Meet the Happy Fits: Ross Monteith on guitar, Luke Davis
on drums, and Calvin Langman on cello (!!) and most lead
vocals (although all three members sing, and they harmonize
beautifully.) If you haven't heard of them yet, you will
soon. The youthful trio from Pittstown, New Jersey already
boasts a passionate, nationwide fan base thanks to extensive
DIY touring, and the release of the group's second album
What Could Be Better on August 28 should only hasten
their march to worldwide conquest. The boys took some time
to answer our questions while sheltering in place during
the Covid pandemic. Actually, they took a LOT of time -
they do interviews like they do everything else, with manic
attention to detail and no-holds-barred enthusiasm. The
result is not only an intimate look at the band, but a Master
Class on how a young band learned the fine points of booking
tours and building an audience. Enjoy, and learn, and then
check out www.thehappyfits.com.
Q: My understanding is that the Happy Fits came
together the summer after your senior year of high school,
and it went so well that you all dropped out of college
to pursue the band full-time. I suspect that the Happy Fits
was not your first band, especially for Ross and Luke. Are
there any embarrassing teenage hardcore or emo bands in
your past? When you decided to play together, did you have
an idea of what you wanted the Happy Fits to sound like,
or did the sound evolve organically?
CALVIN: The project started after Ross threw a charity event
for Relay for Life in October 2015, and he invited me to
come play cello after one of his initial performers dropped
out. I should have been a senior with Ross at the time but
I graduated in three years so I could spend my senior year
practicing cello for conservatory auditions. Since I was
home with a lot of free time and had always had a passion
for writing rock melodies, I took this first opportunity
to be on a microphone to finally put pen to paper and lyricize
some original melodies I had written.
Ross came up to me after the event and asked if I had written
the songs I sang and he seemed to thoroughly enjoy them.
It was a big enough spark to fuel my pipe dream of always
wanting to be in a band and I’m lucky enough to have
met someone like Ross who was equally as passionate and
skilled in rock music. From there, he invited me over to
his house and he showed me a few original riffs he had written.
I recorded them on my phone and spent the next few days
trying to come up with words and melodies by playing them
over and over.
All the melody ideas I have come directly from the indie
rock music of the 2000’s and you could say I wanted
to sound and feel just like them: The Strokes, The Killers,
Two Door Cinema Club, Alabama Shakes, Airborne Toxic Event,
Shannon and The Clams, Franz Ferdinand, The Fratellis, and
Bombay Bicycle Club. Though Luke grew up listening to heavier
music, he still liked indie rock music and was able to add
some nice indie beats to our sound. (Below is a pic of me
and Ross’ first time playing together live at that
Charity event. We covered George Ezra’s “Budapest”.)
ROSS: The first ever band that I played in was called Flaming
Mammoth and our logo was a poorly photoshopped Mammoth on
fire. I played with two of my friends, Joey and Jake. We were
mostly an alternative rock cover band and the only time we
played live was at our high school’s Battle Of The Bands,
which we did not win. We worked on a few originals but we
never recorded them and we slowly played less and less but
it was a great time! I had always mostly done acoustic fingerpicking
solo stuff so that was my first attempt at switching to electric
guitar and taking guitar leads. When I started playing with
Calvin, we didn't really have a set idea of what we wanted
to sound like. By this point, I was back on the acoustic train.
When we first started working on original music, I had shown
him a couple of riffs that I had on the acoustic guitar so
it started as that sort of Mumford and Sons-esque vibe but
we started using more electric guitar and distortion later
on and in the studio . I still don’t think we have a
sound that we want to aim for. We have written songs that
are very rock heavy and we have extreme pop ballads. It’s
more about the melody than the style I suppose. But anyway,
basically what I am saying is that Flaming Mammoth was cooler
than The Happy Fits. Calvin and Luke know it’s true
LUKE: I was in a rock band in highschool called Moon Baby!
We played one show at our senior year Battle of the Bands.
We performed two originals as well as a Strokes and Arctic
Monkeys cover. At the time I was mainly playing guitar and
singing, but little did I know I’d be lugging drum kits
to venues in no time!
Q: Calvin, obviously the cello isn’t your
everyday rock band instrument. Were you trained classically?
High school orchestra? Did you learn the cello with the
idea that you’d play pop songs on it initially? I’m
also curious about your singing, your enunciation and phrasing
is not typical for a rock singer. Were you a theater kid?
Choir? Did you do any singing before the Happy Fits?
CALVIN: I started piano when I was 6 and cello when I was
8. My grandpa was an amateur violinist and as passions usually
skip a generation, my siblings and I were all exposed and
encouraged to pursue classical music lessons from a young
age. I loved learning classical music but my dad would usually
listen to classic rock on The Hawk and my sister Justine
exposed me to pop music on WPST at a young age. The first
pop song I ever liked was when I was 4 or 5 and heard Bowling
for Soup’s "1985." Right after that, The
Killers took the mainstream with “Mr. Brightside”
and that’s when I discovered my true passion for indie
rock. So even though I learned music through a classical
lens, the music of my household was always rock.
I have to thank 2Cellos for showing me the bridge between
classical instruments and rock. When I discovered them around
5th grade, I suddenly realized I could make some gnarly
rock sounds by belting power chords on the lower C and G
strings my cello.
I attended pre-college music programs in middle school and
high school at Mannes and Juilliard in New York City. It
was at the pre-college programs, specifically learning theory
from Dr. Wen at Juilliard, that I was taught the beauty
of music theory and suddenly found the connecting string
between rock and classical music. Music theory and aural
skills training helped me realize exactly how 2Cellos achieved
their sound and made me realize how easily I could do the
In terms of my singing, I did school choruses from elementary
to middle school as well as two years at the 6-week long
classical music summer camp Kinhaven Music School in Vermont.
Though none of the students at Kinhaven were classical singers,
we were still required to have choir 3-4 times a week and
we’d usually sing 16th and 17th century madrigals,
which are honestly just like old pop songs. I took the choir
elective at Juilliard pre-college and my choir director
Patrick Romano was so encouraging of my vocal skills. Props
as well to my high school choir teach Katie Meo who definitely
influenced the way I sing my vowels.
I was in one theatre production growing up in 8th grade
when I was one of the barbershop quartet members in "The
Music Man." I’d say large part of my friend group
in high school were theatre kids but I don’t think
I’ve put in the time to deserve that title haha.
ROSS: I think he just sang in the shower mostly.
Q: The Happy Fits sound is difficult to describe
(that’s a good thing!) because there are very few
obvious comparisons to make. To me, the outstanding characteristic
of your music is the sincerity, but I also think the overall
sound is old-fashioned in a way, more derived from folk
traditions than rock or punk. I’m curious what you
guys listened to growing up. Was there one band or one song
that made you think, “I want to do that!” and
learn an instrument? Who would you list as some of your
driving influences and role models?
CALVIN: The Killers were definitely my gateway band in to
the indie rock world. I just love bands with catchy, euphoric,
and unique choruses. Hot Fuss was the first album
I listened to front to back on my sister’s old CD
player riding the bus to in 4th grade. From there I discovered
Last.FM’s “similar artist” page and that’s
how I got into Franz Ferdinand, The Fratellis, and Bombay
Bicycle club. Every time I found a new song that was catchy
it would feel like a drug. It was around 5th grade I started
thinking up my own melodies. In high school, I was heavily
influenced by jungle-beat bands like GIVERS and Reptar,
but also went through a Panic! phase and started listening
to The Beatles more consistently around my junior and senior
year. I’m always influenced by what my current passion
is and sometimes will imagine what a particular singer’s
voice would sound like if they were to try and write a song
I am working on.
For example our song “Grow Back” grew out of
my novel love for Brittany Howard, the lead singer of Alabama
Shakes. I had the opening riff in my head and after many
failed attempts to write a melody in my own voice I pretended
to hear what notes she would sing over the riff.
This way of thinking definitely came from one of the classical
performance techniques I was taught when dealing with nerves
and stage fright. One of my camp counselors told me that
to deal with stage fright, just imagine I was Yo-Yo Ma when
I got on stage and putting myself in that mindset makes
me think in a total different way.
ROSS: I think those influences have become a lot more apparent
over the years of being a band. The first time that I started
dreaming of being a band was when I went to my first concert
which was Saving Able, Seether, and Nickleback in 5th grade.
I thought it was the coolest thing in the world and I was
starstruck. As funny as it is, that was really what got
me working hard to learn the guitar. I bought a Nickleback
and Fall Out Boy tab book shortly after that concert. Obviously
my music taste has changed since then. I started listening
to a lot more indie and alt bands like Bombay Bicycle Club,
The Black Keys, Young the Giant, The Temper Trap, Alabama
Shakes, Ben Howard, Yellow Ostrich and so on. Calvin, Luke
and I connected over this “Indie” style of music
but the guys also have very different tastes as well. We
definitely still continue to find new influences with current
artists as well with bands like Wallows, Surf Curse, Inhaler
and tons of others. There are so many styles of music out
there that can help influence our music in the smallest
ways and thats whats really fun about it.
LUKE: For myself, my father always loved classic rock. I
specifically remember when I was young being in the car
with my father and him showing me Led Zeppelin I. Hearing
those drums in Good Times Bad Times instantly had me hooked
and I was obsessed ever since! As I grew older and my music
tastes started to widen I listened to a lot of heavier rock
and metal to improve my drumming. But when I went to highschool
i started to listen to a lot more indie and alternative
bands like Arctic Monkeys and Radiohead. That’s when
i really started to find my singing voice and started to
put most of my effort into improving my vocals.
Q: By the time I found out about you (from my colleague
Bobby Olivier’s year-end Bands To Watch piece a few
years ago,) you had become almost impossible to catch live
because you were always on tour. I started following your
social media and I was amazed at how an unsigned and basically
unknown band could tour so far and wide. What were those
early tours like? Did you book everything yourselves or
did you have help? I have to imagine there were quite a
few nights playing in front of six people in South Dakota
or Alabama and living on ramen and baloney sandwiches before
you started to find a following. Yet many bands say those
early days were the best years of their lives. Can you just
talk a little bit about your approach to touring, the challenges
you faced, and any helpful advice you received from more
experienced bands you played with? |
CALVIN: I should start this answer by saying we were VERY
naive and ignorant on the music industry when we started
and decided to drop out of school in May of 2016. We had
a will but definitely not a way.
Our manager at the time and now current tour manager Tyler
Miranda had booked us a 10-show West Coast tour in the Spring
of 2017. The first few shows in his home state of Arizona
were popping (to us, “popping” at the time meant
20-40 people) but we experienced reality when we played
in LA and Seattle to empty rooms. We were basically ready
to call it quits until we played Kilby Court in Salt Lake
City on a Monday night. Around 30-40 kids came out and they
were singing our lyrics. For the first time ever, people
we had no connection with were singing our lyrics.
So here we are in September of 2017, fresh college-dropouts,
a desire to be a rock band, and a brand new album, Concentrate,
recorded and ready for release. I saw on our Spotify that
cities like Atlanta and Chicago we had thousands of listeners
but had no idea how to get there.
I grew up in the Google generation and relied on Google
while I was growing up for almost everything. I still do;
Google is incredible. Everything is out there, you just
need to find it and know the right questions to ask. I started
off simple by asking “how to book shows” and
that led me to the incredible world of DIY Facebook groups.
I booked us a bunch of one-off house shows around the northeast,
usually flaunting our success on Spotify.
I remember trying to break in to the New Brunswick basement
scene at Rutgers in the Fall of 2017 but no one would have
us. Luckily, my good friend Michael Kaplan who was attending
Rutgers had a house with a basement and a big enough heart
to let us throw a show there. We made up our cliche college-house
venue name The Laundromat and the first show was such a
smash we kept coming back. We developed such an organic
community in New Brunswick that we even ended up playing
prom at Demarest Hall in the Spring.
After I felt like I had whet my chops on small-scale booking,
I took to the spreadsheets to book us a full DIY tour around
October (see below for my spreadsheet for that tour).
I used tons of resources and whatever Google would offer.
I didn’t understand the purpose of promoters yet so
I was my own booking agent and promoter. I’d reach
out first to local bands to try and make a bill and then
presented the bill to local promoters, often inflating our
experience with our Spotify number. Shoutout to my high
school librarians for teaching me about Boolean Generators
as the main way I’d go about finding bands would be
by Google search: “Rock indie *insert city here* site:bandcamp.com"
. This way I’d get Google results of all rock and
indie bands in a certain state and city. I’d also
scour these band’s Facebook event pages to find other
local bands they had played with.
The 2018 Spring Tour was an absolute blast, I think it was
32 shows in 50 days. It took 4 months to complete and ton
of emails. After getting back from tour I booked us another
10 show tour with Luke’s old band Zach Matari for
the Summer of 2018. During the Summer of 2018 is when I
discovered Mail Merge (praise be to Mail Merge) and it took
my booking skills to the next level. With the help of Tyler,
we booked our 30 show Eat Your Fruits Tour for the Fall
There were so many cities that promoters and bookers did
not want to touch us so we had to get creative. From playing
cramped house shows in Atlanta to renting out Airbnb spaces
in LA, we fought and clawed our way to playing shows in
these markets. I think our current booking agent Jake Zimmerman
with STG took notice and was why he was eager to take such
a novel band under his wing.
Obviously, there were some less energetic shows but for
the most part, the Eat Your Fruits Tour was our first fully
national tour and we even sold out a room in Seattle!
We’ve met so many incredible people and bands along
the way. I feel like I have families in so many different
states. From Charlene in Bristol, TN to Martyr’s in
Chicago, Fashion Jackson in San Diego, The Solarists in
Salt Lake City, and Chris Moon in Atlanta, so many beautiful,
gracious souls have given us three rag-tag strangers a chance
to be heard in their cities.
We definitely owe the ability to tour in our 2015 Ford Transit
to Ross’ dad, David, as we have been financing him
monthly payments to him on the vehicle since 2018.
Calvin, and Ross: The Happy Fits
ROSS: Our first few tours will be ingrained in my memory
forever. We have countless funny, horrible, and exciting
memories that all stemmed from us having no budget and no
experience. They were all booked by countless hours of emailing
and facebook dming, mostly by Calvin and our, now, tour
manager, Tyler. Our method was to search “Bandcamp
(City ex. Chicago)” and it would come up with all
the local bands. We would then listen through countless
pages and find as many bands that we liked and then we would
DM them on facebook or email them. Then once the bill was
ready to go, we would just beg venues or DIY spots to let
us play a show. A lot of the bands that we played with were
extremely helpful with finding local venues or offering
up their living rooms as a venue. They also gave us lots
of helpful advice and tips on saving money and touring.
The DIY community is amazing and I am grateful for our experiences
playing in basements and makeshift venues.
Our biggest challenge on our first few tours was basically
not having a lot of money to pay for hotels or meals or
gas. We managed to get by and luckily we have very supportive
parents that helped us out if we really needed to be helped,
but we tried to do as much as we could on our own. We kept
a cooler in our van, right behind the driver seat, filled
with our lunch and dinner and we took out the middle chairs
so that we could use that as a bed on the nights that we
didn’t have a place to stay. Honestly, it’s
probably still a financially better option but I don’t
think we miss the cooler.
These tours weren't profitable and we didn’t really
play to many people, but that was okay. We had a few shows
where a good number of people would turn up and those would
keep us motivated to keep touring and try again. Really,
our mentality was to just keep playing the same cities,
regardless of how many people there were because hopefully
the next time we came through, those people would bring
their friends and so on.
Touring is much more of a pleasure now that we can actually
afford hotels, gas, food, and all of that good stuff. We
have an awesome team behind us that helps us budget and
we have a booking agent, Jake, that is our hero. Still,
there’s something really enjoyable about sleeping
on floors or playing in people’s living rooms. It
really brought us closer together and we’ve made so
many great friends through those early tours.
Q: Clearly one of the things that sets you apart
from other bands is the rapport you have with your fans,
which was evident when you started doing streaming performances
after things closed down for the pandemic. In that regard,
you remind me of the early Front Bottoms, although their
songs tend to be much more confessional and teenage angsty
than yours. A lot of bands on tour show up, play their set,
and disappear. I’m guessing you do the opposite. To
what do you owe your success with making and inspiring fans?
CALVIN: This new digital, social media age is unprecedented
and we’re thankful for any fans that happen upon our
music on the overwhelming and ever-changing internet. I’d
say over 75% of people that come to our shows come from
Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist which is a personalized
playlist updated weekly. We don’t understand how any
of the DSP’s algorithms work but we’re thankful
for any attention it gives us.
Our fans have created their own Discord server and have
started their own little community on there. It’s
beautiful; you see kids offering emotional support for big
life events like graduating and other kids sharing and supporting
each other’s art. There’s definitely a lot of
trashy memes on there but we are here for it.
ROSS: Fans are the ultimate reason that a musician's career
is successful. Without any fans, we couldn’t be in
the position that we are in. We’ve always wanted to
meet our fans and thank them for allowing us to make a living
off of this. They are making the effort to support us and
drive out (sometimes hours) to see us play and they really
don’t have to do it. So, we feel that the least we
can do is to go out after the show and talk to everyone
and thank them. We have loved interacting with them on these
live streams over this quarantine. Their excitement and
their willingness to participate and tune in weekly has
really kept us motivated since we haven’t been able
to tour. We are grateful for every fan that we have.
LUKE: I think it’s super important to talk to your
fans whenever you can especially after shows. Whether you’re
a huge international arena band or three goofballs trying
to make their dreams come true, the fans are your backbone.
People pay good money and take the time out of their day
to come see you. They even go to the extent of driving multiple
hours just to drive straight home after the show. Any source
of gratitude and appreciation we can show is the least an
artist can do when someone is supporting you. Also a few
minutes out of your day can make someones whole year. So
whenever were exhausted and shot after a show (and we always
are,) we know there are fans waiting and we can't wait to
meet all of them!
The Happy Fits on one of their live stream performance
Q: After all shows were cancelled and you started
streaming, I remember it was just Calvin and Ross, and then
Luke showed up a few weeks in. Do you all live together
now? How have you been coping during the pandemic, both
socially (do you ever get sick of one another) and financially?
CALVIN: Luke has high-risk individuals in his household
so he was unable to meet with us after tour to ensure he
wouldn’t expose them. We are all at our respective
childhood homes with our gracious parents. We plan on moving
in together eventually when things get better. We don’t
really get sick of each other as we are all pretty laid
back (except me sometimes when I can get pretty intense,
i.e. spreadsheets). Financially it’s been just fine
as we found a way to manage paying for this album cycle
and still have enough to continue paying off our startup
debts and have enough pocket change to be able to treat
ourselves every now and then. Our biggest income stream
right now is streaming, so as long as the algorithm keeps
giving, we know we’ll stay afloat.
ROSS: We practice at my house and they sometimes sleep over
but we all live nearby each other. Luke had to quarantine
at a friend’s apartment because his mum was at high
risk for infection. After he quarantined he basically only
just came to my house and went back home. I think we have
been doing the best that we can be in this pandemic. We
have been busy with the album release and the live streams
help give us some sort of schedule.
Honestly, we rarely rarely argue or get sick of eachother.
We all know what would make one another annoyed and we try
to avoid it. It has been totally fine. We are used to close
quarter living from touring I guess.
Financially, we are fortunate enough to be gaining Spotify
listeners, so that has been keeping us afloat with monthly
royalties. Also the new single releases have given our royalties
a boost. We are in a good position. We also don't have to
worry about paying rent, luckily, because we all still live
with our parents.
Q: I love the new album, I found it interesting
that you chose “Go Dumb” as the first single,
since it really doesn’t sound like the rest of the
album. How did that song come about? Do you think its explosive,
uptempo (dare I say “punk?”) attitude was a
result of the pent-up frustration from the lockdown? Will
we be hearing more songs like that in the future?
CALVIN: I had had the melody for “Go Dumb”
for a few years before I put words to it last summer. At
the time, I had just gotten done with my second year away
from school. School was all I knew until the age of 18 and
a part of me felt like I was starting to lose all the knowledge
and intuition I gained from my youth. At the same time,
I was more passionate than ever about writing. The words
“I wanna go dumb” are kind of a jeer to my past;
I will gladly “Go Dumb” to do what I love.
Performing these “explosive” songs live is
a means of escape and catharsis for me. I get to scream
my problems at people and people often scream them right
back at me. It’s an incredible feeling to drain myself
fully on stage and feel so light after shows. It’s
incredible that so many people connect with my lyrics. Having
this unique community makes me feel like I’m not alone,
and that’s how I want people to feel when we play
these songs. A lot of these anxieties and stresses we feel
in life are usually shared by many more people than we realize.
In the wake of the recent Black Lives Matter movement,
I’ve tried to take the focus off myself and have discovered
a passion for finding truth and social justice. There is
so much novel anger that’s grown in me in the past
months towards the society and country we live in and I
look forward to channeling that energy in to our future
music. These past few years I’ve been so focused on
myself and just recently have I started educating myself
on the horrors of our country’s past and the failures
of the public education system that I grew up in to acknowledge
our country’s numerous racial and wealth inequalities.
Our first two albums have all been about our personal growth
and I feel ready to take on larger issues at hand and use
our generous platform for good. Some bands I’ve been
listening to a ton recently that have powerful social messages
in their songs are IDLES, Parquet Courts, and Michael Kiwanuka.
I can tell you right now that they will have a heavy influence
on the songs we put out in the future.
ROSS: I think we chose this song because it was very simple
and easy to digest. A lot of people have been pent up in
their houses and we thought this song could serve as some
type of simple release in a way. They didn’t have
to think too much about the words or the meaning. We have
a lot of songs that didn't make the album and some of them
are upbeat like this. I don’t think it’s our
favorite song off the album but it’s just a simple,
straightforward, fun groove that we really enjoyed recording.
LUKE: I think "Go Dumb" was the first single we
chose because it was something we found our parents bopping
their heads to, but also kids our age rocking out. I think
it brought a classic rock sound with an indie blend that
we’ve been trying to hone in throughout our time as
a band. I also think there will definitely be more songs
like Go Dumb that we will eventually release because we
love the feeling of that song and will easily be one of
my favorites to play live when were back on the road again!
Q: People always assume that the person who’s
singing writes the lyrics, but I know that’s often
not the case. And of course even if one person comes up
with the melody, everyone winds up adding their own imprint
to each song. What is your songwriting process like? I also
love that you guys do covers; you have very good taste in
choosing songs that you can mold to fit your unique sound.
What is that process like, and are there any that you’re
CALVIN: I always start with a really solid, catchy melody.
They come to me at the most random times and there’s
really no rhyme or reason to it. I think one of the only
times on this record where I sat down and said “I’m
going to write a melody now” was on “Two of
Many” in the pre-chorus when we sing “stay in
with me let’s ditch the dancefloor”. All other
times I’ve written a melody has been away from instruments
and in my head.
My ideal setting for thinking of melodies is right before
I go to bed. The mix of bodily and mental calm, darkness,
and silence leaves my brain with enough sensory deprivation
to get creative (I’ll admit, a tiny bowl of Maryjane
has sometimes gone a long way, too). I don’t think
I’ve ever pitched a single melody during a practice
session as the drums and guitar disrupts any musical train
of thought I get.
When we play covers, we usually try to and pick songs that
our fans suggest or pay us to do. We’ve been so wrapped
up in creating music videos lately that we haven’t
had much time to work on covers, but more are definitely
in the works.
ROSS: Calvin is the predominant songwriter in the band.
Usually he comes to us with the lyrics and melody fully
written and we will fine tune it from there. I struggle
more with lyrics but can offer suggestions or add lyrical
sections to Calvin’s song. I have written a few of
our songs like "Right Through" and "Sailing,"
and usually it's that same process where I bring it to them
and they add their touch on it. Some songs also change in
the studio as well. It’s a great space to experiment
and have other ears on the song. "Go Dumb," for
example used to just be a straight power chord song until
our producer/manager Ayad told me to go in and try some
riffs out and thats what stayed in the song. I suppose each
song is approached a little bit differently but Calvin mostly
writes the music.
LUKE: Typically Calvin or Ross come to the band with a song,
it could be completely done with a specific idea in mind
or just a chorus and first verse. Sometimes there is no
lyrics at all and we mumble through what we think the melody
should be. But once the idea is there, we all work together
and much like you said put our own imprints into each song.
A lot of these imprints also come to life when in the studio
because that's when you really start to hear what the final
product is going to be. With that in mind we were very conscious
with this new album about how those imprints could change
the songs in comparison to others on the album. We wanted
What Could Be Better to have a flow and I think we achieved
The Happy Fits were the only young band invited to play
the Jersey 4 Jersey telethon to benefit the NJ Pandemic
Relief Fund in April, appearing with Bruce Springsteen,
Tony Bennett, Jon Bon Jovi, Charlie Puth, and Fountains
Q: Very few bands even attempt three part harmonies;
you guys do them exquisitely. Is that something that came
naturally, or does it take work and time to nail those?
CALVIN: Anything in music takes practice. When Luke
officially joined the band, I think the selling pitch that
convinced Ross and I was his desire to sing. I’m glad
the fans don’t have a way of hearing us practice because
there are many unpleasant sounds we have to make before making
ROSS: Thank you! Finding the harmonies are fairly natural
to us but when it comes to actually singing all three in tune,
we need to practice. In our practices, we sit there and take
it section by section, endlessly repeating the harmonies until
we get it right and then we will move on to another song and
then go back to it until we have it memorized. Having a (good)
monitor on stage really helps us keep our harmonies tight.
Without them we will probably be off from eachother.
LUKE: I’m terrible at learning harmonies, for me it’s
a nightmare especially when I'm trying to focus on the timing
of all my ligaments. But having such patient, understanding,
and wicked smart band mates, they make the process of learning
harmonies fun! I’m also super grateful that they both
sing and that we all have flexible voices. With that we are
able to find the harmonies that fit us best for that part
which makes it much easier.
Q: Last question, but I have to ask: What’s
with the fruit? It’s a wonderful way to brand yourselves.
I have a pair of the orange slice socks, and I’ve
seen bananas and other fruit on your logos and social media.
Is there a story behind that, was it one person’s
CALVIN: It all started with our original EP cover that I
made on MS Paint. It was supposed to be silly as we were
just releasing it for our friends and family. After our
initial success on Spotify, when we tried to book shows,
promoters would look at our artwork and not take us seriously
and refuse to book us. We updated the artwork on our EP
with the help from a graphic design buddy of ours who designed
our logo and our modern color-blocky look.
We wanted Concentrate to have similar vibes to
our EP which is why we stuck with the fruit theme there.
We were unsure about whether to continue the trend with
What Could Be Better, but after we saw how brands
like Samsung took a liking to our simple branding, we decided
to not overthink it and stick with what we know works.
Can I say we will do fruits forever? No comment.
ROSS: Thank you for getting those socks! It all started
as a joke from our first EP. Our EP was initially titled
“Lost in Translation” which sounded serious
but the cover had hotdogs with sunglasses and rainbows all
over it and it was a whole mess that didn’t add up.
So we decided to go the funny route instead of the serious
route and Calvin came up with the idea of a screaming banana
because it’s in an awful amount of pain from its skin
being peeled away. We didn’t really plan on continuing
the fruit theme at first but then we decided to keep it
going. Fruit is very colorful and we like having bright
and bold colored artwork. Also its fun to see the fans guessing
what the next fruit will be!
LUKE: There was never a plan in the beginning for the band,
I think the fruits were supposed to be a one off thing but
it stuck on the first EP and the fans latched on. So with
that it started to become something more, if you had told
me that our second album was going to be fruit themed as
well, I might’ve been hesitant to believe you. I think
now the challenge is how long can we come up with fruit
ideas until we feel like it has run its course!
Happy Fits for more information, singles, and to re-order
the new album.