DIIV and its charismatic frontman Zachary Cole Smith are spotlighted in The FADER’s new Fall Fashion issue, in anticipation of the band's sophomore release, Is the Is Are. In the story, we follow Smith as he moves out of his upstate New York home, finishes the band's long-awaited album, and learns how to stay sober in a stressful world. If fans have been wondering what has DIIV been up to, well, we've got a few answers. Here's what we know.
He's been getting clean
After being charged with a misdemeanor drug possession in 2014, Smith was sent off to a rehab center in southern Connecticut. He says his stay was rough and required a challenging detox period. “I think the longest opiate person they ever had stayed for seven days,” Smith says. “I was there for eleven.”
He's been making an album.
After a few tumultuous years, the band's second album, Is the Is Are, is almost ready. Smith says that the album will be a two-disc release, clocking in at about 75 minutes. Some emergency engineering sessions were necessary after "the primary mixing sessions left some uncomfortably loud tape hiss in the mix."
He's been sharpening his sound
The new album varies in mood, with some tracks sounding "pensive," according to writer Patrick D. McDermott, while others have an "angry" tone. Is the Is Are features a number of songs that address Smith's addiction issues. There's also one that features his girlfriend Sky Ferreira "speak-singing some abstract poetry."
He's looking for an apartment
Smith and Ferreira—who he credits being one the strongest influences in getting him sober—are in the process of finding a new apartment. Although the pair currently share a place in Williamsburg, The FADER's story follows Smith taking the final steps of moving out of a house he rents in Catskill, New York, an unwelcome reminder of the time he was arrested for drug possession in nearby Saugerties.
He's looked for new bandmates
DIIV's lineup has changed. According to Smith, DIIV’s original drummer Colby Hewitt is no longer in the band as of this spring, due to an alleged struggle with multiple drug addictions. Although Hewitt says he left the band because of creative frustrations and lack of steady income—not because of drugs. Ben Newman, who played drums on sessions of Oshin, has recently filled in on some tour dates.
He's waked down the runway
Smith is an occasional model for Saint Laurent, and walked in their Paris menswear presentation last month. He even tried to recruit his bandmate Andrew Bailey as a last-minute addition to the show.
He's been studying his history
Smith has a strong fixation on Kurt Cobain—he refers to the Nirvana singer as simply “Kurt.” During his detox in Connecticut, he read Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana. More recently, he watched the Nirvana documentary, Montage of Heck, with his mother, who found it difficult to watch because Cobain reminded her of her own son.
He's played Elliott Smith's guitar
While picking up the last of his possessions from his Catskill apartment, Smith noodled around on an old present Ferreira got for him—a guitar that once belonged to Elliott Smith.