The AV Club sits down with Nate from fun. to talk about their new fame

From The AV Club:

Despite an oddly punctuated name and a single about friends getting high in bathrooms, NYC trio Fun. is officially America’s new indie sweetheart. As of press time, for the third week in a row, Fun.’s single “We Are Young (Feat Janelle Monae),” is the Billboard 100 No. 1 single, making Fun. the first rock band to top the Billboard charts since Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” went to No. 1 back in 2008. The album Some Nights, bolstered by the hit single, debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s “Top Current Albums Chart” and No. 3 on the Billboard 100. But enough numbers talk: Fun.’s popularity, on the heels of America’s insanely intense love affair with indie crossover group Foster The People, seems to signal a return to the early ’90s, that golden age in mainstream pop and radio when, for a glorious and fleeting moment, the oddballs ran the show. To be fair, Fun. is signed to Fueled By Ramen, but the group’s grandiosity and odd tempos share more in common with Mike Patton than Michael Buble.

Whether the dream of the ’90s will or will not be having a second coming remains to be seen, but Fun. lead singer Nate Ruess is cautiously optimistic that America might be developing better taste. Before Fun.’s April 5 show at the Ogden, The A.V. Club caught up with Ruess to discuss hype, keeping a level head, and aging gracefully.

The A.V. Club: It’s hard to recall exactly when “We Are Young” started getting airplay, but it was suddenly ubiquitous. How are you handling the mass exposure?

Nate Ruess: I think it’s something that we’re still trying to get used to. On one hand, our days are becoming more and more hectic. But we don’t get to hear “We Are Young” on the radio, and we don’t get to watch TV, because we’re on tour, so we’re kind of witnessing and experiencing this thing around us without actually experiencing it from the other side. I think that makes it a little bit surreal, and I don’t think mass exposure was ever our intention. I felt, like when I was dropped from a major label when I was 21 years old, that I would never have a “hit” song. For all of this to be happening now, it’s interesting to think that you thought you knew everything, and now don’t know anything.

AVC: Do your mom or dad call, saying that they just heard you in the grocery store?

NR: They don’t fill me in. I’m not sure how much the song is actually going off in Phoenix, Arizona, because they don’t really call me for anything, except to tell me that I never call them. I remember calling them right after the Super Bowl, because no one was calling me, and I found it particularly weird that my parents hadn’t called. So I called them and said, “Uh, did you know that we had a song in the Super Bowl? Did you guys check it out?” And they were like, “Yeah, it was cool. Good job.” They’re amazing people and massively supportive, and I’m so thankful that I’ve had parents like them to stand behind me when times were tough, but I’m wondering if they’re too cool for school now.

AVC: In terms of the heightened exposure, are you more of an introvert to begin with, or are you learning to embrace the spotlight?

NR: I don’t have a Twitter or a Facebook, or anything like that. I think any branding for me is band-related. It’s really weird to get used to the exposure, because I am a naturally introverted person, and I’m not exactly social. Occasionally I can get comfortable enough to talk, but I spend a lot of my days not talking, especially when I’m at home and not on tour. I don’t ever talk on the phone or anything like that. It’s interesting to feel the pressure of having to be outgoing, because I think in general, as a human being, I’m pessimistic and introverted. But, it’s cool, because it’s a whole different side of me, and I impress myself. Even at times when I think that there’s no possible way that I can be engaging, I’ll suddenly pull it out and impress myself. I’m probably only impressing myself and not those around me, though. Even though I’m introverted, I’m not a dick. I don’t ever want to be seen as a dick. I might just be slightly off.

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