fun. Nate Ruess chats with AAA Music
aaamusic | On 24, Jun 2010
photo by Elizabeth Weinberg
AAAmusic: Why did you choose fun. as your band name?
Nate Ruess: We picked because I didn’t like the name “ice cream” very much at all, but I liked the emotion that it sums up. Someone else said “fun.” because it kind of related to ice cream but much better. Ice cream is inevitably fun, but “fun” isn’t necessary like that… you can say “oh fun” in a very sarcastic way…
AAAmusic: Why did you put the dot at the end?
Nate Ruess: We had to. We looked intensively and we couldn’t find another band named “fun” but apparently there was one.
AAAmusic: You come from three previous projects: how different is fun. from what you were doing before?
Nate Ruess: I think “fun.” is a mixture of what the three of us brought to the table from the other projects. But also we are all very independent, songwriters in our own right, so we’ve learned over the years that it may have nothing to do with what we’ve done in the old bands but just as people who always want to write better songs. It wasn’t about evolution, I think it was just about putting us all in a room together and seeing if all our different personalities could work out and what may happen from there.
AAAmusic: Can you name us three artists who have been an inspiration to the artist you are today?
Nate Ruess: Well, I can name probably any artists. We always find something. I can find something in anything, even if it couldn’t be any further from who we are. It could be songs structure, I always find something. But as vocalist, somebody that I look up to, maybe it doesn’t make its way as an influence under the record as he does on my way to make music are things like Queen – I think it very much shows in what we do and another one is Fleetwood Mac, just because I spent three years listening to Fleetwood Mac; once again, I don’t know if it ever makes his way on to the record but sometimes more of being inspired on the musical sample is being inspired on the inspirational sampling.
AAAmusic: You’ve just finished touring the US with Paramore and Relient K – how did it go?
Nate Ruess: It was great! When you get used to do tours that big and when you get to the venue or stadium or whatever that be, they supply you with all the food you can eat, pretty much anything you can have, so we would be the only band travelling in a van, whilst everybody else is travelling in buses, so we would get there and run straight to catering and basically have a huge meal and then lounge for the rest of the day… very very rock ‘n’ roll style! There’re massages, I can get a back massage every night, I had to pay for, but it was well worth the money you spent…
AAAmusic: How did the audience there react? Those bands sound completely different from you guys.
Nate Ruess: The reaction was even better that I had expected. I’ve always believed that as long as we were true to ourselves, that we were confident, no matter who the crowd was, because you know there may be a more childish type of crowd, or a mainstream type of crowd… we’d like to put on a bit of a show, but maybe our music doesn’t cater to them; we played to a crowd of people who might be considered a lot “cooler”, but we didn’t make ourselves much cooler on stage, we’re always just the same band and we and I think that there is something really wonderful about that and I feel like our confidence carried over and reflected on who we were, and the crowd was amazing!
AAAmusic: How did the UK tour go?
Nate Ruess: Yeah! To expect anyone here is amazing! You know, places here we probably do a lot more than smaller cities in the US, so if that means that we get to go to England and enjoy a wonderful country we haven’t really spent a lot of time in, and actually play for people, that’s a win situation for me.
AAAmusic: Are you planning to visit the rest of Europe too? Any country you would love to visit with the “excuse” of the tour?
Nate Ruess: We’re hoping to just tour in Europe, but my girlfriend is out here with me now and she lived in Paris for about three months and I’ve never been and she’s always wanted to show to me so I think as soon as we finish this tour and I get a bit of time off I think we’ll head over to Paris for a while. And then I’d love to go to Italy.
AAAmusic: You have always engaged a lot with your fans, by giving tracks for free if they’d subscribe to your mailing list or Facebook page. What’s your view on the digital era and the whole “giving music for free”?
Nate Ruess: I fall in the middle. I don’t legally/illegally download music, I like to feel like I own something. So if I buy a record it’s mine. I’ve been a fan of music for way too long, but also I’ve become a fan of music to the point where I’m very selective, so it’s not that I’m just buying anything. And I think a lot of people just want to hear new music, so if they can get it from free on some of those sites [Pirate bay etc] then they’ll get it. My hope is that they come to the concerts and support the band.
The old band that I was in was so big on giving tracks for free and I think we got a lot of credit for doing that, but I think it has become a lot more normal to reward your fans and I think that that’s great. back before the internet you had to do with things like the fanclubs, and fanclubs don’t exist as much anymore, now there’s mailing list; it may not be as special to belong to a mailing list but if you can get whoever is reading an email to pay attention to you and maybe rediscover your music or discover your music, then that’s great. If it takes a couple of free songs that’s cool too.
AAAmusic: Are you already working on new material?
Nate Ruess: A little bit. Not so much; we’ve been on tour for five months and so I’m gonna get home and spend few weeks off, and by the time I start writing we will get back on tour and probably we’d just find a place to go, somewhere like Paris, where just trying to actually focus on writing for the next record.
AAAmusic: Can you tell us which ones are your favourite acts at the moment?
Nate Ruess: I might be really bad at this question as I don’t listen to a lot of new music… I still have a lot of catching up to do as a listener. I’ve loved Spoon for a long time and I love the new Spoon record, I listen to the biggest indie band like Wilco, Spoon to me are the best American bands.. I think those records have really moved me from what has come out in the past 10 years.