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The DIOP Circle V.7

August 5th, 2019


Erik Garlington

Every Sunday, we publish a story from a member of the DIOP community. Because each and every one of you is on a journey and we're right there with you.

This week, it's the Erik Garlington show. He's our 192nd customer and his Kind of Blue bandana helps keep his wrist dry when he's shredding on the guitar. Erik is going to let us in on how he formed his Black indie band Proper.

 

Take us there, Erik:

Like everyone who’s seen the movie Drumline, I thought I wanted to play drums.

And like everyone who’s seen the movie Drumline and tried out for drums in their school band, I didn’t make it. Everyone in my family is an athlete; my Dad was a boxer, Mom ran track, and my brothers did football and wrestling respectively. I needed a thing- my thing. And music became it.

Instead of drums, I ended up playing trombone for six years. I didn’t actually pick up a guitar until I turned 12. At the time, I was listening to a lot of Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance. Emo and indie music gave me the space to explore and try things out that I hadn’t already been exposed to.

I joined a real band my sophomore year of high school playing Bass guitar. It was good to get a feel for the stage but I was still too anxious to perform my own music that I had written.

We’d play the one venue in our small town in Missouri. Sometimes I’d open up with some solo songs and it started to build my confidence. It turned out I really enjoyed the thrill of putting myself out there and showing people what I had made.

I moved to Kansas City in 2009. There I learned everything from how to approach a promoter to how to book my own shows. It took me about five years to really hone my skills.

But I still wasn’t completely satisfied with the scene. The songs I write are from a specific Black experience. And some of the White bandmates I had never fully understood where I was coming from.

The answer was clear; I needed a band that was all Black.

So I moved to Brooklyn about two years ago to search for those bandmates. I met our drummer, Elijah Watson, early on through a friend of a friend. It took a little while until, after playing an acoustic guitar set of music I had written on a friend’s roof, Natasha, who was sitting in front came up to me said “I’ll play what you need" on Bass.

We got together and started jamming. It all clicked immediately.

From there, we formed a band. Our first album, The Suburbs Are Ruining My Life, came out in 2017 and we played a bunch of live shows throughout the year. Being on tour is great because it’s finding family.

When we aren’t playing, we’re just hanging out. I hadn’t left the country since I was three or four, so when the offer to play Decolonize Fest in London came up, we jumped at it. Touring Europe is great because where shows here tend to be more like parties, there the crowd is just as receptive to the music.

When my string breaks, it feels like it’s the end of the world. Which is why my advice is never to dive in without a full plan.

I knew breaking into music professionally would be tough so I had to save up. I still do odd jobs like walking dogs. But I wouldn’t trade carrying a 75 pound amp up three flights of stairs in winter for anything.

Now I’m pushing myself as a songwriter and an artist. I’m just trying to keep learning new things and level up.


By Erik Garlington

Follow Erik @thekingbeetle and his band Proper @likearealproper. Their new album "I Spent the Winter Writing Songs About Getting Better" is available on all platforms.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of DIOP.


The DIOP Circle V.7

August 5th, 2019


Erik Garlington

Every Sunday, we publish a story from a member of the DIOP community. Because each and every one of you is on a journey and we're right there with you.

This week, it's the Erik Garlington show. He's our 192nd customer and his Kind of Blue bandana helps keep his wrist dry when he's shredding on the guitar. Erik is going to let us in on how he formed his Black indie band Proper.

Take us there, Erik:

Like everyone who’s seen the movie Drumline, I thought I wanted to play drums.

And like everyone who’s seen the movie Drumline and tried out for drums in their school band, I didn’t make it. Everyone in my family is an athlete; my Dad was a boxer, Mom ran track, and my brothers did football and wrestling respectively. I needed a thing- my thing. And music became it.

Instead of drums, I ended up playing trombone for six years. I didn’t actually pick up a guitar until I turned 12. At the time, I was listening to a lot of Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance. Emo and indie music gave me the space to explore and try things out that I hadn’t already been exposed to.

I joined a real band my sophomore year of high school playing Bass guitar. It was good to get a feel for the stage but I was still too anxious to perform my own music that I had written. We’d play the one venue in our small town in Missouri.

Sometimes I’d open up with some solo songs and it started to build my confidence. It turned out I really enjoyed the thrill of putting myself out there and showing people what I had made.

I moved to Kansas City in 2009. There I learned everything from how to approach a promoter to how to book my own shows. It took me about five years to really hone my skills.

But I still wasn’t completely satisfied with the scene. The songs I write are from a specific Black experience. And some of the White bandmates I had never fully understood where I was coming from.

The answer was clear;

I needed a band that was all Black.

So I moved to Brooklyn about two years ago to search for those bandmates. I met our drummer, Elijah Watson, early on through a friend of a friend. It took a little while until, after playing an acoustic guitar set of music I had written on a friend’s roof, Natasha, who was sitting in front came up to me said “I’ll play what you need" on Bass.

We got together and started jamming. It all clicked immediately.

From there, we formed a band. Our first album, The Suburbs Are Ruining My Life, came out in 2017 and we played a bunch of live shows throughout the year.

Being on tour is great because it’s finding family. When we aren’t playing, we’re just hanging out.

I hadn’t left the country since I was three or four, so when the offer to play Decolonize Fest in London came up, we jumped at it. Touring Europe is great because where shows here tend to be more like parties, there the crowd is just as receptive to the music.

When my string breaks, it feels like it’s the end of the world. Which is why my advice is never to dive in without a full plan.

I knew breaking into music professionally would be tough so I had to save up. I still do odd jobs like walking dogs. But I wouldn’t trade carrying a 75 pound amp up three flights of stairs in winter for anything.

Now I’m pushing myself as a songwriter and an artist. I’m just trying to keep learning new things and level up.

- By Erik Garlington


Follow Erik @thekingbeetle and his band Proper @likearealproper. Their new album "I Spent the Winter Writing Songs About Getting Better" is available on all platforms.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of DIOP.