Gully Boys comes into their own

Minneapolis band Gully Boys explores their DIY identity as they begin writing for a new EP.

Nadirah McGill, left, Natalie Klemond and Kathy Callahan, comprise the musical group Gully Boy Band.

Courtesy of Gully Boys Band

Nadirah McGill, left, Natalie Klemond and Kathy Callahan, comprise the musical group Gully Boy Band.

by Ksenia Gorinshteyn

No brothers have a bond like that of the Gully Boys.

Drives between shows on the band’s last tour could be described as similar to the “Tiny Dancer” scene in the 2000 film “Almost Famous.”

Except this time they’re playing “Sandstorm” by Darude.

“There’s literally no one else I would do this with,” said Gully Boys drummer and vocalist Nadirah McGill. “These are my best friends.”

The three-piece band, comprised of Kathy Callahan (vocals and guitar), Natalie Klemond (bass and vocals) and McGill, has grown together in more ways than one. From basement shows to headlining First Avenue, they continue to evolve into their most authentic selves — together.

When the Gully Boys began playing music together, they admittedly didn’t really know what they were doing. They learned to play covers, which led to songwriting.

Through trial and error, they found their sound: “Heavy and sweet at the same time,” Klemond said.

Prominent electric guitar riffs are laid out across bass and drums, which are then accompanied by Callahan’s strong vocals.

“We wrote ‘Neopet Graveyard’ and we were like, ‘OK, this is what we want to sound like,’” McGill said.

Their songwriting process has gotten faster and their sound more intentional since their self-titled EP was released in 2017. However, one thing remains the same.

“It just starts with one of us doing something that we like and then building off of that,” Klemond said. “It takes a long time to figure out the structure of a song.”

Song drafts are written by Callahan and Klemond before being handed to McGill for revisions.

“[McGill is] like the editor in chief,” Klemond said. 

Song names are curated via memes and quick nicknames that temporarily act as placeholders in their audio files, and there you have it — a Gully Boys original.

The band’s debut album, “Not So Brave,” was released last August. Listening may elicit copious amounts of head-banging and the same empowered feeling you got while listening to No Doubt in the early 2000s.

With their album tour now over, the band has shifted their focus to writing for their next EP, as well as recording a direct-to-vinyl for release this summer.

Gully Boys enthusiasm for their craft has much to do with their beginnings in the Minneapolis DIY music scene, where bands create music on their own because they believe in owning the creative process.

“I think the DIY scene is just kind of having a moment in general right now,” Klemond said.

Roddie Gadeberg of Twin Cities band niiice., which toured with Gully Boys this past winter, remembers running out of Bandcamp listens when Gully Boys’ self-titled EP came out. 

Gadeberg’s band falls under the DIY music genre along with Gully Boys. He notices the band staying genuine to the scene as they grow in popularity.

“I feel like they bring in something new,” Gadeberg said. “It’s also very rooted in, like, grunge and alternative.”

While Gully Boys’ music seems effortless and fun, it is also immensely vulnerable.

They wouldn’t be up there with just anybody else.

“There are some songs that I feel really heavy through my body,” McGill said. “Being able to look up and see my brothers and smile and enjoy that joy — it really makes me feel present. Like, shit, this is our music.”

What: Gully Boys, YYY and Half Wolf

When: 10 p.m., Friday, April 19

Where: Icehouse MPLS, 2528 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis

Cost: $10

Ages: 21+