Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Active Bird Community (ABC) creates a garage-pop/indie sound not too far off from well-known bands such as Ra Ra Riot or LVL UP. Consisting of four band members, Andrew Wolfson (lead guitar/vocals), Tom D'Agustino (guitar/vocals), Zach Slater (bass) and Quinn McGovern (drums), of which three of them (Andrew, Tom, and Zach) have been playing together for 10 years, ABC has made their mark on DIY music well across the nation.
Stick Around coming out in late January.In those ten years, ABC has released several albums and EP’s, with their latest album
I had a chance to talk with two of the members, Tom and Zach over the phone to pick their brains on what went behind their forthcoming release. During the first part of the phone call, Tom was in a bathtub for a video shoot they were doing at the time, so I had some time to talk to Zach.
GrizzlyGround: What influenced your newest album?
Zach Slater: A lot of the songs were written during senior year of college. Sound wise-- influenced by 90’s rock/grungy rock. Somewhat of a pop vibe. In terms of the sound quality, influence was by Chris Daly, the sound producer.
What is the meaning behind the name, Active Bird Community, if any?
ZS: No real heartfelt meaning, came up with it when we were all 12. What we get out of the name now [is that we] felt pressure to change it [but we] stuck to the guns.
What is ABC’s songwriting process like?
ZS: Andrew wrote "Stick Around" [which is] very important to songwriting and composition. [We’re] all freaking out, just starting out into the real world, a lot of anxiety and trying to cope with stepping out into the world and what that means. The songs I wrote were a lot of anxiousness. "Stick Around" is the ultimate resolution.
Andrew and I both come to the band with songs. It’s a Lennon and McCartney vibe (as cheesy as it sounds).
About half way through the interview, Tom D'Agustino comes into the mix, finished with the video shoot for the day.
What kind of production went behind the newest album?
Tom D'Agustino: We recorded with a person before we met Chris Daly and he was phenomenal, the kind of guy you would want to make your first music with, but it didn’t click. Andrew lives next to Chris and showed Chris his sound and Chris wanted to better it. [Chris is] strict and focused with some flexibility. [He’s a] perceptive fuckin’ guy. [He] really helped us figure out what we wanted to sound like and sound live.
Anything that Chris touches he turns to gold.
Was there lyrically anything different in this album than in previous works?
TDA: Always an element of the band/songwriting since we were younger was going through some kind of change. An element of “where the fuck are we going”. Kinda just stumbling around. The songs were a way to ground us and what it is that we want to do with our lives. Lyricism were more acute and focused, explaining this type of feeling, what does that look like, sound like. Songs like "Newbie" are like shouting and cursing, “what the fuck are we doing here?”. "Drank the Water" is a beautiful little reflection falling in love with college town.
What is your favorite song off the album?
TDA: We had just been shooting a video for "Dead Legs" [it’s the] last thing we’re putting out for the album until it comes out. "Dead Legs" is almost encompassing what the album is about.
What has been your favorite show to play so far, why?
TDA: We played New Orleans on Halloween at Voodoo festival. We won this contest through Live Nation and played a huge ass festival, opening act. At the end, we played with the Weeknd and Cage The Elephant.
Is there anything else you would like your fans/listeners to know about the album?
TDA: Yes, that we are going on a regional East Coast tour to promote our new album.
Active Bird Community's new album 'Stick Around' will be released Thursday, January 26th. In the meantime, check out more from ABC here.