Warning: Spoilers ahead for I’m With the Band: Nasty Cherry, streaming on Netflix 15th November.
The revolution will be televised. Or, at least streamed. On 15th November, Netflix is dropping a documentary series called I’m With the Band: Nasty Cherry which follows singer Gabby Bechtel, drummer Debbie Knox-Hewson, guitarist Chloe Chaidez, and bassist Georgia Somary — an all-woman band assembled by Charli XCX — as they navigate becoming a band and all that it entails. Other than a lack of consistent drug use, the show’s six episodes deliver on everything required of a rock and roll documentary: fights, songwriting, intimacy, break-ups, house parties, and fantastic, can’t-miss new songs.
The biggest drama of the series is centred around a woman. Specifically, surrounding disagreement between Chaidez and Charli over working with a female producer. The plotline escalates the doc from Real World-meets-Making the Band, and instead becomes a welcome, and thought-provoking, commentary on women in music.
Bechtel, one of the two novices in the crew alongside Somary, didn’t know what to expect when she signed on to the experimental series. “I didn’t have any insight into what it might have been like,” she tells Refinery29 over the phone. “[I did have insight into] what I hoped it would be. It has exceeded all those expectations.”
Ahead, Bechtel tells us what the cameras didn’t catch, her role as the most mysterious band member, and what she really thought about the big fight between the band, Chaidez, and Charli.
Refinery29: What was your reaction when you heard Nasty Cherry was getting its own Netflix documentary series?
Gabby Bechtel: I was thinking, Holy crap, [it] doesn’t seem real that someone would offer this beautiful opportunity. It really is a dream. Charli said a bunch of times that she wishes when she was 14 she had a band like this to look up to, or maybe even this opportunity [for herself]. I wasn’t thinking about the filming of it, honestly. I was just thinking, I get to make music now with Charli XCX? Wow.
You’re the most mysterious band member. How did Charli find you?
I was an extra in Charli’s video for ‘After the After Party,’ two or three years ago. I met her on set then and we stayed in contact. About a year ago she messaged me and asked if I could sing. I was like, why? I told her I can sing in the shower and sing karaoke. She told me I was going to sing for her and to send her a video. I was staying in a hotel at the time and sent her a video of me singing in the bathroom, and it snowballed from there. About a month later, Nasty Cherry started. It happened very fast. My family didn’t believe me at first; they were like, ‘You tell us all these crazy stories all the time about auditions and projects, this is not going to happen.’ It’s the only one that really has.
Who is your musical inspiration?
I have always looked up to the Runaways, which I know we’ve heavily been referenced towards, and Suzi Quatro. Around that same time, I think Charli was messaging me about The Cramps — I love [guitarist and songwriters] Poison Ivy. I grew up listening to Dido and Norah Jones at my parents’ house. Gwen Stefani is from where I grew up [in Orange County]. I don’t think I realised it really until I was making my own music, but my references are mainly female-led bands, or created by women. I don’t know if it’s because we have Charli backing us and this show on Netflix, but I feel like when I talk to people and they ask me about this band and everything going on around it, they all mention how they haven’t really seen an all-female band who play their instruments and own it. I don’t know if I felt like it was missing, but I did feel like there was a place for us.
There’s a big disagreement over wanting to work with a woman producer, which becomes the dramatic arc of the season. What was your take on that situation?
I was just listening to everything going on. I don’t think I spoke very much during that time, but I stood behind Chloe and everyone else’s opinions. It was my first time in a studio and my first conversation and breakthrough with that kind of situation. I hear so much about being in the industry from Debbie, Chloe, and Charli. They’ve talked about what they’ve had to go through as women to get to where they are. I didn’t feel that because I’ve been put in the right situation from the beginning and surrounded by amazing, beautiful women in this project — and all the producers and writers we worked with. At the time, I didn’t know how finicky band things were. I wondered if it meant we were broken up because of one argument.
Are you nervous about people watching this show? While you keep your house cleaner than pretty much any other band I’ve ever seen, you get pretty raw emotionally.
All of us in the band talk about this every single day, like ‘Holy crap! There is a show coming out with us in it that anyone can see and have their own view on, say what they want.’ But I think it’s better that we’re raw and put everything out there because that’s what happened. We’re not trying to hide anything. We weren’t there to be reality TV stars. W, we were there to make music and be in this band. We had to figure out our relationships with each other and the dynamic of being in a band. I’m happy it’s all out there. There’s so much footage that isn’t even in it, I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that, but you have to cut so much down. I almost wish there were 10 more seasons.
Is working with women producers, engineers, and songwriters a priority for the band?
Always. Debbie and Chloe are currently working on their own productions too, which is amazing to see. We’re mostly inspired by people who live near us. I found myself running into more female musicians here and there, and there are a lot of male musicians as well who I will have conversations with and invite over to my house if I need someone to play guitar. It honestly doesn’t matter who we’re writing with, as long as it clicks. But I think giving more opportunities to other women where we can makes sense and feels right.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.