What’s in a name? If you’re indie rock band Animal Collective, everything. With all four contributors living in different parts of the world (New York, Los Angeles, Baltimore and Lisbon, Portugal), collaboration is truly the key to their success. For Centipede Hz (Domino, $14), the group’s eighth LP — and the first with all four original members since 2007’s Strawberry Jam — they gathered in Baltimore for three months of musical idea sharing. American Way caught up with singer and multi-instrumentalist Panda Bear (real name: Noah Lennox) as they finished work on the album.
On how the collective works: “I’ve lived in Portugal since 2004, and the way we worked in the past was by sending out a simple version of a song. We’d all work individually, coming up with our parts and ways to arrange the song. This time we made a concerted effort to have it feel like it was springing from all four of us at the same time rather than this pieced-together thing.”
On the album title: “Typically when we make a record, we throw around a bunch of themes or words and images. One of those images this time was of a centipede — a thing that looked kind of alien and complicated. Those were two touchstones for the sounds that we wanted with this album.”
On playing a sit-down drum kit again: “It felt great. I didn’t know how much I missed it until I sat down to do it. The last time I played with the band sitting down at the kit was in 2002. It’s a really different thing, the physical release you get.”