Nate Ruess on the Difference Between ‘Some Nights’ and ‘Grand Romantic’

Nate Ruess has always been a “band” person, first with his band the Format, and then, of course, with fun. This year, though, he released Grand Romantic, which saw him on his own for the first time. But he did reunite with producers Jeff Bhasker and Emile Haynie, who worked on fun.’s Some Nights. 

Even though Ruess is a west coast resident these days, he started the album in New York City, as he recently told

Related: Watch Nate Ruess Perform “A Great Big Storm” on CBS Saturday Sessions

“I’d done a lot of writing down in Chelsea at the producer Emile’s studio. I don’t think he even charged me, we’re friends.”

Once in the studio, the singer just started working on his ideas for his solo songs. “I just heard the songs in my head; I don’t play any instruments. I would just have Emile’s engineer hit ‘record’ and I would just start making stuff up.”

From there, they went west. “When we had this big batch of songs, we took them to Los Angeles where Jeff Bhasker, Emil, and our engineer and I just rented this house in Nickel Canyon, it was not supposed to be a studio, but we put a studio in there.”

“We got accused of breaking things in the house, even though we didn’t break anything. But I will say that they had these tabs that they put over drawers that you’re not supposed to open. And we opened a lot of drawers that we’re not supposed to open. But that’s because they put the silverware there. And what are you supposed to do? If you rent a house, you should have access to all silverware.” Well, let that be a lesson to those offering their homes via Airbnb.

Related: Interview: Nate Ruess Is ‘Vulnerable’ on Solo Debut ‘Grand Romantic’

Although he used the same production team as fun. did, he wanted a different sound for his solo album. “I think it was intentional that we didn’t gloss it up and produce it too much, When fun. made some nights, it felt just slightly ahead of its time, and now as we were making this album, some of that production stuff sounded slightly in the past.  We made a conscious effort to just make things feel more natural. On Some Nights, Emile and Jeff programmed most of the drums, so there was this kind of hip-hop element, since we were working with these two hip-hop producers. And over the years, we all just fell in love with music like the Rolling Stones. So it was interesting to see Emil and Jeff, who come from this hip-hop world wanting to scale back the drum production.”

Ruess will be hitting the road; he says that Bhasker had to help teach his band their parts. The tour starts August 30 at the New York State Fair in Syracuse. Read the full list of dates at Ruess’s website.


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