10 Questions with ... Brent Knopf
June 27, 2016
1. What were some of the highlights for you and EL VY's music?
It was trippy: Hearing Return to the Moon on the radio was surreal in a wonderful way. The sold-out concerts in North America and Europe/U.K. were a total blast.
2. How did EL VY first form? How did you two first meet each other?
I met Matt (Berninger) in 2003 when my former band Menomena played a show with The National in Portland. About five years ago, he asked for me to send him some song sketches, so I sent him a boatload of hundreds. Poor sap.
3. I understand that it took a while before you finally came together and started making music. Was it hard to find the time when you were both busy with your other groups?
Yes. I'm glad Matt made EL VY a priority in the window of time between The National's records. If I were him, I would've done something smarter, like try to launch a semi-autobiographical TV show.
4. Can you recall your first musical memory?
My mom's a beautiful singer, and the piano from my childhood is now in my living room. It's the same piano you'll hear on the EL VY album.
5. Is there one piece of music that really inspired you to be a musician?
Depeche Mode's album Violator.
6. How is EL VY's sound and direction different than your two other groups, The National and Ramona Falls?
EL VY has a lightness to it that surprised both Matt and me, given our depressive tendencies. I'll have to save the capes and eye-liner I bought for a different project.
7. How is the subject matter different or similar?
Matt writes all the lyrics to both EL VY and The National, and he's called his lyrics for EL VY his "most autobiographical" so far.
8. Are you currently working on anything new now?
New EL VY songs are being cooked up, but they're on the back burner as Matt re-focuses on The National and I refocus on Ramona Falls. My manager has told me I am NOT allowed to discuss my collaboration with Taylor Swift under any conditions. LOL
9. What musicians continue to inspire you year after year?
Newer work by PJ Harvey and Karl Blau continues to astound. I'm always in awe of early Sly and the Family Stone, The Zombies (Odessey and Oracle), and Talking Heads (Remain in Light).
10. At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music?
Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.