Tomorrow, The National will take the stage in Cincinnati, Ohio for the get-out-the-vote “Love Trumps Hate” concert. Ahead of the show, frontman Matt Berninger made an appearance on PBS’ Tavis Smiley to discuss the election and the role his band has played in politics.
Smiley noted that The National have been involved in two historic campaigns, first with Barack Obama and now Hillary Clinton. While Berninger maintained that his band isn’t “political,” he said he knew they were being called upon to make voting “seem cool.” They also touched on Berninger’s contribution to the anti-Trump 30 Days, 30 Songs with EL VY, “Are These My Jets”, a song he described as “mostly a cathartic thing.”
“Trump is never mentioned by name,” Berninger explained of the track. “Steve Bannon and Roger Ailes are the only ones mentioned by names because I actually think they’re weirdly the architects of all this anger and sadness right now.”
The pair also discussed Berninger’s songwriting. In addition to how his Midwest upbringing gives him a “narrative edge,” the singer-songwriter talked about how his wife, Carin Besser, helps with his lyricism. “She’s very helpful at sort of helping me to find the soul of a song. Also, she knows when I’m full of [bleep] and she gets me focused on being honest, you know. Emotionally honest and don’t posture in songs. There’s enough of that, you know. She doesn’t want me to waste a song on style or posturing, so she’s got very high standards.”
Watch the entire interview below.