News \

DIIV’s Zachary Cole Smith Talks Getting Clean, Sky Ferreira Breakup in New Interview

In another new interview after leaving intensive rehab for heroin addiction, DIIV frontman Zachary Cole Smith talked about getting clean and his relationship with ex-girlfriend Sky Ferreira. He’s only gotten more candid since we last heard from him in May, opening up to Billboard about the difficulty of achieving sobriety, which he’s now maintained for six months. Things were so rough, Cole says, that he had feared DIIV’s 2016 album Is the Is Are might be his last. “I literally thought that I was gonna die,” he says:

“I thought, ‘I’m already dead.’ Part of me, and a lot of my friends were like, ‘Well you’re already fucking dead.’ There was just nothing. I tried so many times getting clean, and shit just kept getting exponentially worse. It just kept escalating and escalating, to where it almost like capped out, and there was no way out. So I thought, ‘I’m fucking dead. I want to make something.’” Even guitarist and band mate Andrew Bailey, who has himself been sober three years, couldn’t help. “Bailey would be sitting right there and be like, ‘You know, I have the tools. I know what you need and I can help you do it.’ But sometimes it’s just too much when it’s a friend.”

For the first time, Cole also discussed the end of his relationship with alt-pop star Sky Ferreira, who was present during the couple’s 2013 arrest for drug possession in Saugerties, New York. Though he doesn’t say exactly how the breakup happened, Cole takes the blame, explaining that addiction led him to lie and destroy trust:

“I was using drugs, lying about using drugs, constantly,” he admits. “Because that was my life. That’s how you survive. It’s like breathing. It’s not like I could wake up one morning and be like, ‘Okay, today I’m gonna not do drugs.’ I had to spend basically a month in a hospital drooling before I could even think about re-entering the real world. And then still have a six-month period of transition, and then I’m just where I am now. It’s a long journey of self-discovery and exploration. And you can’t just one day do that. So with Sky I was constantly trying to get myself better, and I would want things to be better. But I would use and lie about it, and use and lie about it and get caught and hurt her feelings. Because if you see someone you love shooting heroin in the bathroom, finding them blue on the bathroom floor, it’s gonna affect your ability to trust that person. And it’s gonna hurt you, because you think, ‘Why can’t I help you? Am I not enough?’ It creates this deep-rooted trust and insecurity issue that ultimately you can’t repair. And that was my fault. Sky’s young, but she’s been through so much and I feel horrible that I’m just like another person that hurt her. Because everybody saw me at the time as being the person who—they’d say, ‘You’re gonna treat this girl the way that she deserves to be treated.’ I tried my best. I wanted to be a great guy and I wanted to be nice and I wanted to be everything. But ultimately I was a liar, because I had this fucking drug problem.”

On a more upbeat note, Cole says listening and practicing while in rehab changed him as a musician. He’s more confident about participating in impromptu jams, he’s got a new catalog of cover songs—Elliott Smith, Sparklehorse, (Sandy) Alex G—he’s performing at DIIV acoustic shows, and he’s started writing for a new album. Read Billboard’s full interview with Zachary Cole Smith here.