In an industry where countless musicians toil night and day to develop a specific sound, that thing that will set them apart from the pack and place them in a category all their own floats up Angel Deradoorian, the self-identified lepidopteran vocalist, songwriter and multi-instrumental artist.

Deradoorian, as she’s mononymously known, was a longtime member of the indie-rock cult darlings Dirty Projectors. And her vocals have such a unique quality that immediately evoke the ethereal memory of that infamous project. Only here on her debut solo LP, The Expanding Flower Planet, there is an intimacy breathed into the tracks that promises sincerity, genuine hope and connection. Deradoorian has poured herself into the album in such a way that her being is indistinguishable from the music. Listening to the album all the way through is an exciting and spiritually-laced journey you take with her guiding you down the path of her creation.

We reviewed her debut album at length earlier this week, and on the heels of it’s release I caught up with her to pick her brain on a bit about her story in music.

AF: What prompted your move to a solo project?

D: I’ve had a solo project since I was about 17 years old, but didn’t deeply focus on it. It was either doing another album cycle with Dirty Projectors or hunkering down to work on my own stuff. The timing seemed right for me to take a break from the band to explore my own work.

AF: What experiences in your career to date are you bringing to The Expanding Flower Planet?

D: All my musical experience since childhood.

AF: Where else did you draw inspiration for the album?

D: I draw inspiration from everywhere. Visual art, nature, music, my friends.

AF: Can you describe a bit your process in the creation and evolution of a song.

D: Each song is created in its own way. Written on different instruments and pieced together, some are written on just one instrument.

AF: Does the album read as one compelling piece or is it a series of vignettes?

D: I’d see it more as vignettes, but with a thread binding them together.

AF: What aspect of the album release are you most excited for?

D: For the music to be public and to be heard.

AF: How would you define the music mood of the moment?

D: I live in Los Angeles right now. The mood of music seems pretty broad to me right now. I feel there is a lot of crossover in genres and between independent and major sounding music. Seems like a time of fusion.

AF: Are there any other projects that you are really digging right now?

D: I’ve been enjoying the Badbadnotgood/Ghostface album.

AF: What’s your current jam?

D: Allen Toussaint, “From A Whisper To A Scream”.

AF: What else can we expect from you in the months to come?

D: Tour tour tour.


Deradoorian Tour Dates

Aug 28 – Queens, NY – Trans Pecos (Record Release Show)

Sep 11 – Brooklyn, NY – Baby’s All Right #

Sep 12 – Richmond, VA – The Camel #

Sep 13 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle Back Room #

Sep 14 – Atlanta, GA – Drunken Unicorn #

Sep 15 – Tallahassee, FL – Club Downunder #

Sep 17 – Austin, TX – Holy Mountain #

Sep 18 – Dallas, TX – Three Links #

Sep 20 – Albuquerque, NM – Sister #

Sep 21 – Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom #%

Sep 22 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echo #

Sep 23 – San Francisco, CA – Brick & Mortar Music Hall #

Sep 25 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge #

Sep 26 – Seattle, WA – The Vera Project #

Sep 29 – Minneapolis, MN – Icehouse #

Sep 30 – Chicago, IL – Schuba’s #

Oct 01 – Detroit, MI – Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit #

Oct 03 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s #


# with Laetitia Sadier

% with Destroyer



Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks

Dave Portner is a busy guy. Under the pseudonym Avey Tare, he’s acted as “de facto frontman” of Animal Collective, arguably one of the most influential groups in all of indie rock, for over a decade now. The band’s prolific output represents just a fraction of his complete discography – he’s released collaborative projects with Eric Copeland, David Grubbs, and Vashti Bunyan, as well as his former wife Kría Brekkan. In 2010, he released his first solo album on Paw Tracks, the dark and deeply affected Down There, largely focusing on his feelings about death and illness with a murky sound to match. It’s reflective of a dark period of his life, but with the debut of his latest project, Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, it seems like he’s come out on top.

Releasing Enter The Slasher House in April, with former Ponytail drummer Jeremy Hyman and ex-Dirty Projector Angel Deradoorian on keys, the record’s vibe swings to the poppier end of Avey Tare’s songwriting spectrum. Much like the campy B-movies the moniker recalls, Slasher Flicks is an endeavor concerned mostly with fantasy and escape rather than introspection. That’s reflective, in some ways, of Portner’s own migration from the East coast to Los Angeles, where he now lives with girlfriend Deradoorian. But more than anything, Slasher Flicks is about the simple fun of playing music as a three-piece, and though its more straightforward than much of Portner’s catalogue, the eleven tracks on Slasher House each bear his familiar stamp.

Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks are soon to embark on a West Coast mini-tour that kicks off with a stop at FYF Fest. Animal Collective have also announced fall DJ residencies in New York, Philly, and D.C. Portner chatted with AudioFemme about the particular influences that play into this latest project, how he tackles songwriting and producing, and what’s next for Animal Collective.

Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks

AudioFemme: Hi Dave! Thanks for chatting with us. You’re in L.A. right now, and you’re kind of on a short break from touring with Slasher Flicks – you were out for about a month after the record was released, did some shows around Pitchfork Fest, and then you’re going back out around the end of the month, including FYF. Do you like doing festivals?

AT: Festivals have never been my favorite thing. I definitely like the opportunity to do ‘em, but I feel like more than not they’re usually pretty stressful. So it’s kinda hard to go into ‘em thinking it’s gonna be a like great time or something, you know.

AF: I’ve often wondered what it’s like for bands, because as a person who goes to a lot of more intimate shows, I find festivals to be sort of the least desirable way to see a band.

AT: In terms of being in the crowd and stuff, yeah, it’s definitely not for me. In terms of playing you’re just dealing with all these people that are stressed out for good reason to begin with – just trying to move things along – and I feel like it’s just not the most personal musical experience.

AF: How has the rest of touring been, your headlining shows?

AT: Oh, they’ve been great. The tour was really fun. I just like the more intimate feeling, it’s really a lot easier to connect, especially if the crowd is feeling the music. In that sense it was good, it was just good to play with Jeremy and Angel every night. We had a good time playing and it was cool to just be able to drive in a van around the country. It’s been a while since I’ve actually gotten to do that, and see things.

AF: Do you mean like, on the road? Did you go to roadside attractions?

AT: Well a little. I mean I guess just first and foremost being able to see the landscape. I guess I’m used to bus travel lately and you don’t really get a lot of that, especially because you travel at night, mostly, on a bus. You don’t really see the landscape change, and I think that’s definitely one cool thing about the US and driving around, is there’s so much variety to see.

AF: So the album’s been out since April. Are you pleased with how it’s been received? How does it feel to be playing it live now?

AT: I think so. I’m not the type of person that’s too tapped into how the record’s doing. For me, especially, for this project, it’s supposed to be just a little bit more fun and laid back, just trying to just take some time away from working so intensely at music. I mean, I want it to do well, obviously, and I think it is, which is good. But yeah, the songs are tight, and it’s been good being able to play all of them live. When we were writing the record we played some shows before we recorded and there were some of them we kind of wrote after so it’s nice to just be able to play the whole record.

AF: Yeah, I actually went to one of those early shows, the one last summer at Glasslands.

AT: Yeah? That was a crazy one!

AF: It was great – exciting to see the songs develop and take shape. A lot of people have compared the songs to some of the more poppy, anthemic Animal Collective tracks. Did that come from sort of shifting the Animal Collective live sets to more of a “hit list” rather than amorphous jamming that comprised earlier tours? Did that shift influence the way you went into writing for Slasher Flicks?

AT: No, not really. I mean, I guess I write a lot of songs. So there’s definitely songs I’ve been writing over the course of the last year and a half or so that aren’t included on a Slasher Flicks record per se, but I think there is a specific style of song I started putting together for this record because I kind of knew I wanted to do it with a three-piece band. I’m always thinking like, well how can I produce this record, or how can this record be produced, to do something a little bit different than anything I’ve done before.

Down There, the last solo record I did was [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][this] very sort of inner, heady thing that I kinda just kept inside of me for a long time and I finally got out with electronics and was mostly just me in a bedroom. But I think I just wanted the Slasher Flicks songs to just be something that would be fun to play live, and easy to play live for a band. So I think that’s where it comes from too. I was also messing around with referencing a lot of stuff that I listen to actually which doesn’t happen a lot with Animal Collective. I mean, it does, but since things are dissected a lot more by each member of Animal Collective it turns out way different, usually, than I would envision it the way I first wrote the song.

AF: What kind of things were you listening to that influenced Slasher Flicks most heavily?

AT: It goes back to my love of old garage music, the heart of like psychedelic music, like 13th Floor Elevators, or Silver Apples or Love, or anything like that… late sixties, early seventies Kraut stuff. Also stuff like Steely Dan which I’ve grown to like a lot over the last four years. And even like jazz stuff, which I think doesn’t really come through so much on the record, but I think definitely in how jazz is presented on record.

AF: And maybe that collaborative style of improvisation?

AT: Yeah, yeah, and just sort of like the more freeform aspects, letting that seep in where it can.

AF: In terms of playing with Angel and Jeremy, how does their presence influence the material that you write, if it does at all?

AT: Well I think they just have their very own very specific styles which I’d been familiar with before asking them to play. Even if I’m writing most of the stuff, when I play music with people I like it to be as much of a collaboration as it possibly can be, because I think that’s what makes it the most fun and interesting for everybody involved. I’ve never really been in a band where just somebody is like always like “You do exactly this, and you do exactly this, it has to be this way, and just play the same thing the same way like every night.” I think just allowing the way they play and their styles and their ideas to come into it, also gave the record its own sound too. Jeremy has a really wild kinda crazy drum style which is unlike other stuff I’ve done before. And Angel is just a really good singer and keyboard player and the ability to have all that happen in a live setting was really key to being able to record the record like I wanted to do.

AF: You went to Culver City to record it, I read, and recorded in a Medieval-themed recording studio?

AT: Haha, yeah. I guess you could say it was Medieval themed. It just had that look to it. It’s called The Lair and this guy Larry built it. Larry from the Lair – he’s an awesome guy, this kooky, old studio head that has worked in all these different studios over the years in L.A. and finally decided to build his own. It’s strange because it’s only a word-of-mouth kinda thing, he doesn’t really advertise or anything for it. In this day and age, in the studio world, that’s kind of a tough road to go down. Because, you know, a lot of people are doing the home studio thing and the industry just isn’t making as much money. But he just built this whole thing himself, did all the woodworking, wood and iron doors and chandeliers. It’s not a huge place – in terms of studios it’s actually pretty small – but it’s real nice, and it sounded really good. He kind of modeled it after Phil Spector’s old studio in a way and so it has this tiled bathroom that is really good for these natural reverbs, which I like a lot. I don’t like a lot of artificial reverb when I record so it was cool to be able to use the bathroom in different ways to get cool room sounds.

AF: In terms of production, what were some of the choices you made specific to this project? When you listen to the record front to back it feels different from what I’ve heard on other releases of yours.

AT: Oh yeah? How would you say? If I may ask.

AF: It’s tough to say, not being a musician or a producer or having the technical background to discuss that. But I guess, to use a sort of writerly description of what I hear as a listener, you mention the reverb from the bathroom, and you can hear where that’s happening, but in other places the mix sort of flattens out, and then comes back in where all the different elements stand out sharply against one another, almost like there’s a ghost, like another member of the band kind of coming and going and distorting things slightly.

AT: That’s cool, that’s cool. I would say all that stuff definitely happens. I think for me the production is like a tool and like a member of the band in a way and I love being in the studio and making a record… I think listening to music should be fun, first and foremost. It’s emotional. People get a lot out of it in their own way and everybody hears everything different, but for me, growing up listening to music, what I got out of it was the fact that anybody could go into the studio and do all this crazy kind of stuff. Like you’re saying, things get all crazy and distorted here, but then it’s totally normal there, in another place. I think it’s just a fun thing to do.

It also definitely happens with Animal Collective too. I think probably even more so – things are just more deranged and distorted more with Animal Collective, whereas with Slasher Flicks it’s kinda probably the most straightforward drum sounds I feel like I’ve ever worked with. In general in today’s musical landscape, I think there’s just so much music out there that is reverb heavy and distant and I think there was a time in the seventies and sixties where everything was a lot like crisper and punchier and close-up. These days, for me musically, I’m interested in doing records that are a little bit more like that, but also really spacious and allow you to hear the room.

My friend and I were listening to the first ZZ Top record. And he was just kinda like “This just seems like music that sounds really good because it happened then and there at that time with these guys playing like they played.” And it doesn’t seem like a lot of music is like that any more, where it’s just a matter of three people coming together and playing a song in a certain way and that’s what you hear, basically. So I think more lately, I’m definitely interested in trying to do that. And I think maybe some of that ghostly sort of studio stuff that you’re hearing is also just us, kind of doing that and making sounds and songs shift as we play live.

AF: How do the connotations associated with slasher flicks – gory B-movies, having a graininess to it, being low-budget, for instance – how do you feel those sort of thematic elements make their way into the record?

AT: To me there’s always a visual side to music when I’m making it, [but] it doesn’t necessarily fit into the way the music sounds specifically unless you can tap into my head maybe. For me, the notion of the basic slasher flick brings to mind youth and teens and a party atmosphere and all this stuff that you kind of encounter in slasher movies. Like the “scream queen” and that sort of thing. That side of it is also in garage and psychedelic music. I’ve always kinda drawn a similarity between horror movies and psychedelic music, and I think it just has to do with these drastic shifts in mood and things getting really wild and then things getting calm – it happens in both of these art forms. That contrast, to me, in music is really important – having moments of super light stuff and having moments of dark stuff. It makes it all work.

I think there’s something about the cheap [special effects]. Now we look back on it like it’s cheesy and rudimentary or something, but the time, in the seventies and eighties, it was new. Now it’s an art form to me. It’s something that’s not going to be recreated unless people are doing “retro” stuff, and it just seems like people wouldn’t even want to recreate that kind of thing, especially in horror if they want to be effective. Just that kind of cheap thrill – like fake blood – there’s something about it that just fits into the music, too.

AF: I think it’s very interesting to draw a parallel between those visuals and the music, because a lot of these movies, too have incredible soundtracks. You have Goblin doing Suspiria, you have these weird synthy interludes that are so off the wall and creepy noise effects and theatrical sounds and the like.

AT: It’s definitely those kind of movies that got me more into music when I was in high school, like the soundtrack to Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I mean, it works effectively with the movie but I’d never really experienced anything that was just sort of noise like that, you know? It got me into sound music, people banging on pots and pans and industrial tools being used in music. It made me go out and discover bands like Faust and stuff like that.

AF: When you have a new idea for a song or sound, does it automatically get filed as “Oh, this is good for Animal Collective” or “This is a Slasher Flicks thing” or “This is really something else?”

AT: Yeah, usually. Especially with Animal Collective, at least the last few records, we sort of start talking about ideas before actually going into it so it gives me an idea at least, of the types of songs I’d probably write.

AF: Almost like a little bookmark or something.

AT: Yeah. And then, other things, sometimes it’s like I’ll know a song has more of an electronic sound so I’ll have to use it for something that’s a little bit more electronic, or this song I’m writing could be really good sample-based. It usually works that way and then they’re all kind of like grouped together after a while.

AF: Do you feel like you have ideas for the next records you want to do? Either for Slasher Flicks, or Animal Collective or something else altogether?

AT: I’m kind of in a middle world right now, I’ve got a lot ideas floating around with Animal Collective and on my own too, but everything’s just sort of coming together. This year was mostly meant to be more like a year off, just because I did so much touring last year. As much as I love just working on stuff I think it’s also trying to like not focus too intensely on it right now. But probably by the end of the year the ideas will become a little bit clearer.

I feel like people that I play music with just are doing a lot of different things. With Animal Collective, at least, we plan to take this year off. Brian had a baby, actually, and Noah is working on a solo record. We take this time to have those individual moments and there comes a time when it just feels natural to get back together and start working and I know we’re talking about that time but it’s hard to say exactly when and exactly what it will be.

Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks West Coast Tour Dates:
08/23 Los Angeles, CA – FYF Fest
08/24 San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall
08/25 Santa Cruz, CA – The Catalyst Atrium
08/27 Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios
08/28 Seattle, WA – Neumo’s
08/29 Vancouver, BC – Biltmore Cabaret

Animal Collective DJ Set Tour Dates:
08/02 Miami, FL – Grand Central $
09/10 Philadelphia, PA – The Dolphin ^
09/12 Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl ^
10/02 Philadelphia, PA – The Dolphin %
10/03 Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl %
10/05 Washington, DC – U Street Music Hall %
11/12 Washington, DC – U Street Music Hall %
11/13 Philadelphia, PA – The Dolphin %
11/14 Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl %

$ DJ set featuring Animal Collective members Deakin and Avey Tare
^ DJ set featuring Animal Collective members Geologist and Deakin
% DJ set featuring Animal Collective members Geologist, Deakin, and Avey Tare[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

LIVE REVIEW: Slasher Flicks at Bowery Ballroom

Embracing their name’s camp vibe, Slasher Flicks had the Bowery Ballroom decked out last Monday night in floaty columns of oversized white plastic skulls that hung ghoulishly in the pre-show spotlights. Skulls notwithstanding, there’s nothing all that spooky about this trio, unless you happen to be afraid of painfully hip indie musicians. The evening had been billed as “Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks,” but that maneuver was mostly strategic. To be sure, Animal Collective’s experimental guitarist Avey Tare, alias Dave Portner, was the biggest name in the lineup, and Slasher Flicks’ recent full-length Enter The Slasher House does bear plenty of family resemblance to Animal Collective’s dissonance and oddball angularity, but when they played live, it was ex-Dirty Projector Angel Deradoorian who had the biggest presence onstage.

“How you guys doing tonight? I can’t heeeeear yoooou,” she doofused between songs. “Just kidding. I can totally hear you.” The stage was lit up in technicolor, pixellated neon flashing across the skulls’ white faces and then, with similar effect, Deradoorian’s. Pockets of color lit up the band members’ faces, and between them, abysses of darkness cropped up. The shows’ aesthetic had been planned within an inch of its life.

Avey-love ran rampant in the crowd, even if Deradoorian was doing most of the talking. “I love youuuuuuu,” bellowed a slack-jawed, flannel-clad stick figure standing beside me. Between songs, he’d been overcome by emotion. “Play ‘My Girls’.” Portner looked up and grinned appreciatively. What looked like hundreds of super-fans were standing around the stage, all agog–stoner nerds who looked young and overgrown, many of them stand-spooning their girlfriends and staring up at the stage as if they were watching history get made. “Wow,” one of them huskily murmured into the hair of the girl he was holding the first time Portner emerged onto the stage. Very few of them danced–not even to Slasher Flicks bouncy and thoroughly dance-worthy single “Little Fang”–though standing squarely front-and-center was a blond guy who spent the entire set shaking his chin-length hair wildly in the technicolor beams of light aimed for the skull decor onstage.

The riffing between Portner and Angel Deradoorian–who, unsurprisingly, are a couple in their extra-musical lives–is at the crux of Slasher Flicks, and it was easy to feel a little sorry for drummer Jeremy Hyman (of Ponytail, Dan Deacon), whose complex, meticulously shaped lines resuscitate many of the hazier moments of Enter The Slasher House. He came across as a supporting member to Deradoorian and Tare’s musical synchronicity. In fact, Hyman hadn’t known the pair before Portner recruited him to be part of Slasher Flicks, but a bandmate from Ponytail, Dustin Wong, was there to open for Slasher Flicks’ set. It was a stark performance–Wong played alone on stage, with only a mic, a guitar, and the skulls that hung all around him–but the set’s minimalism added to the intensity of his vocal acrobatics. He zoomed in towards the microphone and then cut away just as quickly, with powerful vocal control. It was a pretty extraordinary set, with a sense of order and minimalism that contrasted effectively against Slasher Flicks’ chaotic and kooky performance.

The difference between studio renditions of Slasher Flicks’ songs and their live performance came mostly in vocal delivery–though much of Enter The Slasher House was catchy, I thought that its angularity often manifested as muddled, overworked production that stood in the way of the emotive power the album was able to hold over a listener. Like the group’s live aesthetic–the glowing skulls, the bursts of technicolor between abysses of darkness–Enter The Slasher House was too flinchingly self-conscious. However, “Catchy (Was Contagious)” and “Roses On The Window” were two surprising highlights of the evening. Deradoorian belted out her vocal line, flecking the songs with unexpected drama, even diva-ishness, that drastically dialed up their power.

Check out “Roses On The Window,” off Enter The Slasher House, below:

ALBUM REVIEW: “Enter The Slasher House”

Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks

Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks

Avey Tare has put out some nine-odd albums with pioneering psych-electronic quartet Animal Collective, but this decade, he’s focused more on solo work than he has on the band that originally made his bones. His latest creation, Slasher Flicks, feels like a deliberate push towards something new, in part because it’s really more super trio than it is side project, featuring ex-Dirty Projectors multi-instrumentalist Angel Deradoorian and Ponytail drummer Jeremy Hyman, who recently collaborated with Dan Deacon. Enter The Slasher House bears obvious family resemblance to Tare-fronted Animal Collective tracks, with similarly off-kilter harmony and a grab bag of digital effects and reverb.

With a name like Slasher Flicks, you might expect the album to sound cartoonish–and you’d be correct. It’s more funhouse than b-movie horror, though. The album is packed with bouncy synths, surreally poppy hooks, and rhythms that appear to operate at the whims of a metronome gone psychotic. Often, the latter is a highlight. Hyman skillfully controls his ear-catchingly angular drum lines, which never shy away from being the focal point of the tracks on this album. In fact, sometimes they’re the scaffolding the rest of the music hangs around. On songs like “Outlaw” and “Catchy (Was Contagious),” the strength of the drum beat leaves Tare’s singing in the dust.

Slathered in production and reverb, the vocals come across a little wimpy. When the songs are at their most instrumentally complex, Tare’s voice seems faint and watery, as if he’s singing from far away or his voice has been unceremoniously inserted to echo the melody. Tare’s anxious, yelling vocal style is easily recognizable, but his presence on this album doesn’t match the authority he cultivated in Animal Collective. Instead, the vocal melody defers to the rest of the music, or we lose it altogether.

The exception to that comes with “Little Fang,” a fantastically catchy number that brings all this group’s elements into synch. A pop hook and an irresistible bass lines serve as the big draws for this track, but lyrical repetition (“You’re always crashing into teeth,”) bolsters its blissfulness. Somehow, despite all the clicks and crashes of its oddball underbelly, the song comes across as sweet and summertime-simple as a Beach Boys single. Sadly, the magic balance “Little Fang” nails doesn’t stick in place for the rest of Enter The Slasher House – the bubbliness soon gives way to manic obnoxiousness, and the angularity of the rhythms turn toward chaos.

Check out the terrifying video for “Little Fang” below!