Experimental Music Love

January 8, 2008

The National Interview 17/11/05

Filed under: Features,Interviews — by Free Edinburgh Podcast @ 5:21 pm

Experimental Music Lover – Why choose the name The National?

Matt Berninger (lead singer and lyricist) – We wanted a benign meaningless name without connotations.
Unfortunately we failed to take into consideration that the name would
alignus with fascists. Woops.

EML – Are you looking forward to playing King Tut’s?

M – Very much. King Tut has always been someone I’ve tried to model myself
after so I’m very excited to meet him and play in his house.

EML – How have your previous experiences with Scottish audiences been?

M – Pretty good. Scots tend not to mince words which is refreshing. Yanks
tend to do too much mincing.

EML – How was it playing Reading festival?

M – Weird. Playing outside during the day freaks me out a little. I prefer
the nighttime when its harder to see people’s faces.

EML – Who would you say are your main influences musically?

M – Eesh. There a lots and they would be different for all of us. It also
changes depending on our moods. Today its a tie between Stevie Nicks
and The Kinks.

EML – Are there any other acts out there at the moment who you are
particularly impressed by?

M – I really like these new records; The Magic Numbers, the new Franz
Ferdinand, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and the new Feist record. I
recently dug up Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, very impressive.

EML – Alligator is probably my favourite album of the year so far. How did
you go about writing and recording it?

M – We wrote the songs over a couple months last winter and recorded most
of it at home. It was a relatively relaxed and casual process. The
details are boring, we just sequestered ourselves in our bedrooms and
sank into it. Most of it was written during the nighttime.

EML – Why Alligator as a title?

M – There’s a nice metaphor involving an alligator in the song City
Middle.It seemed fitting for the record. We didn’t deliberate over it
much. I said, “let’s call this one Alligator” the other guys said “fine”
and so
it became know throughout the lands.

EML – Who’s Karen?

M – She’s an imaginary muse based loosely on my real life girlfriend.

EML – Has living in New York affected the way you write?

M – Maybe. NY’s a lusty inspiring city, another muse. It’s the setting in
my head for most of the songs. I couldn’t say whether the songs would
be different if we lived somewhere else. Probably.

EML – People seem inclined to compare you with Interpol, mainly because
vocally you sound quite similar. Is this flattering or something you
try to avoid?

M – I’m a big Interpol fan but I don’t think we sound much like them.
Interpol’s a great band so I’ll take it as a compliment.

EML – You’ve been quoted as saying “Don’t get too into your band.
You’ll be poor, and happy, and never want to do anything else ever again.”
Is being in a band the only thing you’ve ever wanted to do and could you
envisage doing anything else?

M – We’ve all done a lot of other things and probably will in the future.
It would be nice to only do this for the rest of our lives but we’re
realists, occasionally.

EML – What’s Wiffle Ball?

M – It’s basically baseball for wimps.

EML – There are two sets of brothers in the band. Is there any tension in
either set?

M – Not really. They seem to have solved most of their problems as kids.

EML – How far do you see yourself going as a band?

M – Japan.

EML – Lyrically there’s both immense beauty with lines such as “break my
arms around the one I love” yet there’s also some more peculiar ones
e.g. “it’s a common fetish for a doting man to ballerina on the coffee
table”. Where do these ideas come from, and have you had any feedback from
girlfriends/ex girlfriends who think the song’s about them?

M – Its not all autobiographical. When it is I try to put the ugly truths
under flattering lighting.

EML – Finally, what songs do you prefer performing: the tragically
beautiful ones like “Daughters of the SoHo Riots” or the frenetic rock of
songs such as “Abel”?

M – They all have their place in the live shows. They songs have a way of
relieving the tensions of each other. We practice the hold then release


Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: