The Drums

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The Drums
Image: 280 pixels
The Drums, Abysmal Thoughts tour 2018
Background information
OriginBrooklyn, New York, United States
Genres jangle pop, indie rock, post-punk
Years active2008–present
LabelsFrenchkiss Records
Associated acts
  • Elkland
  • Cascading Slopes
  • Sound of Ceres
  • Goat Explosion
  • Jonathan Pierce
Past members
  • Adam Kessler
  • Connor Hanwick
  • Jacob Graham

The Drums are an American indie pop band from New York City.


Founding members Jonathan (Jonny) Pierce and Jacob Graham became friends as children, having met at Bible camp at age 11 or 12.[citation needed] Some years later, they formed a short-lived electro-pop group initially named Goat Explosion, eventually renamed Elkland. They released one album, Golden, in 2005 and garnered interest with the single "Apart".

In 2008, Pierce and Graham came up with the concept for The Drums, and Pierce moved to Kissimmee, Florida, where Graham resided at the time, so that they could more readily collaborate. They then moved to Brooklyn, in the spring of 2009, where drummer Connor Hanwick and former Elkland guitarist Adam Kessler joined the band to complete their live sound. The band had their first gig within a week of arriving in Brooklyn at Cake Shop NYC as part of the NYC Pop Fest.[4] In October 2009, the band released their first EP, Summertime!.


In December 2009 the band was shortlisted as one of the 15 music acts for the BBC Sound of 2010. Subsequently, they placed at No. 5 in this list on 4 January 2010. In NME's first issue of 2010 they were named number 1 in the magazine's top tips for the year as well as in Clash Magazine's Tips for 2010. The Drums were also voted "Best Hope for 2010" in Pitchfork's 2009 Readers' Poll.[5] They won the Hall Radar Award[6] for 2010 and were the most Shazamed band of 2009.[7]

The Drums performing at the 9:30 Club in 2010.

In February 2010, the band played venues around the UK on the 2010 NME Awards Tour alongside The Maccabees, Bombay Bicycle Club and The Big Pink, going on to play support band for Florence and the Machine's 2010 Cosmic Love tour.[8] In June 2010 they played as one of the support bands for Kings of Leon in Hyde Park, London.

On May 7, 2010, they appeared on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, where they performed "Best Friend". Their debut album was officially released on June 7, 2010, on Moshi Moshi and Island Records. The album contained the singles "Let's Go Surfing", "Best Friend," "Me and the Moon" and "Forever and Ever, Amen" as well as "Down By The Water", which had previously been released as part of the band's Summertime! EP. On September 16, 2010, it was announced on the band's Facebook page and website that guitarist Adam Kessler had left the band.[9]

The Drums released the single "The New World" on April 11, 2011, with proceeds going to Japan disaster relief efforts.[10]

For their second LP, the band recorded quickly, again self-producing, often laying down tracks spontaneously in singer Jonny Pierce’s kitchen. They released Portamento on September 5, 2011. The album title has a deeper meaning for Pierce, as he describes, “Jacob and I meeting as young boys with a shared love for Kraftwerk and Anything Box and Wendy Carlos, and these were all synth pioneers, and a common feature on old analogue systems was ‘Portamento’. The band has also revealed that they almost split at the end of June due to stylistic disagreements. Jacob explained, "I think our band is kind of fragile and probably on the verge of breaking up pretty constantly and I say that seriously and jokingly at the same time."

In 2011, Jonny Pierce co-wrote "In The Middle (I Met You There)" with Brooklyn artist Matthew Dear for his EP Headcage. His writing credits also include "You Gave Me Nothing" and "Lose It (In the End)" which are included on Mark Ronson's album Record Collection.

The Drums performing at YpsigRock in 2013

After Portamento's world tour ended in late 2012, there were unannounced tensions between the group, founding member Connor Hanwick left the group.

In November 2012, Jonny Pierce announced he would be releasing a solo album in 2013. The Drums continued on with members Jonny Pierce and Jacob Graham.

The Drums made their American television debut on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon on February 15, 2012.[11] MTV gave the band a celebrity chart special on MTV HD channel in May 2012, where Pierce and Graham introduced their favorite videos and bands as well as some of their own videos.

On February 16, 2014, The Drums posted, "celebrating the only way we know how. Album 3 is finished." on their official Facebook page.

On July 17, 2014, The Drums announced that their third studio album would be called Encyclopedia and would be released September 23, 2014. In an interview with Billboard Magazine, they stated that he and Graham were ready to come back together and give The Drums another try. They holed up in a lakeside cabin in upstate New York and "went crazy", says Graham. "That's when it occurred to me that we can have fun with this and make a record that's interesting and bizarre.' "The resulting cathartic collection of tracks departs from the Drums' signature "tonal palette," as Graham calls it. With taut, spindly guitar lines, liberal sprinklings of tambourine, and uptempo kick drums that belie the brooding, thoughtful content matter of songs like "Best Friend".[citation needed]

On August 20, 2014, they released their new single "I Can't Pretend". It was met with much more positive responses compared to previous single "Magic Mountain".[citation needed]

On March 1, 2017, they released the debut single, "Blood Under My Belt," from their 2017 album Abysmal Thoughts. It was announced via a Facebook post in which frontman Jonny Pierce took full credit for the writing and producing of the album. Longstanding member Jacob Graham later announced on Instagram that he had left The Drums. In his statement, he said, "It's actually been over a year now since I left the band but it's just now coming to light with today's press. There are no hard feelings whatsoever, I wish Jonny and the band the best of luck. I'd been with the band for almost ten years and I wanted to focus on my puppetry and my work with my new band Sound of Ceres." Their fourth album was released on June 16 on ANTI-.[12]

On April 5, 2019, The Drums released their fifth album, Brutalism.[13]

On December 11, 2020 The Drums released a 3 track titled "Ambulance" with Johnny Pierce appearing as a single artist.


The band cite their major influences as The Wake, The Smiths, Joy Division/New Order, The Tough Alliance, The Legends, The Shangri-las, Starflyer 59, Joy Electric, The Embassy and Orange Juice.[14] Graham also mentions that reverb in general has played a major role in their sound: "...If reverb didn't exist we wouldn't have bothered trying to start a band."[15]

Solo projects[edit]

Both members of The Drums have announced solo records in the works for release in 2013. Jonathan under the name Jonny Pierce, and Jacob as Cascading Slopes. In December, Pierce said in an interview with NME "I wanted to be as self-indulgent as possible with this album. This is pop done the way I think it should be done."[16] The album was never completed however. Instead, Jonny Pierce announced that The Drums had entered the studio and wanted to release a Drums record instead. Cascading Slopes completed the album Towards a Quaker View of Synthesizers in 2013 and it was released in the fall through Plastiq Musiq. Graham described the musical approach on that album, saying "The concept is to write very simple, personal, folk songs but to do it with only old, analog synthesizers".[17]

Band members[edit]

Current members
  • Jonathan Pierce – lead vocals, keyboards, drum programming, drums, guitar, bass guitar (2008–present)
Current touring members
  • Johnny Aries – guitar, bass (2012–present)
  • Tom Haslow – guitar, bass (2010, 2014, 2017–present)
  • Bryan de Leon – drums (2017–present)
  • Drew Auscherman
Former members
  • Adam Kessler – guitar, bass (2008–2010)
  • Connor Hanwick – drums, percussion (2008-2011; touring member: 2011-2012, 2016)
  • Jacob Graham – guitar, synthesizer (2008-2016)
Former touring members
  • Chris Stein – drums (2011)
  • Myles Matheny – bass, guitar, backing vocals (2011–2012)
  • Connor Hanwick - guitar (2011-2012, 2016)
  • Danny Lee Allen – drums (2011–2017)
  • Charles Russell Narwold – guitar, bass (2012–2013)
  • Rene Perez – guitar (2014–2016)


Studio albums[edit]

List of studio albums with selected chart positions and certifications
Title Details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)

BEL (Fla.)
BEL (Wal.)
The Drums 17 52 44 88 100 56 29 34 30 16
  • Released: September 2, 2011
  • Label: Island
  • Format: CD, download
10 61 96 59 183 93 59 56 44
  • Released: September 23, 2014
  • Label: Minor
  • Format: LP, CD, download
10 131 135
Abysmal Thoughts
  • Released: June 16, 2017
  • Label: ANTI-
  • Format: LP, CD, download
9 157
  • Released: April 5, 2019
  • Label: ANTI-
  • Format: LP, CD, download
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

Extended plays[edit]

List of extended plays with selected chart positions
Title Details Peak
  • Released: October 2009
  • Label: Moshi Moshi
  • Format: LP, download
iTunes Festival: London 2010
  • Released: August 10, 2010
  • Label: Island
  • Format: download
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.


List of singles, with selected chart positions and certifications, showing year released as single and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Album
BEL (Fla.)
BEL (Wal.)
"Let's Go Surfing" / "Don't Be A Jerk, Jonny"[A][B] 2009 45 107 Summertime!
"I Felt Stupid" / "Down By the Water"[C] 11 [D]
"Best Friend" 2010 110 The Drums
"Forever and Ever, Amen" 78 20 182
"Let's Go Surfing" / "Don't Be A Jerk, Jonny" 57 43 66 71 65 63
"Me and the Moon" 28 [E]
"The New World" 2011 N/A
"Money" 26 [F] Portamento
"How It Ended" 118 94 28
"Days" 2012 125 32
"Magic Mountain" 2014 50 [G] Encyclopedia
"I Can't Pretend" 37 [H]
"Blood Under My Belt" 2017 Abysmal Thoughts
"Heart Basel"
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Guest appearances[edit]

List of appearances, showing year released and album name
Single Year Album
"In Your Eyes"
(Edwyn Collins featuring The Drums)
2011 Losing Sleep


  1. ^ "Let's Go Surfing" was later added to The Drums
  2. ^ Only the track "Let's Go Surfing" received chart placement.
  3. ^ "Down By The Water" was later added to The Drums
  4. ^ "I Felt Stupid" / "Down By the Water" did not enter the UK Singles Chart, but peaked at number 49 on the UK Physical Singles Chart Top 100.[34]
  5. ^ "Me and the Moon" did not enter the UK Singles Chart, but peaked at number 69 on the UK Physical Singles Chart Top 100.[35]
  6. ^ "Money" did not enter the UK Singles Chart, but peaked at number 15 on the UK Physical Singles Chart.[36]
  7. ^ "Magic Mountain" did not enter the UK Singles Chart, but peaked at number 42 on the UK Physical Singles Chart.[37]
  8. ^ "I Can't Pretend" did not enter the UK Singles Chart, but peaked at number 77 on the UK Physical Singles Chart.[38]

Music videos[edit]

Year Month Title Director
2009 August "Let's Go Surfing" David Fishel[39]
2010 January "I Felt Stupid" Chris Moukarbel and Valerie Veatch[40]
March "Best Friend" The Drums[41]
May "Forever and Ever, Amen" Surround and The Drums[41]
August "Down by the Water" Surround and The Drums[41]
October "Me and the Moon" Surround and The Drums[41]
2011 July "Money" M Blash[42]
October "How It Ended" Patrick Roberts[43]
2012 February "Days" Patrick Roberts[44]
2014 July "Magic Mountain" The Drums[45]
October "I Can't Pretend" BRTHR
2015 August "There Is Nothing Left" David Gantz and Theo Cohn [46]
2017 April "Blood Under My Belt" CYCY Sanders[47]
2019 April "Body Chemistry" Anton Reva[48]


  1. ^ Berman, Stuart (June 8, 2010). "The Drums - The Drums". Pitchfork. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  2. ^ Phares, Heather. "The Drums". AllMusic. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  3. ^ The Drums. "The Drums". Bandcamp. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  4. ^ "#NYCPOPFEST2014". Retrieved 2014-08-06.
  5. ^ "Staff Lists: 2009 Pitchfork Readers Poll | Features". Pitchfork. 2010-01-04. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  6. ^ "Philip Hall Radar Award: The Drums – Interview video". NME. 2010-01-04. Retrieved 2014-02-20.
  7. ^ "Shazam reveals the Sound of 2010". Shazam. 2009-12-21. Retrieved 2019-04-05.
  8. ^ "Official Website | News | Gigs | Music | Blogs – News". Florence And The Machine. Archived from the original on 2012-03-03. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  9. ^ Hudson, Alex (2010-09-17). "The Drums' Guitarist Adam Kessler Quits the Band Mid-Tour • News •". Archived from the original on 2012-07-29. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  10. ^ "The Drums Release New Track for Japanese Relief Efforts". Under the Radar. 2011-04-20. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
  11. ^ "Drums – "Days" Video & Fallon Performance". Stereogum. 2012-02-16. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
  12. ^ "The Drums Announce Fourth Studio Album Abysmal Thoughts". 2017-03-01. Retrieved 2017-05-02.
  13. ^ "First Listen: The Drums, 'Brutalism'". Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  14. ^ "The Drums | Gratis muziek, tourneedata, foto's, video's". Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  15. ^ "Hej 5: The Drums « PSL". Archived from the original on 2012-07-09. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  16. ^ "The Drums frontman Jonny Pierce to release debut solo album in 2013 | News". Nme.Com. 2012-12-03. Retrieved 2013-04-06.
  17. ^ "Cascading Slopes Revel in Solitude on "Maple Trees" | News". 2013-03-13. Retrieved 2013-04-06.
  18. ^ "The Drums – Chart History: Top Heatseekers". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2012-02-20. Retrieved 2014-08-08.
  19. ^ Steffen Hung (2012-02-20). "Australian Recording Industry Association". Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  20. ^ a b Steffen Hung (2012-02-20). " - Discografie The Drums". Retrieved 2014-08-08.
  21. ^ a b Steffen Hung (2012-02-20). " - Discographie The Drums". Retrieved 2014-08-08.
  22. ^ Steffen Hung (2012-02-20). " - Discographie The Drums". Retrieved 2014-08-08.
  23. ^ Steffen Hung (2014-08-08). "". GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 2014-08-08.
  24. ^ Steffen Hung. "Discography The Drums". Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  25. ^ "ザ・ドラムス - ORICON STYLE" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  26. ^ Steffen Hung (2012-02-20). " - Discography The Drums". Retrieved 2014-08-08.
  27. ^ a b For The Drums and Portamento:"DRUMS - Artist - Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2014-08-08. For Encyclopedia: "Chartlog UK - 4 October 2014". Retrieved 2014-10-12.
  28. ^ "British Phonographic Industry search results". British Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original on September 24, 2009. Retrieved December 6, 2010.
  29. ^ "CHART: CLUK Update 16.01.2010 (wk1)". Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  30. ^ Steffen Hung (2012-02-20). "Discographie The Drums". Retrieved 2014-08-08.
  31. ^ "The Drums – Chart History: Japan Hot 100". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2012-02-20. Retrieved 2014-08-08.
  32. ^ "Mexico Ingles Airplay".
  33. ^ Peaks in Scotland:
  34. ^ "Official Physical Singles Chart Top 100 - 30 May 2010 - 05 June 2010". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  35. ^ "Official Physical Singles Chart Top 100 - 19 December 2010 - 25 December 2010". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  36. ^ "Official Physical Singles Chart Top 100 - 11 September 2011 - 17 September 2011". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  37. ^ "Official Physical Singles Chart Top 100 - 28 September 2014 - 04 October 2014". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  38. ^ "Official Physical Singles Chart Top 100 - 05 October 2014 - 11 October 2014". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  39. ^ "The Drums "Let's Go Surfing"". YouTube. 2009-08-06. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  40. ^ "The Drums - I Felt Stupid (Official)". YouTube. 2010-01-04. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  41. ^ a b c d "The Drums - Down By The Water". YouTube. 2010-08-30. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  42. ^ "The Drums: Money". Nowness. 2011-08-24. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  43. ^ "The Drums - How It Ended". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  44. ^ "The Drums - Days". YouTube. 2012-02-14. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  45. ^ "The Drums - Magic Mountain". YouTube. 2014-07-24. Retrieved 2014-07-30.
  46. ^ "The Drums - There Is Nothing Left". YouTube. 2015-08-13. Retrieved 2017-05-02.
  47. ^ "The Drums - Blood Under My Belt". YouTube. 2017-04-05. Retrieved 2017-05-02.
  48. ^ "The Drums - Body Chemistry". YouTube. 2019-04-24. Retrieved 2019-05-14.

External links[edit]