The Happy Fits Promise It Will "Grow Back" (premiere + interview)
The Happy Fits take inspiration from Alabama Shakes on "Grow Back" and transform it into an unforgettable pop song.
The Happy Fits formed after national fencing champion Ross Monteith and orchestra stalwart Calvin Langman set aside their expected differences and engaged in a conversation about some of the music that they loved. Blending a love of the cello and raw rock guitar resulted in fusion that sometimes recalls the Black Keys and other times summons warmest memories of Violent Femmes. The trio (rounded out by drummer Luke Davis) is issuing a new video for the single "Grow Back", a song that combines those influences and more.
Directed by Corey Rutledge, the video spotlight's the song's raw melodicism and the delicate balance it strikes between sheer pop and raw rock 'n' roll. The song is taken from the band's Concentrate LP which is out as of June 15. Cellist Calvin Langman spoke about the tune's origins and evolution from his East Coast home.
What can you tell me about the origins of the song "Grow Back"?
The song "Don't Wanna Fight" by Alabama Shakes was important in the writing of this; it started because of the squeal Brittany Howard does at the beginning of that song. That moment changed music for me. It was so intense. I wanted to do something that had a similar build up. I didn't want the subject matter to be contrived, so I made up a story. I didn't think it would be right for it to be a love song.
I came up with this story about a woman who is about to be lobotomized. She tries to escape from the situation with a pair of scissors she has in her pocket. She's going to cut her hair too. That's where the grow back part of it comes from.
I really love the guitar motif in the tune. I can imagine 13- and 14-year-old kids all learning that as the thing to impress their friends.
The song started with the vocal "Let it grow back/let it grow back." I figured there should be something in the background with the guitar. An ostinato. We weren't trying to write something cool.
What led to the decision to make a video for this tune and not something else?
The director came to the first show that we did in New York City, but he wasn't there for us. He had friends who were in a different band. After the show, he came up to us and said, "I direct music videos and shorts. I want to work with you. I'll do it for free." We said, "Yeah! That would be awesome. We saw his stuff, and it was great.
We drove him and two of his friends over to New Jersey to film it. I was at college in Georgia at the time and flew back. That was in April 2017. We set up a tiny green screen in Ross's basement and filmed for an entire day. When the video was finished, we were talking about writing an album instead of just releasing a single. We re-recorded the song re-shot the video as well.
We did that in April of this year. We wanted something that was edgier than our other music videos.
MTV doesn't exist in the form it did at its peak. There aren't really network shows that spotlight music videos and yet it remains a popular format. How important is it to have something like this floating out there?
It's hard to find a band that's popular on Spotify that's not popular on YouTube. And now that Spotify is adding videos, having that kind of content will definitely help out. People on Spotify will not only listen but watch as well.
7/20 - New Haven, CT The Cave
7/21 - Boston, MA Middle East Upstairs
7/27 - Pittsburgh, PA The Funhouse
8/3 - Asbury Park, NJ Shoobie Shack
8/4 - Philadelphia, PA Creep Records
8/9 - New York, NY Mercury Lounge
8/10 - Burlington, VT Arts Riot
8/17 - Washington D.C. The Void
8/18 - Teaneck, NJ Debonair Music Hall
8/24 - Montreal, QC Atomic Cafe
8/25 - Troy, NY Mean Max Brewery