YRB Web Exclusive: Fitz & The Tantrums

Photo Courtesy of YRB Magazine
Photo Courtesy of YRB Magazine

by Griselle Rodriguez

Fitz and The Tantrums are out to make as much noise as possible. Driven by the heartbreak of a romance gone awry, Fitz and The Tantrums’ debut effort, Picking Up the Pieces, uses that energy to power their sound. Fronted by Fitz (Michael Fitzpatrick), the L.A.-based six-person band is comprised of a collective of multi-talented musicians with vitality nothing short of electric. Hitting the U.S., Europe and Australia this summer and beyond, Fitz and Co. are setting the music world ablaze, one tantrum at a time.

YRB: Tell us about your latest album, Picking Up The Pieces?

Fitz: Picking Up The Pieces is a breakup album. It’s for those with a broken heart that also wanna dance their asses off!  It’s love lost – or just [being] pissed off from the male perspective – laid out to a funky beat.

YRB: What was your inspiration while writing and recording the album? What was the process like?

Fitz: I was going through a bad breakup. I was heartbroken and needed to let it all out in the music.  I always say that at every lowest point in my life music always comes in and saves me.  We made this record at my house because we didn’t have any money, so it was a family environment and really set a great mood to let the creativity flow.

YRB: How would you describe your sound?

Fitz: People like to say that we are soul, indie, pop, and I think that captures what we do.  We are definitely influenced by Motown and Stax, but we mix it up with other styles and we have created our own sort of hybrid sound.

YRB: Which track was the hardest to write? And the easiest?

Fitz: The hardest to write was “MoneyGrabber.”  We had written the song and knew it was special, but we had a bridge that just wasn’t living up to the rest of the song.  We kept trying to write bridges and finally on the fourth try we landed on this one, which I love.  The easiest song was by far “Breakin the Chains of Love.” It was the first song I ever wrote for the band and it came to me in five minutes.  I’m still waiting for another song that writes itself that fast!  The music gods were definitely with me that day.

YRB: “MoneyGrabber“ has been burning up! How did you first react to the reception?

Fitz: So many magical serendipitous moments have happened to this band.  Selling out every show on our last tour with people going crazy was pretty incredible – to realize that even though you’re in a van driving across the country working you’re ass off and not sure if anyone can hear the tree falling in the forest – to finally be out on the road and see the connection the record has been having with people.

YRB: How did you all meet? What was the factor that solidified you as a group?

Fitz: After writing the first song, I called my college friend James King to lay down some sax parts.  We could just feel that we were onto something special.  He turned me onto Noelle [Scaggs].  Five phone calls later and we had formed this band.  It was pure electricity from that first rehearsal.  I am a huge believer in booking a show right away.  We were all nervous, but that was the beginning of our owning the stage live.

YRB: You guys are touring this summer. Any cities you’re excited to hit up?

Fitz: Always excited to return to NYC.  Also, we love the south as well.  Asheville, Charleston, Nashville.  Love it!  Good barbeque, too!

YRB: Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Fitz: Touring as much as we do, you gotta warm up as a vocalist.  Besides that, it’s a shot of whiskey, a Red Bull, some jumping jacks and one scissor kick.

YRB: What do you currently have in the works?

Fitz: We are doing more late night TV.  We were named VH1’s “You Oughta Know” artist and [are] touring, touring, touring!  The live show is really where it is at.  We are doing the summer festival circuit and touring in Europe and Australia as well.

YRB: If you could choose any genre to venture into, what would it be?

Fitz: Speed Metal!!!  Just kidding.

YRB: What do you consider to be your proudest moment thus far?

Fitz: Getting to play on Conan and having him tell us we were one of his favorite performances ever was a pretty proud moment.

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