A long road of artistic soul searching, growth and development is paying off for Nate Ruess, Andrew Dost, and Jack Antonoff. The trio of dedicated musicians is enjoying recently achieved success after they formed their Indie Pop band, Fun in 2008. New fans will credit that success to their infectiously catchy tune “We Are Young” featuring Clizbeats Featured Artist, Janelle Monae, and while in many ways this is true, die hard fans know that, it is the well deserved reward after years of hard work.
Now based in New York, New York , Fun was born out of the wake of Arizona Indie/Pop band The Format’s decision to break up, after the excitement of their grass roots following wasn’t matched with mainstream label support. Nate Russes then moved to New York leaving a band he had been a part of since he was a teenager. To make the best of a new situation in New York, Russess actively sought out the help of his music industry friends in order to help him make a new start.
While on that journey of rediscovery Ruess began collaborating with fellow displaced indie rocker formerly of Anathallo, Andrew Dost, and Jack, Antonoff, front man of Drive Thru Records, band Steel Train. The collaborating trio became Fun. They partnered up with former Format producer, Steve McDonald to make their debut, Aim And Ignite. Canadian based Nettwerk Records released it in 2009.
Over all, Aim And Ignite was warmly received in the exclusive Indie Rock community that bands like The Format, and Steel Train were born out of. Much of the praised however, appeared to stem most from already familiar Steel Train and Format fans and critics that were infatuated with the novelty of Fun being an experimental twist on something from guys they already knew, and less from a newly exposed audience.
Deeper reasons for Aim And Ignite’s reception, and what it actually meant to the band would be debated amongst critics, but the best way we’ve seen it summed up was by Dave de Sylvia of spunkimusic.com, who recognized that their immense was there, it simply needed time to grow into itself.
“Aim And Ignite isn’t the most consistent pop album around,” but ultimately commended the album as “a superbly mixed and arranged album made by musicians who clearly understand the limits and potential of pop music.”
Ken Shane of Popdose.com also felt like there was defiantly something there, but they needed to find a presentation that better fit the quality of their talent. Shane called the album “an interesting and unusual listen.” He applauded the album’s songwriting and said “many of the songs are really good,” but thought the album’s production was too “cute”, and wondered if a shift in production’s presentation would make a bigger impact for the band.
To Fun’s credit, criticisms didn’t appear to deter them at all. They continued to tour and network in the industry until they were ready to make their second album called Some Nights. For the Some Nights production approach, Fun enlisted the help of Jeff Bhasker. This was an important difference to note for the band. Prior to working with Fun , Bhasker built a name for himself producing popular Hip Hop, and R&B acts like Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Bruno Mars, Drake, Brandy, and Birdman. Through that work, he has shown a keen ability to layer very dominate procession, key, and string sounds in a way that melodically surrounds, props up, and often thickens the vocal delivery of the performer. It’s hard to say how much of that same stylistic influence found its way on to Some Nights, because Nate himself is a fantastic songwriter. That being said, after studying all of the available music from Fun, The Format, and Steel Train, he seems to have helped them find the consistency that they have been searching for, and hone it into a more powerful and direct musical statement.
The completion of Some Nights, then clicked with the major promotional efforts of their new label Fueled By Ramen Records. Fun’s lead single “We Are Young” struck a chord with the mainstream public very fast. Within a matter of months it rose from tastemaker buzz, to being featured through the blockbuster promotion of a Chevy Sonic commercial and Fox shows Glee and American Idol. The best part of all of this is that it will give this truly talented band a chance to grow and effect the direction of the Pop mainstream while maintaining an artistic depth that will hopefully continue to enrich the Rock genre. Some Nights will be hitting stores February 21st.
Fun Featuring Janelle Monae
“We Are Young”
From Some Nights
Fueled By Ramen Records
Glee Cast Performing Fun’s “We Are Young”
Ryan Murphy Productions/20th Century Fox/Columbia Records
From Some Nights
Fueled By Ramen Records
People Are Talking About Fun!
“Baroque indie-popsters make a counterintuitive play for the big time, slowing down for the massive sing-along chorus.”
“This is the ultimate uplifting anthem to bring you into the weekend.”
“With their bold new video and bombastic new single, Fun. serve notice that 2012 may very well be their breakout year.”
“With a name like fun, how can you resist? More importantly, why would you want to? Bubbly, pop-synth songs are nothing but pure, unadulterated fun.”
“Nate Ruess’ voice is legendary… [fun.’s] music is special. To watch fun. is to perhaps watch the renaissance of Queen mixed with their own fresh approach to music.”
Janelle Monáe (Atlantic Records)
“Indie pop band fun. is irresistible.”
“The band pays homage to ’60s and ’70s rock…. Ruess’ soaring, impassioned vocals easily draw comparisons to Freddie Mercury… [and fun.] should be commended for their infectious enthusiasm…”
“…Awesome hook!!! FUN”
Bruno Mars (Elektra Records)
“Song of the Day: Fun ft. Janelle Monae: We Are Young”
Samantha Ronson (DJ)