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.


Photos: The Redwood Plan, What What Now and Thee Satisfaction @ our Blue Moon show

Friday night rocked. We had the best lineup, the best audience, and for a Backbeat Seattle show, the best venue in town. Seriously.

THEESatisfaction immediately charmed me. San Francisco has lured our ladies from us, so check their site for shows and see them while you can.


What What Now splendidly proved again why they are one of my favorite bands. There’s a point in most of their songs where merely listening ends and the music actually takes me somewhere. It’s wonderful.



The Redwood Plan is the perfect band for any venue, but I love how their sound sunk into the Blue Moon’s woody interior. Larry’s bass was thankfully more prominent than at recent shows and they sounded great – I love the songs they showcased from their new EP.

photo by dagmar

Dagmar says:

Booking a show is really difficult and every time I do it I am reminded how much I appreciate and admire bookers. We were lucky to get these bands, The Redwood Plan, What What Now and THEESatisfaction to take a chance on a new blog’s first showcase. There was a huge audience for them and from THEESatisfaction’s alluring and connected performance to What What Now’s sultry punkness to The Redwood Plan’s dazzling and tasty set I want to say thank you to the bands! And thank you to the Blue Moon for hosting, KEXP and the Stranger for giving it props, everybody who came to the show, and Amelia – who designed a really wicked poster and co-organized the whole shebang.

Thank you Dagmar, the bands, the Blue Moon, and all our friends who came out to Backbeat Seattle’s first show. I had a blast and hope you did too. More of my photos here.
More of Dagmar’s photos: The Redwood Plan, What What Now, and THEESatisfaction.
See you next time.


Photos: Mason Proper @ Chop Suey

Michigan’s Mason Proper opened for stellastarr* earlier this month and the band’s alarmingly all-around great and bouncy. Point A to Point B, Fog are beauties of songs and I enjoyed frontman Jonathan Visger’s unique aura. I took some photos for you:

All photos by Dagmar.
Gallery of Mason Proper @ Chop Suey


Get your copy of The Redwood Plan’s new EP tonight

The Redwood Plan is an energetic, terrific live band, and fortunately their recorded music manages to convey most of what makes them so special. Their brand-new EP Movers Shakers Makers has been on continual play since I picked it up at their show last week.

Get your copy tonight for $5 (or order it here) – The Redwood Plan headlines our showcase at the Blue Moon.

My favorite tracks are “Tension in the Seconds” and the very sexy title track, which has an ending that is guaranteed to make you smile. “A Side” is also excellent – addictive, as is “Swing”. The Redwood plan has hit their stride and I can’t wait to hear what they come up with next.



Show preview: Head Like a Kite/Dyme Def/Mad Rad tonight (but come to our show instead)

Head Like a Kite headlines a super lineup at The Crocodile tonight, and I’d be there if it was any other night. All three bands are terrific live, and this promises to be a great show.