Watch Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and The National’s Aaron Dessner make television debut as ‘Big Red Machine’

The duo performed for the first time on television as 'Big Red Machine'

Big Red Machine, the collaborative duo made up of The National’s Aaron Dessner and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, made their television debut on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

On Thursday (November 8), the duo performed ‘Gratitude’ from their self-titled debut album that was released earlier this year. The album featured a host of collaborations with artists including Bryce Dessner, Phoebe Bridgers, This Is the Kit, and members of Arcade Fire and The Staves all contributing to the album.

You can watch the performance here:


Earlier this year, the two – together with Bryce Dessner – curated PEOPLE festival in Berlin, an artist led collective. Speaking to The Creative Independent, Bryce Dessner said the trio wanted to create a festival with a difference.

He said: “It was more focused on work and process and collaboration and having no plan. It was the opposite of a normal festival – there was no set schedule, no program, no headliners, no artist fees. Even down to the last minute, there was no guarantee of who was going to play with whom.

“Basically it allowed for musicians to come together with the least artifice and just be themselves. There was none of the baggage that comes with heavily promoting something. We were able to get in the room with each other and just make stuff.”

Meanwhile, Bon Iver were recently announced as the second headliners for next year’s NOS Alive festival in Portugal and Denmark’s Southside Festival. The announcement came shortly after Vernon released new song ‘Agasteen’, thing it on his PEOPLE streaming platform – a further collaboration with Dessner.


Bryce told The Guardian in June the project’s aim was to “deformalise some of the artifice and structure that goes into releasing music and to get a little bit closer to the creative and collaborative process, and to the people.”