Jack Antonoff is a busy man. He is still promoting his debut Bleachers album, Strange Desire; he is about to go on tour with Charli XCX; and he is gigging all over the place. Luckily, Jack made time to speak to PopBuzz about the music on Strange Desire, his favourite emoji, and which Charli XCX song is his favourite on her new record--among other things.
PB: You’ve obviously made an album with a very specific sound and aesthetic. From start to finish, is Strange Desire what you envisioned it would be when you started writing it?
JA: It’s weird because, when you’re working on something, it always takes these crazy turns. It feels like spirit of it is what I envisioned. It’s entirely its own concept.
PB: On the record, the lyrical content reflects some insecurities and anxiety issues that you’ve spoken fairly openly about. Is that something that’s always informed your art and music or have you recently arrived at a place in your life where you’re able to incorporate that into your work?
JA: A little bit of both. It's always informed it because, ever since I started writing music, that's always been the most important story that I've had to tell. Now I write about it 10 years later because that's important to me. To have an honest story and be able to tell it, to me, it's the only way I’ve ever been able to communicate. Just to be very direct and write lyrics almost like I’m writing a diary entry.
PB: "Wake Me" is so good. If you had to choose any John Hughes movie to have this play in the credits of what do you think would fit best?
JA: 16 Candles or The Breakfast Club. That was very inspirational for me when I was working on the album because I thought about those movies. They’re so connected to what it’s like to be bullied and terrified as a kid. That’s the place I’m constantly writing from - this feeling of hope and fear. This weird combination where there’s so much hope and there’s so much excitement but it’s also so terrifying and there’s so much fear.
PB: That really comes across on the album. How important is it that the album is accessible in that way?
JA: It's weird because I think a lot about what I want people to get from the music and then that's like this crazy storm inside my head of everything I want people to hear and feel. And then the second you release it that just sort of disappears. And then you become obsessed with how people are actually hearing it. Because when people hear music they reinterpret it and it changes once they hear it.
PB: Prepping for a full tour, I assume you've spent a lot of time with each other’s music, what's your favourite track from Charli’s new record?
JA: I love the first track. I think my favourite track is London Queen. It sounds incredible. It sounds so punchy and cool. I think it just sort embodies what is so interesting about her work. Like, this weird cross section of punk, goth and pop.
PB: I know I might be getting ahead of myself but any plans to work on music with Charli?
JA: Actually, last time I saw Charli we talked about how we should make sure we find some time to write a bunch of song and see what happens. I definitely think Charli and I will come up with some interesting things
PB: On your YouTube channel you have mini "tutorials" on how you constructed a couple of your songs, which not a lot of people have or do. How important is it for you to connect with your fans in this way, like to sort of demystify the process?
JA: I think there is a lot of inherent mystery in excitement. I'm not afraid to pull the curtain back because I think what's there is thrilling. I think it's relatable. I don't create things any differently than anyone else creates things.
PB: I watched a couple episodes of Thank You And Sorry and they're so funny. What draws you to that type of documentary filmmaking.
JA: So much of touring feels like a weird film. It feels like moments that are very bizarre and I wanted to do something that played into that. Something with documentary elements, which are technically real, but then scripted elements which sort of play into the bizzaro things you imagine are happening on tour.
PB: We are absolutely obsessed with summer jams at PopBuzz. We're always talking about eachother's favourite tunes for the summer. Can you please tell us yours? We're dying to know.
JA:I'm listening to a ton of stuff but the one new song I'm listening to is the song with MØ on it.
PB: That's my summer jam!
JA: Really? It's so good. The video is like the best thing ever. I love it.
PB: And finally, what's your favourite emoji when you're texting?
JA: I like the guy with a bandage on his head. I don't know why. I just think it's so weird. I also like the one with one eye open and one eye closed and the tongue sticking out. It works for everything. Fear and horror or excitement.
Bleachers will be touring America this summer with Charli XCX. New dates have been added so you can check back to see if your town or city is going to be a part of 'Charli and Jack Do America'.You can also purchase Strange Desire in the UK 6th of July.
Interview by Nicky Idika