On the last day of 2021, David Wimbish, a millennial, posted a viral video on TikTok.
“Compared to anything else we’ve ever posted, it took off. I’m still getting so many notifications on my phone — every day, even every hour,” he told BandWagon.
In the video, Wimbish, the lead singer and songwriter for North Carolina-based alt/pop band The Collection, spins around in a rolling desk chair and lip syncs the words to a snippet of a demo.
“I’m losing my attention while the whole world dies. Been scrolling through addictions with no appetite,” Wimbish sings.
The demo is a perfect snapshot of what The Collection does best. The instrumentation is catchy and neatly arranged (though not yet imbued with the energy of the full band), and Wimbish inhabits the unambiguous emotion of the song with his vocal performance. The lyrics are not shrouded in metaphor. They are intense, vulnerable and painfully relatable (“another lockdown stuck inside this shit town I can’t find a way round my intrusive thoughts now”).
Though gen Z is just catching on, The Collection has been making music for more than a decade. Last time BandWagon talked with Wimbish, both he and the band were going through a sea change. He was in the middle of a divorce and healing from a nearly debilitating mountain biking accident, while the band had been pared down from its original 12 members to a few key players.
In the years since, things have gotten better. Wimbish is free from injuries aside from intermittent neck pain that is often induced by his on-stage theatrics. In 2019 The Collection was selected as “top shelf judge’s pick” for the NPR Tiny Desk Contest and the band recently picked up with the same management team that brought The Lumineers to fame. Still, as things started to solidify for The Collection, the world around them fell victim to a global pandemic.
“The feeling of things falling apart has never really stopped,” Wimbish admitted. “I’ve had to integrate the realization that nothing is forever. I’m just trying to be more present for the good things when they’re here.”
When asked how he had been able to keep making music through his lowest points, Wimbish laughed. Music is what helps him process what has happened, he explained. It is his tool for healing and reflection.
Healing is front and center on The Collection’s latest single “Get Lost.” In it, Wimbish meditates on the process of shedding people’s expectations and perceptions in order to find authenticity. It’s something that he has had to do over and over again.
“There have been many times, whether around substance, getting divorced, or coming out, where folks have told me that I’ve ‘lost my way,’” Wimbish wrote in the liner notes.
During his divorce, Wimbish was overwhelmed by messages and invocations from members of the conservative community that he was raised in. It seemed like everyone had an opinion about what he was doing, while no one wanted to hear how he was doing. It was hard not to give in to the pressure.
“I went from someone who was trying to please everyone, to someone who is open and outspoken about my sexuality,” he told BandWagon later.
In the music video for “Get Lost,” Wimbish’s journey unfolds visually. As the camera follows him down a country road, characters roam in and out of the shot. “I wanted it to grow from this child-like pleasure to more adult eroticism,” Wimbish said.
Over the course of the song, kiddie pools and bubbles give way to smoke bombs and a passionate kiss. “Why are you so afraid of pleasure,” he sings.
This celebration of pleasure is on full display at the Collection’s live shows. Wimbish twirls his mic stand theatrically from among the folds of flowing white clothing and band members bounce around the stage wildly during instrumental breaks. Huge grins and perspiration are the band’s unofficial uniform.
While their music is centered around Wimbish, The Collection is undoubtedly a team. They are magnanimous with each other and abide by a “no sarcasm” rule while on tour. This attitude of acceptance — just the way you are — is central to the band’s message. It’s what has earned them die-hard fans and even a viral TikTok moment. With Wimbish at the helm, The Collection fosters a safe space to let loose, be yourself and “get lost.”
BandWagon presents The Collection live in concert on Monday, February 21 at The Moxi Theater in Downtown Greeley with Plain Faraday – tickets at BandWagonPresents.com –For more on The Collection, including further tour dates, visit thecollectionband.com