Girlyboi’s Carly Russ is the country rock glitter queen we’ve been searching for
In a hidden bar in the famous Hollywood Roosevelt hotel, Carly Russ performed alongside her boyfriend, Joseph Matick, in promotion of their band’s Girlyboi’s single Bonfire and impending EP.
The space was intimate, the guest list exclusive, and the soothing music was achingly similar to Fleetwood Mac, but with an added indie folk flare. Perhaps the added style fare is because the two are musicians and fashion models. They’ve also released a new single called “Stevie Nicks” since we first met, which you need to check out here.
Their sound has a romantic feel, and maybe that’s because they are romantically involved IRL.
Before sound check, I sat down with Carly and discussed an epiphany caused by her LA move, her country babe with a touch of glitter style and where she pictures you listening to her music.
Girlyboi’s single “Bonfire” is different from your previously released tracks, is there a reason for the more optimistic approach?
I’d like to say it was a natural progression. There are definitely things that have happened with us moving here from New York and completely changing after a whole year of living there that influenced our music completely. So, I think living in California for sure. Transporting all of over stuff from New York to Los Angeles kind of did something to us and changed our music a little bit, which is cool.
I feel like we’ve really honed in our sound. Before we trying to searchand now we’ve got exactly what we want.
Are there any more surprises we can expect on the album?
Every song is different. It’s all coincides with each other, but I would say every song is different and they’re all a surprise.
When you picture people listening to your music, where are they? What are they doing?
That’s a really good question. I’ve never gotten a question like that before. I would say somewhere in a field, at a beach or in a car with their friends—or even by themselves just thinking about life and love. On PCH, maybe!
How have the cities you’ve lived in inspired your music and style?
We’ve lived in Paris first. We’re from Chicago, but Paris is where we started our first album. Paris is very romantic so all of our songs before were very ethereal and romantic in a Parisian way. Then, we went to London and wrote some music there and that was very fast-paced kind of stuff. Now, I think living in California you can definitely hear the California influence in our music.
So, I would say every city we’ve lived in we’ve taken something from.
Do use your romantic relationships fodder for your songwriting?
Yes. Yes, definitely. When we get into fights and we have arguments, when we’re laughing and when we’re happy, we take those things and move them into our music.
It’s been such a balance for us because as you can see being with someone every single day, even when you live with them or see them on a regular basis, is really hard. That’s been the best thing about doing music together because we can take those fights and those annoying things couples go through and we can convert them in our music.
So, we take that as a positive.
Describe your style using only famous musicians.
I don’t know how some people feel about this, but I’m obsessed with June Carter right now. Her style and the movie (“Walk the Line”) really influenced me because the clothing was amazing, obviously that wasn’t her specific style, but they tried to put it into what they thought it would be.
Cher, I love her style. That glittery — that’s so me. But I have to say that super country girl like June Carter [is also] totally me. Really long dresses, lace, etc.
[After her performance, she adds:] I forgot Debbie Harry!
On stage do you aim for fashion over comfort? What’s your process choosing your performance looks?
It’s funny you ask that question. I used to have a problem wearing heels on stage because I don’t trust myself. I’m really clumsy. So, today I was like I feel like I hit a milestone because I was like “I’m gonna wear these cheetah heels and if they hurt, that’s ok.”
So, to answer your question, [laughing] it’s changed. Beauty is pain.
Do you think being a model causes people to take you less seriously in music?
I would say maybe in the beginning,but I think when you show your worth, even just one time because you have one chance to make an impression. I think after all the times I’ve played and people have seen what I have in me besides just modeling, then they take me more seriously.
I would say right now music and modeling are so intertwined. So, I feel like Joe and I are really lucky because we can take that and run with it. We’re super lucky we have both of those things to depend on.
What’s a song you never get tired of hearing?
“It Ain’t Me Babe” by Bob Dylan
Have you ever had an epiphany in your life? Or a complete shakeup you weren’t expecting?
Yeah, I definitely have — [laughing] too many times. I think even just recently.
I know it sounds cliche, but it’s actually true. I had an epiphany out here when we were recording our album. We recorded it at our house, which is really fun, for 14 days. I had this really weird epiphany.
You know when you try to self sabotage yourself when you’re in something that might be really good for you? There was a point when I was not fully accepting that I was a musician, and I was like “well, I’ve been modeling my whole life and I don’t want to let go of that yet.”
But then I had this really weird moment where I was like, “You know this is going to be my life and I’m ok with it!” I think that was my a-ha moment and it was here, in California. It’s getting really real and my epiphany was like, “You better deal with it and love it because that’s what you’re supposed to do. This is what you’re meant to do.”
Any exciting future plans you can share with us?
We are planning our tour right now. We’ve got some Midwest dates planned — that’s where I’m from. So, that’s going to be fun. We’re going to have our album release in Chicago and then from there we’re hoping to jump on a major tour, which would be amazing.
We’re kind of just letting things happen, but things are popping up here and there.Like maybe we can go to Tokyo, or maybe we can go to Europe and perform there. So, that’s kind of our hope. We’re planning to travel a lot this next year.
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Photography by Prince and Jacob