I was watching a video interview with him about The Long Count which was interesting – he said that for him, it also extended to ideas of games and combat, conflict and play in every day life. Was that of significance to you too?
AD: Yeah, definitely. I remember… early on, it was very much about games and play and tests, and we tried to affect that in the music. A lot of the music involves these chases, or mirroring – my brother and I can play guitar in really unique ways together because of how we grew up. Literally I can look at his hand and play the exact same thing or the exact opposite thing, or a key off. What usually happens is that I’m playing something and he plays a mirror or echo of it, and a lot of music is like that, and it’s extended into the ensemble also, so it’s like twins also. That extends into the film as well – you see the film, the two diamond shape films, and then they reflect down off of this mirror floor, so everything is doubled or quadrupled, so this has this interesting effect where it’s all very playful.
You must both be acutely aware of the ways in which you and Bryce work together and apart.
AD: I think we have this instinctive feeling that if we hit a wall at some point, that the other will be able to break through it. We have different tendencies: he’s much more academic about music than I am, and I’m more visceral or spontaneous. It’s probably easier for me to generate lots of new ideas, a constant stream, and in a way it’s easier for him to finish those ideas, and maybe elevate them beyond a simple idea. But then he’ll do some work and I’ll take it further. There are very few times where either of us is working on something where the either isn’t in some way part of it. Bryce is writing more orchestral work now, and some of that I’m not involved in it, some of that I am, and in some ways that’s a different exercise when you’re writing in a more traditional way, as opposed to collaborating. We’re always finishing each other’s ideas, and it works really well in The National, and in some ways it works even better in these more expansive, experimental ways. There aren’t these restraints. With The Long Count, there are a lot more musicians to bounce things out of and draw on, different voices and things. It’s liberating.
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