The Happy Fits
Interview: Amy Bell
Backed by a feel-good sound and introspective lyrics, The Happy Fits is a band that needs to be on your radar. Made up of long-time friends, Calvin Langman, Ross Monteith and Luke Davis, the band first formed during the summer before their freshman year of college. The guy’s chemistry seamlessly translated to their music, which resulted in their debut EP Awfully Apeelin’ taking off on Spotify. The success of the project inspired the trio to leave school to focus on the band. The threesome wasted no time in honing their craft and soon began to work on their 2018 full-length project, Concentrate. Backed by tracks like ‘So Alright, Cool, Whatever’ and ‘Grow Back’ the record showcased the trio’s boundless creativity and infectious ambition.
The band then released their collection of crowd-pleasers with their follow up album What Could Be Better, two years later. Fast forward to 2021, and The Happy Fits star is continuing to skyrocket with their latest single ‘Another Try’. Filled with relatable lyrics about coping and growth, the track effortlessly showcases their lyrical talent and mission statement of connecting with the world. With over 65 million global streams, 780,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and a 50+ US headline tour in the works, The Happy Fits is a band poised for music stardom with their latest single ‘Another Try’.
Thanks for talking to ReVamp, in 3 words describe your new single ‘Another Try’?
Introspective Slow Jam!
In your band’s early years, how did you know that the 3 of you were the right fit for ‘The Happy fits’?
Calvin: We all left school after our Freshman year in college in 2017. We all shared the same collective dream of wanting to be in a rock band and I think that’s what really helped us persevere through everything together. We honestly weren’t very close in High School; I hung out with Ross a handful of times but I never talked to Luke since he was in the grade above. We never thought twice about how we weren’t close before the band days since we’re all pretty agreeable dudes so we get along really well. 5 years into the process and we’re all living together under the same roof.
What would you say your creative process is like, from writing ‘Another try’ to recording?
Calvin: The creative process is always going on. We’re always learning new music production techniques and playing around with plug-ins looking for new inspiration. That on top of listening to new music is a great way to keep the juices flowing.
The most common way a song makes it to a record starts with a really solid melody. For me, they pop in my head at random times, usually when I’m about to go to sleep or in the shower. The most mundane tasks really starve my overreactive brain of stimulus and I think that’s what makes it go in to la la land and come up with some pretty catchy melodies to keep itself preoccupied.
After I find myself singing the melody over and over again, I’ll sit down with an acoustic in Drop D and try to find the right harmonies and appropriate verse melodies. The words always come last as I try to live within the emotion of the music for a minute before I try to apply a direct meaning to it.
From there, I’ll try to demo it out or show the guys on guitar and they’ll add in their musical ideas. They’ll tell me what parts sound weird or unnatural or what parts of the song should be made more clear and brought to the front. It’s always scary showing them a song though they’re the nicest dudes ever. It feels like sharing a piece of my soul with the two people I’m closest with and asking for judgment and criticism.
The last and longest stage of the process is the recording and production phase. For the past two albums and the current one we’re working on, we’ve been under the tutelage of our manager and producer Ayad Al Adhamy. He’s like a Bahraini Jack Black and is filled with decades of rock production knowledge. He always has great arrangement and drum part ideas, and his gear always produces the crispest, cleanest sound.
How would you say that over the years, how has your sound changed?
Calvin: I think the biggest change has come in the past two years. When writing Concentrate and What Could Be Better we were coming from a perspective of playing college basement shows and wanted the songs to resonate with those audiences. That’s a big reason why those first two LPs are so fast and energetic; we wanted to play music that would be an absolute smash to play live and get everyone jumping up and down.
With Another Try and Cold Turkey, we had a long time to think about what the next chapter in our sound would be. It dawned on us that a lot of the Indie Rock we loved growing up like The Killers, Bombay Bicycle Club, and Franz Ferdinand was much slower and groovier than the poppy music we were writing. Another Try was a big step out of our comfort zone since it's so downtempo. We kind of distract from the fact that we only have three instruments by playing really fast and fitting in a lot of notes, but with Another Try there’s space to breathe and space to groove which is very different from our earlier stuff.
You are going on tour in October, how are the rehearsals going and what is the best thing about being on tour?
Rehearsals are going great! We just played Sea Hear Now festival and it was our first show back in NJ in almost 2 years. The crowd was the biggest we’ve ever played to so it was a good jump back into the proverbial live-show-deep-end. We’re playing Firefly Festival this weekend and it’s going to be awesome.
Definitely the best thing about being on tour is seeing the fans. It’s so much fun to be able to sing these really personal songs with the people that resonate with them the most. A close second is the local food. I’m so pumped to get BBQ in St Louis and drown in Mac and cheese.
You of course, always have these upbeat, happy vibes, I suppose because of your band's name ‘The Happy Fits’, did you always want your music to be described as that kind of sound, and do you think you will perhaps venture out to some other sound?
Calvin: I grew up an extremely happy kid. A mantra my friend Matt told me once was “it’s nice to be nice” and I’ve really taken that to heart.
I would consume most of my music on buses growing up and was alone a lot of the time when commuting into NYC for lessons or just going to school. Whenever I put on the headphones I always felt a real connection to whichever band I was listening to. Not to be cheesy but I always felt a bit like the singers in the music I was listening to were my friends. I want people to feel that way when they listen to our tracks.
Our music is truly a reflection of our souls so unless we plunge into a deep depression I can’t see it changing anytime soon.
How do you like to connect with your fans but also how did you grow a fan base in such little time?
Calvin: Honestly it doesn’t feel like it's been such little time at all. We’ve been grinding hard for 5 years! I think our favorite way of connecting with fans is through our Livestream shows that we just started doing during quarantine. We usually have a few hundred fans hopping on at once and it's fun to interact with all of them as well as see them interact.
Finally, what is next for you?
Calvin: Definitely LP3 and a year of touring to make up for the year we lost due to COVID. We are so excited to play our 2nd LP What Could Be Better since we never got to tour on it despite it coming out last August.
Thank you so much for having us ReVamp!