10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT JACK ANTONOFF AND BLEACHERS

1. Jack became captivated with music in the early ’90s. “I remember seeing the Green Day videos for ‘Longview’ and ‘Basket Case’ and Smashing Pumpkins’  “Today” and “Tonight, Tonight” video and I became obsessed. At that point in my life, I got really into different hobbies. There was the baseball-card phase, then a crazy stamp-collecting phase. I went through a Star Wars phase. I didn’t even love the movies that much, I just was obsessed with collecting all the figures. But when MTV started playing all this great alternative music in the ’90s, the collecting went out the window. It was like, ‘I have to play music.’ My parents bought me a guitar and I just never stopped.

2. Before he formed fun. with Nate Ruess and Andrew Dost in 2008, Jack fronted his own band called Steel Train. “I started the band with a friend when I was in high school and we got a record deal our senior year. I never wanted to go to college. I auditioned at a couple of music schools where I would play them my song. At every one there would be a bald guy with a ponytail explaining to me and my father why my song was garbage. So no college for me.”

3. Yes, he likes to work. A lot. “People seem vaguely shocked when I tell them I’m making an album. They’re like, ‘What?! Why are you making an album? You already have a band!’ But I have these songs and they have to go somewhere. Every day I sit down and write and it either goes in the fun. folder, the Bleachers folder, or someone else’s folder, when I’m working with other artists. To me, making music is like eating. You’re not going to eat the same thing every day, even your favorite meal in the world. It’s still important for me to do different things. It makes everything else so much better. Fun. started as three people who had all made music and toured for ten years. Andrew is scoring films right now. Nate works a lot of other artists. That’s just something that’s always been part of the deal.”

4. How he came up with the name Bleachers: “There’s a song on the album called ‘Like A River Runs,’ that used to be called ‘Bleachers’ because I thought it was the coolest name. I changed the title when I decided it should be the band name and not a song name. Bleachers just feels like the sound of the music. I was driving with my sister and we were talking about the feelings and influences of the music and the word just like came out. We were like, “That’s it, that’s the name. That’s exactly what it feels like.” It ties into the feeling of a childhood I never had, but even though it was dark, it was also hopeful.”

5. Jack played everything on Bleachers’ album. “I would program a beat on an MPC, and then play on top of it live in the studio. Then I would pick it apart, which is why the album has this energy and aggression that you get from live instruments, but also has a controlled sonic thing that you get from programming stuff. For every thin part, there would be a wide guitar part blown out through an old ’60s EMI board. For every live, random vocal take that I did somewhere in a bizarre place in the world, I would also do vocals or over-dubs that really brought all these things together.”

6. Making the Bleachers album was a global affair. “I wrote and recorded wherever fun. were touring, so the songs were made in Stockholm, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Korea, Italy, and the U.S.”

7. First single “I Wanna Get Better” is literally about Jack wanting to get better. “It’s about wanting to get better in an emotional sense, a feeling I’ve worked with a lot, just thinking I’m not healthy, but I want to be. The song is a real rant. The verses are me going through the shit that really bothers me about myself and then pulling it together, like the lyric, ‘I didn’t know I was alone until I saw your face.’ In that song, the concept of wanting to get better is about my girlfriend, as well, and how that was a huge element in my starting to feel better.”

8. “Shadow” is about Jack’s friend Sara Quinn from Tegan & Sara. “I read this article in The New Yorker about a therapist who had this idea that everyone has a shadow. Your shadow is like your shitty self. For me, I’m six feet tall, and I’m not terrible-looking, probably, and I’m good at certain things, so that’s hopefully what I am. But my shadow is the person who is horrible at everything he does, knocks things over, and is bloated and weird. Everyone has a shadow version of themselves. My friend Sara, who I actually wrote the song about, calls her shadow The Transvelt. So that song is big and delicate and the lyric is, ‘If you’re feeling blah, I will love your shadow.’”

9. Jack was born in 1984, the same year John Hughes released Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club. “To me, in many ways, the test of a great song is ‘Could this exist in a great film, particularly a John Hughes film?”

10. But he came of age in the ’90s. “It was a really connected moment in music and culture, where when you walked down the street and saw someone your age, you knew, automatically, that you guys liked the same music, which is not the case nowadays. Now you walk down the street and you wonder if someone likes Katy Perry or the Arcade Fire or some weird shit you don’t know about. But it was extremely connected back then. So there was this moment where you felt like you were part of something because you listened to music. I want to bring that feeling back.”

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