meet PROPER. and watch their new video for "A$AP Rocky Type Beat"
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Removed from his adolescent life navigating the bible belt, Erik Garlington is now a young adult based in NYC, facing his issues surrounding family, race, and sexual identity head on. His main creative channel is through his band Proper., completed by a ferocious rhythm section in drummer Elijah Watson and bassist Natasha Johnson.
Today, Proper. has shared that they’ll be working with esteemed indie label Big Scary Monsters (American Football, Martha) for their upcoming releases, including a new song out today called “A$AP Rocky Type Beat.”
“A$AP Rocky Type Beat” details an entirely different kind of accountability… the kind where you find yourself stuck in an endless loop of fucking up and getting better. It’s also a great introduction to the kind of vulnerability listeners can expect from Garlington, with notable lines like “don’t get me started on my fragile masculinity / all I heard growing up was queer men can’t be manly” channeling the striking honesty of two of his biggest inspirations, Kanye West and Max Bemis (Say Anything).
“Lyrically, I just had one of those days where every embarrassing moment of my life came flooding back at once,” Erik explains of the track, reflecting on low account balances and awkward Grindr conversations. “I figured why not write about it and be able to laugh at myself.”
It’s endearing how real Proper. gets on just this one track––whether it's in the video where drummer Eli Watson is seen carrying around a huge stuffed dog in an act of wacky individuality, or in the lyrics, where Garlington shares some of his not-so-cute Grindr mishaps. These moments, all the embarrassing ones, flooding his mind were what inspired this track in particular—and as for the video: Erik says it's “about being yourself, even if yourself is fucking weird. We’re taught to figure that stuff out in high school and then quickly unlearn all that self-love and quirkiness in order to become a ‘real adult.’ Shit’s wack."
This is the first new music to be released under the name Proper., who have spent the last year touring all over the US, UK and Europe, as well as performing on The Chris Gethard Show and at SXSW this past spring.
The name Proper. is actually a reference to something Erik hears all the time — “you talk real proper” –– as if his blackness comes into question based on how he acts or speaks. In his own words: “when we prescribe ideas of whiteness to words like intelligence or articulate, we’re furthering a system that will continue to oppress black people and other POC."
Proper., as a band, is a direct response to that, as well as the homogeneity of punk and its adjacent genres.