Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Fitz And The Tantrums

Fitz & The TantrumsFitz and the Tantrums recently released a wicked album. Their latest record More Than Just A Dream is bursting with soul and sparkling indie-pop jangles. To find out what’s been keeping the band busy since the release, Fitz and the Tantrums’ drummer John Wicks graciously spoke with AMBY about the video for Out Of My League, funny facial expressions, an upcoming tour with Bruno Mars, and more!

AMBY: Hello Fitz And The Tantrums! Thanks for having a chat with AMBY, what have you been up to lately?

Fitz And The Tantrums: Hi, drummer John Wicks here.  Lately we’ve just completed the very first leg of touring and promotion for the new album which just came out on May 7th.  It’s fun but exhausting.  Most days are filled with playing shows at radio stations and most nights are shows at proper venues.  Sometimes two or three shows a day.

AMBY: We are really excited for your new album More Than Just A Dream. Which tracks are your favourites?

Fitz And The Tantrums: My personal favorite is  “Last Raindrop.”  To me, it hearkens back to the days of disco when artists like Ashford & Simpson, Diana Ross, and Chic ruled the airways.  When recording the drums for that track I was thinking of Yogi Horton, who recorded drums on many of those records.

AMBY: What’s the story behind your terrific song Out Of My League?

Fitz And The Tantrums: I’d rather keep it vague and let everyone come up with their own personal meaning to the song(s).  If I tell you a specific back-story to it, I feel like it could potentially make someone say “Well I can’t relate to that.”  All of these songs theoretically stop being ours when the listener first hears them and makes it about them.  We’ve written strong songs with universal themes of love, humor, and even anger.  I like to think we paint with a broad stroke and let everyone else fill in the details.

AMBY: Speaking of Out Of My League, the video is really neat. How did you come up with the concept?

Fitz And The Tantrums: Well, our live performance is our calling card so we knew we wanted to showcase that, similar to the way we did Money Grabber.  It’s nearly impossible to capture the amount of energy and sweat we put out onstage every night, but I think this video conveys it pretty well.  We are really the first band to use this new technology of filming in conjunction with an XBOX, believe it or not.  When we saw what it could do, we were excited and honored to be the guinea pigs.

AMBY: What was it like recording with Jordan Bahat on the video?

Fitz And The Tantrums: Jordan is fantastic.  He’s worked with other bands such as Fun and Grouplove who we think are great.  But more than that, it was his enthusiasm for the song and for using this new technology.  He was very quick, organized and unobtrusive in his approach.  Very refreshing.

AMBY: You’ll be doing a lot of touring once the album is out. What makes a show great for you?

Fitz And The Tantrums: Each city and crowd is very different.  A great show for me is one where it may be the audience’s first time seeing us live.  The set starts with them looking at us like a deer in the headlights but by the end of the set, they have realized that they all have permission to freak out as though they are anonymous with no inhibitions and it just erupts.

AMBY: What’s the funniest thing to happen to you at a gig?

Fitz And The Tantrums: Almost every night our saxophonist, James King gets me laughing so hard with just his mannerisms and facial expressions that I come close to losing the groove all together.  So every night is funny.  One strange thing occurred in Austin, Texas at the Austin City Limits Festival last year.  Apparently the actor, Christian Bale was filming a movie during our set.  So he was walking around the stage, and down in the pit with a very confused look on his face.  Kinda surreal.

AMBY: What do you do outside of music for fun?

Fitz And The Tantrums: When I’m not drumming, I’m running in the mountains.  I live in Montana, and I train constantly for 50 and 100 mile ultra-marathons.  I’m obsessed.

AMBY: What song could you live without ever hearing again?

Fitz And The Tantrums: I’m not too jaded.  I can find something valuable in just about any song.  It was different back when I had to play weddings or country gigs to make the rent.  If I heard another drunk idiot request “Freebird” by Skynard or “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” I would have lost it.

AMBY: What has you excited for 2013?

Fitz And The Tantrums: I’m excited to tour with Bruno Mars!  I’m also excited to see what this album of ours does to people.  The response already has been incredible.  I’m excited to tour Europe, Japan and Latin America as well.

AMBY: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

Fitz And The Tantrums: Well, I’ll give you the first thing that popped into my head.  I would change the way we treat our senior citizens in the United States.  It sucks.  The second thing that popped into my head is I would change the way we treat animals.

AMBY: And last but never least, what’s something about Fitz And The Tantrums that nobody knows?

Fitz And The Tantrums: Nobody knows the amount of work that has gone into making this band self sufficient.  It’s been a quick rise but the amount of sacrifice and work that has gone into making this thing work has not stopped for one minute.  Everyone, from Fitz and every band member through to the management and the rest of the team believed in this group when nobody else in the industry did.  Feels really good to be where we’re at now.

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Alicia Atout

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