Last year, DIIV's Zachary Cole Smith and girlfriend Sky Ferreira made headlines when their car was pulled over and they were arrested for drug possession. Now, Smith — who was busted with 42 decks of heroin — has finally spoken out in depth about the controversy.
Speaking to Stereogum in a new interview, Smith explained that there was a warrant for his arrest due to driving without a licence and that the truck they were in was stolen.
UPDATE: Smith has clarified on Twitter that he didn't steal the truck. Stereogum has updated the story to note that the licence plates had been reported as stolen because he hadn't yet returned them to the vehicle's previous owner.
Regarding his drug use, Smith said, "I've just always been the kind of person that you can't say to me, 'That stove is too hot. Don't touch it.' I have to just touch it and figure out how hot it is — you know, hold my hand just above it or touch it with my little finger. I always have to push my limits. So all the sudden there's this drug that enters the scene that's this ultimate forbidden thing, and that makes it the most tempting thing around. I've always struggled with various addictions throughout my life."
After the arrest, Smith underwent a stint in rehab, and he still goes to therapy and probationary check-ins. He admitted, "Even right after I got out of jail, I continued to engage in incredibly risky behaviour and didn't even think about it."
In the fallout of his arrest, Ferreira lost modelling jobs, and Smith still feels guilty about her getting branded as a drug addict. However, the couple remain together.
"Basically I just was stupid. I fucked up, and it was entirely my fault, and I fucked up my girlfriend's life," he said. "She literally didn't do anything wrong. She basically was just a passenger in the car with a person who was out of control for a minute. She got in deep shit… Her career got really fucked up because everybody thought she was a drug addict, which she's absolutely not. That's the worst part of it for me is that I really fucked her over."
Smith offered this rather nuanced described of the current status of his drug use: "With drugs you always have a pretty complicated relationship with it. So according to AA and all that stuff, I'm never recovered. But now I'm at the point where I'm in recovery. I have to report for drug tests and stuff. I wouldn't say I've beaten it or anything because I don't know if anybody can, but I'm trying my best. I can't say, 'No, I'm totally clean and sober.' But like anything, it's a little more complicated."
The songwriter also remains troubled by the public's response to the arrest, saying that his reputation often overshadows the music. He doesn't advocate heroin use for others.
"I just feel like people who prosecute drug addicts, they have no ability to understand what it's like to struggle with addiction," he said. "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.'"
Meanwhile, Smith is still pressing ahead with DIIV. Although their second album isn't ready to go quite yet, he's apparently written 150-plus songs in the last couple of years (and those are apparently just the good ones — there are more than have been scrapped). Fans can expect new material to pop up in live shows.
Stay tuned for future updates about the follow-up to 2012's Oshin.