The Drums take their Laneway sideshow to Byron Bay.
The Drums take their Laneway sideshow to Byron Bay.

The Drums beat-it to Byron Bay

Let's Go Surfing sent The Drums on a wave of success.

But ripples seeped into the band as they toured endlessly after the release of their self-titled debut album in 2010.

The single that beamed from your stereo "Wake up. It's a beautiful morning ..." was eventually dropped from the band's live set.

Portamento, the band's sophomore release is a reflection of what happens to a band when they spend every waking moment with each other.

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Singer Jonny Pierce is some where in the mountains of Puerto Rico where he's enjoying a break.

"It's the first real break we've had since starting the band," Pierce says. "I think we were all starting to feel really worn down but now it will be nice to get back together and back to reality."

The Drums were launched into the spotlight as a band to watch by NME, BBC's Sounds of 2010, Cliche Magazine featured them, Clash Magazine tipped them and Pitchfork Media clocked them as best hope for 2010.

The band, which now bases itself in New York, has lived up to the hype but it hasn't been easy.

"The second album was a reflection of how much we learned about touring," Pierce tells Pulse.

"We really were thrust into the spotlight but I think we're all slightly older and wiser and we understand the world we live in better now. Really, the biggest problem is being together non-stop."

These feelings led to the band saying The Drums could implode at any time, but Pierce says there's always a reminder of why they stick at it.

"We just have to remember why we got into this in the first place," he says. "Which is our love of music - essentially great pop music.

"But to be honest I love the drama.

"When everything's nice and comfortable I get bored and as a creative outlet I welcome the hardship. You need it to feel alive."

Pierce once said in an interview, "I'd rather risk mental health and have some great records than be sane."

So how far is he willing to take it for his art?

"You know sometimes I feel like I'm taking it as far as I can," he says. "Once you have all the answers you have all the problems associated with knowing the answer. The main problem is not having a problem.

"Life has to be boring when everything is just right.

"If I were to figure everything out that would be the end."

The recording process for the band has always been a simple one. The first album was recorded between Jacob Graham and Pierce in their homes in Florida. The second was recorded in Pierce's kitchen. But that's not to say they'll do the same in the future, Pierce says.

"It's just about doing what we feel is the right thing to do," he says. "There are songs that we've done as The Drums that I wish we had never recorded, but that's all part of what makes us who we are."

The aforementioned Let's Go Surfing is one of those songs.

"Let's Go Surfing was sort of a tribute to this overwhelming feeling of freedom we had in America at the time," Pierce says of Barack Obama's election. "We talk about freedom over here all the time but it was the first time our generation had really felt it in a tangible way.

"It's a few years on now and in a way our president has let us down, so that song isn't special to me anymore. I think a band has a responsibility to play what they believe in."

The Drums play at St Jerome's Laneway Festival Brisbane January 28 before heading to The Northern, Byron Bay January 29. Head to www.lanewayfestival or for tickets.


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