withguitars spoke to The Drums frontman Jonathan Pierce ahead of a year off for the band. We are so pleased Jamie Gambino was on hand with photographer Phil Hutchinson, catch them while you can is our advice.
You were very hyped early on into your career, did that impact how you write & create music?
It’s very cool to make very linear, experimental, layered music and we write two and a half minute pop songs. I think it’s almost a slap in the face to some of those bands who spend so much time being interesting…”
You have cited influences including Kraftwerk, the Smiths, are those bands still an influence on your sound?
“Sure but I don’t listen to those bands all the time! I’ve only just recently put Kraftwerk back onto my iPod. We just want to write pop songs, we don’t really know how to play our instruments well but we do the best we can. We are what we are. A lot of people want us to want to be bigger and better than what we are but we’re pretty content.
We are human and we have flaws and we have given in to things that we wished we hadn’t, just small little things… the focus is to shut everything out. When we wrote our first EP we were living in New York and we moved out of it because we didn’t want to be influenced by the scene that was going on there. We wanted to make a conglomeration of all the songs we’d loved our whole lives and make songs like that, we felt in order to do that we had to move away so we moved to the middle of nowhere in Florida and started writing songs on Jacob’s bedroom floor and we made that Summertime EP and moved back to New York once we’d found the sound that we wanted and we felt kind of ostracised. We never asked to play with the cool bands and we didn’t make cool friends. We felt like outsiders.”
The Drums second album ‘Portamento’ is more personal isn’t it?
“The new album is a bit more autobiographical , when we wrote the first album we didn’t know anyone would hear it, had I known people would hear it I may have made it more personal, so I think we tried to do that with Portamento and make an album based on reality. It’s pretty autobiographical to my life.”
So what is next for The Drums?
“Tonight’s our last show for a year, we’re about to take a year break. I think it will be a nice way to go out, I didn’t even know we were playing the main stage until 20 minutes ago.”
I’ve heard that you’re producing a post punk act?
“Well I’ve got some ideas to do a split release just me on my own without The Drums and another band I really love called Connie Fucking Francis, they just changed their name to something else but I cant reveal that yet. I’ll probably work on some of my own material too.”
Don’t you just want to take a break or do you have to keep being creative?
“I can’t stop making music even if I tried to, I tried to stop before but I feel panicky and weird and I feel like that’s the only thing I’m good at. So when I stop doing that I almost instantly feel useless, but the guys in the band really need a break and I’m kind of like a shark I die if I don’t keep swimming forward, not for the sake of money or fame or any of that it’s literally like for me it’s all a survival technique. And as I’m getting older I want to put out as much music as I can”