Oxeye Daisy singer Lela Roy almost didn’t release the new single “Wanting” because she feared it was too sexual. It took a lot of convincing from her bandmates to drop the song — which she wrote about a year ago, when she was very lonely and horny — during the pandemic; they felt that others might be experiencing similar angst and desire.
“We thought this song just touches upon so many things that a lot of people are feeling right now,” Roy says.
When penning the song, Roy wanted to write something that embodied sensuality and female sexuality in a raw but un-exploitative way. Musically, Roy says, most of the song is minimalist, but she wanted it to build toward a high-impact climax.
“I hope that reads for people,” she says.
While it took some coaxing from mates Eddie Schmid, Ramel Sanchez, Daniel DiMarchi and Stephen Pamas to get Roy to release the risqué song, she still has anxiety about what her family or co-workers might think.
“The conclusion that I came to was, I don't think any good artist has ever made art that their parents approved of,” she says. “And I really do love this song. I wouldn't put all this mental, emotional energy into releasing something like this if I didn't really think it was worth doing.”
While Oxeye Daisy released the single on all streaming platforms in early June, the band was also slated to team up with Indie 102.3 and Night Lights Denver to premiere the music video for “Wanting” on June 3, as a socially distanced visual and auditory experience where the video was to be projected on the Daniels & Fisher Tower on the 16th Street Mall. But wanting to stay in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protesters and with the city's curfew in place, Oxeye Daisy postponed the video release until Saturday, June 27, at 9 p.m.
Earlier this year, the band met Los Angeles-based celebrity portrait and fashion photographer Casey Curry at the Southwest/Cocoa-Cola-sponsored Eats & Beats contest, where Oxeye Daisy was one of three finalists. The band hit it off with Curry, who was in Denver making a commercial with the finalists, and tapped him to direct the video for “Wanting.”
Not long before coronavirus essentially shut down the American music industry, Roy flew to Los Angeles to shoot the video. Because everything in the video is backwards and slowed down, Curry originally asked Roy to learn the words backwards at twice the speed of the song; they would record it so it would match the video when it was slowed down.
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To memorize the lyrics of the song backwards, Roy played it in reverse, repeating the garbled language — something that’s very hard to do under normal circumstances, but was even harder to go during the shoot, when she had freezing water poured on her.
“I was trying to sing the song backwards, and not only is it just impossible under perfect circumstances to match up the words perfectly backwards,” she says. “It's a hundred times more impossible when you're being doused in cold water.”
Roy panicked, frustrated things weren't working when she had flown all the way to L.A. and spent a lot of money on the video. But Curry then came up with the idea of Roy not singing the lyrics at all.
“And that's honestly how it came out, and then it just looked beautiful,” she says. “It's not what we originally intended going in, but it's a really beautiful, subtle, slow piece of art, and we're all really happy with how it turned out.”