The Daily Gamecock

Columbia band Alarm Drum on touring, making music

The Columbia music scene is home to a myriad of fledgling and established acts, but Alarm Drum has already pulled ahead to a fast paced head start toward professional success. Lead by first-year media arts student Andrew Graybill and his younger brother Ian, Alarm Drum is a local dream rock band that is leaving its mark on social media and around town.

By now, the brothers can see the benefits of what Columbia has to offer as a city to their music. 

“It’s not too daunting, it doesn't feel too massive, you feel like you could have a part in it,” Andrew said.

“It felt very welcoming when we first started, people were very nice and it was kind of like a little community we could jump into,” Ian said.

Alarm Drum began to form while both brothers were still in high school, but the drive to create music started way before that. 

“The earliest album I remember listening to is ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band' by The Beatles," Andrew said. "I remember spinning that a lot when I was five years old. That was probably my first musical memory.”

Later on, Andrew started playing guitar and began practicing with friends from school. But with his brother Ian living in the same house, it wasn’t long before the duo started to collaborate. 

“I think because the piano is like a melodic and a rhythmic instrument, I would get the little beats and the basslines kind of bouncing around in my head all the time,” Ian said when discussing what got him inspired to making music.

Since then, they have released two EPs and a number of singles. With the brothers' experience and youth both factors in its growth, Alarm Drum knows what it can still act on to achieve its goals. 

“The most important thing is that we have room to grow more — when you start playing young, you have more time to f*** up and keep going. You have more time to discover how to do it,” Andrew said. “It’s very hard for me to separate the circumstance of our lives with the band itself, so I can’t imagine starting the band at a later age and what that would be.”

Alarm Drum takes its social media presence seriously and find it an integral part in trying to translate the message within its music to a potentially huge audience. “You can more easily choose what you want people to see and what you don’t want people to see,” Andrew said. The band wants to improve the multimedia aspect of their music, and promote greater fan interaction.

“In a way it’s like a little fantasy world,” Ian said.

Alarm Drum has also been on tour and already knows that the difference between playing live and in the studio can be good for a band. 

“I want it to sound somewhat like the records, but I want to create something completely different,” Andrew said. “Once we’ve created the original thing, the crystallized perfect version of what we want it to sound like in our heads, then there’s an opportunity to turn that on its head live," Andrew said."There’s something that's purely expressive about playing on stage that you don’t get unless you're recording live.”

For Alarm Drum, a live performance can even bleed into the studio. “We’re gonna record a lot of live playing and then sample it into the recordings,” Ian said.

Being brothers, Andrew and Ian acknowledge what growing up together has done for their musical careers. 

“You question somebody else different than you question yourself. You might get insecure about things that aren't relevant but you're missing the things you should be insecure about, so it’s good to have someone who’s close to you mentally but at the same time completely separate,” Ian said. “It was important in the beginning that we lived together because that kind of spurred us to write more,” Andrew said.

Andrew also spoke about how the writing process works for him and his brother.

“A lot of the time Ian and I will write separately and then come together and show each other ideas and keep working on them together. It’s usually a symbiotic process, both kind of give-and-take and kind of act as the other person’s foil,” continued Andrew.“I think it adds depth to our music. I think it allows us to express things other bands wouldn't be able to.”

Mostly, Alarm Drum has a true connection to its music and hopes that this emotional connection translates to its listeners. “I want people to feel what I feel when I listen to a really good song that I enjoy, and I hope I can deliver that through truth and my creative process,” Andrew said. 

“I hope it gives people a sense of freedom and hope it allows people to connect with what I felt when I was making it or before I made it,” Ian said.

Alarm Drum is still working on new material and has goals of focusing more on their music. Ian is still in high school but plans on graduating early to focus on music. Alarm Drum is on the rise as an established act to look forward to, but Ian and Andrew don't think they have grown complacent where they are right now. Being this young and prospering lights a spark to do more. 

“I’m not entirely satisfied with the cohesiveness of our image,” Andrew said. “I would like to keep working on it."