It all started with a log from Sweden.
“I was actually DJing this very strange event at the Silent Barn,” Nicholas Cummins says in a recent phone interview, referring to the famed Brooklyn arts hub that hosts any number of creative exhibits. “This giant log — like a tree-sized log that travels around the world and goes to different arts spaces — came there. We had a dance party where the DJ plugged into the log so you could only hear the music if you pressed your face into [it]. I started putting on some of my voice memos, and at one point, I’m laying down, full-body on this log, and feeling this song go all through my body.”
It was that peculiar experience that inspired Cummins to start their own project, Fits, after spending years playing bass in other people’s bands. However, the band’s Nov. 17 debut All Belief Is Paradise — available via Father/Daughter Records and featuring a band made up of members from Big Ups, gobbinjr and Fern Mayo — takes on a hilariously different form from its hipster-psychedelia origins.
“Once you put a guitar in my hands, for whatever reason, music gets a lot more condensed,” Cummins says. “I never set out to create a power-pop band, or a band with really short songs. That’s just how it started coming out.”
All Belief, the band’s only release other than its 2016 split with Pittsburgh’s Yes Yes A Thousand Times Yes, is, in fact, a straight-up power-pop record featuring short, snappy, witty, lo-fi tunes and heinously hooky songs. The record’s opener and first single, “Ice Cream on a Nice Day,” is a splendid sampling of what’s to come — a punchy bassline, Cummins’ nasally yet distinct intonation, a brief build, and then a crash of distorted, chuggy riffage. Then, like most of the less-than-two-minute tracks on the album, it’s over and onto the next one — a style Cummins implies is a reflection of their own personality.
“It’s more to do with the fact that I don’t like repeating things a lot and I get bored easily,” Cummins says. “I figure if you wanna hear something, you can hear the song a couple times.”
However, as short as the tunes are, the lyrics on here — as well as the experiences that influenced the band’s inception itself — aren’t nearly as fleeting as the songs themselves.
“It’s kind of a grief album. A lot of it is wrestling with the really intense period of time after my mom passed away,” Cummins says. “One thing that’s kind of coming through for me, is it’s a lot less of looking back on something happy and missing it, and more like walking away from something really messed up, and then building your own life and being OK with it, and looking back sort of wishing you could give yourself something better.”
Their mother was schizophrenic, and Cummins says that her passing was more than the death itself; it was the catalyst that allowed them to begin expressing feelings that they hadn’t previously been able to.
“And that’s kind of where [the name] Fits comes from.”
Fits will be playing Spirit, in Lawrenceville, on Nov. 9.