Sometimes, bands struggle to find a voice and an audience for their music. Other times, it happens almost by accident. That was the case for Animal Talk, the indie rock outfit that’s been named one of Boston’s “Best New Bands.”
Animal Talk’s energetic, danceable sound and their irresistibly cool vibe will have you wishing you could have them at your next house party. They’re the kind of band you want to listen to, but also want to hang out with. But unfortunately for you and your party, Animal Talk is busy with shows all over the country. They’re making their way out of Boston and into a music scene near you.
The best part? Animal Talk is offering Crushable readers a free download of their Animal Talk EP! Read on for our interview with Ben Bourgeois, the band’s guitar player, to find out more about how they got their start and why he says they’re the slowest songwriting band ever. Then click the link for your free download!
Crushable: How did Animal Talk come to be?
Ben Bourgeois: It was a couple years ago, and we all knew each other in the Boston music scene from other projects and other bands that we’d been in. We’d all played shows together. And we didn’t have anything to do. We wanted to keep playing, and stay connected to the scene. And it was kind of just an excuse to write some songs, and play shows, and just get together with each other and with all of our friends. To play music and drink beer. That was the only intention we had going into it. We recorded some demos and a little EP to help us book shows, and before we knew it the radio stations here were spinning songs off of the EP. We were getting bigger shows, and we’d book up. It would be more than just our friends in the audience. That was kind of cool. It was a neat thing to watch happen, just because we weren’t trying too hard. And before we knew it we had to have a Facebook page, and a web page, and stuff like that. We weren’t totally prepared for anything. So it was a scramble in the beginning to get business-ready.
Where did the name “Animal Talk” come from?
We don’t know. It was one of those typical band stories where everybody comes in with a list of things that they like. It’s a combination of words that we thought were interesting or fun, and at the time I think Animal Talk sounded to us the most like the music that we were making. You should have seen some of the names on that list. They were pretty awful. It was just like everything we do. We picked it and said, hey, that one’s good. Let’s run with that.
What do you like about the Boston music scene?
It’s a tough scene to break into. But once you’re in it’s like a family. It’s really, really close, really tightly knit, and it’s not contentious. When I say it’s tough, I don’t mean it’s competitive or that there’s a lot of backstabbing going on. It’s actually the opposite. There are a lot of bands that really will help each other along, and there’s some really, really great music and some really talented people here. The radio stations here have really been dedicated to local music, and we get a lot of help from publications here. It feels like a family. Sometimes a weird family, but it’s still a family. And you don’t find that in very many places, at least in my experience.
How does your songwriting process work as a band?
A lot of the time Steve, our singer, might come in with an idea for different parts of a song, and sometimes they all work perfectly and he comes in and it’s a perfect song. And we play that exactly that way. Other times somebody else will come in with a fragment of a song, or just an idea, and we’ll flesh it out and see where it goes. Regardless of how the song comes, we take forever. We’re the slowest songwriting band in the world. We will sit there and practice a verse over, and over, and over, a million times until it’s exactly what we want to stick with. And then we get into the studio and sometimes it changes completely. But it’s a long process for us. I think we care about the details and we like working on things like harmony, and changing chords just to see what might sound the best. Steve writes all the lyrics. I think he’s a great songwriter and lyricist. And sometimes he writes guitar parts that, I just hear them and I say, well, I’m not going to write anything better than that, so that’s exactly what I’m going to play. I like that we can all do that. There’s no real need for anybody to step on the song too much, or have a 10 minute guitar solo, or drum solo, or a bass solo.
What has been your most memorable live show experience?
There’s a lot of stuff I remember that I would like to forget. But the best I’d have to say was when Young the Giant came to Boston, and it was really early for us in our career. They asked us to open for them, and like I said it was really early. I think it was our fourth or fifth show. We had been playing for our friends and a handful of other people that had heard about us randomly. But when we got to play for their audience, that was a really cool thing. Because it was like 1,200 kids all there just to hear some music. And we were the music for a little while. We were the opener. That really helped us out. Things changed for us after that show. That was when we had to get our act together. After that show, a lot of people started paying attention.
Do you have any dream venues you’d like to play?
No. It’s the audience that we care about. And the venues are sort of there. And I’m saying no because we’ve played some hole-in-the-wall dive clubs with really, really great audiences. So for us, it’s the people that are in the building, not the building. I mean, I can say Madison Square Garden, but I don’t care, as long as the right people are in the venue.
What’s coming up for Animal Talk?
We’re playing two shows in October for CMJ, on October 19 and 20. The 19th will be at Wicked Willy’s and the 20th will be at Rockwood Music Hall. We’re really looking forward to Rockwood. There’s a venue that we’re looking forward to playing in. It’s our first time at CMJ, and we’re really excited, because there are some great bands there this year.
Click here for a free download of Animal Talk EP.
For more on Animal Talk, check out their website.