After The Drums' last album cycle was over Jonny Pierce needed to take a step back.
After all, he'd been driving himself forwards for almost a decade, an exertion that would exhaust all but the most trenchant of souls.
With a close relationship dissolving, the songwriter looked once more at his life, and at the role music plays in it.
These feelings are channelled on The Drums' new album 'Abysmal Thoughts', a wonderful collection of astute, pointed indie pop songs with lyrics that bite back.
An open, revealing return, the album is set to be accompanied by a batch of UK dates this Autumn.
Packing his things for the road, Jonny Pierce spoke to us for the latest instalment of Culture Clash.
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The God Delusion by Richard Hawkins. This book is one I that I wish required reading in high school. I know that would make a lot of people angry. With all the problems in our world right now, to spend even a few minutes wondering about the afterlife seems like a waste of time, let alone living your whole life for it like so many people do.
Too many people who are trapped in the prison of religion. Set yourself free to live with true love and compassion and understanding.
Religion is the reason I was abused and still am to this day. Today I had a “christian” send me a DM on Instagram that simply read “go KYS (kill your self) fag. ew.” True story. And while a message like that just makes me sad for that person now, I can’t help but think that same message would really rattle me as a young boy who was learning he was gay.
I’ve been spending a lot of time in my head lately. Something that I seem to keep focusing on is the primal side of all of us. I’m fascinated by our animal instincts, and then I can find myself equally disgusted by them. For instance, on one hand I think the territorial and racist nationalism we are seeing in America right now is both primal and disgusting - however, there are of course beautiful forms of primal instinct that I cherish such as the undying love of a mother for her child - or the sexual desire we have within us - that should all be explored and celebrated.
One of my favourite movies, Force Majeuretakes a close look at another instinct we all have - one to protect ourselves from harm - and at what costs we are prepared to do that. I’m actually sitting in a green room in Switzerland and so this movie came to mind.
In Force Majeure we meet a husband and wife and their two children who are on ski holiday in Switzerland. They are all having lunch on a balcony when they witness a snow avalanche sweep towards them. It looks as though they will be swallowed whole by the snow, and when the dust settles, everyone is fine, but the father is not in the picture any more. He had run away from the table - leaving his family - to save himself.
What follows is a uncomfortable and sometimes totally devastating journey this family now has to take in order to find themselves as a unit again. Mother feels abandoned. The kids are confused. The father feels stupid and shameful - but the question is - was it really anyone's fault that he ran? His instincts were to run. Her’s were to protect. I love movies like this that dive deep into the human psyche.
Bjork's 'Utopia' I’ve only heard the first single, 'The Gate', and it is already my favourite album of the year. It is mind-blowing to me that Bjork is decades-deep into her career and she is still consistently putting out music that sounds fresher than what the kids 25 years younger than her are doing these days.
A true icon to me is one that never stops pushing forward while always making themselves vulnerable and taking big risks.
Netflix’ Ozark. I grew up on The Bible and so I usually stay pretty clear of anything fictional when it comes to books or TV shows, as I’ve had enough make believe for a few lifetimes - but when I do end up swimming towards the fictional side of things, I still like them to be at least mostly realistic in their narratives.
Ozark is fictional but it’s also very real. The story of a mom and dad with their daughter and son who become accidentally entangled in the mob and forced to move to Ozark Lake to start laundering money for their new mob boss. It’s exciting and pretty unpredictable- and the acting is amazing. Emmys all around if I could chose. Looking forward to the next season.
My iPhone so I can listen to The American Life on tour. Without it I would suffer. Did you know I almost never listen to music. I used to - a lot. I don’t really even put on music. I like the news, audiobooks, and podcasts. I save music for when I’m making it for the most part.
I just listened to an episode of TAL all about magic. Before this episode, I had always thought magicians were geeks and losers, but now I think they are geeky, passionate, emotional artists. I actually booked a magic show in New York, two days after I get back from this tour - adding to the color of my life.
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Catch The Drums at the following shows:
2 Bristol Thekla
3 Dublin Whelans
4 Manchester Gorilla
5 Glasgow Art School
7 London O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
For tickets to the latest shows by The Drums click HERE.
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