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Interview VO  (Paris)  11 juin 2004

The National is the best rock band in the world. In two albums, “The National” and “Sad dongs for dirty lovers” and their new ep “Cherry Tree”, they have yet writen classics of the new century in various rock-wave style such as by instance, “Cold girl fever”, “Beautiful dead”, “Slipping husband”, “Murder me Rachel”, “Lucky you” or the news “Wasp nest” and “Cherry tree”.

Their live performancess, remembering the parisian gig in Le Nouveau Casino on 11th of june, are fantastic experiences where the audience can dream sometimes, listen sometimes, think sometimes and twist most of time.

The National are the future of an intelligent Rock’n’Roll born with Lou Reed or Bob Dylan.

About the new ep

Your new CD “Cherry Tree” is out now, can you present it ?

Matt : Well, it’s a short record, seven songs, one is a live track from the black session, five are new songs written by The National and one song is written by Padma Newsome. It’s a great record.

What’s the difference with your previous records ?

Bryan : We’ve got a better feeling by recording in a more professional atmosphere, a proper drum mix, proper airport stuff permit to go home, to my appartment adding some stuff with pro tools . It’s largely a sort a capture of all we have done before. One track, the first track, was entirely done in a home studio. The last track “I don’t mind” is done without a lot of technologie. It’s very low tech.

Aaron : Padma did all the strings part in Australia. It’s kind of Transgenic production.

Now you are working with Mr Padma Newsome. He is almost a member of The National...

Bryan : He is also a Clogs and Stick music member.

Why ? (everybody laughing)

Matt : We don’t know.

But Padma is living in Australia...

Padma : At the moment, I am living in Australia.

Is it not hard to work so far away from each other ?

Padma : We’re going ok. I mean it’s the same process. They’re going to the studio and put down their own audio recordings. They send it to me and I’m listening to it. I add or I agence some strings parts or some vocal parts. That’s the role that I play. This time I recorded in my home, in my living room. Last time, we were in the studio with me doing my parts. But it’s the same process.

Matt : Padma was on the last record so we yet worked with Padma and it’s not a new thing. In fact we worked with him for a long time, yet for “Sad songs for dirty lovers”.

On this record, Padma played on only one song, no?

Aaron : Not exactly : there is a few like that, with Padma : “90-mile water wall”, “Thirsty”, “Sugar wife”, “Murder me Rachel”, “Cardinal Song”.

Bryan : Padma is in the group for a very long time. Indeed, we didn’t recorded the new ep like the previous. For the last record, we did it in different places and over a long time : some were done in the studio and some very small places.

In the new ep, it seems there is a simetry around the centered track “Cherry tree” : the first song is in the same mood as the seventh, the second as the sixth, etc. and “Cherry Tree” is a peak...

Matt : It might be but I haven’t thought it in that way. I know we worked all the sequences trying a lot of different things and after use the sequences just fell perfect to us. May be it’s unconscouisly but it wasn’t a volunteer idea.

About the lyrics

What the song “Wasp Nest” is talking about ?

Matt : “Wasp Nest” is about a woman who is a beautiful femme fatale. So “you’re a wasp nest” is sort of a metaphore for her : someone beautiful but dangerous I guess. There is a lot of metaphores in that way for this album : under the beautiful you find a harpy wire. This song is symply a focusly portrait of a beautiful intense woman, who is also angry.

In “Sad songs for Dirty Lovers”, you are using the words “wife” or “husband” a lot of times in the titles or in the lyrics. Are you wedded ?

Bryan : Matt is not. But I am. And Aaron too.

Matt : SSDL was done two years ago and in those times I think the idea of marriage was on my mind. Not simply marriage with anyone but the idea of growing older, changing your life, beeing an independant guy and becoming a husband or a father. I think there is some stress about that. But I’m not obsessed by that.

Bryan : Right, lots of titles are using these words : “Sugar wife”, “Trophy wife”, “Slipping husband”...

What did you want to say with “Slipping husband” ?

Matt : That song is about the ideas you get when you are becoming a father. Becoming a father and becoming a husband : I’m not sure I am able to become a good one. There is also many friends who getting married in those times, having kids and they were struggling a lot to support their families but also focus on their heart. I think it’s easier to do that, focus on your heart, when you’re alone. When you are wedded you have to sacrifice a lot of other things. That song is about the husband having problems to moving on and to be responsible, to be responsible fathers. It’s not doing very well when you’re growing up, basically.

In “Murder me Rachel” you sing “I saw my love with pretty boy”. What do you mean exactly? Because you can understand this sentence in several ways.

Matt : I think it could mean several different things. For a song, I can also change the lyrics : they evolve. But it’s a simple song about seeing someone you love with someone else, someone new. It’s about jalousy.

But you could be the pretty boy ?

Matt : Yes.

Bryan : But the guilty is like a shape of grey : it’s not like the black and white of a chessboard.

Matt : I wrote several songs wher you could mean the opposite things but it’s not very directed. I do it a lot.

Inspiration and various (repressed) thoughts

Where do you find your inspiration? Music, books, arts ?

Bryan : By reading John Berryman (redactor note : Berryman is an amrican poet who wrote The dream songs. He died in 1972)]... (Matt laughs) That’s a writer. For me, as a musician, inspiration come frome other music, other musicians, drumers.

Matt : I’m turning back to the lyrics. I think inspiration for the lyrics are coming from a lot of different things : I see a lot of films and I like to describe scenes or dialogs, conversation and make it tangeable in songs. Ideas probably come from books or films more than other musics. There is a lot a songs which are some kind of conversation between two people and not so much are speech of isolated people : there is usually a cinematic such as the internet way for the lyrics. Musically...

Aaron : We are all listening a lot of music and we are playing music for a long time together. My brother, I and Bryan were playing music since we are teenagers. Ther are a lot of different types of influences in our music but it’s not a conscience decision. Whatever, we play a lot of music, some part become songs, some never become songs. Musically I am really happy with the ep : there is a lot of new ideas such as the song “Cherry tree” what does use the same thing all time but it’s really intense.

Another song like “ All dolled-up in straps” which is a different type is very simple but also has complex things. This ep does reprent a starting work for a different kind of sounds. It stills have elements in it of “Sad Songs” but it’s going somewhere else. Songs like “Cherry tree” on the new record builts new possibilities, new directions.

Does New York City, where you are living, has an influence on you ?

Bryan : For sure : it’s a fishball you know.

Matt : “All the wine” is a song about beeing in the city and beeing drunk. The reason why I wrote the lyrics of this song is that there is less, less relationship basis. Now, New York is a sort of sunterrean city. But I know the music of the city and the city becomes a part of us. It’s a fascinating place : you never get tired of this city.

Bryan : Guys are wearing plastic paper.

Matt : It’s an incredibly beautiful and exciting city. Musically, it’s hard to tell if the music of the other bands have an effect on us. We didn’t play with a lot of bands of NYC. We played some shows with The Walkmen [ redactor note : they made a plit CD with Calla ] but it’s hard to tell if they had any influence on us. We tried to be not affected by the other bands : I believe thinking that all the bands of NYC are all influenced by each other is meaningless. Other bands are all differents.

“All the wine” is an old song ?

Matt : It’s an old song. The lyrics have been writen for a while.

Bryan : We tried to use it a couple of years.

Matt : It’s the example of a song that evolves. We tried to record it in a different way before.

Bryan : It’s a song which come from studio works.

Matt : Tonight there will be a couple of unreleased songs. One called “Able” is a song written two years ago and just because we didn’t find the way to feel right to us, we didn’t record it. It’s a road patience writing a song. If the song is not ready, is not what we really want then we put them down for a while and come back to it later. Some songs can be written in two days, others in two years before we know we can put them on the record.

I think I’ve heard several songs of the new CD live last year...

Bryan : Yeah, you definetly have.

Aaron : All of them except for two.

I didn’t remember to have heard “Cherry tree” before...

Aaron : We definetly played it. For the black session.

Matt : There are actually a lot of songs we are playing live for a while that we still have not recorded or never will. There is a song called “Pretty forever”, another called “ One thing horse” that have been played. We love these songs but we never recorded them. We don’t try to reproduce the album when we are playing live. Most of songs played live don’t sound exactly than from the album. Playing is a different medium situation.

May be your voice sounds different live ?

Matt Yes, sometimes. In the studio I think it’s more strange than live. Singing live is easier. It’s different approach.

Bryan : Masterbelly and fucking.

Matt : I record with Masterbelly, live and fuck.

When we will see a new long play The National record?

Matt: Not before february or march next year.

Final question can you describe The National with three words

Matt : NTM ? (laughing) Some call us slow core or sad core.

Bryan : Desperate erotica. But it’s only two words.

Aaron : I don’t like "slow core".

Not allright, your music is sometimes desperate. But there is also hope.

Matt : Right. Sexy hope rock ? (everybody laughing). Yes : SEXY, HOPE and ROCK.

Thanks to everybody at The National, my favourite band.
Thanks for the incredible version of “Cold Girl Fever” (I don’t want caught it) in Paris, Nouveau Casino, in june and for having written the the song “Sliping husband”.
Matt, Bryan and all : I hope to meet you once again.
Thanks to Sean at Talitres.


A lire aussi sur Froggy's Delight :

La chronique de l'album Sad songs for dirty lovers de The National
La chronique de l'album Cherry Tree de The National
La chronique de l'album Kicking the national habit de Grand National
La chronique de l'album Alligator de The National
La chronique de l'album Boxer de The National
La chronique de l'album High Violet de The National
La chronique de l'album The National Health de Maximo Park
La chronique de l'album Trouble Will Find Me de The National
La chronique de l'album Sleep Well Beast de The National
The National en concert à La Guinguette pirate (22 juin 2003)
The National en concert à Mains d'Oeuvres (3 novembre 2003)
The National en concert au Nouveau Casino (11 juin 2004)
The National en concert à Bowery Ballroom (3 octobre 2004)
The National en concert à Bowery Ballroom (3 octobre 2004) - 2ème
The National en concert au Festival Le Printemps de Bourges 2005 (jeudi)
The National en concert au Café de la Danse (25 avril 2005)
The National en concert au Festival La Route du Rock 2005 (vendredi)
The National en concert au Trabendo (24 novembre 2005)
The National en concert à La Guinguette Pirate (13 décembre 2005)
The National en concert au Festival La Route du Rock 2007 (mercredi)
The National en concert au Festival La Route du Rock 2007 (jeudi)
The National en concert au Festival Furia Sound 2008
The National en concert au Festival International Benicàssim 2008
The National en concert au Festival International Benicàssim 2008 - 2ème
The National en concert au Festival La Route du Rock 2010 (dimanche)
The National en concert au Festival Pukkelpop 2010 (samedi 21 août 2010)
The National en concert au Festival BIME Live! 2014 (édition #2) - samedi 1er novembre
L'interview de The National (22 juin 2003)
L'interview de The National (3 novembre 2003)
L'interview de The National (11 juin 2004)
L'interview de The National (5 mai 2007)
L'interview de The National (avril 2010)

Olivier K         
Nouveau Actualités Voir aussi Contact
• A lire aussi sur Froggy's Delight :

# 13 octobre 2019 : On Manque de Mains D'oeuvres

Alors que la mairie de Saint Ouen a décidé de la fermeture de la salle mythique Mains d'Oeuvres, il est plus que jamais nécessaire de se mobiliser pour la culture. Alors on continue de notre côté avec beaucoup de musique, la fin de la session de Orouni, des tas de livres, du théâtre pour tous les goûts, des expos et plein d'autres choses (mais rien sur Dupont de Ligonnès). C'est parti.

Du côté de la musique :

"Vie future" de La Féline
"Kino music" de Pierre Daven Keller
"Miracles" de Sarah Amsellem
Rencontre avec Orouni dans les rayons d'une librairie
et bien entendu, Orouni en session live, toujours dans une librairie, par ici
"Beethoven, 5 sonates pour piano" de Michel Dalberto
"Ship of women / Somewhere in a nightmare" de Olivier Rocabois
"Disaster serenades" de Parlor Snakes
"A life with large opening" de Samba de la Muerte
"Les géraniums" de Marie Sigal
"Amazona" de Vanille
"Pulse" de Vincent David
Festival Levitation #7 avec The Warlocks, Frustration, Fat White Family...
Listen in bed Emission #2, Vinyles
Listen in bed Mix #2, The Sopranos
et toujours :
"Pas plus le jour que la nuit" de Alex Beaupain
"Matriochka : Romantic fantasies & Transcriptions from Russia" de Alexandra Luiceanu
"La nuit devant" de Baden Baden
"aMour(s)" de Fabien Martin
"L'arbre rouge" de Hugues Mayot
"Why me ? why not" de Liam Gallagher
"Les disques dans notre vide poche" le podcast #1 de Listen in Bed
"Drive" le premier mix de Listen in Bed
"Mademoiselle in New York" de Lucienne Renaudin Vary
"Still life : A tribute to Philip Glass" de Maud Geffray
"The flood and the fate of the fish" de Rabih Abou Khalil
Rencontre avec The Great Old Ones
"Sprayed love" de Xavier

Au théâtre :

les nouveautés avec :
"Fausse note" au Théâtre de la Contrescarpe
"Sabordage" au Théâtre 71 à Malakoff
"Rêves d'Occident" au Théâtre de la Cité internationale
"Donnant Donnant !" au Théâtre Athénée
"Piège pour Cendrillon" au Théâtre Michel
"La Famille Ortiz" au Théâtre Rive Gauche
"La Promesse de l'aube" au Théâtre de l'Atelier
"Yannick Jaulin - Causer d'amour" au Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord
"Yannick Jaulin - Ma langue maternelle va mourir et j'ai du mal à pas parler d'amour" au Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord
"Ciel, ma belle mère !" au Théâtre d'Edgar
"De quoi je me mêle !" au Théâtre Athénée
"On est mal Macron, on est mal" au Théâtre des Deux Anes
"Looking for Beethoven" au Théâtre Le Ranelagh
des reprises :
"Adieu Monsieur Haffmann" au Théâtre Rive-GAuche
"Anna Karénine" au Théâtre de la Contrescarpe
"Les Crapauds fous" au Théâtre de la Renaissance
"La Convivialité" au Théâtre Tristan Bernard
"Il y aura la jeunesse d'aimer" au Théâtre Le Lucernaire
"Nature morte dans un fossé" au Théâtre du Gymnase
"Une leçon d'Histoire de France : de l'An mil à Jeanne d'arc" au Théâtre de Poche-Montparnasse
"Une leçon d'Histoire de France : de 1515 au Roi Soleil" au Théâtre de Poche-Montparnasse
"Vipère au poing" au Théâtre du Gymnase
et la chronique des spectacles à l'affiche en octobre

Expositions avec :

"Moderne Maharajh, un mévène des années 1930" au Musée des Arnts décoratifs
"Balzac & Granville, une fantaisie mordante" à la Maison de Balzac

Cinéma avec :

les sorties de la semaine :
"Martin Eden" de Pietro Marcello
"Little Monsters" de Nicolas
"Les Chemins de la haute ville" de Nicolas
la chronique des films de septembre
et la chronique des films à l'affiche en octobre

Lecture avec :

"L'héritage Davenall" de Robert Goddard
"L'horizon qui nous manque" de Pascal Dessaint
"La petite conformiste" de Ingrid Seyman
"La véritable histoire des douze Césars" de Virginie Girod
"Les roses de la nuit" de Arnaldur Indridason
"Pyongyang 1071" de Jacky Schwartzmann
et toujours :
"Archives des enfants perdus" de Valeria Luiselli
"De pierre et d'os" de Bérengère Cournut
"L'accident de l'A35" de Graeme Macrae Burnet
"Le mystère Sammy Went" de Christian White
"Les furtifs" de Alain Damasio
"Lost man" de Jane Harper
"Vers une nouvelle guerre scolaire" de Philippe Champy

Bonne lecture, bonne culture, et à la semaine prochaine.

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