Reunited for their tenth full-length album, titled Centipede Hz (see our review), are childhood friends and the four original band members of Animal Collective: Avey Tare, Panda Bear, Geologist and Deakin.
As a man who clearly marches to his own drum, Josh Dibbs, also known as Deakin, chatted with BeatRoute from a 20 square-foot four-seasons-style tent that is pitched on his mom’s 20 acres in Maryland which has served as his residence for some time now.
With solo albums, personal projects, higher education, and family life under their belts, the boys who spent their formative years jamming together are back, and according to Deakin—who opted to sit out on Animal Collective’s 2009 album, Merriweather Post Pavilion—the secret to their longevity as a group is “not forcing each other to do things that they don’t want to do.”
Despite their nonchalant nature and the recognized hassle associated with flying four people to one location for an extended period of time, the group took a new approach with their latest album. Regrouping in Baltimore, the band convened at the start of 2011 to write material for Centipede Hz.
“Being back in Baltimore was purely for convenience. It was a place that we could all be for a substantial amount of time and it was easily a default choice with mothers and wives and family nearby. Still, Baltimore invoked an uncomfortable link to the past. Like when you’re driving down a road and find yourself reminiscing about previous experiences, which conjure up sensations that don’t quite align with our general hunger for new feelings and experiences,” Deakin says.
“The tune, “New Town Burnout,” is kind of about that. The lyrics relay Dave’s discomfort with being away from home, especially with his children being so far as they deal with the trials and tribulations of childhood and change,” Deakin says.
He digresses. “Showing up at the tiny clubhouse to work was really fun for all members alike—laughing and telling jokes really drove the reunion.”
This assemblage marks the introduction of a more gritty, medicinal sound with Panda Bear playing a sit-down drum kit and Geologist playing live keyboards, not to mention the return of Deakin, who is especially psyched to be back after his last break which went on longer than expected.
“Centipede Hz is really representative of our physical reunion and the energy that comes from working so closely together. It’s almost like a big brother to Strawberry Jam (2007) in the sense that it has the same tonality, with less of a focus on electronics and samplers, making it more of an amalgamation of rock and roll, garage rock, and early soul funk. This focus on live instruments, four guys going at it with all four limbs, sweating and turning up the volume dangerously loud, really shifted our sound. It’s a high-energy album, with a kind of claustrophobic, caught in a tunnel feel.”
The track titles, which appear to mostly reference childhood (Rosie Oh, Applesauce, Wide Eyed) and manhood (Moonjock, Father Time, Mercury Man), is probably more of a subconscious manifestation, claims Deakin. Though upon prompting, Deakin divulges that they certainly are two forces that the guys have always had an interest in. “We value that perspective that you have as a child, which is something that we have tried not to lose while grappling with the realities of aging.”
With a high-energy album and the desire to stay young, Animal Collective live are bound to deliver.
Animal Collective plays Stanley Park’s Malkin Bowl on September 19th.
By Stephanie Nazywalskyj