Matt Berninger spoke to the National NME about the “different kind of spotlight” that fell on the band after working with Taylor Swift.
The band have collaborated with Swift on several occasions – featuring on her track ‘Coney Island’ from 2020’s ‘Evermore’ before she provided vocals and lyrics for ‘The Alcott’ on their 2023 album ‘First Two Pages’ Of Frankenstein’. Guitarist Aaron Dessner also produced Swift’s last three albums and ‘re-recorded’ records.
“The Taylor thing is super organic,” Berninger said NME for this week’s In Conversation interview. “We’ve known him for a long time and it’s clear that Aaron has done a lot of amazing things with him. I wrote ‘The Alcott’ with my wife Carin (Besser) in mind, Aaron sent it to Taylor and he added his own perspective to it and wrote all his parts on it. It’s a real duet where she hears that and inhabits the character I’m singing – which is almost always Carin.
Berninger continued: “It’s not really a strategic game. Obviously Aaron’s work with Taylor Swift will bring a different kind of spotlight, but it’s fun and cool. All in all it’s a healthy splash.”
Asked about what happened to the new “spotlight” courtesy of Swift, Berninger said there were no “bad surprises”.
“We got a lot of friendship bracelets,” he continued. “What I see in Taylor Swift is her incredible generosity to her fans and the people who love her. She makes such a happy event for everyone. I stay up until midnight with my daughter and the his friends waiting for ‘Midnights’. He made an event out of a record and a work of art and it never happened again. The Beatles would do that and I was completely amazed by his ability to bring so much excitement and happiness to many people. It’s in my house and I love it.”
Berninger added: “With The National, part of our commitment to putting on great shows is because these nights we spend with strangers coming together are what matter – what that’s amazing and amazing.”
Read and watch our full interview with Berninger here, where he also talks about “lighting the flame” after battling depression, what’s on The National’s two new albums ‘First Two Pages Of Frankenstein’ and ‘Laugh Track’, and working on a new indie band sitcom Two Apes with his brother, Tom.
Last week also saw the band play two nights in a row at London’s Alexandra Palace, while not repeating any of the songs in the setlists.
The Swift meanwhile, is scheduled to be released The Eras Tour film in cinemas worldwide on October 13, with a world tour that will continue into 2024 where it will visit the UK and Europe. Visit here for tickets and more information.