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Fibers: Q: That’s something that’s really struck me about the record – I know... →

Q: That’s something that’s really struck me about the record – I know in the past, there have been a lot of literary references on your records, and it seemed as though titles like ‘Lemonworld’, ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’ and ‘Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks’ could be references to something else, when in fact they’re just representative of a style that’s become very idiosyncratic to your band.

Matt B: Inventing, yeah. Like ‘Squalor Victoria’ – there’s something in that word that sounds like something because every time you actually try to use real words to describe it, it doesn’t sound like the thing you’re talking about anyway. This character, Vanderlyle Crybaby – I can’t tell you how long it took me to come up with the word “Vanderlyle”. There’s the Nirvana song, ‘Pennyroyal Tea’ – just the word “pennyroyal” I loved, it sounded so great and it’s just the name of a tea. I couldn’t use that – maybe I should have, that would have saved some time – and so I started looking at the rhythm of the word, and the cadence. I probably have a book of a hundred different three syllable things.



People say there’s a monotony to the way I sing, and I totally understand that. But maybe it’s more entertaining to watch the pole-vaulter hit the bar than go over it. Hitting the notes is less important than the attempt. If you believe what you sing, if the notes are right is insignificant.

Matt Berninger of The National (via televisionblues)

I love you, Matt

(via dressmedown)

(via danke-danke)

And then I got to a point where I just started realizing that you just embrace the fact that it’s uncomfortable and be uncomfortable and just let that be the thing you do. So I never worry too much - - the awkward silences or failed banter that’s not funny, and I’ve been compared to Rainman on stage which was - - I understand it because… I look like I’m a little bit, just really awkward. But I think it’s like, after a while it’s like, that’s fine, you know? That’s an okay thing to be. You don’t have to be cool or charming or funny.

— Matt Berninger (via desperatetoentertain)

(via carefulfearandeadevotion)

  • Q: Slowly but surely, you’ve been getting more popular and successful with every album. How are you dealing with the approach of fame?
  • MATT BERNINGER: You mean, with not turning into rich a–holes? (Laughs) I don’t think we’ve changed that much. I know I’ve gotten grumpier. But that’s just from spending so much time on a bus with a bunch of grown men. Everybody gets a little grumpy. But when we started the band I was already 30, so I never fell into any of the traps or pitfalls that can happen to young people when they’re in a successful rock band. We’ve done shows with The Strokes and seen the crazy world that surrounds them. It’s great and exciting — your fantasy of what an awesome rock band is. But we’ve always felt like we never will be that big, you know. And that’s OK. I know I’m not going to be an astronaut either.

On Berninger’s wife, Carin Besser, a former editor at The New Yorker:


Matt and his wife, Carin, not yet married, were breaking up and getting back together frequently, “trying to resist the person you might end up with,” as Carin puts it. One night, Carin accused Matt of being in search of an “out–of-this-world person who’s a pure fantasy,” by telling him he was going through life “looking for astronauts,” which soon became the title of a song.


If there’s someone you absolutely miss, you might find yourself talking to them a lot in your mind, creating those fake conversations with them and you answer yourself in their voice in your head. Maybe it’s a girlfriend who dumped you or you know someone who died or that sort of thing, you adopt their personality or the memory of who they were as a means of staying close to them. People talk about spirit, but I have this idea that when we die, we’re gone. All that lives on is our memory and how we affected people, the way we changed people throughout our life. Whether you’ve had a good effect of a bad effect on people, that’s your afterlife—the people who live on after you.

— Matt Berninger (via replayingthemoments)