Below is the full Q&A from our interview with NeverShoutNever’s Christofer Drew. This conversation took place in a tattoo shop on 6th street in Austin, Texas during SXSW. The chance to sit down with Drew was truly a pleasure. Here’s to second chances.
Substream Magazine: How do you feel about your image today?
Christofer Drew: For me, I know who I am. My self image is myself whenever I look in the mirror. I’m proud of who I am. I’m happy but with the way other people look at me, it sometimes makes me sad because I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my day and there’s always a lot of rumors too. I was kind of going for a bad boy look for a long time. I was being young and being a teenager so I thought that was a cool thing. I feel good but I’m just trying to come across with the more positive side of myself.
SM: Do you still read fan critiques and message boards?
CD: I listen to it but I know what I’m doing at this point in my life. I don’t let it get to me. The hate used to get to me pretty hard and the hate that I would get would make me hate myself but it’s not like that anymore. I’m really happy and content and about as chill as a cucumber these days.
SM: What is your stance on drugs these days?
CD: I’m not against it but I’m also not for it. I’ll smoke weed occasionally, on special occasions like a movie night or something. I like to drink beer but whenever it comes to hard drugs, I really believe that they hurt your body, deplete your energy etc. the way I look at is that if people are taking drugs, its not for me to say if they can or can’t but what I want to portray to the kids listening to my music is that you don’t need drugs to be high. There’s so many ways to become a spiritual person and that’s why a lot of people do drugs is that they’re looking for something more and they’re not satisfied. Even if they don’t know their spirituality, they’re searching for something more and they find it or they think they do with drugs, and that’s what I thought for a long time. I was literally killing myself. I took it so far to a point where I couldn’t take it any farther and if I did, it would have been death. Just the thought of that, its such a waste. I feel like every person has a reason, a purpose and a destiny. I just don’t feel like my destiny is to do drugs and tell kids to do drugs. I’m definitely strong on being drug free. At the same time, I will say that I don’t believe that weed is a drug. I believe its herbal medicine. I’ll smoke that occasionally and I definitely back marijuana but anything harder than that, I just say no to and I encourage kids to say no to hard drugs.
SM: When I went back and watched the now infamous Bryan Stars interview, something that struck me when reading the comments was that kids and fans were very black and white. They take so much from artists and they can be very unforgiving. How do you process that progression?
CD: I’ll tell you now that I was on hard drugs when I did that interview. I think I was being a little stuck up, a little pretentious with that whole thing. That’s not my style these days. I needed that wake up call and I needed to see myself back that way and see the reaction of people and how they feel when I do act that way. It was a beautiful wake up call and it made me realize that I need to be a little sweeter and not be such a know-it-all. Sometimes I feel like I know it all and sometimes I’m reminded that I know nothing.
SM: Have you spoken to Bryan since?
CD: I’m not in touch with him. I tweeted him and apologized and all that. I want to eventually set up a third interview with him and make it really personal. I was thinking of having him over to my house or something and making him some food or something like that. In the moment, I didn’t feel like I was being such a dick and I didn’t realize that it hurt him the way it did. Then I saw that interview where he cried at the end and I didn’t realize what I’d done. We were just being rock & roll, we were just drunk and I had taken a hit of acid that morning in the studio and at the time that’s just what I wanted to do. I didn’t realize that I was being such a turd (laughs).
SM: What was the turning point where you realized how bad it really was?
CD: It happened last year. I had run away to California, like I say in one of my songs and I was out there getting messed up. I totaled my car and ended up in the hospital and had to go to rehab. In rehab I saw true addiction from older folk who were going through it. It was a nice place and these people had legitimate lives and did their thing but they all had insane drug problems. Seeing that just made me realize that that’s not what I want to be or where I want to be. I want to be feeling high off life. Now I feel way more high than I’ve ever felt off any drug, just by being me and being satisfied. Ever since I started NSN I’ve never been satisfied because I had a lot of self-image problems when I started it. Even eating stuff, it’s hard for me to eat sometimes. I just felt like I had to portray this scrawny image or something. But now days I just feel like myself, I’ve finally grown up and ready to live out my purpose and do it right. I’m really happy.
SM: You were largely featured in last year’s documentary No Room For Rockstars. How do you feel you were portrayed in the film?
CD: It was very honest. That’s how it was. At the beginning of the tour, I was really excited and so stoked and as the tour went on, I hurt my foot from jumping off the speaker and I got all these pain pills. I started getting all pissed. You could see my attitude change as the tour went on. I look back at it now and that was an awesome summer. It was totally a fun time for the band, we were a six-piece back then and we were just discovering how fun music could be. I was just starting to get pretty good at guitar so it was a good turning point. This summer I think will be the biggest turning point. I’m just going to give 110% to show people that I’m a changed guy. I’m going to spending practically all day at the merch table just hanging out with kids just trying to love these kids because it blows my mind what I walk away with whenever I put in the time and listen to these kids and give them advice. A lot of kids are looking for advice from me so just giving them that, I’ve learned a lot about myself. Warped Tour is just so many people so I’m just going to be really open. I’ve always been a shut-in, I’ll play the show then just either go back to the hotel or sit in the back and do whatever. Now I want to be more open. I’m not as shy as I used to be. Sometimes shyness comes off as being a dick too. I was always very shy whenever I started NSN and my shyness would come off in many different ways but now I’m just open and happy with myself and where the band is at. I’m just stoked that we get to keep making music. We’ve been doing it for almost six years now and now playing main stage at Warped Tour, it’s really a satisfying feeling. I don’t want to throw it all away on some garbage or some bad attitudes in general. I don’t want to be a rock star. For a long time I did, until I was in my head, then I realized that I just want to be a good person. That’s why I started making music in the first place was to bring people joy. I was so sad as a kid; I got my heart broken around 16 years old and all I wanted to do was make people happy who had broken hearts. I want to get back to that and getting off drugs is the first step and writing Sunflower is the second step. Even on Indigo, I said I was clean but I was still struggling. Sunflower is a completely sober record and I haven’t done that since the Summer EP.
SM: Lastly, you have your hands in a lot of projects. Catch us up on what else you have going on.
CD: We just put out a record for Gonzo in February. Our first record was kind of bunk because we were just figuring out or software and our methods, the vocals were recorded very poorly. With this one we brought it to a friend’s studio and we did it legitimate. I put real instruments on it which was so fun. We had guitar, auxiliary percussion, organ and just a lot of really fun vocals. We did some old blues vocals, like really low on the song “Gangster Life”. It came out in February and it’s a nice step for us. For NSN, we’re working on getting Sunflower out for Warped Tour and I’m excited about that because it’s our fifth studio album, that just feels good. Life is good, no worries!
Check out Drew’s label and other acts at www.lovewayrecords.net
By Jameson Ketchum