are a jangly two-piece from Belfast in thrall to C86, Beat Happening and the Sound of Young Scotland. I met singer Cathal once in Belfast when I was driving Times New Viking around on tour and he took us to a club that was playing horrible dubstep really fucking loud. It's a testament to his good nature and pretty little face that we still managed to have fun.
Vice: What inspired you to form Girls Names?
Girls Names was a bit of an accident really. I've never played in a band until now and when I started to get to know Neil last year I joked that we should start a Beat Happening
cover band called Hot Chocolate Boys. We never got round to it and instead formed Girls Names after our friend Mark asked us to support a Wavves gig he was promoting back in February. We had two weeks to get a set together and Neil had to learn to play some drums – it was a mess.
Is there a good scene in Belfast for a band like yours?
We're totally unique in Belfast, which is cool. Because of this we've been lucky enough to cut our teeth with some great touring bands like Sic Alps, Lovvers, Times New Viking, Wavves and Desolation Wilderness. And bizarrely we just did a show with Joe Lally from Fugazi. Some people in Belfast don't get us and others do. The fact that there's just two of us confuses people, although one night after playing, this guy came up to me and said we sounded like "the Fall meets some 50s scuzzy shit". I thought that was cool.
We're both from outside of town originally; Neil's from nearby Bangor and I'm from a village called Camlough
near the border. Kids escape their shitty small towns and Belfast's all you really have here, but it's cool now. The Menagerie on University Street is pivotal to it all; it's the best hangout in town and books the best shows and club nights.
What are your your favourite girls' names?
Um... Hannah, Rebekah, Claire, Kim, Cara... we could have been called Sandy and Denny though.
Your sound is clearly influenced by cult indie-pop bands like Orange Juice, the Pastels, Black Tambourine, etc. What draws you to the music of those bands?
It's perfect pop music: three-minute songs, catchy hooks and melodies, but bittersweet lyrics about being young, sad, feeling inadequate and lusting after someone, all without taking itself too seriously. "Throw Aggi Off the Bridge"
still blows my mind everytime I listen to it!
Can you recommend some other new bands from Ireland?
Yeah for sure. In Belfast: Not Squares
, Kicks Blue
, JL Seagull
, No Tmrwws
. And in Dublin: Cap Pas Cap
and No Monster Club
. I don't know much else, I tend to listen to old 80s indie or music from outside of Ireland, and these days we just listen to Felt on loop.
Girls Names have released a very limited tape on Cass/Flick, which is sold out. Something else will be out soon and the track below may well be on it.
Girls Names, "Graveyard"