fun. guitarist Jack Antonoff released the debut album for his new band Bleachers on Tuesday. “Strange Desire” features collaborations with Yoko Ono, Grimes, and a bunch of other people that Antonoff says “no one will ever know about.” While touring the world with fun., the New Jersey native kept a folder of random audio files he wanted to incorporate into songs, from his girlfriend Lena Dunham yelling “Go!” (heard in the lead single, “I Wanna Get Better,”) to Dunham’s sister talking about graduating college (the spoken word is featured at the top of the album in “Wild Heart”).
“They are just little agreements between me and my friends,” Antonoff said of enlisting the help of some pals for the new project. “Hip hop has been doing that forever.”
And that’s where Antonoff took the concept from. Of course, the difference is that his beats are infused with 80s-like synths and sing-a-long, anthemic melodies. The result is an 11-track LP and a return to Antonoff’s roots; the band is a reincarnation of his pre-fun. outfit Steel Train. With the new group, the artist also returns to the front and center of the stage as the band’s lead singer.
“I don’t mind it,” he told “Ralphie Tonight” of being Bleachers’ literal and figurative face. “I did that for 10 years with my old band. All of it is so similar in a way. I feel like what happens on stage or in press, that’s a tiny part of the day. What really (matters) is being on tour; if you’re acquainted with that.”
If he wasn’t, he is now thanks to comprising one-third of fun., a group that saw massive success with 2012’s “Some Nights.” The global hit “We Are Young” buoyed the album’s appeal. It also snagged a Grammy for “Song of the Year” in 2013.
Speaking of fun., Antonoff said that despite his new project, the trio will continue on with the creation of its third album. A new song, “Harsh Lights,” was premiered last month on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon.”
“That was the first song we wrote (for the new album),” Antonoff revealed of the track. “Fallon asked us if we wanted to come play and we just said yes and tried to keep things loose.”
As far as a timeline, the singer/songwriter simply said, “we move slow until we move fast.” But he believes that both projects can co-exist through album releases and tour dates. Antonoff returned to Fallon on Tuesday for a performance, and will also pop back in to “Late Night With Seth Meyers.” As opposed to only singing, though, Antonoff notes that this time he’ll also sit down alongside the TV host.
“I’ve never been a chat guest,” he said. “It’s easy to hide behind the guitar. Just talking… we’ll see.”
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