Photos by Devon Bristol Shaw
Yeaaaaah, you do.
In the words of Cheap Trick, “I want you to want me. I need you to need me.” Thus, The Wants. A band all about alliterative phrases. Ok, I made that up, but are you not a little bit more curious about them now? The Wants are the type of band in which you could suggest Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” to lead singer, Madison Velding-VanDam as a befitting karaoke choice, stylistically geared towards his vocal range and he’d probably be game. How do I know this? Because as Alphaville’s resident Monday midnight karaoke host, I have suggested this before and he was actually down to sing it.
Now that I’ve piqued your curiosity, you can start to understand the type of band members that make up The Wants. They’re the type, that if you find yourself at a Saturday night Priests’ show, with direct support from Future Punx, they’ll all be in attendance supporting their fellow bandmate, Heather Strange, who plays keys for both bands. And later on after the show, will be back at the karaoke game singing songs with the headlining band for some post show hangs. Now that I’ve successfully convinced you of their affinity for karaoke, it’s probably easy for you to see why I like them. You know, because I’m perceptive in these ways.
Recently, The Wants invited me to their space at Danbro in Bushwick to photograph their practice. A magically small room that felt larger than expected while filled to the brim with gear, amps, and a plethora of lightning thanks to Heather. It was refreshing to be greeted with such congenial enthusiasm since they were essentially allowing, me, an outsider, a view into both their creative headspace and musical sanctuary. Not only was I treated to a private performance while gleefully snapping away, but I also got to see another side to these band members, a side that seemed deeply passionate and caring about the direction of their music and future hopes for the band. Sentiments that all artists could easily relate to and congruently, personally understand.
The Wants are what Gang of Four would sound like if they themselves were a band just starting out in 2017. As of now, they’re just finishing up their forthcoming record so the rest of their new found fans can bask in the sweet sounds that I myself have been privy to—which is best described by the band as, “draw[ing] sonic and aesthetic energy from the vanguard of post-punk, the interlocking rhythms of minimal techno, and [a] melodic sensibility from contemporary pop.” Not only are they musically intriguing, but also hypnotically memorizing as well, thanks to their attention to detail in both their appearance and understanding of their audience and simultaneous portrayal of themselves as performers.
On bass is Lydia Gammill, Jason Gates on drums, Heather Strange on keys and Madison Velding-VanDam on guitar and lead vocals at their upcoming show with Ian Sweet, Air Waves, French Vanilla and The Entire Universe, both out of Los Angeles at Berlin NYC in Manhattan on August 12th in New York City.