Release: I have to admit, I really enjoyed this album a lot more than the first one.
Jack Antonoff: Me too [Laughs].
Release: Why was there a two-year gap between this album and the first?
JA: The band went through some major transitions ‘ it was a big transitional period. Yeah, the last album ‘ we were really, really unhappy with ‘Twilight Tales.’ We were really unhappy with it as we were making it and when it came out. We really took a lot of time on this record, making sure it’s something that we were really going to be able to back years later. In the process of doing all that, a lot of things changed. We changed two members in the band, the whole thing; it’s almost like a new band.
Release: The sound of ‘Trampoline’ is completely different compared to the first album.
JA: Yeah. It’s kind of the band that we always wanted to be but really didn’t have the balls to be on the first record.
Release: What was recording like? Any crazy stories, anything like that?
JA: It was pretty uneventful which is why I think it [the album] came out good. When we did the first record, it was like a crazy wacky process in Northern California. We had this ranch we were living on; we were creating this whole thing in substitute of a good record. When we went to make this record it was like going to work. We got there at noon and left at 10, and everything had been so worked out that we kind of put it down and it was real easy. We worked with Mark Trombino who produced our record, he’s awesome, and it was just, uh ‘ we’d go there and go hang out ‘ it was pretty low key.
Release: I caught your show with The Format in New York City in late August. I loved it. Does Nate [Ruess, of The Format] do vocals on ‘Kill Monsters in the Rain’ like he did during the live show?
JA: Yeah, Nate sang on it. He sang on that and he sang on ‘Dakota.’ My sister sang on ‘Dakota’ as well. Other than that, no, it was a really fluid process; most of the recording was me, Evan [Winiker] and the producer. Actually, there was no point during the recording that the whole band was there.
Release: Is that how it usually goes?
JA: No, I think the quickest way to fuck up any piece of art is to try and do it democratic, which is the way we used to do it. We’d try and find ways so that everyone always felt all their ideas were being heard. We’d have these songs, I think this is what happened with ‘Twilight Tales,’ the song would start in a certain place and we’d just dumb it down until everybody was happy with it, but that’s really not how ‘ in my opinion ‘ great bands function. On this record we tried to really pinpoint what was making the songs good and not try and fuck with it too much. I recorded most of the songs alone in my house, I think it came out good because there was no pressure and I was just alone and didn’t really have to worry about what everybody was going to think about the parts. We never recorded by ourselves before that, so that gave me the opportunity to record the entire song and then show it to everyone so they could hear what I was thinking in my head instead of trying to explain it and feel frustrated getting the ideas out. We tried to make the actual recording process as much like that as possible. Not having a lot of people around and trying to make it really relaxed, not working in some major huge studio where we’d constantly have to worry about hours and how much every minute was costing.
Release: You’ve kind of already touched on this, but in your opinion, what are the major differences between ‘Trampoline’ and the first album?
JA: The difference is everything, there’s not one thing that’s similar. Everything, I don’t know if you’ve seen the album artwork, but everything down to most unimportant aspects of the CD like the album artwork, it’s like ‘Twilight Tales’ was this crazy extravagant thing with millions of things to look at. This record, the booklet has lyrics on a white background and the cover is a really simple photo. We’re trying to make this only about the music, not like a big thing where we have to disguise it under all these other elements like we felt like with our first record. The actual production couldn’t have been more different, the song writing couldn’t have been more different, it’s literally everything ‘Twilight Tales’ isn’t, not even in a bad way.
Release: Was the change of sound from the first album to this one a natural progression?
JA: It was pretty natural, there was never a moment where we said, ‘Now we’re going to do this.’ It’s just, we had a very natural progression on tour, if you’ve followed the band over the past couple of years you definitely would have to notice a major difference between the live show and the recordings. Live, it’s this big explosive show ‘ it’s loud and energetic, and we never brought that into the studio with us. That was the only conscious thing that we were thinking about when we were making this record, like how can we bring that energy from the live show into the studio. Just the general concept, a lot more guitars, more percussion, more interesting sounds, there’s a lot more going on, there’s a lot more there. And at the same time, have it be completely simple and for the people who can listen to all the little pieces of production, yeah, that was really our major focus. Make a record that if you don’t get music and you don’t get sonics and production and stuff like that, then you can listen to great songs. If you do get it, then there’s so much there to listen to and you can listen to it forever, listen to it on headphones and find a million different things you didn’t hear last time. It’s like a Wilco record ‘ not that I’m trying to compare us to Wilco ‘ but what we were trying to do is achieve something ‘ like these amazing pop songs, so it’s like anyone can listen to it, but there’s just so much more there.
Release: What’s your favorite song from the album? Do you have one?
JA: Probably ‘I Feel Weird,’ which is the first song. I feel like it sums up the entire record, like, really quickly. I like it a lot because a big goal for the record was to have the music and the feeling be really upbeat and positive, but still have the lyrics be really, you know, morbid and to the point. So I think that song has that. But certainly just musically and production, ‘A Magazine,’ the seventh song, has that circus vibe, long and epic. That was a blast to record. But the best song is ‘Dakota,’ just in general, I think song writing. I think that’s really the best song.
Release: Kind of random questions now ‘ do you have a favorite band?
JA: Spoon, I love Spoon right now. I think their new record is so amazing.
Release: You guys formed pretty young, were you at any point going to college?
JA: I considered it, but I kind of luckily never really had to worry about it because we got our record deal senior year of high school. I don’t know what I’d do if we didn’t. My grades were decent, but it’s just we were all so eager at that point to start touring.
Release: I’m writing for my college paper ‘ they wanted me to try and tie something about college into the interview.
JA: [Laughs]. I think the big thing with college, and I don’t know anything about this, but it seems to me that from my friends who went that college is an unbelievable thing to do if it’s what you want to do. I think unfortunately it’s like college equals success, but not necessarily. I had friends who went to college but wanted to be doing something else and now they’re just four years behind. I also had tons of friends who went to college, and now they’re like doctors and stuff, and it makes perfect sense. My girlfriend right now went to college for two days and then she left. She just kind of realized what she wanted to do wasn’t going to happen there.
Release: I totally understand. Could you see yourself studying anything if you weren’t making music?
JA: Oh, definitely. I feel like I study things now in a different way, you know? Most days ‘ all day ‘ recording and working with instruments and stuff, we take what we do really seriously. We treat it really intensely; we practice everyday of the week for five hours a day. If we’re not practicing, we’re recording. It’s a really intense process.
Release: How do you feel about college shows and college-aged crowds?
JA: Oh, they’re awesome! College shows are the best things ever because they’re exactly the age group you ideally want to be playing for, because people seem really open-minded at that point in their life. They say the music you get into in college is the music you listen to forever. It’s so true. Think of your parents and what music they like, it’s usually the stuff they listened to in college. Most of my friends who are out of college still kind of listen to music they listened to in college. I think it’s a really cool time to get people to hear about your band. And college kids go out, it’s tough to have fans who are 36 and they have to work and they love the band and they couldn’t go out because they have shit to do.
Release: How important is mainstream success to you guys?
JA: It’s not very important. What’s important to us is to reach people, to make something out of what we’re doing. For reference, again, you can look at Wilco and they’ve built an incredible career, but I wouldn’t really define it as mass market success. I think it’s a ruining point for any band when you’re not growing ‘ then you’re doing something wrong. We’d rather try and do it in some organic way so that we end up a band that no one knows, but somehow draws a couple thousand people where they go. Those are the coolest bands, you know?