On their debut album We Don’t Like the People We’ve Become, Glasgow’s Gallus pair incendiary punk-rock with that creeping malaise that comes with getting older. But while the themes of their music may be laden with a doom-infused view of the world around them, there is a certain catharsis to be found in their breathless delivery. It is this quality, and their reputation as a formidable live presence, that has already garnered them a slew of fans across Scotland, and beyond.
SNACK caught up with vocalist Barry Dolan to talk about the new album, and making the most of what time we have.
How have the last few weeks around the album’s release been?
It’s still quite a daunting experience, looking at your phone and seeing a notification that someone has reviewed your album, and then it being a positive review. I think it’s just quite cool to be in this position, to be honest. A lot of people, including myself, didn’t think we’d ever get here. So I’m being very appreciative.
You incorporate elements of your contemporaries into your sound, but there are still traces of 00s pop-punk and 80s postpunk. Was there anything in particular you, as a group, were listening to as these songs came together?
Because some of the songs were recorded a few years prior, we’ve been in many musical phases whilst making this record, which I think is a strength. Gang of Four is one. Parquet Courts as well, with some of Eamon [Ewins’] style of guitar and riffs.
We also had a massive Weezer phase. Lyrically I always go in and out of listening to The Streets, and for more exciting melodies I like the Divine Comedy a lot. I like how wacky Neil Hannon’s lyrics can be. It’s a smorgasbord of people that we rip off.
Given that the songs were written over a long period, was it luck or by design that there is a common theme running through them?
Lyrically, I feel we’ve been writing in that selfdeprecating sort of way for a while. So that probably creates the luck of it. When we knew we were going to make the record and that we were going to keep quite a few songs, we wanted to be cohesive with them. But luck would have had it that we’re gonna write like that anyway.
We Don’t Like The People We’ve Become has been referred to as a coming-of-age record, but it also comes with a fair dose of existential dread. How do you manage what you are doing with Gallus with what is going on in the wider world?
I think when we sit down and write, that’s when the process of letting what’s going on around us sink in actually happens. It’s hard to balance, I’ll be honest. And I don’t think we’ve actually quite figured it out yet, because this is our first experience of touring quite regularly. Ask me for album two and I’ll probably give you a better answer. But right now we’re still learning how to balance all of this.
Do you feel old beyond your years, based on the things you’re picking up on and addressing in your lyrics?
I don’t have the position to write about what I think other people are going through. I write about what I’m going through and how I see things. And then people take from that what they please. I don’t know if I’m writing beyond my years. I hope not, I’m just a moany bastard sometimes, to be honest. That’s all it is.
Are you fearful of how you may change, or the way you have already changed as you’ve gotten older?
It’s something you can’t help. One of the most upsetting things in life is that you’re gonna get old and you’re gonna die. I feel like the questions you ask in your head get a bit more serious as you get older. So I was very much thinking about that. Some of the songs actually made me feel happier that I’m growing older. It’s what you make with your life that’s more important than the actual time. I always think if you’re happy with what you’re putting in, it doesn’t matter what you’re getting out.
Gallus have become renowned as a great live band. Was it daunting trying to recreate that on record?
Everyone agreed that we wanted someone to listen to this record and then want to see us live. So it was important for us to capture whatever energy we bring. Sonically that was the goal, but the hard thing to realise was we didn’t know what part of our energy could translate on to a record. I don’t know if we worked it out. I hope we did.
Main photo credit: Aodhan Gallagher