Jack Antonoff has a lot going for him right now. The former Fun man has been busy writing mega hits for all your fave pop entities like Taylor Swift, Carly Rae Jepsen, Sia and he’s even produced Lorde’s new album Melodrama with her. No big deal!! Antonoff currently lives in Brooklyn with his other half (GIRLS mastermind Lena Dunham), oh and he’s just released the smashing new Bleachers album Gone Now.
Jack Antonoff is also really bloody good at interviews. Here he is telling us about his high school experience, sex, regrets and getting advice from Dave Grohl!
What’s your worst habit?
Making a face like I’m very grossed out by people. It’s a tick – I’m not.
Tell us about a recent dream you’ve had…
That my sink got fixed. I dream basic.
Do you believe in magic?
Yeah but mostly in the form of magical science.
Who is the most famous person in your phonebook/dm’s?
I’m in constant contact with Mickey Mantle. Not a joke. I’m not being annoying or reactionary. He’s with me!
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
The amount of time I spend wondering around. There’s this narrative that I’m some kind of workaholic. It’s odd. I work hard but theres this big part of me that walks around, sits and thinks for hours and hours. The actual record making can be quick. It’s all that thinking that I imagine people don’t know.
What are you scared of?
American fear. Clearly it can go so far and hurt so many. Having lived through post 9/11 and now Trump, it makes you want to get on your knees and beg Americans to not make their decisions out of fear.
Is punk dead?
No it’s just hiding somewhere which is potentially the more punk thing that punk could do. Punk is meant to exist for a long to for us. We get it for a moment. I had it when i was 15 – 17 in NJ. Though it would last forever and I was wrong. But it’s with me and not, its in some hole for some other kids that I don’t know about. That’s what’s correct about it.
If you could go back in time, when and where would you go?
I’d like to watch Kate Bush play in the 80s.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Dave Grohl said, “Don’t fuck it up,” Not sure if he was talking about the performance I was about to do or life in general or something in-between, but it really stood the test of time as far as ringing in my head. Just don’t fuck it up.
What’s your greatest regret?
There was one moment that I was unkind to someone who is no longer here. That lives with you. I regret that so much. I won’t get specific cause it doesn’t matter but since then I’m trying to treat everyone like I might never see them again because I might not.
Dave Grohl said, “Don’t fuck it up,” Not sure if he was talking about the performance I was about to do or life in general or something in-between.
What’s your biggest fail?
Tripping and falling 5 feet down off the stage in Philly a few years ago. Was hard to finish the show… part of me never recovered.
How was high school?
First two years in New Jersey were hell. It was shocking how much it felt like a shitty teen movie. I was tortured for being ‘gay’ and I’m not even gay. Those were the days of ‘gay’ just meaning anything counter. I really got the emotional shit kicked out of me. Then i transferred to an art school in NYC where I was one of 2 straight kids in the entire class. Full reversal. It was like entering through the gates of heaven. I’m not sure I’d be able to create or tour if I had stayed in that New Jersey school where everyday I was breaking.
Is sex important to you?
Yes. As is jerking off.
What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?
“Shut up nobody cares.” I won’t say who said it but since I heard it I believe its the meanest thing that can come out of someones mouth.
What is the closest you’ve ever come to death?
Fell asleep while driving and smashed everything up. Or rather a few years ago I got a pneumonia that landed me in the ICU. Hospital for 6 days then IV at home for a month. That was a close one. Fucking terrifying.
Have you ever broken the law?
Arrested for stealing at a very young age, but only from large corporations. We are a real code about who can handle our theft and what was fucked up. We stole so many Star Wars toys when we were kids. Cops caught us once and that was it. Scared the shit out of me. My parents however laughed in my face.
When and why did you last cry?
Listening to The Beatles ‘Real Love’ on repeat last week.
Is the glass half full or half empty?
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
‘Scenes from an Italian Restaurant’ by Billy Joel. It’s long and sprawling and I know all the words and can focus on my delivery and dancing.
What’s the biggest problem facing humans as a species?
Clearly ourselves. Wish it wasn’t that simple but we seem to never get it huh.
Is celebrity culture going to destroy us all?
The only thing that I’m concerned about celebrity culture fucking with, is how we take in art that has a connection to that. Which all successful art eventually does. we squeeze artists and try to make them celebrities and politicians. Fucking click bait. We push our artists into a corner so they can’t speak freely cause if they do we’ll grab a little piece and run with it. We were never meant to be politicians who have to choose every word. Think about it.
Who or what is the biggest threat to the music industry?
The idea that people are dumb and want less. They don’t but man some labels just can’t lose that notion.
What’s your writing process?
Not sure yet. It seems to change so much. The only constant is that if I feel something I follow it. I see the process as me being lesser than what I’m hearing. What I hear is some kind of magic. So me as a being I have to run and follow it down every strange path and hole. That takes many forms – sitting in a room forever, being on the street, staying up, running around etc etc. The only process is to just capture it. It’s like there’s a fly in your house and you spend your life trying to get it in a jar and every time you do, all of a sudden you notice another one. When there are no more flies I’ll pack it in.
What do your family think of your music?
They’re basically part of it. They’re on tour most of the time and around for every second. They lived through every story I’m talking about it so its almost like they write it with me. Almost.
How would you describe your sound?
Loud bedroom music.
What would your biography be called?
Thank you and sorry!
What’s for dinner?
I hope a big fat steak.