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Interview with Dallas Toler Wade of Narcotic Wasteland
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
DTW- I come from a very musical family so it was around me my whole life. As I got older I wanted to play the drums. Drumming was my main focus from 8 years old to about 13. That's when I started really getting into guitar even though guitars were around my whole life. So I guess my crazy family is to blame mostly for that one lol.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
DTW- I like to read about crime, and that has been an influence from time to time. I don't have hardly any downtime lately, but when I do I like to relax with a video game from time to time. Other than that its music.
How long has your band been around?
DTW- We started putting everything together around 2011 to 2012. The first songs were completed around two years before that. The first release was January of 2014. So I could safely say the band has been around since 2011.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
DTW- I have always been in Carolina and I would say it has influenced me in many ways. Mostly the other musicians I have had the pleasure of jamming and creating music with over the 30+ years I have been active in bands. From musicians in my hometown to my 18 years with Nile this has always been a musical place!!!!! But also some of the darker things in life. The darker side of humanity. One of the songs on the debut album is called "Coastal Killings". I wrote the song after reading a book about a famous South Carolina serial killer by the name of Donald Henry Gaskins. Reading about how he grew up and how he was treated as a child hit a nerve with me because even though I came from a very loving family I can see how someone could turn into a monster growing up out in the country, especially the time Gaskins grew up.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
DTW- It all started with the first song I wrote Called Widespread Narcotic Wasteland. Musically the song was getting more back into my roots. I was writing on a guitar that was only a half step down from standard tuning and I was loving it!!!! The clarity and total angst really inspired me in a way I had not been previously. Lyrically the song was talking about things that were happening to some of my friends, and to my neighborhood. All drug-related or domestic crimes going on all around me and I felt like I was in a narcotic wasteland. The song talks about it all in a very non-poetic way on purpose so some would say it's cheeky but these events talked about in this song actually happened.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
DTW- This is always a tough question for me as there have been a lot at this point. A recent show we played just a few weeks ago in Ohio there were some people singing along with me on some stuff that was fun!! I think a tear came out of my eye. From back in the day of course when Nile played Wakken open air in 2003. You look out and it's just a sea of humanity I remember one of us saying. Another great memory is one of many shows at the Pound in San Francisco. We were opening for King Diamond and it was outdoors at night. We were up there playing and the night sky was amazing. The moon looked full as it was glaring through a beautifully staggered pattern of clouds. While I remember every time we played the Pound this time was ingrained in my soul! Many great moods like this through the years!!!
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
DTW- Another tough one!! I never really thought about it, honestly, a show really is a show for me. My focus has always been to play the best show I can. One of my favorite venues right now in the states Is the King of Clubs in Columbus, Ohio. Very pro setup and everyone there was absolutely incredible to work with.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
DTW- Immolation, Sanctuary, Accept, D.R.I Circle Jerks, Suffocation, Trouble, Savatage, Deicide just to name a few lol.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
DTW- I would say think really long and hard about what you want to achieve. There is no wrong answer really. Some musicians are more about the craft and honing their songwriting skills and that is enough for them. Some people want other gains from being in a band like money and fame. Again nothing wrong with either pursuit in my opinion just make sure you surround yourself with like-minded musicians that want the same things. And don't get discouraged when things don’t work out many people change and want different things in life.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
DTW- I did not know my multiple personality disorder was common knowledge! Oh shit they're on to me!!!! Just kidding around here. To answer your question I think the advice I would give is when things are not working out and you have tried to make it right instead of letting your time get wasted just learn to let go. It can be a hard lesson to learn professionally and personally.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
DTW- They all mean a lot so it really depends on my mood. Bleed and Swell always hits me in the gut. It is about a toxic relationship I was in with a self-destructive person. It is really sad to see someone neglecting themselves in that way. Musically it is a little departure from the super fast angst we love and adore but it is a powerful song for me. When we were mixing the song for the album It was very difficult for me to listen to because it is so personal.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
DTW- I really like Coastal Killings. It always rips live. Introspective Nightmares is always a great one to play live. It is one of the songs that have guitar harmonies which I am a sucker for!! And Bleed and Swell get requested often. Fans were also asking for a song called You will Die Alone so we added it to the growing set and it ended up being a crowd and band favorite.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
DTW- For me, inspiration comes from many places. Some of it is just things I observe in the world going on around me. The other point of inspiration would be my fascination with human psychology and criminal behavior. On the music end of things sometimes I am just jamming around on the guitar and finding something cool. Sometimes I just get a melody in my head and start humming it or figuring it out on guitar. I get influenced by anything from a blues lick to a movie score. There is always so much great music out there to keep the mind fresh and give us an idea of what we want to do.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
DTW- I hope to give many messages for many reasons. The important thing to me is that the message moves people. We have gotten a good bit of correspondence over the years from fans saying that our songs really hit a chord with them or it helped them in a dark time in their life. That to me is the most amazing thing one could hope to accomplish with their music. I think the biggest message of all is that we are not alone in this. Narcotic Wasteland has your fucking back!!!!
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
DTW- There will always be disagreements, we are only human. I always promote the idea that it's okay to disagree with something as long as there is mutual respect for each other. Being in and out of bands for 30-plus years I have had my share of being the mediator stuck between two arguing ass hats lol. Being the boss has advantages.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
DTW- We have more singles on the way!! One of which is a single with a lyric video, and then another single release with full live video action of the band. We plan to release these singles plus more in the coming months with a full album release in 2023.
For more info:
Digital - https://linktr.ee/narcoticwasteland
Song Stream - The Best Times Have Passed -
“Morality and the Wasp” can be heard at the following links:
Lyric Video -