Based in New York City, Bleachers is the newest project formed by Jack Antonoff (lead vocalist of Steel Train and lead guitarist of Fun). The creation of the project began as a secret while Antonoff was on the road with Fun, and now he’s getting ready to release Bleachers’ debut album Strange Desire on July 15th. Ahead of its release, we were given opportunity of giving him a call to discuss all things Bleachers! Read our new interview below, as we also discuss the Bleachers Hotline, therapy sessions, festival season, and I Wanna Get Better.
AMBY: Thanks for having a chat today!
Bleachers: Of course.
AMBY: I’m really enjoying your upcoming debut Strange Desire. What was one of the highlights you had while creating it?
Bleachers: The biggest highlight was when it went from a crazy idea to starting to feel like a real album.
AMBY: It was while touring with Fun was when you started writing for the album; rather than spending your downtown resting, you would often stay in your hotel room and write music for Bleachers. Did you ever find it difficult to balance the two – Bleachers and Fun?
Bleachers: No. With I Wanna Get Better, I loved recording it because I was able to work when I wanted to work. That made me really excited to want to make both things work.
AMBY: Many of the songs on the record are about loss. When writing the tracks, what inspired you to make the songs sound joyous while the lyricism or subject matter was a lot deeper?
Bleachers: I think it’s important to have both angles; I wanted to write songs that you could both dance to or cry to. It satisfies all angles of what I want in music; it could be something that really compels me to feel excited or make me feel really upset about what’s going on.
AMBY: And was making the songs sound happier, in a way, to also express that there’s always some sort of hope? As a listener, I felt that a lot of the songs are about attaining something.
Bleachers: A huge part of it is hope!
AMBY: I can really hear it in I Wanna Get Better. I love how ironic the video for the song is, too. When it came to the concept for the video, what inspired that?
Bleachers: We felt that there’s something very therapeutic about the song. From there, we evolved this idea of being in therapy sessions where someone could be screaming out their problems.
AMBY: You actually offered your own therapy session to your fans, the Bleachers Hotline, where people could call 888-920-1991 if they wanted to get better and lay out their issues. How did that entire event go over with the Bleachers fans?
Bleachers: It was great. What was really cool about it was seeing everyone hashtag #IWannaGetBetter and sharing something personal. We thought that sharing and creating a hotline would be something interesting. There would be more mystery…
AMBY: What were some of the more interesting comments you got on the hotline? Were people calling in with actual problems or comments about the music?
Bleachers: We had a ton of different things come up. Some things were serious, some people were just saying hi, some were intense things people have gone through. It was an amazing mystery. We didn’t know if five people were going to call or five thousand; we didn’t know what to expect. It was kind of crazy and pretty rare. A lot of the time you meet bands after a show or something where you’re running around, but having a place where people can call and talk was completely different.
AMBY: I’m happy it went over well. It’s such a clever idea.
Bleachers: Thank you.
AMBY: In support of the album’s release, you’ll be playing a nice slew of festivals over the summer. What do you look forward to most regarding your shows?
Bleachers: I love all festivals because you never know what you’re going to get. You never know if it’s going to be the craziest crowd in the world or the weirdest crowd in the world.
AMBY and Bleachers: [laughs]
Bleachers: It’s an amazing environment. At a festival no one is thinking about you, where at a headline show, you know that everyone is there for you. You go in blind for festivals and it’s so cool. Specifically I love Lollapalooza but all festivals are great and I love them for all different reasons.
AMBY: If you could curate your own festival line-up, who would be part of it and where would it take place?
Bleachers: I would like for it to take place in New Jersey because it doesn’t have a great festival at the moment. I would have a bunch of great Jersey bands play like Saves the Day, The Gaslight Anthem, and stuff like that.
AMBY: For our last question, what’s something about Bleachers that most people don’t know yet?
Bleachers: Most people don’t know what we are like live because we just started playing live shows.
Thank you Bleachers, for giving us your answers!
Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout