Q&A: Fun.’s Jack Antonoff
Published: Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 21:11
Fun., an American indie pop band based in New York City, performed at the university Monday night. Erin Quinn, Managing Mosaic Editor for The Review, interviewed Jack Antonoff, Fun.’s guitarist. The band, which created The Ally Coalition to fight for LGBT equality, also met with Haven before the event to discuss LGBT issues.
About Fun, Erin obtained interview, why its newsworthy
Erin Quinn: After playing on Saturday Night Live the other night, you came here and then you’re headed right back to New York. Is that a normal kind of week for your tour?
Jack Antonoff: That would be on the easy side of it. We just played in New York and then flew that night to London and 10 hours later flew to Atlanta and then drove up to New York. It’s just crazy, crazy stuff. It doesn’t make any sense.
EQ: Do you perform at universities often?
JA: As much as we can, we really enjoy doing it just because it’s more of a hands-on experience for the students who bring you here by their own choice. […] there’s a little bit more excitement and ownership. I just think it’s cool that that kind of thing can happen.
EQ: Is there a different kind of atmosphere when you play at a college?
JA:Well it’s just that, there’s more excitement. There’s a lot of pride in the show—like the kids decided to bring us here and they’re putting on the show. They’re literally loading the equipment. It’s cool.
EQ: How was meeting with Haven and do you usually meet with LGBT groups?
JA: Awesome. Every day we meet a couple.
EQ: What do people get out of that kind of interaction?
JA: What we get out of that is just the hope that they get something out of it. […] With those groups we can show support and we’ve been making donations on every stop along the way so we’re just helping them exist and do what they do. That stuff is vital right now for general LGBT culture to be mainstream and be present, to have groups and not be, you know, relegated to some underground thing that some people feel uncomfortable with. I think it’s common for bands to come to schools and do environmental work or do “Rock the Vote” or stuff like that, but gay rights and all issues that go along with it are the most important issues of our time and the most important issues right now. We want to highlight that; we want to talk about it. […] I just think it’s cool to meet those people and those groups because I think they’re having a unique experience right now that no one else can really understand.
EQ: What inspired the band to create the Ally Coalition?
JA: We’ve been doing a lot of work in that field—talking about it, raising money, trying to rally people together. We just realized that we could be more effective if we had, like, an umbrella to put it under. And we also kind of saw a lack of presence from the straight voices or the idea that this is kind of everyone’s issue. It should be something that we’re all talking about. We thought that it would be impactful to start a nonprofit coming from that angle. […] we’ve learned that a lot of people want to go on record and say something—put it on their Facebook or Twitter and talk to their family and friends but don’t really necessarily have an avenue to do it… One thing that we’re really doing is giving people a real alley to go and talk—just making it a little bit easier to get that conversation started.
EQ: What barriers do you think there are to starting the conversation?
JA: There’s a lot of barriers. I think that, you know, you grow up and people are like, “You don’t talk about religion and you don’t talk about politics.” Those are just two things you don’t talk about. And I think that all gay issues are rooted in both, they’re political and they’re religious. And they’re polarizing. You can’t have a lighthearted conversation about gay rights like you can about the economy or foreign policy […] it’s tough and one thing that we’ve learned from talking about it a lot is that there’s effective ways to talk about it and ways that are just further polarizing.
EQ: Aside from the nonprofit, do you bring up these issues onstage?
JA: If it’s necessary. Interestingly enough, we do a lot of this but we’re not really like a political band or anything like that. It’s just that this issue is important right now. We’re still a band because we play music/ We didn’t start a band so we could talk about political issues [...] this whole tour feels really timely and it feels right; we’re on college campuses, speaking to the very generation that has the power to make the biggest difference.