Aaron Dessner of The National joins Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 to discuss the group’s new song “Weird Goodbyes” (feat. Bon Iver). He tells Apple Music about the track’s origins, collaborating with Bon Iver, reuniting as a band for the first time in three years, and previewing the upcoming group’s sound (which he says reminds him of ‘Boxer’ ). was).
Aaron Dessner tells Apple Music about ‘Weird Goodbyes’ and the return of The National…
I think it was hard to come back at first because we had never taken a break in 20 years and then the pandemic forced us to take a three-year break. We’ve basically been on tour our whole adult life, since the late 90s and then there was this break… and you could be home and work. Be with your families. “Weird Goodbyes” is one of the first songs we wrote when we got back and there’s a lot of excitement. I feel the old engine of the National and I also hear new places we are going and it helped set our course. Coming back is very special, it’s like a family… a slightly dysfunctional family that comes back and then you restart the engine and it’s very powerful.
Aaron Dessner tells Apple Music about his collaboration with Justin Vernon and how it ended up on “Weird Goodbyes”…
Justin, he is one of my best friends; i would say more than anything we are close friends so we bounce things off each other. Usually if we write a Big Red Machine song it’s by accident. Whereas The National is much more intentional in a way. This song, all of us strangely, as soon as Matt started singing this song, we started hearing Justin harmonizing… The heart and the feelings that they felt in it sounded like something that he would sing or that would move him. He heard the song I sent him and he was deeply moved. I think also because it was the first new national song I had heard in years. Who knows? Maybe there was a chance The National wouldn’t make new songs? He’s definitely someone who only makes music when he’s inspired, he doesn’t force it. He had some great ideas for us and pushed us a little harder. He sang so hard and we were like… “this is done”
Aaron Dessner tells Apple Music about ‘Strange Goodbyes’..
Some of the words he wrote soon after I had written the music. It’s really based on the beat of the drum. I think Matt, his words were very moving from the beginning. Being… life moves so fast and you get old so fast and it’s kind of like holding on right now and feeling the air, really being able to hold on to things. Because I think that, ultimately, the song is about grief, about the loss of innocence, about the loss of motivation. It’s a great national song if it’s about a lot of things and this one is.
Aaron Dessner tells Apple Music about The National’s upcoming album…
For Matt, when his has a breakthrough… for this album, he’s really been putting in the work and pushing himself. Some things come quickly and other times there’s a struggle and it’s kind of a combination of that… The record we’re making, which is very special and we’ve had a lot of time to work on it.
His sketches and kind of trying to create an environment that someone could live in or make sense of, like Matt or Justin. In this case I was really trying to imagine what a new National album would sound and feel like and this was one of the first songs that came to life with that in mind and leaning towards what is a future for The National . that would be interesting or emotionally compelling. So we’ve been writing with that in mind.
I wouldn’t say it’s very heavy…it’s emotional. There’s a way of writing about disillusionment and disconnection and wanting to escape or reconnect… It actually feels very direct in a way. It reminds me of older songs, even from the ‘Boxer’ era. We are very excited… we are very close.