What's Next for Fun.? Next Single Has Paul Simon Roots
With "We Are Young," the first single from its sophomore album holding the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for a fifth week, fun. hopes to keep the momentum going with its successor, the title track from the "Some Nights" album.
Frontman Nate Ruess tells Billboard that it was a case where the title actually came before the song. "I think we were somewhere in Scotland, touring, and I told the guys, 'Hey, check it out. I want to call the album 'Some Nights,'" Ruess recalls. "I had no idea where that came from, but they were like, 'That is a fantastic name for an album!' So I had to start figuring out what that meant for me and write a song about it."
Ruess says he settled into a lyrical idea about "just being someone different on any given night," while he drew on a variety of sources for the musical end of the song. "I was thinking about 'Graceland,' the Paul Simon album, for some reason. I had the chorus for the song and I didn't know what I was going to do with the verse, and I remember writing down, 'This will be the best song you've ever written' and was like, 'Alright. I guess I kind of have to challenge myself...' As soon as I felt it was an entire song I showed it to the guys and they were just like, 'We got it, let's go,' which was really exciting. That was the case for the entire album, too; I never had to explain myself. But ('Some Nights') was the first song that really happened for, and it kind of showed me that we were moving as one for the whole album."
Ruess knows "Some Nights" has a formidable task following up the Janelle Monae-featuring "We Are Young," however. Clearly "stoked" by the single's success and the band's raised profile because of it, he's quick to give props to fun.'s new association with Fueled By Ramen for breaking the song in a big way.
"It made a massive impact," Ruess acknowledges. "I think we were really lucky to have someone like Nettwerk, who released our first album (2009's 'Aim and Ignite'), be there for us. But a little while after that was released I got really excited about the prospect of being able to reach a wider audience or do just a little more, because it's such a big company. It was actually the fifth time they had tried to sign something I had done, and by that point I guess we had already established ourselves and who we are, so they never pushed us to be anything other than who we were, which was really inspiring. When we were making the album they just said, 'Whatever it's going to take...' and were never once a pain about us making the album the way we wanted to. They were behind it 100 percent."
Ruess sees "more and more and more touring" ahead for fun. The group is on the road in North America until June -- including slots at the Sweetlife Festival, the Sasquatch! Music Festival and a tour-closing two nights at New York's Terminal 5, with Europe beckoning along with Japan and Australia. "I know we get a few weeks off," Ruess says, "otherwise I'll start to freak out -- which is kind of annoying because I really love being on tour. But it gets hard to think I'm not going to get to go home for awhile. There is something a little sad about that despite how much I love being out there."
Fun.'s third album, meanwhile, is a back-burner concern for the time being. "I don't ever want to write music because it's my job; I want to write music because it's something that I love to do," Ruess explains. "That was another wonderful thing about this album for me; I really felt like I was a fan of music again... without pretense or anything like that. So I want to make sure that I always catch that moment when I'm really inspired again by something else, which isn't something you can force."