We pick the hottest new acts so you can tell your friends you heard them first. Meet Brooklyn-based trio The Happy Fits who irresistibly balance bright pop hooks with real world introspection
In a very short time, The Happy Fits have mastered the art of balancing emotionally-charged, hook-filled songwriting with big, bright pop melodies.
The now Brooklyn-based trio – whose 2020 sophomore album What Could Be Better earned them comparisons to the likes of The Beatles, Violent Femmes, Vampire Weekend and The Killers – have certainly cemented their status as a rising band you need to watch. And with their new single ‘Another Try’ and its B-side ‘Cold Turkey’ in hand, it’s time for Australian audiences to catch on too.
Featuring lead vocalist and cellist (yeah, that’s right, we said they’ve got a cello) Calvin Langman, vocalist and guitarist Ross Monteith, and drummer Luke Davis, The Happy Fits have been building a loyal fanbase across the globe with their catchy, feel-good brand of indie-rock and pop.
The Happy Fits officially landed on the scene back in 2016 with their debut EP Awfully Apeelin’ (there’s even a banana on the cover to tie in with the title), but it was their debut full-length album, 2018’s Concentrate, that saw the three-piece turning heads in their direction.
Recorded over six weeks at Diamond City Studio in Brooklyn, their second album took their catchy brand of crowd-pleasers to the next level, with What Could Be Better earning The Happy Fits over 780,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and more than 65 million global streams.
The trio also achieved their first Billboard chartings, landing at #4 on the Alternative New Artists list and #12 on the Top New Artists Albums list, and earned nods from the likes of The Grammy Foundation, Spotify, Alternative Press, Ones To Watch, and even NPR.
Now The Happy Fits have a new home, moving from New Jersey to Brooklyn to record their latest chapter of new music.
Reflecting how we often cope with reality in negative ways and highlighting the importance of accepting adversity as part of life’s journey and as an opportunity to grow, their first slice of new music since their second album, ‘Another Try’ is exactly the single we need right now.
Ready to embark on a huge headline tour around the US, which includes a sold out New York show at Bowery Ballroom, now is the perfect time to get to know The Happy Fits. With honest self-reflective lyrics and bright pop-rock instrumentals, their music is the perfect blend of irresistibly catchy and universally relatable.
For the past three years, touring and recording was the only life that we knew, and 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 vicesCalvin Langman, The Happy Fits
To celebrate The Happy Fits’ new single ‘Another Try’, we sat down with the band to get to know them better.
Check out ‘Another Try’ by The Happy Fits:
The Happy Fits Story
From the beginning
Calvin, The Happy Fits: “We all went to the same high school together in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. It’s in the middle of nowhere in the cornfields and the majority of kids where we grew up listened to hip hop and rap. We were definitely some of the few kids in our town listening to folk and indie, so when we got chatting together in our Latin class, we realized we could potentially make the music we loved together.
“We tried a few Andrew Bird covers at first and they were horrible, so after we switched to writing originals it was interesting for us to see how our friends and family reacted. They were super excited after we played them ‘Dirty Imbecile’ for the first time, so we pooled together our graduation gift money to record our first EP Awfully Apeelin. After it started getting some traction on Spotify in our first semester of college, we knew we had to drop out and pursue our true passion.”
What you’ll hear
Calvin: “Our sound is rock. We are heavily influenced by bands with super catchy melodies and riffs, so anywhere from The Beatles and The Mamas and The Papas to The Talking Heads or The Killers. We love music that makes you feel and makes you want to dance, cry, scream, shake, or shout.”
Influences & inspirations
“Alabama Shakes, The Killers, Bombay Bicycle Club, The Jungle Giants, Two Door Cinema Club, Arctic Monkeys, Dr. Dog, The Strokes, Franz Ferdinand, Shannon and The Clams, The Fratellis, Generationals.”
On new single ‘Another Try’
Calvin: “During quarantine, I was forced to confront my bad habits every single day. I was consistently living with two conflicting voices in my head; one telling me to be lazy and self-fulfilling, and the other one telling me to work hard on my career.
“Working on the intro of the song we felt like it was a bit dark despite its major undertones. Working in the studio, Ross wrote a great prechorus that lead from that dark place to the overtly sunny chorus and it really bridged the two voices.”
For the love of music
Calvin: “I love how cathartic performing is. It’s such a release being able to scream my head off in front of people and have them scream it back. After 10 years of extremely serious classical playing where sometimes it felt illegal to smile, I feel like I’m able to express all the pent up energy from my childhood.”
Ross, The Happy Fits: “We have had a few huge accomplishments over quarantine. Ken Tucker gave our album, What Could Be Better, a very kind review on NPR’s ‘Fresh Air.’ We also had our first song, ‘Hold Me Down,’ chart top 30 on Billboard’s Alternative Charts thanks to Sirius XM and Alt Nation spinning it so much. We’ve done a lot of fundraisers too over the pandemic for ACLU, NAMI, and EJI – nothing feels better than being able to mobilise our platform for good.”
Overcoming struggle town
Ross: “Over quarantine, we had to find a solution to keep our fans engaged since live shows and touring were off the table. Our social media presence and knowledge wasn’t great before this, so we really had to adapt and immerse ourselves in the virtual/social media part of this band.
“We started doing music and gaming livestreams multiple times a week, but we wanted them to be more professional looking and sounding. We spent a few months (with much trial and error) creating a multi-camera, multi-audio set up to make it feel like a real concert. We learned a lot on both the technology end, and the virtual engagement end. Now, if another pandemic happens, we will be ready to keep the shows coming.”
The year ahead
Ross: “Over the next few months, we are recording our third studio album and prepping for our two-month long U.S. headlining tour from the end of October to the end of December. We are also planning on touring in the spring as much as possible including some festival dates.”
Essential The Happy Fits Listening
The Happy Fits – Too Late
Calvin: “This is the song that started it all. To be honest, when I wrote it, I was going through a huge Alabama Shakes binge. I was super into Boys & Girls and noticed they were only using like two or three chords throughout the whole record. When I tried playing the same add6/blues chords on cello, I felt so cool and wailed away at an old melody I had been working on. I don’t know how, but it turned into the fan favorite.”
The Happy Fits – Hold Me Down
Calvin: “This was the first song I ever demoed by myself. I was new to using guitar pedals because of my classical upbringing, and when I realised I could get some sick tones directly from my cheap multi-fx guitar pedal into my computer, I got super excited and recorded the whole thing in a day.”
The Happy Fits – Best Tears
Calvin: “This was our first single ever off our first album Concentrate. Something was so cheeky about the whole track despite it being different from most of our other stuff. It ended up being the most popular of the record and we’re happy a lot of kids can connect with our very real gripes of going to school in America.”
The Happy Fits – Go Dumb
Calvin: “The first single off our second record What Could Be Better. We had to film the video in April of 2020 at the height of the pandemic panic. We couldn’t hire a crew, so we had to get creative by ourselves. After a long day of planning, I was able to write out all of the words backwards and write a rough script that could work frontwards and backwards. Believe it or not, it was the other guys’ ideas to make me slide down a slip n’ slide with a birthday cake while singing the song backwards at 140% speed. We practiced a ton with our tour manager Tyler who was carrying a 10-pound gimbal-camera setup while running backwards and filming the whole time. “
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