Riding high on the success of their Epitaph/Running Man debut album, What We Left Behind, Veara drummer Brittany Harrell caught up with Killyourstereo for a chat about putting together the album that launched them onto the pop-punk map.
G’day, could you please tell us a little about what you do in Veara and how the band got started?
My name is Brittany Harrell and I play the drums in Veara. We got started during my freshman year of high school. I met our bass player Bryan in band class. Bryan and I started jamming at my house. We later met Patrick randomly through a friend. He said he played guitar so we asked him to come play with us. We started off playing covers at friends’ parties then later added some other members and started writing original material and playing shows at a local venue downtown. We had some member changes and we were already friends with Brad. We asked him to come sing for the band. He also ended up playing guitar as well. Since then, we’ve been writing and touring!
Looks like you’re preparing for some pretty extensive touring with the likes of Our Last Night, The Bled and I Am Abomination. What are you most looking forward to about this tour and have you toured with any of these bands before?
We’ve never toured with any of these bands before. I like all the bands, so I’m pretty stoked to watch, meet and hangout with everyone. It should be a good time.
While your touring schedule looks pretty busy at the moment in the U.S, when can Australian fans expect a tour from Veara?
I hope soon! Australia is the number one place I want to go. I would absolutely LOVE to tour Australia. Let’s make this happen! Keep requesting for us to come there (laughs).
You guys have been garnering attention in the pop-punk scene with the release of your new album What We Left Behind. Therefore, what’s the current mood within the band like and just how important is this album for you?
We are absolutely stoked on the record we put out. This album is everything that we’ve been through as band over the last year. The record is very important. We’re giving it our all.
Veara recently signed to Epitaph/Running Man, who released your new album. How did this partnership come about?
Well, we have known Josh and Jeremy from A Day To Remember for a while now. We’ve been playing shows with them over the past few years. We recorded some demos and we wanted to show them to Josh because we had heard at the time he was managing bands. We met up while we were on tour passing through Ocala, FL and gave him the CD. He ended up calling us after he heard it and told us how he and Jeremy were working together and starting up Running Man and that they wanted to work with us. Josh and Jeremy had asked us what record labels we were interested in helping put out the record on and Epitaph was at the top of the list. Josh got in contact with Sue from Epitaph in L.A. He sent over the demos and they liked what they heard. Sue flew out to see us play and after that, we started talking. We were BEYOND stoked for sure! We then went into the studio with Jeremy from A Day To Remember and the rest is history!
The new album was co-produced by A Day To Remember frontman Jeremy McKinnon. What was it like working with Jeremy and in what ways did he influence the sound and direction of the album?
It was awesome working with Jeremy. We got along great and all of our ideas worked great with his ideas. Jeremy helped us close in on our sound more. We all had the same view for what we wanted this record to be and sound like. So it was great!
Who were your primary influences musically when it came to writing What We Left Behind?
I’d say New Found Glory, old Fall Out Boy, The Movie Life, Saves The Day, Jimmy Eat World to name a few.
You’ve stated that What We Left Behind has an underlying theme of “leaving behind doubt and naysayers”. How does this theme apply to Veara as a band?
Well, it applies to us as a band because we really went through that. We had members quit; people say that what we’re doing is dumb; people saying we could never make it, etc.
How does Veara approach songwriting? Does one member write the music or is it more of a collaborative effort?
It’s definitely a collaborative effort. For example, Patrick or Brad will come to practice with a guitar line and then we’ll all start jamming to it. We’ll all also take part in structuring. Everyone is in on it 100% which I think is pretty neat.
How does your new album differ from the material you have released in the past?
Our new album is WAY more focused and it’s what we want to be as a band. Our older stuff that we released had different members and songs that we wrote when we were very young and just starting out.
Please correct me if I’m wrong (I’ve never been to the U.S), but is your hometown of Augusta, GA considered a small town? It’s just that on your purevolume profile it’s stated that you’ve dealt with “small town narrow-mindedness” in the past. What do you mean by this?
Yeah, Augusta is a smaller town. It’s not like a "middle of nowhere" kind of town but it’s no major city. When we say "small town narrow-mindedness" we mean that in our town there aren’t any other bands doing what we do. Some people here think that it’s not possible to play music and succeed. When I tell older people that I’m not in school and I’m in a touring band I get some pretty weird looks (laughs).
What was the music scene in your hometown like growing up?
We had a pretty good music scene here growing up. I started going to shows during my freshman year of high school and it was the place to be for sure. After my first show, I was hooked. I wanted to go to every show! (laughs) It was so fun.
Having undergone a fair share of lineup changes in the past, how is everyone getting along in the band at the moment?
We’re best friends. We love each other, we love this band, and we all have the same view for this band. It rules!
What advice would you offer up-and-coming bands trying to make it in the pop-punk genre?
First off, play music that you love. Put your heart and soul in it. Practice, play shows, and promote your band.
What are your thoughts on the current state of pop-punk as a genre?
It seems to me like it has made a pretty big comeback. I grew up on and love pop-punk, so I’m really enjoying seeing all these bands putting their own twist on it. It’s a lot of fun for sure.
What are 5 albums you simply couldn’t live without?
Ah! I can’t pick 5! Top 3 favourite though are:
Blink 182- Enema of The State
New Found Glory- Self Titled
Fall Out Boy- Take This To Your Grave
Do you have any favourite Australian bands?
I’ve really been getting into Parkway Drive lately. They’re awesome.
What’s the first concert you ever attended?
My first show was at a venue in downtown Augusta called the Hangnail. A local band called Estrella played. It was a lot of fun!
What does Veara have on the cards for the rest of 2010?
Tour, tour and more tour! We want to get our music out there to as many people as possible!
Any final words of advice for Killyourstereo users?
Advice? Live YOUR dream and be what YOU want to be!