Singled Out: Onesie's Daytime King


Onesie just released a video for their song "Daytime King" and to celebrate we asked the group's mastermind Ben Haberland to share the story behind the track with us. Here is the story:

Like most Onesie songs, "Daytime King" one was born from a guitar idea I stumbled on while noodling around on my couch. The cyclical, climbing riff was likely inspired by Blur's "There's No Other Way", a song I've loved for many years. I wanted to evoke a loose kind of shuffling feel with that guitar hook weaving around a repeating bass and drum groove. It needed a twist, so In the verse there's a wall of Big Muff guitars that sort of interrupts the flow ands disappears pretty quickly. I made a casual bedroom demo of the song back in 2013. I remember overdubbing the shaker and really getting into "snare hunter" mode to stay on beat. There's that great moment in the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers doc where he talks about how vital the shaker was in mixing "Refugee". I have a tendency to write too many parts but thankfully the shaker helped temper that and glue the disparate pieces together. I was worried that the overall feel landed somewhere between Kool and The Gang and Spin Doctors but when the band played it we really dug into the dynamics and enjoyed how different it was than the rest of the songs.

I keep an ongoing notepad file of lyrical ideas on my phone. When I'm demoing, I'll pull out a line that works with the music and it generally flows from there. Though this set of lyrics are kind of random and whimsical, the line "you're right there with me, jingling the keys" is pretty close to my heart. It was inspired by working on photo shoots and watching the trick of the jingling keys to make toddlers look in the direction of the camera. The same trick actually terrifies my cat into coming back into our apartment when she gets too curious about the hallway. Life is constantly sending you distractions that make you second guess your choices. You can either react to the jingling keys or you can put on your blinders and persevere. It's an ode to staying focused on your own long game through the ceaseless noise.

Since the guitar/bass relationship was kind of busy, I went for a vocal cadence that is less lyrically dense than than something I would typically write. With vocals piping in and out like horns over the groove, I got into the frame of mind of Steely Dan and layered in some harmonies that made everything smoother. The actual phrase 'Daytime King' became lodged in my brain after going to a Late Show with David Letterman taping a few years ago. Regis Philbin was the guest, and it was great because he was not promoting anything. It was a very relaxed, friendly visit, with stream of conscious chatting. At some point the term "King Of Daytime" came up and I wrote it down. It's one of those perfectly hollow titles of celebrity nobility. I mean, I associate daytime TV with boredom or failure- something negative. He was just so self-assured and charming about accepting his role as THE Daytime King. A few weeks later there was a big Winter storm in New York, and as the song says they did indeed "close the city".

This song has a fun extended breakdown with both two of my favorite things happening at once- a mosh beat and a harmony solo! I have a tendency to go crazy with layering those Thin Lizzy guitar parts. They're just so tasty. I'll end with a little trivia. The spoken line in the bridge right before the solo is pretty much a direct quote from a moment of punk rock triumph in a lesser celebrated John Hughes movie. It's one of those lines that drifted around my subconscious for decades and it just came out when we were overdubbing and sounded right.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!

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