W W W. C R A F T BY U M H . C O M How do you guys resist the urge to overproduce and fix every little mistake? It’s definitely a learning experience. We’ve gone through different phases of that. We’ve always liked the feeling of hearing weird breathes, noises, and creaks in re- cords. It feels real. We never clean that stuff up. This record, even more than ever, we didn’t clean it up. I have another band called Big Red Machine with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. That’s not cleaned up at all. It’s intentionally much wilder, and it was a really fun process because of that. There’s plenty of production, but there’s some- thing about it that feels very alive because we didn’t polish every corner of it. There are strange sounds and lots of experimental aspects, so that gives it a lot of character. It’s definitely something I try to always be aware of. I’m more interested in some- thing that has some spontaneity and rawness in it than a polished, perfect thing. Even though it’s nice to hear a perfect production sometimes. Sometimes it’s not as human as you want it to be though. My favorite records are still old Dylan records and things that aren’t at all polished. You’ve collaborated with a ton of great musicians and produced records as well, but you and Justin Vernon seem to have a special connection. What’s your relationship like with him and why do you seem to work so well together? The origin of our friendship is that we wrote a song together called “Big Red Machine” actually in 2008 for Dark Was the Night, this charity record that Bryce and I produced for the Aids charity, Red Hot. We did that before we ever met in person, so it’s always been a good feeling in that the origin of our friendship was a creative one. He’s also just such a generous, warm person. He’s not at all cagey about trying stuff. He’s al- ways up for whatever, and so are we. Maybe it’s also a Midwestern feeling. There’s something very familiar about him and his community and our group of friends from Ohio. It’s not that different from Wisconsin. We have a lot of friends in music and in art. Over the years you just find people that you click with. To do this you can’t do it alone; everyone has to help each other. We’ve always tried to do that, and so has he. He puts a lot of effort into helping his community and the things he cares about. There’s just a good thing there. PHOTO CREDIT: Graham MacIndoe THE NATIONAL: (L to R) Scott Devendorf, Bryce Dessner, Matt Beringer, Bryan Devendorf, and Aaron Dessner You and Justin have also created a digital music platform together called PEOPLE, which is where you’ve released some of the Big Red Machine stuff. When can we expect more from Big Red Machine and why did you decide to create and release it on PEOPLE? So, we have a full album of Big Red Machine material. It’s a 10 song thing that came out on August 31. It’ll be on vinyl too, a proper release. There’s a ton of music being made within the PEOPLE collective. It’s really fun. We just figured, “Why don’t we create something that allows people to do this kind of thing?” A place where you col- laborate and make projects you might not normally make within the confines of the normal structures of the music industry, which can be pretty rigid. We call it a promo- tional bottleneck to everything. It’s not necessarily conducive to the speed at which artists and other people work. I just think about Mikkel a lot. You can say “Hey Mikkel, you want to make a beer?”, and he can say “Yeah, I’ll make a beer.” Nobody’s say- ing you have to wait six months to promote that beer and distribute it. He moves very quickly, and that allows him to be very creative. I think that’s a great thing. © Hundred-to-One LLC 2018. All rights reserved.