The Happy Fits
Canal Club at Canal Club
Sarah and the Sundays
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In a time where positivity is hard tocome by, the Happy Fits are here with their transportive, sunny second album,What Could Be Better.
Turning a love for the Killers andViolent Femmes into their own compact pop songwriting, the New Jersey-basedtrio started as a casual summer project for high school friends Calvin Langman,Ross Monteith, and Luke Davis before going off to college. After their debutEP, 2016’s Awfully Apeelin’, took off on Spotify during their first semester,school stopped looking like the natural next step.
“Honestly, we didn't know we were goingto be a band,” guitarist Monteith says. “We came up with the title to recordthose four songs on our EP, and we thought that was going to be it, but oncethe songs got picked up and we really started questioning it, that's when wedecided to go for it and record the first album. When we left school was whenwe officially became a band.”
Following their 2018 full-lengthConcentrate, the Happy Fits have further honed their ambition for What Could BeBetter’s collection of crowd-pleasers.
“Growing up, I was either in school, athome practicing, or at music school, and there was always this pressure to bereally productive,” says primary songwriter Langman, who dropped out ofconservatory to pursue the band. “When I decided that I wanted to do this for aliving, being productive meant a totally different thing, because now I have tocreate things that are just in my head and make them real. Measuring how productive that is in my life,it's hard to do that. There's a lot of dissatisfaction I feel. I write thatinto the songs, all of the guilt that I feel for not sticking with a normalplan.”
From the stomping “No Instructions” tothe album-closing title track, What Could Be Better channels youthful malaiseinto songs that demand to be sung along to. “Moving” deploys BeachBoys-inspired harmonies for a classically feel-good sound, and the integrationof Langman’s classical cello training will appeal to fans of early VampireWeekend. Far from cloying, the band’s upbeat nature is rooted in a real desireto connect with a world that sometimes seems distant.
On "What Could Be Better"Langman sings, "There's a hole in my consciousness where I feel Ibelong," a line inspired by his isolation as one of the fewAsian-Americans in his hometown.
“I don't have crippling social anxiety,but I have always felt like I'm a bit different,” Langman says. “I grew up inrural New Jersey and was one of three Asian kids in my high school...Also,growing up, with Hollywood and TV shows, I didn't see many people like me,especially half-Filipinos.”
As the band’s stages get bigger, Langmanknows he gets to be the role model he didn’t have, saying, “It feels reallygood to be someone that Filipino kids growing up in America could look up to.”
The Happy Fits have brought theiruplifting live show across the country on multiple headlining tours, as well assupporting acts like This Wild Life.
“We bring together a large age group,”Davis, a former metalhead who started learning how to play drums from RockBand, says of young fans who take their parents to shows. “I think one of thebig connections is just when everyone's there, it becomes this community whereeveryone can support each other and are all enjoying the same things.”
Known for their joyous, engagingperformances, the band’s sense of camaraderie is also reflected in the songs.All three members split vocal duties on “Floating,” an urgent tribute to theirlong-distance relationships that emphasizes the collective nature of theirjourney.
“We just have grown so much musically andas best friends that now we have this chemistry where we can really figure outhow to work with each other in the best way possible,” Davis says. “Calvin'sdefinitely the madman musical genius and Ross can write incredible parts. Idon't know how it works, I'm lucky every day that I got to meet these guys.Having a balance with them, it's not something we can make up, it has to comenaturally.”
Recorded over six weeks at Diamond CityStudio in Brooklyn, What Could Be Better is a charming, efficient missionstatement that’s meant to be shared, something Monteith already knows well.
“We want people to feel good listening toour music, because that's what music does for people.”
In the nine months since the albumsrelease the band saw it debut #4 on Billboard's Alternative New Artist Chart,and “Hold Me Down” reach #30 in the National Alternative Radio Charts as wellas #4 on the Sirius Alt Nation’s Alt 18. NPRs Ken Tucker ranked it #3 on his year end list and ended his glowing review live on “Fresh Air” with “What Could Be Better? I honestly don’t know.”Other writeups included Alternative Press, Dujour and Atwood Magazine.
The Happy Fits
Sarah and the Sundays