« Song Exploder

The National - Sea of Love

2014-12-22 | 🔗

The National formed in 1999. They've released six albums, and have been nominated for a grammy. Their music is everywhere from Game of Thrones, to Bob's Burgers, to Barack Obama's presidential campaign. In 2013 they released their sixth album, Trouble Will Find Me, which debuted at #3 on the Billboard charts. The band is made up of singer Matt Berninger along with two sets of brothers: guitarists Bryce and Aaron Dessner, who are twins, and Brian and Scott Devendorf, who play drums and bass, respectively. In this episode, Matt Berninger and Aaron Dessner break down "Sea of Love," a song that they co-wrote. You'll hear how it went from Aaron's original guitar demo to a densely layered recording with contributions from their bandmates and others, and they'll talk about how collaboration is an intrinsic part of their process and their band identity.


This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Here, listening to song explorer where musicians take apart their songs and piece by piece tell the story of how they were made. My name is ratification. Your way. Song exploder is sponsored by capital. One, if you're ready for a new ride, but you're not sure where to start meet the tool that, car shopping and financing easier with capital. One auto navigator: you can find a car and get pre qualified instantly. You'll get your real rate. Animal. the payment, without even impacting your credit score it so simple it might feel like you're, taking the easy way out. That's because you are capital one. What's your wallet terms and conditions apply, find out more capital one dot com, slash auto navigator, this up so it is sponsored by indeed, indeed, is the hiring platform where you can attract interview and higher all in one place, with virtual interviews. You don't any other software to connect with your potential hires. You can do it right on the site. So sorry,
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Matt. Furniture and aaron breakdown, breakdowns sea of love song that they could fill hero from parents, original guitar demo to a densely layered recording with contributions from their ban, mates and others. My name's aaron destiny. In a play guitar in piano and other instruments in re, allow the music and I met, and I don't write any the music. I write the lyrics and local melodies and that kind of stuff they sound you stay with a demo. There was a kind of like a rough loud guitar, cast
they nirvana playing crazy or something catching a song coming along but mainly with me, in mine and then I can leave it open ended so that he has room to carve, his brother brace will send me in the press. making a record fifty or sixty little bits. Ideas and some of them are developed and they have left different parts. Some of them are just really simple and rudimentary, and I just work on the ones that I connect with in some way- and I would just Sing along to it and try all kinds of different approaches and music with melody, I just look for melody and am singing nonsense. The words start to come after I've figured out a melody, mostly in if, if it's a good melody words will just
and on it and stick their oh. You love me. How am I supposed to know was like a hand story about a care to name Joe and those guest of that. I wanted to tell it is mumbling melodies without any discernible words, probably for a while, until something stuck to it, Jones shiver, they love. To do likewise Listening to other things, and I was listening to hendrix pageau. Sorry, I heard she was like. I was listening. Joe that's kind of a quote. I guess- and I think at the time I love the idea- was to what that's just for placement. I will figure out what that list. Years later, calamagrostis gonna say hey joe, but then they just stuck
They're probably was a time when, as I gotta get to put a woman's name in there, and I just quickly discarded that temple She d just change door, woman's name because I'm a man had met but didn't matter at all, and I just never good. Let go hey Joe Joe- you fell so fast cause not trying to make any sort of statement about human sexuality, wouldn't exist. There's a song about a romantic song about a man, who's bitten into the apple a little bit. It's a big murky mess of all the feelings, What happened between human beings, one romance and hopes, and all this kind of things they run away with our hearts a little bit. So whenever I sing- and I am thinking about a guy people slide and soon and then the song just started to become this bleus idea of how people often will fall in love,
jump into a situation. The Joe These deadly, though the one who's, a jumping in with both feet, there's a room The people there are sliding into the sea of love, sure would it have it suits you? What did Harvard teach you? It's just like you've seemed like to be such a smart person. Then, why are you doing such a foolhardy thing? the sixty sketches this one popped out to me just because it had this immediate aggressive and had a different sort of color Then a lot of our songs and I was excited by I think, phase in the writing of the record. We had a lot of songs that were manicure there's something, and I don't mean a bad way, but we felt that the record needed some southern uglier think I just wanted it to be almost
neanderthal in its when it comes out of the gate. That's why I just like pound eighth notes in on the snare the mac kind of like to air drum and has good ideas, but brian being a great drummer in an opinionated german often doesn't embrace those ideas, but this time he kind of like did so that snare Brian was excited by, and he also likes simplicity if it ever really works, and in this case it did too. It was a rare case that I had a gem idea that Brian liked it kind of came to life the germ perry and that's, I think, when we realise that brian is gonna run with something, then we all can focus in eleven and find the song is not that we are. We often have situations where will write a song in the agenda. Band element doesn't click whenever I have a musical idea that those guys lake, I think, every surprised there. That's not true as you actually his mouth.
Visual artists is again about describing musical ideas and none musical terms that will lead to interesting places in I have a lot of opinions on the music but yeah. I don't have any musical vocabulary, brace name to berlin, because we do a lot of recording. You know whether it's in my studio or in a fancy professional studio, and then we undo it or like redo it somewhere. It's not at all I see, I think, because we are missing. it's kind of like charm or element of unpredictability or just the feeling of needing to make it less. Claustrophobic are things I I like records that have been recorded in different places, so we, I know for a fact that we re recorded all the guitars on this song in berlin in this hotel, the one of that hotel, big fans, echelon and really first friends of ours and have been very supportive. They created
a studio for us and there in the hotel, using some men bar scanning the rooms in old p were building in them balls were finish walls- and it was a cement floor in the sound- is bouncing around in there a lot. But it sounds cool. There is a whole weave things in their that create the moving It's kind of like deceptive complexity to a simple chord progression. my brother plays guitar frame. We did these kind of twin strikes. There's a strike.
the beach for it on the downbeat and then one on the offbeat and they kind of answer each other and that's definitely an old tricks of ours, because we play off each other. A lot like that, the unseen love you hear the contribution of richard reed parry from arcade fire, who, who did this sort of elaborate, vocal harmonies in the chorus. We've always been an open collaborative group of people in, like my brother, and I being twins, grew up playing music, always together, never alone, and it's quite natural to collaborate with other people and embrace someone else's idea, and also one thing may be the key to unlocking a riddle or just giving something, an extra lift or making something
Can I guess the ban could solve all those questions on its own, but I think it's actually makes it more interesting to have these different musical prison. So clearly richie because he does come from this coral background is There is a clear director in he does think enter So these multi part focal harmonies and kind of like elaborate. Arrangements, and it's easy for him to render things with. The love of course did not come easily and so richie. He sang he was really inspire, obeyed, see eleven the music and was in giant. He had ideas, so we just kind of like said about jamaican in literally half an hour later. There is that vocal arrangement, literally that quick with him that he definitely has a big effect in the sun
the. I promised my wife, I would put harmonic on at least One stone she upset simply listens to. The damage that I rank as we listen to them. Sometimes after I write them to say car and hauser they're just dinner. She hears me making them, incessant names like she'll have creative ideas and she's, not she's a nurse, so it's not like she's I think, from a musical standpoint either, but I kind of thought that was interesting as I think it was the first time that she had suggested something, and so I kind of thought it'd be worth a try. It actually just plays like this. Report is relative, announced a chorus and a kind of fit, but weirdly matt didn't know. Is there and tell like much later when the hour
was done. Gives you? Why? Don't you explain my ear? Your ears were alone it destroyed when this was being recorded in mixed up together, I had had a fly home to Cincinnati because my grandmother died and I had a terrible. In the air, the plane, my ear, Jem, ruptured, and so You got back to the studio without being able to hear anything on one side of my head and I thank you. Expanded and over to that site on purpose that I'd miss it. We'd trade, trick each other aids is out. I think you guys were worried that it that if I knew there was a harmonica that I would look for it and try to get it out of there. For some reason, maybe right- I don't know I don't I'm eating specifically personal guess, harmonic outbreak, but that is something I would do for. No, oh good reason, just take offence at a harmonica. I. The more we write together in the more we do this together
we start to lose a lot of insecurities about things we used to think like does, it seem, like the national is like, before even knew what the national was. We we're always trying to like serve it doesn't seem like us. Thankfully, we stop trying to define, what is our serve? None of us could agree anyway, and that's that's. Let us do things that, maybe if, if One person was in charge, we wouldn't do The things that we've done and so yeah. Now we know just to chase it all, and you never know where it's going to connect. and now
sea of love by the national in it's entirety, the state, the state, the state, the.
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Transcript generated on 2022-06-08.