Following the organic buzz around shows at SXSW and a debut single for Council Records (Scalping, Talk Show) in “Clearly A Crisis”, NYC’s The Wants return with the follow-up, “Fear My Society”, an immediate slice of gloomy art-punk that pairs both new wave sensibilities and off-kilter hooks to an influence from minimal techno.
Their second single took years to find it’s final form, as songwriter Madison Velding-VanDam explains:
“Fear My Society is a song that has gone through multiple genre shifts and moods until it finally clicked this past year. In one sense, the lyrics couldn’t be more straightforward — a reflection of the always-shifting (though recently seismically so) political, economic, and technological atmosphere of the United States. But I didn’t write the song in reaction to this. I was reflecting on the pressures I put on myself to achieve — “will you love me if I’m a failure?” is an honest concern of mine, a universal and primal concern that spans generations and even species. I’m interested in always pushing a step further towards what scares me.”
The Wants front-man Madison and bassist Heather are also members of Bodega, with Madison fulfilling both guitar duties and also producing new material for the band set for release later this year.
Madison also handles co-production alongside Jason Gates for The Wants’ own material and has directed their accompanying visuals in collaboration with Philadelphia-born photographer Madison Carroll. For the “Fear My Society” video, the Madisons traveled to Detroit where Velding-VanDam’s mother resides, near where he spent his formative years. He was compelled to film there after a recent visit to Zug Island, an industrial park and coal mine right on the edge of the Detroit river.
Departing from New York, the two spent time along Highway 80, between the Northeast and Midwest urban centers where they spent their respective upbringings. The Madisons found themselves drawn to these landscapes considered “liminal”, literally deemed “unincorporated areas”, where vast expanses of land surrounding stretches of rest stops and motor inns were speckled with glowing houses in the eerily silent early hours of the morning. The isolation and economic dissolution of the Midwest felt more
relatable to native Velding-VanDam’s core than the gentrified, hyper-curated outer world of New York City.
This idea of parallel realities ebbed back into the psyche of Velding-VanDam in the conception of the “Fear My Society” video, inhabiting a character and lifestyle that he had envisioned in a previous chapter of life, which had been spent working odd-yet-more-properly-stable jobs in retail, customer service, and the service industry.
The Wants will follow the release of “Fear My Society” with a short run of headlining dates around the UK. You can catch them at the following venues:
September 16th – The Waiting Room, London
September 18th – The Hope & Ruin, Brighton
September 19th – YES, Manchester
September 20th – The Lanes, Bristol
September 21st – Acapulco Bar, Portsmouth
The Wants are:
Madison Velding-VanDam – guitar, vocals
Jason Gates – drums, electronics
Heather Elle – bass