"I feel like any experience of humanity I’ve ever learned is from working in pubs": Meet Gallus, whose fiery mix of pessimism and furious energy is turning heads

Gallus group photo
(Image credit: Aodhan Gallagher)

It’s hardly surprising that so many people in their twenties are pissed off. With eye-watering rents and little chance of ever owning a home of their own, low-paid jobs… there’s plenty to be pissed off about. 

In Glasgow, the new figureheads of that youthful dissatisfaction and frustration have arrived in the shape of Gallus, who with their debut album We Don’t Like The People We’ve Become have captured the sense of everyday frustrations and challenges via a collection of spiky, punky vignettes that sit somewhere between the serrated indie rock of Fontaines DC and the urban slices of life so deftly illustrated by The Streets, a band that frontman Barry Dolan cites as an inspiration. 

“I love Mike Skinner,” he says. “It’s the same reason I love John Cooper Clarke – it’s the simple wording of complicated things. I would like my takes on things to seem quite unique, but with not painting such a grand and intellectual picture, and I think Mike Skinner does that amazingly.” 

They’re definitely on the right track, although Dolan originally had no ambition to be a rock star. He was at university studying acting when his childhood friends Eamon Ewins (guitar) and his cousin Paul Ewins (bass) saw him acting in a play and decided he’d be perfect to front their nascent band. 

“I loved it so much that I didn’t want to go back to acting, even though I was terrible at singing and songwriting,” says Dolan. 

With the band completed by Gianluca Bernacchi, also on guitar, and new bassist Matthew McGoldrick, their sound fizzes with nervous energy – “controlled chaos”, as Dolan describes it. They’re named after a pub that held their longest friendships together – when they scattered to further education, apprenticeships and work, the Gallus pub quiz anchored them. 

Lyrical inspiration came from Dolan’s daily grind working in a Wetherspoons and in his current role as a support worker.

“It’s two jobs that I think you just don’t get paid enough for, given the hardships that come to you,” Dolan says. “I feel like any experience of humanity I’ve ever learned is from working in pubs. It’s also my first experience of being shat on from above. And that just doesn’t go away. I’m quite raging that jobs like that, especially working in the social care, are under-appreciated.” 

This streak of pessimism, often delivered with Dolan’s tongue firmly in his cheek, is counterbalanced by an upbeat energy that has sparked adoration at their hometown shows and interest from further afield – a support slot at Biffy Clyro’s huge Edinburgh show last year won them a slew of new admirers. 

Gallus were recently even crowned best rock/alternative band at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards. But what about that non-more-self-deprecating album title? 

“It’s a coming-of-age thing,” says Dolan. “We started writing the songs a few years ago, and coming through covid was going from your mid twenties to your late twenties. It’s like maybe we don’t like the people we’ve become, so we’re going to take the piss out of ourselves. Even if it’s true. Because we have a bit of an attitude, and a reputation for having good live energy, it’s easier being honest. And what’s more honest than your views on yourself?”

We Don’t Like The People We’ve Become is out now via Marshall Records.

Emma has been writing about music for 25 years, and is a regular contributor to Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog and Louder. During that time her words have also appeared in publications including Kerrang!, Melody Maker, Select, The Blues Magazine and many more. She is also a professional pedant and grammar nerd and has worked as a copy editor on everything from film titles through to high-end property magazines. In her spare time, when not at gigs, you’ll find her at her local stables hanging out with a bunch of extremely characterful horses.