For the Fun. of It

by Sammy Kaufman (Communications), published June 22nd 2010

The three-man-band, Fun., may include members from three different groups, but they have a sound all their own.  Consisting of Nate Ruess (The Format), Andrew Dost (Anathallo), and Jack Antonoff (Steel Train), Fun. made a stop at Northeastern University to play from their highly anticipated first album Aim and Ignite.  Not only did they perform an intimate yet energetic show in afterHours, Nate and Andrew were able to sit down with Tastemakers after their performance to discuss their past, the present, and the stories they’ve accumulated already through their short time together.

TMM: So, let’s get the first question out of the way.  Why ‘€œFun.’€?

Nate (vocals): We were sitting around with a friend one night and everyone was just naming off random things and someone said ‘€œice cream.’€  I was like ‘€œice cream is not happening but I like the concept– what does ice cream conjure up?’€  And Jack (drums) said, ‘€œFun’€ and we were like that’s a really good band name. It was the only one we didn’t officially veto really hard.  So we were like well ‘€˜Fun’ it will be and ‘€˜Fun’ it was.

TMM: What were some of the vetoed ones?

N: Well there was one that we all really liked but it was ‘€˜The Spirit Alive.’

Andrew (piano):
Our management thought it was too Christian-y sounding.  I made a Myspace and an email address for that.  We thought ‘€˜Spirit Alive’ was going to happen.  You win some, you lose some and something happens and you end up as ‘€˜Fun.’  And then you add a period six months later.

TMM: Nate, I know you called Jack and Andrew.  Out of everyone you know, all the musical talent, why’d you pick those two?

N: I toured with them for such a long time and it just seemed very right.  I always wanted to work with those guys. I just didn’t know when I’d find the time and suddenly I found the time and I called both of them up.

TMM: Andrew, were you automatically on board?

A: Yeah.  Whenever I’ve done anything in the past it’s been something I needed to take time to think about and this is really the only major decision that required no time. We both just booked one-way tickets to New York and didn’t leave until the job was done.  We left two months later after writing a thousand songs.  It was a case of where you almost don’t know what you’re going to do and then the universe gives you a path.

TMM: Coming from three different bands what would you say the biggest challenge was?

N: It was tough at first because we put a lot of pressure on ourselves.  With the first song I brought to the guys to start working on I think we didn’t do as great as a job because we never worked together. Then we all kind of stepped away from each other for each of our parts and just let the person do what they did best, and from that point on we knew what worked and didn’t work and went from there.

TMM: Would you say your other bands have an influence on what you do as Fun.?

A: I think the old bands don’t necessarily have an influence on us but I think we’re all proud of our past work. We don’t want to ignore what we’ve done in other bands and there are things that can be pulled out that are important.  We view Fun. as a place where we can write whatever we want.  That’s the freedom in starting a new band.  For the three of us we didn’t have to sound like any of our past bands we just had to make a record together.  The slate is sort of clean.  If we end up sounding like one of those things it’s probably because it’s us still.

TMM: Your show at Great Scott a few weeks ago was sold out and After Hours reached maximum capacity tonight.  Did you expect this kind of reaction?

N: It’s weird.  I have expectations but I’m surprised when anybody shows up.  I have crazy expectations that I’ve always held and I think that they might help get me to where I am as far as goals I set for myself but I expect nothing.  I was in the car on the way up and I was like, ‘€œI’m depressed there’s not going to be anyone here tonight.’€  I like to be pleasantly surprised.  It’s cool.  It’s awesome.

TMM: The tour has been going on for a few weeks now.  What’s the craziest thing that has happened so far?

A: Some girl hopped up on stage and started grinding her butt against Nate while he was singing a song ‘€¦

N: I didn’t know what was going on.  It was crazy. I don’t do well with stuff like that.  She said, ‘€œYou love it.  You love it.’€  And I said, ‘€œIf I was a different man,’€ because I’m a family man first.

TMM: If you guys weren’t family men or musicians what would you want to be doing?

A: I went to school for advertising. I probably would be doing something involving advertising.  I also am really profoundly fascinated with medicine and the human body in general.  Even during Anathallo, I was considering med school.

I’d probably end up going to school.  I’d probably be really successful with living in my parents’ house.

A: I’m pretty successful at that now.

: I’m really good at living at my girlfriend’s place.

TMM: You two have a lot in common.

N: And that’s why we created a band.

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