Everything about Michael Fitzpatrick is befitting of a man who fronts a band called Fitz and the Tantrums. In performance, he’s a dancing machine, and in conversation he’s quick with a quip and prone to emotional reactions.
“Nobody gives anybody in rock ‘n’ roll sh-t for being in the 10 millionth rock band,” he says when the topic arises of other contemporary soul-influenced acts like Mayer Hawthorne, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.
Fitzpatrick has only kind words for his peers, and he’s keen to point out that within the genre, “everyone’s doing their own thing.”
As far as Fitz and the Tantrums are concerned, that’s certainly true.
“We don’t adhere to the form as rigidly as some of these other artists do, and I love their music. That’s just not what we wanted to do,” he says. “We wanted to do something that was more of a hybrid. We just weren’t afraid to let something that felt like it was outside of the character of soul music make its way onto the record.”
What’s immediately apparent from the band’s 2010 debut, Pickin’ Up the Pieces, is its kinetic energy. Instruments interlock without intruding upon each other and Fitzpatrick and co-singer Noelle Scaggs both constantly move in the centre of it all. He dresses like Don Draper and sings like an angrier Daryl Hall, and she has the style and harmonic capabilities of all of the Supremes in one.
“From the very first show, we started moving around, because the music was making us dance,” says Fitzpatrick. “And very early on, Noelle and I started to push each other. And now it’s to the point where she and I just do not stand still for one heartbeat. And when you’re in a hot, sweaty little dance club, I soak my suit through every single night.”