Contributor’s Note: Great Wight’s debut album, ‘The Suburbs Have Ruined My Life,’ is a uniquely political album. The commentary on American society goes so far beyond the surface level ideas that I found my self thinking about Erik Garlington’s words for days afterwords. This album feels so perfectly contemporary while not being so rooted in the here and now that it can’t be considered timeless. I know it may be a bit premature to call an album that came out last year as timeless, but I feel confident saying that Great Wight is something special. I was lucky enough to talk to Erik about what’s going on with Great Wight before they headed to London.
What was going on in your life when you were writing the songs on ‘The Suburbs Have Ruined My LIfe’? I sense a lot of anxiety and frustration in the lyrics.
I think it’s more of a growing up with the unique perspective that I did than any specific moment in my life inspiring the record. I’ve always felt out of place and hyper aware that everyone else noticed it too. It was just an entire lifetime of that trapped feeling, before I finally escaped and moved to New York.
How has your song writing changed over the past few years?
It’s been pretty consistent the last 5 or so years. Before that I was really hit or miss and wrote about the same 2 or 3 topics. I kinda just had to loosen up. I realized I could write a song about a movie, or from someone else’s perspective that I normally wouldn’t think of.
Are you the main songwriting force in the band?
How does a song go from an idea to a track on the album? Yes! I write the lyrics and guitar then rest of it in my head. After that I’ll bring it to my bandmates and tell them what I had in mind for it. Sometimes I’ll describe a movie scene or a feeling to them to inspire their parts, which is pretty great for everyone to come up with their own parts.
I find your music to be very politically astute. You seem to really dive into a lot of issues that America is dealing with right now. Did you ever experience any pushback because of your political beliefs?
I get hate mail every now and then on reddit but for the most part people have been really cool about it! I’ve performed some of these songs in places like Kansas and Mississippi and surprisingly I didn’t die.
Were songs like “The American Way,” or “Not Black Enough,” inspired by personal experiences you’ve had?
The American Way was half personal experience, half just growing around conservative Christians. It’s wild the things they say in public, let alone some of the beliefs they’re known for. ‘Not Black Enough’ was all personal experience. Same thing, people just think they can say whatever racist thought that comes into their minds because, in their eyes, I ‘wasn’t like the other black people’.
What band would you most like to open for?
It’s a 3 way tie between Say Anything, Kanye West, and Anderson .Paak. I’d probably cry if I’m being honest.
I know you just played The Chris Gethard Show, what was that like?
Fucking wild. I’ve never been on any kind of production like that. I was 2 seconds away from nervous puking at all times but also just super excited to take it all in. It felt like a DIY punk show but for television, if that makes any sense!
Where can people see you this summer?
The UK, Europe, and hopefully a couple weekenders to Canada! We’re trying to branch out to new cities this summer, places like Baltimore, D.C., etc. We’ll play anywhere!
And there you have it! Great Wight will be performing in Europe and New York this summer. Check out tour dates below.
Saturday, June 23rd/Sunday, June 24th- Decolonise Fest in London, United Kingdom
Sunday, June 24th- Gulliver’s in Manchester, United Kingdom
Monday, June 25th- Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham, United Kingdom
Wednesday, June 27th- The Hope & Ruin in Brighton, United Kingdom
Thursday, June 28th- Canadian Cafe in Tours, France
Friday, June 29th – P8 in Karlsruhe, Germany
Sunday, July 1st- AZ Koln in Cologne, Germany
Monday, July 2nd- Cafe Molotov in Ghent, Belgium
Sunday, July 15th- Trans-Pecos in Ridgewood, New York
Sunday, July 29th- Bushwick Public House in Brooklyn, New York
For tickets and further information on any of the shows listed above, click here.
Fans can find Great Wight at the following locations:
*Photo Credit: Nikki Austin