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Matt Berninger's Side Project El Vy: We Are Whatever Hall & Oates Are

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Matt Berninger and Brent Knopf of El Vy.

Matt Berninger and his band, The National, are known for their sometimes dark, sometimes moody, introspective songs.  So some of the reviewers of Berninger’s collaboration with Brent Knopf have expressed some surprise at the lighter feel of its songs.

The album is called Return to the Moon, and the musical collaboration goes by the name El Vy. "We didn’t want a name that sounded like a band. Because we don’t really think of it as a band. However, I guess it is a band. We think of it as a duo, or something. I don’t know, are Hall and Oates a band? I guess they are. Whatever Hall and Oates are, that’s what we are," Berninger says.

When it comes to songwriting, Berninger says each song is like a child. "At some point you realize my kid is an individual, flawed and beloved. Then finally after some point we had to kick, push it out of the nest, let it be on its own."

Berninger says he approaches songwriting the way a novelist or actor might get in character. "Rock songs are high art in my mind," Berninger says, "I take really seriously and I work really hard on it and I love it, and its my favorite thing."