A punk-infused extrapolation on personal heritage, Brooklyn trio Proper. have shared their latest single ‘Huerta’. Taken from their upcoming album The Great American Novel, which is set for release on 25th March via Big Scary Monsters, the track dives into lead vocalist Erik Garlington’s thoughts about his unexplored Mexican heritage, punctuated by candid lyrics and thumping beats.
Formed of Garlington (vocals/guitar), Natasha Johnson (bass) and Elijah Watson (drums), Proper. have been cutting their teeth on the emo and punk underground circuits in America since 2017. Formerly known as Great Wight, Proper. noticed they were often the only queer people of colour performing in a predominantly white, heterosexual scene, which led to the creation of their new album, The Great American Novel. Described as “a concept album about how Black genius goes ignored, is relentlessly contested, or just gets completely snuffed out before it can flourish,” the record sees the trio resisting the conformity that comes with being taught to ignore your true identity and become “another dull American,” which they lament on latest single ‘Huerta’.
“We’re coming up on our third album and I realized I hadn’t written about my Mexican heritage at all,” Garlington explains. “My grandfather immigrated to the US in the 50s but died before I was born, cutting off the only tie my family has to Mexico. I grew up romanticizing it and it wasn’t until I was older, when my mom and her siblings spoke out about their dad without the filter one uses when speaking around children, that I began to critically examine what heritage and lineage meant. ‘Huerta’ is about looking at the least traveled part of your personality and day dreaming about the possibility.”
Actively evaluating his thoughts about his Mexican heritage throughout the single – “romantacise it to death / just don’t hold your breath” – Garlington and his bandmates offer listeners an insight into what it means to censor or ignore parts of yourself and the impact that can have on your own identity, as well as the wider perception of this identity in predominantly white spaces. “If these audiences are going to be a voyeur to the Black experience, I want them to hear this record and learn about our identity crises,” Garlington continues. Proper.’s unfiltered approach on ‘Huerta’ is a cathartic antidote to this voyeurism.
Listen to ‘Huerta’ below.
Photo Credit: Milla Belanich