Even Justin Bieber can’t unseat fun. The pop rockers are sitting atop the Billboard Hot 100 for the 5th week in a row, relegating Bieber’s new single “Boyfriend” to second place. It’s also the top selling track for 2012 so far, with over 3 million copies purchased.
But how did fun. come upon their futuristic pop sound? Through a barrage of influences, namely: Kanye West.
In an interview with the Onion’s AV Club, singer and songwriter Nate Ruess explained that it took him “a long time, two years, to figure out what the album was going to be.” He disparages a lot of the songs he wrote in that time frame, calling them “not that great.” But, Ruess says, “Fortunately, when I discovered the whole hip-hop thing and became inspired by that, finding a way to write music and infuse that type of style into it, it was really cool to see those two songs that had nothing to do with it become infused with this new style that was developing.”
What hip hop might he be referring to? Another interview with SPIN on Ruess’s influence yields some insight. “I was like, oh my gosh, if Kanye West can borrow these horns and theatrical elements that we already have in our music — what’s this thing he’s playing, what are these sounds?” Ruess effused. “Because they sound so incredible! It sounds like the future. So I was thinking, what if Elton John and Kanye West were around in the same genre at their peak.”
The admiration makes sense if you know that Jeff Bhasker, Kanye’s producer on My Dark Twisted Fantasy and 808′s and Heartbreak, produced “We Are Young.” Ruess told Complex magazine how their collaboration came to be. “He was working on the Beyoncé stuff and I guess we hit it off and he took me up to his room to listen to some of the Beyoncé stuff and I must have been inebriated because I started singing him the chorus of ‘We Are Young’ and no one had heard it except for him at the time. His jaw dropped to the floor and he was like, ‘We have to go into the studio,’” Ruess relaid. For fun. it was a real dream-come-true to go from being influenced by Kanye to working with his producer.
fun. will follow their current success with a new single, and their favorite song to play, “Some Nights.”
-Courtney E. Smith, CBS Local with additional reporting by Nadia Noir, KROQ