You know how you sometimes have dreams about hanging with your favorite celebrities/bands and it’s like the best time ever and you think, “Why can’t this be real life?”
Well, imagine if it came true. Crazy, right?
Since writing my last piece about fun., they have blown up. Seriously, the little band I love is now a huge band. First, Glee, then a Chevy Super Bowl Commercial, and now, Some Nights is at the top of the iTunes charts and debuted #2 on Billboard’s “Top Current Albums” chart. Their first single off the record, ‘We Are Young’ has become an anthem.
Some Nights was released on February 21st. As you know I couldn’t wait to hear it, thankfully Fueled By Ramen, their record label, released the record on SoundCloud about a week before it actually came out. I refreshed that page until the songs actually showed and was blown away. ‘Some Nights Intro’, which I heard at the Bowery Ballroom show, was epically produced into a Queen-like ballad. Some are upset with the use of auto-tune, but being influenced by Drake and Kanye West has led them to have a sort of hip-hop vibe. They use it as an artistic tool to add to Nate Ruess’ amazing voice.
During release week, I was invited to an intimate gathering with the band. Yeah, here is where I talk about that dream coming true. I was invited to the Some Nights release party held at a speakeasy-like bar, named Sons of Essex, in downtown NYC. We walked in passed the bakery to the back bar/restaurant. Old fashion pictures filled the wooden walls. To the right was a huge chalkboard with fun. on the menu. Each table was set up with a candle glaring its light onto a brown paper bag, which contained some fun. goodies.
I had a chance to interview Jack Antonoff on all the crazy things that have been happening:
So how are you? I’m assuming this week has been pretty crazy. It’s so weird how things picked up.
“A lot of the stuff that’s happening right now feels like a lot of stuff that happens to brand new bands. Where it’s just like everyone just finds out, putting it on the radio, and talking about it. And I think having a history is a great thing, but for some people it kills some of the mystery. Which I think…I don’t know. I just think…”
I think it’s cool because you guys have such a huge background.
“Yeah! It’s exciting!”
You’re still in Steel Train right?
“Yeah, yeah. All three of us write for tons of different stuff. It’s kind of like fun. is in the center of it and we do all sorts of different things on the side.”
I keep seeing articles that state, “Jack was in Steel Train.”
“The press always writes what they want. People are also saying that Nate and I grew up together in New York. Today, I read an article that referred to Andrew as the percussionist, which is a funny image to me imagining him playing like a bongo.
It’s like high school when someone says something and everyone thinks it’s true. I think that was actually a typo in the bio about Nate being from New York too. Now it’s a part of interviews, “So you guys grew up together in New York?” and at some point we’re probably just going to be like, “Yup!” No, it’s actually…”
“We’re from everywhere.”
“Yeah, that’s the worst question for us, “Where are you from?” We didn’t meet in like grade school. We met on tour. We’re really from New York, New Jersey, Iowa, Arizona, North Carolina, Michigan. And then anyone asking ‘where ya from?’ they always want it to be from the same place, so they have a mindless conversation about that.”
So I heard you guys were pretty emotional about Glee? Or at least Nate was?
“Yeah. We don’t watch it, like we don’t follow it, so we didn’t know what was happening when they did our song. But apparently it was like a really important moment for the show- of like people coming together. Which I’m happy about because they could’ve done ‘We Are Young’ in a totally like cheesy roller coaster scene. I know there’s two ways to look at that song and I’m glad they went with the deeper route. We’ve had a lot of luck with people using our music in really cool places.
But with Nate, I don’t know if it was Glee or if was just like we had just done a thing with our label that night, then the song was on Glee, shot to number one, and it was just really emotional because it was the first experience. Usually, being in a band, you see your work pay off in like really small increments over really long periods of time. You know like even if we’re playing for thousands of people, we’ve played for hundreds of people. It’s so gradual that you’re not always shocked in the moment. But things like Glee and some of the stuff that’s been happening lately have been completely shocking like in the moment. So I think that catches up with you. Those are special moments because we don’t get that a lot. Things like that, like playing Coachella…you know every once in awhile. So I think that just caught up to Nate and he had an emotionally breakdown.”
Being a fan, I feel like it’s crazy for me.
“We feel the same way!”
It’s so weird opening up every magazine and seeing you guys in it.
“I think we have the same feeling as our fans because this isn’t what we know. It’s not like we started like this, so it’s equally weird for us. I’m excited to get on tour and reconnect with all our fans. Sometimes I get scared that it could stress people out, but I think it’s important to go back out there and be like, it’s still us! Just playing shows…you know.”
You guys are on the radio now.
“Yeah, I heard they’re playing it on Z100, which is so weird. I grew up here. It’s very strange.”
Off of Some Nights, if people don’t listen to the band now, what song would you tell them to listen to?
“I think ‘Some Nights’. To me that’s like the epicenter of the CD. If the CD has parameters of what it is, that’s like the center- the center of the circle. It almost starts there and then other songs sprout out. ‘Stars’ is kind of in left field. ‘Why Am I The One?’ over here. Between the production, the song writing, the lyrics, that is like, to me, what we set out to do. We can’t define an album with one song, but if we had to that would be it.”
So did Nate think of the Some Nights idea before the song was written?
“Yeah, he thought of it before we had any of the songs. We talked about it in London and we all had that immediate reaction to the title Some Nights because it really evokes the content of being a different person from a night to night basis. Which I think is something that anyone can relate to. Every once in a while certain ideas take a while to understand, but that one hit us all so hard, so quickly that we knew it was a great idea that could probably resonate with people.”
A bit off topic, but congrats to your sister (Rachel Antonoff) for designing Zooey’s SNL monologue dress!
“Yeah, that’s like colliding worlds. It’s awesome! She works so hard.”
Everyone’s wearing stripes tonight. I guess I wore the right attire. (I spotted Nate in the crowd. Both him and Jack were wearing striped shirts.)
“We had this TV stuff today. And I think stripes on TV look like nauseating for people? So everyone was bummed we were wearing them. And I was like this is all I brought.”
So I think it’s pretty crazy that as a band rises to the top they start to have haters.
“Yeah, I love haters. I don’t have problems when people don’t like us. The only thing that bugs me is when people just say dumb shit. “I don’t like the auto-tune.” That’s fine. “I don’t like the new songs.” That’s fine. People have all these weird conspiracy theories where like our label is trying to make us more pop. If you’re going to hate anyone, hate us. Every decision we make is from the three of us. That’s the only stuff that bugs me- the misinformation. Working with Jeff Bhasker was like a dream come true. All we can do is make the records we like.”
Jack had to get ready to perform, so we ended our talk. A guy from Fueled By Ramen gave a sweet speech introducing them, saying that the entire label was stoked to have them and that had all been fans before signing them. He went on to say what nice guys they were and that they are amazing performers that have the ability to give you goose bumps.
Nate, Jack, and Andrew walked onto the stage. They started their mic-less set with ‘Some Nights Intro’. As soon as the words slipped from Nate’s mouth, goose bumps formed. It was just Nate singing, Andrew playing piano, and Jack on the synthesizer. They didn’t even need mics. I couldn’t help but smile. How was I at an intimate celebration for fun., my favorite band? So surreal.
Along with ‘Some Nights Intro’, they performed ‘Carry On’, ‘All Alright’, and ‘We Are Young’. They ended their set with some banter. Nate talked about how he really does check the charts and was surprised to see some guy named Tyga stealing the number one spot from them on iTunes. They were upset because the guy apparently hangs with Chris Brown and that’s just not cool. They walked off the stage saying, “Vote fun., not Tyga!”
Some highlights from the rest of the celebration:
- I finally met Rachel Antonoff. We’re pals in the twit-o-sphere.
- Talking with Alia Shawkat and Rachel about how they both should sing, Selena Gomez love, and celebrity crushes. Jack saying that his celebrity crush is all four girls from Pretty Little Liars.
- Discussing Long Island bands (Brand New, Taking Back Sunday, The Movielife, etc.) with the drummer, Will Noon. He was a member of Straylight Run (another favorite of mine). He met Nate when his band toured with The Format and then they reconnected. Fun fact- Nate actually sang on Straylight’s song ‘For The Best’.
- Andrew Dost actually knew my full name. So crazy! He said that he loves HelloGiggles and that he is a huge fan!
- Meeting Nate and talking about meeting him in 2006 and his love of cheese.
I am so proud of them. They show that the Conan O’Brien motto, “If you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen” is incredibly true. Ten years of hard work finally paid off and they are extremely grateful for everything that’s happening. They are all such nice, chill, and awesome guys. I hope you all get the chance to meet them at least once in your life- possibly on their upcoming tour!
Check out Some Nights if you haven’t already, listen to ‘Some Nights’ the song, and vote fun., not Tyga!
Second band photo by Meghan Benson.