Wastelands Is a Crusty Miami Band With a Lot of Hype

Wastelands taking the Churchill's stage.
Wastelands taking the Churchill's stage.
Walter Wlodarczyk

It's a ridiculously exciting time for music in South Florida. And it feels so great to be able to state that honestly and not have to feign enthusiasm for the region's scene just because the job of a music writer depends on it. The artists creeping up out of the swamp in recent times have all been disarmingly topnotch, and there's a genuine, unprecedented buzz surrounding their sounds.

One of the most exciting new bands to pop up recently is Wastelands, a trio of Miami lifers that rips a unique brand of psych-infused rock with a punk attitude that defies definition -- like many of our area's other musical marsupials. Sure, they're a rock 'n' roll band -- just like a marsupial is a mammal -- but what the fuck are they really? They're all some strange thing unto themselves. And whatever it is, it's awesome.

We caught up with the band's guitarist/vocalist, Alex Nunez, and bassist/vocalist, Ale Campos, as the pair settled into a day of tracking for an impending full-length vinyl release at Miami's (sadly soon-to-be-defunct) Pine Crust Studios.

New Times: What are you guys recording today?

Alex Nunez: We're putting bass and vocals on tracks for our full-length debut. We're recording the album with Ryan Haft [of Capsule and Wrong; he's also a poker professional] at Pine Crust. The studio is going to move to Gainesville, and Ryan is going to be on tour with Torche for like, three months, so that house is pretty much done.

So your album is going to pretty much be the swan song of Pine Crust?

Nunez: Yeah, this will be the last one. It's crazy, right? And Wrong -- our drummer Eric's band -- is doing an album right now too.

How would you describe your own sound to the uninitiated?

Nunez: That's a tough one. I get weird shit at our shows. Somebody told me the other day, "Dude, that was really cool lo-fi punk!" And someone else was like, "I hear a lot of '60s psychedelic shit."

Ale Campos: There's a lot of Jimi Hendrix influence to our stuff, but it's punk at the same time.

Nunez: It's basically late-'60s-influenced shit, just played by a bunch of punks and metalheads from Miami.

I've seen the band jump on a really wide range of shows.

Nunez: We want to play with every band!

Campos: Yeah! We don't want to get pigeonholed. Two weeks ago, we played a hip-hop event in Wynwood. It was really interesting.

Nunez: We played with Gunplay, some Miami trap star. It was really weird.

Wastelands at a quieter moment.
Wastelands at a quieter moment.
Monica McGivern

I know both of you personally wave the Miami flag very proudly. What's your take on the current state of music affairs there from the standpoint of a bunch of lifers pushing a new band?

Nunez: There's a lot of great new bands coming out; all of the older bands are coming out with stronger and stronger material. The scene is getting good -- I mean, it's always been good -- but it's starting to get noticed. I feel like for the first time, a lot of people from out of town are starting to really talk about it.

Campos: And it's not just like one type of sound. Everyone's trying out something different, so whenever there's a show, it's always a mixed-genre thing and everyone has their own style now.

Nunez: Which is so awesome, and that's how you make a scene interesting. People that would never go to a hardcore-punk show happen to be at one now because some of the other bands on the bill are playing more their sound or whatever. It's like an actual scene where everyone is into different shit but everyone hangs out together.

Wastelands with Jacuzzi Boys, Sandratz, and the Goddamn' Hustle. 8 p.m. Friday, February 20, at Revolution Live, 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets are $10 plus fees. Call 954-449-1025, or visit jointherevolution.net.

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