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In Station with Bleachers

Jack Antonoff, commonly known as the guitarist for the band fun, stopped by the WBRU station Wednesday to promote his new project, Bleachers. Jack has a relaxed and chill manner that just oozes cool. Everyone should watch Jack play live at least once, especially those interested in being musicians. For us, the songs he performed were fun (no pun intended) and made us want to move. His acoustic performance of “I Wanna Get Better” lifted us into a state of bliss. Whenever you see bands live, you worry that the music performed live won’t be good—that the song won’t move you like it does on your iPod. Bleachers is not one of those bands that masks its lack of talent behind heavy editing. Jack has talent. When singing, Jack puts his lips to the mike as if to yell his secrets into it and reveal them to the world. Jack live is a theatrical performance. He definitely knows how to present himself and the music. Even while sitting in a stool, his whole body gets into the song. Jack emits this contagious spirit that captures your soul. We were fighting the urge to sing along and get kicked out of the room for interrupting the recording! Someone in the studio almost lost composure while lip syncing. Never underestimate the dangers of lip syncing: it can easily turn into actual singing.

“Artwork happens.”

When asked why he created Bleachers, Jack explained to the charismatic Steve Olsen that he “felt compelled to do it.” He “didn’t take pictures and didn’t have a diary, but [he] did record every day.” Bleachers was his diary. He chose the name Bleachers because of the “suburban and youthful” imagery associated with the word. Jack told Steve that he had kept Bleachers a secret because he “didn’t want to talk about it until there was something to talk about.” Bleachers is definitely something to talk about. The lyrics have the power to depress you or empower you. Either way, their songs will move you. Jack describes “I Wanna Get Better” as “a dark song set to” cheerful music: It’s “hopeful.” “The pinnacle of happiness is wanting to get better.”

Jack is not one of those pompous pop stars drowning in his pride. He hasn’t been tainted by fame. Before the performance and interview, Jack was asking the crew if anyone knew a Brown student he wanted to get in touch with while on the University’s campus. Jack is a little goofy. He constantly reminded us that he was just tuning every time he took out his phone; he didn’t want us to think he was rude. Mocking himself when he pulled out his phone for the third time, he said “This piece of garbage is texting again!” He played with the gum in his mouth, pushing it out slightly with his tongue and making faces. When Steve made jokes about Jack cheating on fun. with Bleachers, Jack said, “People on Brown’s campus would understand.” His relationship with the two bands is “polyamorous.” Bleachers is “like a second marriage.” As if to justify Bleachers, he mentioned that the members of fun. have always had identities outside of the band, participating in several side projects. All the band members were working on different things and were part of different bands when Nate Ruess formed the band. “We do things that are cool.”

“I’m always coming of age. I’ve thought that ever since I could remember thinking.”

Facts about Jack:

  1. He views Taylor Swift as the artist that “people love but [feel like they] aren’t supposed to love.” He says, “She is a great songwriter.”
  2. He feels that the lessons in Disney’s The Little Mermaid are horrible, and that Sebastian is the only redeemable character. “Triton’s a piece of garbage.” He also views Ursula as garbage, though he praises Pat Carroll’s performance.
  3. He explains that he has a “general rejected feeling” but that he “[got] used to it.”
  4. He believes that it is “important that your formative years aren’t that great” because, a lot of times, those who had the best time in high school end up not having good lives later on.
  5. In regards to New York, “I still feel like an outsider.”
  6. He chooses not to do drugs: “Drugs aren’t the best idea…you die.”
  7. He supports LGBT rights, and feels that everyone should care and be involved. “It should be a part of everyone’s life.”

When I talked with him after his interview, Jack revealed to me that the one secret thing that he always has with him is alcohol wipes. He also disclosed that he decided to be a musician when went to a Smashing Pumpkins concert when younger. “I felt compelled to be a part of that.” He believes in music evoking different emotions from people. He’ll be happy whether someone cries or has their spirits lifted when they hear his song.

The currently unnamed Bleachers album comes out the end of May/the beginning of June and we can’t wait to be able to sing along! Catch the exclusive interview and in-house performance videos here!

Photos courtesy of WBRU Photography Intern Lauren Galvan

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