If you were a fan of Anathallo, The Format and still are of Steel Train and you were wondering where your favorite boys went, I found them for you in Fun. You probably didn't need my help though since Nate Ruess, Andrew Dost and Jack Antonoff have just come off an extremely successful debut album "Aim & Ignite" in Fun.
They have been on the road pretty much constantly with bands like Jack's Mannequin and Anberlin, and they just hit the road for the third time with Jack's! For the spring, they have been announced as the openers for the new Paramore tour along with Relient K and hopefully will be able to make some new fans along the way.
I first caught this talented trio while they were on their very first tour as a band on their first time around with Jack's Mannequin in Montreal and I knew they would be a playful bunch. As you'll read in my interview with Andrew Dost who plays keys and does some back up vocals for the band, they were in the middle of the recording process for their first album and had no tours under their belt which made it even more difficult when they had to strip all their songs down to play the show acoustically. Read on to see how they believe they have matured since then and how they have really become a kind of band of brothers who also bring along their extended family!
Who would be your dream artist to collaborate with and what would the song be about?
Realistically? Ok, there would be two for different reasons. The first one would be, you kind of have to say Paul McCartney just because of what he contributed to music and he had such a great sense of melody and words and rhythms that were just so, so sharp. I still think every record he did was incredible.
Also, Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend. I think he's just great and I really really want to work with him at some point.
I actually caught you guys on your first tour ever with Jack's Mannequin in Montreal. You were just starting, you were in the middle of recording "Aim and Ignite" but how do you think your live show has matured over this past year, being even harder because it was acoustic?
We've matured in many ways. First of all yeah that was an acoustic show so we didn't have our full band and all the songs weren't really fully realized. They were very stripped down and it was really weird for us.
We had also never done a real so tour so to think about getting our songs down into acoustic form was really a challenge for us. It was our like our fifth show and I think we could have done better and now to go back out with them, and with a few tours under out belts, I think it's definitely going to be a lot better. We definitely play better now, we have more of a sense of what a "Fun." show is or you know what our band's live show ought to be. We just have a better sense of what we're doing and I think we've really matured in every way and I think we can do the songs more justice now with more people.
Like you said, you're going back out with Jack's Mannequin and you've toured with them a few times now. Did you guys know Andrew McMahon before or did you just get booked for the tour?
Yeah we knew him before. Yeah he was kind enough to kind of offer, well the whole band was kind enough to give us a spot on his tour when we didn't even have a name yet so he really took a chance on us. So for this one, they offered it to us and so of course we said yes because they're great. The shows are going to be outstanding. You know, we've just been really lucky to get on three tours with them.
What can fans expect when they come out a Fun. show. I know you're going to hi the road with Paramore this spring and that's going to be a little bit of a different tour for you guys. How do you think that's going to work out for you? Definitely a different genre.
Yeah a different genre. I think we are just going to expect going in that we're just going to have to win over people. I think that's how we kind of view bigger shows like that. They aren't there for us so we just have to put on the best show we can in the amount of time we have so we can kind of force them to pay attention. Try you know really as much as we can.
Awesome idea. What would you say is your favorite part of the touring experience?
Um, my favorite part of touring is just meeting people and having people sing along that really care about the music. To me, to watch people sing along is the best feeling.
Who would you say are some of your bigger musical influences? Maybe personally or for the band?
Well the Beatles, I'd want to repeat them. They were wonderful, life changing. I don't think it's right not to mention them. I also loved The Beach Boys growing up and still do. We were all into like the pop punk stuff like Epitaph and Fat Wreck Chords. The scene that happened like from mid to late nineties. That was really big for us even though I don't know if it really shows up in our music but for me at least, it was the most forwarding thing that made me think "I want to be a musician" "I want to be friends with these people". I don't know, I just seemed to really like it. They were funny and they were writing good songs and it was wonderful. So, that was a huge influence. Also like nineties punk like Weezer for example and Supertrick which as a similar band but they may just be influences for me because they were quirky and lyrically like interesting and thought provoking.
You all came from three separate bands to make Fun. How did you all come together in the songwriting process?
It was actually pretty easy. We didn't really know what to expect when we got down to writing. We weren't sure what was going to happen and the first song we actually wrote was actually a little rough. The communication wasn't there, we were all just sort of feeling each other out then eventually we started just to get the words out. Then on the second song, just something happened where we clicked as far as 'Okay, like we can communicate. We can all be like throwing ideas out and we can even be interjecting and be like this is better". It was a great feeling not having the egos, not having the hurt feelings. We all just knew that we wanted to write the best songs possible and we all should trust each other. We developed this really nice system of communication and creativity without even really trying which was very lucky and very fortunate and it became this great idea of trust.
Oh that's great. It must have worked out well because "Aim and Ignite" is on a lot of top ten lists for this year, including lots of other musicians. How do you feel this album has been doing? Does it surprise you sometimes being this new band?
If anything, I have nothing but great hopes for us and I believe in it a lot. I wouldn't be spending so much time and energy trying to make more people aware of it if I didn't really believe in it. I guess in that sense, I hoped for the response we've gotten but it's also been just really nice. I don't know, it's weird because we're not like the mainstream idea of success like Kings of Leon or anything. We're just an indie band that's able to tour and stuff so I don't know. Let's say I'm happy where we've got to.
I also had a question about the video for your song "All the Pretty Girls". How did you guys choose the concept with these pinatas of yourselves that were alive. How did that come about? Did you choose that concept as a band?
No, we thought of most of the video just in a conference call with the director. We had a few ideas and we were going through our favorites but they just didn't sound right and so we all just called in, and we talked on the phone for a good hour or two and we came up with the band being chased and we know we wanted to have kind of a surprise ending..like they weren't chasing us, they were chasing the Jonas Brothers who were in front of us. We considered another twist where we were going to be like going to our grandma's house or something like we were running away from these ladies to our grandmother's. We wanted something random, a twist at the end and then we didn't know what it would be. He came back to us a few days later with this whole treatment where we basically turned into pinatas and they broke us so we loved it and it was just a really big surprise. I mean it made no sense but we loved it for that reason.
Anathallo and The Format aren't together anymore but with Jack's other band "Steel Train", they're still actively touring like you guys are. How do you balance between the two when he's in two bands that are actively together?
Well, it's not easy because he doesn't really go on the road much with us. So, we have this other guy Rob who has played in a band before and also has a job and a fiancee there. Rob comes out for the shows with us a lot and Rob is phenomenal. So, there's really no drop off musically. It's weird but in a sense between the two of them, they're the two best guitarists I've ever worked with so its' not weird musically but we also love Steel Train so much, and we'd love nothing more for them then to have all the success in the world so touring is a large part of that. We understand!
It's understandable considering how long his band has been around.
Yeah and he's really good about trying to find time for both. It's actually worked out pretty well so far.
Awesome and finally what can fans look forward to in 2010 from Fun. besides the Paramore tour?
Um, I don't really know what else. Nothing else is set in stone. We're probably going to do a headlining tour at some point and we're hoping to get over to the UK at some point too but nothing is for sure. I mean what I look forward to most is time spent writing and recording. Touring is fun but there is nothing quite like creating music so I'm hoping for a little of that towards the end of the year.
For sure. Especially when it seems you guys work really well together through the songwriting process like you said.
Yeah, it's just so much fun collaborating together. It's just a really great experience.