When The National’s Matt Berninger announced his debut solo album Serpentine Prison last October, he expected to be able to tour behind the record. But his plans were thrown off with the lockdown and the dissolution of the live music industry. In place of playing a live show, Berninger celebrated the release of Serpentine Prison with a performance of his single “One More Second” on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
Taking the stage backed by a full band, Berninger gave a cathartic delivery of the single. Losing himself in song, Berninger harmonized the lyrics alongside his backup vocalist.
It’s clear Berninger was entranced by the song during the late-night set judging by his concentrated gaze, something he admitted he does often in a recent interview with Uproxx. The singer described how he needs to be fully committed to the emotional aspect of a song in order to perform it on stage:
“I consider everything, I’m a method singer, I’m a method performer, I’m a method writer. I’m always channeling my own stuff, but there is a character. It’s like Christopher Walken — he almost can’t really be anything other than Christopher Walken. I’m not saying I’m Christopher Walken, but I think that’s what I am as a singer. On stage, I have to take an hour to get ready to be that guy, to be that guy that goes out there and sings and dances for two hours, and does all these songs. I get emotionally to the middle of those songs and if I can’t, I hate it. I don’t like writing a song unless I’m really, really, really sucked into it emotionally. I really hate being on stage unless I’m really, really sucked into it emotionally.”
Watch Berninger perform “One More Second” on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert above.
Serpentine Prison is out now via Concord Records. Get it here.