Taking Meds: Striving for Stability and Identity Through Sobriety

The label of a “side project” can be a pejorative term. Bestowed by fans and critics alike to describe a musical endeavor which stems from a larger project, the phrase ultimately connotes inferiority in some way. In the case of Taking Meds, an alternative math rock/post-emo band stemming from Rochester-based punk rock act, Such Gold, the use of the term “side project” categorically fits, as three out of the four members are current or former members of Such Gold. However, Taking Meds directly pushes against any disrespect the term can hold by constantly touring and recording unique and quality material that holds its own ground.

Taking Meds started when guitarist Ben Kotin created math rock inspired riffs on tour, and Skylar Sarkis, who at the time was playing guitar in Such Gold, decided to sing over them. The band recruited bass player Jon Markson, and then drummer Matt Battle to complete the lineup. Upon coming together, Taking Meds, opened their own headline set at the Bug Jar while on tour with Drug Church in December of 2012. They decided to call themselves Taking Meds, as a play on the name Talking Heads while listening to the band in Europe. Taking Meds recorded a phenomenal three song demo released in January of 2013 and quietly played a handful of shows, opening for acts such as Hop Along and booking tours primarily across the Northeastern side of the US. Taking Meds eventually released their first full length, ‘My Life as a Bro,’ in late 2016 on Broken World Media which focalized in on the power of the quartet to release intricate, yet memorable music. During the time period of the band’s inception to their first full length release, Sarkis admits that he “was not in a place in [his] life where [he] could have it together. No one in the band was taking charge.” In 2017, Sarkis made a conscious decision to go sober and push the band into a full-time touring act that not only frequently travels DIY-scenes scattered across the basements of North America, but also plays shows opening for national acts as diverse as Against Me!, Neck Deep, and Defeater.

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