Catching up with Brooklyn, New York's Great Wight
Fresh off the plane from their first UK/European tour, Brooklyn’s Great Wight has had quite a year following their debut effort The Suburbs Have Ruined My Life (check out our album review *here*). We had the chance to chat with Great Wight’s very own Erik Garlington about international touring, the exclusivity of the punk scene, and what the future holds for the band.
phluff: I heard from your label that you just had your first record, The Suburbs Have Ruined My Life, pressed on vinyl! That’s huge! What does that feel like, being able to actually hold something that you poured your heart and soul into?
EG: Weird. Like really weird! I remember even a year ago I was stressing about money and how I was gonna be able to afford even cassettes. Thom came through and saved the day. Because of OPR we have CDs, cassettes, and now vinyl. It's amazing to see someone believe in you so much. I can't believe it sometimes, it's amazing.
phluff: Congratulations on the UK/European tour you just got back from! How did the international tour life treat you? Any wild stories from across the Atlantic?
EG: Yoooooooooo! Touring in Europe is on a whole nother level then the U.S. Every show was well attended, every one was super accommodating, and the other bands, who we'd never met in person before, were so kind and talented. If you don't already know them, stop what you're doing and go listen to Kermes and Fresh. It was so refreshing to be on tour with other queer punks. As for wild stories, there were multiple occasions where someone in the crowd knew every word to our songs. That's the craziest thing to me. We just flew 1000+ miles from home and there were kids that drove hours to see us. I still can't believe it.
phluff: I lived in Paris for a little bit, and I found that some topics like racism and discrimination are often left undiscussed in some European countries, at least much more so than in the States. How do you think some of the themes on your record were received by the crowds?
EG: Only a handful of people spoke English at our Paris show so I have no fucking idea. lol The few that did really enjoyed it though! My 3 years of French in high school failed me so whenever a local tried to talk to me all I could do was nod politely and say, 'Merci!' over and over again.
phluff: You’ve said that your music initially started out on MySpace as a pop project, then went through some phases before ending up at the punk we have today. As your music has evolved, how do you think that your method of songwriting changed?
EG: Oh god, I told someone that??? lol I'm so glad I deleted that myspace page! But no, my song writing method is exactly the same. I don't practice for hours on end like I did when I was younger though so I'm not as good of a guitarist (I mean I'm not gonna write a prog metal song any time soon) as I used to be though. :(
phluff: A lot of people have said that the punk and emo scene has become so concentrated with the same voices: white men talking about how unfair life is to them as well as a new wave of meme-y bands that have overtaken the scenes. Do you have any thoughts on the direction in which the scene is heading?
EG: I have thoughts but I'm not trying to piss of the HNICs before they can cut me a check. lol I'm not naming names but my problem is all these tours/festivals that pop up where every single band is straight white dudes. You're telling me we live in a time line where Kississippi, Vagabon, Told Slant, and Camp Cope exists but y'all really just wanna see Straight White Men Strikes Back: Electric Bagaloo AGAIN??? Nah, fuck that.
phluff: As a half-Iranian woman, it’s for me easy to spot issues of representation in the music industry, especially the punk scene. How does it feel to know that your record could be THE record that inspires young POCs who want to make music, but feel like they’re already excluded?
EG: It feels great. I'm not gonna lie, that's definitely the goal. I just want to be that person for kids. It's the kind of person I needed when I first started playing guitar 15 years ago and people told me I wasn't really black for it.
Phluff: What does the future look like for Great Wight? Taking up a residence in Germany? New music? Touring forever?
EG: Definitely more tours! We skipped the west coast to go to Europe, which made a lot of people mad so we should probably make that happen soon. Besides touring, we just want start playing shows with bands we look up to (We have a show with Iron Chic a month away!!!) more often trying to take it to that next level. Oh and also a van, we're saving for a van. Taking a 4am bus home from a show in a state 2 hours away really sucks!