By Matt Elias
We caught up with New York indie darlings The Drums at a recent tour stop in Los Angeles, where they were playing two sold out shows at Echo Park’s famed Echoplex. The trio are touring in support of their latest effort, Portamento, which was released on Sept. 13. That album’s lead single, “Money,” came together rather quickly, but it’s the song’s meaning that some are still trying to make cents, er, sense of.
“It’s one of those songs that comes together in a half day and then it was done,” singer Jonny Pierce said. “That’s the version on the album, you know, it’s like – that’s the most exciting thing about being in a band. You know, like this, how quickly things come together.
“I think a lot of people take it literally, especially with this whole Occupy Wall Street thing, you know, everyone’s thinking about money or the lack thereof. But the song really is, I think for me, it’s meant to be taken in kind of a more romantic sense, sort of being an outcast or someone who’s out of sync with the world who wants to be better at things, be a better person for someone else but always falling short, you know.”
“Money” has hit No. 1 on both CMJ and college radio, and continues a wave of indie success for the band since its formation three years ago. Drums initially generated attention from the blogosphere with “Let’s Go Surfing” off of 2009’s Summertime! EP, and the oft-dreaded “buzz band” label soon followed. Portamento is their answer to that, according to band member Jacob Graham.
“We’ve been making this sort of music, writing and recording it in our bedrooms for the past ten years, and no one’s cared,” Graham said. “So the idea that it had gotten kind of hyped up the way that it had, kind of didn’t really sit well with us. We wanted to sort of prove were a working class band that actually does believe in what we’re doing and we’re going to be consistent with it and not change with the times or anything like that, or evolve really.”
The Drums are on quite a streak, releasing Portamento just a year after their eponymous LP dropped in 2010. And while the new album just dropped, we couldn’t help but ask how soon to expect their next record.
“We’ve been focusing on The Drums for three years pretty much straight – we’re all trying to refrain from brainstorming about what we want to do next,” Pierce admitted. “I think there’s one given that we all agree on – we want to make an album that, our next album will probably sound exactly the same as the first and second … If we tried to do something else, I think we’d sort of be bored with it because it doesn’t really, it’s like wearing shoes that are the wrong size – it just doesn’t really feel good. So that’s kind of our only goal is to be happy with what we’re doing, as far as how we’re gonna do that, who knows? We’re probably just going to make a third album that sounds like the last one.”