The National to Release Live Three-Cassette Box Set
The National has announced the release of a live three-cassette box set, Juicy Sonic Magic, from their September 24th and 25th, 2018 Greek Theatre shows in Berkeley, CA at the end of their Sleep Well Beast tour. The Berkeley shows were taped by producer and engineer Erik Flannigan using The Mike Millard Method, which replicates the vintage analog recording equipment the legendary taper used in the '70s and '80s. The triple cassette limited release will come out November 29th exclusively as part of Record Store Day Black Friday. Both Flannigan and The National's Matt Berninger spoke to Relix about the upcoming release, which will be accompanied by a short documentary of the same name about Millard and the process of taping the Berkeley concerts from the audience, directed by David DuBois. Record Store Day Black Friday releases are available only at independent record stores starting 11/29.
Flannigan explained the idea behind using The Mike Millard Method in the cassette's liner notes, saying:
The most celebrated audience taper of the period, Mike Millard, recorded in and around Southern California beginning in 1974 and continued into the early '90s. Millard's legend is built in part on the cunning and subterfuge he used to get his nearly 15-pound cassette deck and microphones into venues like the The Forum, Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, and The Roxy.
For years I have pondered what made Millard's recordings so good, and eventually I had an idea: What if you recorded a concert today with the same equipment Millard used in 1977? Would it sound like his tapes? Would it tap into his Midas touch?
The National was kind enough to let us test the Millard Method for two concerts at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, California last September. These live recordings were made with vintage AKG 451E microphones and a restored Nakamichi 550 cassette deck which are identical to those used by Millard circa 1975-81. The idea was to see if we could recreate what Matt Berninger calls the "juicy sonic magic" Millard captured in his 1970s field recordings.
Together with my friend and filmmaker David DuBois, we also produced a short documentary about Millard, his recording methods, and our attempt to recreate his work at the National shows in Berkeley, a venue that is utterly unchanged since the '70s.
With the advent of smartphones, thousands of people routinely record part of the show when they attend a National concert or any other performance. Forty years ago, when nobody would dare do that, one man made it his life's work to preserve legendary concerts on tape.
The National are currently on tour in support of their latest release, I Am Easy To Find. See all tour dates below.
The National on tour:
10/16 - Mexico City, MX @ Pepsi Center
10/19 - Guadalajara, MX @ Coordenada Festival
10/26 - New Orleans, LA - Voodoo Music + Arts
11/25 - Warsaw, PL @ Torwar Hall
11/26 - Berlin, DE @ Columbiahalle
11/27 - Berlin, DE @ Columbiahalle
11/29 - Copenhagen, DK @ Royal Arena
12/1 - Bochum, DE @ Ruhrcongress
12/2 - Cologne, DE @ Palladium
12/3 - Zurich, SW @ Samsung Hall
12/4 - Munich, DE @ Zenith
12/5 - Stuttgart, DE @ Porsche Arena
12/07 - Brighton, UK - Brighton Centre^
12/08 - Leeds, UK - First Direct Arena^
12/09 - Cardiff, UK - Cardiff Motorpoint Arena^
12/10 - Nottingham, UK - Nottingham Motorpoint Arena^
12/12 - Lisbon, PT - Campo Pequeno
03/17 - Tokyo, JP - Zepp DiverCity*
03/18 - Tokyo, JP - Zepp DiverCity*
03/21 - Perth, AU - Freemantle Arts Centre*
03/22 - Perth, AU - Freemantle Arts Centre*
03/24 - Sydney, AU - ICC*
03/25 - Sydney, AU - ICC*
03/27 - Brisbane, AU - Fortitude Music Hall*
03/28 - Brisbane, AU - Fortitude Music Hall*
03/30 - Melbourne, AU - Palais Theatre*
03/31 - Melbourne, AU - Palais Theatre*
04/01 - Melbourne, AU - Palais Theatre*
04/03 - Auckland, NZ - ASB Aotea Centre*
04/04 - Auckland, NZ - ASB Aotea Centre*
^ w/Jenny Lewis
* w/ Phoebe Bridgers
Both individually and collectively The National's members have been involved in countless artistic, charitable and socio-political pursuits. The group released "A Lot of Sorrow" documenting their collaboration with installation artist Ragnar Kjartansson, that took place at MOMA's PS1 and saw the band play their song "Sorrow" for six hours in front of a live audience. They are behind the Red Hot benefit albums Dark Was The Night and Day Of The Dead, and the compilation boxed set titled 7-Inches for Planned Parenthood. Band member's have received a Golden Globe Nomination for work on the score of the 2015 film Revenant, founded or play a major part in MusicNow, Eaux Claires and Haven Festival and Boston Calling, and participated heavily in both Obama Presidential Campaigns, and much more.
2013 also saw the theatrical release of their documentary, Mistaken For Strangersset to the backdrop of the band's 2010 release High Violet. The documentary was chosen to premiere on the opening night of the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival followed by a theatrical release in the US and worldwide distribution. Over their 16-year career the band has sold more than 2 million albums in the U.S. alone.