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Old friends dance to the beat of The Drums

Guitarist Jacob Graham and singer Jonathan Pierce met at a U.S. summercamp and made a pact to start a band. Today, The Drums have made No. 5in the BBC’s shortlist of The Sounds of 2010.

Guitarist Jacob Graham and singer Jonathan Pierce met at a U.S. summer camp and made a pact to start a band. Today, The Drums have made No. 5 in the BBC’s shortlist of The Sounds of 2010.


Jacob Spoke to Metro Portugal’s Bruno Martins.

You were initially an electro outfit — why did you go back to basics?
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 little bit. A lot of our favourite bands, like New Order, did a similar thing and grabbed guitars without really knowing how to play them and it keeps it fresh that way.

Was it easy to learn to play guitar?
Well, 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 grabbed and 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 at first.

Do the guitars change the feeling on the lyrics?
I don’t know. We’ve always been drawn to simple pop songs and they always end up being about the same thing, you know, heartbreak and pathetic things like that. When we started the band there were a couple of things that affected the lyrics —Jonathan moved from New York to Florida to record and I think that’s one of thing that made our first EP kind of summery.

Your songs are bittersweet — is that you?
Yes, we’ve always been attracted to that. We’re all kind of miserable people who are never content, 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 with sad lyrics. It’s too much. We mix it up.

Your first single it’s called Let’s Go Surfing. Do you guys surf in New York?
None of us has ever surfed. We’re too busy making music. But I think that song is about that spirit of surfing, you know? A lot of themes in The Drums songs are about 1950’s Americana and just being a teenager in America back then, with the spirit of freedom, school’s out, what are we gonna do? Let’s go surfing!

Do you prefer playing big festivals or the small venues?
JG: Usually the smaller ones, just because they’re more intimate and you can talk and hang out with people afterwards. In the festivals you’re rushed off to do interviews and things like that. We like to do the variety of the shows. 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.