One of the most interesting international acts to play Airwaves this year is without a doubt New York [via Florida] transplants The Drums. The band was founded earlier this year (!) by long-time friends Jonathan Pierce (vocals) and Jacob Graham (guitar)—the two seem to have a certain knack, as they’ve already received heaps of oozing praise. They released their first EP this summer, and called it… Summertime. It’s a pretty brilliant EP, full of straightforward, summery pop tunes that bring to mind 1950s surf music and the Factory Records music of the eighties. We called up Jonathan at his Brooklyn apartment.
“We are very excited to play the Iceland Airwaves festival,” Jonathan tells me. “I have known about the festival for a few years, and I’ve always wanted to come to Iceland—you could say it’s a dream come true. We will stay in Reykjavík for three days and will try to hang out and see as much as we can.”
How long have you been playing together?
We have played as a four-piece since this May. Me and my best friend Jacob started the band as a studio project. I moved to Florida from New York to live with him, so we could make music together. We called it The Drums and posted a few things online—people started to take notice, so we decided to move to New York and make it a four-piece band to play live shows. We found our drummer Connor through a friend, and it worked out really well. Adam [guitar] we had known for a long time, he used to be in a band with me few years ago called Elkland, kind of a synth pop band. We put out one album on Columbia records and then we split.”
The Drums seems like kind of a strange a band name…
The name of the band kinda came to us. Last couple of years, Jacob and I have had this blog that we only share between the two of us. We made up this imaginary band on the blog, found picture for all the imaginary band members, named everyone and gave them all their own lives. And then we decided to call the band The Drums. When we decided to form a real band, we just copied this imaginary band.
You’ve been known to play surf music. Is that something you set out to do from the beginning?
We never made any decision to play surf music, it just happened. I moved from New York in the middle of a winter and being in Florida during that time feels like being on an endless vacation. It never snows like in New York, and I got inspired from being on vacation. We wrote handful of song that were very summery and decided to put them all out in as an EP and call it Summertime! Our other songs are not as surfy and summery.
How is the Florida music scene?
We don’t really know, because we did not go out at all in Florida. We kept to ourselves, we didn’t have cars and we weren’t living in the middle of town—we lived near the beach. We both had these stupid jobs, and when we came home we just made music ‘til we passed out. Then we woke up and did the same thing again, day after day. In about six months, we wrote around twenty songs. It seemed to me that the scene is a bit lacking.
Really all you had where we lived was Disneyworld, and everything there was really sort of Nazi-ish, in the way that anything creative gets stomped out immediately, because they want a city like Disney world—kind of a perfect world with nothing interesting going on.
I don’t know if I would ever want to go back there, not even to play a show. There is something really dark about Disney. Jacob used to work there and he told me a lot of crazy stories about it. If someone dies at the park, they don’t pronounce him dead ‘til they get him out of there, so they can say that no one has ever died at Disney World.
- When: Friday 20:50
- Where: Reykjavík Art Museum
Posted October 13, 2009