The Drums
UK Tour
October 2009
Questionnaire: Steve Bateman

“Taking the unlikely templates of ‘50s surf-rock and Factory Records as inspiration and mixing in a new wave sound, brand new four piece The Drums, announce themselves as purveyors of some of the most exciting new sounds to come out of the US this year. Singer Jonathan Pierce and guitarist Jacob Graham met each other at summer camp when they were children and have been best friends ever since (apart from one particular argument that lasted five years). Though individually they've both enjoyed diverse and successful musical pursuits (Jon of former Columbia act Elkland, Jacob playing with various punk acts around his home state of Florida), the formation of The Drums marks the first time the long time friends have formally collaborated. Rounding out The Drums line-up are drummer and NYC native Connor Hanwick and guitarist Adam Kessler.” THE DRUMS PRESS RELEASE

“New York's official Coolest New Band… this might be the most contagiously energetic NYC band of the past 10 years.” NME
“All heart and hooks.” THE NEW YORK TIMES

Originally formed in Florida and now based in New York City, regular listeners to Zane Lowe’s Radio 1 show will most likely have heard The Drums’ darn catchy and whistling summery single, Let’s Go Surfing, which has taken up permanent residence on the airwaves over the past few weeks! And with the group’s Summertime! EP (Moshi Moshi Records) being released this October and their debut album due in the New Year, The Drums (they wanted a classic sounding band name) are red-hot properties and have been tipped for the top!

When asked to describe their sound, Jonathan and Jacob unanimously answered: “We originally set out to start a band that sounded like The Wake. We heard their song Pale Spectre and went crazy! In the end, our music didn't turn out sounding too much like The Wake, but we’re inspired by so many of our musical heroes that the references ended up sounding really diverse. We’re really just chasing that perfect pop song.”

Jonathan later elaborated to another interviewer: “People have said a number of things, ‘Joy Division on Prozac’ keeps coming up. Does that work? I don’t know? When we were writing the songs, we really had this idea in mind, “What if Joy Division threw in the towel and decided to make a dance-party record?” Being near the beach, we started listening to a lot of Shangri-Las and The Zombies and started to fall in love with that 1950s pop stuff. It infused its way into our sound and so the end result is Factory Records had it been around 30 years earlier. We are obsessed with perfect pop. Three minutes is all you need to tell someone how you feel. There are a few songs we have done that are around four minutes, but then again, I would never call them perfect.”

Although Jonathan composes the bulk of The Drums songs, both he and Jacob do collaborate, with Best Friend being the first track that the pair ever wrote together: “We couldn’t believe how well it turned out and regretted waiting so long” they recently revealed, whilst also talking of their urge to keep musical arrangements simple by “cutting the fat.” Currently recording and in rehearsals for their first major UK Tour, following their rapturously-received debut London show at the ICA in September (which was only the quartet’s 20th gig), Jacob has sat down with a R*E*P*E*A*T Q&A as The Drums get set to once again radiate their retro melodies, harmonies and hooks, onto eagerly awaiting audiences in good old blighty!

And with soul-stirring songs that have a yearning sense of wonder, The Drums’ timeless music will give you ‘more bang for your buck’ and make your heart go bump…

Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

1.As both musicians and music fans, what do you like music to do for you?

“I like when music makes me feel like I'm in love, or else remind me why I'm not in love. I also like music to slay me.”

2.Of all the artists’ and music that you cherish, which songs most move you?
“Cherished gems: The Tough Alliance cover of Mine Was Real, Coming Real by The Bridal Shop, So Catch Him and The Joy Of Living by Blueboy. Between Hello And Goodbye and An Earlier Autumn by The Field Mice.”

3.The Drums once admitted that “you’re really just chasing that perfect pop song,” but is there a track that you consider to be ‘A Perfect Pop Song’?
“Yes, there are a few and I listen to them over and over again. Let's see... perfect pop would be Boxcar by The Embassy, Do What You Wanna Do by Acid House Kings, Leave Me Alone by New Order, Never Content by Air France, Downhill by Days, most of Jens Lekman's songs and anything The School has written.”

4.You’ve been hotly-tipped as ‘Ones To Watch’ by both the music press and numerous music insiders. How are you feeling about the buzz surrounding The Drums?
“It's like being in a swarm of angry bees. It's very nice to have some buzz and we're very grateful for it, but I hope people don't think of us as just a buzz band because that's not what we're going for. We're trying to do things the old fashion way; writing good songs (or at least trying to) and putting on an entertaining show (... or trying).”

5.You’re soon to release your debut EP, which is an extremely important first step for any new artist / band, as it’s their introduction to the world. But do you have any favourite debut records?
“Futile Crimes by The Embassy. What a way to kick things off!”

6.I read that a mix of ‘50s / ‘60s music and culture are some of your biggest influences, so do you hope that The Drums will be seen as a group with a rich musical / visual tapestry?
“Well, yes, in a way. But I think even more than that I'd rather people think of us as focused. I have pretty bad tunnel vision and I don't like much. I think there is a perfect sound and I want to find it. A lot of people (including some close friends of mine) think that music is subjective, but I've never believed that was true, there's a right way and a wrong way. I'm sure we can all agree that Evanescence, Puddle Of Mudd and Hoobastank (*I don't think I've actually heard these bands, but I just know) are all awful and I will kill anyone who disagrees.”

7.Are there any particular lyrics that you’ve heard that have always stayed with you, and what are the main themes of your songs?

“The main lyrics that have stuck with me are, “I wish I meant more to you.” The main theme of our songs is being miserable but trying to act cool.”

8.What does it mean to you to play your songs live?
“I really think any song should be able to stand on its own… but sometimes seeing a song live, gives you some sort of extra insight (especially if you're a visual sort of person), because maybe you will see a little twinkle in the performer's eyes that will help you understand ‘what they're talking about’.”

9.Are you looking forward to travelling the world?
“I'm looking forward very much to travelling the world. I haven't been very many places outside of America and I've always wanted to. You can only travel so far in books, but it is pretty far if you're any good at imagining things.”

10.What are your biggest hopes for The Drums, and do you see your sound evolving in the future?
“I don't see our sound evolving so much as being refined and maybe expounded upon. My only hope for The Drums is that none of us die.”

11.In reference to your Summertime! EP, what songs would provide you with the perfect ‘Soundtrack To The Summer’?
“Well, this Summer's runaway smash hit was French Navy by Camera Obscura. Oh boy, what a song!”

12.Lastly, chips or cream buns?

“Chips, ‘cause I have sensitive teeth and I never know when my next meal will be.”

A very special thanks to Jacob, and to Tasha @ Anorak London, for all of their time and help.

“Let’s Go Surfing”

wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm the 3rd album?