Charli XCX & Bleachers' Jack Antonoff on Why Their Co-Headlining Tour Is 'A Little Festival'

Charli XCX and Jack Antonoff
Isaac Brekken/Billboard Awards 2014/Getty Images for DCP

Charli XCX and Jack Antonoff attend the 2014 Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 18, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Plus, Charli talks writing with Ryn Weaver for Gwen Stefani.

Some tour pairings make us scratch our heads wondering what (or if) the artists possibly talk about on the road. Charli XCX and Jack Antonoff are decidedly not those co-headliners.

Hanging in the wooded lounge at the Sweetlife Festival, the Bleachers frontman and pop diva dished some serious sarcasm, finished each other’s sentences and shared what they’ve recently learned about each other as they prepare for the Charli and Jack Do America romp, opening July 21 in San Diego.

Charli Commands the Crowd at Sweetlife 2015

“He likes to get pedicures, he eats a lot of steak, he goes rollerblading on tour and went to Jewish school,” Charli says of Antonoff.

“She likes karaoke. Her big karaoke song -- there are a few -- she likes to do ‘Kiss’ by Prince, ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ by AC/DC, Billy Ocean, anything that really gets you moving,” Antonoff says of Charli. Also they both hate fish, with the exception of sushi.

Both are also equally enthused about co-headlining, with Børns opening for them on most dates. “What’s cool about a co-headlining tour is it’s two big shows,” Antonoff says. “Every other tour I’ve done, you get the first of three, the second opener and then here comes the big show and the lights go out. This is like a little festival.”

Bleachers will take the stage first, bringing a retro vibe. “Our stage is inspired by Queen on a tour they did in the early ‘80s,” Antonoff says. “It’s a lot of can lights because I wanted to get away from screens. I like the idea of what a big rock show looked like in the ‘80s, where it looked like a spaceship of cans.” To amp up the effect, mic stands and drum sets will be all mirrors and chrome. “Know what it looks like?” the Jersey native baits. “It looks like someone who lives in New Jersey who just got money.”

Charli’s set is an inflatable fantasyland, including a “massively oversized” inflatable guitar and huge blow-up lollipop that matches the one on the cover of her current album Sucker. “I’ve never done a co-headline tour before. We’re both chill. There’s no ego shit going on with it… well, at least I hope not,” she says flashing a faux warning glance Antonoff’s way.

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The two artists are also busy with other projects, though no collaboration is in the works at this time. (They previously traded songs on Complex's In-Ride Sessions, with Antonoff covering "Break the Rules" and Charli returning the favor on "Rollercoaster.”)

Aside from riding Sucker, Charli’s back to writing for other artists for a spell. “I want to write hits for other people” she says. She penned a few tunes for Gwen Stefani with Ryn Weaver, and is hopeful they’ll come to fruition. “It’s been going on for a really long time. She likes two songs and keeps mentioning the songs but I don’t know what’s going to happen with them.”

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Antonoff is at work on the follow-up to Bleachers’ seemingly bottomless debut, Strange Desire. The band released the Like A River Runs EP today, featuring a reworked version of the album’s third single, RCA label mate Sia’s interpretation of the song, a live version and a 15-minute audio conversation between Antonoff and a dream specialist.

“I was just in the studio last week,” he says. “It’s my favorite stage, where you just try shit and you don’t yet know what the parameters of the album are,” he says. “I actually think I have the vision now, so it’s an exciting time.”


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