There’s a duality at play with the new Fitz and The Tantrums album that the band has yet to experience in their eight years of existence.
On the one end, long time fans and reviewers have taken notice at the distinct departure their new self-titled record makes sonically. On the other hand, they may just have their most marketable, broadly appealing song in “Handclap.”
amNewYork had a chance to chat with bass guitarist Joe Karnes about the shift in style, comparisons to another Top 40 band in the market and whether or not they truly can make our hands clap.
The self-titled album is a real departure from where you guys started musically with “Picking Up The Pieces.” Was that a conscious decision or did it simply take shape organically?
We actually brought in a ton of different music, some of which actually harkened back to the earlier records’ sound. [But] we like pushing ourselves. When I look at this record there are some elements that push it forward sonically. But then there are some songs like “Roll Up” or “Walking Target” that are more of a bridge back to the energy we had on the first record and “More Than Just a Dream.”
Was there fear people would label this your sell-out record?
You can’t really go there. Any time you release something that you create, it is your baby, so you want people to like it. We have faith our fans will dig it. We love it and we’re proud of this record and we have to go along with that feeling.
Comparisons to Maroon 5 have now popped up across the internet. Is that fair?
You can compare us to people all you want, but the most important thing for us is that we’re growing and keeping ourselves excited. To do the same thing over and over would not be exciting. We understand it can be polarizing for people who really loved “Picking Up The Pieces” and that’s their Fitz and the Tantrums. But we see [our band] in the much more broad definition.
Speaking of broad, “Handclap” is being touted as “the song of the summer” by many. How does it feel to have such a mainstream hit on your hands?
That song actually set the compass for the direction this record was gong to take. It’s a beautiful song and a fun song. And we’re so excited to play that live. Because having those moments of interaction with the audience is the centerpiece of our show.