The Drums

Rhian Daly 06/03/2010

Finding a band that you just know you're going to love forever is a rare but, ultimately, very rewarding occurrence. Enter the Drums, New York's most exciting new band. With their simple but strong melodies and earnest lyrics, they are the real deal. They might even be The One. I know what you're thinking - hyped to death, they're just another buzz band, it's totally not cool to be so into these boys. But really, who cares? Good pop music is good pop music and the Drums are making some of the best.

With that in mind, I fired off some questions to the guys whilst they were stealing hearts up and down the country on the NME Awards tour. Here's drummer Connor Hanwick's responses.

You're on the NME tour right now - how's it going so far?
We played our last show umm, 2 nights ago? It was marvelous. To play our first tour ever with bands like the ones we played with was just great.

What do you think of the other bands on the tour and were you familiar with their music before the tour started?
I really liked those guys. We didn't know much of them before the tour started because we're really unaware of things, culturally. But it was really cool to watch them every night. Each band really brought something nice to the show. Plus they're all very, very polite.

You've been playing some new songs in your set like Book of Stories & Forever and Ever - how have they been going down with the crowds and how do they compare to the likes of Let's Go Surfing and I Felt Stupid that we're already familiar with?
The reaction has been so exciting. I don't like when bands just play their 'new stuff' so we drape them in the songs off "Summertime!" and people that are more familiar with songs like Surfing love to go crazy but they've been really into the new ones too... and it's really cool that the kids who are just starting to hear us are being introduced to the newer songs at the same time.

The Maccabees and The Big Pink have both included covers in their sets on this tour - do you have any plans to do the same and what song would you choose to cover?
Well no, but yes because one time when were playing a show back home in New York, we covered a song called Do I Love You by a group called the Ronettes. It went great. We loved it and so did everyone else but we probably won't ever do that again.

I think it's fair to say things have happened pretty quickly for you guys considering you only wrote your first song as the Drums just over a year ago. How are you coping with both the rate at which things are happening and the amount of attention you're receiving?
It's been cool. It hasn't had an enormous effect on us as we are so busy that we can't really spend a lot of time celebrating or considering it. We just keep working 'cuz working is the only thing that keeps you sane... or so I've heard.

Over here in the UK, you're pretty much the must see band this year. Are you in a similar situation back home?
Considering most of the bands you've cited as your influences are British, how does it feel to be the centre of attention here?

It's great. The US is always home and our first love despite our musical influences. But that being said, it's real cool to have gained so much attention here. We're absolutely in love with the kids that come to shows here. Every show has been so exciting. We're not even tired because every show here feels like an unforgettable experience and we're so happy to have the attention we have here.

Some people have dismissed you as being too 'boy band' (i.e. you're all good looking and write what some have termed 'throwaway' pop songs) - do comments like that bother you or have any affect on you as a group?
Why would anyone throw away a pop song? Who cares if we're good looking. Mary Weiss (from the Shangri Las) was beautiful and made amazing pop songs. It kinda makes us feel like we're doing our job. To us there are a lot of bands, especially around our neighborhood in Brooklyn, who have songs that have maybe one cool part and then 8 minutes of extraneous garbage that should have been thrown away. I'd much rather hear 8 seconds of an actual song than a 12 minute song that bores the listener and makes them wait around for anything remotely rewarding. People just want to hear stuff thats 'weird'.

What do you think of the criticisms aimed at you for not playing fully 'live' and how would you defend yourselves against them?
Well, we don't. We play live almost every night. I would defend us by saying that we're not interested in having a show that revolves around show off our musicality or anything like that. Who cares if someone can play a crazy guitar solo? We simply want to display the songs that we've written while also showcasing something that is visually interesting. Or in simpler terms... "a show"

How was the experience of recording your debut album and what can we expect from it when it's released in the summer?
The album was recorded halfway in Florida at the same time as the E.P. and the rest in New York, in our bedroom. It was self recorded, self produced, self mixed. So it's been amazing, we didn't suffer from any outside influence. The entire thing is ours and that's incredible.

You've been quoted in a few interviews as saying you don't really listen to much new music - is there any specific reason why not and are there any new bands that you would recommend to your fans?
Well we're coming out of a period of recording where we didn't want to hear anything outside of what we were doing. It's something everyone should try. I personally am really into a few bands called Best Coast, the Smith Westerns and a band called Pre. Also, the Hairs.