Born from overlapping friendships and the tight knit Chicago music scene comes Post Animal, a psychedelic rock band with unconventional taste and an even more experimental sound. They have recently been on tour to promote their debut album When I Think of You in a Castle, which is quite the contender among all the new music being released this year.
Aggie Radio got the opportunity to sit down with ⅗ of the band before their show at Kilby Court and talk about their eclectic music videos, the intangible meaning behind the record’s name, and setting the tone.
You guys often get asked about how complex the songwriting process is given how many there are of you, and you guys explain how the process varies from song to song. I was wondering if there are any songs in which the process was really unique or you were proud of how things just came together?
Wes: “One Thing” was pretty cool, how it came together. I think “One thing” off of our new record was the least developed song that we had when we went to record, as in there was literally just a demo for it that Dalton did. It had drum machine and just synth. We basically, in the studio, built it from the ground up. Including guitars, like all the guitar parts were written at the lake house where we recorded it and that’s probably why it’s so unique.
Javi: We were kinda coming up with the guitar parts as we were sitting down to record them, so it was all very fresh. “One Thing” is probably the best example of that, like on the fly, so that’s kinda cool. Usually you wanna have demos with everything so you can hear it and make sure that’s what you want, so there was definitely some risk going into it. We were just like “well this sounds good, so let’s just do it.”
(Max from Slow Pulp comes over and apologizes to Wes about a joke form earlier)
Wes: Hey everyone, this is Teddy from Slow Pulp.
(Brief interjection followed with Ted apologizing about interrupting and then leaving)
Wes: Check out Slow Pulp
What was some sources of inspiration for you guys, respectively, while writing the record? And that can be artists and albums as well as other things, like movies or places.
Wes: What was the movie, the movie we watched while we were there? It was the baseball movie.
Jake: Oh, wait, did we watch Bull Durham or something? Angels in the Outfield?
Wes: Nevermind. I think that me personally, I’ve always been influenced by Metallica, sometimes I try to channel the older style of drumming. As well as The Police, Stewart Copeland from The Police. I’m just kinda talking my instrument.
Jake: A lot of 70s rock. I had, at that moment, a reconnection or first connection with groups like The Eagles and ELO [Electric Light Orchestra]. You know, everyone’s heard ELO music, but I had just started taking it seriously. And ABBA and Hall and Oats, all these pop megaliths I hadn’t really dug into. Right around that time when we were writing this record I had just started seeing how valuable that stuff was. I think in writing the more psychedelic music [I was] just trying to pivot it towards that stuff a little bit more. That was a big deal for me at that time, contributing my stuff to it. But yeah, I think for everyone it would be different. Javi, do you have anything?
Javi: I was feeling POND-y in my addition. POND is a band from Perth, Australia. Some Riff Rock on their album Hobo Rocket, I was channeling some of that. And just anything else that I’m influenced by, but I’ll just keep it simple with that.
For this tour you guys are doing a sort of date-by-date contest, the “Pave Your Own Way All Access Poster Challenge” (fans would submit a flyer for a date and if their flyer is selected they would get two tickets to said date). What inspired you guys to do this?
Javi: It was Rian’s idea
Jake: Yeah, it was our manager who came up with the idea. She just suggested it. We don’t always have art for our shows and we always see people doing like spec art, like funny little drawings online. And we’ve lately been talking online with people, asking them to draw this or that for our band, like fun little images. When Rian suggested the idea we thought it would be a cool way to get unique art and get people involved –
Wes: Be interactive with the fans.
Javi: There was a point where we put up a post on Instagram story saying “if anybody could draw us as mythological creatures, that’d be awesome” and we got a few submissions. I think that kinda sparked it. Rian may have seen some of those and been like “hey.”
Your music videos are all pretty wild, sometimes a little confusing, but nonetheless well shot and edited. It seems like they’ve all been directed by Alec Basse. Can you guys talk about how you formed a connection with him and how working with him and the creative process with him tends to go?
Jake: Gotta shout out Max Moore too, he’s a collaborator of Alec’s and now ours. He’s worked on all of the stuff, except for “Gelatin Mode” that we did with Alec. We know Alec just from years of living in Chicago and he’s a person who does a lot of videos for bands that we’re good friends with. It’s hard to remember exactly how we connected, he’s just one of those people that we met, but great photographer turned into a consistent video collaborator of ours.
Wes: Good friend too, he’s a great guy.
Jake: It started with the “Special Moment” video. He basically asked if he could do this big production and we had no money. He just threw all this on the table to do this big mansion shoot and we were like “we don’t have any money” and he said “I can make it happen for no money.” And he basically got this crazy amazing production together for like, literally no money. We were really impressed and happy to have someone who’s that committed to the craft on board, but yeah he’s a great guy to work with.
“Gelatin Mode,” for me atleast, is the most confusing plot wise and I was wonder if if you can explain that video, if there even is an explanation?
Javi: Starting with Burloch, my character, he has these sons. I think three of them, right? Two twin guys, you know, with the mustaches and the nose, who are kinda like his loyal sons. And then one of the sons, which is his character (pointing to Wes) Silky Wayans, escapes. Basically I’m like “go get him” to Deadloch [Dalton] and Josoki [Jake]. So they go to hunt him and while he’s running away he passes out in the woods for some reason –
Jake: From fatigue.
Wes: I pass out in the cold, celtic forest.
Javi: And he gets picked up by John Spiral [Matt], who’s like a Paul Bunyan. Simple man, simple taste –
Wes: Gets me jacked up on soda. Healed me back to full strength.
Javi: Trains him. Brothers Josoki and Deadloch come and try to take him and there’s this battle. John Spiral takes them out and then I take out John Spiral and then he [Silky aka Wes] takes me out.
Wes: Casue I go into Gelatin Mode and I defeat him.
Okay, I wasn’t sure because you were fighting him and then you were fighting the air.
Wes: Yeah, that’s the twist. That’s the plot twist at the end when we throw in our surreal influences. You know, the Kubricks of the world –
Jake: I don’t think we’re gonna explain that last part.
Wes: Actually yeah, we’ll leave it up to interpretation, but it is very complex what happened.
In a few interviews you guys talk about the Chicago music scene and how much you love it and are thankful for it. Have there been any scenes you’ve gotten a peak into that you’ve been impressed by or feel are comparable to Chicago’s or that you hope to visit again?
Javi: It’s hard to say we get the taste of a scene in one night, but we get a taste of bands and we played with this band in Boise last night called Thick Business. They’re from Boise, which I don’t think is too big of a scene. I don’t know, they seem to be doing their own thing. They’re amazing, makes me curious about what’s happening in Boise.
Wes: You can only judge them by the crowd really, because we don’t spend enough time in each town. Crowds that always seem to be the most ampt up and active are like Austin, Atlanta, Southern California like Los Angeles. Some sleepers are like North Carolina, always a hotspot to play –
Wes: Ohio. Columbus is wild.
Jake: It’s a great place for us. I was recently talking, within the last week, to somebody and they told me that Chicago is a really tough town for bands and I think that’s not the case for bands from Chicago, it’s very supportive. But it kinda made me question my interpretation of any city, any music scene, because it’s just so dependent on what you’re doing there. I don’t know, it’s hard to tell, we know where we like to play. Scenes are just finicky things.
Javi: The Dallas scene is pretty loose. They’re just loosey goosey, ready to have a good time, very social. Some scenes have a musical history in certain places and they just know how, they’ve practiced how to be at shows. Other places, there’s less of a scene, they’re like “pfht,” like they don’t know how to be interactive. Or maybe that’s just how they are and they’ve had a lot of shows, you can’t always tell. That’s my read on it
You’ve also mentioned in interviews that “Castle” was supposed to be titled “When I Think Of You In A Castle,” making it the title track, but it’s not. Could you discuss this separation and its significance and what the meaning is behind the album’s title?
Wes: I think the significance is going to be hard for me to translate it. It’s not that it’s some grand thing, that name encompasses that time in our lives for whatever reason. It felt right and it carries with it a weight and an energy of that experience that we had making the album. I think that’s the meaning behind it. It’s not like “this” or “that,” it’s more of the feeling and energy surrounding that time period.
Jake: And I think if it were to mean something more tangible, it’d mean something slightly different to everybody. Not that I’d be worried about saying what it means to me, but I like that even within our band I believe that we all have a different interpretation of it. That proves to me that people who hear it probably are having the same experience and I wouldn’t want to corrupt that. Kinda nice it’s a little nebulus, people can create their own journey.
Any parting words of wisdom?
Jake: Start as much internet beef as you possibly can.
Wes: We’ve been saying “set the tone” a lot this tour, I kinda like that theme. It’s the theme of this tour, thats for sure. Set the tone in your life.
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