El Vy more than a National holiday
Frontman makes funky anti-funk in free time
Side projectS Clearly, Matt Berninger has different ideas of relaxation than most.
When the National frontman finally ended 18 months of relentless touring behind that beloved Cincinnati indie-rock outfit’s album Trouble Will Find Me, he immediately kicked off his holiday by starting a new band and making a new record.
Well, not that new. Berninger and longtime friend Brent Knopf (of Ramona Falls and Menomena notoriety) have been covertly working for five years on pop tunes gathered on their debut album as El Vy, Back to the Moon.
They didn’t know exactly what they were working on, but this time last year they decided that it was too good not to finish.
“There was no pressure attached to it or schedule attached to it and that’s why it kind of stayed a joy the whole time,” says Berninger from Los Angeles.
Those songs are considerably loved it, but I was filled with anxiety. It’s still hard and it’s still a struggle, but the anxiety is gone.”
Berninger and Knopf are taking El Vy on the road for a short tour — Berninger promises a four-piece band and “no lasers, but the next best thing to lasers” — and then it’s right back to work on the next National record for him.
Apparently, it’s sufficiently under way that the band is already making plans to debut the songs live next spring or summer to road-test them before recording.
“You’ll probably hear a lot of new National material next year, but it’ll all be from really sh---y iPhone recordings,” says Berninger dryly, stressing that El Vy should not be misconstrued as an “escape” from his day job. He’s still very happy at work.
“I’m so satisfied by the National on a creative level and actually we all are getting along very well now,” he says. “What it was an escape from was the lifestyle that surrounds the National: after-show parties and bars and clubs, and just parties, parties, parties, parties.”