Immediately on the heels of the end of Elkland, frontman Jonathan Pierce started The Drums with former Goat Explosion member Jacob Graham of Orlando's Flashlight Party. "Let's Go Surfing" was the lead single from the band's debut EP, Summertime!. Vocalist Jonathan Pierce told Q magazine that the song is not about surfing itself, it "is more about the spirit behind surfing."
"We only write about two feelings: one is the first day of summer when you and all of your friends are standing on the edge of a cliff watching the sun set and being overcome with all of your hopes and dreams at once. The other is when you're walking alone in the rain and realize you will be alone forever."
Jonathan Pierce and Jacob Graham met at summer camp when they were children and have been best friends ever since. Soon after their initial meeting, they formed a persistent yet unprosperous electro pop band called Goat Explosion and toured extensively in North America during their teenage years. Around 2003, Jonathan and hometown friend (and master woodsman) Adam Kessler formed indie rock group Elkland, which was quickly signed by Columbia Records. In the years immediately following, Elkland garnered attention in clubs and on the indie music scene with their infectious debut single "Apart". In the meantime, Jacob formed a band called Horse Shoes (Shelflife Records), specializing in melodically strong and sentimental love songs. Jonathan ultimately decided to take a few years off from writing music after becoming disillusioned with the music business and parted ways with Elkland in 2005.
Jacob and Jonathan had long planned to start a new band together, and having tired of electronic music they agreed to shift the emphasis from synthesizers to guitars without ever having learned to play them. Their first co-written song, aptly named "Best Friend" was a strong indication of the direction and spirit of the band, and thus The Drums were born in late 2008 amidst an exciting and hopeful political climate. They self recorded and produced around fifteen songs while living in central florida and with big dreams and a batch of songs they believed in spent the beginning of 2009 saving money to move to New York City.
With their arrival in New York, The Drums added former Elkland guitarist Adam Kessler on second guitar and NYC born drummer Connor Hanwick (formerly of lo-fi teen pop duo Cape of No Hope) to the line up and set up a month long residency at a small club on the lower east side of Manhattan. Word of mouth quickly spread and by the end of June 2009, The Drums' concerts had become a weekly dance party attended religiously by the most critical music fans in New York City.
The Drums began performing all over the city for the remainder of the summer, and so the party continued. With their "explosive live show" and a sound and image that are at once familiar and brand new, they were soon dubbed "New York's official coolest new band" by NME and began receiving national radio play in the UK as well as college radio in the US.
The Drums offer the unlikeliest of hybrids, and stage a clash in their songs between wildly opposing aesthetics and ideas, as though Sun Records and Factory Records had joined forces. Let's Go Surfing, their debut single, released on Moshi Moshi (who put out early records by Hot Chip, Florence and the Machine, Friendly Fires and Kate Nash), features New Order-style trebly, melodic bass, Ventures-esque guitar, and what many are calling "the most infectious whistling line since Peter, Bjorn and John."
"We originally set out to start a band that sounded like The Wake," say The Drums, referring to the quintessential doleful mid-80s Factory band. And then, nailing their aesthetic, they add: "[But] there's an instant gratification in straightforward music. That's why we love the 1950s. It was the beginning of basic pop music. They did it from scratch and pulled these amazing, timeless melodies out of thin air." It's a combination that may not seem logical, but when you hear it you'll know you need it, you've gotta have it and it's what you've always been looking for.
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