The indie pop/rock group "fun." were never concerned that they wouldn't live up to their band name. "That's why the period works. It's so uneventful," lead singer Nate Ruess explained in a recent interview. "That allows us to remain apathetic. We chose the band name because I was so adamant against the name 'ice cream.'"
Delightful moniker aside, the New York City act (Ruess, Andrew Dost and Jack Antonoff) have been on quite a roll ever since the release of their well-received debut Aim and Ignite. They just launched a tour with tween gods Panic at the Disco, and have already warmed up the crowd for spiffy acts Weezer, Jack's Mannequin and Paramore. I spoke with Ruess last week, and talked tour, Weezer and "the Biebs."
How's the tour going so far?
Really well. We have had a few minor setbacks, but it's getting better every day. I had oysters for the first time last night and my mind was blown. Who would have thought?
Insane! I see from your bio Pinkerton from Weezer inspired you. Does any of their new music do the same? It doesn't for me sadly.
Actually, some of it does. I'm not kidding. There are some really great songs. I'm not saying this because we just played with them a few days ago.
Right. If Justin Bieber asked you guys to open for him on tour, what would your immediate response be?
What are you currently overplaying on your iPod?
Nas -- Illmatic (It's the only thing I've listened to for the last three weeks.)
Do you think you'd ever do a concept album like Green Day or My Chemical Romance?
I once did a sort of concept album in my old band. It was cool, but it was very much like "well, so that happened" and I've sworn to never do one again unless it was for a Broadway musical.
What musical exploration will fun. take us on next?
Rapture (the band) meets Armageddon (the movie).
When you think of rock music, Finland is probably the farthest thing from one's mind. Well, that used to be the case. Rubik, an indie rock act from the "land of a thousand lakes," has been gaining momentum ever since releasing their album Bad Conscience Patrol four years ago. Their latest, Solar, has been receiving buzz from everyone from NPR to Nylon. I caught up with frontman Artturi Taira last week, and asked about making Solar and gaining worldwide notoriety.
How did making Solar differ from previous albums you've done?
This time, we wrote the whole album in our studio... just focusing on the songs, the arrangements and all that (without actually caring who plays what.) It changes the way you start feeling about the songs -- you don't have to think about them through your "own" instrument. Let's say you're a drummer but you come up with a great idea on guitar... why bother teaching someone else how to play it? Just go and do it yourself. It shouldn't be about huge player egos and, for us, it really isn't.
We usually worked with everyone present, but, if I'm being honest, I really can't remember who plays what in which song. By doing so, we made sure we would treat the songs right and do them justice, because that's what we think they deserved. Our way of making things, this whole process, takes a lot of time and, of course, sometimes we realize we've gone the wrong way and have to tear the song apart once again, but I think it's still worth it.
Do the four of you get along on and off the road?
That's not a problem. I mean, since we've known each other for so long, we've learned how to respect each other -- especially on tour -- when you might long for your own space every once in a while. The fact that also makes things a bit more fun is that there are actually up to eight guys in our live band, so you might always change the face you're dealing with on a daily basis. There's no risk of boredom.
What are your hopes and dreams for the band? Is a commercial hit single out of reach or not so much?
We've left these for the record company to worry about, eh... I mean, being in a band, the whole creative process of writing songs from scratch to a beautiful finish is an accomplishment valuable in itself.
Nice! What bands inspire you to raise your game?
We're not trying to top anybody. The favorites are usually the good old ones -- especially when making records and not wanting to get too much into anything too contemporary. Recently, I've been listening to Red Red Meat, old Tortoise albums and some 'Trane stuff from the mid-60s. But then again, those are the ones I will never grow tired listening to.
Out of left field, I'm curious... Is it difficult to name songs or albums?
It depends. The album titles have all been quite clear already in the writing process, same goes with many of the songs. Some are trickier, since you don't want to over-simplify things or leave no room to interpretation. But i still think it's harder to finish the writing itself, that's for sure.