A lulling orchestral loop instantaneously draws the listener in, as if snagged by a symphonic-lasso weaved from the very heartstrings of Ireland’s own indie-rock act, ONOFF. It’s the ever-misleading calm before the storm, which in this case takes the form of driving rock riffs and the crashing percussive-pulse of the band’s latest single, ‘What Matters Most’.

The track’s sensational juxtapositions paired with dualistic lyrics belted out by lead vocalist, Paulie Daly, pulls one into the daunting experience of finding inspiration in spite of life’s abrupt twists and turns.

I came up with the initial concept for the song right after my mother’s funeral a few years back,’ drummer Stevie Bogan reveals. “As I made a speech at the top of the altar, I looked down at a packed church. People were gathered outside as there was no room left inside. This was a testament to how much she was loved by everyone. In comparison, I attended a funeral the year before where the church was completely empty. The man was selfish and angry throughout life, and treated people like shit, living a lavish lifestyle full of materialistic things. The contrast of these two funerals resonated with me greatly.

ONOFF, now based in Sacramento, California, deviate somewhat from their typical 90s punk style with ‘What Matters Most’ – opting instead for a more inclusive sound reminiscent of a slightly more energized early-rock-anthem, X&Y-era Coldplay, with a dash of U2, á la Joshua Tree. Think ‘Speed of Sound’ meets ‘Bullet The Blue Sky’.

Given the nature and depth of the track’s inspiration-well, ONOFF also decided to experiment creatively – co-writing the track as a musical-family for the first time in an official capacity.

Bassist Dave Hurrell expands on how the tragic death that led to their new single’s birth bears a poignant, impactful message with universal resonance.

In the end, all we have when we leave this world are people’s memories and impressions of us. The materialistic things we cannot take to the next life. When it really boils down to it, as the chorus goes, “What matters most is on the inside, what matters most is in your heart“.’

ONOFF will be touring throughout California this March while putting the finishing touches on their upcoming album, due to drop later this year.


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