Imagine your life is falling apart around you, you head into rehab, and as you come out, COVID locks the entire world down. During this time, you are writing music to process what the fuck is going on. Being vulnerable, raw and honest isn’t anything new in song lyrics, but in Wade MacNeil’s latest project Dooms Children, the lyrics and subject matter are so open they make you stop what you’re doing and pay attention.
I was lucky enough to chat with Wade – about how he’s feeling with the album’s release, his love for the Allman Brothers and why he didn’t want to name the project ‘Wade MacNeil’.
“Things are going pretty good right now. It’s been a strange time for everyone and the start of COVID coinciding with me coming out of rehab was a fucking trip. I’ve done my best over the last couple of years to frame things in a more positive light, and maybe it’s all right that the world slowed down a little bit, and maybe I could have used that slower pace just a little bit.”
I pressed about the decision to make such a personal and honest record, to which Wade says he didn’t realise he was writing an album at the time;
“I was just writing about some things that were very personal and I was trying to figure out emotionally where I was at. The songs themselves were a way of feeling a little less confused about changes I needed to make. I was getting fucked up a lot and trying to sort through all of that.”
The conception of the album came about in three parts, Wade explains;
“The second part was written while I was trying to make a lot of changes, and I go to treatment and then I kind of finish the album when I come out. It’s pretty heavy for me to listen to and to think and talk about because it’s just so personal and follows such a timeline.
I’m glad I tried to be that vulnerable about it. It’s difficult to put yourself out there like that, but I hope in being that honest, people see a little bit of themselves, and it connects with people in a different way than other things I’ve done.”
As of publishing, Dooms Children‘s debut release if officially out worldwide (our review here) – So how was Wade feeling about the imminent release of the album?
“Pretty conflicted, to be honest. On one hand, I’ve done everything I can; I’ve been open and tried to give the most honest snapshot of a time in my life. Even recording it, we did everything very live, so the record itself is not polished or refined. So, on one hand, it’s me, and I can’t do much else other than be myself. On the other hand, I feel like it’s all on my shoulders. I’ve got relatively thick skin, music resonates with some people and other people hate it and personally attack the way your face looks. That stuff feels heavier attached to this just because it is so personal. So on one hand I’ve done all I can do – I don’t give a fuck. On the other hand – I care about it more than anything.”
For the ill-informed, in MacNeil’s other bands – Alexisonfire and Gallows – he does some co-singing, but for Dooms Children the vocals are all him. He talks through this and how much he has enjoyed doing something different.
“In Alexis, it’s just too many cooks in the kitchen – I can’t be singing all the time. A lot of Alexis’s stuff I write, and Dallas sings, and we decide what best suits the song. Then for Gallows, it’s more straight-ahead punk, hardcore stuff, so it’s not the same. I’ve always considered myself a songwriter and a singer but just maybe in the projects that I’ve been involved in the most, that’s not what anybody else thinks,” Wade laughs.
“That’s the beautiful thing about music and the thing I like the most – getting to be creative with my friends,”
“It’s exciting to do things that are different. I’m not interested in it being like a solo project, or just me– that’s why it’s called Dooms Children and not like Wade MacNeil – that sounds like a fucking blues trio. I’m not going to sell people Wade MacNeil T-shirts – that’s weird.
It’s just interesting to tackle something very different than anything I’ve done before. It was a challenge figuring out even how to do it, how to play the songs softly enough and find the right people to do that. It was a real process figuring out how to arrange the songs. Things that I’ve never had to think about before, it’s really fun.”
One of my favourite things about this album is the juxtaposition between the subject matter, lyrics, and music. Intense lyrics are contrasted by mostly upbeat, groovy music. I asked Wade to elaborate more about this decision and if it was intentional:
“No, for sure, that was definitely a conscious decision for this album. My life was falling apart around me when I started making this record, and I thought – you know what would be nice? If I wrote some happy music. But I found that I was incapable of writing happy music because of the subject matter. So what I have is a bunch of happy-sounding songs that are incredibly mournful lyrically. Songs can be many things – everyone listens to something differently. And that’s the way a lot of things in life are – it’s not just one thing. You can go through something that’s very heartbreaking, and there can be moments of joy.”
Another place that this juxtaposition shows is in the film clip for ‘Psyche Hospital Blues’ which for the most part shows Wade on a motorbike with a long blonde wig and bandana. I jokingly ask if the inspiration was the Kayne West ‘Bound 2’ film clip and if he is Kim (Kardashian) in this situation?
“I’m both Kim and Kanye,” he laughs.
“No, I really love the Allman Brothers. But what I really think is sick is mid-nineties Allman Brothers when they came back after hiatus and were rock and roll dads. They were wearing a lot of Arizona turquoise jewellery, and there’s all these great photos of them on their dad, bagger Harleys around the Smoky Mountains. People think the Fillmore East era, seventies Allman Brothers is the sickest. But in my opinion – dad Harley, nineties Allman Brothers is the sickest. So I was like, I’m going to get a long blonde wig and dig into dad Allman Brothers. That was the inspiration for the video.”
Talking about inspirations, because I am such a HUGE Alexisonfire fangirl, to end, even though we are talking Dooms Children, I had to know if anything is happening in that space.
“What has been very nice and probably the most normal thing that has happened during the last two years is, Alexis has been jamming a lot. Not just jamming, like none of us have fucking anything to do. So we’re jamming, then we order pizza, and then we watch Escape from New York, and it feels like we’ve been transported back to 2002. The whole time we’ve been playing, we’ve been talking about how much we miss playing shows. So next year, you’re going to fucking get it. We’re going to tour our arses off.”
Will this include Dooms Children?
“Oh, one hundred per cent. I’ve always loved Australia so much – Australians and Canadians have a real affinity for one another. My shows there have always been incredible, this record means a lot to me, and the most important thing about making music is going out and actually playing it. I want to get everywhere around the world on this record, so I will definitely get to Australia. All these dumb motherfuckers that just aren’t getting vaccinated – I know it’s a sensitive subject – but as far as I’m concerned, if you’re not getting vaccinated, your brain is broken. You’re stopping me from coming to Australia.”
He makes an absolutely valid point there.
So there it is, as soon as we get our shit together, get vaccinated and get these borders open, we will be treated to a tour from both Dooms Children AND Alexisonfire. I, for one, cannot wait so don’t be a dumb motherfucker.
Interview by Cait Mac @cait_2tone
Dooms Children – Dooms Children tracklisting:
1. Trip With Me
2. Flower Moon
3. Psyche Hospital Blues
4. Skeleton Beach
6. Lotus Eater
7. Heavy Year
8. Chinatown Glow
9. Spring Equinox
10. Friend Of The Devil
11. Stardust Lullaby