Bands Without Drummers

These bands march to the sound of their own drum...machine

The origins of the drum kit date back over 100 years and they’ve always been the backbone of rock music. These 5 bands chose to forego tradition and instead use technology to their advantage.


When Chvrches started writing music their studio was so small there wasn’t room for big amps or a drum kit. They naturally gravitated towards synthesizers and drum machines because those are the instruments that fit.

Le Tigre

Le Tigre’s use of a drum machine was born out of their DIY, punk rock attitude. Joanna Fateman calls a drum machine in the video below liberating because it’s self-sufficient.

Big Black

Big Black famously never had a drummer and it became a huge part of their sound. They often choose not imitate the generic beats a drummer would make on a drum kit, and instead exploit what a drum machine could do. “Roland” would often be credited as the drummer on their songs after the brand of drum machine they used (Roland TR-606).
The Kills

The Kills don’t have a drummer…kind of. Jamie Hince is credited as playing the drums or drum machine on all their albums and when they play live they often play with multiple percussionists accompanying a drum machine. When they started writing music it was with a drum machine.


Phoenix have a live drummer named Thomas Hedlund but their singer Thomas Mars, who was originally a drummer, writes most of their drum parts on a keyboard. Watch them explain the process in the video below.