(Photo Credit: Ruben Navarro)
Sometimes it’s a bummer being the only girl, but this isn’t the case for drummer Brittany Harrell. The 26 year old Georgia-born drummer is a part of Epitaph Records artist Veara, and has many years of drumming under her belt, including multiple endorsements from companies such as SJC Custom Drums and Vater Percussion. The band has worked with artists such as Jeremy McKinnon (A Day To Remember) on their debut EP “The Walls Have Ears” in 2007, as well as their sophomore release “What We Left Behind” in 2010. Drummer Brittany Harrell has been with the band since the beginning driving the pop punk band’s slick riffs and stellar vocals with quick, clean chops around the kit. Recently, Veara worked with Dan Korneff (Pierce the Veil, Paramore, My Chemical Romance) on their latest release “Growing Up Is Killing Me” and is slated to tour the East Coast and beyond this March and April. We sat down with Brittany to ask her a few questions about her start in music, as well as a little more information on their latest release, enjoy!
Entertwine: So lets begin with the obvious question for those that may not be familiar with your start in music – How did you get into drumming, and what attracted you to it over other instruments?
Brittany Harrell: I started playing the drums because of the band Hanson. I was 9 years old at the time and I saw their music video on MTV. I then found out from magazines that Zac the drummer was only a couple of years older than me. I thought if he can play the drums so can I. I got a drum set for christmas that year and then started taking lessons. Ive been playing ever since.
ET: Thats incredible, gotta love Hanson – can’t say Mmm Bop never influenced anyone!
Your band, Veara is signed to Epitaph Records, which is obviously huge! What were you all thinking when you got the call back in 2009? That must have been a pretty surreal moment.
BH: When we signed to Epitaph, we were all freaking out! We were super stoked because Epitaph was the label we wanted. It was perfect.
ET: As many might know, Veara is categorized as a “pop punk,” band which is an incredibly fun genre to play as a drummer. Is this your favorite style to play? Are there any other styles that you love to jam and have fun with?
BH: I’d say “pop punk” is probably my favorite to play. I always like playing up beat stuff for the most part. I sometimes like to pretend I can play metal stuff, haha. Im not very good at it but I do like attempting it!
(Brittany Harrell Play Along to “The Worst Part Of You”)
ET: As a female drummer myself, I have been following you, and your band for a while – probably since 2006. Since then Veara has matured greatly – musically and you all released your third album entitled, “Growing Up Is Killing Me,” back in September of 2013. How does the sound of this record compare to the last ones, both from a drummer standpoint and as a whole?
BH: From a drummer stand point I feel like I got a lot better at writing my parts for the song. When we wrote “Growing Up Is Killing Me” we took a different approach this go around. We used a pro-tools rig to demo out the songs at home, where as before we would sit in a room with all of our instruments and write songs like that. What made this “new” way cooler was that you could lay down ideas and sit back and listen to what the song sounds like rather than focusing on nailing your part playing it in a room. I think this helped a lot especially before going into the studio to track the record. It really let us know how the song sounded and where the songs needed to go.
ET: Then coming off of that, you had the opportunity to grow even more as a band when you had the opportunity to start writing and recording with Jeremy McKinnon of “A Day To Remember” on your 2010 release, “What We Left Behind.” Also you had a similar opportunity with Dan Korneff (Pierce The Veil, My Chemical Romance, Paramore) on your latest release, “Growing Up Is Killing Me?” How have these two influences as producers/musicians helped Veara as a band grow and mature musically?
BH: Working with both Jeremy and then Dan were awesome. They’re both great at helping you take your songs to the next level. I feel like with both records we learned a lot about song writing. Each record got better and better as we grew. We’ve actually already begun the writing process for the next record as well. We take everything that we’ve learned over the years and apply it to writing music every time we get together.
ET: What does it mean to you to have endorsements from top of the line companies like Vater Percussion and SJC Custom Drums?
BH: It means a lot to me. I love working with both companies. Both companies have supported me from day 1 and I couldn’t ask for better people standing behind me!
ET: Looking back on your very first release and looking at the current workings of Veara, how would you say you have progressed as a drummer? What successes do you look forward to in the future?
BH: It’s funny because even though I notice my growth I always can find the stuff I need to work on. I think that’s a good thing though. I am never satisfied with where I am. I always want more and want to push myself to the next level. I want people to here my drumming (whether it’s recorded or live) and think “dang. I want to play like that”. I look forward to keep pushing the envelope. I want to tour and write music forever!
ET: Thanks what we like to hear 🙂 Thanks Brittany!
BH: Anytime! Thanks!
Connect With Brittany and her band, Veara:
(Vater Drumsticks, Photo Credit: Dave Green)