"When you first pick up the guitar, there's a certain mystery to it that I hope I never feel like I've decoded."
--M. Ward
Nov.15 Cover - DIIV
Written by Jhoni Jackson   
ImageDIIV's Zachary Cole Smith Tells All – Because He Has To

Sometimes your choices leave you with no options. For Zachary Cole Smith, founder of the New York City-based hypnagogic pop outfit DIIV, that initial choice was heroin. Pretty much everyone, even people who don’t know his music, knows what happened after.
For anyone who’s managed to find the off switch for salacious news stories, let’s get you up to speed: In September 2013, Smith was arrested with his semi-famous girlfriend, pop singer Sky Ferreira, while driving in New York. The officer nabbed Smith immediately for an existing warrant for vehicle and traffic infractions; the officer then searched the vehicle and found a bunch of heroin and ecstasy. Ferreira was later absolved of any charges, but Smith’s stuck.

After the success of DIIV’s debut full-length, Oshin, Smith had hit a career peak. And in linking up with Sky, he found love. He had everything, it seemed. Nothing like a very public drug arrest to ruin everything, though, right?

Fortunately, Smith has managed to crawl out of that nasty pit of chaos. The band’s forthcoming sophomore record, Is The Is Are, is more a reaction – an inescapable result of his addiction and the battle to overcome it – than it is a deliberate creation.

“I kind of just fell into it, you know? I kind of just got put in this position where I suddenly had all this pressure to write all these songs,” he says. “I don’t know if ordinarily, if the first record hadn’t done well...I don’t know if I would have written these songs otherwise.”

Oshin debuted in 2012 on the wave of existing buzz about DIIV after a series of well received 7-inches on Captured Tracks. It didn’t disappoint: Circular, nearly dizzying pop numbers, all gauzy with reverb and with an inherently New Wave fragrance about them, made for a memorable album. But the ensuing trouble a little more than a year later has practically eclipsed all that. Now, he’s widely known as the junkie indie guy arrested with Sky Ferreira.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Smith issued a moratorium on questions regarding his legal troubles and heroin addiction. But he hasn’t – because he feels he has no choice but to talk about everything.


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