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Interview:
Bleachers year has been big fun for Jack Antonoff
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

» See more SOUND CHECK

It's been an eventful year since Jack Antonoff launched Bleachers as a live act last March.

"Sometimes when things feel like forever and a minute all at the same time -- it's that kind of thing," says Antonoff, 31, who's also part of the band fun. and recorded Bleachers' 2014 debut album "Strange Desire" by himself before building a live group to play its music. "One one hand all that time's gone by and I can't believe we're here, and on the other hand when I think back about everything that's gone on I can really remember it all and it's so gradual."

"Strange Desire" peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard 200 and reached No. 2 on the Alternative and Rock Albums charts, and it launched the Top 10 hit "I Wanna Get Better." The group has been on the road steadily for the past 12 months, which Antonoff -- who's dating "Girls" creator Lena Dunham -- says has brought a new perspective to the material.

"I've learned a lot about the songs and what they mean live and how they function and, moreso, how people hear it," he explains. "It's way more joyous than I realized; it's almost, like, more celebratory or something the way people react to it live. There are so many of the songs that to me were very dark, but in sharing them I see the beautiful side of them...and a different level of optimism that I didn't have when I was making it.

"It's a pretty special thing, actually, when you think about it."

Antonoff has started to work on the next Bleachers album -- which he'll again write and record by himself -- and has more time to do that after fun.'s recent decision to take an open-ended hiatus after its Grammy Award-winning "Some Nights" album.

"Everything evolved pretty naturally," Antonoff explains. "I think it's all about making records when you're inspired to make them. For me, (Bleachers) is what I'm really digging into at the moment. You don't' want to just go in and make a record (with fun.) 'cause it seems like a good idea to make one.

"So everything has felt pretty natural as far as that goes, and it's just kind of about timing things to where they're happening because you're inspired to make them happen, not just because you think you should."

Meanwhile, Antonoff -- who's been an outspoken critics of Indiana's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act -- will be performing with Bleachers at the NCAA's March Madness Music Festival during the weekend in Indianapolis. Other bands have been canceling shows in the state to protest the law, but Antonoff says he's looking forward to confronting the issue in person.

"I'm proud to go there," says Antonoff, who's "not a big sports fan" and has no rooting interest in the games. "I'm gonna do press on the issue. That to me is how you really make a difference. I never understood the idea of canceling a show when you don't like the politics of a specific state.

"The politics don't speak for everyone in that particular state; I would argue they probably don't speak for most of the people in that state, but that's who their leader is and (Indiana Gov. Mike) Pence is obviously a piece of s*** and I'm excited to go and say that on stage."

Bleachers, Joywave and Night Terrors of 1929

Friday, April 3. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit.

Tickets are $29.

Call 313-961-8137 or visit www.livenation.com.


Web Site: www.livenation.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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