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Animal Collective Walks In The Beach Boys' Footsteps (Literally)

Animal Collective's new album, <em>Painting With</em>, comes out Feb. 19.
Tom Andrew
Courtesy of the artist
Animal Collective's new album, Painting With, comes out Feb. 19.

After more than 15 years making music together, Animal Collective has its process down: Write the songs, test them out live, then go into a studio to record. But for its latest album, the experimental pop crew from Baltimore decided to break its own rules.

Painting With, the band's 10th LP, started in the studio — and it wasn't just any old recording space. Through a twist of fate, they were given a slot at Studio 3 in the famous East West studios in LA, where The Beach Boys recorded Pet Sounds. When the band walked in and saw a big piano sitting in the corner, member Brian Weitz says, they started asking each other all kinds of questions.

"'Do we need to move it? Where do we put the mic?' But Dave just sat down and started playing it in the back corner of the room. We were like, 'That just sounds amazing,'" Weitz recalls. "No matter where you stood in the room, the piano sounded fantastic. And that was on day one. We realized there's an art to making a room like this where things sound this good."

NPR's Rachel Martin spoke with Weitz and his bandmate David Portner (respectively known by their stage names Geologist and Avey Tare) about the making of Painting With, and what changes when you're in a room famous for amazing acoustics. Hear more of their conversation at the audio link.

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