Drug Church: “Nothing’s the end of the world, man”

Not just a great band but one with something to say for themselves. Drug Church’s new album demands attention.

Not just a great band but one with something to say for themselves. Drug Church’s new album demands attention.

Words: Steven Loftin. Photos: Danielle Parsons.

Drug Church are the kind of band bands dream of being. Effortlessly fitting in just about everywhere, the Albany and Los Angeles-based five-piece have built a dedicated fanbase enamoured with their frenzied blink-and-you’ll-miss-’em flurries of towering punk, seamlessly flirting with being hardcore and, sound of the moment, pop-punk. 

Leading this charge of renegades is the matter-of-fact Patrick Kindlon. Unafraid to speak his mind, a few minutes on the phone is much like staring down the barrel of a quote-gun. It’s in much the same way he writes those poison-dagger lyrics, waiting for the rest of his bandmates – Nick Cogan (guitar), Cory Galusha (guitar), Chris Villeneuve (drums), Patrick Wynne (bass) – to get their scrappy, fast and furious tunes together first, and then seeing what comes out. 

It’s this process he’s utilised for Drug Church’s last three albums, including 2018’s ‘Cheer’, and he’s once again pointing the crosshairs at anything and everything with bite-sized spicy soundbites on fourth outing, ‘Hygiene’. 

Heya Pat. We’re here to chat about ‘Hygiene’, the upcoming record – how are you feeling about it now it’s making its way into the world?
That’s a good question. I feel like it’s a very strong record. It’s funny – if you say things like, ‘however people want to receive it is fine’, you come off dispassionate or unconfident, but that’s the truth. I’m good either way. I like when people like our records, but you know, we’ve got to hit a stinker once in a while – but I don’t think that’s this record. My feeling is that anybody that really enjoyed ‘Cheer’ will also really enjoy this record. So I guess the person who would be disappointed is somebody who wants something completely different from us. That person might be bummed.

People don’t know what they want until they’ve got something, that kinda thing? 
What people love out the gate they sometimes hate two years later. The one that always leaves the biggest impact is John Carpenter’s [1982 horror film] The Thing. When it came out, it didn’t do well. And it was absolutely brutalised by critics. E.T. came out, I think it was the same holiday season, and E.T. was this very loved movie. I haven’t heard anybody talking about E.T. in decades, but The Thing is a perennial favourite of many. This is all to say that people don’t even know what is good and what is not good sometimes. It depends entirely on the cultural moment. Having so little control over that aspect of things, I might as well be on a waterslide.

Is that freeing for you as a band, having that understanding?
I think it would be really rough on my mental health if I was worried about the reception of things that I made. I’d certainly be a more anxious person. Nothing’s the end of the world, man. If people don’t like your music, there are plenty of other things you can do in life.

“People don’t even know what is good and what is not good sometimes”

Patrick Kindlon

Your way of working – writing songs under the pressure of the band having done their bits already – is that to let your subconscious do the talking?
No, that might be laziness, but I think it has more to do with just finding a process that works. Having stress to finish something is important for people who are perhaps natural procrastinators; I’m most in my groove when there’s a clock ticking. It’s also possible to overwrite, and I’ve always subscribed to the idea that I’m giving what I was thinking about on the month of June in 2022 – it’s just a snapshot. I don’t mean it to be an eternal reflection of my beliefs. 

That sounds like you see albums as more disposable propulsion for moving the band and yourself to whatever’s next as opposed to concrete chapters.
It is just a moment. It’s just a little time capsule. And I think that they have a lot of value in exactly that way. For example, we have primary sources, right? If you and I wanted to know more about the American Civil War, we’d now have all the history between then and now to sift through. We might think it’s most instructive to go by correspondence: what were people writing to each other? What were they expressing in the moment? They do have a utility to understanding things, but their utility is very limited because it’s one individual with only their purview. They may have felt different 20 minutes beforehand; they might have different 20 minutes after. You’re just getting this impression of it.

How does that work coming through in a scene where people can be Quite Loud with their opinions?
People think that’s their buy-in to it, to be part of the conversation, and being part of the conversation makes them relevant and being relevant means that they matter. It’s like, sure, you don’t matter, and I promise that the relevance is – if it exists at all – it’s very fleeting. You don’t have to enter with a take. And listen, there’s gonna be a number of people reading this go, did he really just say that? Because in my life, I’ve wasted many days fighting morons about anything. It’s a waste of your time, but you don’t realise just how much a waste of your time until you have so many projects that you can’t fuck with that anymore.

What do you see as being Drug Church’s place in the world?
We play 300 to 500 cap rooms meant for rock music; some of the clubs will exist in 10 years, many will not. The bands we play alongside, some will exist in 10 years, many will not. We’re not overly sentimental as a band. We’re sincere but not self-serious. I think it’s a little bit more difficult for people to have the emotional connection that they might have with some other bands. So my guess would be people will enjoy us while we’re here. If we have a legacy, it’ll be the songs hold up. I don’t know if anybody’s gonna be playing us at their funeral or wedding; I’m very at peace with that.

Taken from the April 2022 edition of Dork, out now. Drug Church’s album ‘Hygiene’ is out now.

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