Truth in Words, in Rhymes, in Notes: An Interview with Nate Ruess of Fun.

Blake J. Graham had the opportunity to interview Nate Ruess of indie rock band Fun. The following article is a profile of Nate Ruess as constructed from his conversations with Blake J. Graham.

On an all but normal evening in 2011, Nate Ruess arrived early at the Bowery Hotel on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. He sat at the bar, downed a couple drinks, and waited nervously. Having spent ten years writing and performing music with various punk bands, a popular indie-rock group named The Format, and now as the front man of power-pop trio Fun., Ruess has encountered many people and products of the music industry. But on this night he’s getting silly drunk to calm his nerves and loosen up. For Fun.’s second album, Ruess devised an album seismically different from Fun.’s previous work. “I remember telling the guys in the band, the record label, and our manager ‘oh, it’s going to be like a Fun. album but it’s going to have breakbeats,’” Ruess told me. He intended to fuse his theatrical indie pop-rock sound with hip-hop aesthetic. To do it, he wanted the best producer in the business. He waited in the Bowery Hotel’s bar for producer Jeff Bhasker, the man behind the gilded stars Beyoncé, Kanye West, and Drake. Bhasker had already cancelled multiple meetings with Ruess, but serendipitous conditions aligned and he agreed to give Ruess 10 minutes of his time.

Aided by a slight sense of inebriation, Ruess talked freely with Bhasker about the concept of Fun.’s upcoming album, dropping huge hints abut the band’s desire to work with him. Bhasker took interest. He had been in the studio working on Beyoncé tracks that day and decided to invite Ruess to his room to show him the songs. With the power of drunk-logic behind him, Ruess decided it was only proper to show Bhasker what he had been working on. He sang the chorus of an unfinished song that he had written only days prior. Bhasker was impressed. That night they recorded the hook for what would become Fun.’s breakout single “We Are Young.”

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