Interview by Holly Aker.
Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows, or D.R.U.G.S. as they’re more commonly known, is made up of five different musicians from Chiodos, Story of the Year, From First To Last, Matchbook Romance, and Cinematic Sunrise. By combining each musicians’ own background, experiences and musical stylings, D.R.U.G.S. has created a sensation in the hardcore scene unlike any other.
Before even releasing their first album, D.R.U.G.S. already had very impressive following, which ultimately led to their debut album D.R.U.G.S. to debut at No. 29 on the Billboard 200. Also due to the their mass popularity, Alternative Press named the band one of their “100 bands to watch in 2011” and made them a co-headliner on the “AP Spring Tour 2011.”
While D.R.U.G.S. was in town for South by Southwest, we sat down with lead singer Craig Owens and guitarist Matt Good to find out what’s up with the name D.R.U.G.S., how they secured such a huge following so quickly, and why you shouldn’t call them a “super group”.
First off, where did the name Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows come from?
Matt Good: We originally named the band Drugs. It was an idea that Craig came up with, almost kind of as a joke at first, but then after a while we all kind of realized that it was a pretty awesome band name, but we felt like it was lacking.
Owens: It hadn’t been done.
Good: Yeah, yeah, exactly. It was one syllable, it’s easy to remember, it instantly makes you feel something, but then we were kind of bugged by the fact that it kind of lacked a deeper meaning, I guess.
Owens: We didn’t want to be the party band.
Good: Yeah, exactly. We didn’t want people to be like, “Oh, those guys are just druggies and stuff.” Then we turned it into an acronym and adopted a meaning with the Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows, which is kind of like a testament to our previous careers and our lives and what we aspire to do with each other.
Why did you guys decide to sign with Decaydence over another label?
Owens: We wanted to go with Decaydence because it’s all in the family. We recently signed to Crush Management, and when I was trying to decide who I wanted to go to with, I was really nervous about just signing to Warner Bros., so I wanted to do a subsidiary, and I knew that Crush was pretty much in control of Decaydence. So I just really wanted to make sure that I was in control of my own career, and I didn’t have to dignify signing with releasing artistic integrity, and I wanted to make sure that I had full control of my vision, which is this band.
How does it feel to be one of Alternative Press’s 100 Bands You Need to Know and to be on the AP Spring Tour so quickly? Your album just came out in February.
Owens: Yeah, it’s amazing. Not for a second do we take this for granted or think that we’re not lucky to be here, but we have worked very hard in our past careers in order to get what it is that we have now. While some may believe that we have not paid our dues, we definitely have, and we’re just lucky enough to have our fans follow us and be a part of our new journey. I really feel like a lot of our fans went through the emotions with us, the ones that have really stuck with us, and I think they’ll be there forever. The reason that we’re here, the reason that we’re doing this is because of those amazing people that have helped us out.
How do you feel when people call you a “super band”?
Owens: We get bummed. We don’t like it. While it’s flattering in saying that each of us is talented and brings something special, I believe that most good bands do that. This is something that is very organic. This isn’t a boy band, this isn’t something put together like that. While I did choose who I believe are the most talented, cutest, best dudes, I wanted to make sure that we stepped up when we needed to, so I just picked out my favorite people basically. It was very organic. It’s the same thing as if we were all in the hometown calling up a friend saying, “Hey, let’s make music together,” because that’s what it was. It wasn’t a put-together band. “Super group” I think is a turn off for people because I feel like they believe it’s not as organic or passionate, and this is something we’re all doing 100 percent. We all stopped everything except for Adam [Russel]. He’s still doing some Story of the Year stuff, but other than that, we’re 100 percent dedicated to this, and it’s our baby.
You guys had a huge following before you even put out your debut album. How do you think that happened?
Good: We focused a lot on the Internet and letting our fans of our previous bands or whatnot or anyone that had been following us through our careers, just making them as aware as possible of what we were doing with this band. We just did constant entertainment like, “Oh, check out this video of us in the studio,” “Check out this video.”
Owens: Online, online, online.
Good: Yeah, just tons of interaction, like Twitter, Facebook, everything. Really just being like, “Hey we’re doing this,” “Hey, we’re doing this,” “Hey, check it out, check it out.” Every time we do it, obviously only a percentage of the people that follow you are going to see it or be aware, so we just did it until we felt like everyone that followed us knew that this is what we were doing. In turn, when we went out, a lot of people came out to support it because the word of mouth had spread so much.
Did you expect to have that kind of immediate fan base so quickly?
Owens: No, I think we’re all overwhelmed and thankful. We didn’t expect it to be this big or bad, and it’s awesome. It’s awesome, and we’re really thankful to be here.
With every member coming from a different band and different background, I’m sure everyone already had their own style of writing that they were comfortable with. What was the process like?
Good: It was fun. You are right in the fact that we all had our own styles and what not, but I think that it is the accumulations of all of our styles that make us sound the way we do.
Owens: Part of being a good leader is taking a step back and knowing when to.
Good: Yeah, exactly. We tried a lot of different techniques and methods and everything, and honestly a lot of the songs came from a lot of different things, and I guess it all ended up working.
Owens: Each of us has a different way to write, and all different songs came out that way.
Good: Yeah, exactly. There wasn’t really any one specific formula we stuck to. We just tried a lot of things and figured something would come out of it.
Where did the concept for the album artwork come from?
Owens: The album artwork is kind of a culmination of a bunch of different ideas. It started out originally with an idea that I got when I was flying home from L.A. during the recording process. It took a week, and I wanted to do something that really stuck out. So my best friend and I sat up all night, and we came up with the craziest ideas ever. She’s also the one that named “Graveyard Dancing.” We came up with the craziest concepts and ideas, and then I ran it by the guys, and they added a bunch of stuff to it, and eventually, we came up with an entire new world. The only guy that could do it justice was a guy named Mark Brown, so we reached out to Mark, and he was really excited to do it. We ended up with this brilliant artwork, just absolutely brilliant. The artwork is actually a painting that was done by hand that’s just brilliant, absolutely beautiful. And each character has a name, has a meaning behind it. There’s quite a lot to it. It’s definitely not just crazy drawings.
How was it working with John Feldman to record the album?
Good: It was great. I mean, he is a really, really hard worker, and he is really intense, and he keeps you on your toes at all times. He’s definitely a guy that keeps you on your toes, but the cool thing about him is that as soon as it might feel like it’s a little too overwhelming or a little too intense or your getting frustrated or your not being creative, he’ll just randomly be like, “Hey, let’s go outside and play ping pong,” or something, and we’ll go out, and we’ll totally just chill and have fun and laugh, and we’ll go back and get right back to it. He just knows when to make you feel like you need to get away from everything and reset and do it again. He definitely helped us a lot. He’s a really great guy, and I love him to death. It was really good.
Owens: In May and June, I think we’re going to do a lot of radio festivals. Our single, “Sex Life” will go to radio in a couple weeks, so hopefully everybody gets out there and votes for it, calls the radio station requests and all that stuff. We are talking about going to Australia. Just a lot of world travel, and that’s it pretty much. Travel the world and play and tour and Warped Tour, and other than that, we don’t have any U.S. stuff lined up.
Watch the music video for DRUGS’ single “Sex Life” below: