“I feel like there’s all this weird mythology that sort of surrounds me, and it distracts from the purity of the band,” he says. “If somebody mentioned DIIV, they wouldn’t hum the song, they’d be like, ’Oh yeah, the guy who got pulled over driving a stolen car with heroin in it.’ I really hate that.” DIIV began as an intentionally shadowy enterprise, but Smith has become far from anonymous over the past two years. “I never wanted my face or personality to be part of the band, but it became inevitable,” he says. “This next record I did want to reveal myself a little bit more, but I never wanted to feel so exposed as I do now. I just feel like out there on the internet I’m just standing there completely naked and everybody’s just gawking, like, ’Man, you fucking loser.’” Whenever he returns to this subject — which is often — his voice quivers with a fragility that matches his boyish frame.
“I just feel like people who prosecute drug addicts, they have no ability to understand what it’s like to struggle with addiction,” he says, troubled by the lack of empathy. “I’ve spent a lot of time in therapy and in rehab and different stuff that’s helped me learn how to handle it on my own, but they don’t really offer resources for how to talk to the general public about it. I know how to involve my girlfriend and my mom and my friends in my recovery, but when it comes down to the general public, it just gets reduced down to, like, ’You fucking junkie, I hope you fucking OD.’” Aside from all the wearisome negativity, Smith is bothered by some people’s perception that he went on drugs and got arrested as a publicity stunt or to live out a certain rock-star archetype. “To act like I’m advocating heroin use is so offensive to me because I would never do that,” he says. “I’m living proof of how much it can fuck you.”
Read more over at Stereogum.