Animal Collective one: interview with Geologist
This article originally appeared in Dayton City Paper
I asked a lot of questions and got a lot of material so I definitely plan to do more articles from my interview with Geologist.
A voice says to you; this is the new. Suddenly warping effects reduce that into an echoed sound. You may be able to catch the word centipede but more likely it flies past you too fast to register. And this is only three seconds in. There is a quick count-down from seven then the beat starts. It’s a pounding rhythm that demands your attention. After a moment the percussion is joined by more instruments then finally the vocals. The chorus holds a layered voice stretching it out as the rhythm keeps pushing forward. This is followed by a scream into the next transition. The effects and vocals combine into a quieter moment then build up then explode with the ending half of the song. It’s layered intricate intriguing and exciting. What more would you expect from the first track on Animal Collective’s new CD Centipede HZ?
With the Centipede HZ tour Animal Collective will be performing at The Madison Theater in Cincinnati, OH for the first time on March 12 at 8:00pm. They will be joined by Dan Deacon who is with the same label, Domino Records.
Centipede HZ is the first studio album to feature all four Collective members since Strawberry Jam. The credits for Centipede HZ are as follows; Dave Portner “Avey Tare” (vocals, synthesizers, piano, guitar, sampler, sequencer, percussion); Noah Lennox “Panda Bear” (vocals, drums, sampler, percussion); Josh Dibb “Deakin” (vocals, baritone guitar, sampler, percussion); Brian Weitz “Geologist” (sampler, synthesizers, piano, percussion). Every member of this band is musician capable of playing a wide range of instruments. That’s part of the idea, these are separate musical entities forming a collective and working together to feed off each others creativity.
Today’s Supernatural, Centipede HZ’s first single, is easily my favorite from the album. It’s a creation of flowing rhythm with an upbeat almost tribal percussion. It’s a progressive dance of a song with lyrics that demand you buck up and “let go”. Portner showcases his vocal abilities the entire album and this song is no exception. Lennox performs some fantastic percussion while Josh Dibb returns to not only add his sound, but performs his first ever lead vocals vocals for the track “Wide Eyed”. Weitz does effects with this album that function as pops of action and lead in’s. With Centipede HZ these effects seem to fit and flow perfectly and I actually got a chance to talk with Geologist himself about it.
Geologist told me that for composing an album they don’t exactly set out with a solid concept. “Initially we always think of it all very inwards, like what it all means.” These ‘inward meanings’ are worked out through the creation of the song and then worked into “The larger concepts that will inevitably be communicated,” according to Weitz.
“We took all of 2010 off from the touring projects and the traditional recording-writing-touring album cycle. It was a different kind of year from normal,” Weitz said about developing the album. “Throughout 2010 we were always talking to each other about ideas we had for the next record and things that were inspiring us.”
Weitz said that with their last album Merry Weather Post Pavilion, “The songs got really easy to play; some of us weren’t even breaking a sweat. It wasn’t a completely cerebral experience. So we wanted the next album to be a really difficult technically complicated show. Something to pull off so we’d have to be on our toes. So we’d have to exert ourselves.” It’s hard to imagine performing any Animal Collective song could ever get easy and routine with those intricate progressions, regressions and quirky sound clips.
“We wanted something more aggressive not in an angry way [more] like in a textural way,” Weitz explained. This is evident through the composition of music and sound in Centipede HZ. The build ups and transitions will draw you in to listen closer and closer, before you know it they’ll have lured you off into a new direction somewhere around the corner from where you had started.
As a long time fan I can vogue for the fact that Animal Collective has really grown, progressed and transformed over the years. When the band first began doing live shows they all dressed up. This has since stopped but Weitz “Geologist” will still wear his minors headlamp for indoor shows.
“Initially we all wore masks,” He explained “[The minors lamp] helped me to see when performing in a dark lit clubs and basements. After we abandoned the idea I kept it anyway.” With managing some serious electrical equipment Weitz headlamp seems only natural on stage. At this point in their career Animal Collective no longer play in small dark basements. Instead they now fill the house of some large and very cool venues. “Now it’s like the lights on the stage can be too bright so it helps [to see through] that,” Weitz said. “We have a ton of lighting effects.”
Animal Collective have always been an amazing unique and talented band. They have always offered intense music that is an experience in itself. This is a band unafraid to experiment with something new and they continue to grow and evolve. With the new progressive aggressive sounds of Centipede HZ that were developed specifically to challenge the performers themselves and the promise of cool stage lighting effects, this tour guarantees to put on one hell of a show.