February Spotlight: Let It Happen

It isn't about fame or fortune according to the local pop-rock band, Let It Happen. This four-piece is all about providing fans with honesty and enjoyment; they aren't necessarily concerned about getting big.

Let It Happen wants you to fall in love with pop-rock through their latest EP release, It Hurts, But It's Worth It. We caught up with drummer Sean Highley and vocalist/guitarist Drew Brown at their recent show with Freshman 15 at Bangarang's.

Can you tell us how Let It Happen got started & you decided to become a band?
Highley: In the summer of 2009, we decided that we wanted to start playing pop-punk stuff. We had all been in metal bands before that, but pop-punk's always been a true love for us. So, one day we just went to my parents basement and starting jamming; that's kind of how it started.
Brown: We've known each other for a really long time; we went to high school together; we've been friends. So, I think this band was built off friendship more than anything.

What's your overall message as a band?
Highley: We don't really get too political about stuff or anything. It's mostly just what goes through our lives and just hoping that people can relate to that.
Brown: For me, I get a lot of stuff pent-up in my head and I can't really get it out. So, I'd have to say for this band it's about 25 percent self-expression for me, but the other 75 percent is I just really love people. I've never witnessed a better medium to reach people than music in my life, and it also happens to be what I'm good at so I'm very thankful for that. We really just want to get to know all the people out there and whoever wants to hear our music.

What's been your most memorable show?
Highley: That's a hard one. We just did our CD release show in December with Hit The Lights. That was pretty good; there were around 400 people there, so that was good exposure.
Brown: Our most memorable show in another light was when we played in Marion, Indiana. We were with our friends in Aristo and there was literally just the bar owner there. So, we got really drunk and just played with our friends; it was really fun. That was pretty memorable for me.
Highley: Yeah, that was an interesting show.
Brown: (laughs)
Highley: It was the first show of our first tour.

What's the coolest thing that has happened to your band? Any rockstar or "I've made it" moments?
Brown: Every time we go to Chillicothe, [Ohio]; we've been there like four or five times now and the kids there really seem to like us a lot. They're the most supportive group of kids I've met in a long time. They never fail to give us a great show. They always welcome us with open arms. They make sure that we eat that night and make sure we have a place to stay before we even get there. It's just really cool to connect with people on that level. At a show, kids just really want to be there to hang out with you; they're not just there because you're some band and you're a big name or anything. It's just really touching to me to go through those kinds of experiences. So, I love Chillicothe and that's probably gonna be the most special place to me for a while.

How do you like the Cincinnati music scene?
Highley: I think it has its ups and downs. It seems like there's recently been kind of a resurgence of pop-punk in the music scene so that's nice.
Brown: Yeah, there used to be a lot of metal here. There's still good metal bands. I think that a lot of places will remember Cincinnati for the good metal bands that came out of it. But, right now, like you [Highley] said, pop-punk is kind of making a swing around. The kids here really have a potential to make this place an awesome music scene. It's going to be up to the kids to support the music though to make sure that it stays going.

Favorite thing about Cincinnati?
Highley: I love Cincinnati. I feel like a lot of people are like, "I hate being from Cincinnati." But, no, I love Cincinnati. It's a great city. We have Skyline Chili, so that's nice.
Brown: To build on what Sean's saying, a lot of people that are from here, the reason that they don't like Cincinnati is because there's no other place in the world like it. I know it sounds contradictory but that's what I like about Cincinnati. I've been to a lot of places and there's just such an eclectic group of people here; it's just very diverse, you never meet the same person twice.

What's your ultimate goal as band?
Highley: Every goal that I've set so far has kind of been working out. Ultimately, we just wanna get our music out to people, make friends, and travel.
Brown: I don't wanna be 'that guy' or anything, but I'm really not in it to get big where it's like for the money or anything. [As I grew up], the only thing that really made me feel better was music. Throughout all those problems that I had, everything that I went through, I always had music there to help me through everything. So, for me, I just wanna be able to return the favor that so many bands did for me and be there for a lot of kids, give them something they can relate to, and let them know that they're not alone. That's probably my biggest goal.

What do you think sets you apart from all the other bands out there, particularly local bands?
Highley: I think we just try and write honest music that matters to us and not necessarily what's cool, even though maybe sometimes that happens.
Brown: I think it's just the people in our band that might set us apart from other bands. Sometimes we're the best of friends and sometimes we're all butt heads because we are all really diverse, we all come from different families, and things like that. So, when you're hanging out with us I have to say, you never really know what to expect.
Highley: Yeah, you get a little bit of something different from everyone.
Brown: Yeah, we're just a very personable band, I think that's the only real thing we have going for us.
Highley: (laughs)

Who would you say is your overall musical influence?
Highley: Jimmy Eat World.
Brown: Yeah, I like Jimmy Eat World a lot.
Highley: Our band is named after the Jimmy Eat World song, "Let It Happen." Growing up, I just loved Jimmy Eat World. They're 'the pop-rock band' that I think of when I think of music. I just really look up to everything they've done.
Brown: Not necessarily musically, but going back to more of the message behind the music, there is a band called Weatherbox that I'm really in to. They helped me through a lot of difficult times in my life. So, they've influenced me a lot lyrically and emotionally.

Who do you look up to locally?
Brown: Pilot Around The Stars. We played with them a lot and they were really good dudes; they helped us out a lot. We had a lot of shows with them and a lot fun with them. So, they really kept us motivated to keep going.
Highley: Another band that we're good friends with is Mixtapes. They're from here. I really support them and everything that they're doing and in turn they support us, so that's really cool.

How would you describe your music to people who haven't heard of you?
Brown: We like to think of ourselves as a rock band in general. We have like that pop-rock sound. If someone wanted to know who we sounded like, I would compare us to The Starting Line and Jimmy Eat World. I'm just really into that whole pop-punk-emo-post-hardcore-rock so I kind of tell people that we sound like that.
Highley: And whether it's true or not, that's what I want to sound like, so that's what I say.
Brown: (laughs)

I saw on your blog that you're releasing some touring news for the spring/summer; can you give us any details or hints as to what those might be?
Highley: As far as routes go, I know we're doing like a month in June, kind of like a southeast kind of thing like down to Florida area. And then in August we are going to be doing some Canadian dates actually. That's all I can really say right now, but be on the lookout 'cause it should be coming soon.

What do you hope your music does for fans?
Highley: I just wanna be one of those bands where [our fans] put a CD in their car, put their windows down, and drive around thinking about stuff.
Brown: Yeah, I don't ever wanna be that band that makes people sad and they listen to us when they're sad. I want people to put us on and just realize that everything's going to be okay. To have a good time all the time. If I had to put it in a certain way, I try to provide a soundtrack to a good time.