“We just decided to get going, jam and start to make sense of the sonic landscape we would be dealing with”
exists any more,” says Dibb. “It’s very homogenous and all the stations more or less play the same thing and it’s very frustrating and repetitive.
“The internet killed radio because it became the place where I’d go to find music and see what was happening. Stuff like Spotify and podcasts have this potential which is really exciting and is replicating the way old DJ shows used to work when you gravitated towards someone you knew had taste.”
Lennox feels the internet has also altered the process of discovery in other ways. “The
Dibb believes fans know what to expect at this stage. “That process is pretty ingrained and natural for us. The challenge for us is to understand how other people perceive what we do and how to accept that is how it is and people are either going to accept or reject that.
“It’s easier because we have some experience under our belt. For better or worse, we’ve encouraged, if that’s the right word, our core fanbase to understand and accept it. There’s many different tiers of people who are interested in our music, but I think most people who’ve been with us a while get that that is how we’re always going to be. That’s more the relationship we’re interested in as well, to be honest.”
The band themselves know no other way to operate, says Lennox. “When Sung Tongs came out, we played some of the songs live and they sounded nothing like how they did on the record. That has happened pretty continuously since. Even before Strawberry Jam came out, the tours that were happening were Merriweather tours. People were thing I feel which has been totally lost, which is a real shame, is someone shoving music in front of you which you haven’t heard and isn’t maybe your thing. You have to be forced to deal with it. That’s when radio was really awesome. You have this perception that the internet opens your eyes and mind to all this different stuff, but it’s also closing down views and opinions.”
At this juncture, most bands would be fretting about how to recreate the complexity of the new songs in a live show but, as we know from experience, plugging songs from the album they’ve just released is not Animal Collective’s way. When people go to see them play in the coming months, they’re unlikely to hear songs drawn diligently from Centipede Hz. hearing Strawberry Jam and going to the shows and hearing nothing that sounded like that record.”
Yet the band do muse about what it might be like to go back over a decade and more of old records and replay them. “Maybe it’s an idea to try something different,” says Dibb. “We’re the kind of people who like going to a show where you hear music you’ve never heard before, and I know there are people who feel that way.
“But there’s at least half the audience, if not more, who don’t feel that way. They want to go to a show and hear the band spit out the record like they’ve heard it at home. There’s a point when that becomes ridiculous because you can just put the record on at home. I don’t think we’ll ever get to that point, but there’s also an appreciation on our part that people want to have an experience where they feel a connection with the song.”
“But it will be a strange day when the four of us go ‘let’s figure out how we played Feels note for note, get those sounds back and try to recreate that’,” says Lennox
“At a certain point, though, with a certain distance, it could be exciting,” counters Dibb.
“But based on the first 15 or 16 years of our friendship, I can’t see that happening,” says Lennox before smiling. “We prefer looking forward. All the time.”