The U.K.’s Animal Kingdom have spent the summer playing their first U.S. tour, in support of their new album The Looking Away (one of my best of the year picks). I caught their second gig, and first show in NYC, last month at Mercury Lounge where they played to a packed and captivated audience.
On the heels of wrapping up the tour, Richard Sauberlich (vocals) and Hamish Crombie (bass), took a moment to answer questions about their experience this side of the pond, the cheminal single “Strange Attractor”, and which animal they’d transform into if given the choice (perhaps in the next life?).
SoundDessert: “Strange Attractor” is a “chemical love song.” What’s the strangest romantic encounter you’ve experienced?
Hamish Crombie: We’ve had a few nights on this tour where we’ve shared beds. One night, Geoff Lea (drums) found himself giving Rich a cuddle in his sleep before waking up in horror.
SD: What’s a grand gesture you’ve done to attract someone’s attention?
Richard Sauberlich: I wrote a song.
SD: What are some ‘strange’ things you find yourselves attracted to?
RS:I remember being strangely drawn to the tri-titted prostitute from the original “Total Recall” film.
SD: The atmospheric melodies, soaring vocals and songwriting on The Looking Away are so fresh – what inspired the music?
HC: We get inspired by lots of things from books, films, other bands and each other.
SD: The song “Get Away With It” is about the 1%, what’s something you feel society “looks away” from that needs to change?
RS: The Looking Away is about disconnect and inattention as a theme rather than one specific topic.
SD: How’s it been touring in the U.S. for the very first time?
HC: It’s been incredible. The audiences have been so warm and we’re seeing so much. It’s been a real buzz drinking it all in.
SD: What are some things you’ve found surprising about the U.S. and/or American culture?
RS: Just how open and friendly people have been. We’ve spent a couple of hours after each show meeting fans and they’ve just been super supportive and cool with us.
SD: Does the name Animal Kingdom come from a secret love of science?
AK: In some ways, yes. It comes partly out of reading anthropologist Desmond Morris, who compares human motivation to animals and analyzes how similar we really are.
SD: If the band could be any species of the Animal Kingdom, what would each person be?
Geoff – Honey badger
Rich – Panther
Hamish – Earthworm