Tuesday, September 17, 2019

an interview with Drugs of Faith

Virginia's Drugs of Faith aren't easy to categorize - rooted in grindcore, their songs edge into noisy hardcore, and are never less than completely abrasive. I reached out to the band to find out what they've been up to for the last 6 years - and if they are, in fact, a grind band. Guitarist/vocalist Richard Johnson was kind enough to answer my questions.

photo by Will Cook
Deams of Consciousness: Who are Drugs of Faith? How would you describe your band in 5 words?
A grind and roll band.

DoC: Please give a brief history of Drugs of Faith - when did you form, and what brought you together? What were your intentions at the time?

Nothing out of the ordinary. An ex-bandmate of mine and I had a clever idea to start a band. This was in 2002. We started recording a demo and then he moved away, so I finished it off and got another ex- bandmate (from the same ex-band) to play drums and a friend to play bass. We didn’t have any grand intentions besides playing shows and writing and recording songs. World domination hadn’t come into the picture.

DoC: Is Drugs of Faith a grindcore band? Why or why not?

Interesting question. I really like Decibel Magazine’s comments about this:

"The world's blast-friendliest noise rock band."
Albert Mudrian, .decibelmagazine.com

DoC: You have a new 7" out now called Decay. Where was it recorded? What were the writing sessions like? How would you compare it to your previous releases?

We’ve been going to Developing Nations in Baltimore a lot. We did it there. We decided we wanted to go more extreme on balance a while back, so we pushed that while we were writing. At the same time, I tried to save hitting low, heavy notes for when it’ll have more impact. Some of those ideas didn’t come in until the late stages of the songwriting. I think it’s a good record.

DoC: Although you've contributed to various splits and compilations, Decay is the first new Drugs of Faith release since 2013's Architectural Failures. What led to the gap between releases?

We kept busy in between recording for a split and for compilations, and we’d play shows here and there. We did take our time writing, too.

DoC: Decay will be coming out through the Polish label Selfmadegod Records. How did they get involved with this release?

It’s out now, you mean! We’ve been working with Selfmadegod since our first record came out. I met them (through email) through my zine.

DoC: Your songs tackle topics like welfare, and you've released a track on a benefit for immigrant youth. Would you describe Drugs of Faith as a political band?

The lyrics haven’t always been political in nature. The old records had songs that bitched about relationships. But we’re happy to do small parts like play benefit shows, be on benefit compilations, or share progressive messages. As a band we don’t engage in political activity, but the three of us as individuals are free to do what we want.

DoC: Tell me more about the Whirlwind Struggle compilation that Drugs of Faith is on. What is the United We Dream organization? How and why did you get involved with this benefit?

I know the grindcore hounds that put together the compilation, so they asked us to be a part of it. It’s a lot of grindcore bands and that kind of stuff on the comp. Here’s the link for the organization

DoC: Most of your releases (as well as your contributions to various tributes and compilations) are available on your Bandcamp Page as "name your price" downloads. What do you think of Bandcamp as a platform? If you could do anything to improve it, what would it be?

I think it’s a great way for bands to sell their merchandise, as it’s easy to use and offers a lot of freedom. I actually don’t have any criticisms. I even like the Bandcamp blog.

DoC: What's next for Drugs of Faith?

We need to play some shows to promote our new record, “Decay.” We have one half-finished song and a bunch of riffs, so we also need to get on the ball with writing for the next release, whatever that’s going to be. You know, normal activities like that.

Drugs of Faith on Bandcamp

Grind and Rewind:

Mixtape 98: