Suave and synthy soloist, Gully talks to us about the Commercial Music tectonics, being caught in “the snares of Tinder” and his upcoming EP Student Blues.

Gully Trim, the multi-instrumental, eclectically dressed musician, labels himself as a soloist backed by a “lovely band of friends” that ranges in size depending on the venue. He’s been played on BBC introducing in the West and BBC Radio Bristol several times, gigged around the UK – with a succession of shows lined up this summer, including Dot to Dot Festival 2017 in Brighton.

“I like to think of it as drawing a lot of influences from the 80s. It’s an era that I love,” says Gully on what inspires his “eclectic” sound. “I love the 70s, and disco as well. I’m a big fan of Elvis,” he continues, tinkering with a glass of water on the table.

His influences range from icons synonymous with the 80s, such as Michael Jackson, David Bowie and Duran Duran, to experimental R&B artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper. “I like to think of myself as a fairly stereotypical, kind of Britpop singer. I try to deviate from the American accent thing and stay true to my United Kingdom roots as much as feasible.”

Rain EP cover. © Colin Hawkins Photography

He expands on how Chance the Rapper has unconventionally forged his own success in the music industry. “To not have the backing of a record label, I find fascinating and kind of motivating as well – that he’s done it all off his own bat [sic] … A lot of people on the course have the mentality ‘let’s try and get signed’ and that’s the goal for them. I don’t think that’s necessarily the most positive finish line to visualise.” 

With Gully, it’s him and his music – signed or not, that’s not going to decide whether he continues to pursue a career in music. “It’s not that I don’t want to [get signed],” he says, grinning [but] I also like to think I’m an independent, white man who don’t need no label to get by.” He laughs as he reveals his musically confident ego.

“The studio tracks are a bit more ambitious, is what I like to say.” He huffs out a nervous laugh, “I’m still trying to forge my own, individual sound there.” 

Gully’s music is primarily driven by sound, hence the variety of instruments in his band which features bass, guitar, drums, piano and brass – all of which he can play “to some degree,” as he does most of the part writing for them. “I’m kind of ambivalent with my songwriting. It’s not a case of I’d write a lyric then go to the piano, [it’s more] I’ll write a really cool chord sequence and write some lyrics to it. I like to think it’s a light-bulb moment like ‘oh right, that’s really cool.’ It just falls into place like some sort of jigsaw.”

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Gully performing live at Bath Spa University’s Students’ Union. © Liam Macauley

Gully stands out from the indie bands that dominate the Commercial Music scene of Bath Spa as a groovy, electronic Britpop hybrid – maybe that’s why he’s been so successful in the SU’s Battle of the Bands. Winning in his first year in 2015, coming second in 2016 and winning again in 2017, Gully is truly making an impression on the students of Bath Spa.

Now in his third year of studying Commercial Music, Gully has evolved both musically and as an artist; starting off as part of a band and deciding to break away to focus solely on his musical style. “A lot of the course feels like it is aimed towards bands, it’s a lot of work for a soloist,” he explains. “There’s been a lot of political, almost tectonic movement on CM [Commercial Music] – it’s a bit ‘soap operary’ from the inside. Everyone’s like ‘oh who’s staying together, who’s not?’ I’m kind of giving you the inside scoop now, aren’t I?” 

Gully will be releasing his EP Student Blues within the next couple of months. It’s “a dedication to the trials and tribulations of, kind of, the life of alumni,” featuring four tracks and an interlude in the middle “to kick back so it’s not all about me,” he says with a serious expression on his face.

“I’ve got a song called Tribe. It connects a lot with my sentiments towards society … Tribe is a song that calls upon the innate uniformity of everyone – that we can all relate to each other, on a sense that we’re all on this blue ball together. For three minutes forty, we can just dance together and forget the things by which we distinguish ourselves habitually.”

Check out Gully’s Facebook page to keep up to date with his EP release and tour dates.

Words by Annabel Miller

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