A band’s drummer is often its most undervalued asset. They’re the ones who keep the group on beat, they’ve got the best seat in the house, and they’re a goldmine for creative idiosyncrasy. We sit down with them, pickaxe in hand.
Following the 2017 release of Roy Pablo, boy pablo has rapidly emerged as one of the foremost groups in the indie-rock scene. They’re five guys from Norway who know that cranking out good noises comes easy when you don’t take yourself too seriously. If it were possible to overdose on fluffy teenage nostalgia, boy pablo would be a Schedule I controlled substance.
The guy on the drums is Sigmund Vestrheim
Banter: Some people have observed that drummers tend to be quirky and superstitious. Is there anything you do before a big performance that the other members of the band find strange?
Vestrheim: No, actually, I don’t have anything that I do. It’s actually our guitarist, who does that. Sometimes, if he’s struggling to find the energy before a big show, he’ll just start jumping up and down and screaming to get himself pumped-up.
Banter: Oh, weird. Sort of like a football player?
Vestrheim: Yeah, exactly. But I don’t have anything like that. I normally just warm up my hands a bit before we perform.
Banter: To be a good drummer, you obviously need to have an ear for rhythm. Are there any other areas of your life where you just instinctively pick up on the BPM of the world?
Vestrheim: Yeah, often that happens when you’re stuck in traffic. With all of the beeping and ticking noises around.
Banter: The turn signal…
Vestrheim: Yeah, that’s a big one. And also when people are working construction jobs in the streets, you notice it—things like the DUDUDUDUDUDUD of the jackhammers. Whenever you hear stuff like that, you pick up on it because it’s basically what you are listening for when you’re creating and playing music. If you hear certain noises for long enough, you try to think of different ways that you could include that for the next time you’re working on a song or trying to come up with a new beat.
Banter: Definitely. I mean, given the prevalence and technological ease of digital sampling, that approach probably seems a lot more organic and intuitive for musicians nowadays.
Vestrheim: Exactly. It’s always something you’re looking to add and chop up and turn into a project.
Banter: If the band agreed to cover one song of your choice, how long would it take them to learn “In The Air Tonight”?
Vestrheim: *laughing* We could probably do it in one day. But if I could choose one, it would be “Moby Dick” by Led Zeppelin because there’s that John Bonham solo that goes for like four minutes. *more laughing* To be honest, I’m not all about drum solos. We do cover a lot of songs, and it’s usually just us trying to mess with each other because it will happen when our lead introduces us on stage and improvises with some random riff that we’ll have to follow along to. Maybe next time I get introduced I’ll just ignore it and do the Phil Collins solo.
Banter: On stage, you’re a timekeeper. Who makes sure the group is punctual offstage?
Vestrheim: Uhhh… usually our tour manager? [duh] Or sometimes it’s Eric, our keyboardist. But it is often me because I like to be in control and make sure that we aren’t forgetting anything while we’re touring. I do get worried that we might not have everything ready, so I guess maybe it is me…