Brooklyn-based trio The Happy Fits have released their new single, Another Try plus B-side Cold Turkey. The new tracks arrive in the wake of 2020’s sophomore record What Could Be Better, which earned the band comparisons to the likes of The Beatles, Violent Femmes, Vampire Weekend and The Killers, and cemented their status as a swiftly emerging band to watch.
Reflecting how we often cope with reality in negative ways, Another Try rides an emotionally-charged chorus that highlights the importance of accepting adversity as part of life’s journey and an opportunity to grow. Inspired by cabin fever and the fear of losing everything they’d worked towards, the anthemic new single is intentional in its effort to feel like a light of inspiration rather than a dark moment in the band’s timeline. Despite signalling the start of a new era for The Happy Fits, Another Try continues the band’s steadfast mission statement of connecting with a world that’s sometimes distant. Calvin Langman from the band answers some questions for Hi Fi Way.
How exciting has the last twelve months been for The Happy Fits musically?
Inexplicably life-changing! Around 4 months ago we moved to Brooklyn, New York. We all grew up in the rural countryside of New Jersey so living in the urban jungle has certainly been a huge change of pace for us. At the beginning of this year, we started getting played on Satellite radio on this station called Alt Nation and that exposed our music to thousands of new fans. We also signed to our first label, AWAL, and they helped us produce a music video for every single song on our second LP What Could Be Better. We’ve definitely been pushing ourselves to keep creating content for social media, including weekly live show livestreams on YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook. Since we play in front of a huge screen so we’re able to read our fans’ comments, it’s allowed us to connect with our fanbase in a way we never imagined possible. While COVID slowed down our touring grind, we got to plan another national tour for this fall and we were able to sell out a few rooms for the first time ever! In the meantime, we’re focusing on our third record and evolving our sound daily, trying to find new ways to incorporate cello into the rock scene.
Sonically, how would you describe new single Another Try and Cold Turkey?
Sonically, these two singles are very different. We carefully tracked Another Try to make everything as clean and beautiful as possible. For the first time ever, we went into Another Try seeking a really euphoric synth sound to help compliment the rocking instrumentals. It was so much fun exploring all of our producers’ vintage synths (Ayad is a synth wizard!) and we think it truly adds an extra layer of atmosphere to our music. With Cold Turkey, we tracked most of the cello orchestra (cellorchestra for short) in the really echoey and narrow hallways of Diamond City Studios. We wanted to get a campfire sing-along vibe so the natural reverb really helps to make the background vocals we recorded sound like a whole choir of friends.
Are there plans to follow up with another album to maintain the momentum after What Could Be Better?
Yes. We hope to make records to the day we die!
Was there any learnings from your last album that you were conscious of not repeating when making the next record?
Where the songs from What Could Be Better are very pop sounding, we’ve been focusing on finding lots of classic rock drum grooves for this record. Listening back to What Could Be Better, each song travels to the next without giving the listener time to breath. It was intended to be a fast-paced album to amp up our live shows, so all the time in quarantine has allowed us to explore more down-tempo beats.
Has COVID forced you to work any differently?
Calvin: To let our fans know we still wanted to be touring, we did weekly live shows on YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook. Our DIY setup got super advanced at one point with four cameras that changed automatically thanks to a program I configured and flashing lights that synced up with Luke’s drums. We also played interactive games with our fans like Rocket League, Jackbox Games, and Drawasaurus. From time to time we stream new console games like Little Nightmares, Super Bunny Man, and Resident Evil. Fans love seeing us lose our s*** to those horror games.
Is it a huge buzz when you hear your music played on the radio?
Yes! Sometimes listening on Alt Nation they’ll put our song between huge acts like Foo Fighters, Weezer, or Dayglow, and its wild to hear your track played next to greats like those. I remember growing up and thinking everyone on the radio was probably a bajillionaire, so its quite humbling being on the radio while still hustling day to day.
Is it hard to listen to your new tunes like a fan would without thinking what you could tweak or change?
Usually it takes a few listens to get used to a mix. The demo process is where I fall in love with songs so there’s always a special connection with the first draft mp3 file of a song. I always wish I could wipe my memory or something to hear the final mix for the first time again so I can try and put myself in a first-time listener’s shoes.
Which artists/ bands would you consider to be some of the biggest influences in shaping your music?
Alabama Shakes was huge when we first started making music together. It’s such great rock music. Growing up we listened to the classic indie rock of the 2000’s like The Killers, Two Door Cinema Club, The Strokes, Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys, and The Fratellis. We love 60’s music, too, with The Beatles and The Mamas and The Papas at the top of our minds. Lately, I’ve been super into ABBA!
How much are looking forward to getting the green light to be able to tour and play shows internationally?
I cannot wait to tour outside of America! Both Luke and I have never been outside of North America and after the year this country’s had, it would be so refreshing to get a new perspective on the world and dive deep in to other countries’ cultures (especially food!). The livestreams we did all last year introduced us to so many worldwide fans in Australia, Russia, Greece, and even Peru and Indonesia.
What’s next for The Happy Fits?
Immediately next for us is this third record. Our Monday through Friday for the past four months has been waking up, writing and demo-ing for eight to fourteen hours, and chugging lots of coffee. We’ve been listening to so much new music and really been trying to incorporate modern sounds in to our cello-driven classic rock vibe. Every record has become our new favourite record and we’re sure this next one will be our fans’ favourites as well.
Interview By Rob Lyon