Q&A with JACK ANTONOFF of Indie Pop Bands: Fun. + BLEACHERS
Posted On 23 Mar 2015
Tag: All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, Artist, Artist Interview, Beatles, Bleachers, Boys II Men, British Columbia, fun., Girls, I Wanna Get Better, Interview, Jack Antonoff, Lena Dunham, Monster, Music, music interview, Nate Reuss, Nate Ruess, New Jersey, NJ, Queen, RCA, RCA Records, REM, Rollercoaster, Some Nights, Steel Train, Strange Desire, The Beatles, Tom Waits, Toni Braxton, Under Pressure, Vancouver, Variance Magazine
Bleachers is an American indie pop act based in New York City that was formed by Jack Antonoff, of Steel Train and Fun. Their first single, “I Wanna Get Better“, was released February 18, 2014.
While on the road with his band, Fun., Antonoff began working on a new project during his time in different cities. For about a year he kept the project a secret until February 18, 2014 where the first single “I Wanna Get Better” was released along with the launch of Bleachers’ website. News of Bleachers was first publicly announced in a Facebook post by Brooklyn music studio Mission Sound in May 2013.
About making the album, Antonoff said,
“I spent the past year working on the music but not talking about it, and eventually it became this psychotic alter-ego situation, where it was second nature to have this part of me that no one knew about. Except for a small group of people, most of which happened to be members of my immediate family, no one was aware that this music, or this album even existed … even though it existed so deeply to me.”
Antonoff also cited that Bleachers was never meant to be a departure from his position in Fun., and that he will remain in the band.
Bleachers’ full-length album Strange Desire was released July 15, 2014, from RCA Records. Variance Magazine called the single “Rollercoaster” a “brilliant summer anthem.”
All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa got to catch up with Jack 60,000 feet in the air as he answers a few questions about how it all started, his love of R&B and his New Jersey pride. Read more below!
Hi Jack! Where does this interview find you? What’s on the agenda today besides our interview?
I’m on a plane at the moment heading to Vancouver. Bleachers has never been to Vancouver. Its always incredible to go somewhere the first time. You really can’t ever duplicate that energy.
For those not as familiar with you and your music, how did you get your start in music? Who or what was the catalyst for you?
The New Jersey punk scene is really how I got started. I was always in love with the Beatles and then everything from the early 90s when I was growing up.
But, the moment I actually became a part of music was when I started playing in fire halls of NJ when I was 15. Those were amazing days! I learned how to play live / how to function in a scene / how to write songs — it was everything. I carry those feelings from that time with me always.
You released Bleachers full length album, Strange Desire last July. What did you learn between Fun. albums that you felt you wanted to infuse into Strange Desire?
Everything I do makes me rethink how I will make records in the future. A lot of the time, particularly with Strange Desire coming off of Some Nights, I made the album in the exact opposite way as the one before.
I like to constantly put myself in new and uncomfortable places when making albums to test what can happen. Some Nights was quick, that’s what was new about that. Strange Desire was made all over the world…on planes, in hotel rooms, buses etc.
Can you share with me what your inspiration was for the single, “I Wanna Get Better”?
It’s basically my life story in 3 verses or rather all the horrible things that have happened in my life leading up to moment of saying that within all that, you can still want to get better.
“Its about stories of loss, depression and anxiety and figuring out how to move on with the complicated person you’ve become. Really it’s about going as deep and low as possible and then still wanting to get better. To me, that’s the top… wanting, not actually getting better, but wanting to get better. That’s a beautiful thing.”
Who are your musical influences?
New Jersey is my biggest influence. New Jersey and people. People who overcome the challenges in their lives.
Do you remember the first album you bought for yourself?
Monster by REM. I got it at the mall. Remember that place? So loooong gone.
What was the first song you fell in love with and why?
“Under Pressure” by Queen. I couldn’t believe how cool the melody and production was. It had this quality that made me want to run 1,000 miles an hour while simultaneously cry and think about my life. It’s got everything. It’s a perfect song… deep / anthemic / personal / all of it. It still feels like I’m discovering music every time I hear it.
Who would your dream collaboration be with, living or dead?
Who is in your current playlist? Any artists, musicians or genres we might be surprised to find in there?
I’ve really fallen back in love with 90s R&B. That was such an amazing moment. The song writing was perfection and the production feels new and hip even today. A lot of things that seems cheesy now we’re actually fucking brilliant. I like Boys II Men and Toni Braxton.
What’s on tap next for you, Jack? What are you most excited about in 2015?
I kind of like to just think a few days ahead and this week as I start the tour. Thank god for that! Playing these songs makes me feel alive!
“I’m most excited about the audience and Bleachers. We’re really starting to feel like a weird cult and I’m fully into it! “
To learn more about BLEACHERS including upcoming tour dates, visit their website HERE .
All photos by: Daniel Silbert