You’re in the band with your brother Bryan, while Aaron and Bryce [Dessner] are also brothers. What’s that like?
It’s a lot like the United Nations. There’s a lot of disagreement, warring parties, peacemaking and sanctions but it’s mostly good fun. It’s nice to have a family bond and yeah, there’s definitely a lot of bromance.
You get compared quite a bit to Joy Division. How do you feel about that?
We certainly like Joy Division a lot but we’ve never really consciously modeled after their music. My brother’s a big fan of Stephen Morris.
What do you think draws listeners to your music?
Our lyrics are kind of open-ended, making our songs seem cryptic. They’re a bit open for interpretation and that allows people to create different meanings from them. The whole process is interactive. People find our songs intimate and personal as we talk about relationships, hard times, good times and all that other stuff. Our music is emotionally intense. I think our videos are also pretty fun to watch.
Your music has a dark, brooding feel to it. Do you think that might change if you guys lived someplace warm and sunny like Singapore?
We live in a gray place. You’re right; maybe we should go to a beach paradise. Maybe then we’ll write songs about surfing.
Will you be playing mostly songs from last year’s High Violet when you come here?
Of course, we’ll definitely play songs from the latest album but we’ll try to play something from all the records, as well as some that have never been heard.
Most memorable places you guys have played in?
In the past year, we’ve played in a couple of large places we never expected to play in. The Radio City Music Hall is always an amazing place to play in because people are really crazy and always sing along. It’s inspiring to play there.
You must travel quite a bit. What are your favorite cities?
Paris is beautiful. Everyone says that because it’s true. We love Australia though we’ve only been there once. We mainly like places where there’s beautiful nature around us. It can get really tough traveling so we appreciate things like this.
Catch The National at the Mosaic Music Festival on Mar 15, 8pm, at the Esplanade Theatre, 1 Esplanade Dr., 6828-8377. $40-120 from Sistic.