Berninger’s debut solo LP, due out October 2nd via Book Records, was produced by Memphis legend Booker T. Jones and features contributions from David Bowie bassist Gail Ann Dorsey, Andrew Bird, fellow National members and the Walkmen’s Walter Martin, who co-wrote “Distant Axis.”
“I met Walter Martin 15 years ago when the National opened for the Walkmen on a tour of shitty clubs in the American Southeast. On that tour, I learned a lot about how to be in a band without ruining your life. I also learned a lot about Florida, Tennessee and Georgia,” Berninger said in a statement. “Walt and I have stayed friends and about three years ago we started passing ideas back and forth. ‘Distant Axis’ started from a sketch Walt sent me named ‘Savannah.’ I think it’s about falling out of touch with someone or something you once thought would be there forever.”
The accompanying video for the track is more of a making-of clip than a fully actualized visual, with Berninger sprawled across a green screen staring up at the camera hovering overhead. In slow motion, Berninger catches several items thrown to him while lying on the green screen — an 8-ball, a wizard hat, a bouquet of flowers, etc. — but the green screen technology is never activated in the clip. The video was co-directed by Berninger, his brother Tom Berninger and Chris Sgroi.