Bleachers’ debut album, 2014’s Strange Desire, took on a new life in September when frontman Jack Antonoff released a cover version of the album titled Terrible Thrills Vol. 2 featuring all-female vocals from stars like Charli XCX, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Sia. EW got on the phone with Antonoff after its release to talk about how it all came together and why he considers this the “final chapter” of Strange Desire. As we continue our end-of-year coverage, revisit that conversation below.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Can you take me through the process of making this? I know in your note you said it was “all over the place.”
JACK ANTONOFF: It was everything from me and [Dixie Chicks’] Natalie Maines, which is the first one that I did, in the studio together making it, to artists like Lucius and Susanna Hoffs just completely re-recording and recreating everything, to artists like Tinashe and Carly Rae Jepsen sending me a vocal they did and then me putting it together in a remix session. So it was literally, every possible way that I’ve ever known to make records with people is how we put it together. It took a year, basically.
So it’s kind of like the original, in a way?
I wouldn’t say that, but I would say it’s a real kind of peer into my head. But I think that’s good, I want people to know how things come about and the whole process and how things change and that with Bleachers, the reason why I sing so many songs in such a low key is not because I necessarily planned it that way but because I write them for a female to sing, then it drops to a whole different octave. So there’s all these reasons why things end up the way they do, and I want people to get that. I want people to be able to hear this and start putting the puzzle pieces together and seeing how I make the music and why I make the music.
Where did the name Terrible Thrills come from?
It’s a lyric from the opening song in Rocky Horror Picture Show. The song “Science Fiction/Double Feature,” and it just really speaks to me and what it feels like, odd and eerie and thrilling all at once. Because it’s not just like a big celebration of the record, there’s a lot of emotion and intensity there.