She saw us struggling, in this fight with our identity. What about this song felt representative of the project as a whole, to be the title of the record and the film? MM: It was an intuitive choice. MB: What makes you you?
You can connect. This is the first of several interludes sung by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. These tracks are completely unlike anything on any previous National album. Mike, as a producer, were their distinct sounds you wanted to avoid? MM: I became the guitar naysayer in the room. MM: It has this romantic darkness that I ultimately find very healing to listen to. Was that a pre-existing story or was it composed specifically for the film?
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The world is not gentle right now. This one is There are references to the Strokes , R. How did this one originate?
MB: That must be what happened—I took it as an invitation. I was walking around this little Danish town north of L. The music was so addictive.
I opened up an email to myself and started writing. MB: It was a good example of our collaborative process with Mike. It was an example of him listening and understanding what I wanted and then having a better idea.
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MB: Yeah, I have them right here. When we perform this song live, I feel like a gymnast doing this really long, complicated routine where I just have to land all these points or else I totally fall on my face. Too many shows go right; it gets boring after a while. This song gets pretty far-out, musically. AD: Mike was generally pushing us to lean into some of our artier tendencies. MM: They are really hard on themselves and they can self-edit themselves down to this very hunched-shoulders version of a song.
So I think it was neat for them was to have a fan in the room. Mike, how did you feel when you first heard it? MM: It was a total surprise. I was pillaging from their stuff, so to be counterpillaged was a great honor.
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How does Israeli dancer Sharon Eyal fit into the narrative of the film and record? MB: We were talking about the film being the portrait of a life, but the record captures an afterlife. Why release it now? But they kept sticking with it. Finally I realized that it was some kind of conscious—or unconscious—love letter to all the people who have loved their music for so long. MB: But we did love it.
We could tell it was getting better. I kinda wish we could do that with all of our songs. This version is probably as good as it will ever get. AD: That song was connected to grief. She was in a very swift decline, so we moved to Denmark [to be with her]. I sent it to Matt, and it was one of those ones that just clicked. He sent the song back a day later.
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