Nerve Centre Interviews: Animal Prufrock.

Animal Prufrock was once one of the dynamic duo of Bitch and Animal, who released three unforgettable albums together, What's That Smell?, Eternally Hard and Sour Juice and Rhyme. Following this, they went their separate ways and pursued with some vigor various projects of their own. Animal Prufrock recently released his/her new album Congratulations; Thank You + I'm Sorry on Righteous Babe Records and I talk of this album and more with Animal below...

Hi Animal! Your new album, Congratulations; Thank You + I'm Sorry is out for the world to hear. What are your thoughts a few months after it's release?
I feel really proud of it. I worked really hard on it for the last few years – and in collaboration with Ani’s production savvy – I feel that my voice is really clearly expressed and so people can love it or hate It. It’s an authentic piece of me and that feels good in and of itself.
 For the people who've followed your work from Bitch and Animal's trio of truly indelible albums, Congratulations... may be a bit different but at once still familiar. What informed your creating the music that makes up the album and did you find solo recording that much different from duo recording?
Well, the biggest difference was the time frame. Bitch and I were always on a deadline with our records and in some ways none of them seem completely finished to me, although of course they are in their own right. But with this record I intentionally stepped out of the bizness model/time frame – and said I just want to make art, make something that feels like what's in my head – and that translation, the recording process – needed to have that kind of flexibility for it to gestate in its own time – and I guess that’s related to being autonomous and solo – not having to agree upon a schedule with a collaborator…
For me, listening to Congratulations... was an extremely uplifting and inspiring experience. What emotions do you feel when you listen to the record, and is there a particular song on it that you'd cite a favorite?
Aww, I'm happy to hear that! I feel a gammit (sic) of emotions, which I think the record covers. From heartbreak to love’s lift and passion in identity and sorrow and freedom. I love Liberation because it is so uplifting and joyous and I love Voglio because its Italian and dancy and I love I Like You because it's so raw and real… and I could go on about all the songs cuz art is a little like birth I think and I love all my  creations in a different, unique way.
4. In your bio on your website, it says quite a lot in a but a few words. For instance, that you are a television theme song interpretive dancer. It's obvious what it means, but what are the television theme songs that really give a good performance and why?
Doogie Howser is in the top three...the classic Mike Post synthesizer grooves – you can't beat that! The classic Degrassi Junior High, also unbeatable and lets see… United States of Tara… ohmigod soo good!
It also says you know how to make really good pasta sauce! What makes the perfect pasta sauce and can you share a recipe?!
Well, my grandmother was a real kitchen goddess, or food witch as some might say – I mean, it was real magic what she did – and I used to ask her how to make sauce – and she would tell me in her funky Italian-English – and it was all about the feel – so I don’t follow recipes – but one trick she taught me which I will share – is to take your tomatoes, onion, parsley and garlic and put it all raw into the blender with a little olive oil…instead of sautéing – and then you cook that – and at the very end – you drop a rep pepper in for flavor…   
Getting back to seriousness again, being an artist myself, I noted you are an artist too. What is the main medium of your work and what inspires you particularly?
I guess now I would call my self a trans-disciplinary artist – but I love drawing and water coloring and cray-paas – especially and always…
You're the Musical Director at CASA in San Francisco. What does your work there involve and what is the most satisfying part of it?
Well it involves me teaching music and performance classes to k-6th graders and putting on two productions – one winter “recital” and then in the spring I write the music for an original musical for 100 kids – Leslie Einhorn is the director of the program and the playwright – we have a wonderful collaboration – and so I teach the kids the songs and then I am mister conductor in the pit – and put together a band and it’s a blast – super rewarding when the shows come together and kids are expressing themselves!
Now, a question that may seem somewhat strange. Your name is Animal, so the thing I'm wondering is what animal do you consider yourself in nature? 
Well animal for me is a truly trans-gender name – which is why I like it – it is both/and – either/or – and it liberates me from making a choice to be one or the other – but I love and relate to dolphins, doggies, birds, bears, lions, caterpillars, and kangaroo babies.
As a part of the outsider music scene - if that can be a scene by it's very nature - why is it important to make music and generally be creative as opposed to not doing so in your opinion? 
 I think it is important to represent ourselves as much as we can – those of us who have been labeled or marginalized, told we are crazy or not worthy – I think its important to try and erase the stigma of “mental illness” and other “differabilities” so that we can find the commonality in diversity – and love and support all kinds of animals that we are…
Which artists we may or may not have heard of have been an important part of your life and what did they contribute to get you to the place you find yourself now? 
Edwina Lee Tyler – the most amazing percussionist! – she is my drumming idol. If I articulate a tenth of what she articulates on the drums I am a success. Ubaka Hill – another percussionist to be reckoned with – who taught me that it is possible to play the #$% out of a djembe and not have calluses and Judy Grahn– her meta formic theory is like the missing piece in the story of human consciousness – I resonate with it and work with it all the time – and it helps me feel like I have a super-power because I bleed every lunar cycle.
What can we expect from your future work and is there anything you would love to do but haven't quite got to yet?

Expect a new musical, new music. Expect a dissertation in the next few years. I would love to act in a movie with Cate Blanchett – haven’t gotten to that yet…
Finally, any last words for the world out there to mull on over their brunches? 
Being trans is both/and – Mull that! -You don’t have to choose one or the other. You can be all of who you are, whatever new and funky beings that is…

A big thank you to Animal for allowing me to quiz him/her and you can access more info on his/her work at the following locations:

Righteous Babe Records Page:

Animal Prufrock Homepage: