Ilya S. Savenok, Getty Images The sad news came across late Wednesday afternoon…
- Posted on Mar 12th 2010 8:24AM by Matthew Wilkening
Describe your sound in your own words.
The sound is Motown and soul-influenced indie pop. That's one of my favorite time periods, maybe the greatest songwriting period in music, ever. But we didn't want to necessarily just do an exact carbon copy of that period, because you might as well just listen to those recordings if that's gonna be the case. So we wanted to try to use that as a jumping off point, an influence, but give it a new twist.
How did your band form?
Well, first I started doing the recordings for our debut EP on my own. I knew I wanted a horn section, so I called my friend James King, who I went to college with and is truly one of the most amazing horn players around. He came over and we started working on early versions of the songs. Right away, we said we have to put this together in a live setting. When something's meant to be, things just seem to happen quicker. I had a keyboard player in mind, he had a backup singer he wanted to use; five phone calls between the two of us, and we had the band in place. We met a week later, played our first rehearsal, and clicked instantly, we could have gone and played a show that night! Now, everyone's been a part of recording this full-length record, we've toured a lot, had some amazing opportunities come our way. They're such amazing players, and we all get along so great, it's been wonderful.
What are your musical influences?
I have really eclectic taste, like everyone, I suppose. I'm a huge Talking Heads fan, big Radiohead fan, love Jeff Buckley. I grew up listening to the oldies station here in L.A. For me, that period of music, I could listen to Motown and Stax recordings all day long. I love the focus on strong songwriting. Also, the way those records sound is just so amazing. In many ways they're not technically recorded right. If you listen to the individual parts, there's distortion, they just sound all wrong, but the collective energy sounds totally amazing. So I set this goal for myself, can I capture even just a little bit of what magic those recordings have, at home, doing it myself? I have to say, I'm pretty happy with the results.
How did you come up with your band name?
My full name is Michael Fitzpatrick. Everyone has six friends named Michael, so eleven, twelve years ago my friends started calling me Fitz, and as for 'Tantrums,' I like the play on words, and I wanted a band name that kind of clued you in to what was going on at our shows.
How did an unsigned band get the opening spot on a Maroon 5 tour?
We started getting a lot of airplay on KCRW out here. A tattoo artist from New York heard us, flipped out, got the EP. Adam from Maroon 5 was in New York getting a tattoo, the artist played him the record, two weeks later Adam called and asked if we wanted to go out on the road with him. It's been a real challenge, we've all had to sacrifice, drive 18 hour days, make hardly any money. But how can we say no? We got to play in front of two or three thousand people every night!
What's your biggest vice?
Coffee. Espresso, rather. Can't do anything without it. I have a cut off time -- no espresso after 8 PM.
What's In your festival survival kit?
I guess I'll say comfortable shoes, a lot of aspirin and moist towelettes.
Who was your first celebrity crush?
I don't know who my first was, but I know who one of my current ones is: Zooey Deschanel. Me and every other guy, I suppose.
Beatles or Stones?
The Beatles. I know the Stones are maybe a cooler band. To me, at least, there's more of a craft in the Beatles melodies. I'm also a huge harmony guy, and if you're looking for harmonies, you've got to go for the Beatles over the Stones.
What's your musical guilty pleasure?
I'm a sucker for a great pop song. 'Toxic' by Britney Spears is one of my all-time greatest pop songs. If you actually listen, it's just one chord progression the whole entire song, and yet the song is just banging. She sings one melody on the verse, then another on the chorus and it feels like the song explodes, but it's just one chord the whole time. It just shows the power of a great melody.
Matthew Wilkening is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.