Recommended If You Like: Lewis Del Mar, Gotye, Young The Giant, Stephen, Two Door Cinema Club
Calvin Langman and Ross Monteith are as surprised as anyone else is by the success of their band The Happy Fits’ debut EP, but in retrospect, perhaps they shouldn’t be. Their music is an infectious mix of catchy melodies, clever lyrics, and just the right balance of gritty indie and light alternative rock. Combine that with the pair’s youthful exuberance and playful enthusiasm, and it’s hard not to fall for The Happy Fits.
Listen: “While You Fade Away” – The Happy Fits
Inconspicuously released in late August, the four-track Awfully Apeelin’ began racking up the stream counts after the song “While You Fade Away” was featured on Spotify’s Fresh Finds playlist, which boasts over 350k followers. Though the pair describe their music as “funky-wunky jimbo time,” it’s the unique blend of heavy and light elements in their music that creates an immersive and mesmerizing experience.
“While You Fade Away” opens with percussive claps and a humble bass line, meshing folk-y sounds with an upbeat Beatles-y attitude. The scene is set for positive pop/rock, so Monteith’s warm, slower vocal presentation is a welcome shock. His singing is reminiscent of 2015 breakout indie band Lewis Del Mar, whose song “Loud(y)” is darker and more heavily electronic, but contains that same enveloping grit.
Starin’ at the ground, gonna get much better,
But you’re thinkin to yourself bout it every day.
Starin’ in the clouds is a big bright future,
But you’re never gonna get it if you never get to say
I got that love, little love that you leave me while you fade away
Inside my heart is a drum that is beating for you every single day
“While You Fade Away” rides the wave of perfect lyrical flow, its fast and edgy rhythm making the verses’ croons as memorable as the chorus’ belts. The song recently reached #5 on Spotify’s Top 50 Viral USA chart and peaked at #17 on the Global Top 50 Viral Chart, two further indicators of The Happy Fits’ unmistakable talent.
The Happy Fits are one more act in a long series of music artists who teach us not to judge music by its art: Beneath that kooky cartoon banana and its punny title, there lies a band with impeccable taste for good music, fun times, and perhaps most important of all, charity. There’s far more to The Happy Fits than meets the eye, as Atwood Magazine discovered in this first-ever interview with Hunterdon County, NJ’s Calvin Langman and Ross Monteith. Get to know The Happy Fits!
MEET THE HAPPY FITS
Atwood Magazine: Have you been able to piece together the series of events that led to over 100k streams?
The Happy Fits: Getting 100,000 streams is absolutely incredible. We were discovered on accident by this music writer called Tyler Miranda from Up In The Pines magazine based in Arizona. He was looking up a playlist called “Happy Hits” and accidentally typed in “Happy Fits” and we popped up. We had only been on Spotify for two days when he found our EP, and every track was below 1,000 streams. Since the cover art looked “dumb” to him, he started joking about it to his friends and ironically tried out “While You Fade Away.” He ended up really liking what he heard and asked one of his friends that works at Spotify if they could do anything with the track. His friend got us on to the Fresh Finds playlist which gets front-page attention every Wednesday. I had no idea how we got that track because Tyler didn’t get in contact with us until the next day when we skyrocketed from less than 1,000 to 39,000. When I saw that number, I was actually in between classes in the hallway at my college and I just started screaming and running up and down the halls! When I called Ross at college to tell him that, I could barely breathe because I was so excited. It has been a dream of ours to get our music in to the ears of strangers; 100, maybe 200 and we would have been happy, but 39,000 surpassed all of our expectations. We got to #5 on the Top 50 Viral USA Spotify chart 3 days later, which was absolutely surreal and helped (keep) the momentum going until the end of last week.
What was your musical experience pre-Awfully Apeelin'?
The Happy Fits: Our musical experience pre-Awfully Apeelin’ was very humbling. We only got together this April and wrote our first song together in May. Ross’ mom was (and is) our biggest fan so after every song we wrote we’d instantly show her and try to get a reaction. Just to see her happy was enough for us but she pushed us to do live shows. After we saw how many friends came out to our first few live shows at bars, we figured we’d use our power for good and hold a charity event for a local homeless shelter called The Family Promise of Hunterdon County. We got 200 people to come out and support this fantastic cause and we raised enough money to house an entire family. That experience alone was enough to convince the both of us that we could really do something special in the world, even if it was going to be at this small, localized level.
How did these four songs come about?
This song came about after I met a girl I really liked at a chamber music seminar but she was already taken, hence the term “Too Late”. I like to sublimate my feelings a lot into songs, especially ones whose beats are ironically against the nature of the lyrics, so the term “Too Late” actually refers to the loss of innocence one experiences around adolescence through the introduction of “grown-up” stresses (i.e. stock exchanges, stranger-danger, “cooties” and kinks”); all of this on top of an underlying insecurity about fitting in and following societal norms.
“While You Fade Away”
This is a break-up song that I wrote after a bad break-up of mine this year, but with my own perspective on love and lust. While most love songs place the blame on the other person (i.e. “YOU left me”, “YOU hurt me”), I always felt an incredible amount of self-blame and loathing rather than the former during break-ups. While You Fade Away encapsulates the varying degrees of anger, blame, and disgust I felt for myself after allowing myself to be in such a toxic relationship, and feeling like I deserved every bit of it. I think the take away line is at the bridge when Ross sings introspectively:
You wanted that fever, oh now boy you got
So taste it, don’t waste it, all you thought you wanted
This is probably our favorite track. It’s the second song we ever wrote together and is the cleverest in our opinion. This song is about the two personalities people tend to have: the insecure side (Voice 2) and the confident/tough side (Voice 1) they tend to present to strangers. When they sing together at the end it’s supposed to respresent a whole person and the struggle everyone faces to try and fit in while also trying to find a way to stay true to themselves.
This song is the most personal and emotional on the EP for me. Alcoholism has been a problem that has afflicted many close-loved ones and is something I grew up facing almost on a daily basis. This song also deals with blame and whether it is right to blame the other party for not wanting to get better or should the blame be placed on me for not doing anything about it (i.e. “darlin’ I would never, darlin’ I would never fight”).
Did you have any particular goals for this EP?
The Happy Fits: Our goal for the EP was to just have something to show for the hours and hours we spent this summer working on our music. We didn’t expect it to get big (at least for a few years), and to be honest it’s still not “that big”. We got an early break and that ephemeral success is starting to wear off so there is still a lot more work we must put in to make it to the big stage. We say this with absolute determination and content; we love doing this and we are willing to struggle to make our dreams come true and to bring good music to the ears of the public! J We hope this EP catches the ears of a few producers and record labels (which it has already) so we can churn out a bunch more tracks. Long-term we hope to be able to share the privilege we have of making music with others and convert that in to some form of positive social-change, whether if it’s raising money for our local homeless shelter or raising money and awareness for the American Cancer Society.
Having just begun their freshman years in college, The Happy Fits are young and full of promise, not to mention an inspiration for music-makers everywhere. Their dedication to using their “power for good” is a warm reminder that at the end of the day, music is all about making a connection. As surprising as their success has been, The Happy Fits deserve everything coming their way.