Back in 2008 Plants and Animals were running around with the kids from Wolf Parade and making their premiere with the fresh-off-the-block yet expansive Parc Avenue. Well now it's 2012, and shit's getting real. Friends are getting married like it’s going out of style and "the stroller situation on the sidewalk is out of control" on a song called "Crisis!" — a word that could just about summarize the whole album. This is really a record about the cold fear that descends on you when you realize that 20 split years ago and 30 will be arriving any minute now. Matthew Woodley (most just call him Woody) talked to us about why he could never graduate from the animalistic tendencies of the drums and why he can't reveal the name of his favorite plant.
Plants and Animals. $10. 8p.m. Sun., April 8. 529, 529 Flat Shoals Ave. www.529atl.com. Plants and Animals released The End of That on February 28.
Y'all have been compared to Arcade Fire; how much of that do you think is truth in terms of your styles of music and how much of that is a matter of both of your bands being from Montreal?
Woody Woodley: I think it's mostly location. We emerged into public consciousness in Montreal right after they blew up. And the record that we had out then had lots of orchestration and strings and horns and stuff, so people made the Arcade Fire connection.
Are you talking about as far back as Parc Avenue or La La Land?
Parc Avenue. I think we're pretty different actually.
How are you guys different?
Well, there's only three of us. There's four now. We're more like individuals playing together than one big machine, like they are.
Adding in a bass player must definitely have change your sound live. Who is he?
Eric Digran: He's a French Renaissance man. He's been around the block. Auditioned for Smashing Pumpkins.
You all made The End of That in Paris at the La Frette studio. How was it over there?
It was a beautiful spring in a beautiful house, and a beautiful place to work. Everything sounded good, felt good, and tasted good.
So having played together for over ten years at this point, how have you three evolved as three people working together, but also as a band?
I like to think we've gotten better as a band. I like to think we've gotten tighter — we can do things more quickly and do what we want to do more easily. We can just pull things off more smoothly. Like anything that survives, I think we're all a bit stronger.
How old are you guys?
We're all in our early thirties, except for Eric. We don't know how old he is, actually.
[Laughs] Does he look younger than you or older than you?
He looks about the same. He's a very handsome guy.
In “Lightshow” there's this lyric that says "well maybe I should change my point of view". What's one thing that you would like to change your point of view on?
Maybe to be a little bit less judgmental. Kind of more accepting. Not always. You don't want to be sloppy.
Drums of all instruments: How did you learn to play the drums?
I think like a lot of kids, I started bangin on pots and pans. Most kids grow out of that phase— they evolve into more developed, less primitive forms of expression. But I, I just kept doing it. When I got older I went down to the music shop with my mom, and rented the saxophone. We went home for a week and it was just total hell for her so she said "Why don't we get you a drum set? I think that's a great fix."
What do you love about the drums?
I like rhythm. I like how direct an extension of your body it is, to play drums. I like how fundamental it is. Our heart beats, and it's really close to that. You know, it's a hell of a lot of fun too, especially live in front of a bunch of people.
What is your favorite plant?
Well, I'm not allowed to say that [laughs]. My favorite plant is the jade plant. Are beets a plant?
Hmm. I don’t know…
I'd say they are and I would say beets are my favorite plant.
What is your favorite animal?
Probably the barracuda.
Why the barracuda?
It speaks to me. I also like panthers, and owls.
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