By Alex Bacon/The AS Review
Seattle’s rock and roll string band, The Senate, will be performing at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 3 in the PAC Concert Hall with Austin Jenckes and Spencer Goll Band opening. Tickets are $8 for Western students with ID or $12 general admission. The show is being hosted by the Noise Pollution Music Club.
The AS Review caught up with Nick Drummond, The Senate’s songwriter, singer and guitarist.
The AS Review: Let’s start at the beginning. Can you tell me how the Senate started?
Nick Drummond: How the Senate started, oh goodness. We started, myself and Oliver [Franklin], the other guitarist in the band, just kind of doing shows together after high school. And people I guess were kind of paying attention to that. Eventually after doing like three or four [shows] Andrew [Pulkrabek], our bass player, kind of joined up. He was a friend of Oliver’s from middle school. When we got the fullness of sound that that created, it started to take off from there a little bit. And we built up doing the coffee shop circuit around Seattle and then doing shows a little more farther afield, up in Bellingham actually quite a bit. It just kinda took off from there, in a grassroots fashion.
ASR: What’s the best part of being in The Senate? Being a band? Being in a band?
ND: It’s a wonderful outlet. I feel incredibly privileged to play with guys who want to play the songs that I write. That’s really an immense privilege I feel. We are very fortunate that people tend to enjoy what comes out from us on stage. So it’s a very fulfilling experience and it’s also a great way to feed the songwriting habit that I have. And I think that the friendships we have on stage or in the band is really one of the best things to have come out of this. We’re really close and we really enjoy what we do together. I feel very fortunate to be able to play with really cool musicians songs that I like. For me, that’s the best thing.
ASR: So The Senate has been getting back together. Can we look forward to any new music or seeing more of you in the future? Or are you just getting back together for fun right now?
ND: This is kind of just getting back together for the fun of doing it. I think this band has run its course a little bit. I mean we might pop up and do shows in the future periodically but right now we just want to do the stuff we really enjoy and up in Bellingham we have. The fans have been really good to us and … there’s a special place in our heart for our Bellingham friends. It feels really good that we have this opportunity to come up and play at Western again because we’ve done a lot of shows there and had a really good time. We’re doing this right now simply because we still love it. I think we’re all kind of moving on from the band a little bit but we still very much enjoy putting on shows and playing together. …. It’s for the love right now.
ASR: So I know you’re moving forward with your own solo project. How’s that going?
ND: Well, I haven’t spent all that much time on it, actually. I did some traveling and took some time off [and] spent all this time to myself and that was really nice. That’s definitely the next step for me. I’m in the process of looking for the right people to play with, so that’s where that is right now. I wouldn’t really call it a solo project. I did do a solo album over the summer but I just kind of wanted to do it, but it wasn’t really striking out on my own at all. I consider myself kind of an ensemble guy. … I like playing with people. And I’m very excited to find new folks to create a project with. … The other band was a great place to start but I have kind of discovered that I have no choice but to keep doing this and try to see where it goes.
ASR: Do you know what’s next for the other members of the band?
ND: Andrew is moving to the Bay Area to do vaudeville work. He’s a big vaudevillian. He’s had to put that part of himself on hold or push it to the side a little bit because the band has taken up a lot of our collective time and energy over the past five years or so. …. He’s got some great connections down there and I’m excited for him. Oliver is going [to] continue doing music as well. I think he’s kind of in a similar place that I am right now, which is focusing on having a lot of fun playing and making what we do at the moment right now as full of life and as vibrant as we can make it and then we get through these upcoming shows and spread our wings a little bit. See where else we can go. I think we’re very much in the same situation.
ASR: So it sounds like this isn’t going to be a horrible split. It sounds like you guys are leaving on pretty good terms.
ND: Yes, you’re absolutely right and I don’t even really consider it as leaving. We are such good friends and we’ll continue to see each other a lot and very likely play music together in the future in some form or another. … For me personally, it’s not really an end. I can totally understand it from a fan’s perspective, someone who likes to see us or likes what we do; they might think, “that’s the end of this band that I like.” … But we’re not leaving each other, we’re not leaving what we love to do. It’ll come back around. I’m sure, in some form or another.