Meet the Nude Dogs, Young Toronto Rockers Who Want to "Fuck Shit Up"

Meet the Nude Dogs, Young Toronto Rockers Who Want to "Fuck Shit Up"
Photo: Amy Louise
To get what Toronto rockers the Nude Dogs are all about, you don't have to look much further than their name, which vocalist/guitarist Kali-Ann Butala describes as "bitches baring it all." Filled with punk speed, gritty vocals and a riot grrrl attitude, the rising Toronto quartet have quickly earned a fierce following since forming in 2014. Their string of releases, including 2017's Doll Creatures of the Valley EP, and ferocious live show have earned them a strong following, with fans including Daniel Lanois and Metric's Emily Haines.
 
With the band's debut album on the horizon, we spoke with Butala to learn about the band's past, present and future.
 
The Nude Dogs were formed after Butala moved to Toronto from the Northwest Territories.
 
Several years ago, Butala moved south from the Northwest Territories in pursuit of more opportunities in music, part of which was driven by her desire to make music with women her own age. "I came [to Toronto] to play music, and I wanted to start an all-girl rock band," she explains. "I had never played with any girls 'cause I grew up in a place where there were no other female musicians my age to play with, so I basically played with older dudes and I was like, 'I wanna find some chicks to play with.' Just to try something different, basically."
 
After an early band with future Nude Dogs drummer Eva Moon and guitarist Katelyn Molgard quickly disbanded, a chance encounter with Moon at Toronto's Bovine Sex Club set the Nude Dogs in motion. Two years later, bassist Jessica Maxwell joined, followed by Molgard.
 
"I feel like it's been a trek. It's been a whirlwind of adjustment," Butala says. "I grew up in the middle of nowhere, so when I came to Toronto, it was like, 'What the hell?' But I've worked really hard and I feel pretty proud of where I am right now."
 
They're part of a Toronto scene of rising rock acts.
 
In discussing her move to Toronto, Butala mentioned the support she and her band have found in other local rock bands: "We have a lot of really good friends in bands, like Kaleidoscope Horse, Hot Garbage [and] Lush Buffalo are all really good friends of ours and we all hang out all the time.
 
"It's really amazing because we all play different music, but we're all coming up at the same time, we all started around the same time and we're all in different music scenes but still doing the same kinda thing, so it's cool."
 
They wear their influences on their sleeve — literally.
 
According to Butala, the band's influences include "a lot of '70s Californian punk. Everybody has different influences. We all like Fugazi and Gang of Four."
 
Though they're very transparent about their punk influences, there are some less obvious ones in the mix as well. "Me and Katelyn are heavily blues influenced," says Butala. "Me and Katelyn became friends because I have a Howlin' Wolf tattoo and we both love Howlin' Wolf."
 
The band's chemistry is just as palpable off-stage.
 
"We have a really interesting relationship between all four of us, because we hang out all the time. We're inseparable. We just love each other so much, it's disgusting, really," says Butala with a laugh. "I couldn't have asked to work with better people. Aside from being all females, they're just great musicians and great people. It's been really amazing."
 
As the band continue to grow in size and popularity, the members continue to enjoy it more than ever. "We're all just really happy when we're playing shows together. It doesn't feel like a job or anything," says Butala. "It's not always easier, it takes work, but it's worth working through if you care about people a lot, if you care about this project, if you care about what you're doing, we're work through whatever we have to as friends and coworkers."
 
The band just wanna "fuck shit up" while they can.
 
As they continue to release material, the Nude Dogs are honing in on a more refined sound, but one that still retains their gritty edge. "The first EP we put out, we took a bunch of different songs that all had different vibes, an idea of different kinds of songs we could make. This [upcoming EP] is more heavy and more party-oriented. We're calling it Party Bangers, Vol. 1."
 
In describing the band's honed-in sound, Butala sums up the group's MO, which is "to rock out and have fun and make people fuck shit up. It gets boring just playing acoustic guitar and singing. While we're all young, we wanna smash it out until we can't anymore."
 
The Nude Dogs play Smiling Buddha in Toronto on January 6 as part of Exclaim! and Ticketfly's Class of 2018 concert series.