Narcotic Wasteland Interview

Narcotic Wasteland
Megaforce Records

Delirium Tremens is the second Narcotic Wasteland album and the first since frontman Dallas Toler-Wade departed Nile after being in the group for two decades. Toler-Wade gets us up to speed on a lineup change, the new record, the state of the music industry and other subjects.

Chad Bowar: What led to your exit from Nile and your now primary focus on Narcotic Wasteland?
Dalls Toler-Wade: It was just time to move on and do some different things in life musically and otherwise.

How did drummer Phil Cancilla come to join the band?
I saw some drum videos he had done, and contacted him. We rehearsed with him and it instantly worked. He really added some real fire to the material.

Was there anything different about the songwriting process this time around?
Not really. I just feel that we had a little more direction and focus in what we wanted to achieve overall.

What are the pros and cons of self-producing?
Many pros, and not many cons. I have been recording on some level since 1990, and even took recording lessons back then. To quote the Bryce Lynch character in the old Max Headroom television show, “There are no failed experiments. Only more data.” Recording is always a learning experience, even if you have done 100 albums.

What led you to Vegas View Studio?
Phil recommended it. It’s a totally pro studio with a good engineer, and it’s near where he lives.

How has the band’s sound evolved from your debut?
I would say overall just more direction and focus. Once we completed the first one we knew how to improve upon it.

You address addiction on this album. Has the opioid epidemic become the country’s biggest issue when it comes to drug addiction?
I think it’s one of the largest problems for sure. We get prescribed narcotics that have been proven to ruin lives, destroy families, and kill people. To me it is one of the unspoken reasons our middle class is failing.

What other lyrical subjects do you tackle on Delirium Tremens?
There is a song called “Return to the Underground.” It is sort of a testament to all the obscure metal bands, and their uncompromising art. Metal for metal’s sake. Not caring how popular it makes you, just playing from the heart because it’s real.

How did you come to sign with Megaforce for this album?
We were shopping around for a label, and they were the best option for us. It is an honor to be on such a classic label. It fits us as a band. I think.

What was the response to the reissue of your debut album earlier this year?
So far so good!! It is nice to have some more push on it. It was totally not really promoted that much when it came out in 2014, but was well received, considering.

You’re getting ready for a headlining run. What do you have in the pipeline for 2018? Do you anticipate doing mostly headlining tours, or are you open to opening slots on larger tours as well?
Very soon we will be discussing that with our booking agent. Right now we are just concerned with the current tour that’s booked.

As the music business model moves more toward streaming and away from physical product, what needs to be done so artists can actually make money?
As a death metal musician since 1989, for me the money was always more playing live anyway. As far as getting paid for what you record, as long as you have the rights to your music, you should receive some money from that. Just try to keep track of it as best as you can. But overall, playing live is what we want to do anyway right? I believe this topic is going to come to a head soon. Or at least it should.

The area in South Carolina where you live was in the path of totality for the recent eclipse. What was the experience like for you?
It was insanely amazing. The street lights came on, and the creatures in the trees started to speak thinking it was night time. I wish it would have stayed like that for a week. One of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

With Halloween coming up, what is your all-time favorite horror movie?
Well that is a tough one to answer. Re Animator!

What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Lately Sanctuary – The Year the Sun Died. I really think that is a great album. Also listening to Souls at Zero – what a great underrated band. Anything Trouble has ever done. Immolation, Circle Jerks, Dead Milkmen, Flotsam and Jetsam, Hideous Divinity. I’m kinda all over the place, as usual.

Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
I would just like to say thanks so much for all of the support from fans all these years, and thanks to all of the killer musicians I have had the opportunity to jam and create with! And lastly, thanks to my band mates in Narcotic Wasteland for great friendship and inspiration.

(interview published October 12, 2017)

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