There’s a certain excitement and sense of danger that comes with boyfriend-girlfriend music duos; the act of making music alone is incredibly intimate, but when it’s done by two lovers, the end result is arguably as raw and walls-down as possible. Cue rising pair Girlyboi, comprised of Carly Russ (Girl) and Joe Matick (Boi), a couple that romantically fled Chicago for Europe, where they’ve been quietly developing their sound together and creating a full-length album ever since.
“This is a decision to flesh out all insecurities,” Girlyboi’s website reads. “A deliberate choice to make ourselves more vulnerable; an attempt to tap into our truer humanity, but ultimately just to make really pretty songs.”
Delivering just that, Girlyboi’s second single, “Whole,” is a soft, syrupy and quietly sexy follow-up to their debut track, “Actual Woman.” Drenched in warm, organic guitars and Russ’ droning, haunted vocals, the song is a smooth taste of the easy sound they’ve been fostering overseas. Listen to the exclusive BULLETT premiere and read more about the promising duo, below.
Talk about the origins of Girlyboi.
Joe Matick: “Girlyboi is me and Carly’s first child. Under the influence of a bottle of wine and in the dead of winter, our baby was conceived in a Chicago studio. Our baby grew and developed throughout a honeymoon in Paris and went through puberty in a studio North of London. Music was the only choice, is the only choice and always will be. We are lucky to be on this path and to be convicted enough to blindly follow our passions.”
Carly Russ: “Joe had been DJing since we met and wanted to use my voice for one of his mixes. I was reluctant, [having been] scarred from a competitive high school experience in music and said no until he convinced me to do something cool with him. We recorded our first song in the studio and I was hooked from that point.”
What’s the collaboration process like between you two?
JM: “I, ‘boi,’ write the lyrics and music, and Carly laces them with beautiful harmonies. It’s way easier than it should be which can kind of freak you out at first, but you don’t think about these things [and] just ride the momentum. There are tons of collaborators on the record, but at the end of the day, I sit and produce the tracks and try and pull out as much moodiness as I can, which isn’t hard when you have Carly’s voice as an instrument.”
How has traveling influenced your sound?
JM: “I liked being in Paris, mostly because I was as disconnected from the media as possible, couldn’t speak the language and had no outside influence. The smoke parted and I could see the clearing; everything flowed. I sound like an idiot or like Eckhart Tolle, but this shit was real, and it was real beautiful.”
CR: Traveling pretty much made our sound, in my opinion. We had been back-and-forth with what we wanted to create as far as our aesthetic goes and after being in Paris and heavily listening to our influencers in different genres, we decided to scrap everything and rewrite, rerecord everything. The sound we have now is much more true to ourselves and what we really love to hear on a daily basis.”
What were you listening to while developing your sound?
JM: “We listened to a lot of the Mamas and the Papas, The Carpenters, Fleetwood Mac, drone noises and meditation music when we had down time.”
How does sexuality play into this project?
JM: “Girlyboi wouldn’t have been conceived if there wasn’t some sort-of transcendent, musical, sexual fusion. But honestly, when we were in Europe and people began to see us as a ‘packaged couple,’ there was some freaky shit that went down; people wanted us to do weird shit on camera, tried breaking us up, tried to force polyamory.”
What’s the story behind, “Whole?”
JM: “‘Whole’ is a funny track; there’s literally a line about ‘perverts, pornos and snobs, but it’s coupled with Cello (shoutout to Sylvie Grace). It was inspired after watching Taxi Driver and how DeNiro wants to save Jodie Foster’s character from the prostitution ring. It’s also about dependency and is written from the perspective of a temptress. There are vocal tracks from the woods and weird room noise; it’s a slow burn, but it builds to a fire.”
“Whole” is now available to purchase on Girlyboi’s official Bandcamp.