The National Talk Working With Phoebe Bridgers, ‘Laugh Track’ And More

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The National’s Aaron Dessnor has spoken to Apple Music 1 host Zane Lowe about new album ‘Laugh Track’.

Out now, the record was a surprise follow-up to ‘First Two Pages Of Frankenstein’, a powerful, sombre project that emerged earlier this year. Slightly lighter in tone but no less emotive, ‘Laugh Track’ has a crisp, Autumnal feel.

Clash reviewer Sahar Ghadirian wrote: “Mourning an uncertain period in the band and liberating themselves from the inhibitions that once held them back, The National are closer than ever, the type of closeness that allows individual growth…”

The National musician Aaron Dessnor spoke to Zane Lowe for his Apple Music 1 show, and opened up about the current excitement towards making music that exists in the band:

It’s always like this special moment when you realise it’s bouncing off people and it’s cathartic in people’s lives and just songs take on a much different, they always surprise us. The life that a song has is unpredictable and that’s the best part of making music, I think, is seeing where it goes. …I’m also thinking you’ve learned how to deal with anxiety and the suffering that’s in your thoughts better and you start to be able to be more in the moment with the process. I think we also have been playing really well live all of a sudden. I think these are best shows that we’ve ever played. The whole thing just feels, it feels like a new chapter. I know maybe we say that every time, but this time I really mean it.

There are a number of guests on the album, including Rosanne Cash on ‘Crumble’ and Phoebe Bridgers on the title track. Regarding this fondness for collaboration, Aaron Dessnor said:

I think it was just natural that that collaborative energy, which is for us biological, that that would over time expand to a large community. I also think it’s like we’re all students of music, history, and kind of especially legendary periods of rock and roll and stuff in the late ’60s and early ’70s. I think we’ve always wanted to have a community and we didn’t at first for a while and then we just brick by brick built one. I think we’ve been lucky to be invited by all kinds of collaborators to work with them. Now it just feels like this ecosystem of people exchanging ideas.

Phoebe Bridgers is a close friend of the band, and has worked with Aaron Dessnor on other projects. The National musician said:

I think we all know and love Phoebe. She’s obviously such an amazing artist and songwriter. Years ago, we toured a lot together and got to know her really well. I think she really is a fan of Matt’s writing and I think that song in particular Matt felt like she would embody the weird mix of dread and humor and just beauty that’s in there. Of course, she did. She’s so graceful how she just works. When she puts her mind to it, she really perfects it and works really hard and sent us the vocals and they were like, wow. It was wonderful.

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