THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Serpentine Prison is the debut solo record from Matt Berninger, frontman of internationally acclaimed group The National. The album, produced by renowned Memphis multi-instrumentalist Booker T. Jones (of Booker T. & The MG’s fame) will be released via Book Records, a new imprint formed by Berninger and Jones.
The first single to see the light of day was Serpentine Prison’s title track. It was released along with a video directed and shot by Tom Berninger and Chris Sgroi at Earthstar Creation Center in Venice, CA. “The song Serpentine Prison was written in December 2018, about a week after recording The National’s I Am Easy to Find,” Berninger explains. “For a long time, I had been writing songs for movies and musicals and other projects where I needed to get inside someone else’s head and convey another person’s feelings. I liked doing that, but I was ready to dig back into my own garbage and this was the first thing that came out.”
“The title is from a twisting sewer pipe that drains into the ocean near LAX. There’s a cage on the pipe to keep people from climbing out to sea. I worked on the song with Sean O’Brien and Harrison Whitford and recorded it about six months later with Booker T. Jones producing. It feels like an epilogue, so I named the record after it and put it last.”
The album features contributions from a wide array of notable artists, including Matt Barrick (The Walkmen, Jonathan Fire*Eater), Andrew Bird, Mike Brewer, Hayden Desser, Scott Devendorf (The National), Gail Ann Dorsey (David Bowie, Lenny Kravitz), Booker T. Jones, Teddy Jones, Brent Knopf (EL VY, Menomena), Ben Lanz (The National, Beirut), Walter Martin (The Walkmen, Jonathan Fire*Eater), Sean O’Brien, Mickey Raphael (Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan), Kyle Resnick (The National, Beirut), Matt Sheehy (EL VY, Lost Lander) and Harrison Whitford (Phoebe Bridgers). Additional production on the album was provided by Sean O’Brien.