Helping us deal in a world full of connecting but no connections, The Happy Fits recently released ‘Another Try,’ a song all about coping with reality, no matter what negativity may be in your way.
‘Another Try’ is the newest track in this new The Happy Fits era, and the first new music since What Could Be Better the trios’ sophomore album.
The group consists of Calvin Langman on electric cello and lead vocals, Ross Monteith on guitar and lead vocals, and Luke Davis on drums and supporting vocals. Garnering over 65 million global Spotify streams with What Could Be Better, we can’t wait to see this new era in full swing!
Reminding us all to be resilient despite hardship, we got to talk with Calvin all about, ‘Another Try,’ their last single, ‘Cold Turkey,’ and their upcoming tour!
Your recent song ‘Another Try’ talks about resilience, why is this subject important for you? Why is it important for you that your fans know about this?
Calvin: It’s really impossible to be perfect. Even if you could be the pinnacle version of yourself, the costs would be too immeasurable to make it worth it. Living through quarantine, I’ve realized how important it is to take it one day at a time. I can really get in my own head sometimes and lose patience with myself for not working enough on advancing my career, staying in touch with my relationships, saving time for charity, or staying healthy and active. We’ve all been told at some point to try our best, but even that sometimes can be hard to access. When I do what I truly love, which is write music alone, the idea of giving it my best doesn’t even come to mind; I’m just happy and content doing what I feel like I was born to do. That was what I was trying to get across with the line “Through the chaos sing your melody;” at the end of the day you can try all you want, but only pursuing what you really want in life will make you fulfilled.
Calvin, talking about resilience, you recently mentioned that in the past three years you’ve found yourself slipping back into old vices. How have you overcome them? What message would you give your fans that are going through the same thing?
Calvin: Before the pandemic, we were constantly on the road, waking up in different cities almost every day. We started touring right after we dropped out of college, so I never really got to spend much time with just myself. When the pandemic hit it was a huge change of pace. I was so used to the adrenaline rush of shows and the feeling of self-affirmation after screaming and dancing my head off in front of fans. After being alone in quarantine for a long time, an echo chamber of self-doubt shrouded my thoughts day in and day out; I was constantly asking myself what I was doing with my life. I was transitioning into adulthood during one of the most uncertain years in the past decade with no degree, no day job, and nothing saved up. At the same time, I was finding myself (as I’m sure many people were in the pandemic) watching the days of quarantine fly by at breakneck speed with nothing to show for them. I kept telling myself at night “alright, tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life and I’m going to be excellent” but come morning I’d be greeted with nothing but thoughts of indolence. Slowly it dawned on me I had an obsession with being the best version of myself possible but an unshakeable proclivity for engaging with my vices. The answer I’ve realized comes through an aggressive pursuit of balance; Expecting to write off all my bad habits overnight is as unreasonable as it is irresponsible to never check myself. This song was an attempt to make those two opposite feelings exist together in music as they do in my real life.
In your latest song ‘Another Try,’ what does the lyric “it’s just the madness of reality, is that nothing really matters” mean? How do you relate this to the COVID pandemic?
Calvin: I feel like this is one of the great unspoken truths about life. It’s an extremely terrifying truth to come to terms with, but at the same time, it gives us all the agency to define our own purpose. After the COVID pandemic and the extreme feelings of division that lie in its wake, I’ve tried to stress the importance of making helping others a part of my purpose.
Your song ‘Cold Turkey’ has a very upbeat rhythm and has the feeling of many people singing. What goes into creating this vibe for your music? Why did you choose to do it this way for this specific song?
Calvin: ‘Cold Turkey’ was such a blast to record with our producer and manager Ayad Al Adhamy (Team Spirit, Passion Pit) at his studio, Diamond City Studio. To get those room-y feeling vocals, we set up an omnidirectional microphone in one of the echoey hallways at DCS and layered a few takes of us all singing along to the chorus. Something about the melody just felt so good when sang in a large group so I’m really happy it comes across in the master.
‘Cold Turkey’ feels so sad yet super inspiring. How do you feel the lyric and the rhythm work together to create this? What challenges and successes did you have in finding this balance, when creating the track?
Calvin: Nothing beats a four on the floor kick. Along with an inherently tribal feeling, it provides a trudging, anthemic-rock vibe that is very victorious sounding. Combined with hyperbolically desperate and self-aware vocals, I think the mix provides this feeling of triumph over sadness, which I’m sure we could all use a little bit of every now and then.
In one of your recent tweets, you mentioned how sometimes writing lyrics can feel really cringy, how do you overcome that while staying true to the song idea?
Calvin: Haha, I’ve never been asked about my tweets before…. does this mean I’ve made it? I wrote that tweet in the middle of the night after I was making the finishing touches to one of our new tracks. When writing about lofty ideas like I’ve been doing a lot of recently, sometimes when you try and bring it all back to a point, that point can seem either melodramatic, too obvious, or too blatant. Even the line in ‘Another Try’ “Through the chaos sing your melody” at first used to make me cringe a bit, but after sitting with it for a while, I can’t deny how much I live by that adage.
For your album What Could Be Better you surprised us with 10 incredible music videos, one for each song. What went into the process of creating said music videos?
Calvin: Thank you so much! The first one for ‘Go Dumb’ was done at the height of the pandemic scare in April 2020, so we couldn’t have a large crew. We pulled it off with just the three of us and the excellent camera skills of our old tour manager Tyler Miranda who was living with us at the beginning of the pandemic. I spent 2 weeks trying to learn the whole song backward so we could perform a backward video and have the lyrics appearing in forward motion. That was probably the most intense video of the shoot, so all the others where we had crews made it much much easier. Another distinctly fun one to film was our ‘She Wants Me’ music video. The director, cinematographer, and set designer (Joe Lee, Christan Strevy, and Julie St. John, respectively) all lived in the same five-story house in Philadelphia. They overturned their entire apartment into a Happy Fits-themed wonderland and planned out all the movements down to a T. All we had to do was show up and do the dance we learned, and they made the whole thing look incredible despite the location just being a house.
What was the hardest video to record and why? Which did you enjoy creating the most, and why?
Calvin: The ‘Get a Job’/‘What Could Be Better’ shoot took place over three extremely cold days in our hometown of Flemington, NJ in March. It was absolutely freezing and windy, so that shot of me in a wheelbarrow full of cash while a shoot a golden money gun into the air was a pain to film and clean up. We were running around like lunatics trying to pick up fake $100 bills after each take while freezing our butts off. The director Rah Ashruff stayed so positive and encouraging the whole time so it was quite inspiring seeing him not bat an eye at the harsh conditions we were filming in.
You recently made a live stream concert on YouTube, and you’re going on tour in November, how important are concerts for you? What excites you the most about them?
Calvin: Yeah, over the pandemic we really wanted to stay in touch with our fans, so we remade our old practice space (what we called The Loft) into a DIY streaming space. It got so involved at one point that Luke’s drums were triggered to the LED lights in the room so when he hit a different drum it would cause a distinct LED to flash. In terms of how much we love playing live, the feeling of playing a song about your hardships and having a room of hundreds of people yell your lyrics back at you is unlike any other. It’s a mix of euphoria and catharsis that no other experience in life can match.
Speaking of the tour, where in the world would you like to be able to play a concert and why?
Calvin: We would love to play a show in the U.K. I feel like so much of our music is inspired by those great indie rock bands from the U.K. in the early 2000s like Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys, Bombay Bicycle Club, The Pigeon Detectives, and The Fratellis. It would be awesome to see how our music resonates with fans over there.
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Featured Image Source: Rahil Ahsruff