Cinematic mass murder and free-wheeling sonic experimentation: two great tastes that taste great together. That’s the logic of Avey Tare of Animal Collective, anyway. For his new solo album, Enter the Slasher House, out April 8th, he’s formed a band called Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, which also includes his girlfriend Angel Deradoorian (formerly of Dirty Projectors) on keyboards and Jeremy Hyman (of Ponytail) on drums. As evidenced by lead single, “Little Fang,” the album drips the gritty distortion of Aughties noise-punk over the catchy hooks of Sixties psych-pop. Rolling Stone caught up with Tare and found out what’s in his trick-or-treat bag.
What was the spark behind Enter the Slasher House?
Being sick a lot had a lot to do with it: throat infections, bronchitis, different kinds of fevers. It came in waves. I was home a lot, and we had to cancel a lot of Animal Collective tours, so I ended up with a lot of time where I had to be calm around the house. I would play acoustic guitar and I started writing a bunch of songs. At the end of 2012, I started thinking that it would be cool to play the songs in a trio and make them have a different feeling. I live with Angel and I’m familiar with the music she’s been involved with, so that was an obvious choice. I know Jeremy mostly through Angel: They used to see each other on tour, when he was in the band Ponytail. I was blown away by his drumming. I don’t play with that many different people. I’m not a musician who will get together and just jam out with people. It’s interesting to write thinking of them, what their technique is and what they’re good at. Jeremy’s drumming is sprawling and bouncy. A lot of the freer stuff that Angel does on bass, where it feels like the basslines are kind of crawling along, that’s not usually something we usually do in Animal Collective.
What surprised you about making this record?
The studio you record in always becomes the most surprising thing – I try to go to a new studio every time I make a new record. We recorded this in a studio in Culver City called the Lair, and it wasn’t an exotic location, but it had a medieval dungeon theme. Maybe a medieval dining hall, not a dungeon. We missed the sunlight a lot of the time in there, but I wasn’t expecting a studio in Culver City to be rad like that. And there was a cool bathroom we used a lot for natural reverb. Interacting with the room is one of the best things about recording.
Why all the slasher-film references?
I like the aesthetic. Me and Brian [Weitz, a.k.a. Geologist] from Animal Collective have been into it since we were really young. Twenty years later, I keep going back to it. For some reason, it still feels like a world for me that hasn’t been exhausted. The Slasher Flicks side, it’s a little more funhouse. I thought everything should happen with this campy haunted house vibe: dark, but fun the whole time. Just getting something good-vibey out of that horror atmosphere, not making it a foreboding, negative thing.
Do you have a favorite slasher flick of all time?
Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the original, is a hard one to discount. There are a lot of emulators in that genre, but I feel like it stands alone.
What was the last time you watched it?
Probably last Halloween. Most Halloweens these days, I try not to get stressed out about parties. I just watch horror movies all day long – it’s my excuse to bring out the collection and get into the vibration of Halloween. A movie called Deranged is cool: It’s based on Ed Gein, who was an axe murderer in Arkansas or Wisconsin, but it’s a little bit more documentary-style movie, and it’s got a pretty cool visual aesthetic because it’s so lo-fi. I wouldn’t consider them slasher films, but I like the Hammer horror films, from the Hammer production company in England, like Dracula A.D. 1972. And The Shining, that’s one I’ll go back to.
Anything on the horizon for Animal Collective?
Not much. We don’t have a record planned, but we’re constantly working on stuff. Going off into our own worlds for a little bit helps us recharge and get inspiration for the next era. But we’re constantly talking to each other and working on stuff. We’re really interested in the live material that we’ve recorded. Whether it be through a website or doing live releases, that’s the kind of thing we’re focusing on right now.