Andie Packer is the drummer for UK Americana band The Fireflys. Though she was interested in the drums from a young age, her parents tried to steer her toward keyboard or guitar. But at age 16, she finally convinced her folks to get her a kit and she’s been playing ever since. The Fireflys recently finished a Coffee House Sessions tour, and have a new album (their fifth) due out in May.

Women are underrepresented in the percussion world. Our weekly series, Woman Crush Wednesday (#WCW), aims to recognize, celebrate, and inspire female percussionists of all stripes. Each Wednesday we’ll feature a profile of a drummer, who will share tips, advice, and videos.Want to be featured yourself? Send an email to anna.pulley@stringletter.com telling us more about you.

What is your city, country, and age?

I’m 30, from Runcorn, Cheshire, UK.

What kind of gear do you use? What’s your setup?

I use a Tama Starclassic bubinga four-piece kit, Pearl Sensitone Elite brass snare, Sabian cymbals including 14″ AAX X-celerator hats, 18″ AAX X-plosion crash, 19″ Virgil Donati signature saturation crash, and a 21″ AA rock ride. I also have a Pearl Compact Traveler I mostly use for practice.

I have recently customized my live setup for a smaller footprint. I’ve converted my 16” floor tom into a bass drum using the Pearl Jungle Adaptor—it’s cool. With it I use a mounted 12” tom, my snare, hats, and a ride. It’s really easy to transport and barely takes up any space onstage.

Recently we were part of The Coffee House Sessions Tour, and we needed to gig acoustically and so my lineup was simply a cajon, bass pedal, and shaker.

Do you have endorsements?

Flix Sticks.

What bands/groups do you perform with, if any?

I am the drummer for UK Americana band The Fireflys. We’re due to release our their fifth album this May on Strawberry Moon Records. We have released three singles from the album and you can watch the videos here: “Runaway,” “Grace,” and “This House Is Ours.” You can also listen on Spotify.

What led you to your instrument? What’s your origin story?

I was always interested by the drum kit. Unfortunately, I was never allowed to have one. Instead I was encouraged to learn keyboard or guitar—neither held my attention. At the age of 16, I finally convinced my parents to buy me my first kit and a set of drum mutes so that I could play in the house. I was self-taught in the beginning, learning by ear and from music books, then I had drum lessons for a few months. All I wanted was to play drums in a band. I joined/started as many bands as I could. Eventually I joined The Fireflys in October 2010.


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Who is your favorite drummer and why?

There are quite a few drummers I like for different reasons. If I had to pick one, maybe Chad Smith—got to love his funky grooves. I like to think I play with a feel similar to his, loose but tight?

It’s important never to try and live your life by someone else’s standards.

How do you practice? Do you have a routine?

When I was first learning, I had a pretty strict routine, practicing rhythms repeatedly until I was comfortable with them, playing rudiments for hours on a practice pad, learning my favorite songs, or playing to a click track. Now I mostly practice by jamming with my band members by creating new songs or just improvising and playing off each other.


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Are there any specific playing tips or techniques, or advice, exercises, or discoveries you’d like to share with Drum readers?

Practice whenever you can. Try to learn the basics of a range of styles so that you can adapt if needed. And most importantly, work on timekeeping and jam with other musicians.

As artists, the goal post for “success” is always moving. There’s not one “I made it!” point. How do you think about and define success?

I believe that if you enjoy what you’re doing and you’re happy in life, then you’re succeeding. It’s important never to try and live your life by someone else’s standards. Do what you love, and do it well. Set yourself achievable goals for certain stages of your ability/career (i.e. starting out you may strive to learn your favorite songs, then you may set out to join a band, then play a few gigs, record some songs, play bigger gigs, get played on the radio, etc.)

Do you have any quotes or sayings that you live by?

“Do what you love until it kills you.” — Rob ‘Maxi’ Maxfield

When you sit down to make music and are starting with a blank canvas, what’s your process like?

Our singer/songwriter will come to the band with a song, then the band members will start playing along. I’ll try out some different rhythms, accentuations, or dynamics for certain vocal or guitar queues. We’ll play through a couple of times and see what works. Sometimes we’ll take a live room recording and listen back to hear how it sounds.


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How important is failure in making music/performing?

I don’t think you can fail in music. It’s a creative outlet. You only learn from any mistakes you think you may have made, as musicians we can be overly critical of our own performances. Relax and stay positive.

Any advice for girls contemplating getting started and making it in this arena?

Learn for the love of it. Try to push yourself to be a better drummer—there is alway something new to be learned. Don’t let anyone put you down. And, most importantly, have fun!

Where else to find Andie

Instagram and Twitter (both @andiepacker)