Gaten Matarazzo Breaks Down First Offerings From Work In Progress: Exclusive

Jordyn Kasey
Work in Progress

When he’s not time-warping to the 1980’s as Dustin Henderson on the Netflix sci-fi thriller Stranger Things or moonlighting as a guest vocalist for Paramore, rising talent Gaten Matarazzo is fine-tuning his vocal and songwriting abilities as a part of the musical collective, Work In Progress.

The seven-piece is comprised of Matarazzo, his brother Carmen and sister Sabrina along with a host of family friends from his native New Jersey. Today (July 5), the band releases their first official studio recordings, “Dream Eater” and “Waste My Time,” which offer a glimpse into the otherworldly powers the group has at their disposal.  

The gang embodies the idea of strength in numbers as they ferociously dominate the far reaches of rock, punk and pop. The two wildly distinct tracks also reveal a depth to the band shown in the jammy, grunge sound on “Dream Eater” and the elaborate guitar melodies and pop-rock infectiousness on “Waste My Time.” 

The band is currently in the throes of preparing for a summer tour beginning in August; tour dates can be found on the band’s website here. In the meantime, Matarazzo took some time off from the Stranger Things 3 press tour to give Billboard some insight on the band’s formation and their first two singles. 

How did Work In Progress form?

It happened pretty much by accident. My brother was drumming for a while and wanted to play with someone, so he asked his friend Matt if they could jam. Then, when they wanted to play some gigs, they found out our friend Chad was also looking for gigs and he brought Griffin to a rehearsal with him. And then they needed someone to sing a song they didn’t know the vocals to, so they asked me to sing it with them during a rehearsal, and then we realized we needed a higher voice so Sabrina sang a couple. After the band was up and running, we realized after a couple of gigs that we needed keys, so AJ came along after that.

The two singles have different vocalists but a largely cohesive aesthetic. How does the band share responsibilities and divide the roles?  

We all know that we all have different styles and we embrace that. There really isn’t anything in-check other than the fact that we make sure we each relatively have the same amount of songs for the gig. Sabrina and I usually have around six or seven, then Griffin and Chad have about one or two since they’re already playing instruments.

What was the process in creating "Dream Eater" and "Waste My Time"?

“Dream Eater” has been in the works for about a year. It took us awhile to get it off the ground. Griffin made the riff in his room one night and I took awhile to actually start writing lyrics. We changed a lot of stuff with the music too. Griffin, Sabrina and I wrote the lyrics for that. “Waste My Time” was quicker, especially with the lyrics. Sabrina wrote all those lyrics in about 30 minutes. She’s a friggin’ genius. I don’t know how she does that.

Who are your musical inspirations?

We all have different tastes and different inspirations but I personally love Pearl Jam and Green Day. If there were any [bands] that I personally based my style on, it would be those two.

In your mind, what would a finished product from Work In Progress be? Where do you see this project going?

It’s hard to say where I think an ideal direction for the band would be at this point. We all have a lot on our plates right now but we always remember to have fun. That’s what it’s about. We’re all kind of playing it by ear. I think some of us are in the music mindset for the long run and some of us are just having fun with it. Either way as long as we are all enjoying it, I see it going on for awhile!

 

Check out “Dream Eater” and “Waste My Time” by Work in Progress here.