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Northern Waste: Artist You Should Know

 

Guest post by Genie Cartier

If you’re like me, you’re tired of living in a world of mediocre rock bands with mumbled lyrics and confusingly popular 80s dad rock cover bands. Meet Northern Waste, the local rock band you didn’t know you were craving! Northern Waste’s unique yet classic style of rock paired with funny, thought-provoking and socially conscious lyrics provides a balanced dose of making you think and making you dance.

I caught up with their dynamic front-man Devin Walker, the self-proclaimed Lord of the Waste.

ARTIST YOU SHOULD KNOW: NORTHERN WASTE

Names of band members:

Northern Waste is me (Devin) on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Conrad Scheepers on lead guitar & backup vocals, Paul Hanna on bass & backup vocals, and Jack Snyder on drums.

Where ya’ll from?

Conrad and I live here in the city, Paul is in Albany, and Jack is way the hell out in Crocket. I’m originally from the San Diego area, but the rest of the guys grew up in NorCal.

Where does the name Northern Waste come from and what does it mean?

It’s semi-accidentally taken from Tolkien, as nerdy as that sounds. My wife has an old illustrated map of Middle Earth on our bedroom wall. The region way up North is called the Northern Waste, where all the frost giants and shit live, I would assume. One weekend morning, we’re lazily lying in bed, and she goes “Northern Waste would be a pretty awesome punky band name.” I had been agonizing over naming the band for months at that point, but that one stuck. Our music has absolutely nothing to do with rings and hobbits, but I loved the aesthetic of the sound. It also works on another level, because our lyrics often address the excess and overall wastefulness of America, specifically people in the Northern Californian tech community. Moral of the story: always listen to your wife.

How would you describe your style of music?

Hahaha you tell me! I always have a hard time with this one. Generally speaking, we’re rock and roll, but we really try not to get too tied down by genre. Some of our songs could be considered punk, some blues, some funk, some surf, and sometimes we even get a little country. Though we’re definitely coming at it all from a solidly rock-oriented home base. Our stuff tends to be pretty upbeat and high-energy, and we love to get people dancing and singing along. We hope that our lyrics will make you think a little too.

On that note, your songs are different than a lot of other contemporary rock bands in that they’re actually about things. What are some of the issues you like to address in your music?

As a singer and lyricist, I’ve always been focused on what musicians have to say. Like I mentioned earlier, we tackled a lot of Bay-Area specific issues in some of our earlier songs that you can find on our first demo on our Bandcamp page or our website. I used to work in tech, but left hating it. Everyone was pretending to be best friends and acting like they weren’t at work, but it was all bullshit. They try to brainwash you so you’ll spend more time at the office- just a big fun gaslight party with free beer and acupuncture. I channeled a lot of that anger into the lyrics. Now that I have most of that out of my system, I’ve been talking more about politics (no shortage of material there) and addressing other issues that we face as millennials. We put out a video on YouTube for our song “Millennial” recently that will give you a good example. There’s a lot for our generation to vent about, so we’re hoping to give voice to that and provide a little catharsis.

 

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