Watch our full video interview with frontman Matt Berninger and director Mike Mills above
This week, the band release their eighth album along with a film in collaboration with director Mike Mills and starring Alicia Vikander. The National and Mills worked symbiotically for the music to inform the movie and vice versa.
Following the release of predecessor ‘Sleep Well Beast’, the band told NME that they were working on material with a more “conventional rock band” set up, before later teasing the film and album and telling us that new songs had “an energy that’s evaded them in the past“.
Now in a new interview, frontman Matt Berninger has said that the heavier material may yet emerge.
“We gave that to Mike too, but he chose the other stuff,” Berninger told NME. “We write lots of stuff. We were going to take a year off, then we were going to go back after a long break and go in and try to make a record in two weeks; a rock record, live, those kinds of songs.”
However, as soon as they were led to the ‘I Am Easy To Find’ album feeding the movie and vice versa, the band had to let the sounds follow the idea.
“This started bubbling instead and we couldn’t not chase this thing,” Berninger continued. “Musically, everyone was digging further into the things that they were into and they hadn’t run out of the hunt for these electronic things and different textures that were less live. We weren’t done with that, so it kind of felt good to go further.
“Aesthetically, ‘Sleep Well Beast’ goes further in that direction in some ways. But there is a whole other thing that maybe we’ll get out of the freezer.”
- Read more: We may only now be approaching the golden age of The National – what we learned at their ‘I Am Easy To Find’ showcase
He added: “We weren’t worried about what it was going to turn into. All we knew was that having the process was really inspiring. It wasn’t conflict-free but it was really rewarding and respectful. Mike works with a lot of sensitive artists so he knew how to handle us. It was nice to be treated so kindly but also pushed out on limbs, kindly.”
Watch our full video interview with Berninger and Mills at the top of the page, as they go in-depth about their ideas, gender in art, strong cast of female collaborators, the songs that made the album but not the film, and what the future may hold.
‘I Am Easy To Find’ will be released on Friday, May 17. The National recently announced details of a UK arena tour for winter 2019.
Full dates are below. Tickets are on sale from 10am on Friday May 17.
7 December – BRIGHTON, Brighton Centre
8 December – LEEDS, First Direct Arena
9 December – CARDIFF, Motorpoint Arena
10 December – NOTTINGHAM, Motorpoint Arena
The National will also co-headline Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park with Florence + The Machine on Saturday July 13. Visit here for tickets and more information.