Virginia's power trio Drugs Of Faith recently released their debut EP via renowned label Selfmadegod Records. This EP is a sonic trip in heaviness and diversity. I was interested in learning a little more about the band so some questions were sent to the trio. The bassist Taryn and guitarist/vocalist Richard were elaborative and quickly to answer the questions I had come up with.
How's the reactions been to the mini album so far?
Taryn: The reviews have been pretty good, as far as we can tell.
Richard: The people that listen to the record closely bring a lot of observations out of it, which is very nice.
Musically it sounds like you draw on a lot of different genres. Please elaborate on you influences?
Richard: It's interesting that Shane and mine's influences in the underground scene go back a lot further than Taryn's, so the riffs she writes don't come from having listened to, say, Napalm Death for years. She can't really say where her ideas come from. As for Shane and myself, when we come up with an idea, if it fits with the band, we try to make it work. We like the direction things are going in, where we're mixing styles and still making it sound like Drugs Of Faith.
Do you think grindcore overall is a fitting tag for your music or how would you label it yourself?
Taryn: I don't know. We used to call it "grind 'n' roll" but Selfmadegod suggested that Blood Duster sounds like a more pure form of "grind 'n' roll," and there are more elements to our music than rock 'n' roll and grindcore as you said.
Richard: I don't think we grind enough to call ourselves grindcore, although that begs the question, what percentage of a band's drum beats have to be blasts for that band to be considered grinding?
I think you've succeed in giving the music some identity, a sound and style that people will recognize as Drugs Of Faith. Do you feel you've found the right style and image for the band?
Taryn: Over the duration of the band there were several member changes, so the musical direction seems to be influenced in that way. With the current line-up, we're looking at something that we feel is closer to our interests as musicians. What can I say about the image of our band? One of the most unattainable aspects of this operation is the formation of a certain image or personality for the band, because we'd have to really try to make ourselves look special or present some sort of uniformity. When we had our photo shoot, it was a very uncomfortable experience because we knew up to a certain extent we had to look like a band that people would want to listen to, but by the same token we're not good at pretending that we're cool. I find it really strange, because when I was growing up a large part of why I liked a band, aside from the music, had a lot to do with the image and the personality. But I think it takes a certain type of shamelessness to be that kind of entertainer.
Richard: Basically the only image we're going for is to not have one, because that's all we're capable of. We don't go out of our way to pick out the correct band t-shirts for photos or performances, and in fact we avoid that.
Judging from the album artwork it doesn't seem like you're very fond of George W. Bush and the current state of affairs?
Richard: Not fond at all. But the figure on the cover could represent any politician or businessman who doesn't have his constituents' or customers' interests at heart.
Is there a specific political message in your lyrics?
Richard: Nothing specific at all. We're interested in discussing social issues or political issues, or personal politics, because we feel something for those topics, although we've written about relationships as well on the mini album.
I know Scott Hull mastered the mini album, but did you record it yourselves without any other help?
Richard: Oblivion Studios doesn't have a house producer, but an engineer. He knows what he's doing and will offer very good suggestions, but at the end of the day you are responsible for how it turns out because he's not telling you what to do. You're telling him how you want it to sound.
You've got a fat and somewhat dirty sound. Is this the sound that represents Drugs Of Faith the best or is there something you'd change?
Taryn: The recording experience actually prompted Richard to clean up his sound. So if the record sounds dirty, imagine how our live shows before the recording were. I have a very overdriven bass sound as well. I would be too afraid to listen to myself and all my mistakes if I had a clean tone! Just kidding [laughs].
How did you end up picking Selfmadegod Records to put out the mini album?
Richard: I had known the label head for years because I was contributing to his magazine and he would send me his records for me to review in my zine, and we were impressed with how he promoted his bands, so when we were thinking about who to approach for releasing our record, Selfmadegod was at the top of the list.
I know you have a few split releases planned. Could you say a bit about those?
Richard: In the future we'll be one of the bands involved in a Pig Destroyer split 7" series, and right now we're writing for a split 3" CD with Antigama.
With the split releases in the works I assume you have no current plans of doing a full-length CD at this point?
Taryn: There are always plans for a full length CD. Once the split with Antigama's done, we'll start writing for the album.
Are you all involved in other bands besides Drugs Of Faith?
Richard: Yes, but Shane takes the cake on that one. He's going to play guitar for Deceased, and he plays guitar and sings in Bionicman.
Is there a message in the bandname?
Taryn: It depends on who's asking. Sometimes we find ourselves saying it's all up to interpretation, which, of course, it is, as to not offend people. But of course, as you probably can guess, it has to do with the Marxist idea of religion being the opiate of the masses.
Richard: The original idea came from an old bandmate of mine when I was in another band. We were brainstorming for a new band name and he came up with "Drugs Of Faith", which was rejected, so I used it when we started this band. When he came up with it, I just thought it sounded like an awesome name for a band.
How does the remainder of the year look for Drugs Of Faith?
Richard: We're looking for one-off gigs and are planning some weekend trips, and we're wanting to record for the Antigama split before year's end.
Anything you wish to add to conclude this interview?
Richard: Thanks for your interest, and the same to everyone who's taken the time to spin the record.