Interview: Jack Antonoff of fun.

In 2008 Steel Train’s Jack Antonoff formed a band with the Format’s Nate Ruess and Anthallo’s Andrew Dost. They ingeniously called themselves fun., a direct, memorable name. Their first CD, Aim and Ignite is set for an August 25th release. It’s one of the most brilliant CDs I have heard in quite a long time. It’s addictive.

I talked with Antonoff ahead of the band’s August/September tours and when I asked him what he thought about fun.’s status as what I see as a supergroup he found that idea “bizarre.” He also said that “If you liked the Format, Anthallo and Steel Train, which I assume a lot of people will like all three bands because we toured together – for those people it will be pretty exciting.”

Antonoff’s been a touring musician since he was a 15-year-old. He was the primary songwriter for Steel Train and working with Dost and Ruess has been a new experience for him as he stresses, “It’s entirely different from Steel Train because it’s collaborative.” He’s found songwriting a release. “You write these things that you think are crazy and you can share it with people. You can share horrible things that happen in your life with people and it’s incredibly liberating.” When I asked him about his previous comments alluding to not necessarily liking people who have been important artistic colleagues he mentions that “Nate [Ruess] and I met and we didn’t hit it off right way. We were on tour and a couple days later we were the best of friends. I think a lot of people in my life that I’ve gotten close with I didn’t really react in the right way. I don’t know if it’s a character flaw on my side.”

fun. from left-right, Andrew Dost, Jack Antonoff and Nate Ruess
photo by Kevin Estrada

I always wonder which bands musicians like to see play live. Antonoff’s got an understandable view on live shows: “When you tour as much as I do you start thinking about how many people are there, the sound. . . I appreciate the people who come to our shows – it’s such an effort to go to a show. It’s really intense. I like seeing bands at festivals. I liked the National, a band I’m a big fan of but had never seen before.” Although he frequently tours he’s not entirely sure if he likes traveling as it’s been five years since he traveled, which was on a trip to England with his parents. “We were going to see Stonehenge in the morning. I slept in until noon. My parents got back and told me they’d gone to Stonehenge without me,” he recalls.

Antonoff was part of an ad campaign for UNIQLO in 2007 and I asked him since it turned out so well if he’d be interested in doing more modeling. He admits that at the time he “didn’t know who Terry Richardson was,” but that “it was fun and interesting.” He’s open to more, “as long as it’s as a musician and tied to something.” I think he should do more, and it’s in his family. His sister, Rachel Antonoff, is a clothing designer.

fun. appears at Chop Suey on August 25th.


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