Wasted Space Releases Striking, White-Hot EP Never Odd Or Even
“Wasted Space is a band full of timbres and rawness, chemistry, and beautiful biophonic expressions of pain.”
Wasted Space is a heavy metal quartet that hails from the icy tundra of Buffalo, New York. The band brings a heavy emphasis on groove and rhythm, with thundering bass lines, bombastic yet hooky guitar riffs, calculated drums, and an onslaught of shrieks and screams. Jeremy Swartwout brings his history of rhythm guitar playing to the forefront of wasted space where he has a unique approach to a lead position, Lee Zahwickey brings his funk and slap bass style, and Collin Folger with his deep background in music theory supplies well-thought-out and formulated grooves and licks, and finally, Matthew Lupkin adds his unique approach to harsh vocals over the top to tie the sound altogether.
With this new single “First Time I Met You” off their latest release “Never Odd Or Even” the band took a more melodic and progressive approach to their sound. Although the elements mentioned above are still present this project definitely tested the bounds that those aspects could be applied to across a sonic landscape, while also expanding the lyrical content to a more introspective approach and versatile delivery.
Wasted Space took on multiple tours in the summer of 2022 with this release, playing all over the northeast coast and many times in their hometown Buffalo.
Never Odd Or Even starts off gently with “Gone Now, I’m Guessing”. The alluring midwest-emo-feeling guitar beat is contrasted by bright yet minimalistic drums, which solidify the circular-feeling 6/8 time signature.
“Were there any tears?
Did you lock up all your doors?
You’ve always been so restless
You’ve always worked so hard”
I let the wash of vocal timbres come over me like a wave from the ocean. The vocal lines quickly become beseeching, and as darkness unfolds the tranquility of the first riff fades away and transforms into despair. The bass gets chuggier, the guitars intensify, and the words “I’m gone” signal the breaking point.
“I’m done weeping
I’m done weeping
Now that I’m gone you’ll weep”
“Gone Now, I’m Guessing” is a beautiful yin-yang of timbres, emotions, and musical expression.
Track 2 “First Time I Met You” lured me in with fuzzy guitar, and a catchy syncopated motif that moves up chromatically. Meanwhile, a satisfying drumstick click holds down the fort with a subtle brightness. After the 20-second intro, a heavy rock beat sets in as the lyrics enter viciously. Track 2 is visceral, speaking of guts, and shaking one’s head in dismay. An unexpected wailing guitar solo takes the stage during the breakdown and is contrasted later by a booming, cavernous bass drum which makes the closing entirely haunting.
“First Time I Met You” was recorded at the esteemed GCR studios in Buffalo as a part of their 2022 release “Never Odd Or Even”. This song takes a more progressive and melodic approach to the band’s groovy style. Time signature changes, breakdowns to Melodies, and a mix of shrieks, brutal lows, and some clean phrases create the dreadful yet enchanting dichotomy that is “First Time I Met You”. The song details one’s first realization of the haunting feeling of mental illness as it slowly takes over one’s psyche. As for the music video Wasted Space used this opportunity to show their more comedic side with a John Wick-themed music video starring the members of the band and Matt’s skeleton companion “Bones”.
The penultimate track “My Mind Decaying” is overflowing with rhythmic modulation and clever accents. It’s swung, and almost jazzy, with blithe sing-talk-style lyrics:
“The same 5 channels…
Haven’t seen a blue sky in the last 5 days”
Collin Folger’s technical fills broaden out the sound just before there’s another growling, morphing guitar solo.
“Say what you want cuz I’m not listening
…I said what I want and now my tongue’s bleeding”
The lyrical and timbral artistry shines through in this one, the vocalist alternates between singing and talking about his surroundings, such as the drip in the ceiling (and compares it to the decaying of their mind). Wasted Space encapsulates the impossible feeling when you’re resisting the urge to pick up the phone to text or call “that person”. you Then, the bleak heolstor crescendos:
“Say what you want cuz I’m not listening
The scent of death is slowly creeping in”
This penultimate tune ends abruptly with a short no-nonsense guitar riff, leading us to wonder; how did this novella of a song conclude?
The final track “Easier Than You’d Expect” is a poetic release with a f**** it attitude. As the guitar harmonies build up, the emotional tension rises as the vocals detail the feeling of simply being over it. But then we are hit with the oddly celebratory line; “Why does it help to think that it was only for nothing?!”
I gasped the first time I listened to Never Odd Or Even once we circled back to that beautiful placid riff from the first song; it is as if Wasted Space was tying all the memories together and putting the box in the attic.
Wasted Space is a band full of timbres and rawness, chemistry, and beautiful biophonic expressions of pain. Coming into 2023 the band is working on its newest composition which will be recorded in March of this year.
What is the meaning behind the title, Never Odd Or Even?
Matt: Never odd or even is palindrome so it says the same thing forward and backwards, and that reflects onto the music in a the way it leads in and out of itself symbolizing the cycles of life never ending or starting just constantly repeating.
On a similar note, it feels like Never Odd Or Even tells a story; what story does it tell?
Matt: Inspired by some real life events, it tells the story of someone coming to the decision of suicide. “Gone now, im guessing” starts at the end of our story where our character has made his decision and passed on, Jeremy’s lyrics in that song come from an outside perspective mourning a loss while Matt’s are from the perspective of our character passed on with an almost resentful tone to those mourning. “First time I met you” is where our character first recognized something was off or wrong within him/her and “my mind decaying” is where that presence has completely taken hold of him/her. “Easier than you’d expect” ties into the beginning of the story with our character making his decision and passing on.
How did you cultivate that sound in the guitar solo in “First Time I Met You”?
Jer: Using a digitech ricochet pedal and a carbon copy delay. The whole point of the solo was to write a solo without actually playing the guitar so I set it on the ground and ran feed back through it and then using the 2 pedals created what I thought closely resembled a solo without it actually being one.
The art for this EP reminds me of something that has been fractured or spliced. What does it represent to you guys?
Jer: As far as the Artwork goes, I wanted to create something that would represent the feeling of being caught in a constant loop and having to live your life with all its ups and downs over and over again with no escape.
“Easier Than You’d Expect” feels both celebratory and melancholy. How do you get two contrasting emotions to coexist in a song such as this one?
Matt: I think there is a certain ecstasy from accepting defeat at a point, the burden lifted in a sense, and that song is trying to reflect that feeling. the freedom of giving up, but that’s where the more morbid angle of the story and tone of the piece stick out because it’s a celebration of defeat, which is in itself a contradiction.
How did you come up with the riff that’s at the beginning and end of the album? It’s such a beautiful red thread that ties all the content together- Bravo!
Jer: As a band we were having a lot of arguments and tension as far as writing this EP. When I came up with the riff I didn’t even think I had the expectation that it would make it on the EP but I really loved the way it sounded and it invoked me to write my own vocals over it. I think with those 2 parts written in sparked something with all of us and unlocked the direction of the EP.