photo by Chad Wadsworth
Depois da entrevista dada no final do ano passado à Under The Radar, Matt Berninger volta a falar sobre o novo disco dos THE NATIONAL, que sairá em Maio. Desta vez para a Pitchfork, e Matt aborda as frustrações e complicações que surgem na parte final da gravação de cada álbum, adianta o nome de algumas faixas, fala sobre o rumo tomado pela banda no novo disco e sobre as dificuldades de andar em tour deixando para trás a família. Tudo isso e mais, para ser lido aqui.
Pitchfork: Do you think you've ruined songs before?
MB: I think we have, yeah. Well, not ruin, but there are versions of songs that we had that we maybe got cold feet about. We did something to them that we thought would put it over the edge, but it actually kind of ruined the original vibe. It ends up being a pretty good song, but the song "Guest Room", on our last record, had a sort of a different personality until the last week or so. It sort of became muffled up, and I think it hurt that song a lot.
But the other side of the coin is the song "Fake Empire". It wasn't 'til the very end of the process that we added the whole fanfare, the horns at the end, which turned a sleepy little simple song into something more exciting. That whole moment at the end of "Fake Empire" makes that song in many ways. It's an average song without that. We're right in the place where those kinds of things happen.
Pitchfork: Your songs are always pretty layered and complicated. I would imagine that figuring out the last little details when you're putting these things together would be a really tough process.
MB: Of the reasons that it's hard to figure out what the song's going to be like until the last minute is that, in the process of going from just a little sketch of an idea-- you know, a melody, and maybe a simple piano or guitar part-- we'll just start layering lots of different things on it with the idea that maybe we'll use 20 percent of this, but let's try everything. We'll also have three or four different drum parts that completely change the whole character of the song. So when we start picking the elements that complement each other and work well together, a song could be just this huge epic, or it could be a folky little scrappy ballad. It's not quite that extreme, but if you add strings or something, a song becomes a totally different song.
That's where the fighting happens between us. There's the one camp that's always like, "This song's better simple," and then there's another camp that's like, "It's boring simple." That switches around from song to song, and it gets heated, but it's how it's always been. Since our second record, we started to know this is the phase we always go through, and we usually will come out the other side still friends, and with a pretty good record.
When we were making Boxer, it got so tense between all of us that we worried whether we could even continue being friends and being a band toward the end. It was just so stressful on everybody. This time around, it's still as tense, but we're not worried. We realize that this is just what happens to us when we're near the end of making a record. A week after the record's done, we all laugh about the mean and horrible things we've said to each other. It's like a family at Christmas: Sometimes you say the worst things possible to each other, but you know you'll come back next Christmas.