Aaron Dessner on The National’s next move and Kodaline on being the next big thing,
“I remember my parents, particularly my dad, pressured me at some point to focus on getting a degree in business or law or something employable. My parents were very nervous that my brother and I were just twiddling around with music. Honestly, we didn’t come at it thinking we’d be successful and make money, but it is ironic how now I don’t think my parents would mind very much about the career path we took. I don’t think I would ever have achieved the same level of satisfaction from doing something different, or that I didn’t love doing. The fact that The National is successful and that we can survive from it is extra.”
Survive? If ever there was a band to look adversity in the face, glower at it and then take it on, it was this one. Did success, gradual though it may have been, come as a surprise?
“Well, there were always little glimmers of hope,” reveals Dessner, whose voice is a little louder now as the pounding sleet finally comes to a halt. “Even early on, I remember certain shows. Our first packed show in Whelan’s, in Dublin, in 2005 was one – you could feel that the energy and spirit were there. So much was being given to us by the audience, and without wishing to be horrifically cliched about it, Ireland is definitely one of the countries where we feel the most connected with our audience. Well, with the exception of the year we played Oxygen – that was when we played at the same time as Beyoncé. To be honest, that gig of ours was a bit of a disaster.”
Time is ticking. Dessner is late for a soundcheck. One more question? A nod. Any update on The National’s forthcoming album? It has, after all, been three years since their previous record, High Violet.
“We are deep into recording it,” says Dessner, now back in librarian mode. “That’s all I’m saying.”
❙❙❙ Aaron Dessner performs with This is the Kit and Luluc on Other
Voices, which will be broadcast on RTÉ, beginning next month