Last week we were lucky enough to catch an interview with the superb band The Ricky Fitts following the release of their unmissable album The Great Beyond. Here’s how it went.
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Firstly, thanks for taking the time out for this – you guys look to have a pretty busy schedule already this year. The Great Beyond was recently released, it’s something of a masterpiece in my opinion. This fusion of indie and synth-pop works beautifully well, and on top of this there’s so much real feeling, so much poetry, and some unforgettable melodies – Into The Sun comes to mind, though the album in it’s entirety is an absolute pleasure to experience.
How long has the project been in the making? Do you write together as a group – if so, how do you usually get started – and which are your personal favourites from the collection (and why)?
The project has been going just a little over a year now. Our writing style varies depending on the song. Some were written with everybody in the band present (Nightmare), and some were written with Matty or Elliot coming up with the structure and melody and sending the rest to Alec, Matt and Fletcher to add their own personal touches (Into the Sun). We really can’t pick favorites, its always the hardest thing to cut songs out of our set to fit the time frame of a show.
The songs for the most part have a huge set up – the output is big, the writing and instrumentation is structurally complex and it gives off an epic level of energy and passion. Do you find that expressing this sort of energy brings people together in a shared moment, more-so perhaps than a song’s lyrics, and do you yourselves find it therapeutic to create and perform music of this persuasion – regardless of audience presence?
The Great Beyond to us is meant to be an experience. Kind of a like a home away from home the listener can explore. When writing these songs we weren’t necessarily looking at it as “What can we add to this track?” but rather: “What melodies and instrumentation is already here that needs to be found?”.
The album to us is something we travel through just as much as we hope the listener will. Because of that it can definitely be unifying in the way people interpret the record as well as therapeutic through finding how the listener fits into The Great Beyond and how they see themselves as a part of it. We want our fans to feel that this is their record just as much as it is ours.
How important is live music to you as a band?
We really value live performance. We want our fans to come to shows not only just to see us but to let the music and live energy give them an experience. With some of our main influences being Bowie, Prince and Michael Jackson we think that live shows should be just as entertaining visually as they are audibly.
How’s the live music scene in Arizona? What’s been your best live experience so far, and do you plan to play some shows further afield this year?
The music scene in Arizona has been so good to us. Our very first show was at the Marquee Theatre, which is one of the biggest venues local bands can play. After we played that we were chosen to perform the annual Pot of Gold Music Festival with names such as Death Cab for Cutie, Fitz & the Tantrums and X Ambassadors. Not to mention multiple plays on KWSS 93.9FM, Alt AZ 93.3FM, and Fox 10 news, as well as multiple write ups in the Phoenix New Times and AZ Central. Its a very supportive culture here and we’re very thankful to everybody that has shown us love right from the start.
Our favorite show so far was our album release last week at the Crescent Ballroom with our buddies DAISY, Luxxe and Weslynn. So many people came out and packed the place. The crowd was singing and dancing along to our songs. It’s every band’s dream to see their fans having as much fun listening and watching the music as it is for us to be playing it.
While we call Phoenix our home we want to be more than just a Phoenix band. In the coming months we’re playing LA (The Mint on April 11th and Whiskey A-Go-Go w/ Oingo Boingo Dance Party on May 12th). We plan to make it up along the West Coast this year.
The Ricky Fitts band name came from a mutual appreciation of the memorable character from American Beauty. What was it about this character that appealed to you all, and how easy was it to come to the agreement of having this as the band name? Were there any other close contenders you’d care to mention?
We like to think of the 90’s as almost the hangover of the 80’s where people were trying to think of a rhyme and reason to fit the new decade. Because of that a lot of unique art came about. One cool example was that movie. Ricky Fitts had this attitude that we all wanted to emulate. This idea of quitting a job on the spot one day to go and pursue the passion of art (in his case videography) was really important to us. His character does a great job of being able to just step back from the monotonousness of life and appreciate how beautiful things are that we take for granted.
The album really does far exceed any expectations people may have – there’s something beautiful about the combination of elements. The chemistry between you all is clear, and the variation between tracks is vast yet always in keeping with the overall vibe. I hope 2017 brings you some great opportunities and that your music takes you where you want to go. Is there anything else you’d like to let people know about yourselves, your music, or your plans for coming months?
Thank you so much for all of the kind words Rebecca! We’re stoked for the things to come and cannot wait meet more and more fans in the cities we play this year. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter, like us on Facebook, come out to a show and most importantly, share the record with your friends!