"I’ve always planned on doing another D.R.U.G.S album, I just wasn’t sure when. The last thing I would ever want to do is phone it in" - Craig Owens
Nine years ago Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows released their only album 'D.R.U.G.S', before a year later seemingly disbanding with only vocalist Craig Owens remaining as a member. There was always talk of a second record but nothing ever materialised. Craig instead returned to front Chiodos before their split in 2016, and then went on to release music under his badXchannels moniker.
Though with the release of a new song in the form of 'King I Am', Craig is once again totally focused on D.R.U.G.S and there's a new album in the works. We jumped on the phone to talk about what exactly has inspired him to return to the project and what we can expect in the coming months.
So, what is it about right now that felt like the right time to make music as ‘D.R.U.G.S again?
Says Craig: “I think that my return to rock music in general is something that’s been brewing for almost a year now. At the end of Chiodos I was very much done with touring and being in the spotlight - I had to go and grow in different ways. I’ve always planned on doing another D.R.U.G.S album though, I just wasn’t sure when. So now that Chiodos is totally done, it just crept up on me. I’m inspired by all of this new music that’s coming out now and I see and hear this lane for where I want to go. Honestly, I think I was just waiting for the inspiration. The last thing I would ever want to do is phone it in.”
In many ways that was the point of D.R.U.G.S in the beginning. If you tried and forced yourself to make something then that goes against the whole purpose of the band…
“Exactly - that’s dead on. You can’t make great music if you’re fighting against that purpose.”
There was always talk of that second album even eight years ago. How much of the music you were wanting to make back then has made it into your creative realm now?
“You know, the first D.R.U.G.S album had a certain style [that existed] within this certain niche of rock music - it had these electronic influences, but was also melodic and aggressive and highly energetic and sporadic in moments. So I think that the soul of it is still the same now, and I think you can hear that in ‘King I Am’. That soul is going to remain the same as I continue to work on the whole of this new album.”
So talk us through the timeline of getting back into things. Where did ‘King I Am’ come into the equation?
“I think that I started manifesting the ideas for what this was going to be around last November - I had just done a ton of touring with badXchannels and had also been working on my producing and song writing. I had really sharpened up all of my tools. So that’s around when the idea of what I wanted to do and how I was going to go about doing it came about. I then started focusing on how to make it fit in 2020 and what parts were the most crucial to keeping it D.R.U.G.S. So that was November and from there this song just wrote itself. It was written and recorded just as quickly as each other in one day. It's a song that was just so ready to come out there and then.”
So how have things been for you away from music? How have things changed for you as Craig rather than Craig Owens from D.R.U.G.S?
“You know, it all comes down to perspective. I feel so much stronger and better than I’ve ever been - I feel more centred. I’ve worked on all this stuff in my life over the past years, and as well as building all of this momentum I’ve managed to refocus on so much as well. I’m refocusing on my family and not carrying the guilt of always being away from them and making constant sacrifices. I’ve been able to rebuild all of these relationships and strengthen them. That really has been the biggest catalyst for me being prepared and ready to go with D.R.U.G.S again. Preparing, understanding and realigning my perspective within my life has helped realign my perspective for making this particular sort of music. The last thing I would ever want to do is have a half ass delivery of something that I hold very dearly. I take this very seriously.”
Has bringing things back played on your mind a lot over the years? Like you knew it was the wrong time but that itch was still there…
“I think the itch has always been there, but it’s less about the action on that itch. As an artist I just go with my gut feeling. You really have to trust your gut and align everything in your life. You have to listen to the best music because your influence needs to be aligned properly. I don’t think having one foot in and one foot out would be right. I knew that this needed to be all or nothing and I am just prepared to do that now.”
How does ‘King I Am’ compare to the other songs that you've been working on? Is it a good representation of what D.R.U.G.S in 2020 will be?
“I think it’s pretty dead on to be honest. This album is going to be all about energy to me - it’s all about coming in and kicking ass. That’s the soul of it. I think that there are a lot of parallels between the original album and what it is that I’ve been making, but energy is the main one. Getting out there and proving myself and absolutely killing it. I have a lot to say and a lot of fire and fury to put in.”
So what’s your timeline looking like?
“I think now I’m focusing solely on writing music. There are whispers behind the scenes as I continue to dive into the rollout side of things, and obviously people are asking for shows and for more music. But just like when the first record was made, creating it is not something that I do flippantly. As I said, I’m not taking this lightly - right now my main focus is making sure that this record kicks ass. I want it to be timeless and I want it to be great. So that’s what I’m going to do.”
How has the reaction affected you?
“It’s been overwhelming to be honest. As an artist you never know what the response is going to be when you release any piece of yourself. I pride myself on being available and being a part of a community and understanding what my role is within it. I have loved watching the reaction though. I love being able to entertain and I love being to keep people on their toes in such a way. As a fan of music myself, that’s something I’ve always loved - there’s nothing better than when one of your favourite bands drops a bomb on you. For me it’s been overwhelmingly positive. My phone and my social media have been none stop. I’m definitely surprised though but it only fuels my excitement for what’s coming next.”
Finally, what would you say if you were able to talk to the version of yourself from 10 years ago who was just starting to piece together what D.R.U.G.S was? And likewise, what do you think that he would say if he could talk to you now as you're just getting into the groove again?
"I would say to believe in yourself - you’re good enough and don’t worry about anything. Everything is going to be exactly the way it’s supposed to be. Just trust your gut and go out and kill shit without any sort of reservation. I don’t know how the young me would react to that though. He would probably go ‘Yeah, I know dude. Obviously.’"