Before their hit song "We Are Young" was featured in a Super Bowl Commercial and became the first song in Billboard history to be downloaded 300,000 times a week for almost four months ...
Before their sophomore album, "Some Nights" went platinum, and they won two Grammy awards ...
Before guitarist Jack Antonoff's relationship with "Girls" creator, writer and star Lena Dunham became tabloid (and Instagram) fodder, the Los Angeles pop trio fun. thought they knew success.
"We kind of thought we already made it after (the band's debut album) 'Aim and Ignite' came out," said band member Andrew Dost. "We were touring successfully, we had really cool fans who seemed to understand what we were trying to do and we could kind of play wherever we wanted. We were really happy with where we were and loving what we were doing.
"But we thought we could do it better."
As soon as the demos for "Some Nights" were cut, Dost, Antonoff and lead singer Nate Reuss began playing them for friends and others who seemed unanimous in their enthusiasm for the new songs.
"They would say things like, 'Oh, this is a hit' 'You're going to sell a million records,' and we were always like, 'Yeah, OK, whatever,'" Dost said. "Honestly, there were hit songs on 'Aim and Ignite' that we were like, 'This is gold, Jerry, gold!' and it never happened so we didn't believe them. Then 'We Are Young' hit, and they were right. We did write a great song."
Fun. will be joined by Canadian indie pop duo Tegan and Sara on Sept. 24 at Family Circle Magazine Stadium in Charleston, one of only several dates on their American summer tour that has yet to sell out.
Dost talks about the pressure of success, performing at the Grammys and "That Thing You Do!"
QUESTION. When did you realize that "We Are Young" was a hit and that you guys had achieved some mainstream pop success?
ANSWER. I was always leery of that even when "We Are Young" hit No. 1 on the Billboard chart. I thought the trick then was to not be a one-hit wonder. "Some Nights," the song, came out next and that did really well and then it became how the album was doing as a whole so we always had that "What's Next?" attitude and really once the Grammys happened, that's when it all sort of set in and we kind of realized everything we'd done and been through. It was very surreal because the Grammys represent this huge, timeless thing so there was a little bit of a feeling of "Is this for real?"
Q. Where were you when you found out "We Are Young" was a hit?
A. I don't remember where we were but we were all in the car together, and Nate and Andrew were sick when we got the call that we had gone to No. 1 and it was such an awesome moment and it was so cool but they were so sick that we couldn't really enjoy it. I also kept thinking about that movie, "That Thing You Do!" where that song shot up the charts and then they just dropped off. We were always looking at what's next.
Q. I would imagine the last year and a half has been a blur, is there any moment you wish you had appreciated more when it happened or would go back and re-live?
A. A lot of the year did totally blow by and when you're in that moment, you don't appreciate what you're doing in the moment. Thankfully, we took a lot of pictures along the way to help us remember some of those cooler moments. For me, though, we did an iTunes session for Apple at the Capitol Records building in Los Angeles and we had a string quartet and we had to record seven songs in about 10 hours or so. It was a little rushed but to be in that building, which has so much history, with my two best friends doing what we love ... Man, that day was so magical.
Q. You guys have been really smart about licensing your music in commercials, in movies and television shows, what do you think the band has gained from that?
A. We do license a lot of stuff ... and I know, because of that amount of stuff with our songs in it, it probably seems like we say "yes" to everything but we say yes to ten times as many stuff as we say yes to for philosophical and others reasons but usually, when we do say yes, it's because we enjoy the product or like the show or the movie or the trailer or something like that.
Q. Have you guys been writing new songs?
A. It's really tough to write on the road because you're so focused on constructing a great live experience and a great show but we've been writing a little here and there. I'm really excited to make new music and write new songs but mainly I'm excited about writing with Nate and Jack. I think the approach that we're going to take is that we're not going to try to make a hit album or a great album but just keep trying to make songs that we like, songs that inspire us. What we've learned is that songs like "We Are Young" and albums like "Some Nights" don't come around very often so we can't try to make another record like that. Whatever happens, happens.
Watch fun. perform an acoustic version of their latest single, "Carry On"
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