With their debut release in 2010, Fitz and the Tantrums made a name for themselves for being the band with so much soul, it oozes out of their pores and into your eardrums. Pickin’ up the Pieces was received wholeheartedly by music critics, radio stations, and the like, that it quickly found its place in the number one spot on Billboard’s Top Heatseekers. It is no wonder that Fitz quickly developed such a following, with their soul meets indie meets pop sound, the songs are not only just catchy, they’re musically developed. They remind you of the sounds of yesteryear, yet keep you engaged with a hint of newness – ultimately leaving you eager for more. And after nearly three years, the boys, and girl, are back with a new collection of tracks to get you up and out.
Recently TUBE had a word with Noelle Scaggs, vocals/percussion, to talk about what went into the new album, More Than a Dream, some of the groups driving forces, and what we can expect from their upcoming show at Ace of Spades.
TUBE: Lots of attention surrounded Picking up the Pieces when it was released in 2010 and you were dropped into the category of “bands to watch”, how did that feel? I could imagine the pressure to be something great.
Noelle Scaggs: I think we at the beginning didn’t really pay too much attention to the title because we were so engrossed in trying to make it happen and getting the music out there. We were just excited that a label had come along to help us keep going. I think when it finally kicked in we felt like there was some forward motion happening and people we beginning to take us seriously. I think we really noticed that things where heading in the right direction when we had the first American Winter Tour selling out shows in cities we had never even been to. It was definitely encouraging.
TUBE: With such popularity and lingering buzz behind the prior album, have you had any challenges with More Than a Dream and the dreaded sophomoric backlash ?
NS: I think for any artist the second album is always the most challenging mainly because you want to show your growth as an artist and still deliver what you were able to deliver that made people take notice of you the first time around. We all wanted to make sure that we didn’t create the same record twice with More Than Just A Dream. We gave ourselves a ton of room to experiment and really focused on creating songs that could stand up on their own Acoustically or Fully produced in a live setting. I think we really allowed the 4 years of growing together on the road and our experiences during that time lead us to the album that we created. We took a chance and I think we accomplished the goal of not being a one trick pony kind of band.
TUBE: 2013 seems like it’s going to be a big (and busy!) year for you guys. How does it feel to be back out, shaking things up?
NS: I think we are all really excited. It’s doing to be a long run but a fun one. We can already see the growth in our fan base just in the most recent part of the touring, so we are looking forward to seeing what happens next.
TUBE: With the multiple tours for the new album underway, if you could perform with any artist past or present who would it be and what venue would you choose?
NS: I think it would be dope to throw a show with some of our other band friends from the West Coast. AWOLNation, Capital Cities, The Airborne Toxic Event and Young The Giant and have at The Greek or the Wiltern Theater here in LA. I love those two venues the energy is always great I love the Arenas and stuff but there is nothing better than the intimacy of a smaller historic venue.
TUBE: The influence of Motown and soul mixed with indie-pop is clear in your sound, who is one influence we wouldn’t expect?
NS: This is really hard to answer to be honest because we all listen to so many different types of artists that I think they have all unconsciously bled through our creative happenings. I would say for me lyrically that all the hip-hop artists I listened to and worked with in my career helped shape what became of, “Spark” for instance.
TUBE: We at TUBE are all about art, music, and fashion. If you could collaborate with anyone in either of these fields who would it be and what would you make?
NS: I’ve always wanted to build a concept store that blended Food, Music, Fashion and Art. I think I would pull in my friend Jamie Bissonette who is a pretty amazing Chef/Restauranteur, The owner of my favorite boutique in Seattle Jill Wenger, and my favorite artists and friend DeeDee Cheriel to help me create it.
Fitz and the Tantrums take stage next Tuesday, July 30th, and although we tried, Noelle wouldn’t give up any secrets to what we can expect from the show other than “come prepared to get really sweaty.” If you’re hankering for a fix of Fitz in the meantime, hop onto their website or YouTube and check out audio off the new album along with the very smart Dream Sequences which were a way “to introduce the new music in a clever way and really play around with content that we could give to our fans. We are all pretty weird and have a pretty fun sense of humor so when we were discussing ways of presenting the record we thought hey why not vamp on the Dream concept and make the meaning of these songs that much more interesting to figure out.”
Words Jenny Price