Tyler Williams of The Head and The Heart talks drums, success

The Head and The Heart is as fitting of a band name as you’ll come across, as the Seattle indie-folk band makes music that’s equally thoughtful and evocative. The band played the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival for the first time this past Saturday, and while they were in town, the group’s drummer Tyler Williams took a few minutes to speak with PureVolume about the band’s slow march to success and the music teacher who steered him towards his career on the skins.

Hurricane in hand, Williams spoke with PureVolume from New Orleans’ beautiful Jackson Square, and said that were it not for a certain 6th grade teacher, he might have ended up at Jazz Fest playing a different instrument.

“I had a band teacher in like 6th grade who would only let me play the drums,” Williams says. “She wouldn’t let me try out for saxaphone or anything. That’s all I wanted to do, was play saxaphone, but I had already been playing drums, so she was like, ‘no, you’re going to teach these other kids how to play drums in a 6th grade band class.’ She changed my life.”

Once his teacher nudged him toward destiny, Williams embraced the instrument. He says he loves the “stress relief” of playing drums with the band, whose sophomore album Let’s Be Still was released by Sub Pop last fall.

“I think on the debut record, we really felt like a new band and we felt like we had all these dreams of doing this big thing,” he says. “And I think on Let’s Be Still, it was kind of like, this is the reality of what happens when you get all your dreams to come true.”

That same bemusement extends to the group’s growing success in the indie-folk scene.

“To have Let’s Be Still debut at No. 10 on the Billboard [album charts], was pretty amazing,” says Williams. “It hasn’t really felt like overnight success because we’re kind of in the middle of it and it feels like it’s been a real natural growth for us as a band.”

Indeed, The Head and The Heart’s growth has been as organic as their sound. The group is about to embark on a very extensive tour that will keep them on the road well into October. For a full list of tour dates, click here.

Watch PureVolume’s full interview with Tyler Williams of The Head and The Heart above.