Catching up with Kacie x Jack Antonoff (Bleachers)
Right as tickets went on sale for the new Bleachers tour in support of “Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night,” I got the chance to have a virtual sit down with Jack Antonoff- the music legend.
If his name doesn’t immediately set off alarms, his portfolio will. I guarantee at some point you’ve enjoyed stuff he had a hand in. Antonoff not only has his own work to be proud of with Steel Train, Fun., and Bleachers-but he’s also has made hits with Lorde, Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, St. Vincent, Troye Sivan and more.
Since we only had 15 minutes together, I cut right to the chase. Two days before we logged online together the first (of what will be many) NFT scandal happened. The site HitPiece was caught selling NFTs without artists knowledge. On the long list of people who didn’t consent to their work being sold as an NFTs, bleacher was one of them.
He tweeted, “any bleachers NFTs are fake. at the moment i do not believe in NFTs so anything you see associated with me isn’t real. and thanks to M for sending me this bullshit.”
As this gained momentum other artists has similar things to say, all boiling down to angry musicians. I admitted that I didn’t understand NFTs entirely. I get the idea but how it really works doesn’t make sense to me. Antonoff explained he has some decent knowledge of the ins and outs of non-fungible tokens(NFT) and said, “I’m not interested in doing anything with them.”
“All the magic of playing live shows and recording music, it’s still the most [magical] thing in the world so that’s where all my energy goes. I’m not looking for anyways to augment that or profit off of it.”
HitPiece ended up tweeting their version of an apology.
“Clearly we have struck a nerve and are very eager to create the ideal experience for music fans. To be clear, artists get paid when digital goods are sold on HitPiece,” read the statement. However artists are coming forward to say no one gave consent nor has been paid- not that they want the money to begin with.
“You didn’t hit a nerve, you’re selling my sh*t,” said Antonoff.
Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night
The most recent body of work from bleachers is “Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night,” and it goes a level deeper than previous LPs. Written in the confinement and loneliness of the pandemic, you can hear the pangs of pent up energy from the get go as “91” kicks in as the first song.
“[There are] two sides to the album soundwise that are really affected by this pandemic. There’s this lonely feeling on the album and then there is this super intense, ‘Oh my God, I have the band in the room somehow and we are gonna play it like our head is one fire’- is kinda what is going on,” he explained.
Antonoff talked about how songs, like “91” have a habit of taking on new life when you start performing them live. Fans have their own interpretations and that energy finds its way back to him.
“A song like 91 live …people latch onto some of the angrier lyrics,” for example. Now to Antonoff, the song, “feels more like armor. When I wrote it, it felt more sad and now I hear it a little more through the ears of the kids.”
He’s excited to brings these songs on the road and in front of a crowd. When you listen to the album, it’s no secret how he’s feeling. Being so open is part of what makes his music so relatable. Singing lyrics about traumatizing moments in life or longings you have in front of people can’t be easy, let alone doing it over and over again.
Pack my suitcase up ’til I can’t bear it
Who am I without this weight on my shoulder?
-“How Dare You Want More”
When it comes to wearing his heart on his sleeve to the world he says, “It’s an occupational hazard, I’m happy to do it.”
“I wouldn’t play a song if I couldn’t access it.”
But he admits, it’s draining. Antonoff even shared that there are two songs that are tasking to perform so often. Antonoff said, “I find it can be a little bit exhausting to revisit some of the stuff every night because you have to ‘go there’ to play it.”
As of right now he doesn’t see a spot for “Strange Behavior” or “What’d I Do With All This Faith?” in his tour set. “It’s like talking about something hard or emotional when you just don’t want to,” said Antonoff. He wouldn’t want to cheapen anyones experience with anything other than an authentic show.
He’s written on the road before, we could see more Bleachers music sooner than later, but realistically he isn’t “planning” on writing. “You should make things when you feel compelled to make them,” said Antonoff. “I think people make a lot of bad work when they try to just push through.” A note we should all take now and again.
Before logging off, we took one last opportunity to get to know each other. We now know where he lands on the questions that REALLY matter. Jack prefers juice to soda, mornings to nights, string instruments to percussion, and wants to pick up the phone for a call rather than text. He doesn’t like flavored chips. And finally, his favorite board game is… Monopoly!
Get the FULL experience with Jack Antonoff by watching the interview below and keep an eye out for tour dates to get added for Phoenix! 😉