Animal Collective's David Portner
Serious Scales - Avey Tare Interview

“I don't really find the music that I or Animal Collective make to be weird,” says David Portner, better known as Avey Tare.

As one of the founding members of the universally lauded experimental noise-pop group he is gearing up to release his debut solo album, entitled ‘Down There’. Despite what he says, it is a pretty weird affair – though that’s certainly not to its detriment. Recorded in a church in upstate New York, the album is, as solo albums obviously are, a form of self-expression, a personal aside to his usual artistic output.

“It’s been a real swampy process,” he explains in the first of a string of measured, verbose statements. “I was stuck up in some muck and had to deal with it on my own. After spending a lot of time down there, I sort of had to release my experiences there in some form, and I’ve had to do it on my own. I wanted it to feel like more of a bedroom project and it certainly feels more like a studio creation than anything Animal Collective has done. Primarily, because I didn't and don't really plan to play any of it live - and AC usually writes music to play live first.  Also, because I did it by myself, I really had to trust my own instincts in terms of what I thought sounded good.”

The result is a dark, murky and, indeed, swampy album – something that, actually, can be gleaned just by its cover - an abstract, skeletal, x-ray-esque representation of a crocodile’s head. It’s spooky yet inviting, and a sign of the bleak, intricate and disturbed/disturbing songs that constitute the record: “The crocodile is my favourite animal,” explains Tare of the cover star. “There really isn't any significance in its relation to the record other then the fact that it lives in a swampy environment and that's sort of where I imagine this music taking place. So you kind of have to imagine a lot of alligator or crocodile people or ghosts around in this haunted swamp.”

Words by Mischa Pearlman

Clash Magazine Issue 56

This is an excerpt from an article that appears in the 56th issue of Clash Magazine. Pick it up in stores from November 9th.

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