I basically love classical music. I love a lot of musicians playing together and the whole culture of that, whether it's Indian or it's Western.
My grandfather, Arthur Baskerville, he played and still plays a little bit piano and trombone, and so when I was a kid, I always heard jazz around the house, but I also went to his gigs, whether it be a Saturday brunch in my hometown Columbus, Ohio. We'd go and hear him play with some of the local musicians.
Big Red Machine is really a community effort: I guess it involves almost 30 musicians. It does come out of our friendship, but it's really something that is deeply collaborative.
The National's favorite experiences as musicians are when we are collaborating with people a little outside of our world as a band.
I think for me to be involved in a festival, there has to be a strong element of songwriting and musicianship.
Whenever I visited China in the past, the relationships always felt superficial; there was no time where I felt those moments of conflict and delight that make you feel close to another person. But since I started touring there in 2004, I would always collaborate with local musicians, and that opened up a new level of intimacy.
I'm no ethnomusicologist. There is a connection between the five-note scale used both in traditional Chinese music and the blues, but I don't really understand it. All I know is, whenever I play with Chinese musicians, we seem to belong to the same musical gene pool.
It's always great playing with other musicians. It's also a great situation where I'm the older guy, I've influenced generations of guitar players.
Everybody wants to be a rapper - even country musicians.
We never thought we were musicians. We just thought we were in a band.