Joe Karnes and Jeremy Ruzumna of Fitz and the Tantrums: Finding Your Style

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Photo Credit: Crewest Studio

For many musicians, finding the right balance between creative evolution and acclaim is a crucial, yet difficult task. Fans expect one sound, while record producers want another. In the middle, musicians walk a tightrope between experimentation and outside expectations. Today’s guests, Joe Karnes and Jeremy Ruzumna of soul-pop masterminds Fitz and the Tantrums, are no strangers to this highwire act. The chart-topping group has managed to produce a roster of incredibly diverse records while maintaining, even growing, their dedicated fanbase.

The following comes from Crewest Studio, a company DMN is proud to be partnering with.

Welcome to The Conduit, a podcast featuring candid conversations with professional musicians who give listeners the unvarnished truth about being an artist in the music industry. On today’s episode, host and LA-based DJ, producer, and musician Dan Ubick (aka Constantine “Connie” Price) sits down with Joe Karnes (bass, guitar) and Jeremy Ruzumna (keyboards) of Fitz and the Tantrums to discuss the duo’s journey through the music industry, both before and after joining the Tantrums.

While the two are best known for their work in Fitz and the Tantrums, both Joe and Jeremy are accomplished musicians with long histories in the industry. Joe found success playing bass in the glam rock band Imperial Drag, who opened for Alanis Morissette on her 1996 Jagged Little Pill tour. Jeremy picked up a Grammy nomination for his songwriting work with the legendary Macy Gray and has played live with artists like Nikka Costa, Bootsy Collins, Big Daddy Cane, Carlos Santana, and even our host, Connie Price.

In today’s episode of The Conduit, Joe and Jeremy discuss their separate paths through the music industry, and what their lives were like before joining Fitz and the Tantrums. The two chat about the challenges that come with finding a unique style, and why that’s such a benefit in an oversaturated industry. “It’s more important to have your own style than it is to be able to play every style,” says Jeremy. He goes on to explain that fans often have certain expectations for a band or artist, but those same fans “don’t realize that as musicians, you do want to change.” If musicians stick to their guns, Jeremy says, they’ll find their niche.

Our conversation also touches on the importance of work ethic and professionalism, what to look out for when signing record deals or advances, and the value of being kind toward other musicians. Not only are Joe and Jeremy gifted musicians, but the two are incredibly compassionate people who work to support the artists surrounding them. Tune in to this month’s episode of The Conduit for a fascinating conversation about creativity, compromise, and compassion.