When frontman and singer Matt Berninger received an email on September 3, 2017 from renowned Oscar-nominated film director Mike Mills (Century Wives, Beginners) that he was interested in working with the band in some way, he was immediately on fire. Not only did Berninger, who was already a fan of Mill's films at the time, agree immediately - he left the keys to the band's creative process to him, so to speak
The result is "I Am Easy To Find", a 24-minute short film by Mills starring Oscar-winning Alicia Vikander, and "I Am Easy To Find", a 68-minute album by The National. Both belong somehow together, but can also each exist for themselves. Or as Mills describes it: "Playfully hostile siblings that love to steal from each other". Both share music, DNA and words, as well as the vision of what it means to be a human being in 2019. The film was composed like a song, the music was brought together under the guidance of a director. And so the focus shifted from the band's usual frontman to a multitude of collaborations with female singers like Sharon Van Etten, Lisa Hannigan, Mina Tindle and many others, almost all of whom have accompanied The National for a long time. "Yes, there are a lot of women singing on this, but it wasn't because, 'Oh, let's have more women's voices'", Berninger says about it. "It was more, 'Let's have more of a fabric of people's identities It would have been better to have had other male singers, but my ego wouldn't let that happen."
The announcement of the album coincides with the release of the opener "You Had Your Soul With You", which celebrates the well-known The National Sound at the beginning and then reveals the true character of the project "I Am Easy To Find" from the middle of the song: when suddenly string arrangements penetrate the song and the vocals of David Bowie's long-term band member Gail Ann Dorsey take the lead. Not as a background vocal, not as a mere feature, but to make the song their own song
"I Am Easy To Find" was mainly written in Long Pond, Hudson Valley, NY, as well as in sessions in Paris, Berlin, Cincinnati, Austin, Dublin and Brooklyn. Like the band, Mills is co-producer of the album in equal parts
"Catchy pop melodies conceal complex arrangements that, above all in their details, go beyond what is usual in this context." (stereoplay, July 2019)