Animal Tropical is one of Miami's most well known local bands. They've been playing shows together for quite a while (even under different band names like Pygmy, Down Home Southernaires), but what many fans don't know is that the band now commutes between Miami and New York City.
Last summer the group played a five-show stint in New York, and guitarist Kris Pabon stayed behind in a strategic move to expand its fan base. Now the Animal Tropical New York ambassador/representative, Pabon explained what keeps them commuting along the East Coast and what they have in store for Sweatstock on Saturday.
Animal Tropical, at Sweatstock. With No Age, Otto von Schirach, ANR, and many others. 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, April 17. Sweat Records, 5501 NE 2nd Ave., Miami. Admission is free; all ages. 786-693-9309; sweatrecordsmiami.com
Crossfade: So tell me how this idea for the band to commute between Miami and New York City came about.
Kris Pabon: We have always been looking for ways to expand, reach out more. We have been playing together in bands for years. We've practically grown up together. As youngsters, or mojones, rather, we were already touring.
So then what brought about the move?
Finding ways to captivate... to conquer. There then came a time where traveling wasn't as convenient. Living had developed its anchors. So we really indulged in being in Miami, becoming absorbed into its culture. So we played and played and changed names, played more. Sooo we decided it would be strategic to migrate elsewhere. Set up a new station, new camp, behave as ambassadors even.
The whole reason why I think this is so interesting is because it's not a typical setup, you have to admit, and most of your band's Miami fans didn't even know it was going on.
It's not a traditional setup, but I get the sense bands have been doing it for years. Meeting every few weeks or months, writing. But now with technology, you can communicate ideas and sounds instantly and materialize them.
Do you guys come up with stuff on your own now, and then schedule a time to share? Or more like everything via email?
We write the same way we always have. The machine (computer) has been the most practical way to share our ideas. This is something we did even when we were in the same city. Hearing the pieces played by the full band is the only part that has been delayed. The distance has been influential to our creativity, I'll admit. The music is brewing in our guts and aching to teem over.
Even when we were in the same city, we would email each other, anyway. The only thing missing is the personal experience. There's nothing like going into a room with 3 other guys you admire, and saying, "Hey, I got something, guys."
The result is a series of interesting demos and a new kind of style of writing for all of us, and has pushed us into experimenting with new mediums such as film, and children's music. Every now and then I get a phone call from Jorge [Rubiera], "Oh we just filmed a short movie today, think you can send me some music for it?" Nothing like commissioned work from friends to keep you moving.
Animal Tropical is beyond just a four-lad band. We want to execute our ventures more as a collective, or platform even, for all the ideas we want to see materialized, and our friends.
I noticed the band played without you for the recent Cinema Sounds event here in Miami. Does that happen often? How do you guys work out scheduling as to who goes where and when?
We don't like to lose momentum or turn down an opportunity. In the case of a core member's absence, we pull together something that can be performed, whether it's reformatting or rearranging the material, or becoming a totally different band.
Essentially, the music is always coming from the same place. We help each other out.
The way the traveling has happened to work out is in an alternating pattern. The mates come up for a bundle of shows in the Northeast or just in New York City for a couple of months, then I go down to Miami. It's not necessarily planned that way, it's just how it has developed.
Do you guys have any shows lined up for Miami and/or New York soon?
Right now we're looking into booking some New York shows in July, a Brooklyn House Show in the works. Hopefully this will just lead us to book a broader tour for the upcoming Summer and Fall, which is when we intend on releasing our next record, Committed To This.
What do you guys have in store for Sweatstock? Anything new/surprises?
Old surprises. Satisfaction NOT guaranteed.
-- Christine Borges