News that Brooklyn-based American indie-pop band The Drums are coming to local club St. James Powerhouse on May 16 for a 1-night concert, got discerning local indie fans excited. After all, the band that made its debut in 2006 also appeared in the fifth position of the BBC Sound of 2010, a survey of music reviewers and bigwigs in the business of the best new talent.

Guitarist-cum-keyboardist Jacob Graham takes time off the band’s current tour in Australia to speak with Urbanwire in an exclusive phone interview.

Q: Why did you name yourselves The Drums?

Jacob: “I don’t know, we’re trying to make some kind of statement. We just kind of really like classic band names, like Zombies, Shangri-Las. The name’s so simple and direct!”

Q: What are you looking forward to most when you come to Singapore for the first time to perform?

Jacob: “I think we’re looking forward to meeting people the most and it’s the one thing that excites us the most. We’ve been touring for almost 2 years. Trying the food and architecture? Yes, but you remember the people you meet most.”

Q: Which country would you like to tour most?

Jacob: “I feel like we’ve been to most places. We haven’t been to Africa. It’d be fun to go on a safari [tour], but we don’t have the time to do that.”

Q: How was it like to play in the recent Coachella 2011 alongside artistes such as The Strokes and Arcade Fire as well as it being such a huge music festival?

Jacob: “We played at a lot of music festivals in Europe last summer; Coachella was definitely one of the biggest shows we’ve played in America.”

Q: “Your music has been compared to that of The Smiths and Joy Division by many. How does it feel like to be compared to bands like these who have a rich heritage and legacy considering your relative youth?

Jacob: “I think it’s really an honour for people to compare us to them, they are the greatest bands in history!”

Q: I heard that you guys have been the support band for bands such as Florence and the Machine, what was it like working alongside them?

Jacob: “It’s cool; we’ve had a couple of tours with Florence. It’s strange, a little out of element, since we started out in tiny little pubs. Fans of Florence, they enjoy discovering new music, so we’re grateful to them for appreciating our efforts.”

Q: Where do you get your inspirations from when it comes to writing your songs?

Jacob: “It can come from anywhere, I think most of the time it’s usually the personal experiences in life involving some sort of heartbreak.”

Q: If the band had to choose one song to represent The Drums, which song would it be?

Jacob: “I’d say ‘Book of Stories’. It’s the most concentrated ideal. We have a new record we just finished on the road and we’ve just finished mixing it up, hopefully there’s something in it as well.”

Q: Where do you see The Drums going in 2 years’ time?

Jacob: “I don’t know, I’d say we hope we’re still doing the same thing. We’ve never been trying to dominate the world. We like writing pop songs and doing records. We want to be one of those bands that are just consistent in doing their jobs, putting out records that we’re proud of.”

All photos are courtesy of Rachel Wright/TheDeck Media Group

The Drums are performing live 1-night only at St. James Powerhouse. Tickets are available at Sistic from S$60 including free admission to all St. James Powerhouse clubs after.