For an independent band just recently making their first foray east of their native British Columbia, Girl Nobody - as a collective - are remarkably confident. Sitting down with them the day after their Canadian Music Week performance at The 360, they make one thing perfectly clear: you are not going to make them any better.
"You" has been many people so far. Fans who see them play live, outside musicians hoping to get their name on the Girl Nobody roster, even a crazy Hollywood producer hell-bent on having band members dipped in mercury. But no one has yet held sway over what Girl Nobody creates.
They work long and hard – sometimes too hard – to perfect their music. The downloadable MP3's on their website are professionally recorded, their live performances are well-rehearsed and they are not "full of potential;" they've already realized the Girl Nobody sound and it's exactly the way they like it.
"Everybody has their own ideas" says vocalist Marta Jaciubek. "We get so many people come up to us after a show and say 'great… but this is what you have to do.' And it's like, who are you?" It's incredibly frustrating for the band to hear, especially – as multi-tasker Joey Turco so succinctly puts it – "we don't make demos." In other words, nothing Girl Nobody does is half-assed.
None of the band members are mean enough to tell anyone where to shove their ill-placed suggestions, either. And if they do ever get irritated, they focus that energy inwards; constantly holding their music to incredibly high standards. Are they hard on themselves? You bet.
"I don't now how many times I've called Joey up and said 'I quit, man. The stuff I'm writing right now is complete dog vom.'" admits Jimmy Northey who plays guitar, among many other instruments.
At this point it's important to stress that Girl Nobody have earned the right to be as confident as they are - and as concerned about making music - as they have been. It only takes a few seconds of listening to their full-length debut, The Future Isn't What It Used To Be, to appreciate what went into it. Wham! A tidal wave of sound crashes up against your eardrum, boldly and beautifully. Oh sure, lots of people can make a big splash. But it's a special breed of artist who can harness both the mighty power of the ocean and the shimmering, delicate beauty of its creatures all at once.
Girl Nobody accomplishes this through a variety of noise makers – moog, theremin, voice mail messages even – without ever drawing unnecessary attention to their intriguing instrumentation. The Future Isn't What It Used To Be is at a level beyond most full-length debuts, setting a gut-wrenchingly high standard for a follow-up from the band. It may intensify the pain of the songwriting process, but it's a burden they're willing to shoulder, as long as the result is great music.
"Timeless. We want to make timeless art," says Turco.
It's probably also important to stress that though the members of Girl Nobody are confident of the band's success, they aren't without self-doubt; especially when it comes to the bands' publicity, which focuses primarily on Jaciubek. She'd rather not be singled out in photos, especially when she happens to be wearing hot pink short shorts.
"I struggle with it. People talk about how pathetic the whole hoochie business is, but I'm part of it. I'm doing it."
Jaciubek is alone in her discomfort about being singled out. After all, if it brings more people out to a show, then everyone wins. And as Turco points out, anyone who came to see "Marta and her band" this Canadian Music Week, left knowing they had watched Girl Nobody perform.
"No one could've come to that show last night and say 'it's not a band.' It's pretty evident we're a band."
It was actually pretty evident they're a damn good band, and now the challenge that lay ahead of Girl Nobody is recording a follow-up to The Future Isn't What It Used To Be – and hopefully in less than the three years it took to lay down their debut. That kind of pressure can melt the brain of the self-critical types, but percussionist Brett Drury says no one's worried.
"We're lucky that way. Having been friends for so long, we can be honest with each other, which helps in the creative process. Otherwise, you churn out a shitty song."
Not even the ever-fickle music press can scare Girl Nobody from continuing along their path. As Turco points out, us music journalists are paid to be opinionated (well, sometimes we get paid) and like all art, music is completely subjective. So how do you ignore the often-abrasive critics? Says Turco, you don't.
"Just don't get too high when the good ones come in, and don't get to low when they're bad."
Concerned about their music; confident about their music. It's a ying yang-like approach that will hopefully have everybody talking about Girl Nobody in the near future.
Writer: Erica Basnicki