Kevin did DMT.
Joe did the dishes.The first time I did DMT I was listening to Growing. I left my body and went blissfully floating through a heavenly realm of gothic cathedrals and blue shiny caves under a pink sky made of billowing curtains. Then, unfortunately, I coughed and saw an octopus with a screaming skullface try to smother me. And then my lungs disappeared. It was equally amazing and terrifying and Growing’s music is the perfect soundtrack to it. Their songs sound like if you tried to play the ocean on guitar and bird chirps on a synthesizer from outer space. Gah! See what doing psychedelics does to you?
Anyway, seeing as how their stuff is tailor-made for tripping, we figured it would be a neat idea to have the two guys in Growing do DMT since they both said they’d never done it before. Kevin said, “Sure!” and Joe said, “No way,” which, to be fair, is a perfectly reasonable response to “Hey, wanna take an intense hallucinogen and then do a band interview afterward?” So Kevin went into one room and did the DMT while Joe hung out in the kitchen making dinner. Here’s what happened. Vice: You were giggling and the first thing you said when you came to was “I could get used to that.” Kevin Doria: It started setting in so fast. I took two hits and I was already there. You leaned back and you said, “Whoa, a plane.” Oh yeah! This plane totally flew right by the skylight. A real plane? I… I think so. I thought that was really funny and then after that it was just space travel, like there were all these patterns in the skylight. Man, I wish I could draw it, it was like, there were a million skylights and each one was its own woven thing and they were all flashing a billion different colors of light, like rainbow style. And the skylights were stacked on each other in this weird way and there was one that went through the middle of all of them that was a weird twirly hourglass thing. You know they say that Francis Crick discovered the DNA double helix while on LSD. Yeah, it was totally that style. Holy shit. I have never seen anything like this before. Everything was moving together in this weird fuckin’ way and I think the music had some effect on that. What was that song you were listening to? “So Much Love to Give” by DJ Falcon and Thomas Bangalter. Classic French house song. Is your music very influenced by French house? I hope so. I like it a lot. Was everything moving to the music? At that point I closed my eyes and the music became inconsequential. It’s so stupid but there was this melting weird shit, almost like I was scuba diving through some opaque liquid, you know? And then there was this weird thing that looked like a mix between a deer, a mouse, and some crazy praying mantis and it was just like, “Bwoop!” Like, waving at me. I’m not even joking. Shit was there, man. It would come in and out of the weird melting mass that was always moving forward, like you’re rocketing through weird goo. It would form and then disappear over and over. It was rad. Wow, so you saw a thing. I saw a thing. I dunno if I saw THE thing, but I saw a thing for sure. It had huge alien eyes but it seemed real nice. It didn’t seem mean and it wasn’t gonna bite me or anything. Did it talk to you? No… It didn’t have to. Was it fun? Yeah, I’m never gonna forget that ever, ever. Let’s go talk to Joe now. Hi there Joe! Whatcha doin’? Joe DeNardo: I’m making eggs. Is that OK? Sure! Kevin had DMT and now you’ll have some eggs! Joe: That’s pretty much how it goes. That’s the split right there. So you’re not as much of a “wild man” as Kevin? Joe: Well, I’ve never tripped before. Someday I’d like to try, but not during an interview. Plus I don’t think I’d want to do it in this house. I have weird feelings about this space sometimes. Really? But it’s so cool here. It’s a converted garage in the middle of nowhere. Joe: There was a long time when we didn’t have the skylight. There was no light in the entire place. We just put that skylight in about a year ago. Before that, we had no windows at all. We’re walled in on all sides. Kevin: It doesn’t affect me so much, but when we first moved here, there were five of us, and you could see how the no-light would affect people differently. Dennis split right away, he was really unhappy. I guess I could see it getting claustrophobic. Joe: When you’re in your room, trying to work—I never even thought about it before, but your eyes tend to go to windows as an escape, and when you don’t have that, well, it makes me anxious. Your music is very trippy in a way that would be conducive to doing DMT, which is why we wanted you to do it in the first place. Do you think of your music as psychedelic? Kevin: I can see how people would take it that way, but it’s funny because we’re not the most psychedelic dudes in our personal life. Joe: I’m not at all. Kevin: Really we’re just alcoholics. That’s surprising because your music is so not alcoholic sounding. It’s repetitious and precise. With alcohol, you think of, like, sloppy rock and roll. Joe: I don’t care about drugs at all one way or another, but I know a lot of people who listen to us do and they value us in that way. And that’s cool, but, I dunno, I don’t want people to listen to us just because they’re fucked up. Drats! Well, I also listen to your stuff a lot at work because it works as white noise and on top of that there’s something about it that’s hypnotizes me into being able to concentrate on writing and editing. So it’s good for work too. Drugs and work. Kevin: Yeah, they’re similar, especially if you’re working creatively. What about when you play live, what’s your mind frame? Joe: This is an unfortunate thing, but I found that I have to be drunk to enjoy it. The last few years, when I play sober, I feel like I’m struggling to get into it. Kevin: Yeah, there’s a certain looseness that drinking provides. I think both of us are quietly anal dudes— Joe: Quietly? Kevin: Or not so quietly. So if we’re not wasted when we’re playing, we tend to overanalyze every fucking second of it, like “Is this boring? Is this fun?” As opposed to “Wagh! Let’s just have a good time!” You guys are a two-man band. What are some other two-man bands you enjoy? Kevin: Suicide. Daft Punk. Joe: Early Kraftwerk was just the two guys. Did you specifically want to be a duo? Kevin: No, not at all. We looked for a third guy but I guess it’s like that Huey Lewis song, “I’m so happy to be stuck with you.” Ha, you guys are like Bert and Ernie. Kevin: Yeah, we’re like siblings. We’re completely aware of each other’s faults, but I don’t get too annoyed with Joe and I don’t think he gets too annoyed with me. He looks annoyed with you right now. Kevin: Nah, that’s just a natural grimace. Growing’s new record, All the Way, is out now on The Social Registry.