El Vy more than a Na­tional hol­i­day

Front­man makes funky anti-funk in free time

Metro Canada (Winnipeg) - - METRO LIFE - Torstar NeWs ser­vice

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.”

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