Unlike many of the popular bands from the 1990s, Dope derived their sound from influences taken from hard rock bands and fused that with the sound of industrial rock acts which had made waves earlier in the decade, such as Nine Inch Nails and Ministry, as well as industrial music act Skinny Puppy.
In their earliest days, the band sold drugs to survive and purchase instruments. Furthermore, the name «Dope» refers to drugs and drug culture, as shown by their early T-shirt designs which prominently displayed hypodermic needles.
The band also had some early connections with fellow rockers Marilyn Manson; drummer Ginger Fish shared an apartment with Edsel Dope in Las Vegas during the earlier 1990s, before either of them were in their respective bands. Also guitarist Zim Zum allowed the band to claim that they were «currently being produced by Zim Zum» on the cover of their promotional discs to help them gain a record deal. It was originally planned that Zum would produce their debut, however he was busy recording the album Mechanical Animals at the time.
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