The indie-pop trio talk us through their new era.
We all cope with stress differently, whether it be blasting out some comforting tunes or engrossing ourselves in the latest Netflix show, we all divulge in various outlets. For indie-pop trio The Happy Fits, writing their new single “Another Try” was their outlet. Reflecting on how they deal with adversity on their life’s journey, the group’s new single boasts anthemic energy as they ride a thunderous production filled with optimism and confidence. Inspired by cabin fever due to lockdown, the trio makes light of a dark moment, and turns it into a riotous single.
“For the past 3 years touring and recording was the only life that we knew,” Calvin shared. “ I found myself repeating the same habits, day in and day out. For a time, I tried to do things that I thought would fill some void in me that needed to feel accomplished, but if anything, it just caused me to slip back into my vices.”
Having seen a rapid rise since the release of their album What Could Be Better, the group have gone on to gain over 65 million global streams and various Billboard chartings. About to embark on a 50+ US headline tour, we caught up with the rising trio talking their initial meeting, starting a new era and how they’re ready to get back on the road.
Check out the interview below…
Hey guys! How are you? How has this past year been?
Calvin: We’re doing just peachy, thank you for asking. The past year and a half have been quite a whirlwind! We finished recording our 2nd LP “What Could Be Better” in February of 2020 and literally went straight on to the road to start a huge national tour. After a short 4,000 kilometre drive to Arizona from New York, the tour was immediately cancelled due to the pandemic and we had to drive straight back. There were a few weeks of extreme uncertainty but we quickly found our groove on social media and really started connecting with our fans. We started DIY live-streaming weekly on Youtube and released What Could Be Better in August of 2020. The response from the fans and media were absolutely beyond our wildest expectations; even NPR picked up the record and gave us a full review on Fresh Air. In April of this year, we moved from Jersey to Brooklyn to start working on our 3rd record (Title TBA) with our manager and producer Ayad al Adhamy (Team Spirit, Passion Pit) in his studio, Diamond City Studio, in Greenpoint (or as we call it, “The Stu”). The move was big for us, but we landed a sick spot only a few blocks away from The Stu with a nice backyard. We just finished up playing our first two major music festivals (Sea Hear Now in NJ and Firefly in Delaware) and now we’re putting the final touches on all our new songs before heading off for our first tour in almost 2 years!
With everything that happened last year, how was your creativity affected?
Calvin: When we were writing our 2nd record, we were doing a lot of DIY shows and playing a bunch of really exciting basement venues. Our faster songs got the younger crowds going and that vibe was definitely what we were hoping to inspire in What Could Be Better. Ironically, the album we made to play fast and loud live we still haven’t been able to play at a headlining live show. Being away from the road helped us take a deep breath and get really into making mid-tempo rock songs; a lot like the music we grew up with like The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, and Bombay Bicycle Club. We’ve grown up a lot in the past year-and-a-half, and I think our new music really reflects this. We still have that “kid-throwing-a-tantrum” energy in our souls but we’re carving out some space for that “young-adult-having-a-quarter-life-crisis” energy in our new music.
How did you guys all meet, what sparked your interest?
Calvin: We all went to the same high school in Clinton, NJ but we honestly did not hangout at all until after graduating. Most kids in our rural town listened to hip-hop and country so there weren’t many people listening to indie rock. Ross and I first connected over that Coen brother’s film Inside Llewyn Davis, and we decided to get together and try making some indie-folk covers. I saw Ross post some videos on Facebook absolutely shredding on an acoustic guitar, so I was psyched to be working with another serious musician. I’d been taking classical cello lessons for over a decade but my heart and soul belonged to rock. We started making original music together after making covers got pretty boring and we both could tell when we were singing originals that we were doing something mutually inspiring. We never said it out loud, but we knew if we ever got a chance to do this professionally, we would drop everything in a heartbeat. We recorded our first EP “Awfully Apeelin” in the Summer of 2016 before our Freshman year at Uni. We hadn’t played any live shows really and we had no following except Ross’ mum, so it was really just a fun thing for us to do as a nice send-off. Since we both liked rockier music, we hired Luke to play the drums for a day on “Too Late” and While You Fade Away”.
The EP went live on Spotify the first week that we split ways for college. A week later, “While You Fade Away” got on the Fresh Finds playlist and we started getting thousands of plays. I remember leaving class to call Ross every day freaking out about the progress of the music. It got to that point where it was all we could think about so we made the decision to leave school. Luckily, Luke was down to drop out too, so starting in the Fall of 2017, we were all officially dropouts and DIY rockers. We’re all very agreeable people and love to de-escalate, so it makes making decisions an easy-going process. We’re all living together in the same flat now and it’s been nothing but good vibes.
You’re reflecting on your journey so far in your new single ”Another Try”. What was it like looking back on your career, do you guys have any regrets?
Calvin: Oof…Confession time. Yeah, I’d say my biggest mess up was back in 2017 when we were doing this Jersey Battle of the Bands and I had another classical gig up in Vermont on the same day in the morning. I thought I could squeeze the two into the same day but boy was I wrong. Ross and Luke showed up to the venue with their whole families and friends and would frantically call me every 20 minutes to get an update on my location, but slowly it started to dawn on everybody that I wasn’t going to make it. We ended up having to drop out because I couldn’t get to the venue in time! It’s kind of crazy to think that was all over 4 years ago and definitely water under the bridge now. Another regret comes from our first tour in May 2017. We rented a minivan at the start of our tour in Arizona and ended the tour in Denver. We thought we’d save a few hundred bucks by driving the van back to Arizona rather than dropping it off in Denver. It was just our luck that we got hit by a huge snowstorm in the middle of May on the drive back. Our van got stuck in the mountain pass of Colorado and had to get ploughed from behind. It was like a $3k expense to get fixed and messed up our tour manager’s insurance (we were still all too young to rent a car at the time).
You’re about to start a new era, why the change? What prompted this?
Calvin: With everything that has happened in the past year-and-a-half from the pandemic to BLM to the climate crisis coming to fruition to the last election, it’s all been really traumatic to process. I’ve always used writing music as a way to externally process my experience, but until last year it was all very personal. In the past two years, I’ve spent quite a lot of time reading, learning, and listening to others about the history of the world to contextualize, understand, and help process everything that has happened. I’m finding myself writing less about my personal experiences and more about universal concepts like empathy and altruism. There’s a lot of frustrated young adults out there and I’m really hoping our new music will help boost the signal of hope and belonging as well as attract some more empaths like me into our crowd.
What do you want people to take away from your music?
Calvin: I want people to take away a feeling of bittersweet joy when they listen to our music. Life is full of extreme highs and extreme lows and that’s everything we hope to exude in our tunes. I hope by expressing my genuine feelings, people who share a feeling of being lost in the modern world will feel a little bit more understood and a little less alone.
And you’re about to head out on a 50 date US headline tour, what can fans expect?
Calvin: Fans can expect a hell of a good time. We’ve been waiting for this tour for two years and we can’t wait to absolutely bring it. We’ve been working out consistently to be able to keep our physical energy up on stage, so we hope people let loose and dance around with us.
Who are your inspirations?
Calvin: We grew up with all that really great indie rock of the 2000s. To name a few: The Fratelli’s, The Pigeon Detectives, Two Door Cinema Club, Arctic Monkeys, Snow Patrol, Shannon and The Clams, Young The Giant, Alabama Shakes, Bloc Party, and Dr. Dog.
What’s next for you? What are you most excited about?
Calvin: We’ve gotten into a pretty good groove of doing a 2-year album cycle. I could totally see us keeping that consistency up for the 2020s and touring our bums off until everyone and their mum knows us. To be honest, we’re just excited to be doing exactly what we’re doing for a living. We love making music and playing live shows; everyday feels like a blessing.