Tackling acid washed garage rock’n’roll with a fast ‘n loose swingin’ post hardcore, the forthcoming debut LP from Austin, TX based act DRIP-FED riffs and rolls in an psychotropic frenzy and yields far more than the sum of its parts. Almost 1,5 year after our initial presentation on IDIOTEQ, we’re pleased to unveil the band’s first full length, along with a proper track by track commentary delivered by the band’s vocalist Jeffrey Blum!
Here’s what he had to say about the band’s influences and styles that have inspired him and his work with DRIP-FED along the way:
The Bronx, Nirvana, Fucked Up and Modern Life Is War are all musical influences. They showed me that you could have melodic and catchy music with an aggressive vocal and still make it work. Old-school bands like The Stooges, Black Flag and Minor Threat still influence the music as well even though we have moved away from a traditional punk sound. I was also listening to a lot of pop music like Oasis and Blondie when writing this record.
Drip-Fed started in 2014 and released our first demo that year. It was just three of us at the time (Me, Nathan and our old drummer Ryan). I wrote and recorded all of the guitars and enlisted John to play with us live so I could just sing. The “Sickened Kind” EP was released in 2015. James joined shortly after that and the “Under the Wave Blanket” 7-inch was released in 2017. Chris joined the band last year as we began writing the new record.
Being our first full-length record, we spent a lot of time working on these songs. It was definitely more of a collaborative process than in the past. More of the material was fleshed out together as opposed to me coming to practice with a complete song already written. This is also the first release with Chris on second guitar and he contributed so much to our sound. I feel like his leads are the missing piece that left our old material kind of lacking.
I really didn’t want there to be any creative boundaries on the record. I wanted to push what our sound had been. There are songs that are fast, slow, dark, happy and everything in between. If something was good then we kept it. It didn’t matter if it sounded like nothing we had done before. I mean there’s some actual singing and even acoustic guitar. Something I never would have considered 4 years ago when I started this as a simple punk band.
Lyrically, there isn’t an overarching theme of the record. I tend to write very personal lyrics and try to present them in a somewhat general way. I’m not good at conveying someone else’s experience. A lot of the lyrics do lean more positive than previous material. They’re still nihilistic, but the kind of absurdist nihilism where like nothing matters so “fuck it.” I still had a few songs to finish a couple of weeks before recording so I rented a garage apartment in Wimberley, TX which is about 45 minutes outside of Austin in the hill-country. It really helped to be away from my routine and just focus on writing for a few days.
DRIP-FED are: Jeffrey Blum (also of THE BEARER) – Vocals; John Nichols – Guitar; Chris Skiles (also of MOTHMAN and THIEVES) – Guitar; Nathan Helton (also of MOTHMAN and THIEVES) – Bass/Vocals; James Beveridge (also of MOTHMAN and PORTRAYAL OF GUILT) – Drums. The band’s debut LP was recorded and mixed by Keith Hernandez at Suite 2E in Austin, TX; mastered by Brad Boatright at AudioSiege in Portland, OR. Art and Layout by Dann K. Miller.
Tell Me Off
“Tell Me Off” is about using an extreme form of solipsism to overcome negative cycles. Basically, if the only thing that exists is my mind, and I become aware of that, then I can act as my own god and write my fate however I please. It was directed towards myself to get my shit together which I never did. This was one of the first songs we wrote for the record. I think it’s a perfect opener because it still has the old Drip-Fed vibe, but also hints at the more melodic and catchy elements the album explores. I had most of the song already written, but Nathan and I put it all together one night over tofu banh mi and weed. We wrote this before Chris joined the band, but the guitar leads he added just took it to the next level. That’s kind of the case for the whole album.
All the voices in my head were as loud as they get. I begged them to tell me off. All the words that I said were preceded by dread. Tiptoe in place and time. On a canvas that’s blank, I roll around in the paint. No direction can be wrong. Once a babbling saint who’s broken restraint from projections that led me on. In my mind I think I’m alive. In my mind I think I’ll survive. I tend to destroy more than create. Redirected fate. Resurrected state. Now I’m sculpting mountains with a phantom limb. Lined up in perfect form. Now I’m lengthening shadows at 10am with my back on the living room floor. From a cloud that is gray, I wring out all the rain. Clean off the streets where I’m lost. I’m planting the seed. I’m moving my feet. I’m breaking free. In my mind I think I’m alive. In my mind I think I’ll survive. I tend to destroy more than create. Redirected fate. Resurrected state. Get out of my way ‘cause I’m moving like a wrecking ball. So sick of this place so I make a new one up instead until the end. I tend to destroy more than create. Redirected fate. Resurrected state.
Because of the environment I grew up in, I’m supposed to be married with two kids and have a thriving career by now. Instead, most of the time I just feel like a dumb wild animal. This song is about being comfortable in a life that’s different than what is expected of you—surrounded by people that can’t seem to find stability either. “Lower Primate” is a straight up rock song. It was the first one we wrote for the record and we’ve been playing it live for a minute. Nathan does some cool yelling/singing on the chorus, which is something different for us, and James has a pretty ripping drum solo towards the end. If you’re reading this then you probably know he rips on the whole record though.
Free of the leash and kicking up dust. Disarrange before we’ll adjust. Millions of years to evolve before us. Some of us reject it. Rejected. We can follow scent, but we’re acting senseless. We can rest our heads, but in our beds we’re restless. All my friends are drug addicts. All my friends are alcoholics. All my friends are pessimistic. Some of us. All of us. We’re the ones who reject it. Rejected. We can follow scent, but we’re acting senseless. We can rest our heads, but in our beds we’re restless. I don’t feel guilty. Clean skin in the Dead Sea. I don’t feel guilty. No kin. No breed. I’ll do as I fucking please. We can follow scent, but we’re acting senseless. We can rest our heads, but in our beds we’re restless.
“Electric Kool-Aid” tells the story of a really bad acid trip. I was tripping and we heard the police raided my friend’s place. I went to check it out for him and there were two cops sitting outside his door. I went again later and his place was destroyed with a search warrant sitting on his bed. This song is about how quickly something beautiful can turn ugly. A supposed vessel of peace and love from the spiritual world that turns into a living nightmare. The chorus is a pretty simple punk riff, but Chris’ leads and the kind of mid-tempo verses really turned it into something special. Nathan and James do this subtle groove together during the last half of the two-step (1-2-3 LSD) that rules so hard.
Swallow the dose. Savor the taste. Dissolve into a chemical haze. Orbit the globe. Shift different shapes. Break down the walls of a spiritual maze. The panic grows. Slip out of phase. Tumbling down a neon staircase. Lay in the road and turn to waste. I’m just another fucking head case. The cops can smell my fear. The LSD rings in my ears. Run circles in a house of mirrors. I’ll never make it out of here. Barking dogs bite at my feet. Swallow the dose. Savor the taste. Dissolve into a chemical haze. Orbit the globe. Shift different shapes. Break down the walls of a spiritual maze. The panic grows. 1-2-3. LSD. 1-2-3. LSD. Swallow the dose. Savor the taste. Dissolve into a chemical haze. Orbit the globe. Shift different shapes. Break down the walls of a spiritual maze. The panic grows. Slip out of phase. Tumbling down a neon staircase. Lay in the road and turn to waste. I’m just another fucking head case. Deep fry my brain when given the chance to. I’ll plead insane at heaven’s gates. An angry God taking no lip.
Live and Die in the City
I wrote a lot of these lyrics in my head one afternoon when I was stoned, paranoid and walking to get coffee. I kept thinking about how much I love being in a big city, but at the same time how much I hate being around people. Sometimes I feel like this clash is what feeds my creativity the most. John helped me a lot in piecing this one together and especially making the ending gel. The end always makes me want to break something and I’ve heard this song a million times.
Our moans form a static. Sings me to sleep in traffic. I enjoy being paranoid. I’m completely at ease. We live and die in the city. Bred in the streets. At home in the havoc. Always a creature of habit. Fill the void with a stranger’s voice. We scream through our teeth. We live and die in the city. Bred in the streets. Head down in the underground. Too close for comfort. Face down in a flower mound. Wait for the rapture. Destroy this fucking town. Burn it to the ground. Destroy this fucking town. Burn it all down.
Most of the lyrics for “Pez” were written in the waiting room of a pain management clinic I went to for about two years. The waiting room was always filled with a combination of junkies and people in legitimate need. I fell somewhere in the middle. I suffer from a chronic pain syndrome that doesn’t have a cure, but I was also losing my ability to control my Vicodin consumption. “Pez” was inspired by the conversations I overheard and had with various patients in the waiting room. The addicts always wanted to know what kind of script I was prescribed. Elderly patients questioned what a young man like me who appeared in good health was doing there. I had a couple of therapeutic conversations with other chronic pain sufferers. We had already exhausted all of our family and friend’s sympathy so for 10 minutes we had someone to complain about our pain to. Everyone in the waiting room had one thing in common. We were all there to see the 21st century dope man. This is definitely the weirdest song on the record and maybe the best. The swells, constant acoustic guitar and changing dynamics all add to an interesting vibe. I was very hesitant about doing clean vocals at the beginning, but I knew yelling wouldn’t fit. I can’t sing at all, but I think it worked out.
We are gathered here today to listen to each other complain. Signals misfire in our brains so we will always self-medicate. Dope man. Give me the dope, man. Dope man. I can’t cope, man. If pain is a religion then I’m your reverend. Speaking to a bored congregation who sleeps through my sermon. This can’t be worth it. I take my medicine and let it kick in. Dope man. Give me the dope, man. Dope man. I can’t cope, man. Dope man. Give me the dope, man. Dope man. I can’t cope, man. Dope man. Life’s a joke man. Dope man. I’m fucking broke, man. Dope man. Give me the dope, man. Dope man. I’ve given up hope.
Nathan wrote the lyrics for this song so I let him explain: I’ve always been bothered by being mentioned in the same breath as other musicians who are in bands for surface-level factors. These lyrics are about reacting to immature criticism—shit talk and name calling—from someone who I feel is more worried about how they’re perceived being in a band rather than approaching their music with a little originality and integrity. I always find weird ways to try and illustrate my ideas lyrically and here I use the idea of someone trying to feed someone raw meat. This track has a different feel to it against the rest of the record. The droning leads in the verses mixed with the rock intensity of the chorus really fits the subject matter. It’s one of our personal favorites to play.
Suck, suck, suck ’til the bone is dry. After the gold inside it’s left hollow and wasted; to splinter for the dogs. Hoarse cough: bone in throat. A crying bitch at an empty bowl. I got some slop for that open mouth, so I’ll let you off leash for you to walk about dizzy and sick through this front yard town full of shit for you to spread around. The meat won’t dress with affection. I want the abjection. The meat won’t dress with affection. I want the abjection. Keep your peace meal. I’ll sing for my supper: a chorus for the starved. Save yourself like a calf inside a box. They say the meat tastes better that way—but I don’t care. Lick the salt off the chops for the stock. Nose up to self-serving stench, completely unaware. Hook and hang the meat to cure, but you won’t cure me. Stomach empty as your plate. Tongue heavy as smoked rings. The meat won’t dress with affection. I want the abjection. The meat won’t dress with affection. I want the abjection.
Profit of God
There are definitely people who use religion in positive way to help others and improve themselves. Unfortunately, there are also people on the complete opposite side of the spectrum. “Profit of God” is about hypocrites who use religion for their own financial gain or to take advantage of others. Television evangelists selling their product, conservative politicians spouting religious rhetoric to gain votes, pedophile priests etc. The song is a rally cry to stop falling for their facade. This was a hard one to find a vocal rhythm for. The driving verses were easy, but the choppy and thumping chorus was unlike anything we’ve ever done.
They hypnotized us and we bought whatever was sold. False advertisements and greed in a franchised cult. Your pockets hang low and you stay high with the profit of God. We’re not falling for it anymore. They victimized us. Sex sells in the churches too. Rampant perversion fulfilled by misguided youth. They pandered to chumps. Got the nod from the Christian right. Now they control us for the rest of our life. Politics imposed. Conquer and divide with the profit of God. Sing me this song. We’re not dying for it anymore.
I struggled with how to approach writing lyrics during this time. I asked myself if the world really needed another voice of a straight white male. I could have written an entire album worth of lyrics regarding the current political climate in the United States, but I chose to just put it all in one song. “Phone Tag” is simply my experience looking at all of the bullshit from the outside. Waking up with dread every day to check my phone and see what has transpired overnight. The bridge of the song has some of my favorite lyrics on the record. The main riff in the chorus is basically just a 12 bar blues type lick that is super sped up with a lot of hammer-ons. There are so many nuances and little changes in this song that it’s honestly a pain in the ass to play.
Everything is broken beyond repair. All I smell is gun smoke in the air. Awake to a nightmare. Freedom is a dream. Wage war on our welfare. Officers disturb peace. Phone tag you’re it. Phone tag you’re it. Phone tag you’re it. Hear out the bullshit. Society is poisoned and doesn’t care. Propaganda spoken over air. We’ll die in the crosshairs. Riot in the streets. Won’t pledge to surrender. One nation under siege. The hive mind is demented. Swarm of bees too buzzed to drive home. Our fate is cemented. Watch wars from a screen on my telephone. Phone tag you’re it. Phone tag you’re it. Phone tag you’re it. Hear out the bullshit.
“Intertwine” felt like a love song when I was writing lyrics, but I’m not in love. I turned it into this kind of fucked up love song to my small group of friends who seem to never catch a break. It focuses on two organisms in a mutual parasitic relationship who take turns feeding off each other’s positivity. John came up with a chord progression and I kind of built the song from there. The working title for this was “pop song” because that’s exactly what it is. It’s a punk song that’s disguised as a pop song. I’m extremely proud of this one.
This case of bad vibes spreads around like head lice. I’m out of advice, but we’re not throwing the fight. Tarred and feathered. Intact but battered. Keep it together. You know how it goes. Find some shelter. Supplies are scattered. Wait out the weather and feed off a host. Attach and relax. Drain out all that I’ve got. Extract then give back everything that you’ve got. Tough luck on our side, but can’t let it break our stride. When our bodies combine, our strength will double in size. If we intertwine then I think we’ll be all right. If we give a shit then I think we’ll exist forever. Tarred and feathered. Intact but battered. Keep it together. You know how it goes. Find some shelter. Supplies are scattered. Wait out the weather and feed off a host. Attach and relax. Drain out all that I’ve got. Extract then give back everything that you’ve got. Exploit and rejoice that we aren’t on our own. Appoint my voice to yours when you’ve lost your own. Parasites passing time. We will be all right. Tarred and feathered. Intact but battered. Keep it together. You know how it goes. Find some shelter. Supplies are scattered. Wait out the weather and feed off a host.