Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 20 years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, and B-movies. Part time ninja. Kicked cancer’s ass. My memoir, ChemBro, is out now!
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When Max Collins, and Kenny Carkeet joined forces to create FITNESS they had one idea in mind – making music should be a good time.
According to Carkeet, this is exactly the feeling FITNESS has reinvigorated in them. “Playing music, and writing music, has become very fun again to us.”
While Carkeet and Collins have enjoyed their time in other bands – Carkeet in AWOLNATION, Collins in Eve 6 – Carkeet notes, “When Max and I are now playing with FITNESS there’s just this sense of joy and euphoria. We’re having the best time when we’re making the music that’s making us stand up out of our chairs and start jumping up and down.”
The duo will be releasing an EP titled Aggroculture on July 21st, the genesis of which came during a time when both Collins and Carkeet were writing for other artists.
The rigidness involved in writing for others had been weighing heavily on both of them.
Carkeet recalls how he dealt with this, saying, “I just locked myself in my room and started making music with no one else around. I had no intentions of doing anything with it. Max and I had been writing together, he heard some of my tracks and wanted to sing on them, as soon as he sang on the first one, that became ‘Get Dead,’ which was our first single. To our astonishment, a lot of people started loving it, so we kept going with it.”
Collins and Carkeet's writing style for their own work can be summed up simply – They do whatever they want.
“We do whatever feels good for us,” Carkeet explains, “and it’s been such a freeing part of my life, to just be able to do what we think is cool as opposed to what everybody else tells us what will sell units.”
Collins adds, “Kenny and I are blessed with this attitude of still loving creating for the sake of it. Some people get bitter. Some people get younger. We’re kinda doing the latter, I think, and just having a really good time with this project.”
I caught up with both Collins and Carkeet, and we had a good time as I reeled off some historic dynamic duos, and they broke down how FITNESS sees themselves in each of them.
Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street
Max: Bert is the kind neurotic one, right? Ernie is more of like a free spirit. I think I’d be Bert, probably. Am I right, KC?
Kenny: I think so. We’re pretty similar, but you’ll be Bert, and I’ll be Ernie on this one.
M: I probably am more tempted to neurotic thinking than Kenny, although I’ve kinda gotten myself under control through medication and meditation.
I’ve found that most of us who make music have some shit to contend with, and I think it comes from a sensitivity that makes you want to start making music in the first place. I look at it as one gets longer in the tooth you learn how to apply that stuff that maybe before was sort of a defect, you learn how to use some of that shit.
Bill and Ted from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
K: Aw yeah, now you’re taking my language. I get to be Keanu Reeves.
M: The other guy kinda had a tight little Jewish afro, so to speak, and that’s the way, if I grow my hair out, it’s kind of like that.
K: Have you seen pictures of Max with long hair? It’s amazing.
M: It was during this really unfortunate phase, this bum phase that I went through where I wasn’t bathing. I had an inadvertent dread lock that started growing on the back of my head, just from being unkempt, and not washing my hair. I was like, “What the fuck is on my head?” I’m feeling the back of my head and I’m like, “Holy shit there’s a dread lock there!” I had one red dread on the back of my head.
That sounds like a Dr. Seuss rhyme, one red dread on the back of your head.
M: That’s gonna be a FITNESS lyric, actually, and you’re not gonna get credit for it!
I’m recording this!
M: You will. You will. We’re gonna make you 150k, each.
K: Just start spending lots of money now.
If you were flying through time like Bill and Ted, which era would you go to?
K: The ‘60s, to me, were always some of the best years, at least musically.
I would say it would be wonderful to see earlier shit, like the 1300s, but I’m a brown man, so that probably wouldn’t go too well for me.
M: I would go to the ‘60s with KC. I would go see The Beatles live.
You’d also be way more powerful going into the past with all of this knowledge from the future. You could be way more manipulative and cunning. You could be a cult leader. I’d start a cult, but like a really gnarly one, and I’d be the leader of it.
K: I would go back to the late ‘60s, live in Laurel Canyon, and blow cocaine up Stevie Nicks’ asshole. If there’s one thing I ever want to do, that’s high up there.
Buzz Lightyear and Woody from Toy Story
M: FITNESS is definitely Buzz Lightyear, as a collective that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
Buzz Lightyear creates his own reality through arrogant positivity, and that’s what we do, we make our own world.
K: That’s so accurate. Buzz Lightyear is totally FITNESS. He thinks he’s doing the right things, and he loves everybody, and he just wants to be awesome.
M: He doesn’t let this version of reality, which is really born of fear and insecurity, hold him back. He just crushes.
Beavis & Butt-Head
K: I don’t know who would be who, but that’s another good FITNESS one, because we love to critique other music, and music videos.
M: There’s this taboo now that you’re not supposed to be discriminating, that you’re supposed to only see the good in every band, song, artist, and that’s just not really an honest way, or an authentic way … it’s not realistic, or true. It’s dishonest.
In order to love something there has to be an equal and opposite sentiment that you have for other things, otherwise are you a human being?
I think me and Kenny, we say when we love something, and we’re not afraid to be enthusiastic nerds about things that make us happy, but at the same token, if something sucks I think it’s OK to express that you feel like it sucks.
K: Music is subjective anyway. Every artist puts their shit out there to be judged, good or bad. That’s just kinda what we do.
I think Beavis and Butt-head also have an innocent sentiment about them, which sounds kind of weird, but they’re two innocent kids just being dumbasses, floating around, liking things, headbanging to the things they like, and saying that shit sucks when they don’t like it. That’s very FITNESS.
M: Totally. Also, we don’t exempt ourselves from that same lens. When we make a song, and it’s like, “Why isn’t this quite right? This sucks. This isn’t good,” we aren’t gonna fuck with it anymore.
In a lifetime, if you make things, you’re gonna make some things that are good, and some things that suck, and that’s cool.
FITNESS’ debut EP, Aggroculture, will be available July 21st.