Only time
will tell how we bounce back. I hope we are better for it in the end. I hope we
all learned some tough lessons that will make us better humans.
In the clip you wear a t-shirt with LOVE IS A VERB on.
What does the expression mean to you?
For me, it is about actively participating in my family life and my community.
I am not afraid to get my hands dirty. I hear people say all the time that they
want to help but don’t know how. I always tell them, whatever their gift is, to
find a way to use it. Love is active and requires action.
Your rad debut album calls SURVIVORS. Who are they? The band? The world?
“Both. Ha. If you are reading this, then you are a survivor. We have a way to go
but, you are here so, keep on keeping on.”
I love the album’s cover image. I’m sure big-time artists wouldn’t put themselves with a mouth mask on, on their records. Did you want to make a statement with your choice?
“I had not thought about it that way, but no, we did not intend for it to be a statement.
At the time we took those pictures, the goal was to stay healthy.”
The thing that crossed my mind immediately, when I heard the opening track
STAY for the first time was: that’s Aretha Franklin. Any thoughts on that, Eline?
“Thank you. That’s very kind. That is the influence of living in the south for so long. It does have a very pulpit-driven, preachy sound to the way I phrased it. You are one of the few to pick up on it, yay!”
A lot of musicians came up with a cover of another artist’s song during
these bizarre times. Which one would you pick to give it an Onism E touch?
“We’ve been talking about that for a bit. I think something from Radiohead, The Pretenders, Alabama Shakes, Gary Clark, Twenty One Pilots, or Ben Harper but, who knows. Ha.”
Suppose you were asked to rewrite the American National Anthem,
what would be the outcome in sound and vision?
“I would not even attempt to or even know where to begin honestly…”
Which movie would you pick to screen behind you on stage while playing the album?
“Hmm. That’s tricky. I am going to go with a not-so-obvious choice and say Wonder Woman. It’s about hope, love, and fighting for a better tomorrow all in one. Plus, who doesn’t love Gal Gadot?”
New York Knicks or Brooklyn Nets?
Next step for ONISM E, Eline?
“Live shows and more music! We remain hopeful that things will
continue to improve with the pandemic. I remain hopeful that by
summertime we will have shows in our pipeline scheduled for the fall.”
Thank you very much for this chat, Eline!
May the road rise with Onism E!
Buy/stream SURVIVORS here…
ONISM E: Facebook