Exclusive – HMWL speak with Animal Friend about their debut album

With the release of their debut album, the self titled ‘Animal Friend’ still causing a stir within the scene we spoke with the production duo about the inaugural LP release.

HMWL: Congratulations on your self-titled debut album, ‘Animal Friend’! Can you tell us a bit about the creative process behind this project?

AF: Thank you! Well, we get in the studio every week and see what happens. We play out into the room and jam a lot, and then we hone in on the gems. We have a set of hardware synths that are the center of every track, so we don’t waste time searching through plugins. We focus on the human side as much as possible with what time we have.

HMWL: What are your individual roles within the studio? How do your different skill sets complement each other when producing music?

AF: We create everything together. Lyrics & production. Jasper usually starts out with putting some raw sounds together and it’ll provoke a feeling, memory, or thought in Anne. From there, we start to jam and listen to each other’s sounds. We will pause, edit, or remix. Our songs are often evolving and change from set to set.

HMWL: Can you share some background on your musical journeys before forming Animal Friend? How did these experiences shape the sound of the album?

AF: Jasper spent time wandering through SoHo shoe stores and late nights experimenting with keyboards as a child, and later studied sculpture, engineering, and computer-music. Anne had some piano lessons here and there outside of partaking in her early school music programs, but it was her obsession with R&B female vocals that kept her in her bedroom wearing out cassette tapes while singing along. Later, she studied Architecture and wore out CD’s during study periods. Around summer of 2011, we started jamming together with a couple other friends and got to know each other’s depths and quirks in the studio. At the time, we were a larger band. When it became just us, we continued with that jamming mentality and dove into sounds that we loved as kids, tracing them to where we like hearing them today.

HMWL: What message or themes did you aim to convey through this album? Is there a particular story or concept that ties the tracks together?

AF: Each song seems to convey how one might navigate a concept of love, or self-love, in a relationship whether romantic, platonic, or even political. There wasn’t a particular aim other than to express an experience or feeling in the moment when we started making that track.

HMWL: Which track on the album are you most proud of and why? What makes it stand out for you?

AF: Joan Fire, because she is weird and dramatic and different.

HMWL: Touring can be challenging for a duo like yours. How do you plan to bring the album’s energy to a live setting?

AF: Performing live is our JAM. To us, it’s the ultimate experience because it’s LIVE and the energy that we share with a crowd is everything. What a way to connect with people! Technically, we love doing a sound check before stepping behind the DJ booth. And we keep our equipment light.

HMWL: Are there any tracks from the album that you’re particularly excited to remix or see remixed by other artists?

AF: Oh yes, we’ve already started on Joan Fire and have injected a lot more juice and attitude into it. We’re particularly excited where artists can take Weasel. It’s so good and weird.

HMWL: What led you to choose Green Gorilla Lounge as your record label? How has their support influenced the release of your album?

AF: They approached us and we knew them pretty well since we’ve seen them around town, so it was an easy choice. GGL has been a huge support for the release of this album. We’ve been intimately involved in every creative decision along the way because they knew how important it was for us. And we deeply thank them for that.

HMWL: How do you manage creative differences in the studio? Can you share an example of how you resolved a disagreement during the album’s production?

AF: Arm wrestle. Or sleep on it. Or just drop it and create something new and go in a different direction. It’s not worth the time to argue when creating music, there is no right or wrong way to do it and we keep that energy out of the studio. And we make so many versions of so many songs that they never feel too precious. Luckily, we can both be intensely iterative in our process, so if something isn’t working at the moment we will go through a lot of exploration before we find what excites us.

HMWL: What’s next for Animal Friend after the release of this debut album? Are there any upcoming projects or collaborations we should look forward to?

AF: Yes! Be on the lookout for remixes dropping sometime this summer!

Check out the full album here.