Emitting post-punk vibes with a classic sensibility, New York band The Drums is one of the buzz-worthy groups playing this year’s SXSW. With their sophomore release Portamento out in September, the band has been touring since the fall.
The Daily Texan spoke with Jacob Graham about their latest album, Graham’s SXSW dream girl and LCD Soundsystem.
The Daily Texan: What are you guys working on at the moment?
Jacob Graham: Right now we’re in Berlin and we’re about to play a show. We’re trying not to work on new songs because releasing two records in two years is a little more than we thought. We just thought we were releasing a record, but the reality is you have to spend your life on tour, you know? So we’re looking forward to taking a break after this touring stops and really taking our time on the third record.
DT: How important is it that you guys produce your own music?
Graham: It’s really important to us. We’re kind of control freaks and we’re really stubborn about our sound. We want to have control over every detail. We do all our own artwork, and are heavily involved with our music videos. That’s not to say we’ll never work with a producer in the future, but I hope we don’t.
DT: You’ve talked about the latter half of Portamento being very personal. Is it difficult to perform certain songs that are embedded with emotional turmoil?
Graham: For the most part we end up performing songs that are closer to the first half of the first album. But we have performed songs from the latter half and I don’t think it’s really difficult for us. It’s probably because the sorts of people that come to our shows usually know what we’re all about. In a way I feel like we’re all kindred spirits, so playing a song that’s more emotional doesn’t seem difficult to do. We play “Down by the Water” every night and [the audience] really connects with it. That’s really exciting to us more than people having a great time and going crazy at a show. I think it’s more important for us that we are connecting in a way.
DT: Do you like LCD Soundsystem? James Murphy mentioned liking you guys in an interview w/Pitchfork back in 2010.
Graham: I think they’re all right. I don’t really listen to them much. They’re one of those bands that when I check in with I like what they’re doing, and I think the people in my band really like that band. It’s not quite melodic enough for me. I really just like music with sugar-y melody in it. They’re definitely a band that has got everything right. I’ve seen them live a couple of times and they’re amazing. They have that sort of raw punk energy that you would imagine being at a Ramones or Talking Heads concert.
DT: What part of SXSW are you looking forward to most?
Graham: There are a few things that are almost less to do with South By than anything else, such as my roommate, who I never see because I’m on tour all the time, is actually going to come and hang out with us. So that’s kind of exciting for me. He’s from [Austin] so it’ll be cool to have a local show us around.
DT: What’s your SXSW dream girl like?
Graham: [Laughs] Probably a girl who is sensibly and modestly dressed and intelligent; maybe a girl who is an expert at playing the theremin.
Printed on Friday, March 9, 2012 as: The Drums to play SXSW