From Craigslist to California, Brooklyn’s own THICK just don’t know when to stop. And thank God they don’t! They’re joyous, they’re enraged, they’re a little drunk, and they’re every punk’s best friend. We’re only halfway through 2018 and they’re already probably a strong contender for the same title again. So far, they’ve completed their first West Coast tour, released one hell of a new record (Would You Rather EP), and killed it at Northside Festival where they headlined two showcases and introduced us to a gut-bustingly hilarious and honest screaming track about the expectations their moms put on them.
So, yeah, it’s safe to say that THICK might be taking over Brooklyn. Other than uproariously fun shows and massive riffs, they’re also just really fucking cool. Guitarist Nikki Sisti bounces around (during shows and in person) like a toddler in a candy shop, grinning with a smile that could fill a magazine cover. A little on the shy side, drummer Shari Page lounges back with some serious too-cool-for-school, SoCal vibes despite her Long Island origins. Like an older sister bassist Kate Black watches over the band in between body rolls and head-banging. These three energies convalesce into an addictive punk rock presence, but it all wouldn’t have happened if Black hadn’t answered an anonymous Craigslist ad looking for a bassist.
Several years into their career, THICK meet me at their Bushwick rehearsal space so I can try to catch a glimpse of the magic that created fantastic jams like “Bleeding”, a grungy, straight-up anthem about menstruation. With wine, beer, and leftover homemade rice crispy treats in tow, I was treated to priceless comments like “I’ve been killing it at sweet potatoes lately,” pop-punk/emo nostalgia, and loaded french fries at a bar up the block. The trio invited us in with open arms and not a single ounce of judgment or pretension, a breath of fresh air in the cynical New York scene. In fact, the night ended up feeling like I was just shooting the shit with some cool people I met at a bar randomly one night.
If THICK couldn’t make punk music anymore, what would you make?
Nikki: Anti-Folk music. I would love to make Jeffrey Lewis songs. With his lyricism. 100%.
Shari: I would play guitar in a dad-rock band. Or I would mix, like, folk and EDM because I like making terrible beats and I really like playing folk music.
Kate: You would totally be in a dad-rock band.
Nikki: Would you rather be in a huge folk band that sucks but everyone loves…
Shari: And fall asleep every night when we play?
Nikki: Or a huge EDM band and you had to do cocaine every night to play your shows or play pop-punk?
Kate: Pop-punk. Although, I don’t really like it.
I feel like I missed out so much on the pop-punk craze.
Nikki: I feel like it was all that was around me. I literally didn’t know anything about anything besides what was on the radio.
Shari: It just was so big when we were in high school and Long Island was all pop-punk and emo bands. For me, that stuff’s really nostalgic. What was cool was meeting other people that have the same love for those terrible bands.
Nikki: Did you go to all the Taking Back Sunday shows?
Shari: No one in my grade was into those shows. I went to every single emo, pop-punk show.
What bands are we talking about?
Nikki: Let’s hear it, Shari.
Shari: The Early November, Catch 22, Envy on the Coast, High School Football Heroes. I saw Good Charlotte when I was, like, 13.
Nikki: I saw Good Charlotte. I waited in line for that concert.
Shari: I was obsessed with Envy on the Coast. They went to my high school so I was obsessed. No one in my grade was into that. I just went. I had friends who were a year older or a year younger and we were just emo kids.
Nikki: Did you have black hair?
Shari: I never really looked emo. I’d wear a Senses Fail sweatshirt with jeans, but I was never really emo. I really hated Long Island.
Where in Long Island were you?
Shari: Syosset. It’s a huge Long Island town. White privilege. Rich kids. Everyone’s an asshole.
I’ve never heard a single positive thing from people who’re from Long Island about Long Island.
Kate: My boyfriend is from Long Beach and he really likes it. It’s actually its own island. It’s separated from the rest of Long Island.
Shari: Yeah, it’s a cool beach town. Growing up, it’s all like, “Oh, that’s where the surfers are.”
What’s your shirt say Nikki?
Nikki: Oh! “Dammit, Shari!” It’s my favorite shirt. She always says something that baffles me and I’m like, “Really?”
Is this a thing? Do you really say this a lot?
Kate: All the time.
Nikki: A good example is I was bartending one night and I was getting my period and she was like, “I’m gonna go get a chicken salad.” I’m like, “Sure, go get it. Go get your chicken salad, Shari.”
Shari: That was my routine.
Nikki: I told her, “Just get me a chocolate bar. I’m just craving chocolate.” And she comes back with a Hershey’s baking chocolate bar. And that just described my whole relationship with Shari. That constant moment of, not disappointment, but nothing’s really right.
Shari: I was also so high.
Nikki: Even during shows, she’ll be like, “Hey, guys, I’m ready to start!” And we’re like, “Great! Let’s go!”
Kate: And she hasn’t even taken her shoes off yet!
Nikki: And it takes her five minutes to take her shoes off.
You take your shoes off to drum?
Shari: Yeah, I always play barefoot. It hurts my feet otherwise and barefoot is just so free.
Nikki: There are all these small things with her that aren’t that weird—they’re just a little off. I’ll be telling a joke and I’ll have a punchline and Shari’s jokes just ruin it. I’ll be like, “So I was walking to school today,” and she’ll say, “Why are you walking to school? Just take the subway,” and I’m like, “You ruined the entire joke!” That’s “Dammit, Shari!”
It’s like a sitcom. It’ll be called “Dammit, Shari!”
Nikki: Yeah. Shari is a sitcom. Our first EP was called Dammit, Shari.
If the three of you are like Seinfeld, who’s who?
Nikki: Shari is George Costanza, for sure! Kate is Larry David. She produced it. That’s for sure. Like, behind the scenes. Am I Kramer? Be honest.
Kate: Are you Jerry?
Nikki: I think I might be Jerry. I don’t know.
I don’t know you guys that well, but Shari reminds of George. Just the Long Island thing alone. Do your friends yell at each other?
Shari: Kind of.
Kate: I think Shari might actually be Newman.
This reminds me, and maybe I’m horrible at segues, but I had a game I wanted to play with you guys. If you guys ever had a knack for improv.
Nikki: Oh, my god. Let’s do it.
Shari: I have a failed acting career.
Nikki: When I met Shari, she was an actress. I’m gonna need some more beer for this.
I wanted to see if you guys could imagine THICK as a person, like a character. Mr or Mrs THICK.
Kate: First of all, THICK would go by “they.”
Nikki: Kate would choose that. Definitely “they,” but they’d be a mix of tomboy and feminine. Like, you can’t tell. But they’d be super stoked by whatever.
Fluid and androgynous.
Shari: We’re definitely a tomboy band.
Nikki: When we first started the band, I only wore oversized t-shirts.
Kate: I always teased both of them that when they started dating girls, they both started dressing girlier. I dress pretty femme, but I’m such a tomboy at heart and played rugby in college. I got 10 stitches in the mosh pit at SXSW.
Nikki: We were at a Metz show. It was a 360 on the ground show and the monitor is in front of Kate because, of course, we’re up front.
Kate: And we’re pushing around 200-pound men, which is kind of my favorite thing to do in the world. But at the second to last song, all of a sudden, I have no idea, something hit me from behind and I went flying. This is the puzzle because I landed on the ground, Nikki picked me up, and I was looking at my friend who was playing bass at the time and I looked down and thought, “Okay, so I missed his pedalboard and didn’t fuck up his set so this is all fine.” And I laughed it off and looked down and I was just gushing blood. And I waited a little bit to go to the hospital because I was like, “This is totally fine!” It wasn’t that bad and I wasn’t that wasted. Not wasted enough that it would have fixed pain. I must have hit the metal part of the back of a monitor. I don’t know what was so sharp. It felt bad, but not horrible. I went home and started cleaning it out and, all of a sudden, I was like, “Oh, well, there’s my bone. That’s cool. Maybe I should go to the ER.”
Nikki: I was up watching Bob’s Burgers and eating pizza and I was like, “Go to bed. You’re fine.”
Like, your open wound is affecting me.
Nikki: Kate’s like, “I’m going to the ER.” And I’m like, “Fine. Whatever.”
What pisses THICK off? This might be obvious based on what you play.
Kate: Being condescended to. It makes me want to punch people in the face.
Nikki: When people are having a good time, but they don’t want to show it because they want to act cool.
Kate: Oh, fuck that, too!
It’s like the Brooklyn scene.
Nikki: It’s not everyone, but a lot of people. And I’m like, “I know for a fact that this song is a jumpy song.” Even if you don’t like the music we’re playing…I hate when people are too worried about their freaking self-image to just let go. That pisses me off. Fashion punk pisses me off.
And I’m a 12-year-old and my most important question about this character is what gives them the shits? Cocaine?
Nikki: Nervousness. Well, that’s me, at least.
Shari: I get nervous shits, also.
Kate: A lot of people do that, I think. My old roommate used to have to shit every time she had a date she was excited about.
Do you guys have any ticks for when you’re nervous or maybe even super excited on stage?
Kate: I always just stare at Nikki when I’m unhappy. If I look anxious, she’ll bounce more and then I’ll want to bounce and be like, “Okay, fuck what’s going on out there. Fuck what’s in my mind. But we’re here. It’s just us having fun and playing music. I can enjoy myself.”
Does Nikki have a tick for when she’s extra excited or extra nervous?
Kate: Extra nervous, she gets extra corny on stage.
Nikki: No! What is corny?
Kate: You take your normal moves and multiply by them by, like, 3000?
Nikki: That’s just me having fun. When I get nervous, I just turn around and look at Shari.
Shari: Yeah, I actually don’t crack under pressure, so…
Kate: You just giggle a lot when you’re nervous.
Nikki: Shari just talks all the time on stage.
Shari: I feel like we didn’t have a lot of people at our shows at first and I felt like I had the fill the gaps in between our songs with bad jokes. I think it’s important that there’s a good balance between our personality and the music. As long as you’re not talking too much.