The Drums: TAS In Session
Now based in Brooklyn, The Drums have always played with various geographic — and emotional — locales in their music, swerving from infectious, sun-spashed, surf-pop to darker, Manchester-influenced rock.
Their second album, Portamento, created in the wake of the difficult depature of guitarist Adam Kessler, focuses more on the intimate, melancholy drift of the band's eclectic sound. However, when The Drums — singer Jonathan Pierce, guitarist/bassist Jacob Graham and new guitarist Myles Matheny — dropped by The Alternate Side not long ago, they were definitely in an upbeat mood, performing tracks like their brand new single "How It Ended," just released today, Halloween.
Happily, The Drums are on tour now, playing Bowery Ballroom this Wednesday, November 2 and Music Hall of Williamsburg the next day. You can hear the entire session on TAS on 91.5 WNYE this Friday, November 4, at 11 a.m., and streaming on the TAS site:
Alisa Ali: You have an excellent new album called Portamento. Tell me about the song you’re about to do, “How It Ended?”
Jonathan Pierce: It’s the last song on the album, it’s the next single.
Jacob Graham: The last shall be first, as they say.
Alisa: I love that line, “I could write a thousand more songs about you, before this one is done.” And I feel that’s probably correct about you. You’re a prolific writer? I’m probably making that up.
Jonathan: Yeah, you’re making that up. (laughs).
Alisa: But you guys have not been around all that long, but you’re on your second album, you put out an EP. I feel like you’re constantly working.
Jonathan: I think it’s one of those things where when we started writing, the songs kept coming, so rather than taking a break for two years and working on another album we just decided to keep going. Before this band started, when we were working our day jobs, at night it wasn’t like we had anything else to do but make music. Between the three of us we probably have hundreds and hundreds of songs written because that’s all we’ve done, since we were boys really. That’s still what we do and when we come off tour, we make more music.
Alisa: So I was wrong about a thousand songs, but you do have hundreds. What were your day jobs?
Jonathan: Not very interesting. I worked in a shoe shop. I spent a lot of time putting shoes on dirty feet.
Jacob: I was a security guard at the Epcot Center.
Alisa: Did you ever have any situations when you had to break up a fight between Goofy and someone else.
Jacob: Oh yes. Not really.
Myles Matheny: I used to work at a restaurant in Manhattan.
Alisa: I know a lot of people who work at restaurants and they tell me there’s a lot of drama going on.
Myles: It was great.
Jonathan: I’ve always wanted to be a waiter, just for the cinematic element. Every great movie has a waiter or waitress scene. But it’s probably a lot worse than movies make it out to be.
Alisa: Perhaps on your next video.
Myles: We’re fresh out of ideas for videos, so thank you.
Alisa: I was looking at the artwork on your record and there’s a creepy picture. Is this you, Jonny? You have the reddest eyes in this picture.
Jonathan: Yes, we painted them red. That wasn’t natural, sadly.
Alisa: The image is scary and haunting to me.
Jonathan: We weren’t sure what we were going to do for the album cover and because the album’s, for the most part, autobiographical or very personal, it felt like a photograph of me or us would work. I was digging through some stuff and stumbled upon that. I showed the guys and they instantly went, “That’s it.” It really felt like it reflected the mood of the album as a whole.
Alisa: What would you buy for each other if money were no object?
Jonathan: I feel like a thoughtful gift couldn’t really be an expensive gift. Who wants a brand new car? It’s just practical.
Alisa: What about a brand new accordion? Or a fancy guitar?
Jacob: I’d buy you a pack of Haribo gummies.
Jonathan: Because he knows that I love that. I named my dog Haribo. Hari for short.
Jonathan: He’s dead now.
Jonathan: I didn’t tell you? He’s lovely.
Jacob: I think we talk about Hari every time we’re here. Last time you said that you hung him from a tree.
Jonathan: I didn’t, did I? Well, he’s actually dead now. Did Hari really come up last time?
Alisa: I’m a huge dog lover. I have a dog. I will go down that road.
Jonathan: I’m kind of on the hunt for another one.
Alisa: It’s difficult. You’re on the road so much. Maybe you can get a cat.
Jonathan: Or a friend with a dog.
Alisa: Jacob, what would you give your bandmates?
Jacob: I’d like to buy Myles that hoverboard that Michael J. Fox uses in “Back To The Future.” Would you like that, Myles?
Myles: I’d love that. I’d buy you walkie-talkies so we could always talk to each other.
Jonathan: A walkie-talkie has a certain level of romance that a cell phone doesn’t.
Myles: You can say things like, “Over and out.”