As of this writing, it has been exactly 309 days since Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion officially came out, and by the time you read this, every major music publication and website—except the ones just trying to be funny—will have named it the Best Album of 2009. They will write about why this is so, where it belongs in “the canon” and hopefully some people will buy it because of that. The accolades will expose the music to a broader spectrum of listeners who will then want to know how such an album came to be. But Animal Collective has already moved on. The band and its friends are looking forward to next year and beyond, recording new music and making new art, because, as always, what’s done is done. So, in lieu of placing neon glow laurels on their heads, we asked Avey Tare aka Dave Portner, Panda Bear aka Noah Lennox, Geologist aka Brian Weitz and Deakin aka Josh Dibb to take over our annual NOW issue. We asked them to show us what will inspire their next great albums and who they turn to for guidance and good times, and as a result, we got something that reveals not just the ingredients behind one album but all of them—past, present and future.
From the start, it has been interesting, to say the least. We asked the guys for a list of ideas and most of what they gave us is in this issue, from their closest bros to the distant Zomby, whom the band had invited to open one of its summer shows in New York City but who failed to show for mysterious reasons. It is Zomby’s first major interview and first time in front of the cameras, but we have a feeling it won’t be his last (unless he wants it to be?). And he did it because, as he said early on, “I love those guys.” Join the club! In the middle of all this, Animal Collective played its last Merriweather shows, Lennox went back and forth to his home in Portugal and everyone made it back to Maryland for Weitz’s Halloween wedding, which included exactly one Yeti sighting. Not to mention, they’re all already working on new songs for next year and finishing a film with friend Danny Perez. Yet somehow, despite all that was going on, they still managed to give comedian and TV star Aziz Ansari the best email interview we have ever read. We honestly couldn’t have done a better job showing you what these dudes are all about if we had done it ourselves. Thanks Dave, Noah, Brian and Josh (and Zomby and Aziz and everyone else who helped make it happen). See you in the future.