Fast Romantics is the happiest band in indie rock

Frontman talks upcoming album, Grad Club show

Fast Romantics will play at the Grad Club Nov. 10.
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On Fast Romantics’ forthcoming album, front man Matthew Angus asks himself what it means to be truly happy. 

Next Saturday night, the indie rock band will bring that question to the Grad Club, while ushering in their newfound success as independent artists.

Based out of Toronto, the band includes Angus, bassist Jeffrey Lewis, guitarist Kevin Black, multi-instrumentalist and singer Kirty, keyboardist Lisa Lorenz, and drummer Nick McKinlay. 

While now established, the band didn’t follow a clear-cut path to success. Since their 2009 formation, they’ve undergone structural overhauls that saw the original group reduced to only Angus and Lewis.

“We almost threw in the towel after two different versions didn’t quite stick. I started hooking up with some old friends that I met through the Toronto music scene and the next thing you know, I was like, ‘You know what, this is basically just a new band, but why don’t we call it the Fast Romantics and do it all over again,’” Angus said.

The band found commercial success with American Love, their first album, whose lead single “Julia” racked up more than a million spins on Spotify.

“It felt good. I won’t pretend that it didn’t,” Angus said. 

That taste of success led the band to briefly suffer from a pressure to produce more content that would be consumed in the same way. 

Ultimately, the feeling was unfulfilling for the band and posed a threat to their creative process. 

“It didn’t take long for me to realize that this group of people, all six of us, just wants to make music that feels authentic and powerful,” Angus said. “I’m a strong believer that if you create something compelling that means something to you, other people will sense that. And all the business crap will work itself out on its own.” 

“Maybe that’s utopian or something, but I think it’s true.” 

They used their success for artistic liberation. Newly free to create, authenticity was vital to the band’s creative process during their follow-up record.

“Mexico,” the upcoming album’s lead single, is co-written by Angus and Kirty, and the first song the band completely self-produced and recorded.  

“Kirty had these ideas, and we got together in a room and had a conversation about what they meant. It’s a disarming and wonderful thing to do,” Angus said.

“I don’t always do a great job writing with other people. I’m usually this guy in the corner scribbling on a pad. It took working with someone that I’m super close with and trusted implicitly.” 

To finish the song, the band enlisted Mark Lawson, the mix-engineer for Arcade Fire. 

“He just nailed it. The record wasn’t done, but we were like ‘Why wait? Let’s show the world this thing’,” Angus said.

This November, Fast Romantics are hitting the road to play some favourites from 2017’s American Love across Ontario and Quebec. 

The set list will feature some new tracks, including “Mexico,” which is set to be released on Nov. 2. 

“We’re going out this month to play them live to make sure that we don’t have our heads too far up our own asses. Let’s make sure that other people like this and get what we’re trying to say,”  Angus said.  

These songs explore what it means to be truly happy, and Angus and his bandmates hope to share their joy with their audience. 

“It’s an exploration of what it means to be happy. I realized ‘Oh my god, I’m happy’ and then spent a year writing about what that even means,” he said.

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