Craig Owens of D.R.U.G.S. Talks David Lynch, Stephen King, Lyrics, and More
Mon, 03 Jan 2011 09:22:48
D.R.U.G.S. might just intoxicate you.
Draped in David Lynch-style visuals, the band's first video for "If You Think This Song Is About You, It Probably Is" feels like a lucid dream. It's laced with the right dose of hardcore violence, lyrical eloquence, unpredictable rhythms, and unshakable hooks. Boasting the perfect post-hardcore pedigree—Craig Owens [Vocals, ex-Chiodos], Nick Martin [Guitar, Underminded], Matt Good [Guitar, From First to Last]. Aaron Stern [Drums, Matchbook Romance], and Adam Russell [Bass, Story of The Year]—D.R.U.G.S. defy categorization, starkly contrasting gritty metallic soul and transcendent dark pop.
With their self-titled album, due out February 22, 2011, D.R.U.G.S. (Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows) show there's a lot under the surface, and they beckon listeners to begin exploring what lies beneath. D.R.U.G.S. is easily one of the deepest debuts in recent memory, and it's bound to make a big dent in psyches everywhere.
D.R.U.G.S. singer Craig Owens sat down for an exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino about the band's debut album, his lyrical process, hearkening back to David Lynch, Stephen King books and so much more.
What's the story behind "If You Think This Song Is About You, It Probably Is?"
It's always weird to think about. I like to keep what the song is about to myself because I love the romanticism of how people can apply a song to their own lives. If listeners see where it comes from and know exactly what it is, it almost makes it impersonal. However, it's about relationships gone awry…
As a lyricist, do you aim to tell stories and evoke visuals?
Yeah, absolutely! I've always wanted to make movies. When writing lyrics, I believe there has to be some sort of imagery that's similar to a book or a film script. I enjoy creating imagery that way. It takes you deeper than the surface of a bunch of words that can touch your heart. I like getting people to think. While writing music, one of our goals is to evoke emotion. The best way to do that is to use imagery that presents what we're trying to convey.
How do you feel like you've grown or changed as a lyricist?
Each record is different lyrically. That's just how it is. I believe that I've changed a lot over the past year because I've gone through some of the most traumatic situations up to this point. I went through more during that year than I ever did before. It's been one of the craziest years of my life; and it's also been one of the best. On this record specifically, I steered away from fancy words, metaphors, analogies and all of the crazy "I think I'm super witty" stuff, and I stuck to real. I wrote directly from my heart. I didn't try to fancy it up. I didn't say, "Oh, that word doesn't sound cool." I said, "That's what my heart wants to say."
Do you feel like the approach was simplified in some ways?
It was just more honest. A lot of people spend time trying to sound as cool as they possibly can by showing off how intelligent they are via their lyrics. I was more focused on conveying the message and being 100 percent honest, as opposed to putting up a false façade where the listener really has to dig in deep.
Does "Mr. Owl Ate My Metal Worm" follow the same train of thought?
Yeah, it's so straightforward and honest. Some of the lyrics are, "If dying is your way out, then count me in, I'm coming. Maybe a different spin, I'm so used to being a coward. It's all I've ever been. I quit before I win." It's bare bones. If I feel almost embarrassed when I play it for someone else, or if I get an uneasy feeling when I sing that lyric, that's how I know I'm really tapping into something that means a lot to me and a feeling that I haven't shared before.
The video for "If You Think This Songs Is About You, It Probably Is" is reminiscent of David Lynch and Requiem for a Dream.
That's funny you say that. The director Chris Marrs and I are actually moving in together next month because we clicked so hard while creating the video [Laughs]. We both said we want to make a David Lynch-type short film. It's hilarious David Lynch is the first thing you said; that's the biggest compliment you can give me. We're going to be roomies and start making movies. I'm making the move to Hollywood.
What are some of your favorite David Lynch movies?
Well, you can't ignore Eraserhead. That's one of the craziest flicks ever. I really enjoy the cinematography and dialogue or lack of dialogue in that. I enjoy a lot of his short stories too. Have you ever seen The Short Films of David Lynch?
It has The Cowboy and a bunch of different David Lynch films. I love it! He's one of my inspirations. There have only been a couple other artists who have touched in that realm. That list includes Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, and Trent Reznor [Nine Inch Nails]. I think Maynard James Keenan [Tool, Puscifer, A Perfect Circle] goes a little David Lynch as well.
You can't forget Blue Velvet!
See, you know what's up!
If you were to compare this D.R.U.G.S. album to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
What would I pick? If I could say that the record were like any movie, I would probably say one of The Godfather films, probably The Godfather Part II or The Godfather Part III. In a way, it's just so raw and real. There's so much drama, but it's no bullshit.
Do you tend to read a lot when you write lyrics?
I actually don't read a lot when I write lyrics. This time, I tried to go in with a clear palette. I ignored books for awhile. Now, I'm back digging in deep. I'm starting to write again; and I'm starting to read again.
Which authors do you come back to?
I'm a huge Chuck Palahniuk fan. I call him "Chucky P." I love Bret Easton Ellis. I really like Tom Robbins and Walt Whitman. I could go forever and forever. Obviously, I'd say Charles Bukowski too. The last record I made was a Bukowski homage.
Are you a Stephen King fan?
I love Stephen King! He's one of the first authors I fell into. It helped me want to read. It opened up my mind. I remember reading Nightmares and Dreamscapes as a kid on a long trip to Minnesota with my father, my little sisters, and my stepmom. That book opened the door for me. Stephen King is probably one of the biggest reasons that I read. Nightshift is great too!
Have you heard D.R.U.G.S. yet? Will you be picking up their debut on February 22?