How the New Jersey band is changing pop.
Crossing off their bucket list performance at Lollapalooza in August was The Happy Fits, an indie-rock band from New Jersey.
Indie rock, also known as alternative rock, is a fusion of soft emotional lyrics with upbeat melodies. Most musicians in the indie scene are viewed as independent of mainstream crowds and lean towards the experimental side of music.
Drummer Luke Davis and cellist Calvin Langman began their partnership in high school, bonding over playing the video game Rock Band. They would soon trade in their instruments for wooden drum sticks and steel strings.
The pair doubled with the addition of guitarists Graham Orbe and Raina Mullen. The new additions mixed well with the group’s choice to stray away from tradition and mix the use of instruments and genres.
“I grew up playing classical music, but my true passion was listening to indie rock, like The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, and The Strokes,” said Langman, who stuck with his intuition and quickly picked up the style of rock music.
The courage to switch from a practice Langman studied all his life came from the group 2Cellos, a Croatian duo that takes on pop and rock with the seemingly unconventional string instrument. Cellists Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser made the bold choice of using the cello mainstream and correctly used the instrument’s rich tone since cello rock dates back to 1971.
Langman listened to the group’s cover of “Welcome to the Jungle” and realized the cello could deliver the same energy that the bass guitar usually does for a band.
Learning the bass never crossed Langman’s mind. After finding his groove with the band, he was able to personalize a unique blend of classical and rock. The Happy Fits let their sound lead strongly and they found inspiration from groups like Led Zeppelin and AC/DC.
The band sets their standards by working with four-part harmonies to effortlessly combine their vocals, but not all their strategies are technical. What truly feeds their creativity to expand the genre of indie rock is their audience.
“You can’t be a musician without community. You have to have an audience that you care about and you’re vulnerable with,” said Mullen.
The level of support the band has received over the past eight years has brought them great validation after time spent creating their image.
“You pour your heart and soul into this job and it’s kind of terrifying in a way because you’re opening yourself up,” said Davis.
Many fans have been there from the beginning when the band started with their EP “Awfully Apeelin” in 2016.
“You don’t really realize how much goes into it. How much the fans can take in their own way, interpret it, and create something really special out of it,” said Davis.
A few of the band’s favorites songs to perform live and have high energy are from their album “Under The Shade of Green,” “Do Your Worst” and “Around and Around.” Listeners are able to experience the live version on Spotify.
The Happy Fits put out their live album “Live At The Troubadour” with 29 tracks from their previous albums.
Their tour “Under the Shade of Green” began this week on September 19 and continue until October 25 with openers “Windser” and “Hot Freaks.”
Header by Mei Harter