The position of one of the bands set to appear as part of the Big Day Out 2014 lineup next January has been in jeopardy ever since their frontman was involved in a high profile drug bust last month.
Zachary Cole Smith, the singer-guitarist of shoegaze-styled rockers DIIV, was arrested for possession of a “plastic bag containing 42 decks of heroin,” and driving with a stolen license plate through upstate New York.
The 28-year-old musician was with his singer/model/actress girlfriend, Sky Ferreira, at the time – who was also charged with possession of ecstasy and resisting arrest.
The pair, who were on their way to perform at the Basilica Soundscape Festival, were pulled over, arrested and charged, then transported to Ulster County Jail before being released on bail in order to make their live performance (where they played a live cover of Cat Power’s ‘Nude As The News’ – semi-appropriate).
Aside from a tweet from the DIIV frontman following the arrest proclaiming their innocence ahead of court proceedings, the pair have not publicly addressed the incident but Smith’s girlfriend has now opened up about the arrest in an interview with Billboard.
what you're reading is a police blotter, not the outcome of a court case. these cops wanted to fuck us, and they did. sky did nothing wrong.
— DIIV (@DIIV) September 16, 2013
Following in the vein of her boyfriend’s tweet, the 21-year-old synth pop star claims that the Saugerties police – who pulled the indie couple over for “several vehicle and traffic infractions” – were out to get them in the Billboard interview, maintaining her innocence and that she is not a drug addict.
“I legally can’t say much about what happened, but it’s not what it all seems,” says Ferreira. “I kind of got fucked with. And it’s annoying because I wasn’t charged with his heroin. It says it. The public records are out there. I wasn’t charged with it. Trust me, if I was even anywhere near that, they would’ve charged me because they had no problem charging me with other shit. They were out to kind of like fuck with us.”
With a court appearance still pending to face down their charges, the singer says “I’m scared to say more… I don’t want them to arrest us anymore,” while noting conspiratorially: “I’m not saying they went out of their way to fuck with us, but like what happened wasn’t… No one actually knows what happened besides Cole and I and the Saugerties police.”
(Image: Ulster County Sheriff’s Office photos. Source: Daily Freeman)
Ferreira describes how she and her musical partner have been facing down not only negative attention from the press, but from family and friends also. “It’s hard that every day now I have people calling me a heroin addict or making fun of me and saying that I’m gonna die of AIDS from needles and shit like that,” says Ferreira.
“The one thing I think that bothers me the most is people being self-righteous about it and not knowing what they’re talking about. Read what [the police report] says. People are being really hypocritical about it and just using it as a way to mock us. I don’t like the way people are treating me and Cole. If I thought someone had a problem, I would help them, I would want to get them help.”
The ‘Everything Is Embarrassing’ singer – who is releasing her debut album Night Time, My Time later this month, also proclaims her drug associations don’t make her an addict, elaborating on how she was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“I know for a fact I’m not a drug addict. That’s all I really have to say about it. I know I’m not a drug addict. I’m sorry if it hurt anyone and I’m not trying to promote drugs and it’s not like an image thing whatsoever,” she says. “I’m sorry if it seems like I’m trying to promote drug use or something because I’m not. But I’m a human being and people get involved in bad situations some times. That’s really all I can say.”
Until the pair face the courts and the drug charges are resolved, a question mark still hovers over DIIV’s scheduled performance at January’s Big Day Out – featuring triple headliners Blur, Pearl Jam, and Arcade Fire – and could mean a cancellation if Smith is convicted and set to serve jail time.
Meanwhile, the one-day festival itself recently suffered the cancellation of its second Sydney date, with Big Day Out promoter Ken West stating that “perhaps we were a bit ambitious expanding to two dates in Sydney for this year’s Big Day Out,” paring back the event to its singular Australian Day outing.
Additionally, the festival recently saw Soundwave/Warped Tour/Harvest boss AJ Maddah buying into the long-running Aussie event, which will likely see Brazilian dance rock group, CSS, added to the 2014 lineup as refugees from Maddah’s own cancelled Harvest Festival. The festival’s organisers also recently offered young bands the chance to grace the Big Day Out stage as part of a new competition in partnership with Australian youth mental health foundation, headspace.