By Nicholas Jason Lopez
A man with facial scruff, a white t-shirt and jeans strums madly on his guitar.
Next to him, a woman with long, brown hair in a jet-black t-shirt with “WILD FEMINIST” in white letters clutches a microphone with her left hand.
She screams, “I CAN’T SLEEP WITH FOUR FRONT DOORS!” before she thumps away on her keyboard with both hands and emphatically bobs her head along to the intense, fuzzy, distorted music.
This duo is headed towards the end of their cover of Talking Heads’ “Born Under Punches.”
Normally known as a trio named Good In The Dark, they perform as a two-piece without their drummer, dependent upon the show’s location.
GITD consists of Heather Perry (vocals, synth, bass), Grant Goldsworthy (guitar, vocals) and Carlos Zapata (drums, percussion).
Their name derived from an LCD Soundsystem song, their sound’s best described as “Disco-Punk.”
“I think we have elements that are kind of glossy and kind of glam,” said Perry. “The dance elements and the synthesizers are all very meticulously planned, but then we have this sort of post-punk noise guitar that scribbles over everything that I really like a lot.”
Their mission – one clear goal.
“There just aren’t a lot of bands that are guitar-based that are trying to make people dance,” said Zapata. “Sometimes we wonder if we’re more suited for a dance club or something. A lot of people don’t dance at rock shows and that’s kind of what we’re all about. We want to inspire that in people.”
Energy levels dictate the key difference between their two-piece and three-piece sets.
“It’s so much easier to get people to move their bodies and lose their shyness when there’s real drums happening and you can feel the kick in your chest, so I think that it’s really helping with the dance factor in the crowd to have the real drums present,” said Perry. “Even visually, I think it’s so much bigger to have three people to look at rather than just Grant and I.”
Their debut EP Rafters was released in Nov. 2017 and received exceptional feedback from folks in the US and UK alike. It’s available digitally and on limited edition 10″ vinyl. In terms of the songs, Rafters was all about “dabbling in pop,” according to Perry.
The video for “When The Night Is Through” was released as well and showcases the band’s biggest assets – a fast, groovy rhythm paired with Perry’s soft voice and layered by the smooth pitter-patter of background drums, work their way to one catchy chorus.
“Contre Le Mur,” Rafters’ second single, contains all-French lyrics. It was a leftover from a former Chicago French band called The Ye-Ye’s that Zapata/Perry played in. Perry sought to rework the song from a 1960’s to 1980’s sound. Since she wasn’t fluent in French, that only presented a bigger challenge as a songwriter.
Nowadays, with more emphasis on digital platforms, it can be harder for new bands to stand out.
“I think maybe one thing that’s a challenge to me sometimes is because of social media and the fact that you just can’t be a band without it and the pressure of also having to basically create a brand for yourself and your band makes me agonize over Instagram posts and just overthink everything,” said Perry with a laugh. “I hate social media but I have to use it and so I think I agonize over those decisions a lot because I don’t really know if I’m ever making the right decision or if I’m doing things right.”
Besides the normal everyday struggles, DIY has become a lifestyle.
“It’s hard at the level we’re at because we’re doing everything ourselves, so I feel like one challenge is just wearing so many hats,” said Perry. “I have to write and perform, I also have to record, I also have to be our booker, I also have to run our website, I also have to get the merchandise made. I can’t wait until we’re at a level where there are other people who help with those things.”
Recently completed a two-week tour that spanned 4,200 miles, five cities and the 2019 South By Southwest Festival, the band has garnered momentum towards their second album, set to release this summer. The band recorded it over the span of a week and a half last August in Chicago. The music has been described as “more collaborative and complex” than Rafters.
“I’m really especially proud of the lyrics that I’ve written for this new EP,” said Perry. “The first one, I was experimenting with pop. I’m very much a songwriter, but for that EP, I kind of paid less attention to the lyrics than I normally do on that one because I wanted to play with those pop structures. This one, I’ve very much gone back to my songwriter instincts and I’m really proud of the way the songs are turning out. I think they’re still really catchy and dancy.”
The new material will also cover wider topics.
“The first [EP] again, because of how poppy it was, was just about partying or crushes or sex or you know, the usual,” Perry said. “This one – I almost died in a car accident last year, I had wrote a very strange song about that. There’s songs that are maybe a little bit more political than we’ve done before. My general life rule is that I don’t care what terrible things befall me, if I get a good song out of it, it was totally worth it.”
Their “Born Under Punches” cover will also be featured.
“It’s very much our own take on it,” said Perry. “It’s very dirty and electro in a way that the Talking Heads version isn’t, but what I really like about the way we do it – the song is almost thirty years old, but singing it now in the Trump era that we’re in and hearing it delivered by a woman I think has a lot of really fascinating new meanings so we do that song and it feels incredibly political.”
The band’s general consensus is that feelings are optimistic about what’s soon to come.
“I think there are some songs that when I listen to them, I want to listen to them again, which is hard to say that you made something like that,” said Goldsworthy. “That’s a hard thing to achieve, so I think it’s really cool. I think we all have a better idea on the second record of how to make a better version of what we already were. I’m excited about playing those songs live too. I’m really encouraged for the future. There’s a lot that I think the three of us can do together.”