In Session: Space Trash
ALBANY – I’m always a fan of well-crafted, new, and intriguing music. Original, local music that also fits this vein? Well, that’s definitely a bonus. It was my pleasure to come across a relatively new outfit, known as Space Trash, over the weekend. As I dove into their self-titled debut EP, I was greeted by a nice conglomeration of genres: funk, rock, jazz, and pop.
The opening track, “All Night,” features a funky guitar intro, followed by a sudden percussive break,. Soon after, all instruments enter. What I found peculiar about this track was how the vocals are seemingly at a much quieter level than the instruments. The arrangement of this track grabbed my ear, as well; rhythm guitar dropped out for verses, and pound their way through choruses. With a really nice guitar line motif throughout and a cool xylophone (marimba?) sound sprinkled here and there, this track made a great opener.
Space Trash made it clear the name of their game centered on having solid grooves. This is especially true in “The Other Way,” a track that seemingly flowed immediately from the opener. It was nice to hear the vocals become louder in this track, as well as in all subsequent tunes. The following track, “I’ll Be Seein’ You,” showed listeners the band isn’t a one-trick pony. Utilizing a more laid-back intro, as well as jazz-influenced chordal tones, “I’ll Be Seein’ You” changed the album’s gears quite nicely. What I also liked about the song is how the drums kept oscillating between a rigid rhythm on the verses and opened up for the choruses.
The closing track, “Runnin’,” featured a drum intro, followed by a guitar and bass entering the groove. For this listener, the vocals really stood out on this piece; seeming at times to be double-tracked in some areas, and harmonized in others. It was a creepy but effective vocal, that blended lo-fi and funk aesthetics. All-in-all, it made for a very chill closer. Some parts seemed to wander a bit from the downbeat but it worked nonetheless.
Intrigued by the band’s sound, I reached out for an interview. Happy these folks took the time for a brief chat, what follows is a conversation that took place between myself and Brittany, Tristan, and Mike from the band. To support the band and the release, please follow the links at the end of the article.
Lucas Garrett: Thank you for sitting down today! I just heard your new album and I love it! Why don’t you tell us a bit about the band and the album?
Mike Baranski: Who wants to take it?
Brittany Fiorino: I’ll jump in. So, the three guys were playing probably for eight or nine months before Dylan reached out to me. I’m from Greenwich and I’ve known D-bird a long time, and Mike and my kid go to school together. We all kind of knew each other, but we never played together before. They had some tunes ready; I sat down with what they had recorded – mostly on phones and stuff like that – to try and see if I could up with lyrics and melodies for what they had instrumentally. It all ended up working out!
LG: Well, it’s a very nice sound. Coming in after the instrumentals were made, how do you feel as a vocalist for that whole process; coming up with a melody after the fact? I’ve always had a hard itme with that and have had to write the music, melody, and lyrics at the same time. How did it feel writing the melody after the fact? Was it hard?
BF: I thought it would be odd, but it just kind of worked. I just played the track over and over and over again until something feels right; sometimes I’ll mess around on the keyboard a little bit. It’s been surprisingly easy… well, not easy – easier than I thought. The process is great; it works.
LG: Would you say this is all organic; the way that it happened?
MB: Yeah. I mean, most of our songs are still written the same way, now. Very rarely do we leave practice with music and a melody to it. Usually, it’s, “Alright, we got something cool. Let’s record it and send Brittany home with it. Hopefully, she comes back with something next week.” And, usually, she does!
LG: How many songs do you have now? Aside from the EP I just heard.
MB: What do you think [to Tristan]? Ten or twelve?
Tristan Waite: Probably 10.
MB: About 10 tracks.
LG: It’s a really groovy record.
MB: Thanks, man.
LG: So, the bass – I love a good bass line – is all throughout the record. I felt it right in the center of my head!
MB: Perfect! I got to play the bass, but our drummer, Tristan, is also an audio engineer, so he recorded and mixed all of that. Thanks, Tristan, for making me sound like a million bucks!
LG: It sounded great. It reminded me of… remember the old 1990’s nostalgia games? Have you ever heard of Toejam and Earl?
TW: I love that game!
LG: I was definitely getting that vibe.
MB: I might have to fire up that soundtrack and pick up a lick or two.
TW: My only drum influence is Toejam and Earl.
LG: I feel like in the first track, “All Night,” the vocals were a bit far in the back of the mix, and I was like, “OK, this is different.” But, I really like how the vocal came out further in the record. What kind of music do you all like to listen to?
BF: [laughing] I think we all have very different tastes in music!
Especially when we’re tossing around cover ideas. You’re going to get a little R&B from me, and then a little bit of eighties’ metal from Tristan.
MB: Yeah, Tristan and I are kind of like rock nerds, you know? Brittany puts more of a pop spin on it. Our guitarist, Dylan, which we call D-Bird, is more of a jam-band kind of dude. Actually, he was in Eastbound Jesus before he joined up with us.
LG: Oh, I know that band!
TW: We stole him! Fair and square!
LG: When you say R&B, Brittany, do you mean more of the Motown-side, or do you mean more of the current pop-side?
BF: I’d say more poppy R&B, you know? Almost hip-hop R&B, but also like some early 1990’s, like Brandy; En Vogue.
LG: The harmonies were really eerie in some of the spots in the record and really effective. It almost sounded like you were singing the same thing, but wasn’t quite the same. Did you double-track your vocals?
BF: So, Tristan came up with a lot of ideas for that. I think he did double vocals in some places. I went in with no plans for harmonies and just finally used the music degree that I paid a lot of money for; using my aural skills to sing harmonies as they came.
LG: I really liked it a lot. I saw that you were playing at Unihog. I love that venue. Did you have a good time there?
MB: Loved it. It was our first show. I’ve played a lot of shows previous to this in other acts. For being a new band and first show? They pampered us.
LG: Jasen’s pretty rad. What are your plans going forward?
MB: The plan is to pump out a song a month and hopefully start gigging here any time soon. We’re booked again in Unihog — not until April. I think we’d like to get out a little more and spread the word, you know? Get the buzz going.
LG: Is there anything else you’d like to discuss before we end the interview?
BF: We’re excited to keep writing more music. We’re really proud that we’re not just another cover band and that we’re talented enough to be able to put something out there that not just my husband and Tristan’s wife will listen to, but other people will actually enjoy it!
MB: Tristan’s wife’s not listening, he says.
TW: She only listens to Eve 6.
MB: We hurried to get some music together to get out to the people.
TW: We want to record more music and play more shows this year. We want to focus on getting more ears and eyeballs on our stuff. That’s the focus this year; get the stuff out there in all the different ways and get people to know us.
LG: I love the sound and think you guys have something really nice going on here.
MB: Thanks, man. We really appreciate you reaching out!
LG: Thanks, again, and I look forward to hearing more from you guys!
MB: We’ll send it to you, first!
TW: Appreciate it!