FEATURE: Animal Collective Interview with Aziz Ansari

For their guest-edited issue of The FADER, Animal Collective requested to be interviewed by actor, comedian and music fan Aziz Ansari, which
he did over several weeks in a series of emails and IMs. The resulting mayhem follows.

Okay, so FADER gave me your email addresses and said that we should just email back and forth with hopes that this will create an interesting interview that doesn’t read like most normal run-of-the-mill interviews. Thanks for asking me to do this, I’m a big fan and excited. Many of my emails are just sending my friends music or dumb things I find on the internet, so I will start with one of each, let me know what you think and send me back something if you can.

The Ultimate Warrior on the Arsenio Hall Show:

JJ – Ecstasy:

Random questions:
What is your favorite TV show right now? Mine is Breaking Bad.
Where are you guys right now? I’m in NY for the week, dicking around.
Look forward to your responses,

We actually have a little YouTube/email club with some of our friends too. I was psyched on the Ultimate Warrior clip. Makes it seem like steroids could be psychedelic? The era of the Ultimate Warrior was pretty much the last point at which I liked wrestling, but I was still into it for sure and he was one of my faves. I also liked the Legion of Doom tag team. I turned 11 in 1990 and I went to Summerslam around that time. My younger brother had a good friend whose dad worked for the WWF in the Philadelphia area so he could get us into events. He got me backstage once and I met Hacksaw Jim Dugan and Jake the Snake, who sadly didn’t bring Damien with him.
I’m guessing since you sent the Ultimate Warrior clip that you’re around my age? I’m 30. Recently I’ve been kind of nostalgic for the dance music they played in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Like at middle school dances and the first boy/girl birthday parties. That was just before I moved from Philly to Baltimore so it’s a very marked time period in my memory. It was also around the time I stopped watching wrestling and moved to MTV. Yo! MTV Raps was on when I got home from school. It was weird around that time because it had the hard stuff but also the new jack swing and the hip-house stuff. Dave and I DJ sometimes and we’ve been throwing that kind of stuff in there. Here is one I was into this summer:

Also, been having fun playing around with this today: http://www.twoyoutubevideosandamotherfuckingcrossfader.com/ You can use the search function to cue whatever videos you want.
My favorite show right now is Project Runway. It’s a good couples show. Noah and his wife have been into it for a while but I didn’t know that until I got into it. My lady watched it for a while when I was on tour and watching one episode when I got home hooked me in.
I am in DC doing last minute planning for my wedding this weekend. Should be a sweet Halloween.
Take care,

Hey Aziz
This could be cool or really chaotic right? It would be sweet if there was some way to print it out as is, you know? I guess one of the many let downs of printed press these days is there is no way to print YouTube clips. In some roundabout way YouTube is a new form of mixtape. I feel like we are probably a part of the last generation of people who made mixtapes for each other as a way of expression you know? I guess people still make playlists or mix CDs for each other though. It doesn’t really feel the same. Our friends send crazy YouTube shit to each other all the time too. I feel like if you start trading them enough with people then it starts to become sort of the same sort of expression (as mixtapes were in the past). It’s also a killer way to discover stuff.
That Ultimate Warrior clip was amazing. It reminded me of this Crispin Glover appearance on Letterman which perhaps you have seen.
I don’t get around to watching much TV. But our friend Danny got me really into Xavier Renegade Angel and I got it on iTunes.
I’m in Brooklyn right now. Brian is getting married on Halloween in Baltimore so I’m getting my costume together and just hanging around. I’m gonna come back here next week and start recording a Kria Brekkan record.
Keep it going if you please.

This is great. Hopefully people that read this will investigate the YouTube links we post so they can see what we are talking about. This round, let’s each send a photo that they could possibly print to go in the article. How about dopest baby photo you have? Here’s a gem from the baby Aziz collection, a nice portrait I did one snowy winter.


Here is one of the classic baby Brian photos. Aside from the sweet static electricity that is happening, I’m bringing it out because this is from around when the Phillies won the 1980 World Series. My dad was at the final game and my mom stayed home with me. Notice the red white and blue streamers. I have no explanation for the pink balloons or the magenta cookie monster pajamas though. Tonight is game one of the 2009 World Series and we’re hoping for a Phillies win down here. I actually wasn’t into baseball so much until recently, but I’m a dedicated Philly sports fan. I still can’t watch a full game in the summer, but if the Phillies are playing for something in the fall I can get pumped. This is where Dave is gonna send a YouTube link to that Andy Samberg jam about the dudes who like sports.
Take care,

I’m in Maryland right now. I’ve been staying with my mother and recently I have been helping her build a new building on her property. It’s been really sweet. It’s a big timber-frame building, which is sort of a special thing to get to do. Last week I was putting in the floor on the second floor. The past few days I have been working on the roof. It’s been pretty much perfect. I work mostly alone outside. Rain or shine. I watch the leaves changing color from 20 feet up in the air. Sweet view of the birds. Listening to jams. A lot of classic stuff like Neil Young and Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell and, as I was telling Brian the other day, the most perfect soundtrack for what I’m doing these days is the hired hand soundtrack by Bruce Langhorn:

Good solitary time. I’m into it. Though I have been trying to get out as much as I can too. Two nights ago I went to see Eric Copeland, Kria Brekkan, Jason Urick and DJ Dog Dick (all old friends of ours) play a show at a warehouse space in Baltimore. Super fun. I don’t go out a lot here but there are some really good people and a really strong community of musicians and artists. It always feels good to be in it.
Other than working and going out I have been going through all of my stuff in preparation for moving into a new house in New York State later this winter. I finally gave up my apartment in NYC. I love New York but I think I prefer living in the country, for now at least. Maybe it’s just a matter of space. It’s amazing to me how much stuff I end up with that I don’t know even know why I have. I seem to have a habit of keeping knick-knacks that I pick up over the years in old shoeboxes. But then I open up the shoes boxes and I can’t figure out what 2/3rds of the stuff is or why I should keep it. So I’ve just been going through clothes, records, books, boxes of whatever and figuring out what I really want to keep and the rest gets sold or goes to Goodwill.
Here is the only baby photo of mine that I have easy access to right now. Just me chilling with my dad in the first apartment my family lived in. If I can find a picture that a little more fun I’ll send it later.

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POSTED January 7, 2010 1:25PM IN FEATURES, MUSIC INTERVIEWS Comments (30) TAGS: , , , ,




  1. Calum says:

    Best interview ever. Brian’s Ghostbusters story was amazing.

  2. Jeff says:

    This is so incredibly boring and completely self-indulgent. gross.

  3. WW says:

    jesus christ, I’m witcha Jeff…

  4. Kyle says:

    jesus christ, I’m witcha Calum…

  5. ian says:

    they also covered Polly ;)

  6. Chris says:

    I actually thought it was both the best interview ever AND boring/self indulgent/gross.

  7. Skerrit Bwoy says:

    aziz is the second best dancer i know. kaboom!!!

  8. jimmy blevins says:

    LOL at the comments on the Mo (Boxer’s Omen) YouTube!!!

  9. terry beach says:

    i’m getting tired of the cool dudes interviewing cool dudes gimmick. that wedding photo gives me the doosh chills. what a bunch of of art students.

  10. Teefus says:

    fuck a douche chill, this shit gave me douche-pox…

  11. WhatsGolden says:

    What a bunch of haters hear. If you didn’t like it, how come you were fanboy/hypocrite enough to read the damn thing, finish it and comment on it? Don’t hate on someone’s wedding like that, calling the man a douche because of the way he celebrated one of the best days in his life? You guys are lucky that this is anonymous.

    Long live Animal Collective and Aziz Ansari

    P.S. Most of you are just bitter scenesters I’m guessing. Getting tired of the “cool dudes interviewing cool dudes gimmick”, don’t read it. Looks like the ones in the interview aren’t the douchebags here.

  12. richard says:

    you guys should have used google wave !!!

  13. Stanshall says:

    Really enjoyed that. Questions could’ve been a little more pertinent, I suppose, but the format/laidback approach really loosened them up. Nice one.

  14. tony says:

    one of ac’s best interviews. you can tell they’re really more in their element here and as it’s really laid back. i love xavier renegade angel and tim and eric so i thought that was pretty cool, too. If you guys think they’re all douches then why the hell did you read the thing? Get a fuckin’ life people jesus

  15. Jim Jonze says:

    it’s called skimming…I fux w/ the fader all day (mostly for the hippity-hop) but sheehit, this measured about an 8.9 on the douchedar for sure…

  16. Hussdog says:

    What is the deal with many of these comments? I liked this format of interview, and you know, it’s not the job of Animal Collective to write killer interviews – they’re musicians. This was a fine effort.

  17. jensquared says:

    haters need to chill. it’s an interview…of course it’s going to be “self-indulgent.” as of fan of the interviewer/interviewees and early 90s hip hop, i especially enjoyed it. i love me some PM Dawn and Monie Love.

  18. iFidel says:

    Bolis>Anything. Seriously, I climax every time I eat it. THAT good. Best pizza in the DC/B-More Urrea.

  19. Stefanie says:

    Seriously one of the best interviews ever. Love the email format and youtube links. Duh, interviews are about the interviewee, if you don’t care about the band then don’t read the interview. I personally haven’t read a better interview with Animal Collective. Anyone who appreciates Bel Biv Devoe and PM Dawn rules.

  20. Myles says:

    Best interview ever. Anyone who wasn’t into this simply isn’t an Animal Collective fan. There are a million bands I dont like, but I dont go around reading their interviews and bitching in the comments. Its awesome to see how normal these guys are.

  21. nate says:

    well you know, i think it was just awesome.

  22. MJP says:

    i love reading hipster comments in blogs! awesome…

  23. Taylor Johnson says:

    this makes me love animal collective even more. Aziz is the fuckin man too, his new dvd looks awesome

  24. Axe Somebody says:

    The unknown, ubiquitous shaker sample referenced by Noah is “Ashley’s Roachclip” by the Soul Searchers, specifically at the 3:30 mark. It was used by PM Dawn, Eric B & Rakim, Run DMC, Geto Boys, LL Cool J, Easy-E, EMF (“Unbelievable”), among others. It was also featured on damn near every song by Milli Vanilli.

    Hard to find a better drum break…

    Here’s a link: http://sneakmove.com/e/champions/the_soul_searchers/ashleys_roachclip.mp3

  25. Tracy Willis says:

    Oh god…animal collective and aziz together is too many good things. Aziz’s new dvd is sooo funny!

  26. pookie says:

    snooozerama. Here’s a cool R n B video, Here’s a zany costume. I’m alt, but not too alt to watch project runway, because my “girlfriend likes it”


  27. charlie lutwidge says:

    so sweet hearing from josh. where is the little avey photo? best ac interview hands down.

  28. Prill Prill says:

    Aziz is that prill prill. Good stuff.

  29. YES. says:

    Great interview format. Incredibly engaging to read. Well done.