Clouds of vapor roll upwards through the open basement of Be Here Now as groups of twenty-somethings snatch beers before the show. Guitarist Zach Smithson saunters onto the sunken hardwood stage, ready to make Cocaine Culture’s premiere at this Muncie staple.

Aug. 26 welcomed the local band's '90s-inspired rock to the colorful hometown venue. The action of staring at shoes coined Cocaine Culture’s genre, "shoegaze." The genre provides Smithson inspiration for the band’s sound.

“Generally, when you go to a show, you just want to see everybody in the band jumping around, sitting on their guitars, and having a fun time,” Smithson said. “We don’t do that."

My Bloody Valentine’s album 'Loveless' was the one that just put it all on the map,” Smithson said. “For all of us, we can pretty much agree that that was like a life-changing album the first time we heard it.”

Smithson represented shoegaze barefoot — replacing laces with a plethora of tattoos.

“The sound was good and thick in the basement, which is what we aim for when it comes down to it,” drummer Tom Perry said. “I can't wait to play there again.”

Standing on the floor, headbanging audience members witnessed the full sound, while some focused on stark lyrics.

“Our lyrics are very negative. We’re just trying to get that out so we can maintain and be positive people,” Smithson said.

Singing about suicide invites select audience members to share their common ground after shows.

“It’s cool that people can relate,” Smithson said. “Those are negative emotions that people don’t want to talk about, but it makes people want to talk to us about them.”

The stirring nature of the songs catch bandmates as well.

“My favorite lyric is ‘slowly I try to replace every memory of you with something better,’" said vocalist and guitarist Zach Clifton. “Our singer wrote that one, and it just kind of resonates with me on a personal level.”

The members of Cocaine Culture have converged through bands and personal connections. Their friendship draws attention in pre-show rituals and camping trips before concerts.

“They’re some of my best friends and the best people that I know, so I’m real happy that we get to make music together,” Smithson said.

Cocaine Culture celebrated their first full album release Aug. 20 with "Six Feet Above Cloud Nine." They expect to play summer shows and release a new EP by the end of the year.