Hate Drugs/Wee Beasties Interview
Wee Beasties, a band in their 20s from Fresno, is trying to pave the way for new, innovative music in a relatively quiet town. The band is fronted by Codie Collins as their lead singer, with Gio Najeh and Nic Tesi on guitar, Nick Merrick on bass, and Max Martinez on drums, who are all taking part in a musical revolution with their tour counterpart Hate Drugs on the ‘Beach Weekend Tour.’ Hate Drugs’ members range from their late teens to their early twenties, they were formed in Bakersfield by David Caploe as the their lead singer/guitarist, with Norman Lee on guitar, John Irwin on bass, Josiah Caploe on keyboard, and Adrian Diaz on drums. Both Wee Beasties and Hate drugs have managed to cultivate a decent following in their respective hometowns and now they are venturing to new places together and playing shows so that their music can reach new heights. The guys of both bands were kind enough to sit down with Creeper Magg and discuss their bands’ origins, their touring experience, and even memes.
Creeper Magg: Can you guys introduce yourselves and tell us what instrument you play?
Codie (Wee Beasties): My name is Codie and I’m the lead singer of Wee Beasties.
Nick (WB): I’m Nick Merrick and I play bass for Wee Beasties.
Max (WB): Hi I’m Max Martinez and I play drums for the Wee Beasties.
Nic (WB): This is Nic Tesi and I play guitar for the Wee Beasties.
Gio (WB): I’m Gio, I play guitar as well.
David (Hate Drugs): My name is David and I sing and I play guitar for Hate Drugs.
Norman (HD): I’m Norman and I play guitar for Wee Beasties, oh shit no Hate Drugs.
Josiah (HD): I’m Josiah Capole and I play keys for Hate Drugs.
Adian (HD): Hi I’m Adrian Diaz and I play drums for hate drugs.
John (HD): John Irwin and I play bass for Hate Drugs.
CM: (Wee Beasties) How did you guys meet and start playing together?
Max (WB): I was playing music with some friends, we were just jamming and stuff and I met Codie through some mutual friends. So we always kinda wanted to play together, we just jammed. And between that friendship, we just kinda brought in a couple new people amongst each other and that’s kinda how it happened and everything just fell into place. We just started creating.
CM: And how long ago was that?
Max (WB): It was like April, 2015. Around there is when it kinda went official.
Nic (WB): I had actually gone to school with Nick Merrick, our bassist, we went to Clovis High together and we had always been in like separate groups [bands], we needed a bassist in Wee Beasties and he stepped up to the plate. He’s been with us for about six months or so. And since then, it's really just taken off and we got to go on tour with Hate Drugs.
CM: Hate Drugs, how did your band start?
David (HD): I just kinda was jamming with some guys, my brother [Josiah], and Norman and some other people and we were just sort of making music that we were like, ‘Hey we really like this and we should do something about it.’ And then the bass player and drummer that we had both left; this was before we were an official band. And it kinda ended and I was like, ‘You know what I’m just gonna do it on my own.’ So I just wrote a few songs and I had my brother help me produce; him and I worked on putting out ‘Rough Days,’ which was our first EP. Then I put it out and a lot of people started listening to it and I was like, ‘Woah we gotta play.’ So I was like, ‘Norman, do you want in?’ and he’s like, ‘Yes.’ And through our old players, we ended up finding Adrian and he jumped on board, and he brought John. So it's like a little family. So technically, we became an official band the day that the EP was released, which was July something, 2014.
CM: Wee Beasties, how has your sound evolved as a band? W know it’s kinda still in that early stage, probably still evolving, but how would you describe it?
Max (WB): We have all these backgrounds and ideas and thoughts and everything, and some things are like, ‘Oh I have this riff for this many years and I’ve never done anything with it. Or I got this and that.’ So it's kind of all that coming together and making it happen; it’s a bunch of peoples’ ideas and making it one. But what I’m really excited for is the next process; it's like everything is coming from within so that’s exciting.
Codie (WB): Yeah, it’s pretty cool because we all come from different backgrounds, different styles of music that we play. We were all from like different bands: cover bands, ska bands, metal bands, jazz bands, you name it.
Codie (WB): We were quiet for 6-8 months just working on these songs that we’re playing. We just went out there and basically just knocked it out of the park locally and really just did what we came to do and really built up a local draw and a buzz for us and then established ourselves as one of the main bands from our city. It’s been killer together, we both have these different textures and feels, but it really compliments the other live. It’s been really fun and we’ve been learning and growing together. I’m excited for the future and to finish up this tour and get to writing and producing and creating some more new stuff for spring. The next chapter is gonna be dope.
CM: Hate Drugs, how have you noticed that your sound has evolved?
John (HD): At the beginning, most of what we played was what Josiah and David collectively wrote in the ‘Rough Days’ EP. Slowly through the process, David has brought some of his ideas, Josiah has brought some of his, and together we’ve grown a lot more. A lot of us have like jazz roots, so that comes out in our stuff. There’s some rock roots, there’s just a little bit of everything. I think that’s what makes us and Wee Beasties so compatible.
CM: You’ve mentioned that where you come from, your bands are kind of the headliners?
Codie (WB): In our respective cities.
CM: What’s the local music scene like in your area? Are there a lot of bands?
Nick (WB): It’s really interesting, there’s a lot of talent in Fresno, I feel like a lot of people don’t really appreciate it. Like whenever I tell people I’m from Fresno they’re like, ‘Oh that sucks.’ You know, I kinda get it, but it's really interesting because I’ve met a lot of really cool [people], these guys included. It’s been an awesome opportunity to learn.
Codie (WB): Yeah, it’s interesting. We’re getting these big indie acts coming through, we’re getting bigger bands and bigger bands. It’s just kind of been this snowball effect, the DIY scene, the indie scene. All the independent festivals, and everybody taking part and playing and contributing to that and building this thing up. And now we’ve got this really cool music scene in this city that didn’t really have that and that’s also happening in Bakersfield too. So people from San Francisco, L.A. and other states are like catching the wind and they’re coming through and getting better bands and we’re making friends. Places are set around like cultivating areas that were completely absent. Our downtown scene is becoming really cool. It hasn't been open since the 70’s and 80’s really, and now young kids can go downtown and hang out and it’s pretty cool.
David (HD): Yeah Bakersfield kind of a bad rep like Fresno, maybe even worse! But the thing with the Bakersfield music scene is that we’ve had some big bands come from Bakersfield, but it’s every once in a blue moon. Through the 90’s it became metal and the Bakersfield sound was Korn. All the bands that were popular in Bakersfield, the music scene was centered around metal music. we started, two years ago, there was really not much of a music scene. We started just kind of hammering down and since then there’s kind of been like a little spark of fire that ignited in Bakersfield. There’s been a huge growth in the indie and DIY scene. And just this year, Very Special Records, which is kind of a collective of a bunch of us indie and DIY bands started and a lot of like really rad house shows and other cool shows downtown and stuff have been starting to happen. The scene has really been growing now and a lot of people who wouldn’t normally go out to shows are going out and it’s kind of a community scene.
CM: Also tell us about your band name, are there stories behind them?
Josiah (HD): I used to listen to a lot of music on Spotify, I had nothing else to do in my spare time. I would make up band names in my head just for fun. So one day I thought of ‘Hate Drugs’ and I was like, ‘Oh, Hate Drugs, that’d be a fun name.’ And then I told David and David’s like, “Hate Drugs, I like that dude!” So he wrote it on his shoe and then we went to practice one day and the guys were like, ‘What’s that on your shoe?’ and he’s like, ‘I guess it’s our band name!’ So that’s kinda how that happened, but as time went on, it kinda evolved and we kinda morphed it into something that reflects what we stand for as a band. Not so much we hate drugs, like we’re not anti-drug. But more of like, hate can be a drug, hate can make you a different person, and we’re all about loving and making sure everyone feels a part of the community and trying to involve people. And also hate drugs, drugs of hate, what is a drug of hate, I don’t know, you answer that, you kind of just leave it up to people, it’s just kind of fun too.
CM: And then what about Wee Beasties?
Nick (WB): Well Codie is like a really slow eater, probably the slowest I’ve ever seen.
Codie (WB): I talk more than I eat; I just keep talking and everyone is finished.
Nic (WB): Max’s dad, Fred makes us all food because he’s awesome. He made us food one time and for a month or so we were trying to think of band names like, ‘oh that sounds cool, no that’s not gonna work, it’ll make us sound like a metal band.’ Anyway Fred came in and Codie wouldn’t eat his food and he said you know if you don’t eat your food the wee beasties are gonna get it and it all kind of just rang in our head and mostly Max was like ‘You know I really like that name.’ And before I had the choice to decide, we already had the instagram made. Now we’re the Wee Beasties and it’s really grown on me.
Gio (WB): It’s grown on me too. I hated the name, like I despised it. I think it’s because I didn’t understand and I was just the little kid ‘it sounds metal.’
Max (WB): Wanna hear the real story?
CM: Oh that was the fake story?
Codie (WB): Well no there’s like histories and folklore to it too. Like old Irish wise tales where women would tell their kids, “the little wee beasties are gonna get you!” you know, these little creatures. But there’s also a really nerdy scientific thing too about it. Cells were nicknamed ‘wee beasties’ before they were even called cells. It’s something that’s like a really old term that’s been around for a long time that kinda died out. Everybody is kind of like a wee beastie if you think about it. You know, if cells were nicknamed that then we’re all that, the whole universe is. There’s a lot of ways to look at it, it’s like Hate Drugs, you can take it as you want.
Nick (WB): If you leave your food out, we’re gonna get it!
CM: How has the Beach Weekend Tour process been for you? How long has it been?
Codie (WB): It spans over a two week period.
Gio (WB): Yeah right now we’re on like a four day period. The last one was two days.
Codie (WB): Yeah, well like, the thing about it, to backtrack before we started it: Hate Drugs came into town, and played on our headline show and it was amazing. Almost 400 people at the show it was incredible. And so right after the show, you know, you load out and everything and everybody’s nice and sweaty and packing up stuff and it’s like, ‘You know what, we should go tour together! I think that we should tour.’ It’s like we play a couple of shows together, we should go take this out of town and go run some shows together. And it’s all West Coast, it’s all here. And David and I come from surfing backgrounds too, him more than me and so, I don’t know, we thought to call it that. And it’s been fun, it’s been really fun.
CM: Do you guys have a full length album or is it just EPs?
Codie (WB): We have like five songs up online but live we’ve got like 12 songs.
CM: You just haven’t recorded them yet?
Codie (WB): Yeah we’ve tracked seven songs and then when we get back we’re gonna track the rest of them and then all the new stuff. And then kinda take the best of that and put out a full record.
CM: Do you have a name and a date?
Codie (WB): It’s gonna be in Spring, honestly, I think March.
Nick (WB): It’s gonna be The Nick Merrick Experience.
Codie (WB): Dat Boi.
Nic (WB): In parenthesis: Vape Nation.
CM: For Hate Drugs, what was your experience touring?
Adrian (HD): It’s a rollercoaster; it’s kinda weird in some aspects like you are kinda delusional from all this traveling and I wouldn’t say malnutrition, but you would.
Codie (WB): Uncrustables and burritos, they start to get to you.
CM: Are you all in a van together?
Adrian (HD): Oh yeah! All 6 of us in a five seat van. But it’s just the idea of risk for reward. I think so far I’m so blessed to be able to come out every day, not get stung by wasps
*a wasp tries to attack Nic Tesi in the background*
John (HD): Yeah we did a little North run, part of the same tour and we went up to North California and peaked a little into Oregon and that was fun. A lot more driving than you have to do in Southern California because cities get more stretched out the more north you go. It’s definitely a weird experience to be like after a show driving continuously and then seeing the sun come up the next day. That’s a trip. But, you know, it’s all apart of the experience and it’s fun. It’s a little crazy, but it’s fun.
Gio (WB): I was actually asked that question last night by a girl from Ventura. And she was asking me, ‘Doesn’t it get like really annoying traveling with these guys all the time?’ Like cause she thinks we’ve been going all year. I’m like, ‘No we’ve only been together like three days.’ But I was thinking about it, like really thinking about it. If it were anybody else, yeah, But with these guys, no, it’s freakin’ awesome. Even like the tiny little problems, if there are issues or anything are just smashed. Just boom let’s get things done.
CM: You guys really lucked out. Like you have a little community right here.
Codie (WB): There’s a lot of bands coming up underneath our ripple, whatever that is.
CM: Like you guys paved the way for all the other bands to come emerge. I mean all of you help each other out.
Codie (WB): There’s a lot of bands coming back and popping up now in our towns and there’s a scene coming back and it’s really cool. We’re out there fighting the good fight.
CM: Hate Drugs, do you have any new music coming out soon, is there going to be an album?
David (HD): Yeah we have three EP’s now.
Norman (HD): Yeah we do have a little gold nugget in the works. Probably gonna be around mid spring release time. A full length. After this tour we’re kinda gonna be taking like a little break from playing shows and just spend a lot of our time recording what we have written and ready to go and then writing and filling in the spaces.
CM: David you directed the last music video, right? You guys had it for ‘She Called?’
David (HD): Yeah, the music videos we put out so far, I have definitely been apart of the directing process cause I have some background in short filmmaking. But the most help has come from Keaton Punch who is the guy that has edited and filmed and co-directed these videos. He’s just done a really brilliant job with helping to make an idea reality. We were fortunate enough to connect and meet with Keaton and he’s been gracious and generous enough to help us out a lot because he believes in what we do and we’ve become good friends with him. Everything’s collaborative, one of our goals is to bring as many people into the circle that are trying to fulfill their dreams and hopefully we can create this dream machine that like helps everyone. Like if you’re a good photographer, we want you to take pictures because it benefits us but it can also benefit them because we have an audience and it gets their name out there and people can see what their art is, not just what our art is. Like Hate Drugs is just like we want it to be a platform for art to flourish, not just for us to have fun.
CM: Any final thoughts?
Gio (WB): I wanna say thank you guys! And thanks to Hate Drugs for throwing us really good vibes at every show! I literally cry! I’m gonna start collecting the tears! And thanks to my band as well for always dealing with my crap and making me happy and awesome vibes.
Nic (WB): I just have a word of advice: If you’re gonna go, go all the way up!
Gio (WB): At the pinnacle!
Codie (WB): We always go through one of those things where we kinda get stuck saying something. Like ‘Suh Dude’ was terrible! We couldn’t stop saying it.
Max (WB): We’re all about the same memes it’s been a really great time.
Codie (WB): It’s mostly the meme tour.
Nic (WB): We have an instagram chat that’s just memes.
Nick (WB): It’s actually really great because I can only communicate through memes. I’m really antisocial and these guys get it. I can just ‘suh dude’ and that’s it.
Codie (WB): Let me tell you a little something about Nick Merrick! So we get back to where we’re staying at our host’s apartment last night, or actually the first night in L.A. and Nick’s getting upset and we don’t know why he’s upset. He needs like a gallon of milk and this guy, he’s not joking he’s just drinking this gallon of milk. But Max needs OJ. You know you find these things out on tour together, what makes everybody tick. For me personally, this is really my first time being in a band where I feel like I’m in the right place. I’m finally in a group of guys who have ambitions and who want to create something bigger than themselves and be apart of a team. Hate Drugs is like that too and it’s been really cool. We’re excited for the future and super thankful and glad you guys took the time out of your day to meet us.
Josiah (HD): This whole tour thing, and the whole band thing is a new experience for myself, along with everyone else, at least for a band that’s committed and broken the bounds of our state, broken the bounds of our city. And you know it’s been a learning process, learning how to deal with people that you’ve known for a long time and deal with people you haven’t known for a long time. And learning how to treat others respectfully and maybe knowing that sometimes you don’t treat others respectfully and knowing that if you’re not careful you can lose yourself. Or you can find yourself in a place where you don’t wanna be. And I think for this whole process and wherever this band goes, wherever music takes us, which it takes us to a lot of good places, I hope that individuals, we grow together and benefit each other. And hopefully our albums and our songs and our stories will tell others what we’ve learned and where we’ve gone. And yeah I look forward to the future and seeing what it all holds for us.
David (HD): I would say thank you guys for having us and thank you to Wee Beasties for being like a solid rock that we can lean on because it’s kind of a lonely road honestly because a lot of bands are willing to do it when it’s convenient but they’re not willing to step outside of their comfort zone and really like take a risk, you know. And to have another band that believes in us and we believe in them and have that as a support system has really encouraged us an energized us to push our own limits. And there’s like healthy competition in that. It’s like we want to be like a ladder where we can stand on their shoulders and they can climb on top of ours and we can climb on top of theirs, you know. And I would say Codie has been a real support for me because we both do a lot of the booking and a lot of the heavy lifting behind the scenes stuff that isn’t a lot of the time glorified because it’s not fun. A lot of people don’t see that and they don’t see the legwork that goes into making a lot of this stuff happen and it can be like really stressful and overwhelming. But to have someone else and a group of guys that are all on the same page and want to do it and want to even help each other, it just makes it that much more exciting and enjoyable and so fun. I’m super grateful for that, beyond how I can even express; I don’t know how we would have done this without them. I don’t know if we would have. And thanks to Cory too. He’s in the van somewhere, he’s in our hearts. This is our first time taking someone with us on a tour or a trip that’s not a member of the band and he’s helped us. He’s running our sound, and kinda helping us with our live production and kind of tour managing us a little bit. Making sure we eat and sleep and making sure we don’t kill each other too. So special thanks to Cory for coming out on the road and being our dad.
John (HD): I just wanna say a huge thanks to the Wee Beasties guys. We barely even met, we haven’t even known each other for that long and honestly it feels like we’ve known each other forever. It feels like brothers. We go home, we went to the church yesterday and I was falling asleep and I was like, ‘I miss the Wee Beasties guys.’ Honestly it’s gonna suck to be away for as long as we are but we’re gonna have to.
Josiah (HD): And remember guys: Love each other. I don’t mean it in the hippie way. I mean, like actually love people cause if you don’t, you’ll die. And you’ll rot. That’s it. So love.
Norman (HD): I just wanna say: Frank Ocean, where your album at?
Adrian (HD): I just want to say thank you to my parents for raising me and I love you guys, I’ll probably see you guys soon, I don’t know.
Codie (WB): You can check us out at weebeastiesmusic.com and that will redirect you to all the other social media links.
David (HD): And we’re on hatedrugsmusic.com and you can find us on almost every streaming and music store online
Codie Collins - Lead Singer
Gio Najeh - Guitar
Nic Tesi - Guitar
Nick Merrick - Bass
Max Martinez - Drums
David Caploe - Lead Singer, Guitar
Norman Lee - Guitar
John Irwin - Bass
Josiah Caploe - Keyboard
Adrian Diaz - Drums
Interview by: Emily Kimura & Jackie Castañeda
Photos by: Kelsea Cadena
Video by: Caroline Kimura