‘never wanna’ is this summer’s anthem for sad people


Photo Courtesy of Ryan Kuk

Travis Newgren and Elena Buenrostro, creators of band Soft and Dumb, releases a new song that challenges the norms of summer tunes titled “never wanna” on June 10 which will be a part of their upcoming album “Soft and Dumb” set to release on September 2.

By Sydney Wood, buzz Editor

Not all summer anthems are upbeat, bright-sounding tunes that are reminiscent of summertime days full of life and color. In “never wanna,” local band Soft and Dumb proves that summer anthems can be slower and angsty.

Soft and Dumb is the brainchild of guitarist Elena Buenrostro and drummer Travis Newgren — two University alumni who met at a house show in the fall of 2018. They began dating in April 2019 and creating music together in December that same year.  

According to Buenrostro and Newgren, Soft and Dumb draws inspiration from Mitski, Soccer Mommy and Sonic Youth, the latter exemplified in the shoegaze-y vibe of the band’s latest single. 

The song “never wanna” dropped on June 10, and its music video will come out on June 14. The tune itself has many contrasting moments, with tender, soft verses that are eclipsed by a crushing chorus. 

Members of Soft and Dumb described “never wanna” as being this summer’s indie-rock anthem for people with anxiety. 

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“With summer, people like something that’s upbeat and pop-y,” Newgren said, “But you can still be sad in the summer. You can still be avoided and not wanting to see people in the summer. So it’s just kind of a twist on that.

Buenrostro — the songwriter — said the song is about anxiety, avoidant behavior and being unable to communicate emotions.

“It’s a lot about anxiety and the physical manifestations that come with anxiety,” they said. “My anxiety comes with a lot of nausea, and so the verses are actually about throwing up because you’re so anxious.” 

Buenrostro said the tune refers to the act of never having to endure an unpleasant experience or person again. Its hook is about wishing to never see someone again. 

“I like to use a lot of imagery of witchcraft, rituals in my writing,” they said. “And, yeah, this idea of burying it and severing its head. It’s just like how rituals can be really helpful in processing trauma and processing things that are tough to swallow.” 

The song “never wanna” is the debut single of the band’s upcoming self-titled album, which will be released on September 2. 

Buenrostro said “Soft and Dumb” is an intimate album that’s crafted with love, care and “a lot of thought.” Newgren agreed, saying it was difficult to bring in outside help to create the LP. 

“I don’t know if it’s like, out of this fear of not wanting to let other people in or whatever,” he said. “I think also since we’re a couple, it’s a little harder than with a normal band maybe to bring other people in because it’s this thing that’s like, so intimate.”

Members of Soft and Dumb said the upcoming album was born naturally out of their desire to record songs and put them online for people who cannot attend the band’s live shows and haven’t heard the band’s music. 

“We’ve been playing live shows, we’ve been collecting a lot of music that people just haven’t heard and can’t listen to,” Buenrostro said, “and we’re like, ‘We want people to read or listen to this,’ and so that was the initial motivation for recording the album.”

They described the “Soft and Dumb” album as being a self-portrait of what Soft and Dumb is in during this moment of time. 

“It’s just sort of who we are and what we create naturally without any specific constraints or concepts,” Buenrostro said. “It’s just sort of what comes out.”

Newgren agreed.

“We love the idea of having things not feel like overly contrived,” he said. “Like, I don’t think we’re ever sitting down and being like, ‘Oh, we really need to sound like this band.’ It’s more like, we’re just going to express ourselves and roll the dice and see what comes out the other end.” 

The duo said they are both excited and relieved after the release of “never wanna” and for the upcoming release of “Soft and Dumb.”  

“I’m just very excited to just to finally have the stuff that we’ve been playing out,” Buenrostro said. “At this point, those songs are all really old to us because we’ve been working on them so long, so I’m just like, excited to get it out.”

This summer, Soft and Dumb has a number of Chicago shows on its radar, including the Logan Square Arts Fest on June 26. It’ll be the band’s first time playing at a festival. 


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