Talkhouse Music Podcast recently reached out to Conor Oberst to set something up around his new album, Ruminations. Oberst had the idea to sit down with another “master of the art” of lyricism, The National’s Matt Berninger, for a discussion on songwriting. The wise folks behind the podcast realized what a stellar idea this was, and that brings us to today’s episode featuring an insightful chat between Oberst and Berninger.
The pair discuss their songwriting craft and how it varies from band to band, whether it’s Berninger’s The National or El Vy, or Oberst in Bright Eyes or Desparacidos. Berninger talks about how he receives tracks from the Dessner twins and just proceeds to “lean back, drink wine, smoke a little weed, and I get to just free associate for a long time with this music.” Oberst, meanwhile, prefers the “old school” method of jamming “really loud in the basement and I scream until we have something.”
They also touch on specific songs, such as “All the Wine”, “Fake Empire” and “Lemonworld” from Berninger’s catalog, and “Lua”, “You Are Your Mother’s Child” and “Artifact #1″ from Oberst’s. The conversation also finds the two heap praise on the late Leonard Cohen, and Berninger comparing Oberst to Elliott Smith. At one point, they even have a nice Batman v Superman moment over their moms sharing the same name when they discuss Berninger’s pre-National band, Nancy.
Listen to the entire thing below.