The National say becoming fathers makes them more reckless as musicians

Matt Berninger says the band have more of a sense of perspective about music now

The National have told NME that becoming fathers has made the band more adventurous as musicians.

The band have been previewing several new songs at live shows as they work on a follow-up to 2013’s album ‘Trouble Will Find Me’.

Singer Matt Berninger told NME: “Having kids makes you think ‘Why are we so stressed about making a rock record?’ Why not have a blast and make as many mistakes as we want along the way? It’s only a rock record.’ I feel much more of a reckless musician now than I was before I had a family. It’s liberating.”

Berninger, who released the album ‘Return To The Moon’ in 2015 with Brent Knopf as El Vy, added that The National’s various members were fully concentrated on the band now.

The singer said: “Creatively, everybody is locked into The National, mainly because everyone is excited for our next record. Everybody’s heads are in the band now. We all have families and babies now, and that’s a side-project that really takes up a lot of time.”

Guitarist Aaron Dessner, who has produced Lisa Hannigan’s new album ‘At Swim’, said the band were happier about previewing new songs in concert now and not worrying if fans didn’t immediately grasp them.

Dessner said: “In the past, we sometimes played new songs when they weren’t ready and when they fell flat it used to affect our feelings about those songs. Now, we know better. Some of these new songs are ugly ducklings, but we’re interested to see how they grow up on stage, instead of just playing the demos on headphones in our bedrooms. It’s ‘Let’s see how they do when they’re not ready, and how they change.’ That’s been a really fun way to do it, because every time we play the songs live we go back to the studio and go ‘No, no, no, now we’ve figured out the magic of those songs, let’s do this.’

Dessner added: “When you’re on headphones alone in your room, you miss those obvious moments of when a song should change. Playing them live in front of other people changes your creative wiring. We’re not 100% sure it’s going to lead to better songs, but it’s a new and exciting approach for us, as we haven’t done it this way before.”

The band are back in the studio after headlining festivals including Latitude.