Gully Boys Q&A
By Megan Hoff
City Pages named local girl band Gully Boys as “Best New Band” of 2018. The emo/punk/pop trio consists of bassist Natalie Klemond, drummer Nadirah McGill, and guitarist and lead singer Kathy Callahan. I spoke with Callahan about the story behind their name, which artists inspire them, and how their album sounds freakily similar to an iconic movie from the early aughts.
How long have you been playing together?
About three years now. Which is kind of crazy, because I’m used to saying two years… because when we first started doing interviews, that’s where we were at.
Which artists inspire you the most?
Sometimes it changes. I would say in the beginning it was bands like No Doubt, and then we had some R&B in there. Personally, Jeff Buckley has been a big inspiration lyrically and melodically, I guess… Sylvan Esso is something Natalie and Nadirah are very inspired by.
Why the name “Gully Boys”?
That one’s kind of a funny story. We really liked the name “Fern Gully”; it’s a movie from my childhood. I used to really, really love that, apparently. My mom said I went through like three VHS tapes of “Fern Gully.” It’s funny because I don’t even remember watching it as a kid. It was like one of those formative years things that I don’t remember very well. I just really liked the name, but we were like, “You can’t take a movie to name your band.” So we were like, “What if we were ‘Fern Girls’ or something?” but that didn’t sound right. Then we were like, “But it would be so much funnier if we were ‘Something Boys’ because we’re ladies.” We left Nadirah’s house for that practice, it was like one of the very first practices, and I ran back inside and I was like, “Wait! What if we were ‘Gully Boys’?” and then we yelled back at each other, “It’s perfect! Let’s do it!” It took some time because band names are the hardest thing to do. It just clicked; we had no doubts about it.
How did it feel to be named City Pages’ “Best New Band” of 2018?
Oh, my gosh, we didn’t understand what was happening. It was kind of surreal. Like a slap in the face, but a good slap in the face, if that makes sense? Like, you’re waking me up from a dream, a little bit. We just didn’t see it coming at all. We were booked for a City Pages photoshoot, and they didn’t tell us what was happening. They didn’t tell us until the day it came out. We even asked them at the shoot. We were like, “What is this shoot for?” and they just kind of like, they’re bad at lying, honestly, they were like, “Oh, it’s just for an article.” Like, since when did they do photo shoots for an article? And I laughed, I was like, “Ooooh, is it for like ‘best new band’ or something?” and I was kidding, I was joking, and the face that we got back was like, “Wait a minute, guys. This might be something like that.” Then the morning it came out, we had a three-way call and we all kind of cried together. It was cute. We were like, “Boys, we did it! Our hard work is coming together!”
Which song is your favorite to perform?
Right now, it’s our newest song, called “New Song No. 2.” It doesn’t have a real name yet. It might just be that, kind of like “My Song 5” by HAIM, because we’re bad at song names, really bad at it. I think that one’s the most energetic, and we get the most reaction out of a crowd with that song.
What have you been listening to lately?
I’ve been listening Sky Ferreira, actually, a lot, a little obsessively… she’s kind of inspiring to me right now because she’s like a hard pop icon, you know? She’s not quite rock, but rock enough for me to really want to hone in on whatever chords she’s playing. I’ve also been listening to The Cars. Nadirah has been listening to Dua Saleh, The Japanese House, and Leikeli47, and Natalie’s been listening to The Cars and U.S. Girls.
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be and why?
Well, I mean, we’ve been daydreaming about collaborating with Lizzo, since like the beginning of our band, but we know, we know. She’s too up there now; she just had a song with Missy Elliott. There’s no way. That’s like a local artist that we’re just like, “Well, what if Lizzo wanted to work with us?” even though [we’re in] two completely different genres, but we can dream.
Do you have any upcoming singles, EPs, or albums you want to hint at right now?
Well, rumor has it we have a music video in the works. Our very first music video, which is kind of crazy, because we’ve been together for so long. We just haven’t had the time to really put one together, but we’ve got a lot of people we trust in on the project, so we’re really excited.
You’ve talked about how your album sounds like the Freaky Friday soundtrack. Was that intentional?
Totally unintentional. I wrote “Neopet Graveyard” and I just had people tell me, “Is this the ‘Freaky Friday’ soundtrack?” like, “No, it’s not, but I kind of wish it was!” It’s definitely something I take pride in. I’m like, yeah, I want you to tell me it sounds like the “Freaky Friday” songs because those songs rock. I feel like that kind of takes precedence because it’s a pop-rock album, I would say, and that’s kind of the type of pop-rock we’re trying to hit. Something that will just stay in your head for weeks until you listen to it a hundred times in a row.