Johnny Fantastic is bored with dating.
“Dating/In this city of ours/Oh what a waste of time/Oh it’s the blind leading the blind,” the D.C.-based performer sings in a near-deadpan over frenetic electro-pop rhythms in “Dating,” the new single by the band Stronger Sex.
“I’d rather read a book,” Fantastic says over the phone while dog-walking on a sunny November afternoon.
It’s not that Fantastic has had any spectacularly bad dates. The lyricist, singer and synth-player can only recall the comedian who called them “old” — they’re 32 — and the person who ghosted them. (Fantastic prefers third-person-plural pronouns over “him” or “her.”)
If there’s any angst, it’s towards the concept of dating itself — what the song calls “… the easy chance/To score on some bats–t romance.”
Fantastic hasn’t succumbed to dating apps, although friends’ hits and misses with the technology have been noted. Other forms of finding or keeping “the one” — from meet-cutes to marriage — aren’t appealing, either. Fantastic prefers to get to know someone who who “swims in the same current.” (Strictly music-wise, the current includes Stronger Sex bandmate Leah Gage.)
“Marriage is college and dating is prep school, y’know what I mean … and I’m not trying to go to college right now,” the artist says. “[I’m] not really looking to start a mutually beneficial financial partnership with another young adult.”
This isn’t to say Fantastic is unhappy — the phone conversation is downright jovial. Performing with Stronger Sex, the singer is animated and upbeat, dancing to the band’s haunting blend of slithering rhythms, electro sounds and noise-pop touches. Fantastic dresses to the nines, often wearing dresses or skirts.
“I guess if I were a pessimist, I wouldn’t bother writing a song at all in the first place. I would just sit at home and feel sorry for myself,” Fantastic says.
Stronger Sex is working on a followup to 2015’s eponymous debut. The new record is due next year.
For now, Fantastic prefers to spend time on things like hanging out with friends and going on trips.
“[When you’re not in a relationship],” the performer says, “you have to learn how to be confident in who you are.”