Sunday 18 February 2018

Q&A: The Drum's Jacob Graham


Ed Power

Ed Power

I'm confused. You live in the indie motherlode of Brooklyn but your music is incredibly poppy and accessible. Aren't you supposed to be conjuring a wall of avant-noise akin to Animal Collective and Dirty Projectors?

All those bands from here [sighs]... It's so abstract. It sounds like a mess to us. How do you sift through all of this to find something to listen to?

Ooh, controversial. The bloggers won't take kindly to you dissing their heroes. We predict a Twitterspace furore...

All of those bands are trying so hard to sound original for the sake of originality. We don't care if we don't sound original. All we want is to make music that is nice to listen to.

The hilarious thing about Brooklyn is the way everybody dresses as if they're in some incredibly hip group you've never heard of. It teeters on self- parody...

We moved here from Florida and it's totally different. Down there you don't have anyone trying to look cool. Okay, you have guys in Hawaiian shirts and sandals who think they are cool, but that's different. In Brooklyn, it's like a parody of what people in bands should dress like.

If you'll forgive us for saying, you are probably one of the most-hyped acts on the planet right now. Exciting or terrifying?

It's all happened so fast, we're trying to catch up. Most of the stuff we're doing now is the stuff bands do when nobody is looking at them. It's like, "hang on a second, let us figure this out".

Sounds like all the attention is doing your head in a little bit...

Well yeah, every once and a while. But, you know, you can't really slow it down. The best thing to do is to not focus on what's happening around you and concentrate on the work.

You know you've made a splash when fashion designer Hedi Slimane asks you to do a photoshoot.

He showed up at one of our concerts in California and really liked us. When it first happened, I had never heard of him. When I looked into it, it turns out he's really famous and has photographed loads of bands and stuff. It was really exciting.

So you moved to New York last year and started playing in a dingy club on the Lower East Side. Did any scenesters drop by to catch your shows?

There were a few people. Some random movie stars and what not

Care to drop a few names?

Uh gosh. I don't remember. It feels so long ago, even though it was this summer. Actually, there was one bizarre gig where we were supported by a band called The Pretty Reckless, who are fronted by one of the girls from this show called Gossip Girl. Have you heard of it?


Yeah, it's like this weird big deal over here. So all the cast were there. Blake Lively and all the rest.

You are on record as being enormous fans of Joy Division and The Smiths. Did 80s-era U2 float your boat?

Um... I don't think we ever got into U2. There's something that didn't click about them. I think it's 'cos they were such rockstars. I don't think that's ever really appealed to us. As far as Irish bands go, and I don't know how beloved they are in Ireland, but there's one group we all pretty obsessed with as teenagers...

Let me guess -- My Bloody Valentine? Rollerskate Skinny? Fatima Mansions?

The Cranberries.

[Stunned silence]

Yeah. We were really obsessed with them. We kind of still are. I hope we haven't just lost our whole fanbase in Ireland.

We'll get back to you on that one.

Summertime! by The Drums is out now

Irish Independent

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