With The Wants’ debut album Container set for release in just a few weeks time, the band are today sharing the album title track. Where previous single “Fear My Society” cut a foreboding shape, and recent single “The Motor” stood out for its revved-up, uneasy guitar and bass riffs, “Container” is the band at their most complete. Guitarist and vocalist Madison Velding-VanDam’s dead-pan delivery chimes perfectly with his skewed guitar and electronic underbelly. He explains:
The lyrics and melody for “Container”, which would become the title track of our debut record, came about from a writing exercise I try often: alone in my room, I ramble into my sm7b with my mattress upturned, leaning against the wall to dull excess reverberations, forcing myself to record whatever lyrical threads and tunes come out. Usually I take maybe just one phrase that sticks out — or more often nothing, since I do this just to get ideas flowing — and use that to develop a classic rhyming pattern. But for “Container,” the lyrical stream-of-consciousness stuck: full of nonsequetors, mildly sadistic stanzas that satirize the mundanity of domestic and work life, comically absurdist quips, gender plays that fold and flip, all of which felt like perfect encapsulations for the themes of our record.
Container was recorded and produced by Madison Velding-VanDam and Jason Gates at HANJIN, their shipping container converted to studio in a Chinese factory parking lot, as well as respective home studios. The Wants slowly drafted the record over three years, starting with their more post-punk ideas and slowly mutating to include their more adventurous interests in techno, experimental electronic, and ambient music. The process was one of constantly re-imagining a tracks’ potential, generally leaving the melody and lyrics — or the core song as it could be played on an acoustic guitar — in tact, weaving new ideas in and around the initial structures. Entire songs and versions would be scrapped after realising that they didn’t fit the overall palette and album vision, which became clearer and clearer.
That the album’s polished sound was captured in the band member’s respective bedrooms and rehearsal space is a testament to their attention to detail: Velding-VanDam is a seasoned bedroom pop auteur, and Gates has a wealth of studio experience (Debbie Harry, Angelo Badalamenti, Lykke Li, My Morning Jacket). They recruited pop and hip-hop engineer Jeremy Cimino (J. Cole, Pharrel) for his ability to give their rock instrumentation a fuller sound that explicitly differentiates it from the ubiquity of more genre-abiding contemporary indie recordings.