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Q&A: James O'Neill

On dressing like bananarama and his secret addiction

Hi James. So the tweeting classes have been buzzing about Bitches for Wolves for literally years now, but you've only put out a handful of singles and there's no sign of an album yet. What's holding you up?

If you're gonna do something, you have to do it right. The way I've gone about it, I'm taking my time to ensure everything I do is as good as I want it to be.

Have you had record labels sniffing around?

Oh yeah, loads of people have approached me about that kind of thing. I really think it's important that I work with the right kind of individuals, rather than with just anybody. It's important that you take your time and come up with strong-enough material before putting it out there.

We're confused about your origin story. You're a Dublin band but formed in London? Please illuminate.

I previously had been living in London and I went back over for a friend who was throwing a big party. This guy said, "wow, you've got a really great look, you should be in a band. You look like Bananarama".

He meant that as a compliment, presumably?

And I said, "oh we are in a band. We're called Bitches with Wolves", totally off the cuff. He thought it was really cool. He turned out to be a promoter. He booked us for a show. We had our first show before we'd even written our first song. It's slightly terrifying -- I'm not going to lie.

I can imagine...

Then I had to go home and find something to start working on right away. We told him we had a song called You Can't Piss To This. We chanted it at him and he loved it. We had to go home and write a song called that.

You're well known around Dublin as an adventurous dresser. In fact, some would say you put as much thought into your clothes as your music.

Image is an important element. What I offer up is a form of escapism. I try to take you to a place where you leave your troubles behind. A huge part of that is image. The core of that is that I love clothes. I obsess about clothes. Just as I love creating songs, I love putting looks together. Being a musician allows you to be as creative as you want. Why not take those opportunities?

Fighting talk. You must get glared at a lot, though?

I don't dress like that all the time. You won't see me going out for milk in bicycle shorts. A lot of the time I live in my own little bubble. But a lot of people stop and gawk at me. From living abroad, I don't notice it at all. In other countries, people are more creative in how they dress and it's not seen as a shocking thing. I think Irish people are quite self-conscious. That's because our society is much smaller. Twelve million people live in London -- people are experiencing so many new things all the time that they don't have time to stop and care what the person next to them is wearing.

You once said you were addicted to buying clothes on eBay.

Excuse me? What do you mean?

Well, that you spend a lot of time on eBay.

Oh, addicted to eBay. Sorry, I thought you said something completely different there.

Bitches with Wolves play Whelan's, Dublin, on Thursday

Day & Night