Guitarist Jacob Graham and singer Jonathan Pierce met at summer camp and made a pact to start a band. Now The Drums are making a lot of “ones to watch” lists for this week’s CMJ Music Marathon in New York City. Graham says although the band has played a lot of huge festivals this year, they prefer the smaller venues.
“They’re more intimate and you can talk and hang out with people after,” he says. “In the festivals, you’re rushed off to do interviews and things like that. We like to do a variety. … We play a show, literally, for 20 or 30 people that never heard of us before — and then open for Kings of Leon, in Hyde Park, for 60,000 people.”
You were initially an electro outfit — why the change?
Jonathan and I have been listening to electronic music since we were kids. I think we started to collect old synthesizers when we were l2 years old so we felt kind of exhausted with the idea. A lot of our favorite bands, like New Order, did a similar thing and grabbed guitars without really knowing how to play them.
Was it hard for you to learn?
When we started the band we didn’t know a thing! We were living in a tiny apartment in Florida with my little brother and we just recorded. There are no chords on our songs, it’s just one note at the time. I had to learn to play guitar in the public eye, which was very stressful.
Songs on the debut are bittersweet. Is that who you are?
We’re all kind of miserable people. … So we could never enjoy pure happy music, but at the same time we don’t want to hear some guy with an acoustic guitar singing sad songs.