10 Questions with ... Fitz And The Tantrums
July 4, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Fitz and the Tantrums is a Los Angeles sextet of musicians that formed in 2008. Their singles "The Walker" and "Out of My League." have achieved gold-certified status and were #1 hits at Alternative radio. Their songs have been featured in various commercials, TV shows, movies, and on the trailer for The Oscars which was hosted by Ellen DeGeneres.
Co-Singer Michael "Fitz" Fitzpatrick describes their music as "soul-influenced indie pop." All Access recently caught up with Fitz to discuss the band's newest release "Handclap" from their new album "Fitz And The Trantrums" which can also be seen in the new Fiat commercials.
1). Thanks so much for your time today! How is 2016 treating the band so far? What were some of the highlights of 2015 for the band and your music?
2016 is looking really exciting! We have the new album out and we're about to start touring for that. Fingers crossed, but this album feels really good!
2). How do you think your sound has grown over the years? How does this new record reflect that?
I would say that with each album, we are realizing more and more who and what we are musically, and with every song we make we try to move closer to that.
It's a constant process for any band or artist, and all you can do is to obey the muse.
With "More Than Just A Dream" we were able to go bigger and really flesh out our sound in ways that we hadn't before.
We called this new album "Fitz and the Tantrums" because we are really coming into our own and discovering even more of our potential. You can hear it in the beats and in the production and in the feeling you get from these songs. It hits deep and it hits hard.
3). Do you think that you all work together differently now? How have the dynamics changed over the years?
Well, we've been playing together so long that we have an almost psychic connection onstage. I can finish John (our drummer)'s musical sentences onstage, and vice versa. And that goes for all of us. And we've really learned how to harness all of our collective energy and shoot it out towards the audience like a crazy sonic cannonball. It definitely makes for a great show!
4). Can you talk about the first single for your forthcoming album, "Handclap"? How did it come together and what was the inspiration for this song?
"Handclap" is just one of those songs where all of the elements just work together so perfectly. I love songs where there's not only a vocal hook, but a sonic one as well. The handclap in this song is just as important as the lead vocal in terms of driving home that hook. Plus it'll give the audience a chance to get some when we play it live.
It's simple, driving, and relentless, which is how I would describe our band as well.
5). What was it like getting back into the studio after the break and putting out "More Than Just A Dream"? Did you ever feel kind of pressure to release more hits like "The Walker" and "Out Of My League"?
Sure there was pressure, but the thing is that since the beginning we have always put pressure on ourselves to deliver the best music possible. So in a way, this was no different. The real difference is that once you've had some success, you know that a lot of people will at least give you a listen.
The other interesting thing is that now we have the live show in mind while we record. Like on "Handclap," where the claps work as a musical hook, but also we can envision the synergy between us and the audience even as we are in the studio. So in a way, the line is blurred between the album and the live show.
6). You've got an extensive upcoming summer tour planned. I am curious to know how you keep up the energy night after night?
People still picture touring as this nonstop party, but this ain't the 80s. When you're on the road, you really have to take care of yourself. If Fitz or Noelle lose their voice, we have no show and the whole thing grinds to a halt.
7). How has your tour rider changed this time around? Are there certain things that you can't go out on tour without this time around?
Well, the rider is getting healthier, that's for sure.
The funniest thing for me is after meet and greets, where you shake 100 peoples' hands and it's flu season. So immediately afterwards, our tour manager puts a bunch of hand sanitizer on our hands. It's automatic at this point.
8). Can you recall a favorite show in the past? What do you think makes an amazing performance for Fitz And The Tantrums?
We've had some really fun times onstage. Actually, when you're on tour, most of the day is incredibly dull, so getting onstage is the time that we get to have fun and release all that pent up energy.
I make it a point to always have fun no matter how big or small the show is. But anytime we get to play our hometown is really really special because we've been gone from our friends and family so long, and we get to come back and see everyone and show them what we've been up to. We did the Palladium and it was fantastic.
9). What artists continue to inspire you and the band's music? Who would you still love to work with in the future?
I'm always inspired by anything soulful, and I'm also really inspired by a lot of the new and creative things that are happening in electronic music. I guess I'm always looking to the past or to the future for inspiration.
10). At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
Really, beyond the lyrics and the literal meaning of any song, the most important thing is how you feel when you listen to it. If we can take you on a journey where we lift you up really high, and also explore some dark emotional territory but then make the whole thing into a crazy, neon-bathed celebration where you come out the other end feeling cleansed and purified, then we've done our job.
*Special thanks to Leah Adams who conducted this interview.