Features Interviews Early Morning Fun. At A Fancy Hotel

Early Morning Fun. At A Fancy Hotel

Article by: Tyler Crick

Fun. joins Sticky to reflect on bar fights, SOPA, and their favourite steaks.

Earlier this month, Sticky Magazine had a chance break into Fun.'s hectic schedule and interview Jack Antonoff and Andrew Dost at The Pantages Hotel in Toronto. Of course, it's no surprise that these guys are in high demand, as they seem to be on that tenuous verge of breaking from an indie-rock supergroup into full fledged rock stars, with Fueled By Ramen (a subsidiary of Warner Music Group) releasing the band's new album Some Nights on February 21st.

Sticky: So if you're playing a show in April, what are you here in Toronto for today?

Jack: This stuff. Just to meet some people.

Andrew: We saw a Raptors game last night but that wasn't the point of the trip.

Jack: We played on The Edge last night. We're going to play on Q today. We really love Canadian culture — specifically Canadian music. All of our top 5 favourite band lists have 1, 2, or 5 Canadian bands in them. So it means a lot to us to do everything we can here — to let people know we're really passionate about coming and exposing them to our music. So this trip was about that, coming up and meeting people.

Andrew: And pushing our Canadian agenda [laughs].

Sticky: You have a new album coming out on the 21st. I noticed it's not online anywhere.

Andrew: So far.

Jack: I literally cannot believe it hasn't leaked.

Andrew: I am shocked. We know it's going to... everything leaks.

Jack: If it leaked tomorrow, it'd be fine. We made it this far.

Sticky: So, what are your opinions on SOPA?

Jack: I think it's horrible.

Andrew: Yeah, it's bullshit.

Jack: I think it's very scary, and possibly indicative of a lot more scary stuff.

Sticky: So you definitely have no illusions that it's trying to protect you in any way?

Andrew: No, I don't think anything suppressing information is helpful for anybody.

Jack: The music industry, for everybody's love of talking about how horrible it is, has done some fascinating work on adapting to the way things are now.

Andrew: Yeah, it's sort of coming around to being okay.

Jack: We've all gotten on board. Big labels have gotten on board. You know, we're on a major label, and I look at how things work and it's really embraced. And we have a career based on access of information, and not closing doors and making people pay for something. We'll be fine, as long as people keep buying tickets and coming to shows.

Sticky: Since we're discussing the internet, did you put the period at the end of Fun. so that you could be found online easier?

Andrew: No, we put it there because we were threatened with a lawsuit by another band called Fun who through all of our Google searching we couldn't find. So we had to add the period at the end to distinguish ourselves.

Sticky: And that was enough for them?

Andrew: Oh yeah, they were okay with that.

Sticky: There's a vinyl resurgence going on now and Some Nights is going to be available on record. Was this the band's idea or the label's?

Jack: Everything we've ever done has been on record. We've released more vinyl than we have CDs.

Andrew: I think we have four 7" records at this point, we have a 10" coming up.

Sticky: So your labels are on board with this revival?

Andrew: I think it's good for them too, because they know that fans want stuff like that. I'm a fan of music first and foremost and I love having vinyl. I don't really buy CDs. Vinyl is the way to listen to music.

Jack: It's a way to preserve something too. Art beyond music, you know. Packaging.

Andrew: You're forced to listen to it intently too — you have to be there to turn it over, you can't just throw it on while you're driving.

Sticky: Back to the new album. The songs you have streaming on your website now are all pretty huge, pretty anthemic, compared to some of your previous work. You have an orchestra credited on almost all of the tracks on the new album. What influenced this expansion of sound?

Andrew: We don't ever write songs thinking "This is going to be an orchestral song." We never really talk about it. It's more like once we get into the actual writing.

Jack: Well those sort of pieces of production in what we do can work in a lot of places. It's actually more about choosing where not to have strings, because they could kind of go everywhere. Although the last album was less anthemic, there was actually more of that stuff. What makes this album so anthemic and big sounding is actually a lot of the stuff Jeff Bhasker did with drum programming and sampling, and the way he recorded it. We weren't trying to make the drums sound like Fleetwood Mac, which is like this big and really organic... it was more like trying to make the drums sound like Kanye. Let's have the bass hit you in the gut. On a song like "We Are Young", those are huge drums. There's also really cool orchestration in the verses. So we learned — which may sound off topic but I think is really the question — we learned on this album that to use a retro influence it's actually cooler to do it in a modern way and not just make the whole thing sound like that [influence].

Sticky: Because you have an orchestra on a lot of these tracks, do you have plans to address that on tour?

Andrew: For a couple shows we did in November we brought out a string quartet. And that was really neat — it's fun to play live with that stuff. But on this tour I think it's going to be a lot of either we'll be playing the parts, or we'll be playing with tracks. We're experimenting a little bit with having that kind of stuff. Because it hurts to lose it — those are a big part of the songs. The orchestration really does make the song what it is and it's hard to lose that sometimes. Sometimes you can work around it.

Jack: Biggest thing live is that we're always just going to figure it out. We've never made a point of recreating the album because people paid for something else. They paid for the album and now they're paying for something else. We should deliver something else and that's always going to be the biggest goal. But it is tough and we make it hard for ourselves.

Sticky: I'm sure you'll do just fine.

Jack: You'll have to be the judge of that.

Sticky: Speaking of production, was it gratifying working [with Jeff Bhasker] and getting Beyonce and Kanye level production?

Andrew: Oh yeah.

Jack: Very much so.

Andrew: And you know, we don't mention this other guy we worked with often enough, but we also worked with Emile Haynie, who is Kid Cudi's main producer and he's worked with Eminem and a lot of other people too, as well as Kanye. And Emile produced two of the tracks.

Jack: He actually brought more of a hip-hop influence than Jeff did.

Andrew: Yeah, he's a straight hip-hop beat man. So between the two of those guys it was absolutely mind blowing and so inspiring and the sound pallet that these guys have and their knowledge of the history of music… It's so incredible and so inspiring to be around.

Jack: There's a confidence there. When you know people make a certain kind of records. There's just a level of thinking you're here to make that level of record. Not those records, but that level. Which is always what we intended to do, but in the past has always been in that delusional sort of daydream sense. So it was nice to bring that to reality. We've been preparing to make that kind of record our whole life.

Sticky: The "We Are Young" video shows a pretty epic bar fight. Have you guys actually ever been in a bar fight?

Jack: Oh yeah....no.

Andrew: I've never even been in a fight.

Jack: Yeah, I would probably just get in a ball on the ground and cover my face.

Sticky: So it was kind of an artistic judgement call?

Jack: Oh it was purely artistic. Which I think is stupid [laughing] but it also, from a cinematic point of view, works with the song with a level of intensity and a sort of odd carefreeness in a way. Youth. Epicness. It made sense there.

Sticky: It looked like it was fun to film.

Jack: Yeah it really was. It was wild.

Andrew: It was a bit scary.

Jack: There were large cannons with cake being blown in our faces.

Sticky: Last question: are there any questions that you always wish an interviewer would ask? Something you're dying to talk about?

Jack: I think the questions we always love getting are just ones that we never get and shouldn't get. About movies.

Andrew: Yeah we love to talk about film.

Jack: Just about anything besides music, in a weird way, is exciting for us. Our lives are filled with those other things, like food or movies.

Andrew: Things like "What was the best steak you ever had?" or "What was the best comedy last year?".

Jack: "What was the most awkward moment last week?" Just generic life questions, because we've gotten good at answering questions about music, so the other ones would be more revealing at times.

Sticky: When it comes down to it, your fans probably want to know those things more.

Andrew: Whether we prefer pad thai or pad see ew.

Jack: I think that will come if we get more successful. Because we're still at the stage where a lot of people reading or watching us are still being introduced. People might get interested in what kind of steak we like, if the music gets to that level.

Andrew: We're still at hamburger level.

Jack: Or slider level. Beef jerky.

Sticky: So what was the best comedy last year?

Jack: "Midnight in Paris".

Andrew: I don't even remember last year. I think "The Goods" is one of the best comedies that's ever come out.

Jack: It's brilliant. Off the beaten path.

Andrew: Really flew under the radar. Jeremy Piven's in it. Lot's of great people in it.

Jack: But yeah, "Midnight in Paris" definitely the standout for me.

Sticky: Well here we go — there's that personal touch.

Fun. will be in Toronto on Wednesday, April 25th. Due to overwhelming demand, the show has been moved to The Guvernment. Advance tickets $18.50 + S/C available online Ticketmaster.ca, UnionEvents.com, or charge by phone 416-870-8000; also available at Rotate This and Soundscapes.

Info: Fun.
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Video: We Are Young