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Interview:
Rockers having fun. thanks to long-running hit
 

By GARY GRAFF
for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

Rest assured that the band fun. is having a good time with its sophomore album, "Some Nights" -- and especially its first single, "We Are Young."

The song, which features a guest appearance by Janelle Monae, has spent five weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 100 chart and is the best-selling song of 2012 so far at nearly three million copies. That's not bad for something that was just an idea when group founder Nate Ruess presented it to producer Jeff Bhasker.

"I had maybe written only three songs at that point, but I knew that Jeff was the producer we wanted to work with," recalls Ruess, 30, who put fun. together in 2008 after his previous band, The Format, broke up, enlisting Detroiter Andrew Dost from Anthallo and Jack Antonoff from Steel Train. "When I finally met up with him and tried to explain the vision that I had, I sang the chorus for 'We Are Young,' which at the time was really just a chorus.

"And he freaked out when he heard it. He and I went in (to the studio) the next day and began recording and hammer out an early version of it, and it was amazing to see the kind of dream I had come to life, and he really helped to set it over the top."

The idea of bringing Monae into the mix, however, came later.

"We were pretty much done with the album," Ruess recalls, "and we knew we wanted a female on the album for that bridge part of the songs. We made a list, all of us together, and Janelle was at the top of Andrew's list, and Jeff had just so happened to run into her and had a chance to play her the song.

"And she responded immediately, which was really exciting for us. We got to hear her version a few weeks later and it sounded lit it was either recorded on the moon or in the future, because those are the two places she seems to inhabit whenever she sings a song. But it worked perfectly here."

fun. and Miniature Tigers perform Sunday, April 15, at Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are sold out. Call (313) 961-5358 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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