THE ANIMALS They’ve formed a Collective.
Anticipating their December 2 show at the State Theatre (originally scheduled for July 11), the Phoenix spoke with Animal Collective’s Brian Weitz, a/k/a Geologist, whose noisy production is a driving force on the group’s 2012 record, Centipede Hz.
Centipede Hz is a much more challenging record than Merriweather Post Pavilion. It seems like your records follow such an unpredictable pattern that that unpredictability is a formula itself. How much do you all try to steer a record’s vibe? I think we just try to steer it away from the previous record, and if we can, away from as many of the previous records as possible. Centipede Hz I agree is more challenging than Merriweather and maybe Feels or something, but if you listen to our first couple records I think it’s super accessible. We weren’t trying to go back to a specifically weird or noisy sound; to us it was more about physicality and energy. At the end of the Merriweather time period, the material had just gotten very easy. The three of us had a connection going and the fact that it was easy was great, but it just wasn’t fun for very long — not for three years, anyway. So for Centipede Hz we just wanted to bring a style and physicality, and it tends to be more noisy and chaotic.
Considering your role in the band, do you feel closer to this record than others? I definitely worked harder on this record than Merriweather. We were all trying to go back to playing more live instruments. The amount of time it took to play two samplers with my hands, or one keyboard with my hand and a sampler with my other hand and bass parts with my feet, that required a lot more work than on previous records where I was triggering samples and using faders. So it was definitely fun and rewarding for me, and a lot of the sound collages between the songs I took on by myself. Yeah, I feel pretty close to the record.
What’s your take on how things have changed now that you guys have families? Well it’s changed a lot for me personally. None of us have day jobs anymore. This is how we make our living. There’s a certain amount of money my family needs to live on, so sometimes you’re like, well, I don’t really want to play that festival but I kind of need to. But it doesn’t really bum me out that much. We don’t ever really bend on things that we find distasteful or gross. We’ve been offered a lot of money from corporations for advertising and if we don’t agree we don’t sell our music to it no matter what the dollar figure is, so we feel okay on that side of things. We’re playing live music for a living and there’s very little that’s gross about that, but it is more taxing to make a living on the road. Your kids only see you over a Skype window for weeks on end, and that part’s not fun at all.