Interview with Animal Collective’s Deakin: New music, touring and the lingering effects of COVID

If the only Animal Collective track you know is the band’s 2009 experimental pop hit “My Girls,” it’s time to do yourself a favor and dig deeper into the quartet’s impressive 22-year body of work.

After reuniting in Baltimore, Josh Dibb (Deakin), Noah Lennox (Panda Bear), Brian Weitz (geologist) and Dave Portner (Avey Tare) have been consistently churning out music over the past two decades with no signs of slowing down. . While some members have been on various projects and tours, all four have signed up for this latest iteration.

The best part of being an Animal Collective fan is being drawn to the group’s experimental and genre-spanning discography. Each project jumps from the previous one while never sounding the same, making it impossible to choose a favorite.

“I think when you read about us in many newspapers and such, there is one story, and I understand what the story is. It makes sense to me to know what the ark is and what people see as peaks and valleys,” says Dibb. , possibly alluding to publications such as Pitchfork which often date the band’s heyday to its Merriweather Post Pavilion Where Feels period.

“When I actually interact with younger fans and talk to them, I feel like there’s a lot more of this feeling than there’s this vast ocean of material that I feel like that people could swim in and out,” adds Dibb.

There are many ways to dive into AnCo’s music. It might be easier to start with the better-known albums, like 2009’s dreamy and psych-pop Merriweather Post Pavilionchaotic indie piece from 2007 Strawberry jamand the high energy electronic samples and sounds of the 2012s Centipede Hz.

For those wishing to explore Animal Collective’s weirder catalog further, 2004 Sung pliers is a trademark of freak-folk, and the beginnings of the group, the 2000s Spirit they’re gone, spirit they’re gone (originally released as a Panda Bear and Avey Tare project), is a lo-fi experimental acoustic noise album compiled with Panda’s crazy percussion, Avey’s vocals and piano, and high-frequency sounds.

The band’s 11 studio albums are studded with notable EPs such as those from 2005 Prospect Hummer— a collaboration with British folk singer Vashti Bunyan—and 2006’s Fall be nice, which includes the first ever licensed Grateful Dead single in the track “What Would I Want? Sky”.

Exploring other mediums, Animal Collective releases its first audiovisual album, ODDSAC, in 2010, with psychedelic visuals by Danny Perez. The film was screened for the first time in Miami’s closed room, Grand Central.
The band’s second audio-visual album was a collaboration with the duo Colin Foord and Jared “JD” McKay of Coral Morphologic. The two teams (minus Panda Bear) were brought together in 2018 by Borscht Corporation to create “Coral Orgy”, an ambient performance that combines the band’s music with visuals by Coral Morphologic at the New World Center in Miami Beach. The songs from the concert were reworked in the studio and combined with high quality clips of bioluminescent coral filmed by Coral Morphologic to form the album Mandarin Reef.

For further listening, all members of Animal Collective have been working on their own solo projects, such as Dibb’s album sleep cycle, who launched his solo career in 2016. Dibb hopes to have time to finally work on his next project this fall or winter.

“I’ve been writing new songs on and off for three or four years,” he says. “I’m just a slowpoke and haven’t had time to record it.”

Avey Tare, known for his singing style that ranges from soft whispers to guttural screams, tends to slow him down in his solo endeavors, resulting in a darker, stripped-down version of Animal Collective, often themed around landscapes. animals and nature.

Panda Bear is perhaps the band’s best-known solo artist, thanks to the critically acclaimed sample-based album Person location. His last album, The panda bear meets the grim reaperwas co-produced by Pete Kember, aka Sonic Boom of 80s English space-rock band Spacemen 3. The duo plan to collaborate again on Panda Bear’s upcoming album, Reset.

On tour, Geologist often opens for Avey Tare or Panda Bear with an ambient synth set. In 2018 he released an Asheville Masonic Temple live performance titled Living in the Land of Heaven on tape.

Ultimately, there’s no wrong way to start exploring Animal Collective – but be prepared for a strange and long journey.

For fans who have already dug deep into the band’s albums and EPs, Animal Collective is keeping listeners on their toes by playing fresh, never-before-seen material at shows, mixed in with a few of their hits.

“We think about trying to give people things that they’ll be passionate about, but we push people,” says Dibb. “Obviously there’s a version of Animal Collective that would take the stage, and every night they’d be playing ‘Fireworks’, ‘My Girls’ and ‘Brother Sport’. I know we could be that band, and we chose not to be.”

Recalling a 2016 show at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Baltimore (namesake of the band’s illustrious album) to see The Cure and wanting to hear popular tunes like “Pictures of You” and “Boy’s Don’t Cry,” Dibb says, ” I can relate to a fan who’s just like, ‘I wanna hear the song; this is the song i want to hear. But I also feel like for most of my life as a music fan, the musical moments that have moved me the most have been times when I’ve been in a room hearing something that I I’ve never heard before that I don’t understand, and it changes how my ears work.”
Released last February, the band’s latest album, Skiffs of time, was a shift to a new laid-back jam band direction in which Panda Bear, with his usual vocals and harmonies, returns to the drums with a more even beat compared to a wild, erratic style found on earlier records.

The geologist also added the psychedelic stringed instrument known as the hurdy-gurdy, which he can be seen throwing in the video for ‘Prester John’ and during live shows. Dibb, who participates on guitar or synth, also engages more heavily on vocals in boats of time jumping into harmonies with Avey and Panda and leading the track “Royal and Desire”.

“Most of the music was written in 2019, before the pandemic. We wrote about 18 songs, and in January 2020 we were planning to go into the studio and record everything, and when the pandemic happened, we so we had to put everything on hold,” says Dibb. “So boats of time ended up being just a batch of those songs that we felt like we could record remotely because we couldn’t see each other. »

Dibb says the songs that didn’t go into Skiffs of time, plus some more recent additions, will find their way onto a new album or EP next year – this time recorded in the studio.

“We’re kind of audiophile weirdos, so we wanted to record all of this straight to tape, in a very analog way,” he adds. The band worked with Grammy-winning music engineer Russell Elevado, known for his dedication to analog and his work with R&B artist D’Angelo.

“At this point, our focus is on continuing to play these songs, loving them and waiting for this new record to come out,” Dibb said. “I know everyone has given a little bit of thought to solo music as well.”

Dibb also admits to having ongoing health issues after he and Portner caught COVID last month, which led to the cancellation of Animal Collective tour dates in May and June.

“It was the worst case scenario, but I’m really glad we were able to reschedule the dates,” Dibb said.

Along with the rescheduled dates, Animal Collective was also able to add shows in New Orleans and three shows in Florida, including a July 8 stop at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale.

The last time the band performed in South Florida was in 2016 at the Fillmore Miami Beach in support of their tenth studio album, Paint with — a project that Dibb skipped.

Animal collective. 7 p.m. Friday, July 8, at Revolution Live, 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-449-1025; Tickets are $28.50 through

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