Interview: Animal Collective, on ‘Prospect Hummer’’s legacy and returning to the studio

Avey Tare and co. are reissuing a 2005 EP, which they recorded with Vashti Bunyan.

With Record Store Day fast-approaching, artists everywhere have been bandying together for impromptu collaborations, and delving into their back catalogues to pick out re-issues. Animal Collective certainly aren’t low on choice in either respect, and they’re giving their 2005 EP ‘Prospect Hummer’ its first ever vinyl pressing, with the help of FatCat Records.

“The time definitely flies by, but so much has happened to the band - and to me personally - that it feels like it was a long time ago,” Animal Collective’s Avey Tare says, looking back over the ten years since ‘Prospect Hummer’ first came out. “I think the last couple of years have been the first time that I’ve really started to look back.”

The band collaborated heavily with cult freak-folk figure Vashti Bunyan on the EP. Practically unknown until the turn of the millennium, Bunyan released her debut album in 1970, sold very few copies, and gave up on the music industry to live in Scotland. Thirty years later, she discovered that her small run of ‘Just Another Diamond Day’ had become one of the most sought-after records in the world. “I heard that record and immediately fell in love with it,” says Avey Tare. “I got it in the late nineties on bootleg or something.” During the recording for ‘Prospect Hummer’ Bunyan was still in the process of rediscovering her voice. “[Vashti Bunyan] was definitely shy,” Avey agrees. “We wanted her to do the vocals, because it would be a different thing for us to experiment with; somebody else singing our songs.”

Animal Collective, on ‘Prospect Hummer’’s legacy and returning to the studio

“I think the last couple of years have been the first time that I’ve really started to look back.”

— Avey Tare

“For Animal Collective, our history comes from being in a group of friends and all making things,” continues Avey. “It’s how I came into making music. Brian [Weitz, Geologist] would come over my house when I was younger, and we’d make a song. It was all about having an experience with a friend. I think that has carried on over the years. Whenever we’re going to make a record, it’s this crucial time of everyone getting together and working it out, and feeling what the song’s going to actually feel like when we’re playing it together.”

Following Panda Bear’s recent confirmation that Animal Collective are headed back into the studio to record the follow-up to 2012’s ‘Centipede Hz.’ Avey Tare makes a commendable effort to remain tight-lipped, though he lets slip that something resembling an album is starting to come together. “Yeah, over the past few months I’ve been writing some songs. I think we’re starting to have a group of songs that we’re thinking about recording,” he laughs.

Animal Collective’s ‘Prospect Hummer’ is being reissued for Record Store Day 2015, 18th April.

Tags: Animal Collective, Record Store Day 2015

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