Since Fitz & the Tantrums' mainstream debut in 2010, this six-piece powerhouse has been perking up ears and delighting live crowds all over the country. Known for its genre-blending style and hypnotizing live shows, the Fitz crew is a perfect addition to the indie-pop Coastline Music Festival lineup.
With a new album, More Than Just a Dream, on the charts and a full-time touring schedule, now is the time to hop on the Fitz train. We chatted with Tantrums' keyboardist Jeremy Ruzumna about all things tour, what it's like to play on the talk-show circuit, and whether the band manages its own Facebook page.
New Times: Congrats to Fitz on his first child! What kind of changes are you seeing on tour now that he is a daddy?
Jeremy Ruzumna: Well he and Kaylee just had the kid, so this will be the maiden voyage of Daddy Fitz. It's nice to see him in Dad mode, all mellow and blissed-out and loving and stuff.
Your music blends together so many genres. What do you like to call your style?
On our first album, people said we were Motown. On the new album, I've heard people say '80s. The truth is that we just keep making music that we think sounds cool. And all we can do is hope that people want to come along for the ride. That's really all any band or artist can ever do. We love this album. And our first single off of the More Than Just A Dream album, "Out of My League" was number one on the alternative charts for two weeks. So we are really happy about that.
What about Capital Cities makes them a great touring partner?
First of all, they're really nice guys. We had run into them at a couple of festivals, and we really just naturally gravitated towards each other and kinda threw the idea out there of doing this. Their music is dope and every time they play, we get all geeked out and excited. So we are really happy that it's going down.
You guys have played on all the big talk shows. How is prepping for those different than for a normal concert?
Talk shows are weird, because you sit around in the dressing room literally all day. Then an assistant comes and gets you around 4:30 and says, "You guys are on in 10 minutes." Then you get on the stage and play for three minutes. You have to go from zero to 100 instantly, because that's all you get. Suddenly, it's over, and you're walking offstage going, "What the hell just happened?" And then millions of people watch your performance on TV that night. It's surreal.
The band has a pretty heavy social media presence. Do you manage that or does someone do it for you?
Only recently did we start to get a little help from the label on Facebook. But overall, we do all of our own postings, messaging, etc. We see everything that people post and we are very present with our fans.
When you get to a new city, if you have some time before the show, what do you like to do?
It's always nice to be able to explore the town, if there's time, and take in some local culture. Our drummer, John, is the coffee guru of the band, and always runs reconnaissance for the best local coffee shops. Joe, our bassist, and James, our sax player, always find something intellectual to explore. That, a little food, a workout, and a cat nap before the show is pretty much where it's at.
What do you think about the rest of the Coastline lineup? Who are you excited to share the bill with?
Passion Pit is gonna be exciting, and the Neighbourhood.
Why should someone who has never heard of your band make a point to catch your set at Coastline?
Because we make sure to come with it at every show. We make sure to connect with each audience member and get them hyped and satisfied. It's fun, it's high energy, and we make sure you have just as much fun as we do.
Coastline Festival, Sunday, November 10, at Cruzan Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach. Tickets available at coastlinefestival.com.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.