Fun.’s “We Are Young” video is the kind of thing that practically begs for repeat viewings … a stirring, swirling collection of slow-motion imagery (bodies flailing, glass shattering and the like) that pops from the screen, it’s far and away the first breakout clip of 2012. Thankfully for the guys in the band, it was also the kind of video where repeat takes weren’t allowed. Mostly because, well, someone could’ve gotten hurt.
“It was terrifying. There were a lot of moments in the video that I think should have ended a lot worse than they did,” guitarist Jack Antonoff laughed. “I watch the video and I think, ‘Oh God, we really threw ourselves in some real danger there,’ because it’s a bunch of stunt people and then us. And it’s not necessarily healthy to have cake rocketed at your face from an air cannon, but we did it. And we’re in serious tuxedos that are very constricting, so if you want to get away from something quick, you want to be in a sweat suit or something.”
“There was a palm tree that flips by [multi-instrumentalist] Andrew [Dost's] head, and I was watching and I had no idea how far away that palm tree was from his head,” frontman Nate Ruess added. “I was so scared, for real.”
Of course, all that danger was just part of what made the “Young” video such a challenge for [artist id="3181423"]Fun.[/artist] The other part? Well, that would be living up to the rather ginormous goals they had set for themselves … namely, to single-handedly resurrect the music video medium from its current doldrums.
“We were really adamant about getting back to the heyday of music videos, you know, the mid-’90s, when we were growing up,” Antonoff said. “Videos like [the Smashing Pumpkins'] ‘Tonight, Tonight’ and Spike Jonze’s slow-motion ‘Wax’ video ['California'] … just these videos where it’s not some giant narrative, and it’s not a mini-movie, it’s a cool music video. It’s kind of abstract, but to us, it makes sense.”
And really, that grandiose spirit of just going for it is also what fuels the band’s wide-screen, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink album Some Nights (due February 21). It is very much the sound of a band breaking barriers, pushing boundaries and gunning for the big time … and, yes, Fun. will happily admit to all of those things. After all, they’ve been working toward this moment for nearly a decade now, and they’re going to take full advantage. Even if it kills them.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Ruess said. “And we want it to take over the world.”
“It all seems like, if you’re pop, you go big, if you’re indie, you go small and you’re self-deprecating. We just think we can do both, you know?” Antonoff said. “If we have a song that sounds like it’s meant to be played for 10,000 people, like ‘We Are Young,’ then we’d like to try to do that, and we’d like to try and make a video that reflects that.”