With the same lineup for over ten years, Chicago rock trio Model Stranger credits their lasting relationship to patience, hive mentality and their need to connect with like-minds- which was also a core force in their new single, “Pick Me.”
The single, off their record Phases, made its way onto the album almost immediately. The song, written with a simple A/B, verse-chorus format was not something Model Stranger usually adheres to, but it’s what the song called for.
“The song was written from that main guitar riff in the intro that essentially runs through track,” guitarist Stephen Francis told American Songwriter. “That riff was brought into the band and then we worked with that until we had something that resembled a song structure. For a couple tours we had it out on the road with us and the lyrics were mostly placeholder in nature or being adlibbed live. Over time a lot of the words found their way into the music. Once the theme and that feeling of the vocal was identified the rest of the lyrics worked themselves. It’s a very simple song without any lyrical structure but a verse and chorus. This isn’t a usual approach for Model Stranger, but this song happened to develop this way.”
The song’s title alone, foretells what the lyrical content will explore, a basic and primal human need to feel wanted. And it’s something the guys in Model Stranger thrive on, though it can be both beautiful and ugly at the same time.
“The need to be seen, heard, felt by others is a core part of who we are,” Francis said. “This is what drives us toward community and into relationships. I think we all want to feel that we belong to part of something or someone. To me desire has many faces and changes shape. It can look ambitious, generous, greedy, sometimes terribly selfish. But it isn’t always a bad thing. Desire can also be playful and other times it can get a bit more desperate. When I’m feeling the desire to connect, especially since COVID with a limited social circle, I look to the community we’ve built with Model Stranger, take a good walk with a friend, or hop on a ZOOM meeting.”
Highlighted by the minimal song structure, the song stands apart from many remaining songs from Model Stranger’s new record, which is ripe with lots of straight forward rock tracks. Though, there are a few songs that complement “Pick Me” and allowed for it to be included.
“For Phases we really showcased a couple of different sounds that we love, but all in the rock vain,” drummer Vincent Joseph said. “Each track complements the next while each being different. If ‘Pick Me’ is going to piggyback with any other songs directly, I would say ‘Without A Sound’ and ‘Away! Away!’ would be closest.”
Model Stranger has not halted any writing efforts with the release of “Pick Me” and the completion of Phases. And they agree on the mutual focus and prioritization of their band as a kind of community.
“We got really lucky by getting three, like-minded and ambitious individuals together with similar goals and passion to go on this magical journey with,” bassist Kevin James said. “I don’t think it’s something that you come across very easily.”
With a solid lineup and focused efforts, Model Stranger is working and writing just as much, while developing new ways to reach their new virtual audiences of 2020.
“We never really stop writing, kind of part of our DNA to create regularly,” Francis said.
“Without touring we’re exploring the digital landscape of live in-studio performances to keep playing ‘live’ shows while giving our fans continuous and quality content,” James added.
Check out “Pick Me” here today on American Songwriter. And give their full-length, Phases a spin here, by ordering the vinyl, which includes their other single, “Breaks My Heart.”